Stories Of Hope & Inspiration


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No hope.

As a group of frogs was traveling through the woods, two of them fell into a deep pit. When the other frogs crowded around the pit and saw how deep it was, they told the two frogs that there was no hope left for them.

However, the two frogs decided to ignore what the others were saying and they proceeded to try and jump out of the pit.

Despite their efforts, the group of frogs at the top of the pit were still saying that they should just give up. That they would never make it out.

Eventually, one of the frogs took heed to what the others were saying and he gave up, falling down to his death. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die.

He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, “Did you not hear us?”

The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

Moral of the story=

People’s words can have a big effect on other’s lives. Think about what you say before it comes out of your mouth. It might just be the difference between life and death.


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I was in my 30's, and had ended up losing everything, lost my family due to tragic circumstance, ended up with two types of cancer, and was homeless ( I had basically just given up on life).

I had decided that cancer was my death sentence and had relegated myself to living in the woods ( Bad choice, it turned out to be the coldest winter on record in my area for 30 years ).

One day, I had a few dollars in my pocket, ( Literally ) and I schlepped down to McD's ( Something I normally avoid like the plague ) because I had gotten tired of crawling into dumpsters looking for food.

I bought several burgers, and as I sat in the corner, observing the lunchtime crowd come and go, I noticed a man come in, and go from person to person, engaging each in a short conversation then moving to the next.

He was trying to sell some posters he had hand drawn, but there were no takers.

He looked over, saw me watching, then came over to give me his sales pitch. I calmly listened to his pitch, which was essentially " I'm hungry, I'm trying to sell these so I can get some food. "

Now,... I am well familiar with the rough life of being homeless, as not only was I myself homeless at the time, I had spent most of my teen years on the streets, hooked on drugs, being a hellion child, etc, but ,..I also know that due to outreach programs, churches, and food banks, that even if one is homeless in my town, 3 squares a day is easily had for free, so there's no reason to sell things to eat.

So, I just gave him 2 burgers, which he sat down and inhaled, and after he was finished, I asked what his story was, how he'd ended up in this situation ( I hadn't told him I was also not doing great ), and he told a tale I've seen and lived firsthand, and that is an addiction to crack ( My teen years ).

He had been a successful contractor, had his own business, 20 or so employees, married, kids, and had lost it all in a few short months.

I felt so bad for this man, because I knew what it was like to end up at the bottom, so I in turn told him my story, I admitted to being homeless, sick, etc, and for some reason he was just shocked that I would have given him 2/3 of my food when I myself was scraping bottom.

We sat and talked for some time, perhaps 45 minutes, and he told me of wanting to get his life back together, and wanting to go to school to become an architect, I wished him luck and we parted ways.

I trundled back to my little shelter I had built in the woods, and as I sat there, looking out of the doorway and watching the birds eat ( I always feed the birds ), I started to think about what was in front of me.

Little tiny fragile birds, walking around in the snow, in temperatures that were about -10f ....I was partially frozen, yet these little birds were hopping around, happily chirping, seemingly without a care in the world, oblivious to the harsh environment I found myself surrounded by.

I thought to myself, " That's true grit right there, why am I not as tough as a little bird ? "

Then, slowly, the birds had their fill and embarked on their daily flights, leaving me to my silence, but more importantly, the question in my mind.

As I pondered, one small sparrow landed in front of me to feed, and I immediately thought it odd, as these birds usually travel in groups, with family and friends.

This particular sparrow, had a deformity, a club foot, and was basically hobbling around with one foot, and had been ostracized from it's community ( Common with animals in the wild when one has a deformity ).

Realistically, in the wild, animals that have deformities / injuries don't fare that well, they end up being eaten, or die from their inability to feed themselves.

Then, I thought " Why am I not as tough as THAT sparrow ? ", because that was the one I really identified with.

This was the day when I decided I could not give up.

It took several months to eventually find two jobs, then maintain them all the while keeping it a secret that I was living in the woods, had cancer, etc.

I just kept my nose to the wheel and moved on, always remembering that one sparrow.

Now during this time of trying to get it back together, I would occasionally run into the man I met in McDonalds, in the library, where he would come to study ( He had found a residence, gotten stable, then entered school to become an architect ) and every few weeks I would run into him in the library.

I eventually regained my hold on life, and the last time I ran into him, he had just become a certified architect and was getting back together with his family

All that from a few cheap hamburgers and a crippled sparrow, who would have thunk it.


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"That's Right, God Doesn't Exist."

When they eventually touched on the subject of God, Mike said: 'I don't believe that God exists.'

"Why do you say that?" asked Bill.

"Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist. Tell me Bill, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can't imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things."

Bill thought for a moment, but didn't respond because he didn't want to start an argument. Mike finished his barbering job and Bill left the shop. Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkempt.

Bill turned back and entered the barbershop again and he said to Mike, the barber:

"You know what? Barbers do not exist."

"How can you say that?' asked the surprised barber. "I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!"

"No!" Bill exclaimed.

"'Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside."

"Ah, but barbers do exist! That's what happens when people do not come to me."

"Exactly!' Bill affirmed.

"That's the point! God, too, does exist! And that's what happens when people do not come to God too."


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Never Give Up.

“Never give up.” It’s probably one of the most cliché phrases you’ll hear as you’re building your career. But there’s a reason these sayings are clichés—you never know when success really does lie around the next corner.

We know believing that is easier said than done, so we collected the following stories of famous celebrities who definitely never gave up, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Stephen King, and J.K. Rowling, for starters.

All these folks are now household names, but they didn’t become one easily. Some lived in their car, others suffered family abuse, and almost all encountered rejection after rejection professionally and personally—before finally landing a foot in the door. Read on and get inspired!


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Martha Mason

Martha Mason graduated valedictorian of her high school and earned two college degrees at the top of the class—all while living her life in an iron lung.

Paralyzed by polio at age 11 in 1948 and confined 23 hours a day in an immobile, 800-pound horizontal tube, the voracious reader stayed “endlessly curious”—and amazingly adaptable.

Custom-built intercoms connected her to school and made her a “regular member” in her classes, with the technology helping her from high school through Wake Forest College (now University), where the English major arrived at her dorm room in a bakery truck.

By the time she died in 2009, Mason had been in the iron lung for a record-setting 60 years. “Something happens to all of us,” she said in a documentary about her.

“Mine is more visible than yours, but you have to deal with your things, too. None of us are exempt from things that would make us extraordinary people if the world knew the story.”


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The Eagle Story

Someone once told me a story about a wounded eagle who was rescued by a kindly farmer. He found the bird in one of his fields, and so took him home, tended to his wounds, and then placed him outside in the barnyard to recover.

Strangely enough, the young eaglet soon adapted to the habits of all the barnyard chickens. He learned to walk and cluck like them. He learned to drink from a trough and peck the dirt for food, and for many years he peacefully resigned himself to this new life on the ground.

But then one day, one of the farmer’s friends spotted the eagle and asked, “Why in the world is that bird acting like a chicken?” The farmer told him what had happened, yet the man could hardly accept the situation.

“It’s just not right,” said the friend. “The Creator made that bird to soar in the heavens, not scavenge in the barnyard!”

So he picked up the unsuspecting eagle, climbed onto a nearby fence post, and tossed him into the air. But the confused bird just fell back to earth and scurried off in search of his feathered friends.

-Continued below-


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The Wranglers & Stranglers

Many years ago there were a group of brilliant young men at the University of Wisconsin. The group of men seemed to have an amazing creative literary talent and were extraordinary in their ability to put their literary skills to its best use. These promising young men met regularly to read and critique each other’s literary works.

These men were merciless while they criticized one another.

They dissected the most minute of the expressions and offered tough and even mean criticism to each others work. Their meeting sessions became arenas of literary criticism and the members of this exclusive club called themselves the “Stranglers.”

Not to be excluded to the opportunity to level up there literary skills, the women of literary interest in the university started a club of their own, one comparable to Stranglers. The members called themselves the “ Wranglers.” The members of the club too presented their literary pieces in front of each another. But the feedback from the members were much more softer, more positive and more encouraging. Every effort from a member, even the most feeble one, was encouraged by all.

After twenty years, a university alumnus was doing a study of his classmates’ career when he noticed a large difference in the literary accomplishments of the Stranglers and the Wranglers.

Among all the brilliant young men in the strangler, none had made any significant literary achievement. But the Wranglers had several successful writers and some renowned national literary talents.

The talent and the education between the two groups were almost the same. There were not much difference. The Stranglers strangled each other while the Wranglers gave each other a lift. The stranglers created atmosphere of contention and self doubt while the Wranglers brought out the best in each other.


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There once was a man who fell into a pit.

A pessimist walked by and said: You will never get out of that pit.

An optimist walked by and said: You will get out of that pit.

A judgmental person yelled down as he walked away: If you were watching where you were going, you would not have fallen into a pit.

A Pharisee sneered while walking past and said: God will judge you for falling in that pit.

A tax collector said: You have to pay taxes on that pit.

Someone laughed while walking by, someone shed a tear while walking by and Jesus stopped and lifted him out.



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How do you want to be remembered?

More than a decade ago, a man was reading his morning newspaper. To his surprise and horror, he read his name in the obituary column. The news papers had mistakenly reported the death of the wrong person for sure. He was shocked to read news headline about his death.

When he regained his composure, He read it to find out what people had said about him.

The obituary included sentences like, “Dynamite King Dies.” and “He was the merchant of death.”. The man was the inventor of dynamite and when he read the words “merchant of death,” he asked himself a question,

“Is this how I am going to be remembered?” he asked himself. He decided that this was not the way he wanted to be remembered and he decided to change.

From that day on, he started working toward world peace. His name was Alfred Nobel and he is remembered today by the great Nobel Prize, the greatest of all the prizes.

The Nobel Prize has been honoring men and women from all corners of the globe for outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and for work in peace since 1901.

The foundations for the prize were laid in 1895 when Alfred Nobel wrote his last will, leaving much of his wealth to the establishment of the Nobel Prize.


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31 Jars of Kindness

Bobbie Gollehon is a returning student at Bakersfield College. Having enrolled in a summer speech class, she was required to give a 10-minute speech as her final exam. Bobbie chose "Random Acts of Kindness" as her topic.

As chance would have it, one of Bobbie’s classmates, Cady, lives next door to Dr. Chuck Wall, President and Founder of Kindness Incorporated. Cady told Bobbie about her neighbor and then asked Dr. Wall to call Bobbie, who wanted to meet him and use information about the Kindness organization as part of her speech. After an extended phone conversation, Bobbie had the material she needed. Her speech was a tremendous success, earning Bobbie an "A" for the class.

But Bobbie didn’t stop there. She loves to can fruit into jam, which she gives to friends and family. Following her contact with Dr. Wall and Kindness Inc., the busy student made up 31 jars of jam—one for each person in her class.

Atop each jar, Bobbie affixed a label printed with the Kindness phrase: Today, I will commit one random act of senseless KINDNESS… Will you? As she handed out the jars of jam, Bobbie asked each class member to pass on her act of kindness. “When you’ve eaten all the jam, I’d like you to wash the jar, fill it with something tasty and pass it along to someone else. Please include this same kindness phrase when you pass it on, and ask your recipients to continue the process of passing it on.”


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What Goes Around, Comes Around

His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer.

One day, while trying to eke out a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog. There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.

The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotman's sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved. "I want to repay you," said the nobleman. "You saved my son's life."

"No, I can't accept payment for what I did," the Scottish farmer replied, waving off the offer.

At that moment, the farmer's own son came to the door of the family hovel. "Is that your son?" the nobleman asked.

"Yes," the farmer replied proudly.

"I'll make you a deal. Let me take him and give him a good education. If the lad is anything like his father, he'll grow to a man you can be proud of."

And that he did. In time, Farmer Fleming's son graduated from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.

Years afterward, the nobleman's son was stricken with pneumonia.

What saved him?


The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill.

His son's name? Sir Winston Churchill.


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A little girl and her father were crossing a bridge.

The father was fearful so he asked his little daughter,

‘Sweetheart, please hold my hand so that you don’t fall into the river.’

The little girl said, ‘No, Dad. You hold my hand.’

‘What’s the difference?’ Asked the puzzled father.

‘There’s a big difference,’ replied the little girl.

‘If I hold your hand and something happens to me, chances are that I may let your hand go. But if you hold my hand, I know for sure that no matter what happens, you will never let my hand go.’

In any relationship, the essence of trust is not in its bind, but in its bond.

So hold the hand of the person who loves you rather than expecting them to hold yours. Because holding hands is not only about taking care, its also about trust and love you have for that person.


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Jack Canfield is the creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series.

He’s also one of the best motivational speakers, professional coach, and an incredibly inspiring author who published The Success Principles.

Jack and his co-author Mark Victor Hansen pitched the original Chicken Soup for the Soul to over 130 different publishers. But none of them were interested and said no one “wants to read 100 inspirational stories.”

After 100+ pitches, their agent dropped them as well, but they were determined to get the book published.

Luckily they never gave up and continued to persevere until their book was picked up by a small publisher in Florida.

Now there are over 250 Chicken Soup for the Soul Books and over 500 million copies sold worldwide. If they had given up these inspirational stories wouldn’t have been read across the world and they wouldn’t have made millions of dollars.

Perseverance Lesson

Imagine if he quit on the 129th publisher? Where would his life be now?

If you have a strong vision and clear goals never stop until you achieve them.


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Christopher Yaun

(The book Out of a Far Country by Christopher and Angela Yuan.)

“God’s faithfulness is proved not by the elimination of hardships but by carrying us through them.” — Christopher Yuan

When “good student and obedient son” Christopher Yuan turned his back on his family and embraced drugs, homosexuality, promiscuity, and rebellion, his mother Angela (who was struggling through a failing marriage) decided to kill herself.

But a priest gave her a pamphlet describing God’s love — something Angela had never heard before. Something that changed her life completely.

So began the arduous, years-long journey of one determined mother who prayed and trusted God to save her drug-hardened, cold-hearted son, even while Christopher ran further and further into sex, drugs, and illegal activities.

This book is written by mother and son, alternating between Christopher and Angela’s perspective. Today, the family travels around the world telling their story and encouraging others in similar straits — but it is a hard-won victory, one you can read for yourself in this gripping duo-biography.

What I learned:

Never give up on those you love — keep praying. Even if it takes many years, there is hope, and the final result may be more beautiful than you ever dreamed.


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Rosaria Butterfield

(The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert)

I learned the first rule of repentance: that repentance requires greater intimacy with God than with our sin.

How much greater?

About the size of a mustard seed…Repentance is an intimate affair. And for many of us, intimacy with anything is a terrifying prospect.

Rosaria’s story is unusual in that it is one of the few in which a “prodigal” had “everything to lose and nothing to gain” by turning to God. Yet she did it anyway.

Indeed, the first few months (perhaps years) after Rosaria chose to believe and trust in God, she lost everything — her job, her friends, her students and colleagues’ respect, her partner, and her (old, comfortable) life.

Rosaria was an English professor at a small liberal arts college, who hated the way Christians spoke against her beliefs and community. But when she wrote a scathing criticism of one of the local Christian gatherings, to her surprise, she received a thoughtful and kind reply from a pastor who invited her to call him. Curious, she did so.

Eventually, through her interaction with the humble pastor and his wife, and her study of the Bible, Rosaria came to the conviction that God was real and worth believing.

What I learned:

Hospitality and respect for those who believe differently than you do are powerful forces for change. The Bible can speak even to people who are antagonistic to it — as long as they are willing to study it with an open mind. And: God is worth the sacrifice.


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Louis Zamperini

In a single, silent moment, his rage, his fear, his humiliation and helplessness, had fallen away.

That morning, he believed, he was a new creation. Softly, he wept.

Louis Zamperini was an Olympic runner and talented mischief-maker whose incredible survival story (30+ days floating in the open ocean after his plane crashed into the sea; then a year in a brutal Japanese POW camp being tormented by a sadistic guard) became a best-selling book, then a movie directed by Angelina Jolie.

But the movie only tells the first half of Louis’s story.

Despite his amazing endurance, and the hero’s welcome he received after returning home, Louis Zamperini struggled hard with the demons of PTSD and revenge. His marriage began falling apart and he nearly hurt his baby daughter and strangled his wife Cynthia.

Then Louis heard the message of the gospel, and turned into an entirely different person…

I once had the privilege of hearing Louis Zamperini speak, before his death. He was humorous, kind, and inspirational. It was hard to believe that he had once gone through such horrible experiences, and that they had twisted him into a hate-filled, bitter man for a period of time. He was so cheerful and sweet!

It was also hard to hear him (the crowd was large and he was an old man at that point). But it was such a privilege and joy to see him in person, even from a distance

What I learned:

Bitterness and vengefulness is vain — it destroys us from the inside out, and hurts those we love as well. Forgiveness is freedom. But forgiveness is not something we can (or want to) muster up on our own. It comes from God.


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Chad Williams

“I had reached my mountaintop, only…the view disappointed me. And there was no higher step to take…Why did I feel so disappointed?” — Chad Williams

After his mentor Scott Helvenston was brutally killed in Iraq, and his death televised, the young Chad Williams vowed to become a navy seal and avenge Scott’s death.

Williams was one of the very few who managed to actually complete SEAL training on his first try.

But Chad found that his victory was strangely empty. He began to party heavily with friends, and lost control of himself, so much so that he frightened his own parents…until he found out about God and His plans for him, and did a total 180 with his life.

SEAL of God is the story of how Chad Williams came to find a mission even more meaningful than the initial dreams of revenge that drove him through the harshest military training for only the most elite soldiers.

What I learned: Even the greatest worldly accomplishment is empty when you are empty.Chad Williams

“I had reached my mountaintop, only…the view disappointed me. And there was no higher step to take…Why did I feel so disappointed?” — Chad Williams

After his mentor Scott Helvenston was brutally killed in Iraq, and his death televised, the young Chad Williams vowed to become a navy seal and avenge Scott’s death.

Williams was one of the very few who managed to actually complete SEAL training on his first try.

But Chad found that his victory was strangely empty. He began to party heavily with friends, and lost control of himself, so much so that he frightened his own parents…until he found out about God and His plans for him, and did a total 180 with his life.

SEAL of God is the story of how Chad Williams came to find a mission even more meaningful than the initial dreams of revenge that drove him through the harshest military training for only the most elite soldiers.

What I learned:

Even the greatest worldly accomplishment is empty when you are empty.


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Ashley Smith

“Even though I was fighting the drugs, I still woke up every morning and read a chapter in my Bible…If nothing else good happened in my life, at least I was going to hear God every day.” — Ashley Smith

In 2005, widowed single mother Ashley Smith was in the middle of moving when she was apprehended by an escaped murderer and held hostage in her apartment for seven hours.

Ashley, herself a drug addict who had lost custody of her daughter, had been reading the Bible and The Purpose Driven Life…and when Brian Nichols captured her, she spoke to him and read to him from the book, resulting in Nichols eventually releasing her to go to her daughter.

Nichols later peacefully allowed himself to be re-arrested.

During that process, Ashley Smith broke free of her own drug addiction and not long after, regained custody of her daughter.

Ashley’s story was eventually made into a movie.

What I learned =

Even people who behave (very) badly are not beyond hope (including ourselves).

We too often cut ourselves off from God’s help because of shame or self-reliance, when He really does want to help, if we let Him.

But we have to take responsibility for our choices as well.