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  • FineLinen
    replied
    Two traveling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family.

    The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion’s guest room. Instead, the angels were given a space in the cold basement. As they made their bedroom the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it. When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied…. “Things aren’t always what they seem.”

    The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife. After sharing what little food they had, the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good nights’ rest. When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field.

    The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel “How could you have let this happen!? The first man had everything, yet you helped him,” she accused. “The second family had so little, but was willing to share everything and you let their cow die.”

    “Things aren’t always what they seem,” the older angel replied.”When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn’t find it. Then last night as we slept in the farmers bed, the angel of death came for his wife. I gave her the cow instead. “Things aren’t always what they seem.”

    Sometimes this is exactly what happens when things don’t turn out the way you think they should. If you have faith, you just need to trust that every outcome is always to your advantage. You might not know it until some time later. “Things aren’t always what they seem.” -Kathaleen Pinto-

    Things aren't always as they seem

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  • FineLinen
    replied
    I have decided to follow Jesus

    https://emailmeditations.wordpress.c...-follow-jesus/

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  • FineLinen
    replied
    Two elderly couples were enjoying friendly conversation when one of the men asked the other,

    "Fred, how was the memory clinic you went to last month?"

    "Outstanding," Fred replied.

    "They taught us all the latest psychological techniques - visualization, association - it made a huge difference for me."

    "That's great! What was the name of the clinic?"

    Fred went blank. He thought and thought, but couldn't remember. Then a smile broke across his face and he asked, "What do you call that red flower with the long stem and thorns?"

    "You mean a rose?"

    "Yes, that's it!" He turned to his wife.......

    "Rose, what was the name of that clinic?"

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  • FineLinen
    replied
    https://www.facebook.com/THErickilee...YxOTE0MzMzMDQ/

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  • FineLinen
    replied
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvSuGyJQ6oM

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  • FineLinen
    replied
    Clever kids

    A police officer found a perfect hiding place for watching for speeding motorists.

    One day, the officer was amazed when everyone was under the speed limit, so he investigated and found the problem.

    A 10 years old boy was standing on the side of the road with a huge hand painted sign which said “Radar Trap Ahead.”

    A little more investigative work led the officer to the boy’s accomplice: another boy about 100 yards beyond the radar trap with a sign reading “TIPS” and a bucket at his feet full of change.

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  • FineLinen
    replied
    My mom only had one eye. I hated her… She was such an embarrassment. She cooked for students and teachers to support the family.

    There was this one day during elementary school where my mom came to say hello to me. I was so embarrassed.

    How could she do this to me? I ignored her, threw her a hateful look and ran out. The next day at school one of my classmates said, “EEEE, your mom only has one eye!”

    I wanted to bury myself. I also wanted my mom to just disappear. I confronted her that day and said, “If you’re only gonna make me a laughing stock, why don’t you just die?”

    My mom did not respond… I didn’t even stop to think for a second about what I had said, because I was full of anger. I was oblivious to her feelings.

    I wanted out of that house, and have nothing to do with her. So I studied real hard, got a chance to go abroad to study.

    Then, I got married.

    I bought a house of my own. I had kids of my own. I was happy with my life, my kids and the comforts. Then one day, my Mother came to visit me. She hadn’t seen me in years and she didn’t even meet her grandchildren.

    When she stood by the door, my children laughed at her, and I yelled at her for coming over uninvited. I screamed at her, “How dare you come to my house and scare my children! GET OUT OF HERE! NOW!!!”

    And to this, my mother quietly answered, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I may have gotten the wrong address.” – and she disappeared out of sight.

    One day, a letter regarding a school reunion came to my house. So I lied to my wife that I was going on a business trip. After the reunion, I went to the old shack just out of curiosity.

    My neighbors said that she died. I did not shed a single tear. They handed me a letter that she had wanted me to have.

    “My dearest son,

    I think of you all the time. I’m sorry that I came to your house and scared your children.

    I was so glad when I heard you were coming for the reunion. But I may not be able to even get out of bed to see you. I’m sorry that I was a constant embarrassment to you when you were growing up.

    You see……..when you were very little, you got into an accident, and lost your eye. As a mother, I couldn’t stand watching you having to grow up with one eye. So I gave you mine.

    I was so proud of my son who was seeing a whole new world for me, in my place, with that eye.

    With all my love to you,

    Your mother.” -Author Unknown-

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  • FineLinen
    replied
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRk7tNPnBvA

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  • FineLinen
    replied
    Don’t Hope>>>Decide!

    While waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon, I had one of those life-changing experiences that you hear other people talk about — the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly. This one occurred a mere two feet away from me.

    Straining to locate my friend among the passengers deplaning through the jet way, I noticed a man coming toward me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family.

    First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other’s face, I heard the father say, “It’s so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!” His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly, “Me, too, Dad!”

    Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe nine or ten) and while cupping his son’s face in his hands said, “You’re already quite the young man. I love you very much, Zach!” They too hugged a most loving, tender hug.

    While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one or one-and-a-half) was squirming excitedly in her mother’s arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said, “Hi, baby girl!” as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder, motionless in pure contentment.

    After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, “I’ve saved the best for last!” and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss I ever remember seeing. He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed. “I love you so much!” They stared at each other’s eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands.

    For an instant they reminded me of newlyweds, but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn’t possibly be. I puzzled about it for a moment then realized how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm’s length away from me. I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I was invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, “Wow! How long have you two been married?

    “Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those.” he replied, without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife’s face. “Well then, how long have you been away?” I asked. The man finally turned and looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile. “Two whole days!”

    Two days? I was stunned. By the intensity of the greeting, I had assumed he’d been gone for at least several weeks – if not months. I know my expression betrayed me.

    I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace (and to get back to searching for my friend), “I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!”

    The man suddenly stopped smiling.

    He looked me straight in the eye, and with forcefulness that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person. He told me, “Don’t hope, friend… decide!” Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said, “God bless!” - Michael D. Hargrove-

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  • FineLinen
    replied
    The Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.

    Paris was one of the first places on my pilgrimage of healing following my husband’s sudden death on a wild river in Guatemala. Paris had always been a place of solace, and I thought that it would be a good place to experience my first Easter after Gary’s death.

    On the day before Easter I asked my friends Don and Annie Hudson to join me for a concert of sacred music at Notre Dame, though I had hesitated briefly when I saw from the program that the theme would be “Les mysteres douloureux,” the sorrowful mysteries, with Gregorian chants and medieval polyphonies and pieces and improvisations played on the grand orgue.

    We would hear the passion of Christ acted out in sorrowful chants, amplified by the swelling sublimity of the grand organ, with its more than 7,000 pipes. The tableaus began with the prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, followed by the flagellation, the crown of thorns, the carrying of the cross, ending with the crucifixion. I wasn’t to escape the sorrows of Easter, after all, but where better to experience them than Notre Dame, where even the most prosaic prayers seem to take on an exalted resonance.

    As the six robed men of the Ensemble Gregorien de Notre Dame de Paris chanted the melodious words from centuries-old codexes and manuscripts, I was struck by the depiction of Jesus’s sense of injustice at what was happening and by his very human questioning of this anguish.

    “Moi, je t’ai donne an scepter royal; mais toi tu as place sur ma tete une couronne d’epines.”

    Me, I gave you a royal scepter; but you, you placed on my head a crown of thorns. Again and again, he repeats, O mon people, que t’ai-je fait? En quoi t’ai-je contriste? O my people, what did I do to you? In what did I sadden you? Reponds-moi. Answer me. Jesus appears to be resisting his fate, calling out to his tormentors and to God. But then he lets go.

    “Tout est consommé.” It is finished. It is accomplished.

    As I listened to the words of Jesus struggling against his destiny, I couldn’t help but think of Gary’s battle on the river, as he realized that he was facing his death. Gary’s struggle and his death had somehow become entwined in my psyche with the passion story of Jesus. I knew that Gary must have fought mightily. He must have resisted his fate with everything in his mind, body and soul. And then there was a point at which he let go. It was finished. Tout est consommé. A universal story, really. As Joseph Campbell and others have told us, there is only one story, with many faces, of the hero whose quest ends finally in sacrifice.

    Resisting tears, I wrote a note to Annie Hudson, for whom I was translating: “The next part is about the suffering of Mary, sung by men.” And the tenors and baritones did their best. “Moi qui ne connaissais pas auparavant la peine, je suis fatigue de ma peine, je sui crucifee par ma douleur.” Grief I did not know before, but now I am worn out by grief and tortured by sorrow.

    So many songs of love and death. So much sorrow. For a moment I was Mary and all women who have lost their men to a fate they didn’t choose. In this 12th-century recitation of her suffering, written by Godefroy de Saint-Victor, Mary resists consolation and asks that she take her son’s place in death. “Mon unique consolation est de vous plaindre.” My only consolation is to weep for you.

    On the final page of the program, following the text of Saint-Victor’s Planctus, was a photo of Nicholas Coustou’s pieta, one of the glories of Notre Dame. Coustou’s rendering of Mary cradling the body of her son, her arms raised in supplication to the heavens, isn’t as powerful as Michelangelo’s, but Mary’s questioning anguish, captured at its peak, is eloquent enough. Like Mary, I had yet to be consoled, nor did I understand why Gary had to die. But I did feel another small bundle of grief lifted away by the music as it passed through glass and stone on its way upward. -Carol F. Chapman-

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  • Morkone
    replied
    Thank you all for sharing these stories, was really interesting to read

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  • FineLinen
    replied
    Tell Them

    Some 14 years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the classroom for our opening session in the theology of faith.

    That was the day I first saw Tommy. He was combing his hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders. My quick judgment wrote him off as strange – very strange.

    Tommy turned out to be my biggest challenge.

    He constantly objected to or smirked at the possibility of an unconditionally loving God.

    When he turned in his final exam at the end of the course, he asked in a slightly cynical tone, “Do you think I’ll ever find God?”

    “No,” I said emphatically.

    “Oh,” he responded. “I thought that was the product you were pushing.”

    I let him get five steps from the door and then called out.

    “I don’t think you’ll ever find Him, but I am certain He will find you.”

    Tommy shrugged and left. I felt slightly disappointed that he had missed my clever line.

    Later I heard that Tommy had graduated, and I was grateful for that. Then came a sad report: Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could search him out, he came to me. When he walked into my office, his body was badly wasted, and his long hair had fallen out because of chemotherapy. But his eyes were bright and his voice, for the first time, was firm.

    “Tommy! I’ve thought about you so often. I heard you were very sick,” I blurted out.

    “Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer. It’s a matter of weeks.”

    “Can you talk about it?”

    “Sure. What would you like to know?”

    “What’s it like to be only 24 and know that you’re dying?”

    “It could be worse,” he told me, “like being 50 and thinking that drinking booze, seducing women and making money are the real ‘biggies’ in life.”

    Then he told me why he had come.

    “It was something you said to me on the last day of class. I asked if you thought I would ever find God, and you said no, which surprised me. Then you said, ‘But He will find you.’ I thought about that a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense at that time. But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it was malignant, I got serious about locating God. And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging against the bronze doors of heaven. But nothing happened.

    Well, one day I woke up, and instead of my desperate attempts to get some kind of message, I just quit.

    I decided I didn’t really care about God, an afterlife, or anything like that. I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more important. I thought about you and something else you had said: ‘The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you loved them.’ So I began with the hardest one: my dad.”

    Tommy’s father had been reading the newspaper when his son approached him.

    “Dad, I would like to talk with you.”

    “Well, talk.”

    “I mean, it’s really important.”

    The newspaper came down three slow inches.

    “What is it?”

    “Dad, I love you. I just wanted you to know that.”

    Tommy smiled at me as he recounted the moment. “The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then my father did two things I couldn’t remember him doing before. He cried and he hugged me. And we talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning.

    “It was easier with my mother and little brother,” Tommy continued. “They cried with me, and we hugged one another, and shared the things we had been keeping secret for so long. Here I was, in the shadow of death, and I was just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to.

    “Then one day I turned around and God was there.

    He didn’t come to me when I pleaded with Him. Apparently He does things in His own way and at His own hour. The important thing is that you were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for Him.”

    “Tommy,” I added, “could I ask you a favor? Would you come to my theology-of-faith course and tell my students what you told me?”

    Though we scheduled a date, he never made it. Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed. He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of humanity has ever seen or the mind ever imagined.

    Before he died, we talked one last time. “I’m not going to make it to your class,” he said. “I know, Tommy.”

    “Will you tell them for me? Will you . . . tell the whole world for me?”

    “I will, Tommy. I’ll tell them.”

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  • FineLinen
    replied
    Overcoming Obstacles: How Louis Zamperini Remained ‘Unbroken’

    Initially, Louis Zamperini’s greatest obstacle was his own mortality. During World War II, his entire focus was on surviving, and the odds continued to be against him. He joined the Air Force in 1941 and was stationed on the Pacific as a bombardier on a B-24 Liberator bomber. At that time, flying into combat was only half the danger. Due to numerous technical problems and inadequate training, more than 50,000 airmen died in non-combat related accidents. So it was not unusual that Louis’ plane crashed into the ocean as he and his crewmates flew on a search and rescue mission for another plane that went down earlier.

    What was unusual, however, was that Louis survived the crash and the subsequent 47 days on a raft.

    “The odds of being rescued if you ended up on a life raft were terrible,” Laura Hillenbrand, author of Zamperini’s biography Unbroken, told NPR in 2010. “The rafts were very poorly equipped.” Louis and his crewmate survived at sea longer than any other known survivors, drinking rainwater and eating the fish they managed to catch.

    But his ordeal and struggle to survive had only just begun.

    Emaciated and weak from sitting in the lifeboat, Louis was discovered and captured by the Japanese and eventually sent to a brutal POW camp where he was beaten, starved and overworked. Due to his fame—he had competed in the 1936 Olympics and was one of the fastest distance runners in the world—a jealous and sadistic prison guard, Mutsuhiro Watanabe, whom the prisoners nicknamed “the Bird,” singled Louis out for particularly cruel treatment. These events are dramatized in the movie Unbroken, based on Hillenbrand’s best-selling book. Amazingly, he survived two years in the POW camps before being released when the war ended. -Elizabeth Street-

    Continued below

    https://www.learningliftoff.com/over...challenge-afte

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  • FineLinen
    replied
    The Smell of Rain

    A cold March wind danced around the dead of night in Dallas as the Doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing. Still groggy from surgery, her husband David held her hand as they braced themselves for the latest news. That afternoon of March 10,1991, complications had forced Diana, only 24 weeks pregnant, to Danae Lu Blessing.

    At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound and nine ounces, they already knew she was perilously premature. Still, the doctor’s soft words dropped like bombs.

    I don’t think she’s going to make it, he said, as kindly as he could.

    “There’s only a 10 percent chance she will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one.” Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Danae would likely face if she survived. She would never walk, she would never talk, she would probably be blind, and she would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation, and on and on. “No! No!” was all Diana could say. She and David, with their 5-year-old son Dustin, had long dreamed of the day they would have a daughter to become a family of four. Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was slipping away.

    Through the dark hours of morning as Danae held onto life by the thinnest thread, Diana slipped in and out of sleep, growing more and more determined that their tiny daughter would live, and live to be a healthy, happy young girl. But David, fully awake and listening to additional dire details of their daughter’s chances of ever leaving the hospital alive, much less healthy, knew he must confront his wife with the inevitable. David walked in and said that we needed to talk about making funeral arrangements. Diana remembers, ‘I felt so bad for him because he was doing everything, trying to include me in what was going on, but I just wouldn’t listen, I couldn’t listen. I said, “No, that is not going to happen, no way! I don’t care what the doctors say; Danae is not going to die! One day she will be just fine, and she will be coming home with us!”

    As if willed to live by Diana’s determination, Danae clung to life hour after hour, with the help of every medical machine and marvel her miniature body could endure. But as those first days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana. Because Danae’s under-developed nervous system was essentially raw, the lightest kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort, so they couldn’t even cradle their tiny baby girl against their chests to offer the strength of their love. All they could do, as Danae struggled alone beneath the ultraviolet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl. There was never a moment when Danae suddenly grew stronger.

    But as the weeks went by, she did slowly gain an ounce of weight here and an ounce of strength there. At last, when Danae turned two months old, her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the very first time. And two months later-though doctors continued to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving, much less living any kind of normal life, were next to zero. Danae went home from the hospital, just as her mother had predicted.

    Today, five years later, Danae is a petite but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life.

    She shows no signs, what so ever, of any mental or physical impairment. Simply, she is everything a little girl can be and more-but that happy ending is far from the end of her story.

    One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving, Texas, Danae was sitting in her mother’s lap in the bleachers of a local ballpark where her brother Dustin’s baseball team was practicing. As always, Danae was chattering non-stop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby when she suddenly fell silent. Hugging her arms across her chest, Danae asked, “Do you smell that?” Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied, “Yes, it smells like rain.” Danae closed her eyes and again asked, “Do you smell that?” Once again, her mother replied, “Yes, I think we’re about to get wet, it smells like rain. Still caught in the moment, Danae shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced,

    “No, it smells like Him. It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest.”

    Tears blurred Diana’s eyes as Danae then happily hopped down to play with the other children.

    Before the rains came, her daughter’s words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their hearts, all along. During those long days and nights of her first two months of her life, when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Danae on His chest and it is His loving scent that she remembers so well.

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  • FineLinen
    replied
    Broken wing - don't judge a book by its cover


    Some people are just doomed to be failures. That's the way some adults look at troubled kids. Maybe you've heard the saying, "A bird with a broken wing will never fly as high." I'm sure that T. J. Ware was made to feel this way almost every day in school.

    By high school, T. J. was the most celebrated troublemaker in his town. Teachers literally cringed when they saw his name posted on their classroom lists for the next semester. He wasn't very talkative, didn't answer questions and got into lots of fights. He had flunked almost every class by the time he entered his senior year, yet was being passed on each year to a higher grade level. Teachers didn't want to have him again the following year.

    T. J. was moving on, but definitely not moving up.

    I met T. J. for the first time at a weekend leadership retreat. All the students at school had been invited to sign up for ACE training, a program designed to have students become more involved in their communities. T. J. was one of 405 students who signed up. When I showed up to lead their first retreat, the community leaders gave me this overview of the attending students: "We have a total spectrum represented today, from the student body president to T. J. Ware, the boy with the longest arrest record in the history of town." Somehow, I knew that I wasn't the first to hear about T. J.'s darker side as the first words of introduction.

    At the start of the retreat, T. J. was literally standing outside the circle of students, against the back wall, with that "go ahead, impress me" look on his face.

    He didn't readily join the discussion groups, didn't seem to have much to say. But slowly, the interactive games drew him in. The ice really melted when the groups started building a list of positive and negative things that had occurred at school that year. T. J. had some definite thoughts on those situations. The other students in T. J.'s group welcomed his comments. All of a sudden T. J. felt like a part of the group, and before long he was being treated like a leader. He was saying things that made a lot of sense, and everyone was listening. T. J. was a smart guy, and he had some great ideas.

    The next day, T. J. was very active in all the sessions. By the end of the retreat, he had joined the Homeless Project team. He knew something about poverty, hunger and hopelessness. The other students on the team were impressed with his passionate concern and ideas. They elected T. J. co-chairman of the team. The student council president would be taking his instruction from T. J. Ware.

    When T. J. showed up at school on Monday morning, he arrived to a firestorm. A group of teachers were protesting to the school principal about his being elected co-chairman. The very first community wide service project was to be a giant food drive, organized by the Homeless Project team. These teachers couldn't believe that the principal would allow this crucial beginning to a prestigious, three-year action plan to stay in the incapable hands of T. J. Ware.

    They reminded the principal, "He has an arrest record as long as your arm. He'll probably steal half the food." Mr. Coggshall reminded them that the purpose of the ACE program was to uncover any positive passion that a student had and reinforce its practice until true change can take place. The teachers left the meeting shaking their heads in disgust, firmly convinced that failure was imminent.

    Two weeks later, T. J. and his friends led a group of 70 students in a drive to collect food.

    They collected a school record: 2,854 cans of food in just two hours. It was enough to fill the empty shelves in two neighborhood centers, and the food took care of needy families in the area for 75 days. The local newspaper covered the event with a full-page article the next day. That newspaper story was posted on the main bulletin board at school, where everyone could see it. T. J.'s picture was up there for doing something great, for leading a record-setting food drive. Every day he was reminded about what he did. He was being acknowledged as leadership material.

    T. J. started showing up at school every day and answered questions from teachers for the first time. He led a second project, collecting 300 blankets and 1,000 pairs of shoes for the homeless shelter. The event he started now yields 9,000 cans of food in one day, taking care of 70 percent of the need for food for one year. T. J. reminds us that a bird with a broken wing only needs mending. But once it has healed, it can fly higher than the rest. T. J. got a job. He became productive. He is flying quite nicely these days.

    -A True Story by Jim Hullihan-

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