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!

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A Nice Debt Collection Agency?

Isn’t “Nice Debt Collection Agency” an oxymoron?

 

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.

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.

Stealing From The Rich?? – Modern Day Robin Hood

Have you ever said something stupid?  Maybe you meant it, yeah, probably did.  But in hindsight you knew it was something that maybe should’ve floated around in your head a while and never made its way out of your mouth.  I sure have.  A lot.

Anyway, I would like to tell you about a man I have been reading about today, Paul Tudor Jones.  One of the things I read was about a statement he should have kept in his head but as I read more and more articles about him I was pretty amazed.  This man has a good heart and is actually doing good, a lot of good!  Oh, and did I mention he’s a billionaire?  Just so happens to be.  He is a hedge fund manager.  (I don’t personally measure a man by what’s in his bank account; I tend to measure people by what’s in their hearts.  But we won’t follow that rabbit trail right now.)

Back to Mr. Jones; one evening he was watching a show featuring a man who had guaranteed college tuition for an entire Harlem class.  As soon as the show was over he picked up the phone and called the man and said he wanted to do the same thing.  He did.  He failed.  The program was intended to give kids encouragement to get better grade and ultimately better their future.  He put a lot of money, love and time into the kids; providing after school programs and taking them on trips.  At the end of a 5 year period the average grade point averages were no better than the remainder of the school.  He felt like he had failed all of those kids and instead of that failure stopping him, it actually fueled his passion to help even more.  He figured that if self-made billionaires are supposed to be among the smartest people in the world why haven’t they figured out a way to stop poverty in the U.S.?

In 1988 he founded the Robin Hood Foundation.  Its key purpose is to fight the war on poverty in the streets of New York.  It was a first of its kind in what is now called venture philanthropy.  100% of the donations received go directly to funding the programs they support.  Any expenses of the Foundation are paid by Mr. Jones and other board members (also millionaires and billionaires).  Adding a new twist to charitable donors; Robin Hood Foundation requires data, reports, 5 year plans and multiple presentations before they will decide to fund a charity.  Each year they defund 5 to 10% of their grantees; not because they aren’t awesome programs, but because they are working in a way that doesn’t see results.

They currently work with over 240 non-profit organizations.  What they consider their core fund recipients are those working with education, creating jobs, providing economic security and daily survival.  Then they have their relief fund recipients that focus on assisting low income victims from the 9/11 attacks find employment, other low income victim services and relief services such as their funds that went to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy.

So about the whole name “Robin Hood”; well, this years’ fund raiser was held in Manhattan’s convention center that holds 4,000 people.  It could be seen as a private party for the rich and famous; from actors, to professional sports players to the Wall Street Elite.  So just how much did this modern day Robin Hood steal from the rich?  Almost 81 million.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Mr. Jones during his May 5, 2013 interview with CBS News’ Scott Pelley.  “You cannot have significance in this life if it’s all about you. You get your significance; you find your joy in life through service and sacrifice. It’s pure and simple.”

The entire script of the CBS interview may be read here…  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57598586/modern-day-robin-hood/

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.

Simple Act to Save a Car’s Interior

I’ve gotten a bit behind because I haven’t felt good this week but I’ll try to get caught up soon – I will have 31 posts before the end of the month!

In order to impact someone’s life there doesn’t always have to be an ill person we’re helping or the beginning of a new charity.  Sometimes the things that make a difference in our everyday are little deeds done without a lot of work involved or a great amount of meaningful preparation.

It’s amazing how much you can brighten a person’s day with just a simple act of kindness.

How many times have you had a thought pass through your head like, “maybe I should send a grocery store gift card to someone in a financial bind” or “I should catch up with that elderly woman and let her use my umbrella before she gets soaked”?  We’ve all had it happen, just a thought that comes dashing into our head and, at least for me, one that just as quickly dashes right back out again.  Taking just a few moments to act out those deeds of kindness can mean the world to someone.  Like the owner of the car who left their window down a crack and didn’t get back before the rain started……..

car window

Note says – Didn’t want your car to get wet.  Have a nice day!

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.

31 days