Category Archives: giving
As we were getting ready to leave the bowling alley last night, a man came up to us. He apologized for bothering us, but asked if we knew anywhere he could get money. I won’t go into all the details, but as we all listened, he told us if he didn’t get to Houston by 8 am this morning, his daughter would go into foster care. He was desperate. He needed gas for his truck and didn’t have the money to fill up his tank and then get back again.
He told us he worked in Fort Smith. At first I thought it was a scam, but noticed he WAS wearing the shirt of a local business. We asked how much he needed. He said it was a loan and he would pay us back, asking how he could find us. We just told him we would probably be at the bowling alley next Monday evening and he could pay us back then.
We have been in similar positions, needing and not finding help. When we needed money, there weren’t ATM’s and the local banks were closed, of course. Now we have credit cards where we could pay now and then worry about how to pay later – but he only had a debit card and it was all used up. He would get his paycheck today at noon – too late. We’ve been in the position of needing surgery and not having health insurance. Of needing medicine and not finding a pharmacy open or having cash to pay for it. Of not only trying to live paycheck to paycheck, but having to choose which bills to pay with what we had. We’ve been without jobs, selling whatever we had to make enough money to keep our home.
It made us feel good, though, that if he was telling us the truth, we were in a position to able to help him at least a little bit. I’m hoping, as I type this, he and his daughter are together now, on their way back to Fort Smith. I hope he can pick up his paycheck tomorrow at work – not in trouble for having to miss.
We don’t expect to see him again, but it would be really nice – restoring my faith in people – if we do.
I absolutely LOVE this photo – especially the bird sitting on the man’s head. :0)
I’ve told you that our son is home from Thailand for the first time in over three years. I can’t tell you what a wonderful time we’re having, with lots of good conversations, a few really bad movies, lots of laughs, hugs, and more.
One thing I wanted to do while he was home was go through the things we have that are his. I made sure he understood that whatever he wanted to store here, he could. I just wanted to know if there was anything he really didn’t need or want anymore that we could either sell or donate. It turned out there were a BUNCH of things that could go.
He brought things down from the guest room and up from the basement. He consolidated the things he wanted to keep in a big lidded tub in the basement. Yesterday I went through all the books, listing some for sale on Amazon and bagging up the rest to donate to the local library for their next fundraiser.
Today’s project is that I’m going through all the other ‘stuff’ he no longer needs or wants, listing things to donate to the Disabled Veterans Thrift Store. Our foyer is pretty full, although the picture I chose for this post is a bit of an exaggeration. :0)
We will end up with several large leaf bags of donation, so I brought one bag into the office to gather trash before I started on the foyer. Suddenly our son was here with a trash bag, gathering the trash! He’s a keeper, for sure.
I’m cooking for the holiday tomorrow, so I want to get this accomplished today.
I hope you’re having a wonderful day, too! Wish me luck!!!
I’ve been smiling all over since Monday afternoon when we picked up our son at the airport. He’s been gone for over three years, living and working in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Most of the time we can ‘forget’ that he’s half a world away. He’s made sure to tell us that if we need him, he’ll be here. We communicate on an almost daily basis via a secure chat program he set up plus a conference call program where we can see his face and talk to him real time. We’re closer than a lot of people are who live in the same city. Every once in a while, though, my hugs bucket gets really low and I miss him so much I hurt.
He’s home with us now. For his birthday, which we celebrated yesterday, and for Christmas, and a bit after that. Just knowing that he’s on his computer in the dining area right now and that I can go in and hug his neck makes me smile. And then he’ll show up in the office, pull me up, and hug me.
I can’t say enough about his hugs. They’re so good they make me tear up. And he’s super generous with them.
I had a glorious massage this morning and my whole body is smiling.
My therapist’s name is Lynn Moody. If you’re in the Greenwood, AR area (including Fort Smith and surrounding towns) you will thank yourself a million times if you call Lynn and schedule a massage. Her location for massages is 320 South Coker, Greenwood AR 72936. Her phone number is 479-629-7601. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
I feel very close to Lynn. We exchange news about our families, what’s happening in our worlds, etc. each time I have a massage. I trust her as a friend – something rare and precious to find these days.
Today I told her that my husband and I were planning to take our son to a local restaurant, The Dari, for lunch to celebrate his birthday. When we exchanged Christmas gifts after my massage, I found a gift card for The Dari!!!!
Not ONLY does she give massages to die for, she’s psychic!
How LUCKY I am to have found her.
My good friend, Carla, lost her husband a few years ago. He is buried at the Fort Smith National Cemetery. That year she asked me if I would go with her to help volunteers put the bows on thousands of wreaths honoring the veterans. I was honored to be asked.
We spent several hours with lots of nice people. There were lots of others, like my friend and I, who attached bows to the wreaths. There were others who brought the wreaths and bows to us at the tables. Others who gathered the wreaths on long poles to be taken out to the big trucks that took them to the cemetery.
It was an emotional thing to be able to help honor our vets. There are other volunteers, I think the Boy Scouts, who actually put the wreaths on each grave, and then, later, there is a nice ceremony.
I’m pleased I spent most of a day helping other volunteers. I’m happy I could support my good friend. I’m so glad this is such a beautifully planned and executed effort to help us show our support and never forget their sacrifice.
And when this is over for the year, volunteers return to pick up the wreaths and take them back to the convention center, where people remove the bows and put them in protective bags. The wreaths and bows are carefully stored for next year.
Thanks to all who made this possible.
The Salvation Army has a program called the Angel Tree program at Christmas time each year. The trees go up in your local town and people who qualify come and asked for their child to be added to the tickets on the tree. People choose a ticket and go and try to buy as many things on the list as possible for that child. The gifts are returned unwrapped by Dec. 7th to the people handling the Angel Tree and they and the Salvation Army handle the rest.
The child’s name, age, and gender are listed at the top of each ticket. Practical gifts, such as clothes (with sizes) are listed, plus a few ‘fun’ gifts on the wish list.
Each year we peruse the tickets and decide which one fits well with our ability to buy the things on the list. We have visions of an ‘idyllic’ beautiful boy or girl happily opening all the gifts, ecstatically happy with the choices with a wide open grin and whoops of joy. Reality is far different, probably, but we LOVE the idea of brightening a local child’s Christmas each year.
Last year we didn’t know where the tree was in time to participate. We were both really disappointed, so I wrote on my calendar this year to call City Hall in Greenwood to see if they were sponsoring the tree this year and when the tree would be up.
This year our choice was “Braden,” a 10-year-old boy. We got clothes – pants (jeans) , a shirt (Flash), a puffy blue coat, boots, and then a remote control car and batteries. He’s into “paleontology stuff,” so we got him a big fierce-looking dinosaur. The “pokemon” cards he listed featured dinosaurs. We also got “Jurassic” hat, scarf and gloves set.
We took all the bags and the ticket, plus the receipt so that the mother would be able to exchange anything that wasn’t right back to City Hall and left them with the nice lady from the water department who is handling things.
It seems weird that we’re doing the Angel Tree before Thanksgiving. I guess that’s why we missed out last year. I guess they need the time to post all the tickets, gather the gifts, deliver them wherever they go, etc.
I love that the Salvation Army thought of this program and runs it, making it easy for local banks or government offices to administer it. I love that families can provide for their kids at Christmas will a bit of a boost from folks in the community. I love our ‘visions of sugarplums’ and the chance to give.
I told you recently that I’ve started on Phase II of decluttering my home. It’s been awhile since I’ve made any progress because I’ve been working out in the yard. Now that we’re having a rainy weekend and first of the week, I started on the master bedroom and bath.
With the sudden coolness, yesterday we got the upstairs vacuum working well enough to clean both rooms. I found myself grabbing a hoodie to keep warm, so today I started on my closet in earnest. I moved the hot weather clothes into the guest room closet and the cold weather clothes into my closet. Now I’m doing sessions, trying on everything and deciding whether it’s wearable and I like it, or if it’s in good enough shape to donate to the Thrift shop, or…
A truly wonderful thing is that I’ve been moving a sweater with a leather front, leather flowers and a front zipper back and forth for at least 5 years now because I loved it, even though it was WAAAAAY too small. Today I tried it on and it FIT!!!!! I got my husband to come upstairs, put it on, and even HE thought it looked really good. He said, “Not only can you get into it, it fits WELL and looks GOOD.” :0)
I like loose tops. I’ve found several, however, that are SO loose they’re either falling off my shoulders or come down so low in front I might as well not bother wearing anything. Woo HOOOO! I have a pad and pen and some trash bags up there to receive the donations now.
I get tired and out of patience quickly trying things on and taking them off again, so I’m spacing out the sessions. I’ll try to finish things by this evening.
It really feels good to be celebrating getting rid of clothes that are TOO LARGE, as well as purging my closet in general.
When I was visiting my husband’s cousin’s wife, Murray, in Thibodaux, LA this week, she gave me three pelicans to adopt and bring home. She looked up this wonderful limerick by Ogden Nash and read it to me. Ogden Nash was one of my favorites. Happily, I was able to find it just now so I can share it with YOU!
This is a tile mounted on a wooden background with a pull-out part that allows the pelican to stand. It has “Gerri” at the bottom – the artist who created it.
This is a second tile mounted in the same fashion. It doesn’t have Gerri’s name on it, so I don’t know if she created this one or not.
The final piece in my new collection is a painting by Delores Legendre of Lockport, Louisiana. It’s called, “Brown Pelican near Beach.” It’s an oil painting done in February of 1996.
I’m looking around my home to find a suitable place for these wonderful treasures! Thank you, again, Murray!
My biggest ‘take home’ from my trip was love demonstrated in so many forms it was overwhelming.
My SIL and I are married to guys who are brothers. We went to see Murray, the wife of our husbands’ cousin. We lost our cousin recently, and we had planned to get together for a ‘girls vacation’ – just the three of us. Happily, Murray came home from the hospital with good news. We made sure she rested with her feet up while we were there. We had told her before we came that we didn’t need to be ‘entertained.’ We just wanted to be with her.
Murray is a big part of her community, doing countless volunteer things, being on boards doing good things for the community, such as the Thibodaux Children’s Museum, and more. She is active in her church and has given so much to her town of Thibodaux. She recently was in the paper, with an article naming some of the things she has done!
What happened from the time we arrived to the time we left was the absolute definition of love and giving back. Murray’s group of close friends is larger than the number of people my husband and I have ever known in our entire lives. There were phone calls constantly, with people checking in to see that she was doing all right or just to touch base. She always made sure that each caller knew how much they meant to her.
There was a steady stream of friends, her priest, her housekeeper when it wasn’t her day to be there, her massage therapist and good friend, who also massaged the neck and back of a second visitor while she was there – after giving Murray a food massage. There were friends who had been with her in the hospital and were checking in again. There were people Murray invited because she wanted them to meet Mary Lou and me. There were neighbors. There was the ‘Queen of Pralines,’ Murray’s long-time friend who not only visited one day, but had her son, Chad, deliver a big box of pralines the next day. ( learned that you don’t say “Pray-leens.” They are pronounced, “Praw-leens.” I took two for my husband – since he LOVES anything sugary. He gobbled them up, smiled and nodded, saying, “These are truly heavenly. Don’t get me any more.” :0)
(Chad was the one who got our cousin John to the hospital recently and then picked him up there and brought him home recently, before he passed.) Each visitor brought love with him. The whole house was enveloped with it. There is no way to remember them all. There was a steady stream of caring, interesting, wonderful people, all loving Murray.
She has a wonderful way of introducing people. I’m socially challenged, in that after saying something like, “I’m happy to meet you,” I have trouble coming up with something to say next. Murray makes that go away with a story about who that person is, or asks them to tell a story, which then makes you want more information, so conversation is easy. She also tells them something about US, so the other people have something easy to say, too. What a gift Murray has!
The priest was young and wore bright blue long socks with cartoon characters on them! He was great, totally down to earth, not preachy, and showed he was a truly great addition to Thibodaux.
We went to a restaurant called, “Bubba’s II” one night. We all ordered, and then the waitress brought a soft-shelled crab to Murray, wanting her to enjoy it free of charge – just because she is Murray. That’s the kind of thing that makes me tear up. Jean (pronounced, “Zhaw” – that’s as close as I can get to it) went with us. Not only that, he secretly went up and paid for all of us. See what I mean?
We managed to do some significant stuff to help Murray go through things and clean out while we were there, but it’s great to know that Murray is so surrounded by people who truly care and want to give back the love she has given for so many years.
Now that she received great news from her doctors, she can concentrate on getting her strength back and spreading even more around!
Yesterday I finished (more or less) cleaning out my closet.
One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was to try to make donations to the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith and our local library once a month.
Today was donation #9 for the year to the Veterans Thrift Store, so I’m a bit ahead on my goal! I’m not doing as well on donations to the local library. I’ve only done 4 this year, so will have to step up my efforts.
It feels good to be going through our things, purging what we’re not using, seeing that other people have access to what they might enjoy, and having less ‘STUFF.’
I have some fine tuning on my closet, but I’m almost there. :0)
I have now finished going through my closet with my hot weather clothes, all my shoes, purses, scarves, etc. For me, this is good. Before, my shoes were all over the floor, for example. To the right of the shelves you can see my scarves and a hint of my purses.
My shoes are actually in the shelves for shoes now!
Casual tops are on the top. Dressier (as far as I GET dressier) on the bottom.)
I’ve tried everything on and have brought a LOT of stuff downstairs and dumped it in the foyer corner until I start listing and bagging things for donation to the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith. THAT’S for another day, though.
I’m going to go put my feet up and dive into another book. :0)
Due to the nice fact that I shed one size in jeans due to my efforts with Nutrisystem and exercise, I decided that today was a good day to go through my closet again.
The last time I did a good job was in the fall, so I have a full closet of warm/hot weather type clothing now. I’ve kept some of it because it was too small and “maybe” I could wear it ‘someday.’ I’ve kept other things because they were large enough to fit me. Other things have just gone back and forth from the guest room closet to my closet and back again several times. I hate to admit that, but it’s true.
This time I’m going through everything thoroughly again, trying everything on and making the decision to keep it or donate it.
The fun part so far was getting rid of some now-too-large jeans and a pair of dress slacks that was new when Methuselah was a baby. (Do you get the idea I usually wear jeans?) :0)
I brought down a big group of clothes I’m going to donate, but I got hot and tired and decided I would rest a bit and do something else, and then go back up for another session a bit later.
This time I’m not keeping something just because ‘it’s big enough to cover me.’ I’m also looking at the color, style, and deciding if I actually LIKE it or not. Imagine that! It’ll be a while before I can have JUST clothes I like, but little by little, I’m moving toward my goal.
I’m hoping that when I move the warm/hot weather stuff into the guest room closet in a few months and exchange it for the cool/cold weather clothes, I’ll be able to do the try-everything-on again job again and find more things that are actually larger than they need to be.
My goal will be to have a donation ready for The Disabled Vets Thrift Store by the end of next week. I’m also working on another donation for our local library, as well.
I hope you’re having a great Sunday.
Yesterday I was really good.
I scrubbed our kitchen within an inch of its life, moving everything, wiping it all down, scrubbing the stove and running its parts through the dishwasher, scrubbing the dining table and its lazy susan, the go-out table, the buffet, etc. and finishing up by vacuuming the pantry, kitchen, dining area, hallway, utility room and two half baths.
Later on, I listed the office supplies we were donating to the Veterans Thrift Store and bagged them up to take to Fort Smith today. I also continued reading the articles on the Nutrisystem site in an effort to know all I can before we start.
I’ve made up for my efforts yesterday by basically being a slug today. I haven’t accomplished much at all and even took a nap after we ate a late lunch.
The sun is finally shining after several days of really dark days with some good rain, so I’m feeling my spirits raise, as well. I hope you’ve had a good day today.
I had a nice chat with our son this morning. He said he had spent most of the day today (It’s 1:00 in the morning tomorrow now) at a cafe he likes, doing computer work for a client.
All of a sudden a Chinese girl came into the cafe, distraught because she had left her purse in a red truck (taxi). Our son was able to talk to her in Mandarin, called the police and talked to them in Thai. They were able to find the particular red truck, the driver, and the purse. Our son said that would have never happened in China. I think it wouldn’t have happened in the United States, either. He said the Thai people are very nice.
I’m so pleased that he wanted to – and was able to – help, speaking in two languages. He has always thought it was important to try to learn the language wherever you are, showing respect for the country and its people. I’m happy that all his work on language classes actually helped someone in distress today.
(The picture above shows the Chinese people on the left, including the girl with her Cat’s Eye bag. The Thai red truck driver in the middle, and the Thai police on the right.) It makes me feel good that the driver was honest, the police were helpful, and the girl was helped. There is still good in the world!
My husband got an email two days ago about a man in Van Buren, Arkansas needing help taking down his ham radio tower. My husband said he’d be glad to help. This morning he’s on the way to Van Buren to do what he can to help. The Vette is packed with tools. He has cell phone, cap, kleenex, chapstick, bottles of water, more tools than you can imagine (just in case), and the GPS is programmed with the man’s address. The man has hired a guy with a crane for the heavy part of the job.
Even though many of these people don’t know each other well, and, in some cases, have never met each other, there is a bond between them because of their interest in ham radios. Some are really into it and have been for years. Others, like my husband, like the idea and want to be able to find out what is happening in case of emergency. No matter the degree of expertise or why they’re interested, they tend to help each other. I’m happy that my husband is trying to help his fellow hams; but, I have to admit, I’ll breathe a sigh of relief when he’s home again in one piece. He tends to act as if he’s still a young man, rather than a man who’s a bit long in the tooth these days, and pays for it later.
I got up to refresh my coffee a minute ago. My husband was asleep in his chair, probably not remembering we need to leave for the dentist in about 10 minutes. This is what I found on the divider between the dining area and the kitchen. He had taken the doggies out and cut these to bring in while they were out. He’s definitely a keeper, and this is only one of the many reasons why.
Sharing what you have makes you feel good.
Years ago my husband and I gave monthly donations to two organizations. Sadly, we discovered that WAAAAAY too much of the money being donated went to the top leadership and other administrative costs, rather than to the people who needed the donations. We became cynical.
Lately I’ve found some tools that allow you to check out charities, illuminating their worth either by grades, by accreditation, or by stars. You can find out what percentage of the money received goes to the actual people for which the charity was founded, as opposed to salary for the leader of the organization and other administrative costs. I found three of these services on the net: Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and BBB Wise Giving Alliance. I personally found Charity Navigator the easiest to use, providing a list of 4 Star Charities. Charity Watch was second. It looked like you had to join the site at first, but after looking around, I found a list that provided ‘grades’ for many of the charities I was researching. BBB Wise Giving Alliance ranked third, as far as I’m concerned. I only found one of the charities I was interested in that was ‘accredited.’ Mostly, they said that the charity hadn’t filled out the paperwork to be listed.
If you try to choose charities by name, you’re likely to be disappointed, as we were years ago, by the money not being used wisely, or being used to line someone’s pocket, or even an actual scam. If the charity is considered good by two of the three services, you can be sure that your money is going to the people you’d like to help.
I spent some time researching this morning, coming up with 5 charities I thought deserved our money. I took the list and talked them over with my husband. He chose two, and I arranged for monthly donations to each of them. Locally we do what we can to help our local library and the Veterans Thrift Store – formally called Disabled Veterans Town. We love to choose a child each year from the Salvation Army Christmas Tree, taking their list and buying as many things from it as we can, imagining a sweet, delighted child on Christmas morning. :0) We contribute on a sporadic basis to political organizations and candidates, but mainly give them a piece of our minds….
We have had a wonderful Monday.
First thing this morning we filled up the back of the truck with another donation to Veteran’s Thrift Store. We stopped at our veterinary clinic when we got to Greenwood to replenish our dog food supply, putting the bags in the back seat. We dropped off the donation, then drove back to the co-op in Greenwood, filling up the back of the truck with all we needed to replenish our supply of the components of Mel’s Mix for the garden except for one more bag of mushroom compost, which the nice man at the counter is ordering for us. It amazes me that the man remembers my name! He’ll call us when he has the bag we need in stock. We grabbed lunch at the deli at CVs on the way to the house.
After lunch my husband backed the truck to the garden (not a chore for the faint of heart) and we unloaded the back of the truck, opening the bags and filling up the trash bins behind the shop, beside the garden.) When we got back to the garage, we unloaded the dog food from the back seat and stored the two bags in the bin we keep for that purpose.
We’re going to go bowling with friends tonight. Since Amber has been in the back seat of the truck, we needed to vacuum the seats, getting rid of all the dog hair we can. It was my husband’s turn, so I left him doing that while I gathered trash in the house. We put the bowling balls in the trunk of the truck and I just put the bags of trash into the back so that we can leave them at the bottom of the driveway when we leave tonight to pick up our friends.
Even the weather is wonderful – sunny and 68 degrees right now.
I’m probably going to do some other things this afternoon, like the elliptical and my yoga, but the biggest thing will be to spread out under a throw in my recliner and take a good nap after our morning’s work. :0)
My husband saw a piece in GUNS magazine about the various branches of the service needing basic things to make their service in Iraq and Afghanistan a bit more comfortable. Since we were heading to the grocery store this morning, we included a list of things listed by some Marines.
The pitch in the magazine was for Christmas, and we’ll probably do that, too, but we wanted to get a package in the mail tomorrow. The group handling this is called AnySoldier.com, with branches under it, such as AnyMarine.com. You can see a list of what they would appreciate most.
We shopped for
- electronic chargers
- small speakers
- hygiene needs, such as baby wipes
- clippers, plus
- sudoku, crosswords, wordsearches.
- we also included mechanical pencils, markers, tootbrushes and toothpaste, etc.
We personally decided to stay away from food or things that might leak, not knowing in what condition packages arrived. Maybe we can find out more for the next package, including how to pack liquids and snacks so they arrive in good condition.
My husband included an extremely short note in the package, telling them that his weapon when he was in the Marines was a stone axe, but that he appreciated their circumstances and hoped the things we sent would make their time there a bit easier.
We’re hoping that a lot of others are answering the call and that lots of service men and women will get things from the packages that will give them a bit of a boost.