your life will not go unnoticed -i will notice it.

your life will not go unnoticed -i will notice it.

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acts of kindness opportunity: one person can’t do everything but everyone can do something.

BooneI’d like to introduce you to my friend from college Boone Bureenok.

I met Boone when I was in Bible College.

He returned home after school and is now pastoring a church in his homeland which runs an orphanage.

They provide a home for children whose families are unable to care for them for a variety of reasons.

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Boone’s heart is heavy.

He needs help to save their church, property & orphanage.

There is much going on Thailand at the moment as we can see from a distance via the news.

Firstly, he has asked for prayer. The dream he has to provide a home to orphan children is under threat.

The weight of responsibility in itself will be great.

Secondly, the bank has required that he meet a $3800 payment by 21 March 2014.

To many this does not seem like an overwhelming amount but for a small orphanage in Thailand in might as well be millions.

To date they have raised $2000 and they still need $1200.

Another college friend, Dora Walker, has put together a plea for help from fellow Tomlinson College Alumni.

Dora and I talked the other day and we concluded that maybe we as individuals can’t do everything but everyone can do something.

It is this simple. To raise the remaining $1200 by the deadline it would take:

100 people who could give $12 each.

In NZ, that is less than the cost of a meal out.

Boone has a pay pal account set up and everyone can use his email address if they are able to give. 

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Many of us around the world are blessed to be able to hold our children close and feed them their favourite meal today.

I think we could honour that blessing by taking advantage of this act of kindness opportunity and sharing with children who do not have what we have today.

I have been blogging now for almost a year. My heart’s desire was to be able to reach out to the hurting hearts of this world.

Although, I am not known to ask for money, I am asking today that you once again…

look inside your heart…

does this situation speak to your heart and can you help?

if you can please give generously.

you can contact Boone via email to donate directly at boone180001955@gmail.com.

Remember, no act of kindness, no matter the size, goes unnoticeable or unrewarded.

God Bless!

D

A Secret About “That Woman” in Your Life

20140321-090848.jpgi love this photo. this is my maternal grandmother driving a tractor on the family farm.

i don’t think i could drive a tractor to save my life. i have excuses like i’m so short that i can’t see important things around me and i have been known to run over things in a big vehicle, let alone a big tractor.

but, i’m not afraid to roll my sleeves up and get my hands dirty. i mean, really dirty! eww, some if the jobs I have agreed to do for the sake of my family and family business makes my head spin sometimes.

want to know a secret about women?

a woman will give you everything she’s got to give!

she will!

she will get up early, work her fingers to the bone, give every last ounce of strength she can muster in her day and collapse only after everyone else is fully looked after knowing within a few hours (if she gets a few hours of uninterrupted sleep) she will start all over again.

she does it because of the deep well of love that resides in her heart.

i have been reading so many posts, blogs, notes, and tweets from exhausted women all over the world. these women are assisting hard working men, growing children, people who are unable to help themselves, elderly family members, charities and friends.

they give and give…

what would your world be like without “that women” who keeps it flowing so seemlessly?

the secret is that women will give to you beyond what you can imagine -you don’t have to manipulate or extract it from her! in return, her heart needs your respect, love and appreciation.

respect, love and appreciation will fuel her in ways that not even she understands.

celebrate her!

cherish her!

hug her!

and today (if not everyday!)..,

thank her.

because she is aiding your success, one tiny, exhausting task at a time!

and believe me…it’s no small thing…until those tiny tasks land in your lap and you need to fill her shoes.

i give honor to my grandmothers, my aunts, my cousins and MY MOTHER (whose shoes i’ll never properly fill), my friends, and readers who give and have given so selflessly to make life more successful.

you are awesome!
D

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

deeclarknz.comthis flower is commonly called a red hot fire poker in New Zealand. stems shoot out from within draping green foliage.

it is one of my favourite NZ plants.

when we moved into our little cottage, i was pleased to see one in the gardens.

deeclarknz.cominside the foliage of this beautiful plant lives a colony of snails.

by now you have probably guessed that i am not a seasoned gardener.

as i found these tiny little creatures fascinating.

emerging from inside their portable homes, to enjoy the sunlight…

or so i thought!

even though they are considered a garden pest, i delighted in photographing their journeys inside my plant that day.

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since many of my blogs deal with the things we find inside the heart, i compared how i looked at these creatures as adorable, harmless little beings. the truth is that they are not harmless if i want my plant to flourish and grow. in the same way, we can allow things to co-exist deep inside our hearts that seems harmless; have been there for a long time and we’ve grown used to their presence; or might even appear to be adorable at first glance but allowing them to remain there, inside of our hearts, will prevent growth. they might cause damage even if it is ever so slightly at first.

i suppose i will have to address the gardening issue but for today, these little creatures are a part of my submission for The Weekly Photo Challenge.

Enjoy.

D

inspiring story: the father of invention

David Cook of The Chattanooga NewsFree Press shared this inspiring story. I am certain my readers will find this inspirational so I wanted to share it with you.20140319-191605.jpg

The Reynolds’ Wrap is Andrew’s parent’s blog.

Meet Andrew Reynolds, the luckiest little kid around.

Two years ago, he was born without a right hand.

Or a left hand.

His right leg ended at his knee.

His left leg? Just below it.

Then he was abandoned by his mother in an orphanage in Ukraine.

(What’s that? Oh, yes. The lucky part.)

So last summer, little Andrew’s lying in a Ukrainian orphanage, limbless and hopeless, when in walks the man who would soon become his dad.

The man looks down at the boy he soon will adopt, and sees what could be instead of what is. The man takes some duct tape, a potholder and a wooden Ukrainian spoon, and thingamajiggers them together — the potholder wrapped around the boy’s left stub, the spoon coming out the end like a new forearm, the tape holding it altogether — and presto!

Within days, Andrew’s playing with toys, laughing, like someone just catapulted him out of the orphanage and into a Disneyland of possibilities.

“He went from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can,'” said Ezra Reynolds.

This is what Ezra does: He helps people go from I can’t to I can. Ezra is a design specialist for Signal Centers, which helps people — especially disabled ones — find full and independent lives.

Paraplegics. A woman with Parkinson’s. A boy who could only move his finger. A man with a clubbed hand. Using anything from old arcade parts to aluminum foil, Ezra invents devices so they can use a computer, play with toys, keep their jobs.

But his greatest invention?

He gave Andrew something he didn’t have.

“Independence,” said Ezra.

Last summer, Ezra and his wife, Kelly, traveled to Ukraine to adopt their fourth child. There they met Andrew. He was 18 months old and could do nothing on his own. Not eat. Not play. Not move. They placed a toy in front of him, and he cried.

“He’d been taught he can’t do these things because of his disability,” said Ezra.

Ezra invents the spoon-arm, then, after they bring Andrew to their Chattanooga home, Ezra invents something like a miniature surfboard with wheels that teaches Andrew how to use his half-limbs to move around.

Soon Andrew discards the board and begins moving around on his own. See the pattern? Dependence is replaced by invention, which leads to independence … and, among other things, the ability to pry open the fridge.

“We see him scooching off with the mayonnaise,” Ezra said.

Talk to Ezra, and you realize quickly his brain is working exponentially faster than yours, 1.21 gigawatts compared to a single-strand bulb. He’s 33, graduated from Central High, then the University of Tennessee Chattanooga with a degree in computer science and another in electrical engineering.

For inspiration, he wanders around Lowe’s, just looking, like Michelangelo in a marble quarry. His Signal Centers workshop is part Ace Hardware, part Google.

(He once met a boy who’d lost his hand, some fingers and his lower leg, and was terrified of a prosthesis. So Ezra found a Woody doll from “Toy Story.” He sawed off the hand, fingers and lower leg, and built a toy prosthesis. He gave it to the boy, so that when the boy went to get his prosthesis, he’d have some company. “It’s not so bad if you have a buddy,” Ezra said.)

Each week, Ezra takes his designs to the place he loves most: the 3D printer on the fourth floor of the Chattanooga Public Library.

“The limits are what I can envision in my head,” Ezra said.

Ezra uses the 3D printer to build devices that help his Signal Centers clients: the blind, dyslexic and paraplegic.

And one day, he used the 3D printer to make a new prosthesis for Andrew.

It’s like a plastic bracelet with an O on top. It Velcro-straps to Andrew’s stub, so his half-arm now has a cuff with an O above it that can hold a colored marker or a spoon and let Andrew begin to do things like everybody else.

“Like write, or eat,” said Ezra.

With a spoon in his 3D-printed prosthesis, Andrew eats second helpings of spaghetti. He steals his sisters’ toys. He pulls all the Kleenexes out of the box. Ezra and Kelly scold him, but it’s the softest, kindest scolding in parenting history.

“On the inside, we’re saying, ‘Yes!'” said Ezra.

You see? Andrew’s the luckiest. Sure, you could say he got a bum deal in life. That he got shortchanged.

You could say that. But you’d be wrong.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then love is the father. That day in the Ukrainian orphanage, Ezra looked on his son not with pity, but with hope.

He tinkered with a wooden spoon and duct tape. He huddled over the 3D printer. He imagined, believed and created. Because that’s what inventors do.

They invent new devices.

But Andrew?

His dad invented him a new life.

Contact David Cook at dcook@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6329. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter at DavidCookTFP.

like Ezra many are given “you can’t” messages that break their hearts. given support, opportunity and hope, those messages can be deafened.

i encourage you, dear reader, to remember that you can do anything you set your mind to do.

don’t accept limits.

let Ezra and his dad inspire you.
D

24 proverbs that are just plain common sense

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the Webster dictionary defines wisdom as

knowledge that is gained by having many experiences in life.

it’s interesting to me that Solomon found common sense that -after all the centuries that have passed- is still common sense today.

check out these proverbs that are just plain common sense.

giving advice:

Some people like to do things their own way, and they get upset when people give them advice.

the stuff that comes out of our mouth:

The tongue can speak words that bring life or death. Those who love to talk must be ready to accept what it brings.

Foolish people don’t want to learn from others. They only want to talk about their own ideas.

Foolish people hurt themselves when they speak. Their own words trap them.

Foolish people say things to start arguments. They are just asking for a beating.

An insulted friend is harder to win back than a city with strong walls.

People love to hear gossip. It is like tasty food on its way to the stomach.

The words of a discreet and wise man’s mouth are like a gushing stream sparkling, fresh, pure, and life-giving.

Let people finish speaking before you try to answer them. That way you will not embarrass yourself and look foolish.

Your words can be as satisfying as fruit, as pleasing as the food that fills your stomach.

The first person to speak always seems right until someone comes and asks the right questions.

results of our actions:

Do something evil, and people will hate you. Do something shameful, and they will have no respect for you.

Someone who does careless work is as bad as someone who destroys things.

Giving gifts can open many doors and help you meet important people.

justice:

You must be fair in judging others. It is wrong to favor the guilty and rob the innocent of justice.

attitude:

The rich think their wealth will protect them. They think it is a strong fortress.

A proud person will soon be ruined, but a humble person will be honored.

A good attitude will support you when you are sick, but if you give up, nothing can help.

The poor are polite when they beg for help. The rich are rude with their answer.

Wise people want to learn more, so they listen closely to gain knowledge.

communication:

The best way to settle an argument between two powerful people may be to roll dice.

Arguments separate people like the strong bars of a palace gate.

relationships:

If you find a wife, you have found something good. She shows that the Lord is happy with you.

Some friends are fun to be with, but a true friend can be better than a brother.

The importance of not causing scars

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Once upon a time there was a little boy who was talented, creative, handsome, and extremely bright. A natural leader. The kind of person everyone would normally have wanted on their team or project. But he was also self-centered and had a very bad temper. When he got angry, he usually said, and often did, some very hurtful things. In fact, he seemed to have little regard for those around him. Even friends. So, naturally, he had few. “But,” he told himself, “that just shows how stupid most people are!”

As he grew, his parents became concerned about this personality flaw, and pondered long and hard about what they should do. Finally, the father had an idea. And he struck a bargain with his son. He gave him a bag of nails, and a BIG hammer. “Whenever you lose your temper,” he told the boy, “I want you to really let it out. Just take a nail and drive it into the oak boards of that old fence out back. Hit that nail as hard as you can!”

Of course, those weathered oak boards in that old fence were almost as tough as iron, and the hammer was mighty heavy, so it wasn’t nearly as easy as it first sounded. Nevertheless, by the end of the first day, the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence (That was one angry young man!). Gradually, over a period of weeks, the number dwindled down. Holding his temper proved to be easier than driving nails into the fence! Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He felt mighty proud as he told his parents about that accomplishment.

“As a sign of your success,” his father responded, “you get to PULL OUT one nail. In fact, you can do that each day that you don’t lose your temper even once.”

Well, many weeks passed. Finally one day the young boy was able to report proudly that all the nails were gone.

At that point, the father asked his son to walk out back with him and take one more good look at the fence. “You have done well, my son,” he said. “But I want you to notice the holes that are left. No matter what happens from now on, this fence will never be the same. Saying or doing hurtful things in anger produces the same kind of result. There will always be a scar. It won’t matter how many times you say you’re sorry, or how many years pass, the scar will still be there. And a verbal wound is as bad as a physical one. People are much more valuable than an old fence. They make us smile. They help us succeed. Some will even become friends who share our joys, and support us through bad times. And, if they trust us, they will also open their hearts to us. That means we need to treat everyone with love and respect. We need to prevent as many of those scars as we can.”
-author unknown

test your anger coping skills

deeclarknz.comyou might be wondering why i am committing so much time on the subject of anger this past week.

the reason is that i place a high value on peace in my life. i believe that i need to guard my heart against anything that might diminish or steal the level of peace that i require for a healthy existence.

there are many things that can affect peace; anger has a big impact along with guilt, stress, and conflict, to name a few.

therefore, i like to do a self assessment from time to time. i liken it to having a yearly physical or mammogram in order to be assured that things are functioning like they should be. as with my physical well-being, preventive maintenance is the best medicine.

i have a life plan and a value system that i use to guide my decisions and monitor my behaviours (i’ll list a few below):
1. there are socially acceptable behaviours and codes of conduct.
2. there are good manners
3. the 10 commandments
4. the wisdom given in the Proverbs
5. the law of love as outlined in Ephesians
6. and others

i use these as a road map along my journey. i deem them a valuable compass for guiding me along the pathway.

in addition, i have a bit of a mental checklist. when dealing with anger, i have learned to ask myself ,”will this matter to me or will i even remember this in five years?” it slows me down enough to prevent rash reactions. if the answer is “yes”, i can pursue the issue. if the answer is “no”, i can applied some anger management skills.

since i have been on the subject, i decided that i would give myself a little check up. i’ve been pretty happy with the way i have been managing anger but i thought it wouldn’t hurt to do a simple assessment.

i went to the Psychology Today website and took their anger management test. it consists of 10 questions and only took 5 minutes to complete. it is only a simple gauge to assess if there might be an need for adjustments in managing this emotion.

my overall score was low indicating that i am rather skilled at coping with potentially angering situations. however, i was cautioned to make sure that i am coping well rather than suppressing anger.

i was pleased with this result and it was in line with my own internal assessment of how things are going. after all, if there is a problem, i usually know there is a problem without having it pointed out to me; unlike my physical condition -where there might be a symptom-free problem present.

if there is an anger problem- i know it…and so do those around me. i tend to become edgy, agitated or annoyed at minor situations. there was a time when i wasn’t managing this emotion very well that i often felt like a ticking time bomb. the indicators are present and signal that a problem exists. the reasons vary; again, stress, unresolved issues, frustration or misunderstanding can be triggers.

i encourage you to take the test. it is easy to do. keeping a pulse on your emotion well-being is very beneficial. if adjustments are required, it is much easier to handle when it’s a small issue rather than letting it become a bigger problem.

maintaining peace will make your journey much easier to travel.

my wish is that your heart be filled with peace,
D