Joy in Giving

It’s the holidays, but you knew that didn’t you?  Everywhere you turn you see or hear the word “JOY”.  It’s used in quite a few Christmas hymns and songs.  It graces the front of Christmas cards.  People on the next block over from me even have the word in lights in their front yard.

Photo Credit: worobod via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: worobod via Compfight cc

 

We’ve all heard the saying “the joy of giving”; it’s true.  You do experience joy when you give from your heart.  So that’s good; one more step realized in this joy journey we’re on.  We’ll have to make note of that; all year there is joy is giving.

Yesterday, on my blog “A Life Well Penned”, I wrote about my dad and how difficult it was figuring out what to buy for him.  At least his birthday and Christmas were both in December, so I only had a few frustrating weeks of decision making.  After all these years I’ve finally realized how my gifts for my dad can tell us something about gifts we can present to God.  And yes, God likes gifts too!

Take a second and click on over and let me know if you think I’ve made a decent connection between the two!

 

Stay Well! ~ Live Joyfully!

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Reflection on 31 Days of Good News

I thought I’d take this 31 Day blog challenge as a way to develop a habit of blogging more often.  Once I decided I’d commit to the challenge I had to pick a topic.  It sure didn’t take me long to figure out what I wanted to write about.  I wanted good news; almost to the point of a need!  I was tired of politics, national debt, news stories of murder, kidnapping, corruption; it can really be enough to drive a person into depression.

As someone who lives with chronic pain that lends itself well to depression and a feeling of just being “down” I was able to truly see the value in searching for the good in the world each day.  You can spend an evening watching the local news, CNN or FOX NEWS and it can really bring an already rough day down a few notches.  I needed to turn up my faith in humanity!

I really didn’t expect the impact it would have on me.  For each of the 30 stories I wrote about there were probably another four that I came across each day.  Some of the stories made me tear up, some of the stories inspired me.  But most importantly it gave me the job of looking at the good still in the world.  I wish our news broadcasts told more of the positive.  I think it could honestly rub off on people and inspire them to great deeds of kindness as well.

Thanks for following along this month  – stay tuned, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the good news stories!

Stay Well ~ Live joyfully!

Out Of The Ashes Poured Love From A Community

In his younger days you could find Vernon Freeman of Dallas anywhere in the community lending a hand.  A carpenter by trade he was known in the area as someone who would pitch in to help at your house if you needed it.   He had built a reputation for fixing whatever problem you had with your house even if you couldn’t afford to pay him for it.

Well in the fall of 2012 it was his turn to need a hand.  The 85 year old great-grandfather had an electrical fire in his family home of 50 years.   Not having insurance he decided to do whatever he could to work on the house himself.  It didn’t take long for his physical energy and finances to wear thin.  That’s when people began talking about his situation, even airing on the local news.

As people heard his story a few decided to step up and take action.  They began working on Mr. Freeman’s house and others started to join in.  He was living with his son temporarily while work was being done.  But he spent most of his days sitting on the front porch of his family home, watching the repairs.

As efforts continued the generosity of the town snowballed.  The local chapter of Habitat for Humanity donated supplies and an online registry was created for people to see what was needed and how they could help buy supplies.  Construction companies donated time and labor while a window company donated all new windows.  A local roofing company donated lumber, siding and insulation.  All the new floors were donated by a local design & carpet center.  Food vendors volunteered to bring their food trucks over to feed the volunteers.  Are you getting the picture here?  The list goes on!

Once as workers were finishing their day Mr. Freeman asked if they could leave the sheet rock tape at the house.  When they arrived the next day they found that he had stayed and by himself had taped the seams in two bedrooms and the kitchen.  He was thrilled to have the work get to a point where he could pitch in himself.

Mr freeman

As the house neared completion the generosity of the community remained steady.  Furniture, paint and appliances were all donated and set in place to welcome Mr. Freeman back home.  Target gift cards were even rolling in to help supply him with other essentials.

On July 6th of this year Mr. Freeman walked back in his front door.  Project complete!  Lovely example of a community giving back to one who gave so freely himself!

31 days

This post is part of the Nester’s 31 Day Challenge; Writing on the same topic each day of the month of October.  Click on over to the Challenge to find a number of topics and authors ranging from Simplicity & Organizing to Personal Endeavors. You can head back here and scroll to the bottom of this post for a listing of all 31 days of Good News & Good People Doing Good Things.

Chloe’s Community

Chloe Saxby is a beautiful 5 year old girl from Australia who loves to talk about Kindergarten.  In January of 2012 she was running, riding a bike, dancing and acting like any other three year old.  In February that year she became ill with a virus and was vomiting.  After she had been without vomiting and fever for one week her mom and dad took her back to her preschool class.  They received a call from her teacher; she had been stumbling and could not climb out of the sandbox herself.  Her parents took her straight to her doctor.   After numerous doctor visits and testing they were given a diagnosis in April.  Chloe had Vanishing White Matter Disease, a form of Leukodystrophy; a degenerative brain disease with no forms of treatment or cure at this time.  There are only two institutions in the world that are even searching for a treatment.

chloe

The family was sent to Sydney Children’s Hospital where they were met by a team of neurologists who then forwarded her information to the Netherlands to a doctor who is an expert on White Matter Disease.  They were told how the white matter of the brain is composed of fibers coated in a fatty covering called myelin.  In White Matter Disease this myelin is damaged and disappears which makes the nerve impulses slow down or fail.

Slowly she has been losing her ability to function properly.  She’s no longer able to stand or walk and has very little use of her arms.

So how does this heart wrenching stories make its way into my 31 Days of Good News & Good People doing Good Things?  Well, it can be amazing to watch how people can reach deep into their hearts and pockets to come to the aid of a family going through life shattering changes.

When their town of Woonona, Australia heard of the family’s situation they decided they just had to help.  Unable to deliver a treatment plan or cure they did one thing that was in their power.  Participation came from a number of local businesses from school to swim clubs.  Their banded efforts raised nearly $40,000 to convert the family’s van into one with wheelchair access for Chloe.  Efforts to raise funds for treatment and research for a cure still continue through marathons and other fundraising efforts.

Mrs. Saxby is starting a fundraiser and is one of four women worldwide that have come together to raise funds and sponsor a conference to help aid further research.   If you’d like to learn more or donate go to http://www.chloesaxby.com.au/ .

31 days

This post is part of the Nester’s 31 Day Challenge; Writing on the same topic each day of the month of October.  Click on over to the Challenge to find a number of topics and authors ranging from Simplicity & Organizing to Personal Endeavors. You can head back here and scroll to the bottom of this post for a listing of all 31 days of Good News & Good People Doing Good Things.

Don’t Judge A Book By Its Homeless Cover

Some of you may already have seen this story but it’s worth watching again.  I think too often we judge people by their position in life, the clothes they wear, the car they drive, etc.; that we often fail to notice the incredible person before us!

 

31 days

This post is part of the Nester’s 31 Day Challenge; Writing on the same topic each day of the month of October.  Click on over to the Challenge to find a number of topics and authors ranging from Simplicity & Organizing to Personal Endeavors. You can head back here and scroll to the bottom of this post for a listing of all 31 days of Good News & Good People Doing Good Things.

Hitting Close to Home

I think today I’ll take a moment to stop and tell a few stories of kindness from good people where we were the recipients.  I truly believe these stories need to be repeated often; so we don’t forget where we’ve been and who has helped us along the way.  Our children need to hear these stories so it’s engraved in their hearts how helping those in need has been a blessing in our lives and in turn we need to pay it forward.  I have a few to recall so let’s get started.

We had moved from Michigan to Virginia when our kids were 6 and 3 so my husband could attend Liberty University.  Curt (my husband) had taken necessary steps to be sure he had secured a job for himself before we even packed a box.  But what’s that saying, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”  Well awry they went.  When we arrived at the mobile home we would be renting, we were so excited for a new chapter of our life to begin.  We unpacked the U-haul and set up the necessities for our first night.

The next day my husband went to report in at his new employer.  They said they were sorry to have to tell him the full-time position wasn’t going to be available but they could definitely use him part time.  Great, huh?  Needless to say money was excessively tight for a while.  I distinctly remember a certain day when I looked in the cupboard and literally felt like Old Mother Hubbard.  My cupboards were bare; there was one can of stewed tomatoes and a box of instant rice.  It was a Wednesday and my husband got paid on Fridays.  I knew what we were having for dinner anyway.  You just tell the kids it’s Mexican night, mix the rice and tomatoes together and whalla – Spanish rice.  But what about Thursday and Friday?

A young man from our church gave my husband a call that very day – he was attending Liberty as well and was living in the dorms.  He asked if my husband could stop by his place because he had gone home for a visit and had brought back something for us from our church back home.  Can you see where this is headed yet??  Sure enough, my husband came home that evening with bags of groceries that filled our empty cupboards.  Our church had a food drive for us and sent us cans and boxes galore!  I’ll tell you what, Chef Boyardee never tasted so good!  They didn’t know how badly we were in need but God knew and placed it in their hearts to send this incredible gift of food to us.  Good people doing good things!!

We’ve had things happen throughout our lives that show the most sincere kindness from others but I will just share one more.

My husband had lost his job back in 2002.  Again money was tight.  I was working part time then and talked to my employer; they allowed me to take a full time position.  My husband started delivering pizza and we were scrimping by, barely some days but we were.  One day a friend called us to say we needed to stop by his house.  He had a very large box for us.  Someone else, who wished to remain anonymous, had bought us a huge box of meat.  I can’t tell you how many pounds it was but it was quite a large box and completely filled our freezer.  There was ground beef, hot dogs, roasts; anything you could want.  We got through that whole winter with that box of meat; and since meat is one of the largest expenses in a grocery budget I could stretch our money a lot further filling in the rest of the pantry.

Two occasions of awesome, generous people taking care of the everyday needs of those they loved.  Both of these times revolved around food , but isn’t that one of our basic necessities.  God never promised that we’d be eating filet mignon, roasted red potatoes and asparagus every day; but he did promise He’d provide our basic need for food if we trust Him and present our needs to Him.  Sometimes that can be a very hard and humbling thing to do but I think it’s those times God is trying to remind us who is taking care of us – it’s not an employer; although He certainly uses employment to help supply for us – but it’s ultimately in His control and His power.  And you know what?  Sometimes He’s going to use us, so let’s keep our hearts open to ways He wants to use us to supply for others!

31 days

This post is part of the Nester’s 31 Day Challenge; Writing on the same topic each day of the month of October.  Click on over to the Challenge to find a number of topics and authors ranging from Simplicity & Organizing to Personal Endeavors. You can head back here and scroll to the bottom of this post for a listing of all 31 days of Good News & Good People Doing Good Things.

Senior Year Soccer Game

I’ve loved seeing so many stories of kindness happening in our public school system.  We hear so much of the negative that I believe we are desensitizing our youth; making them feel like these things are the “norm” among their peers.  After a while they decide the corrupt acts of others are normal occurrences possibly seeping slowly in and changing their world view of morality and decency.  News stories are overflowing with topics such as bullying and teens trying to make the lives of teachers and others miserable.  I think it’s time we start relaying more of the good that is happening and just see what it might do to our society and our kids.

Anyway, I’ll jump off my soap box here and tell you a story of a young man from Dexter, Michigan.

Greg Zenas was a high school senior in 2012; with Down syndrome.  Greg was also the team manager for his high school soccer team for the past six years.  He did everything from getting water bottles and equipment to standing at the side lines and cheering for his team.

The team’s coach Scott Forrester had encouraged Greg to become the team manager when he was in seventh grade.  A couple years ago he even went as far as getting Greg a uniform and having him dress for each game.

The team had won many trophies over the years.  The players themselves voted and decided that Greg would be the keeper of the trophies so when they were awarded a trophy it went right into Greg’s hand for safe keeping.

via annarbor.com

via annarbor.com

Over the years the players even extended their helping hands to Greg.  Each season Greg’s mom got a call from one of the players informing her that he would be Greg’s driver for the season.  If Greg’s parents weren’t able to drive him this player made sure that he made it to all the games and any banquet or other event the team had to attend.

At the game on October 4, 2012; Greg’s senior year, Coach Forrester made a decision.  After the team was introduced the coach went over to Greg and handed him a paper bag with soccer cleats and shin guards; Greg was in the game.  As he first hit the field he needed a bit of instruction from his teammates as to where he was to stand and what way they were to run.  After a few plays Greg began to catch on.  He even had his chance with the ball a few times.

Coach Scott Forrester had decided to make this game in October of last year, one that the seniors would remember for the rest of their lives.  Not just for Greg, but knowing the impact it would have on the team as a whole and how much this could affect each member of his team personally.

A night Greg and his parents aren’t soon to forget.  But also a night for Scott Forrester and the rest of the players to put into action what being part of a team family is all about; overlooking disability, flaws or differences in personalities for the good of the whole.

Oh, and by the way, they won the game that night!

31 days

This post is part of the Nester’s 31 Day Challenge; Writing on the same topic each day of the month of October.  Click on over to the Challenge to find a number of topics and authors ranging from Simplicity & Organizing to Personal Endeavors. You can head back here and scroll to the bottom of this post for a listing of all 31 days of Good News & Good People Doing Good Things.