This Week's Featured Stories

If you're looking for a laugh, a midday pick-me-up or a dose of inspiration, you'll love our featured stories. You can read three free stories every month by picking from the selection below or by searching through every Chicken Soup for the Soul story ever published using the box to the right. You can also have stories delivered right to your inbox with our free, featured story emails. If you'd like to have unlimited access and be able to choose the perfect story for any moment, sign up for a premium subscription and have the freedom to enjoy any of our 20,000+ stories any time!


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99. Gifts

Gifts The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away. ~Pablo Picasso I was in fifth grade when my father broke his hip and femur in several places. He had slipped on the morning dew while splitting wood in the back yard. The freak accident was devastating and it would take a considerable amount of time and many surgeries for my father to recover. At the time, my father had just switched employers and our family didn’t have any medical or disability benefits. So Mom became the single breadwinner supporting our family of five. She had significant health issues herself and was in and out of the hospital. Further complicating our situation was the fact that the fixer-upper, old farmhouse we were living in was not insulated. I often found myself staring at pretty patterns of ice etched on the inside of the windows. I would use my fingernail to write my name and draw hearts in the ice. We stuffed old socks in every hole to block the cold, and we huddled in the kitchen next to the stove when Mom was cooking, as it was the only source of heat in that part of the house. My dad stayed in a hospital bed in our living room, so we put blankets across the entranceway and heated only that room to conserve money. In the cold of an upstate New York winter... (more)
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100. The Gratitude Party

The Gratitude Party Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~Melody Beattie I took a moment to step back and look around my patio. I smiled, because there, mingling in the glow of Tiki torches and citronella candles, were forty people who had earned a very special place in our hearts that year. I was struck by the perfect blend of delicious food, upbeat music and lively conversation. I have always considered myself to be a grateful person. I was raised to thank people each time I received something as simple as a compliment and I was very conscious of this etiquette, so they knew I did not take them or their kindness for granted. In turn, I raised my children with the same values. Presents could be unwrapped but not played with until they had written a thank-you note. During dinner, we played the “Good News” game and shared the best things that happened that day. We live in a society of instant gratification and entitlement, so I wanted to slow my children down to appreciate what they had, irrespective of amount, magnitude or value. I have been fortunate to enjoy a good life, albeit not always an easy one. I have two children who make me very happy, but each has issues that have required a good portion of my time... (more)
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101. Thanks for the Giving

Thanks for the Giving Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action. ~W.J. Cameron My heart sank as I heard the familiar clicking sound of the electricity being shut off. It was two days before Thanksgiving. I poured a drink and sat in my room to wallow in self-pity. I had been unemployed for months, and my daughter and I were barely surviving. I grabbed my purse in a desperate attempt to fix the problem. As I did, moths flew out of it as if I were living in a cartoon. I gathered all the change that I could, but $1.75 was not going to solve our problem. How was I going to explain this situation to my daughter? We were months behind on the rent, to the point that eviction notices were being posted on our door daily. Now we were not only going to be forced out of the only home that she had known, but we were going to make that move in the dark and cold. I tried to be positive and look for the silver lining, but all I did was become angry as I thought through the list of all the people who had lived in my house or at least slept on my couch in the past decade — for free. I stopped counting after I hit fifty. Then I ran to the bathroom and got sick. After I washed my face, I looked in the mirror and said to myself, “You suck and Thanksgiving is ruined.” I was... (more)
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1: Some Kind of Miracle

Some Kind of Miracle In this world it is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich. ~Henry Ward Beecher Her name was Jean. She taught first grade. She drove a sputtering old Volkswagen Jetta with dull blue paint and frayed bucket seats. As a single mother with one young son, she found that the car served her needs. It wasn’t the speediest vehicle, but Jean was never late to work. In fact, each school day she was the first teacher to arrive and the last teacher to leave. Jean took great care to plan instruction, create assessments, and decorate her classroom. Parents in the neighborhood would beat down the principal’s door to have their children assigned to her class. Jean could teach a mouse to read, and all her students passed into second grade with advanced vocabularies and language skills. Needless to say, she was a gifted teacher. One August, the faculty returned from summer break to see Jean drive up to school with a carload of children. Two sisters in high school had found themselves living in a dangerous environment. They did not want to enter foster care. They asked the caseworker to contact their first grade teacher. Jean lived in a modest home with her son. Yet, she took the sisters in. One of the girls even had a baby. Jean welcomed the... (more)