Nine Children Adopted by Father and Son to Keep Group of Siblings Together

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Early one morning, Jacob Smith, a college student, sees a Facebook post about a group of 8 children ages toddler to fourteen who need a home.

Jacob says he thought to himself,  ‘Man, if I had the financial means to do this, we would definitely do it,” He says”Literally the next day, my mom calls me and she’s like, ‘So, are you serious about the kids?'”

Turns out, his dad Thad Smith also saw the Facebook post, and discussed adopting the children with his wife, Loryn.

I love this quote from Thad: “I think we’re called to a deeper purpose than coming home, and closing our doors.”

After careful deliberation, Jacob and his wife Peggy, who have no children of their own, decided they would adopt the three younger siblings, and Thad and Loryn would adopt the five older ones.

They say that the decision made sense to them because they lived only a few houses down from each other and wanted to keep the big sibling group together while sharing the burden.

Jacob says, “We just knew we had a calling to them.”

Just when they thought they would have a big enough adjustment to their new lives, Jacob and Peggy got a call that the siblings’ mom just had a baby, meaning that the team of siblings was now nine strong.

The family is now raising money through the Promise Love Foundation to buy two new cars to drive their new children around.

Read the full story complete with video HERE

 

Why We Should All Strive to “Go The Extra Mile”

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A former radio boss used to tell me, “Logan, don’t just do your best. Do what is required.” That’s just another way of saying, “go the extra mile when you need to.” Do you ever finish a job, whatever it is, and then think to yourself that you need to do more? That’s going the extra mile. Do you ever do something for someone in need, and then realize that they need more than they originally asked? That’s going the extra mile.

Sounds like I’m “going the extra mile” in telling you about the extra mile.

It’s probably because there is so much value and joy in going the extra mile. I came across a little article that show five examples of people “going the extra mile.” According to the article, “when people do more than they have to, and do so with an attitude of generosity, they give of themselves in ways that lift all of humanity. The heart grows tender when we extend ourselves beyond what’s expected. Going the extra mile is a vital ingredient that lifts our mood, allowing hopefulness to rule.”

There are so many ordinary, everyday , unassuming folks who love to bless others without expecting anything in return. Some people call it “making a deposit in your emotional bank account”.

Take a moment to think of all the people in your life each day that you can “go the extra mile” for. If you really tune into the needs of others, you’ll find endless examples. Again, the formula is simple:

Do something nice for someone. THEN, do something ON TOP of that niceness to make it extra special.

Here are some examples:

When you give someone a book, write a note on the inside cover.

When everyone’s funneling through a busy doorway, hold it open for the whole line of people.

When you’re arranging a meal for your friends at your place, invite someone you’ve never had over.

When you’re grocery shopping for your family and find a deal that requires you to buy extra, buy it but give the extra to your neighbor.

When someone asks you to pray for them during the week, pray with them right then too.

These are just a few of the ideas I found HERE

Someone very wise once told me that it’s not a blessing until it’s passed onto someone else. Don’t just keep it for yourself, pass it on. Pay it forward. GO THE EXTRA MILE.

You’ll be glad you did!

 

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The Benefits of Loving Like Jesus

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One of THE best books I’ve ever read is called “Jesus Prom: Life Gets Fun When You Love People Like God Does” by Jon Weece. It’s really a primer on how to get in the habit of loving people like Jesus did. The book’s author, Jon Weece, has so many wonderful nuggets of truth like “As adults, we’ve become a culture of human doings, when we were designed to live as human beings...the verb to be is a verb that flows from the blueprint of our Designer.”

At the heart of this wonderful little book is how to put love into action. Jon Weece says “one of the best ways to start a conversation is with a question: Is there anything I can do for you today? It’s quite biblical, really. Paul exhorts us to “share each other’s troubles and problems” (Galatians 6:2 TLB).

Weece says “the alarm on my phone rings at 3:16 every day in honor of John 3:16. Jesus died so I can live. So at 3:16 every day, I sent a text or an e-mail to someone I know, letting them know that I love them.

It’s really pretty simple, the more loving you are to others, the more love you will receive.

Weece is the head pastor at Southland Community Church, and every year that have what they call “Jesus Prom”, it’s basically a night for folks with special needs to enjoy the FULL prom experience. The Tim Tebow Foundation offers something just like that, called “Night to Shine”. One one night, churches across the world give a once in a lifetime experience to tens of thousands of these honored guests.

For my Bay County, Florida friends, If you’d like to be part of this weekend’s “Night to Shine” event, they probably still need male volunteers to help make this night truly special. For more on that click HERE

I hope you can volunteer. I hope you can read this book. Because wouldn’t the world be a MUCH better place if we all learned to love like Jesus did?

 

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The 1 Skill Needed In Most Marriages

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I just finished reading a fantastic article from Phil Carson at Connectedmarriage.org on the importance of empathy in marriage. Empathy isn’t just important to the health and success of a marriage, it’s critical. Seeing things from your spouse’s point of view helps to grow a level of compassion, trust, and intimacy that you might not have together otherwise.

Scripture tells us to:

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15 (NIV)

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3

So, what’s the best way to keep the “bond of peace”? Empathy.

In the article Phil outlines 4 key ways we can increase empathy in our marriage. I would encourage you to read the entire article, but here they are, in a nutshell:

1/Effective Validation: Phil says the point of validation is to be able to understand and to feel your partner’s thoughts and feelings.

Everett Worthington explains that there are three levels of empathy**

Level 1: Understanding – You understand the point of view of the other person.
Level 2: Emotional Identification – You feel with and think with the other person.
Level 3: Compassionate Empathy – You feel compassion for the other person as well as emotional identification.

2/Understand Your Partner’s Past: Phill says it’s so important for couples to identify their emotional triggers and how they came about. For instance, I suffered a good bit of emotional abuse growing up, and as such I tend to be overly sensitive to personal criticism. That’s probably the reason my LOVE LANGUAGE is “Words of Affirmation”. My wife, Leanne, understands this and she’s quick to praise me when I do well, and affirm any accomplishment of mine. As well, she understands when her words may hurt me without her intending them to.

Phil says that when we understand our partners emotional triggers, it helps us both to manage how we respond and how we react. It produces compassion.

3/Use a Journal:  When couples have built up a great deal of resentment and anger, Phil says, forgiveness is always a step in the healing process. When you are hurt deeply, write it in a journal. Writing down thoughts and feelings can help you to process your hurt. Processing your hurt can lead you to compassionate empathy. Compassionate empathy, in turn, helps with the deeper hurts to move the person towards forgiveness.

4/Switch Sides: The goal of empathy,  Phil says,  is to experience the world from the other person’s feelings and thoughts. It doesn’t mean that you agree with their actions, but it can help to increase compassion. So, how do you put yourself in their shoes? You can switch sides in your expression of thoughts and feelings. For example, pick out a specific incident and write a letter to yourself from the perspective of your partner. I could write a letter from the perspective of my wife. I could include in it my wife’s thoughts, feelings and motivations. Putting yourself into their perspective can be very healing. It’s true even if you don’t get actually get it right. It can help to see a specific incident through their eyes.

That perspective will build empathy.

 

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**as cited in Levenson and Ruef, 1992

 

Take The Kindness Challenge!

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I think we would all agree that the world would be a much better place if we were all more kind to each other. So, just how kind do you think you are? Here’s a little quiz that should tell you exactly how kind or unkind you are. I would encourage you to take the quiz before and after you take “The 30 Day Kindness Challenge”. This little challenge is actually no little challenge. It’s part of a national research project from Shaunti Feldhahn , author of the book “The Kindness Challenge”. I highly encourage you to read the book, but even more so, I would encourage you to take “The 30 Day Kindness Challenge”.

Shaunti asserts that kindness doesn’t just change the person you are being kind to, it also changes you. She says that kindness is almost a kind of “superpower” that has the ability to “make you bulletproof”, “give you x-ray vision”, “melt through walls”, “makes the invisible visible”, and much more. In short, kindness changes lives. It’s certainly not the only thing you need to have a healthy relationship, but it is vital to the health of any relationship.

Now, granted this is tough challenge, but it may be one of the most important challenges you ever take. In short, here it is:

Pick someone with whom you want or need a better relationship. For the next 30 days, do the following three things:

1/Say nothing negative about them, either to them or about them to anyone else. 

2/Every day, find one positive thing that you can sincerely praise or affirm about your person and tell them, and tell someone else.

3/Every day, do a small act of kindness or generosity for that person. 

Shaunti says that these 3 aspects of kindness are like “three chemical elements that, when they come together, react and build something different, something remarkably beautiful, powerful, and above all, transformative.”

So, go ahead, take the challenge, and strengthen those kindness muscles. You may just be amazed at the results!

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Kid Becomes Governor With His Anti-Bullying Platform

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I read a cool story about how an 11 year old boy was just elected Oregon’s first “kid governor” after running on an Anti-Bullying platform. The Anti-Bullying movement has really picked up steam in the last few years, and it’s really one of the only issues that most of us agree on these days. As parents in a social media charged world, bullying is something we all have to be conscious of, and we have to be vigilant about it both with our kids and others kids that we know.

Fifth grader Dom Peters gave his inaugural address, through which he highlighted his platform to combat bullying, sharing that he, himself, has been a victim. Peters also highlighted his “three-point plan”, which includes writing a book and encouraging his peers to write books as well. How about that? An 11 year old with a 3 point plan!

Peters says that  he’s experienced bullying in the form of verbal abuse as well as physical, even coming home with a black eye once. He also says that he witnessed a friend “getting beat up” once and immediately ran between the two kids, told his friend to run away, and held the bully back.
“I told him to stop and said I’d tell his parents and our coaches if he didn’t stop.”  What courage that is.

One of the ways Peters plans to combat this problem in his school is to share a book that he’s currently writing. His book is about a puppy who is hurting inside, but once everyone learns of his pain, they are kind to him and he learns to be kind back. He also shares that he has started a club at his school called the “Super Kind Helpers Club” and reports that many of his schoolmates have joined. The club meets at recess to practice kindness and ensure that everyone has someone to play with.
Don’t you think that more than a few grown ups could learn from this kid?

Congratulations Dom Peters! You are an inspiration to us all.

If you’d like to start your OWN anti-bullying campaign, CLICK HERE.

36 Best Anti Bullying Quotes For Kids Images On Pinterest

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23-Year-Old Becomes A Father And A Grandfather Overnight

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Meet Tommy Connolly. He’s just your average ordinary 23 year old college student who was spending his days training to become a champion sprinter when he got a message on Facebook that changed his life.

It was from his 17-year-old cousin who he hadn’t seen in a decade. It turned out she was 32-weeks pregnant, homeless, shoeless and had only a backpack full of clothes. Her baby was going to be taken from her when he was born and the father was in prison.

So Tommy took her in and wound up adopting her, and in doing so, became her son Kaydan’s grandfather, as well as his first cousin once removed.

It’s a truly amazing story, which you can read in full HERE.

In one Facebook message, Tommy’s whole life was forever changed. Now, he’s supporting a daughter and a grandson, and still working hard to earn his degree.

His story is so moving, it’s taking the internet by storm. People are so touched by Tommy’s tale that in just 18 days, they’ve raised over $40,000 to help support him.

I love this quote from Tommy, who says:

“When bad things happen, it’s your family that supports you.. It means no one gets left behind or forgotten. I’ve had my family pull my head out of the gutter before… It was time to pay it forward. Family comes first.”

Even with his many new responsibilities, Tommy is still sprinting and he does real estate too.

It’s just another fantastic example of what happens when you step out of your comfort zone and “love your neighbor as yourself” just like the story of The Good Samaritan.

Thank you Tommy. You inspire us all! The question for us is, would we do the same? I’ll bet if you asked Tommy if he’d do it again, he’d give you a resounding “YES”.

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My Suggestion For A Different Kind of “Year End Gift”

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This time of year, we all seem to get more mail, more e-mail, and more solicitations from charities asking for our “year end gift”. It’s the time of year that charities know that many of us are looking to donate to our favorite cause, so that we can get a little tax benefit from Uncle Sam. There’s certainly nothing wrong with this kind of giving. I applaud it. I encourage it. But, let me suggest a different kind of “year end gift”.

Author and speaker Jon Acuff tweeted out before Christmas:

It inspired at least one guy to do the same:

And then there’s the story of how one church in Ohio got together to bless the staff working hard at a local Waffle House with a huge tip of well over $3,500. All five women behind the counter embraced each other and cried.

I think this “random acts of kindness thing” is really catching on. Now granted, there’s a certain “specialness” about giving to folks working around the Christmas holidays, but this same principle can be applied before the end of this year.

You just have to take the time to look for the opportunity. Discuss it with your spouse. Talk about it with your family.  Talk about it with your closest friends. There’s just something about giving an unexpected blessing to total strangers who had no idea it was coming.

Go ahead and plan it. Do it before the end of the year, and make it a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR for someone who might need it more than you know.

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5 Ways to Bless Others Around You

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I read a story this morning where “Harry Potter” star Daniel Radclifffe came to the aid of mugging victim who had been knifed in London. Read the story HERE

Granted, we are not all “Harry Potters” ready to lend our celebrity helping hand at a moment’s notice, BUT we all have opportunities to bless others….if we just take the time to look around us.

I used to do a regular feature on my radio show (and I’ll probably start it here soon) called “The Good News”. This segment focused on people making a difference in the world around them. 99 percent of the time, these people were no different than you and me. They had no special skills or abilities. They didn’t have a huge bank account. They weren’t world famous. They were just regular people who took the time to look around them and see where they could positively impact the lives of others. We ALL have that same opportunity. If you want to use the Bible as an example, God didn’t call men of extraordinary talent or skill to be his disciples. They were just ordinary people who were willing to be obedient and observant to opportunities around them to bless others.

With the world we live in today, opportunities to positively impact others are ALL around us. Here’s at least FIVE:

*While we’re driving, we might see someone in need.

*While we’re at the drive through of a fast food restaurant, we might be able to “pay it forward” by paying for someone’s meal.

*While we’re on the job, we might lend a listening ear to someone who’s going through a difficult time.

*While we’re online, namely social media, we see plenty of opportunities to bless others through prayer, encouragement, time, money, etc.

*At home, we have opportunities to bless our family and friends. The opportunities are endless…IF we just take the time to look around us.

I really believe we weren’t put on this earth for ourselves. We are here to impact the lives of others. When we die, people aren’t going to dwell on our accomplishments, or our nice  homes or cars. No. They are going to remember the good we did. They are going to remember how we made them feel. They are going to remember the impact we had on others. When it’s all said and done in this world, we are going to be measured on the difference we made in the lives of others, and what we did with the opportunities we had to bless those around us.

Those opportunities are all around you today. What are you going to do with them?

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