‘The Value Of Gratitude’ as explained by a CEO who writes 9,200 employee birthday cards every year

An Alabama CEO has been inspiring a compassionate work environment for over three decades by writing his employees birthday cards – all 9,200 of them.

It’s not uncommon to see Sheldon Yellen of BELFOR Holdings, Inc., a disaster recovery company, walking through an airport carrying a stationary with him on each trip he takes.

While others on VIP class may spend that time watching an in-flight movie or reading a novel, Yellen can spend that valuable time drafting handwritten letters for his employees.

According to Business Insider, Yellen has been penning personalized cards to his growing number of workers every year since 1985 when he was chief executive.

‘I am constantly calculating that in my mind rather than “What is the EBITDA [earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization]?”‘

The thoughtful gesture began after he was hired because many employees felt Yellen was being handed the job due to nepotism.

‘When I was hired by my brothers-in-laws, their employees perceived me as a guy who just got a job because it was a family-owned company,’ said Yellen.

‘This could not be further from the truth — but I needed to prove it.’Read More »

#MoralStory: Have patience…Wait for your meal

A certain gentleman walked into a hotel and after perusing through the menu, ordered for some food.

After about 20 minutes, another group of gentlemen walked in and ordered for theirs. To his dismay, he noticed them get served first. He watched as they began to eat and laugh heartily. He even overheard one of them brag about how he knew everyone at that hotel and how things moved fast for him here. He felt he was being mocked. He contemplated leaving. But he had waited so long.

Unable to take it anymore, he called the waiter and spoke sadly of how unfair things were. The waiter calmly told him, “Yours is a special order Sir, being prepared by the chief chef himself.  Their orders were prepared hurriedly by interns because the top chefs are busy with yours. That’s why they came first. Please have some juice as you wait”.

Unknown to him, the owner of the hotel {who happened to be an old long lost friend of his} had seen him coming and wanted to surprise him and had made changes to his simple meal to make it an exotic meal. He calmed down and waited.

Shortly after, his meal was served by 6 waiters and he was waited on hand and foot and being made very comfortable The gentlemen at the other table were shocked. They couldn’t stop staring. Suddenly they were the ones murmuring, asking why they didn’t get that kind of service and meal.

So it is with life! Some people are ahead of you and eating now, laughing at you about how they know people and how they’re blessed with money and how they’re enjoying life because of it. You have been waiting long, wondering why it is taking so long to get your breakthrough, enduring mockery and humiliation. Maybe you have contemplated suicide, gone through depression or suffered severe mental anxiety.

Do not worry! The owner of the world has seen you. He doesn’t want to give you simple meals like those laughing at you. You’ve been waiting for long because yours is a special order and takes time. And only chief chef can make those!

Take heart today. Wait for your meal and relax. When it comes, the laughing party will be silenced for good. Calm down. Have patience. Have faith. Stay blessed.

#MoralStory: The Delivery Plan

I had a bit of an epiphany just now as I reflect on something that happened to me last night.

Every Friday and Saturday night I moonlight as a food courier for a local food delivery company – and this is in addition to my regular, daytime, 40 hours a week full time job. I work this 2nd job to pay off some bank and personal debt that have accumulated due to some unfortunate circumstances that have happened to me the last few years.

Anyway, something happened to me last night that gave me an insight into how God operates.

It was about 1.5 hours prior to the end of my shift and I got an order in which the restaurant and customer’s house were pretty far away from each other – but in the case of my job this is actually a good thing since

  1. a) the customer gets charged a higher delivery fee which is paid to me and
  2. b) unlike other orders, this customer is a good tipper which means this order is lucrative enough to start out with.

Anyway, I picked up the customer’s food and drove to the customer’s house. Despite the fact I was using Google Maps I was having problems finding the customer’s house. I called the customer to ask him how to get to his house and clarified his address. He then told me the address on the order was wrong – the address on the order was 72 Avenue and 138 Street, and the customer told me his address was actually 138 Avenue and 72 Street. I then became infuriated and notified my dispatcher that the address on the order was wrong (they have put the wrong address on the order in the past, so a precedent had been set for my frustration).

By this time I had already spent 30 mins on this order and wasn’t happy to hear this – and I had already lost another order which got reassigned to another customer in the process, meaning I had just lost income because of this screw-up! In my city, the address on the order is in the Southwest end of the city and the customer’s actual address is now in the Northeast end of the city. I had a 30-minute drive at night to get to the customer’s actual address now. Whoops. So, I plugged the new information into Google Maps and made my way to the actual address.Read More »

#MoralStory: Richest Man In The World

Someone asked the richest man in the world, Bill Gates, “Is there anyone richer than you in the world ?”

Bill Gates replied, “Yes, there is a person who is richer than me.”

He then narrated a story.

“It was during the time when I wasn’t rich or famous.

“I was at the New York Airport when I saw a newspaper vendor.

“I wanted to buy one newspaper but found that I didn’t have enough change. So I left the idea of buying and returned it to the vendor.

“I told him of not having the change. The vendor said, ‘I am giving you this for free.’ On his insistence I took the newspaper.

“Coincidentally, after two to three months, I landed at the same airport and again I was short of change for a newspaper. The vendor offered me the newspaper again. I refused and said that I can’t take it for I don’t have change today too. He said, ‘You can take it, I am sharing this from my profit, I won’t be at loss.’ I took the newspaper.

“After 19 years I became famous and known by people. Suddenly I remembered that vendor. I began searching for him and after about 1½ months of searching, I found him.

“I asked him, ‘Do you know me?’ He said, ‘Yes, you are Bill Gates.’

“I asked him again, ‘Do you remember once you gave me a newspaper for free?’Read More »

5 Forms Of Violence

Violence has pervaded all levels of society today. From wars, clashes, terrorist attacks to individual crimes we are witnessing increasingly shocking acts of violence these days. All forms of violence we witness in this world are the manifestation of the violence within ourselves. There has been much introspection and study on the factors that lead to violent behavior, social, political, economic, psychological, etc. Poverty, lack of employment, lack of education, alcoholism, drugs, sexual perversion, money, power are many of the factors that are cited as reasons and motives for violence. But violence is much deep rooted. It stems from a far greater ignorance than humanity is aware of. The genesis of violence is very subtle and deeply seated in human consciousness.

Violence originates from vices. When human souls forget their true identity and begin to identify with their body, their roles and material assets, they come under the influence of vices. To think and act under the influence of vices is to commit violence because the soul is violating its true nature of peace, joy, love and power. The five forms of violence committed by human beings are to indulge in five vices, lust , anger, greed, attachment and ego. All vices are connected to the feeling of wanting or desiring. All desires keep us in the illusion of fulfillment that is gained only for a fleeting moment.

LUST has been considered as the greatest enemy of human soul. Lust destroys all purity and power in the soul. It is a great deception. Lust is not just to indulge in physical pleasures. People often spend their lives lusting for money and power. Lust is an obsessive or addictive desire to seek support, fulfillment, happiness and self-worth by indulging in pleasures that finish all inner powers and dignity of the soul. It creates endless cycles of desires and indulgence. It makes a person extremely selfish and finishes all clarity, sensitivity, love and truth in the soul.Read More »

#MoralStory: The Story of Katherine Commale

While her peers were mostly busy playing games and watching cartoons, Katherine Commale from Pensylvania was already taking part in a global campaign that helped save millions of people around the world from the malaria disease.

Katherine started young and started to collect funds to donate to the United Nations affiliated philanthropy campaign called Nothing But Nets—a global campaign to raise awareness, funds, and voices to fight malaria. She became aware of the terrifying consequences of malaria when her mother, Lynda first told her about the documentary that she watched the night before. She was only 5 years old at that time.

Lynda watched “Malaria: Fever Wars” and told Katherine that a child died from malaria every 30 seconds. She recalled her daughter was curled up in the sofa started counting, when she counted to thirty, she said with a look of horror, “Mom, an African child died, we must do something!”

She tried to use her money for snacks and Barbie dolls to buy nets instead but it’s still not good enough for her. She tried selling her old items in flea market but she was disappointed at how little she can gather from there.

With the help of her family, together they came up with a diorama to explain to other children how a simple bed net can prevent malaria. They introduced it in Katherine’s Sunday school and the idea took off. The girl and her family sent $1,500 to the Nothing But Nets campaign to purchase mosquito nets, which typically cost at $10 a piece. Since then Katherine has been actively raising funds for this cause.

Credit: UMTV

Read More »

#MoralStory: Helping Someone Else

My parents have a guesthouse and even with this guesthouse, we end up scraping by every month. Yes, it causes a lot of unhappiness here at home but God always makes sure that we get through that month.

Anyway, here in South Africa they are giving everyone with an ID, a free decoder and dish because the analog signals would be switched off in September. So, yesterday five men came around to put the dish up and connect it to the decoder. Since I’m blind, I didn’t know that there were five guys instead of two as I had thought. I asked them if they wanted something to eat with a cup of coffee. They answered, “Yes,” and told me that they haven’t eaten that morning before they left to put up all the dishes they had with them.

My father wasn’t pleased with me and promptly called me into the house and gave me a lecture about giving food away to strangers and that there were five men out there and not just one or two. I nearly burst into tears because I had no idea that there were that many people out there. I only wanted to do something and make them feel appreciated. My mom told my dad off and went to the kitchen to make the men each a sandwich. My dad’s a good person, don’t get me wrong here. It’s just well, he doesn’t always like to share what little we have for ourselves.

I fetched two tins of corn beef and gave them to my mom who made a nice mixture with chutney and tomato sauce. I got five cups out and made some coffee for the guys. We didn’t have enough bread but it was enough for the guys and my mom. Mom ended up cutting her hand on one of the tins and I felt horrible about that even if it wasn’t my fault. When the guys left, they were happy and said thanks for the food and coffee.Read More »

#MoralStory: More Month Than Money

More month than money is a staple in our household.

As a single, disabled mother of two (one in college) on a fixed income, saying that money is tight is an understatement. Our living situation dictated that we move from the overpriced rented apartment we had been in for nearly three years to something more affordable.

Divine providence led us to a wonderful house that the owners needed to sell right away because the wife’s job had moved to another state.  Blessing #1, the mortgage payment would be significantly less than our apartment had been.

A few months later, I felt led to donate money to my church’s world hunger drive.  I gave a few dollars, but felt God telling me that local families were hungry too.  So, I planned to gather a few canned goods and staples to take to the local food bank, but again, seemed to hear God telling me that cash was the way to go.

“But I can barely pay my family’s bills now.  How can I afford to give money to feed other families?” I thought. I figured God must somehow be affiliated with Nike because his response was, “Just do it.” I did as instructed, wondering which bill I could skip paying that month.Read More »

#MoralStory: A testimony of confidence in God

On a dreary Sunday in January 2006, I trudged through the trees repeatedly crying out, “God, what am I going to do? What am I going to do?” My heart was broken after the recent loss of my brother. Inside, I felt inconsolable. I was going through the motions of normal life for the sake of my husband who was similarly grieving for the only brother he had ever had.

At the time, I never stopped to think what I meant by that question. I needed to vent. I wasn’t mad at God; I just didn’t know how I was going to survive without Bud.

An hour later, feeling drained but comforted, I composed myself and went back inside.  I never expected an answer.  After all, I had never really considered the words I was saying.

But God knows our hearts.  He knows all we need.  He has a plan.  The next morning, I awakened refreshed and renewed — almost light-hearted for the first time in weeks.  Immediately a thought flooded my mind: “Go back to school.  Renew your teaching certificate.  Teach online.”

I felt stunned.  Where did that come from?  My husband and I were actively farming and had a home-based real estate appraisal business.  Gary was a licensed appraiser; I typed the reports.  I hadn’t taught English in a school system for 30 years!  Since I had never wanted to teach again, I had purposely let my teaching certificate expire.  What was this all about?

As I pondered what seemed like the strangest of plans, I remembered my walk through the woods the previous day.  I remembered my repeated plea, “God, what am I going to do?”  Here was his amazingly clear answer, surely not what I was looking for, but what he wanted me to do next.

I raced downstairs to share this idea — this directive — with my husband.  We had been self-employed for decades and, although Gary loved farming, he was admittedly fed up with appraisal work.  He thought it was a great idea!

Obviously not mine!!

And so at age 57, I began an online course of studies, renewed my teaching certificate, and applied for an online teaching position.  During the first interview I’d had in decades, I felt so calm and confident.  After all, I had insider information!

Not surprisingly, I was hired.

We dissolved our appraisal business so Gary could devote himself full time to farming, and through God’s grace and direction, we were well positioned for the soon-to-follow real estate crash.

What a humbling lesson this was for me!  The God of the Universe heard my cries, lovingly wrapped me in his arms, and carried me to a different path.

By: Carolyn Liff

#MoralStory Communion On The Moon

by Eric Metaxas

Forty years ago, two human beings changed history by walking on the surface of the moon. But what happened before Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong exited the Lunar Module is perhaps even more amazing, if only because so few people know about it. “I’m talking about the fact that Buzz Aldrin took communion on the surface of the moon. Some months after his return, he wrote about it in Guideposts magazine.

And a few years ago I had the privilege of meeting him myself. I asked him about it and he confirmed the story to me, and I wrote about in my book Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God (But Were Afraid to Ask).

The background to the story is that Aldrin was an  elder at his Presbyterian Church in Texas during this period in his life, and knowing that he would soon be doing something unprecedented in human history, he felt he should mark the occasion somehow, and he asked his minister to help him. And so the minister consecrated a communion wafer and a small vial of communion wine. And Buzz Aldrin took them with him out of the Earth’s orbit and on to the surface of the moon.

He and Armstrong had only been on the lunar surface for a few minutes when Aldrin made the following public statement:  “This is the LM pilot. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.” He then ended radio communication and there, on the silent surface of the moon, 250,000 miles from home, he read a verse from the Gospel of John, and he took communion.

Here is his own account of what happened: Read More »