Sunday, December 29, 2013

Kindness from a Stranger

2013 has been a tough year for our daughter (Young Sweetie). She's in the midst of signing a custody agreement regarding her daughter (Youngest Sweetie) and faces divorce in her future.

Life. has. been. hard.

Imagine my surprise when she brought Youngest Sweetie over for our weekly Sunday dinner and said, "I have story for your blog."

(Young Sweetie knows that I like to write about real life but life has been "a bit too real" this year.)

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Young Sweetie was shopping with Youngest Sweetie at our local K-Mart finishing up their Christmas shopping and picking up the basics of diapers and wipes when a woman approached them and struck up a conversation.

The woman praised Youngest Sweetie for being so cute (I liked this woman already!) and asked if she'd seen Santa yet. She asked Young Sweetie how her holidays were going and Young Sweetie said she gave her the standard answer of "Everything is going ok."

The woman explained that her employer had sent out their employees to spread some holiday spirit and asked Young Sweetie if she could give her some money to buy something "for yourself, your daughter and others for Christmas."

Then the woman handed her a $100 bill.

Young Sweetie's eyes welled-up with tears and asked if she could give the woman a hug.

Which she did.

She thanked the woman and while she was still mentally processing the gift....she realized she didn't ask the woman's name or what company she worked for and the woman had walked away.

She looked for the woman and never saw her again.

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I believe that God places all people in our lives for His purpose(s).

Thank you Lord for your hand in this gift. Thank you for the woman who was sent out by her employer to pass on some holiday spirit. And thank you for her employer who gave the incentive to the employees.

I am grateful that at the end of a tough year our family experienced this miracle of love and kindness from a stranger.

Amen.

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Have you received kindness from a stranger this year?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Texas Family

In August I flew to Texas to stay with my mom while she was recuperating from hip replacement surgery. Although my brother and sister weren't able to stay with her 24/7, it provided an opportunity to spend time together that we haven't had for years.


My sister, brother and I posed with a picture that was taken around 30 years ago. Wow! We haven't changed much at all! (That's the story I'm sticking with! Hee hee!)

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My sister was a great help running errands, picking up items and always delivering them with a smile. I told her that in 20 years I'm going to hire her as my personal shopper. She was amazing!

My brother was just as phenomenal because when we needed a handrail installed to the lower level of mom's home he had his crew come over the next day and boom! New handrail! He came over that weekend to sand and paint it too.

He was also my chauffeur to and from the airport and took me shopping the first day so I could pick up some items that I didn't want to lug from PA to TX. He showed great patience while I ran into Bath & Body Works and Walmart.

May I show you one thing I love about the local Walmart in Texas?


The state of Texas and a football made from cases of Coke Classic and Mr. Pibb. Creative!

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It was a blessing to spend time with my brother and sister and our mom. We reminisced about our memories of our dad who died 21 years ago. It was interesting how the three of us each had unique memories of our dad too.

My brother had the "strict dad" who was trying to mold him into a man.

I had the dad who tried to "toughen me up" so I could face the world.

My sister (who is nine years younger than me) had the "fun dad" who was older, worked less hours, and found enjoyment in a multitude of hobbies.

Do you have siblings that although you were raised by the same parents....everyone seems different from each other? Have you ever asked yourself, "How are we all so different? We were raised by the same parents!"

Listening to each others' memories explained the quirkiness we each have and who we've become as adults.

And the delightful insight is that although we are different, we love each other and got along quite well.

We are family.

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Finally, a picture of my sister, mom and me on the back deck of my mom's home:


I am thankful for our mom's successful hip replacement surgery! She showed great endurance while I was there and I admired her strength and determination during her recovery.

Yea Mom!

Yea Texas Family!


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Texas Dogs Are Smart



Take care of any widow who has no one else to care for her. But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them. This is something that pleases God.
1 Timothy 5:3-4 NLT

My mother had hip replacement surgery in August. She lives alone. Well except for her dog and although my brother and sister live somewhat nearby, I volunteered to stay with her during the beginning of her recuperation since they weren't able to stay with her 24/7. My brother runs his own business and my sister works full-time and takes care of her young son and newish husband.

I grew up in Texas but haven't lived there in years. May I describe the August temperatures as "stinking hot?" 100s during the day and maybe dipping into the 80s or 90s overnight. I stayed for three weeks and it rained briefly one time. Ack!

I sweat like I had never sweat before.

It was not pretty.

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I arrived on a Saturday while Mom was still in the hospital. My brother picked me up from the airport and we went to visit her briefly before we went to her home. Upon arrival, we let Blondie outside and I read over the one full page of dog instructions which began with taking her for a walk each morning around 6:30 a.m.

Doesn't Blondie look like an angel?


Well she is not!

I read my mom's instructions very carefully about how Blondie knows her walking route and the next morning off we went: Blondie in her harness, me holding her leash and being oh so responsible. I had poop bags at the ready.

My mom lives by a lake which is the lowest point of the neighborhood. Blondie and I spent the beginning of the walk going uphill. She had a lot of enthusiasm being out for a jaunt and I was already sweating like a piggy and probably looking a bit purply too.

We went all the way to the top of the neighborhood, walked down an alley type street, wove our way down toward my mom's street and then....instead of taking a left turn toward home, Blondie turned right.

We walked to the end of the road that dead-ends at a locked metal gate which separates my mom's neighborhood from the neighborhood on the other side. Blondie looked longingly through the gate which had a huge lock on it and I thought, "What the heck?"

I was starting to catch on that something was amiss by this point so instead of wasting brain-power on how to pick the lock and go through that area, I tugged at her leash and turned her around where we wove our way back toward home.

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A few hours later, my brother arrived with our mom and after getting her settled upstairs, I questioned her about the one hour walk I'd taken (?) Blondie on in the morning.

My mom look startled and said, "What? One hour?"

And then she started laughing.

Yes, that dog had "taken me for a ride." Her walks are usually 30 minutes tops.

Don't ever let anyone tell you that dogs are dumb.

They are actually smarter than some people.

Well....at least one person.

Have you ever been outsmarted by an animal?