Couldn’t Forget His Dogs

“Today’s BrightSpot!”

Have you ever received a gift that was given with very little thought and emotion and it left you feeling empty? In contrast has someone given you something of little material value such as their time, attention or caring that touched you deeply filling your heart to overflowing?

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” 
Khalil GibranThe Prophet

When Jennifer noticed a homeless man with his dogs she could have turned away. Instead she asked “what can I give?” The cost was very small; the price of a soda. She might have offered any size but she purchased the largest one and then Couldn’t Forget His Dogs so went back for water.

Jennifer’s story touches me because it’s not what she offers but that she gives it with a full and loving heart. Her generosity of spirit is what counts and it’s that energy that resonates with the man and his dogs. The result is like a boomerang effect when his happiness bounces back to touch her with his gratitude.

During an especially difficult time in my life a met a stranger named Nancy who instantly became a very close friend. After a brief conversation about hitting hard times in our lives, she surprised me by sending a gift to my work place. It had arrived on my day off and when I saw it I was moved to tears. It was a book from her own library that she had lovingly wrapped in cellophane and tied with a ribbon and an artificial flower. Attached was a personal hand-written note. The book was called Broken Open and it was the perfect gift for the perfect time in my life.

Nancy’s gift cost very little, it was a book for me to borrow and return. The package and her card said it all. Here was a woman who really understood and cared. How could I be anything but touched, moved and inspired by such a lovely and loving gift. To this day we remain close friends and her gesture is one I will never forget. Something so simple reminds me that when I am stuck with wondering what to give and feeling a strain on my pocket book, I need to let go of the struggle and remember how something very simple that cost very little made such a huge difference for me. Nancy’s give to me is Priceless………

Some of the best things in life are free, or in this case cost very little and yet they make a tremendous difference when given as an act of love. Next time you offer something put your heart into it. Everyone knows and feels the difference when giving is an act of love rather than one of  obligation. Feel good about giving and others will feel fantastic about receiving anything you are offering them. In my experience, i’ts never the gift that matters most, it’s always the intention with which it is given.

“Share A BrightSpot Everyday!”

 

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Say You Care and Smile

Today’s BrightSpot!

Ever been there for somebody just because it felt like the right thing to do? Here’s a story that demonstates what goes around comes around! Someday the care you give to another may  come back to you when you most need it. So don’t hesitate to say you care and smile!

“But life inevitably throws us curve balls, unexpected circumstances that remind us to expect the unexpected. I’ve come to understand these curve balls are the beautiful unfolding of both karma and current.” Carre Otis

Amber clearly knows and believes in the benefits of caring and supporting others. When her mom was sick her friend stepped forward to lend her encouragement. Never forgetting the impact this had on her, Amber was quick to reciprocate. Acts of caring can be grand gestures or small acts of kindness. In this case, a card with a heart felt message and a gift card where all it took to show how much Amber cared. Who among us doesn’t feel better when we know we are not alone during a difficult time?

I sometimes forget that what I say or do can make all the difference for someone else, especially when they are hurting. Amber’s story reminds me that anything I offer that comforts someone else matters. Next time you sense that someone needs a little encouragment or care, don’t disregard it, instead embrace it. After all according to Karmic Laws, what goes around comes around!

Share A BrightSpot Everyday!

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Gratitude Makes Me Happy

Today’s BrightSpot!

Feeling like things in your life just aren’t good enough?

You may not be aware of it but complaining versus feeling appreciative indicates that you have your attention focused on lack rather than abundance. I’d like to suggest that nothing changes for the better by focusing on what’s not working. In fact the opposite is true. I’ve learned that gratitude makes me happy. So if you catch yourself in a negative thought pattern make a choice to adjust your thinking to the brighter point of view.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough”  ― Oprah Winfrey

After visiting third world countries a few times, sixteen year old Kristy feels grateful for all the simple things in her life. She recalls people of very little means going about their daily lives with more of a sense of joy than many of us who by comparison have tremendous abundance. It’s hard to imagine that children without toys and computers can find a sense of joy simply by playing in the dirt. Watch her story for a deeper understanding of what is reality for millions.

Here’s some statistics that present a shocking perspective of how much I know I have to be grateful for. READ ON TO BECOME AWARE:

1. Nearly 1/2 of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty, that’s less than $1.25 a day.

2. 1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty.

3. 870 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat. Food banks are especially important in providing food for people that can’t afford it themselves. Run a food drive outside your local grocery store so people in your community have enough to eat.

4. More than 1 billion people lack adequate access to clean drinking water and an estimated 400 million of these are children. Because unclean water yields illness, roughly 443 million school days are missed every year.

5. In 2011, 165 million children under the age 5 were stunted (reduced rate of growth and development) due to chronic malnutrition.

6. Preventable diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia take the lives of 2 million children a year who are too poor to afford proper treatment.

7. As of 2011, 19 million children worldwide are not vaccinated.

8. 1/4 of all humans live without electricity — approximately 1.6 billion people

9. 80% of the world population lives on less than $10 a day.

10. In 1998, the UN estimated that it would take $40 billion annually to offer basic education, clean water and sanitation, reproductive health, and basic health and nutrition to every person in every developing country. That would be about $58 billion today.

11. The World Food Programme says, “The poor are hungry and their hunger traps them in poverty.” Hunger is the number 1 cause of death in the world, killing more than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.

Here’s what I know to be true. Life shifts to feeling happier when I appreciate what I have first. I’ve seen my personal outside circumstances change whenever I find a way to shift my inside perspective to one of appreciation and gratitude.

So if you are disheartened by something today, think about the facts of life for so many others. Find gratitude for whatever funds and resources you have, embrace those extra pounds around your tummy because you are lucky to have an abundance to eat. Never forget to cherish the loved ones in your life you are blessed to share it all with.

Share A BrightSpot Every Day!

 

 

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Sharing Worked for Me

“Today’s BrightSpot!”

Ever feel like what you have to give is too little and won’t make any real difference?  Today’s the day to re-frame that thought. Why not give something small to someone else; food, a smile, a kind word.  Even if it feels unimportant to you it could be the highlight of their day!

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” Mother Teresa

He was working at a neighborhood fast food Subway restaurant, when Gurprince was surprised to be offered food by a homeless man. He talks about how Sharing Worked for Me, when he rejects the gift of the man’s watermelon but accepts the gesture as a way to generate his own willingness to share. The sandwich he offers is a gift well received as demonstrated by the huge smile on the man’s face. The feeling it evokes in his own heart is the unexpected gift he receives in return.

My friend Rob is a homeless man. From time to time he accepts a gift from me but most often he refuses. On the other hand, he is always offering me small thoughtful gifts. It’s not unusual to find newspaper clippings he thinks will intrigue me outside my door. Some days he shows up in his wheel chair with a box of fresh produce like cherries or grapes depending upon what’s in season. At first I refused his gifts, but then I couldn’t bare the look of total disappointment on his face.

The most amazing thing I’ve noticed about Rob is how ecstatic he is whenever I accept his gift. He smiles a huge toothless grin and thanks me profusely for receiving it. In the past few years, I’ve learned a lot from my homeless friend. At the top of my list is that giving and receiving are equally important. When I met him it was far easier for me to give and today I know how important it is to receive with appreciation and gratitude.

Whether it’s easier for you to give or to receive there’s a lesson for us all in finding balance. I know that sharing teaches me how to find that balance because one day I may be on the receiving end and the next be called upon to be the giver. In either case it’s all about touching each other with our humanity and expressing our gratitude for all the large and small gifts we are privileged to enjoy. So I ask myself daily, “Who did you make a difference for yesterday? Who might you make a difference for today?”

Never forget that what you have to offer may be just what someone else needs. So don’t hold back your impulse to give whatever you can and watch how it enriches their life as well as your own.

Share A BrightSpot Every Day!”

 

 

 

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Commit & Stay the Course

“Today’s BrightSpot!”

Are you faced with a challenge that makes you want to turn away, quit or run for the hills? Consider that your greatest  obstacle today may become your greatest triumph tomorrow!

“If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”  Bruce Lee

“Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.” ~Josh Billings

“The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground.” ~Author Unknown

His senior year in high school without his consent, Alfredo found himself enrolled in a fire-fighting course. When he decided to Commit & Stay the Course, he not only met the expectations of others he far exceeded his own limitations.

In my mid twenties I dreamed I’d make a living as a painter/designer. I had no formal art training and no employment contacts of any kind. Some doubted my abilities to succeed as an artist and the truth is I often doubted myself. But I never let my fear stop me.

You see at that time painting was my only passion so I kept my day job as a store manager and created my art portfolio at night. Whenever possible I attended trade shows and knocked on door after door. Over time I created an art licensing business I could be proud of that proved to be my livelihood for many years to follow.

My mother once commented that I was “lucky.” Maybe luck did play a role, but deep inside I knew how hard and consistently I had worked toward achieving my dream. No matter what, I never gave up!

If you have ever turned away from a challenge later to find that when you broke through your fear you surprised yourself then you can relate to Alfredo’s story. Perhaps today, you are up against something that feels threatening so you unknowingly sabotage your efforts.

In either case, you’re not alone. We all set limits on ourselves but only when you decide to make a commitment and stick to it can you allow the extraordinary possibilities to unfold! Go for it!

“Share A BrightSpot Every Day!”

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Marlene @OurBrightSpot

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Being a Teenage Mom is a Blessing

“Today’s BrightSpot!”

Can you think of a difficult situation in your life that turned out to be a blessing? Here’s one young mother’s story you might relate to.

“The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children.”
Jessica Lange

Sofy could have easily despaired when she witnessed the lives of other girls her age enjoying their teenage and young adult years. Instead at the age of 15, a young pregnant girl made a conscious choice that “Being a Teenage Mom is a Blessing.”

While the lives of her peers seemed carefree, Sofy’s life was filled with countless responsibilities. She took very good care of her child, balanced a part-time job and pursued her college degree despite the obstacles. She demonstrated by example that with determination she would create a positive life for them both.

Even though Sofy might not have understood the full measure of what she was creating at the time, in later years all her endurance and fortitude paid off when the words of her daughter came back to acknowledge her as being a “great” mom.

The part of her story that really touches me is that even at such a young age, Sofy was able to carve out a life for yourself and pave the way for a brighter future. She was truly selfless in caring for her daughter, but not at the expense of herself.

Everyone who meets Sofy can now see the benefits of her choices. Her story reminds me that many difficult situations that may appear to be my greatest challenges serve to push me beyond my limits to reach further and see what’s really possible. Just like Sofy, I know that choices count and it’s up to me to choose wisely.

Whether you are a young parent or a person feeling challenged to overcome a difficult situation, I hope you will be inspired by Sofy’s story. Finding balance in the short term without ever sacrificing the long term brighter perspective is something we can all learn from this young women’s story.

“Share A BrightSpot Everyday!”

 

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Cheers,
Marlene @OurBrightSpot

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