Today’s Quote

Powerful!

Soul Gatherings

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It’s not just other people we need to forgive.
We also need to forgive ourselves.
For all the things we didn’t do.
For all the things we should have done.
You can’t get stuck on the regrets
of what should have happened.

~ Mitch Albom ~
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How Can We Really Help the Poor?

So all week long I’ve been trying to figure out how to express my thoughts about the angst that the political rhetoric of this presidential election is causing in my spirit. I have written and rejected more than one blog post because I couldn’t remove the negative emotions from it. The overwhelming negativity, political lies and confused cheerleaders are all strong magnets; I have to continually pray them out of my brain. Politicians would have you believe that their Robin Hood methods of providing more for the poor would actually help people, however it causes me to ask, how can we really help someone in need?

After lost sleep and many deleted words, I have chosen to simply write an appeal for an organization that I personally know is helping poor people, and whose vision and mission are aligned with what they actually do.

I prefer to hand my hard-earned resources over to someone I know will actually use the money or goods as they say they will. So there is no mistake, this post is not to ‘should’ on anyone or try to guilt anyone into giving anything – my intent is to reveal the needs of a small mission in the Appalachian mountains in Kentucky.

Jim and Rita Cmolik operate Hills and Hollers Ministries and their non-profit mission is about relationship “between our God, our neighbor and ourselves.” They are building those relationships with the people of Appalachia in McCreary County.

This is not a ministry that is about simply giving free stuff to poor people. Yet part of having a relationship with someone is helping them with tangible needs when they need it. The primary way they do that is through their Community Closets that provide clothing and household goods. Much of what they give away is second-hand clothing and they also provide new items when possible – especially after a fire has taken everything a family owns. And unfortunately, there are many fires, largely due to wood stoves and space heaters used as a primary heating source.

How can we help? We can go through our closets and give away clothing and coats. I also went through the linen closet and found sheets and blankets not being used. Shopping the “After Christmas sales” for new kids clothes and men’s t-shirts ended up being less expensive to drop-ship to them directly than if I had gone shopping and filled another box. Then the “white sales” came along and crib sheets were down to $4 each, less than I could purchase the material and sew them myself. And of course financial donations allow them to purchase other material goods or building materials that are needed and that are the tangible side of building relationships.

One reason that you will rarely (if ever) see Jim and Rita actually asking for clothing donations is that they have found over the years that many people will send items so filthy or torn that they have to pay for them to be hauled to the dump, which ultimately takes away from the ministry financial resources, becoming a hindrance rather than a help. So if you do give, to them or any other ministry, make sure it’s something worth giving.

Just to be clear, no one involved with the Hills and Hollers Ministries has asked that I write any kind of an appeal for their mission. I am only writing about them because we trust them and we have been blessed by sharing in their ministry and wanted to share this information with anyone looking for a way to truly support the poor.

So, if you are looking for someone to actually help, and that kind of ‘giving to the poor’ appeals to you, here is information on their mission and answers to questions you may have. Check out the Facebook page link and the Hills and Hollers Ministries website.

Here is how to reach them:

Contact Us…

If you’re interested in learning more about our ministry in the “hills and hollers” you can email us at jim@hillsandhollers.org or contact us via “snail mail” at:

Hills and Hollers Ministries
2281 Lick Creek Road
Whitley City, KY 42653

Hills and Hollers Ministries is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt non-profit 501C (3) organization.  Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.

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Mile 2: 31 Extra Mile Secrets for an Extraordinary Life

Do you have a story to share?
How did someone bless you when they went the extra mile for you?

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Are you walking on the Extra Mile road?

In this book, MILE 2, Steve Warner shares 31 secrets that will propel you to finding meaning in your life.

Walking the extra mile is a journey of service, selflessness, and ultimately success. Each chapter contains one secret, with examples to show and inspire you to keep walking.

Available here on Amazon in Kindle or paperback

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Released

Two years ago my book Released: A True Story of Escape from an Abusive Marriage was released and I stood up in front of the whole world and told the story of my painful past and amazing grace that rescued me from it.

This coming week, the Kindle version of the book is available for 99 cents… beginning 11/8 through Saturday 11/14. And if you buy the paperback version, you can always get the Kindle for 99 cents.

I don’t do a great job of ‘promoting’ my own book, so here is an Amazon review – (from someone I don’t know):

Gripping True Story

By Amazon Customer on April 13, 2014

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

In a way I am in no condition to write this review because I am so overwhelmed, having just read Shari Risoff’s bravely-written account. I had no plans to read the book in one sitting, but I simply could not put it down. Reading this painfully honest and ultimately redemptive story was like sitting with a close friend and hearing this harrowing ordeal first hand. My heart absolutely broke for Shari and her son as they endured all they did. And how heartening to read how they came to find release. This is a must-read for those in the midst of abusive relationships, and for all in dire need of rescue, hope, and grace.

You can get it on Amazon this week for 99 cents

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Father’s Day is Sunday

So neither one of my books is specifically about Father’s Day or specifically written to fathers.

Unless perhaps your father is unemployed and needs a gift of hope and help.

Unless perhaps your father is the one being abused and needs truth and a gift of hope.

Both books are specifically about hope, the Truth and transforming lives.

Released: A True Story of Escape from an Abusive Marriage

Accidental Sabbatical: Hope for Surviving and Thriving While Unemployed

The Kindle version of either book will be offered for 99 cents, beginning on Sunday June 21st through Sat. June 27th.

In case you want to give some hope…

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Life in the Overlap

Yes.

LeadToday

I have written before about the importance of knowing what?s truly important. The most successful people know that they control very few things that really matter. Most people spend entirely too much time on seemingly urgent ?stuff? at the expense of investing their time on things truly important.

The other major waste of time we experience is worrying about things that matter but that we have little or no control over. While we are worrying about things we cannot control we are not focused on the things that matter that we can control.

I could write thousands of words on this subject but this week a colleague of mine named Billy sent me the drawing that accompanies this post. It ?shows? what I mean better than I could ever say it. (I guess that?s where the whole ?a picture is worth a thousand words saying comes from)

A life well-lived…

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Guest post: Bold Marriage is a Choice

I was going to share this yesterday on Valentine’s Day, but I was busy spending the day and night with the love of my life. Time is the most precious gift we can give each other.

This post was written by my sister and echos our experience of nearly 24 years together. Does it resonate with you?

Bold Marriage is a Choice

By Kim Godawa

In our world of too many shades of gray, making a commitment to spend your entire life with one person in marriage is a bold move.   Why?  Because I think all human beings want to be “known” without fear of rejection.  At the same time we all fear exposure of our true self.   Let’s face it, we don’t’ see many successful marriages for good role models.  But my Grandpa used to say, “There are no perfect marriages, but there are successful ones.”

So what makes a marriage successful?

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After 27 years of being married (to each other), we feel very blessed to still be joyful and satisfied with each other.   Building a strong marriage requires basic elements that create a strong foundation to weather the inevitable disappointments and changes that life brings: infertility, unemployment, unfulfilled dreams, illness, and aging.

We would be guilty of “taking credit” from God without acknowledging up front that we have had a successful marriage because we have always tried to put God above ourselves.  He is our authority and we’ve sought to follow and know Him in a personal relationship (individually and as a couple).  From our experience, marriage seems to be God’s lab to test the theories we say we believe about Him.  A few examples of this include:

A willingness to care more for each other than ourselves:  On a practical level, we ask ourselves questions on a daily basis to help clarify our motives.  (I.e. “Would this action/decision I’m about to make help my spouse feel respected, supported, and cared for?  Or is this decision mostly about me?)

Negotiating is more powerful than winning: We’ve learned to individually focus on what we’ve contributed to a problem/argument, instead of focusing on what the other did wrong – or trying to change them.  (I.e. Am I building my spouse up or am I tearing them down?)

Study your mate and learn how to please him/her:  What activities do they enjoy? What kinds of foods do they like? Where do they feel most comfortable? What makes them succeed and feel safe?

Learn wisdom from others’ experiences: There are many resources that have helped us to build a spiritual foundation and purpose in our marriage. Understanding male/female differences, as well as seeking counsel from others solve many of our problems.  These three authors have (including my parents amazing marriage as a role model) helped us tremendously.

  • Elisabeth Elliott – “Let me be a woman”; “Keep a Quiet Heart”
  • Dennis Prager’s – Male/Female hour podcast
  • Tim Keller’s book – “The Meaning of Marriage”
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So if you’re looking for a perfect marriage – give it up.  Try working toward a successful one instead!

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A Second Chance

LeadToday

There has been a lot of talk in the news lately, at least in the U.S. of second chances. Specifically the conversation has centered around when and IF people deserve a second chance.

I suppose the politically correct and sensitive answer is: yes, people always deserve a second chance.

That’s an easy answer in theory but in practice it’s not so simple.

No one will ever accuse me of being overly politically correct but in this instance, maybe only in this instance, I believe the politically correct answer is actually the right answer. People really do deserve a second chance. Maybe a more specially correct answer would be other people deserve a second chance.

We seldom need to be reminded that we deserve a second chance, I mean, we’re only human, we make mistakes. We deserve a chance to “do better next time.”

So does every other person.

But again…

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NOW is all there ever is.

People don’t realize that now is all there ever is; there is no past or future except as memory or anticipation in your mind.  ~ Eckhart Tolle

So, a friend of my sister’s has learned this week that he has the same type of pancreatic tumor that Steve Jobs did, and it’s terminal.

Wouldn’t it be better to actually know that you have only a couple of years to live? I imagined being in his situation and immediately began to think of things I would definitely do – bucket-list type things – and other things I would definitely stop doing! Or at least do less of!

Does it take a death sentence to make us change thinking and behavior?

NOW is all there ever is.

NOW is rapidly becoming my primary ‘one word’ for this new year.

Oh sure, I did my goals list. I chose my 3 words. I wrote the ‘story’ behind my goals. I did the drill. Push. (Myself). Connect. (with others). Grow. (myself, and my business).

But to succeed, I will need to focus on those words and goals within the framework of my one word. Now.

I will push myself now. Today. It is the end of my workday now and I have done just that. Pushed through a difficult project today.

I will connect every day with some people. I have done so today, both personal and business contacts. Many of them.

I will grow. Every day. Today has presented two new problems for which I need to find system solutions.

Once again here is my favorite quote from Chris Brogan, the originator of the ‘3 Word Exercise’

Everything you will do in this year will come from what you do every day. Your year is made up of days.”

What do you think?

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OLEZ AND MARC LORY

Heartline Haiti Blog

Many of you reading this are familiar with Olez and Marc Lory, her handicapped 12 year old son. Many of you have visited her house with us in the community of Corail and have met Olez and Marc Lory.  He often could be found lying on a sheet on the cement floor. Clearly he had medical issues, but every time one of you took time to bend down and interact with him, you could see his excitement and the light in his eyes.  I’m sorry to write that this special young boy, who had been ill for several days, died Monday evening of undetermined causes. Olez had taken him to several hospitals but nothing seemed have helped, and sadly Marc Lory passed away. Beth writes below about Olez and her family.

Like many Haitians Olez goes by a few names: Rose Marie and Olez are two of them. I would…

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