My dear friends and family, all I can say is how wonderful all of you are. Yesterday afternoon, I received a phone call from a young mother of four who lives in Cincinnati. It's a long story, but I've known her since she was in grade school. We used to live in the same neighborhood and during jr and sr high school, she babysat Jake & Beka. As the circle of life tends to complete itself, Beka ran into her when she was in Jr. High and started babysitting for her up until we moved to California. But we talk to her all the time and Beka is extremely close to Teri's children. It's always been a wonderful relationship and I was proud of Beka to make this family part of her heart and of course ours.
The phone call was to ask me if I could help her. She didn't know what to do. She works but doesn't make a ton of money. Her husband works, is a home remodeler / construction type person and hasn't had any work for a while. They found themselves in a bit of a jam. They are being evicted from their rental, have no Christmas presents for their 4 kids, no Christmas tree up and their van broke down to boot (they have another car, but they don't need something else to be wrong!!). Well, as one person I could help out, but I couldn't take care of it all. So, after I cried hearing their plight, I thought about the best way to solve this problem.
And then I got the idea (Thank You Lord!!).
Send an email out to my friends, family & business acquaintances in Cincinnati and see what happens. I was hopeful and almost immediately I started getting responses. $100 here, $100 there, gift cards for presents, a tree, food and $$$!! It's such a blessing for Teri, she and I cried on the phone last night while we were waiting to see what happens. I'm certain that God will provide what they need and the "right" people on my list will answer the call for help. Teri's family will have the BEST Christmas ever!!
It works out because Beka is visiting Cincinnati for 3 weeks and part of her plan was to stay at Teri's through the weekend and help Teri with the kids. So now, Beka can help coordinate with everyone to get the money, etc. to Teri. So the BEST PART IS FOR BEKA AND I!! So many things have already happened. For one, I had the chance to talk to a few people and hear their stories which lead them to help this family (see below) and I get the chance to talk to some folks I haven't talked to in a while - that's VERY COOL! My daughter is blessed because she gets to help out with all of this, watch God's hand move over this situation and watch people's hearts open up! It's a very good experience for her and for me and for the people giving! WOW!!! A COMPLETE WIN-WIN FOR EVERYONE: helpers, givers, receivers!! God is awesome and watching him do his handy-work is even more awesome!!
If you are intersted in helping and I forgot to send you an email, comment me back and I'll tell you how. I'm collecting money via paypal to make it easy.
here's a couple stories which made me cry:
1. a friend of mine used to live in Cincinnati and like me, moved away about a year before I did. She has 2 children and like all couples, they have had their lean times, but have still been fortunate. Their children are 7 and 9 I think. Well, the kids received gift certificates for Christmas but they're only good at two malls - one over an hour from their house and one in Cincinnati. So, the original thought was they would spend them when they come to Cincinnati to visit family spring break or something. When their Mom told them the story, the kids immediately offered one of the cards for those kids and they would share the other card!! It's SO AWESOME - children with such BIG HEARTS!!!! They are fantastic and everyone has been crying over their generosity!!
2. another friend and I talked this morning. She shared a story about a time in her life when things were pretty lean, small children, only one person working, early baby delivery, and wondering how they would cover Christmas. Well, someone her husband worked with surprised them and went Christmas Shopping and brought tons of presents over and blessed them with a great Christmas. They knew that "one of these years" they would be in a position to pay it forward. Already a few weeks ago, they decided this was the year, but they didn't want to just give money to a charity. They really wanted to be sure that the money was going to directly help someone. And then out of the blue, my email arrived. Not only do they have the opportunity to make a difference in Teri's family by contributing a tree and other items, but some of her co-workers have offered grocery gift certificates!! Another example of God touching hearts and people listening to the call!! It's AMAZING!!
3. my own experience, my kids were little, we were broke. I had $100 to buy presents for 4 kids - wasn't going to happen, so I took the money to Goodwill and searched for toys that I could clean up and clothes on the racks that still had tags on them. I did find some, but I was crying most of the time at the store. It was so depressing to think that I was in such a mess. How could I ever get through this??? Feeling such despair. I went home with my used toys and new clothes with store tags on them, started wrapping them and crying. My step-son was a senior in high school. He came home with his friends, had no clue things were so bad. They caught me wrapping and crying, so I confessed to them how sucky Christmas was going to be - crummy presents and all. The next day, they all showed up with presents for the kids and I mean REAL presents!! I was so blessed! I will never forget their generosity. Some came directly from the kids, some came from their parents and some even came from the high school! Wow!!
4. another friend shared with me that without her family's support through the lean times, she would have been in the same position as Teri. Possibly facing eviction. Fortunately she had a good support system, went to college and has a great job now - a woman with a plan!! You gotta love it!!
THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO HAS ALREADY RESPONDED AND THANKS TO THOSE THAT ARE STILL GOING TO RESPOND. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
"There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure."
-- Colin Powell