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*Knowing Your Strengths*


If you enjoy this free email service, I encourage you to spread the word to family and friends that we may bring inspiration into the lives of many! If you are not on the list and this has been passed along to you, join the thousands of readers around the world by sending a blank e-mail to:

Visit our inspirational web site and read all the past stories in our archives at:

It is sooooo good to be back at home! My thanks to all of you for praying for me and our team of people who went to minister to the people of Guatemala. I am sure that I will be sharing a story or two from our trip in the coming weeks as it was an incredible experience for me... I can honestly say that I will never be the same again... and to top things off, when I hugged my wife as soon as I got back in Wisconsin she informed me that I am going to be a daddy for the third time. Caleb and Connor are excited that they will be having a new brother or sister sometime this next spring...

Life is good at the Powers house...

From my family to yours,
P.S. A special welcome to the hundreds of new subscribers who joined us while I was in Guatemala the past nine days...May your stay with us be long and enjoyable.

P.S.S. I have a couple of important announcements at the end of today's story for you writers out there...One is from the producer of a new TV show called "Letters" that will air on the Arts and Entertainment Network, and the other is a Chicken Soup Call-out for stories...


Knowing Your Strengths

by Rubel Shelly

Some people waste a lot of perfectly good energy wishing they could do things they can't. They hear someone play the piano and say longingly, "If only I could make such beautiful music!" They watch an athlete, hear a stirring speech, or read a well-crafted novel and lament, "I wish I could do that!"

My theory is that everybody is good at something and that the key both to achievement and satisfaction is in knowing what that "something" is, developing it to a maximal degree, and using it. In other words, play to your strengths.

One young family I know has a daughter who is casting about to decide what she wants to do when she grows up. As with most seven-year-olds, she sees the world as her domain to conquer. She has ruled nothing out as yet. You have to admire that kind of optimism -- and pray that nothing wrings it out of her.

At the same time, her optimism must have a bit of reality mixed with it. So there has been a dilemma. Her current hot options are between being a rock singer and a star tennis player. The reality factor here is that she occasionally hits the tennis ball; she never hits a note! So her mom and dad have had no great difficulty in deciding between voice lessons and tennis instruction.

With grown-ups, time is more of the essence. We don't have another five or ten years to cast about among unlimited options. So how do you find your strengths? Begin with four sheets of paper, and use these headings: (1) things that are easy for me, (2) things people tell me I do well, (3) things that make me lose track of time, and (4) things that are fun and fulfilling for me. Now circle the thing(s) that appear on all four lists. You've probably discovered your strength(s).

Conventional wisdom may tell you to find your areas of greatest weakness and shore them up. Does that really make sense? You'll probably never be more than mediocre at something you dislike, try to avoid, and feel frustrated doing. If you're tone deaf, don't waste money on voice lessons. Try tennis!

It seems far wiser to explore your aptitudes, passions, and talents. Focus and develop your energies there. Become really, really good at something you enjoy. You will find tremendous satisfaction in generating excellence in your field. And the great likelihood is that people will reward you for it.

"A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his word. This too, I see, is from the hand of God" (Ecclesiastes 2:24).

Rubel Shelly

Write Rubel and let him know what you thought of his article!

(c) 2003 Rubel Shelly. Used by permission.

Visit: to read more of Rubel's writing or to sign up for his weekly column: FAX of Life.


Rubel Shelly has preached for the Woodmont Hills Church of Christ in Nashville since 1978. During that time, he has also taught at David Lipscomb University and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He is the author of more than 20 books, including several which have been translated into languages such as Korean, Japanese, Portuguese, Italian, French, and Russian. He is married to the former Myra Shappley, and they are the parents of three children: Mrs. David (Michelle) Arms, Tim, and Tom.



Here is an e-mail I received about a new TV show!

Dear Michael,

As we discussed on the phone, a new television series airing on the Arts and Entertainment Network called "Letters" is looking for stories centered around notes, correspondence, emails, or (yes that's right) letters.  Each episode will be themed ala "Love Letters", "Last Letters", "Fan Letters", "Revealing Letters", etc.  The letters can be current or historical in nature.   If anyone has such a contribution, please email Brian Coughlin at:

Thanks, Brian Coughlin


Dear Michael,

Matthew E. Adams, New York Times best-selling author and co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul of America and Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul is soliciting stories for a new Chicken Soup book or books he is considering about stories of Angels and Miracles.  Please forward your stories directly to Matthew at:

Chicken Soup stories are generally 1,200 words and embody a message of insight, hope and inspiration.

If the project is produced into a book, all story contributors that are chosen will be compensated $300 per story used.  Thank you for your help and consideration.


Thought For The Day:

"A man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them."

Verse for the Day:

"Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge." Proverbs 23:12

Kid's Thought For The Day:

"Just because you can't spell doesn't mean you can't write a good story."

Parent's Thought For The Day

"As a mother, my job is to take care of the possible and trust God with the impossible." --Ruth Bell Graham

Coach's Thought For The Day

"Competition is the spice of sports, but if you make spice the whole meal, you'll get sick." --George Leonard

Writer's Thought For the Day:

"Real life doesn't have to make sense. Fiction does." --Janeen O'Kerry

Deep Thought For The Day:

"Where in the nursery rhyme does it say Humpty Dumpty is an egg?"



I would like to ask your help in the form of a prayer request.  My father, Thomas D., will be having a CAT scan this July 17.  He has been diagnosed with lung cancer in February of this year and has been on a new treatment since late April.  This CAT scan is meant to show the effect this new medicine is having.  It is my prayer that it will show him to be healed.  Since I know that with God all things are possible, and there is strength and might in united prayer, I ask all those Heart Touchers readers who would be willing, to please pray for my father and for his healing.  To all of you who would do that, I thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart.  God bless you all.




"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20

Video Imagery --Michael's Video Production Business

Dear Michael,

I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the beautiful video you made for me! It was so special to see both of my parents in tears as they watched their children grow up in pictures before their eyes! I loved the way you made Estania's part set aside from the rest--that was the part that really got them! The music was beautiful. My mom kept blubbering, "What song is that?" I don't know how you did such a beautiful job with the video in such a short time. I really appreciate your doing it so quickly. You have a wonderful gift, and I thank God that you are using it to create such sentimental memories. I hope that I can find my niche like that in an area that I love. Your video gave us one of our most lasting Christmas memories! I hope yours was filled with moments to be treasured forever! Love, Trisha Silverhill, AL

Let me make you a video from your photos! Check out my video production business by visiting:


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A number of people have written to us asking what an EBook is, since our book is being offered in both print and EBook versions. An EBook is a book that can be downloaded and read right on your computer. The advantage of ordering the EBook is that is costs less, $8.95 (No other charges), as compared to $14.95 + shipping and handling for the print book. Plus you can download the EBook and begin reading the stories in a few minutes! EBooks are read via Acrobat Reader, which is software that most of you already have on your computer. And if for some reason you don't, it can be downloaded free of charge at the web site. So for those of you who don't want to wait for the print book to be delivered, check out this web site to order the EBook version of Straight From the Heart "A Celebration of Life."
Transfer your photographs or old home videos over to DVD or MP4 files! Give the gift that will touch your family's heart and soul.

You can join the 15,000 followers on his Facebook Nature Photography by clicking on the link above!

Touching Lives - One E-mail at a Time!
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