Thought For The Day 01/10/14

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Making a Difference…One Starfish At A Time!

Post 1029

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STARFISH

http://ts4.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.4747821273976043&w=253&h=188&c=7&rs=1&pid=1.7

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For a few days, I need to re-share some older posts and I chose this one for a specific reason. It is a story that I ran across yesterday, and I remembered that I had included it in a past “Thought”, so I explored archives, and it turns out I shared it EXACTLY one year ago today. Sounds providential to me, don’t you think?

Mandy

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“It is far. But there is no journey upon this earth that a man may not make if he sets his heart to it. There is nothing, Umbopa, that he cannot do, there are no mountains he may not climb, there are no deserts he cannot cross; save a mountain and a desert of which you are spared the knowledge, if love leads him and he holds his life in his hand counting it as nothing, ready to keep it or to lose it as Providence may order.” 

H. Rider Haggard

“King Solomon’s Mines”

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/providence

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The Starfish Story
adapted from “The Star Thrower”
by Loren Eiseley
1907 – 1977
An old man walked across the beach until he came to a young boy throwing something into the breaking waves.
Upon closer inspection, he could see that the boy was throwing stranded starfish from the sandy beach back into the ocean.
“What are you doing young man?” he asked.
“If the starfish are still on the beach when the sun rises, they will die!” the boy answered.
“That’s ridiculous. There are thousands of miles of beach and millions of starfish. It doesn’t matter how many you throw in; you can’t make a difference.”
“It matters to this one,” the boy said as he threw another starfish into the waves.
“And it matters to this one!”

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Yesterday I began a new leg on my journey of faith. I have taken a detour to a new road…a road that seeks to give back to others. And because detours such as this are a way of saying thank you to God for the blessings He has bestowed, they are also known as “paying it forward”! And so I have decided to become more of a hands-on participant in the life of children in my community!

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I have been involved in the Guardian ad Litem program here in Horry County, South Carolina, for nearly two years now. Year one was merely in a supportive role as my husband completed the training and began working with families who have children who are part of what is referred to as “the system”. Year two found me working more closely with this program as a board member for the “Heroes for Children” which is a non-profit foundation established to assist the Guardian program with operational funding, now that governmental financial support has been nearly eliminated due to fiscal constraints. “Heroes for Children” also seeks to recruit more volunteer Guardians by spreading the message about the program through speaking engagements throughout the community.

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The children who receive the services of a Guardian ad Litem are either in foster care or they are little (and not so little) ones who remain in their home or that of a relative or family friend, under the supervision of the Department of Social Services. The ages for children in this program range from newborn to 18 years, at which time they are considered to have “aged out” of the system. Nearly all of the children requiring this care are either the victims of neglect or abuse, in one manner or another. Still others are part of families who have become homeless. Guardians meet regularly with these children and provide support and consistency for them at a time when stability is desperately needed. Guardians also speak for children during legal proceedings.

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As I continue in my role as a Board member, I am also a first hand observer as to how difficult this calling is for the volunteer Guardians, and unfortunately, burnout is an ongoing issue for people who bear witness every day to situations that would break the hearts of most people. Just to give you an idea of the sheer magnitude of the daunting task that faces us here in Horry County (which is a relatively small county consisting of mostly middle class families), in 2012, the total number of children monitored by the 76 currently active guardians was 532. At the end of 2012, there remain 321 active cases open, most of which have multiple children being monitored. My husband, in fact, has one case with 7 children (the number was 8 children but 1 child aged out during his involvement) that he must visit every month. These visits can take place in the home, school, doctor’s offices, day care, and even the library or a local fast food joint! Now you can do the math as well as I can, but if you divide the total number of children by the number of volunteers, you  can understand why I felt compelled to take a more active role in the program. And then think about the need in even larger communities and cities! Similar programs exist in every state. Some of these volunteers are called CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) depending on the region where care is rendered. But a “rose is a rose”, no matter what title is used, and all of these advocacy groups are in desperate need of capable and willing adult participants!

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Why is it necessary that, as people of faith, we give to others? Perhaps the better question should be, why don’t we give more to others! Generosity can be measured in many ways. And while there are some that can afford to be generous financially, that is becoming harder given the economic times we face. But we all can manage to do and to give something…whether it is a tangible or intangible offering. Yes, the standard of the value of the gift has changed over the years, but the current measure exceeds no one’s pocketbook, because generosity is now measured by the condition of the giver’s heart. But even when our heart may not always be in the gift, we still gain from making the sacrifice. Paul says it beautifully in 1 Corinthians 13:3 NIV, “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain.” Further, Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” does not give us the liberty to be selfish in our giving! Rather it tells us that we are to do as our heart tells us we must, but always remember that our motives for what we do are never hidden from the one who knows the true intent of our actions!

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And just as the boy who stood on the beach throwing the starfish back into the ocean knows by his very act, we do what we must because it matters, even if it matters to just one, because changing the world need only begin with one small step taken by just one person that cares!

“It matters to this one,” the boy said as he threw another starfish into the waves.
“And it matters to this one!”

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Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Luke 6:38 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

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About Mandy Bruscella

Mandy's Story: As a Registered Professional Nurse with Certification in a number of specialties including home care, I was afforded the opportunity of working closely with various Social Service Agencies in NY and NJ. ~ A lifelong Christian, I was ordained as a Presbyterian deacon in 1993 and, after relocating to SC in 2000, elected to become ordained as a non-denominational minister. ~ I established "MandysPath" Ministry in 2011. "MandysPath" Ministry is a member of Pacific Life Church, El Sobrante, CA, network of ministries. ~ I direct an outreach ministry in an alternative setting, providing spiritual care to a congregation of more than 500 people from around the world via the Internet. ~ As part of this outreach, I write a daily faith based blog. In March, 2012 I was asked to become a board member of Heroes For Children which is a non-profit foundation, established to assists the Guardian ad Litem program of Horry County, SC. Guardians ad Litem are a group of court appointed advocates who represent the best interests of children in Family Court proceedings involving allegations of abuse or neglect. Working closely with these men and women who make a difference in the lives of children, I completed training and have been sworn in to serve as a Guardian ad Litem for the state of South Carolina . ~ I have been married since 1975 to a wonderful man, Daniel. I have a son Daniel and his wife Melissa who live in NYC. My daughter Sabrina and my grandson Landon live here in SC. ~ My father Harold continues to share his wisdom with me and is responsible for many of the ideas I write about!

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