Showing posts with label random acts of kindness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label random acts of kindness. Show all posts

Sunday, December 25, 2022

"Loving kindness, warm hearts, and the stretched-out hand of tolerance"

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 25, 2022

If Christmas is a rough time of year for you, I try to remember what the day is supposed to be all about and take comfort as we celebrate a gift given with love to all mankind. Some passed it off as nothing more than a fable. To others, it is a pagan holiday considering the traditions we have to this day, originated with them. To others, it is about trying to make people happy with the gifts we buy. Yet for others, it is a day to remember those with empty stockings, no family, no friends, and no one to give them a gift.

I know Christ was not born on this day, but I believe He was born for the reasons we were told He came. He was born as most people lived in simple shelters with very few comforts. Some wonder why the Son of God would be subject to such hardships but they forget those were the people He came to comfort and heal. To let them know that love and miracles were not reserved for only the wealthy. That the true gifts we give are how we treat people all year round.

Today, if you are not celebrating it with family or friends, many more of you are doing the same thing. We won't see it in commercials or movies because people want the warm, fuzzy feeling of seeing happy people surrounded by family. I take great comfort when I see reports of people filling boxes for Toys For Tots, putting money into the Salvation Army kettles, or donating to food banks. I take comfort in seeing acts of love all year round because that is as it should be.

One of my favorite Christmas movies is The Bishop's Wife. At the end of the movie is the message I try to hang onto all year round, as it should be. I wish you a day of treasured memories and a new year filled with witnessing random acts of kindness so that you will know, that Jesus came, not just for a day, but forever.

Bishop's Wife - Christmas Sermon

Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking. Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child's cry. A blazing star hung over a stable and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven't forgotten that night down the centuries; we celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, the sound of bells, and with gifts. But especially with gifts.
You give me a book; I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer and Uncle Henry could do with a new pipe. We forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled... all that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up.
The stocking for the child born in a manger. It's his birthday we are celebrating. Don't ever let us forget that. Let us ask ourselves what he would wish for most... and then let each put in his share. Loving kindness, warm hearts, and the stretched-out hand of tolerance. All the shining gifts that make peace on earth.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

if you can't find a miracle for yourself, give one to someone else

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 18, 2022

Yesterday I intended to put up a post I had been working on for a couple of days. Usually, before I post, I like to take a break in between finishing it and publishing it. I love to share funny posts, especially about cats, dogs, and other animals. I also love to share uplifting stories. I went on Facebook to check my feed and saw a post that made me cry.
On Today Show. Santa came a few weeks early for a daughter who shared her Christmas wish for her mother on social media.

Taco-Bout-Joy's located in Glenview, Illinois, owned by sisters Joy Milan and Kack Keomanivong.
“It breaks my heart to see my mom watching the door every day, waiting for a customer to walk in,” reads the TikTok's on-screen caption. “I wish I could give her customers for Christmas.”

As of this writing, the TikTok has garnered over 38.5 million views, six million likes and more than 69,000 comments from those sharing their empathy about the situation and saying how much they want to try the restaurant’s offerings.

I cried so hard after I shared it, that I closed down the computer and walked away. I was crying for a reason I didn't expect. I cried for myself. 

I was thinking that the miracle that happened for this woman, is something I have never known. For 4 decades I tried to make a difference to help others heal #PTSD. I watched as all the work I did was pushed out of the way for younger people, and accepted it, but I didn't let it stop me from doing what I could. I kept reaching out for help for myself, but it never came. I just kept doing what I could. I figured if I couldn't find a miracle for myself, then at least I could be a small part of making one for someone else.

I wish God granting a miracle was as easy as Him snapping His fingers. But it isn't.

Unlike Samantha on Bewitched, able to wiggly her nose or snap her fingers to change something, He has to have a human willing to participate in the delivering of the miracle.

The way I figure it is, I need to be responsible for myself and what I do. Everyone else is responsible for what they choose to do, or not do. I have a choice to think that all my prayers are just going into the air, or that God isn't interested in someone like me, or believe He's trying to help but the people who are supposed to help, won't.

When I know someone needs help, I do what I can, and what I can't do, I'll pray for them because I'm listening to my soul. I know the feeling I get inside having made a difference for someone else. Reading the story about the daughter helping her Mom, I knew how the daughter felt witnessing a miracle she hoped for happen because she tried out of love to help.

People like me, have a choice to make all the time. Do we stop helping because no one is helping us, or do we keep trying to make a difference because we not only know what it feels like to need miracles that don't come, but we know what it is like to be a part of someone else's miracle happening and keep doing what we can?

I won't tell you that it is always an easy thing to do. There will be times when it tears you apart. You will help someone and they will not be grateful at all. They may walk away from you, refuse to help you when you need it, or worst of all, betray you. When that happens, grieve for a while, then realize it happens to God all the time. It also happened to Jesus. They didn't give up and neither should we.

Hang onto the times you knew you made a difference in someone else's life and keep doing what you can because you know you should. Then remember that feeling because the people that will not help you, will never know what that feels like. That is what I've hung onto all these years. It is a priceless gift I did for someone else, and ended up giving even more to myself.

Remember what it was like when you discovered you had PTSD, feeling all alone, confused, and trying to figure things out for yourself. Then you found information because someone else shared it. You found hope because someone else offered it. You found hope because someone else shared how they healed. They were strangers, but they helped you without knowing anything about you. Chances are, you never thanked them or returned their kindness unless you passed on what you learned from them.

In the end, if you can't find a miracle for yourself, give one to someone else.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

I understood what it was like to discover I wasn't alone

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 26, 2022

I had a therapy appointment this morning and was talking about the research on random acts of kindness. This part of the article is the one that I am dealing with the most.
“People tend to think that what they are giving is kind of little, maybe it’s relatively inconsequential,” Dr. Kumar said. “But recipients are less likely to think along those lines. They consider the gesture to be significantly more meaningful because they are also thinking about the fact that someone did something nice for them.”
It was very easy for me to help other people. It was devastating to discover that other people had a hard time wanting to help me. I am grieving the loss of one of my best friends, my rock and biggest supporter. Gunny passed away in January. The months following got harder and harder and I knew I needed help again. I lost someone that did a lot of nice things for me. 

During my appointment, I talked about how I feel grateful for people in my life but the thing is, they can't understand what I do helping people with PTSD. They can't understand the books I'm writing and most of them don't even want to read them because they aren't interested in anything tied to mental health, even works of fiction. Gunny not only understood all of it, but he also read everything I wrote. He even corrected my typos and let me bounce things off of him when I wasn't sure if I was on the right track or off the rails.

Anyway, back to the article so you can understand the rest of what I want to say better.
The Unexpected Power of Random Acts of Kindness
New York Times
By Catherine Pears
on Sept. 2, 2022

In late August, Erin Alexander, 57, sat in the parking lot of a Target store in Fairfield, Calif., and wept. Her sister-in-law had recently died, and Ms. Alexander was having a hard day.

A barista working at the Starbucks inside the Target was too. The espresso machine had broken down and she was clearly stressed. Ms. Alexander — who’d stopped crying and gone inside for some caffeine — smiled, ordered an iced green tea, and told her to hang in there. After picking up her order, she noticed a message on the cup: “Erin,” the barista had scrawled next to a heart, “your soul is golden.”

“I’m not sure I even necessarily know what ‘your soul is golden’ means,” said Ms. Alexander, who laughed and cried while recalling the incident.

But the warmth of that small and unexpected gesture, from a stranger who had no inkling of what she was going through, moved her deeply. read more here

For 40 years, I helped people because I knew what darkness was like. I knew everything surviving could do to them and why it did it. Above all else, I understood what it was like to discover I wasn't alone, to read what experts discovered long before I even heard the term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In other words, I knew what it was like to come out of the darkness of it and into the light of healing from it.

When I helped other people, it helped me heal myself. I felt a sense of being worth something in this world.  Writing the third part of The Lost Son Series, I felt more connected to the darkness of the story than to the light in it. Words of suffering stung and words of comfort began to feel like empty words people use to make themselves feel more comfortable discussing uncomfortable topics. Part one, The Lost Son Alive Again, and part two, Stranger Angels Among Us were leading up to the part I'm working on now and were supposed to be the most empowering of all of them. It got so bad for me that I knew I needed to go back into therapy again to help me heal from losing Gunny.

So far, I am starting to feel more connected to the circumstances of hope and empowerment than to the suffering and heartache. I told my therapist that all I can do for people is help them understand what PTSD is, help them spiritually so they don't think God did it to them, and then, send them to experts in mental health trained to help them. I'd love to be able to wave a magic wand and take away all their heartaches but I can't. All I can do is help clear the way for they can begin to find what they need.

I also told my therapist a couple of weeks ago that I dreaded getting an email or phone call from someone looking for help from me because I was so drained, I had nothing left to give. Over the weekend, someone needed my help and I was able to give it. So, not only is my therapist helping me, she helped me get to a place where I could help someone else again. I'm not healed enough yet to be posting all the time online again, but I'm getting there!

Next time you have a chance to do something for someone else, no matter how small you think it is, remember my story and know that while you may think what you do isn't such a big deal, it may be the thing someone else needs at the time you do it.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

we can choose to do something

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 12, 2022

With so many horrible things going on in the world right now, it is understandable to feel hopeless. After all, we are not in control over much. We cannot stop the bombs and slaughter of Ukrainian citizens. We cannot get them food water and supplies as Russian forces surround them. We cannot stop the Russian soldiers from murdering citizens. Only Putin can do that, but he won't.

Sure we can pray that God opens their hearts and minds so they see the difference between defending their own country during war and what they are doing in Ukraine. That has actually been working. Some have seen what they are becoming and it makes them sick to their stomachs. They are telling citizens in Ukraine they had no idea what they were being sent to do after they surrender. The most remarkable thing is, the videos of this happening also show compassion the Ukrainian people have for those sent to kill them.

‘I didn’t want to fight’ -- Ukraine offers Russian soldiers 5 million rubles, pardon
(WILX) - The Ukrainian government, as well as many Ukrainian civilians, have made a point of saying on camera that they do not hold the Russian soldiers to blame for the war ordered by Vladimir Putin.

“I didn’t want to fight,” said one Russian soldier, interviewed after being captured in Ukraine. “I will say the Ukarainian army are nice guys. They didn’t hit me. They gave me food.”

Now, Ukraine is backing that sentiment with a direct offer.

TV presenter Maria Yefrosinina, who is an ambassador of the United Nations Population Fund in Ukraine, has announced an offer to Russian soldiers from the Ukraine Government, funded by the global IT community.

The thing is, no matter how bad something is, we can do nothing while it gets worse, or, we can choose to do something, no matter how small we may thing it is. Nothing changes for the better if we do nothing.

If you are in pain, you understand what it feels like. Then you can also understand the pain someone else is living with. If you have ever lost hope, then you know what it feels like when others lose hope. No matter what they are going through, the chances are, you went through the same thing.

Sure you could remember what others did to you and decide to do the same, but it is better to remember what it was like when someone did something for you and do the same.

Remember what words would have given you comfort and restored a sense of hope within yourself, and do the same for others.

Remember what it felt like to be given the glimmer of things getting better for you, and do the same for others.

Remember what it felt like when someone showed you kindness after others only showed you their backs, and do the same for others.

Do what you can for others and heal yourself at the same time. You do not have the power to change the entire world, but you are empowered to change the world for someone else.

“Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.” ― Saint Augustine

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Why are you still looking for proof of God's Love?

God's Love Surrounds Us

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 28, 2020

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

In troubled times, people seem to find it hard to believe that God is real. They say prove it, yet, if they open their eyes, they see proof of God everyday.

Right now while most of the country is isolating because of the Coronavirus, we are lonely and afraid that someone we love will be stricken by it.

We see hoarders taking whatever they can, while some are left leaving stores with nothing they need.

We see people act as if it is horrible they cannot go out and enjoy their lives in groups of friends and total strangers, only to pass on the virus to others who did not have a choice in their actions.

None of those selfish acts came from God or what Jesus came to teach His Brothers and Sisters. It came because they allowed their own will, their own lust, their own self worth rise above every one else.

We are all capable of being like that. It is easier to take than to give. Easier to anger than forgive. So why is it that so many others are putting everyone else ahead of themselves? God's Love!

God Is Love
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot[a] love God whom he has not seen.

And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:7-21
We see it when Doctors and nurses work long hours under extreme stress to do whatever they can to save as many lives as possible even though it puts their own lives in danger.

We see it when members of law enforcement show up every shift to protect the citizens in their communities while many of members of those communities hate them.

We see it in other first responders when they leave their own families and homes, put their lives in jeopardy to save strangers.

When people line up to take food to shut ins it is there.

We see it when people all over the country take the time to sew masks for hospital staff it is there.

Whenever you are looking for proof of God's Love, it only means you are not really looking at what is already there!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Veterans Getting Random Acts of Flowers

Petal Power: Recycled flowers bring smiles to veterans' faces in Florida

Connecting Vets
AUGUST 21, 2019
Random Acts of Flowers began because of a near-fatal accident suffered by its founder, Larsen Jay, who fell off a ladder two stories tall and broke every bone in his body in 2007. “He got overwhelming support,” said Donoghue. “His whole hospital room was full of flowers.”
We’ve all heard of recycling plastic, glass and paper.

But what about recycling flowers for veterans?

That’s exactly what Random Acts of Flowers does.

The non-profit recycles and repurposes day-old flowers and delivers them to patients at the Bay Pines Veterans Hospital and other hospitals, hospices and nursing facilities throughout the greater Tampa Bay, Fla. area.

The volunteers who deliver the flowers to the VA medical center are all veterans themselves, said Janette Donoghue, executive director of Random Acts of Flowers Tampa Bay.

“It’s near and dear to their hearts,” she said. “That’s something they want to do, it’s a veteran giving to a veteran.”
read it here

Friday, June 14, 2019

Uber driver got community to pick up elderly veteran

After seeing an elderly veteran living in squalor, an Uber driver stepped in to help

By Sophie Sherry and Christina Zdanowicz
June 14, 2019
"He is so thankful, he cracks me up. He keeps saying, 'I don't know what I did to deserve all of this from all you guys,'" said Mulvihill. "It's giving him hope that he will be taken care of."

(CNN)Lauren Mulvihill did not know what to expect when she was called to the hospital for an Uber pick up.

89-year-old Ronald Dembner had just been discharged from the hospital with no one to take him home. Last week, Mulvihill drove Dembner from the hospital in Henry County, Georgia, to his home and helped him inside. When she saw the terrible condition of his home, she knew she needed to help.

Dembner, who Mulvihill calls Mr. Ronald, is a widower and veteran who now lives alone with his dog King. He has no living family. Mulvihill said that Dembner had not called someone to help clean his house out of fear they would take it away from him.

The veteran has been living in squalor. Dembner has his wits about him, but he has a hard time getting around, cleaning the house and picking up after his dog.
read more here

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Little John's feeding great food with a mission in mind

New Madison Restaurant Tackles Food Waste, Feeds The Hungry And Employs Veterans

Wisconsin Public Radio
By Elizabeth Dohms
Published: Friday, May 3, 2019

Little John’s will use food beyond its sell-by date from grocery stores around Madison, particularly Metcalfe’s Market. Heide pointed out that food oftentimes is edible for a month or more after its sell-by date but is tossed anyway because of confusion with the expiration date.
Sprinkle in some ugly produce, employment opportunities for veterans and a touch of compassion, and that’s the recipe for chef and restaurateur Dave Heide’s new nonprofit restaurant, Little John’s, set to open in Madison this summer.

More than just nourishing the body, Heide hopes his restaurant on Madison’s west side will also feed his appetite for charity by meeting the needs of the hungry, curbing food waste and employing veterans.

Named for Heide’s third child, Little John’s is Heide’s third restaurant. Liliana’s in Fitchburg and Charlie’s on Main in Oregon are named for the couple’s other two children.

As a nonprofit, his newest venture features a pay-what-you-can model.

"If you have money, great. If you don’t have anything, don’t worry about it," he said, pointing out that the restaurant will have counter service, similar to a Chipotle or Subway. The menu will change daily depending on the food that’s available. Every day there will be seven or eight options such as salads, sandwiches and pastas to choose from.

Heide hopes that with any additional revenue he can take food carts to area food deserts to try and meet the needs of community members in those locations.

The restaurant’s payment model, with the goal of fighting hunger, is just one of the lofty issues Heide hopes to tackle. Another is food waste.
read more here

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Neighbors heard complaints about Vietnam veteran's yard, so they took care of it...and him

Neighbors step in to help disabled veteran when he needed it most

WSB 2 Atlanta
By: Berndt Petersen
Updated: Apr 30, 2019

WOODSTOCK, Ga. - A handful of Cherokee County neighbors have spent three days helping a disabled Vietnam veteran whose large yard had grown out of control.

Managing a very large lawn can be a challenge no matter what your age, but when you're 80, some say forget about it.

"It's so easy for people to fall behind and let things get out of control,” said Joe Ward.

Last week, Ward hopped on a local social media site and read complaints about the condition of a neighbor’s property near Woodstock.

Instead of joining in, Ward told Channel 2’s Berndt Petersen that he went over and met the owner -- a disabled veteran of the Vietnam war.

“He was loading brush on his own. He's 80 years old. He was wheezing and having a great deal of difficulty with a massive task ahead of him. And no one offered to help him," Ward said.
read more here

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Vietnam Veteran Searches For Woman Who Saved Him From Suicide 42 Years Ago

Suicidal army veteran seeks beautiful stranger who saved his life - 42 years later
Mirror UK
3 OCT 2015
Wracked with guilt over his actions during the Vietnam War, the veteran said the woman had "breathed life into his lungs"

A Vietnam War veteran has written an impassioned plea to trace the "beautiful" woman who saved his life 42 years ago.

He fell deeply in love with the stranger when they shared a coffee and chat on New Year's Eve in 1972.

At the time the pilot was ready to kill himself claiming to have flown four B-52 sorties dropping 48 bombs, before being discharged.

Sadly, the woman left without leaving a number and he returned EVERY day to the same place without ever seeing her again.

Now his heartfelt letter on Boston's Craigslist to reunite with her has gone viral.

After spending a depressing day "trudging through the rain" his life changed when on the way back to his "barren apartment" he came across the woman.

"You were wearing a teal ball gown, which appeared to me both regal and ridiculous," he writes.
Now an "old man", he wants to trace woman on Craiglist 'Missed Connections' site and Facebook .

Ending the letter, he tells woman: "You breathed your spirit into my lungs one rainy afternoon, and you can't possibly imagine my gratitude."
read more here

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

VA Nurse Gave Disabled Vietnam Veteran Shoes Off Own Feet

Nurse at Salisbury VA hospital gives veteran the shoes off his feet
News and Observer
January 27, 2015
Most of his family had given up on him, he told Maulden, but his nephew still cared enough to bring him to the hospital that night for treatment.
Homelessness remains a major issue for veterans, and the Salisbury VA hospital serves its share – 4,227 last year, said Jennifer Herb, director of health care for homeless veterans at the Salisbury VA. Often, Herb said, those veterans have multiple issues, including medical problems, mental health conditions and substance addictions.

One quality that makes Chuck Maulden a caring emergency department nurse is his ability to put himself in someone else’s shoes.

Recently, he’s been lauded for putting someone else in his.

Maulden, 33, had been working in the emergency department at the Salisbury Veterans Affairs Medical Center for a just a couple of months when a patient came in near the end of his shift one night in November.

The man appeared to be in his mid-60s, Maulden said, and he was there because his feet were causing him such pain he could hardly walk.

“He kept talking about being in bad water in Vietnam,” Maulden said, though Maulden doesn’t know if the man served there during the war. Many soldiers who did suffered from trench foot, caused by long exposure to cold, damp conditions.

The man took off his tattered tennis shoes, and Maulden could see the soles were worn through and coming unglued. The balls of his feet were covered in huge blisters, and his compression stockings had matted to the skin where the blisters had drained. A doctor instructed Maulden to bandage his feet and give him fresh stockings.
read more here

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Soldier Fed Hungry Woman and Sat with Her a While

Family looking for soldier who bought hungry Petersburg woman a hot meal
NBC 12 Virginia
By Ashley Monfort
Updated: Dec 17, 2014

An effort is underway to find a soldier who bought a hungry woman a hot meal in Petersburg. Another customer posted a photo of the soldier sitting down with the stranger at the Hardee's off of Route 460 in Petersburg on Tuesday.

NBC12 tracked down the woman and now her family wants to thank the man who gave her a hot meal.

A motel off of Route 460 in Petersburg is where Roxie Delphine Edwards calls home, and a hot meal isn't always easy to come by. She says she goes hungry some days.

Edwards lives near a Hardee's restaurant where the manager says she usually just asks for a drink. On Tuesday she says she walked in the rain and asked a soldier for help. "I asked him if he could buy me something to eat and he said yeah," Edwards said.
read more here

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Veteran Pays Bill for Soldiers In Illinois

In Two Separate Cases, Veterans Perform Random Acts of Kindness at Store
ABC News
Nov 7, 2014
PHOTO: An anonymous man bought up to $70 in snacks for a group of 15-20
soldiers at Huck's Convenient Store in Swansea, Illinois.

A convenience store in Swansea, Illinois, was the scene of not one but two random acts of kindness by anonymous veterans.

Tim Lillis, the manager of Huck’s Convenience Store, said it all started yesterday when a Navy veteran was purchasing a cup of coffee as a group of 15 to 20 soldiers lined up behind him to pay for their items. The man bought his coffee then moved to the side and asked the cashier to add whatever the soldiers bought to his tab. The final bill came to $69.88 in hot dogs, drinks, nuts and snack foods, according to Lillis.

Lillis said he asked the man to pose for a picture but he politely declined, saying "it was just something I wanted to do," before turning and leaving the store.

"I think he should get a medal," Lillis told ABC News. "It was an awesome thing."
read more here

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Loveland Starbucks customers pay it forward

'Paying it backwards' at the drive-thru
written by: Adam Chodak

LOVELAND - Call it a Venti Caffe Latte of love.

At the Starbucks drive-thru in Loveland, more and more people are pulling up to the pick-up window to find they owe nothing. They're then told the person ahead of them paid their bill.

"It kind of almost took my breath away for a minute," said Lindell Green, a Loveland resident. "It was just such a wonderful surprise."

Green then paid for the person behind him.

"This is paying it backwards," he chirped.

Starbucks employee Julia Domascieno says - for reasons she can't explain - this random act of kindness is becoming less and less random.

"I've seen it go through 15 cars," she said.

Of course, this idea of paying it backwards wasn't born at this coffee shop and it's not limited to its drive-thru.
go here for more

linked from CNN

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas random act of kindness

From WanderingVets

“I noticed a man looking rather down and just… not right… at a bus stop right next to (in front of) where my car was parked at a convenience store near my sister’s, and he slowly began to approach me as I was walking back to my car after being in the store. I didn’t smell alcohol. The guy looked more depressed than anything, but was certainly not waiting for the bus. It was a sheltered stop, and a place to sit out of the rain.

Before he could say something I said, “You have a place to stay tonight?” trying to get him to look at my face “No, ma’am.” “Have something to eat… or any money? I assume you’re not actually waiting for the bus.”

“Well… no, not actually, ma’am” (must’ve been in the military).

He wouldn’t look me in the face, but it was dark, and raining. It’s been pretty cold here. I handed him a juice I’d just bought for myself and a five dollar bill from my wallet, and I thought he didn’t believe me at first.

He just kinda stood there and then said, “Wow, thank you!!!” and he finally looked me in the eyes. I smiled at him and told him good luck and wished him a merry Christmas, such as it was.

“God bless you ma’am, and merry Christmas to you, too” and then looked down at the bill I’d handed him. He was still looking at it as I was driving away.

‘So then I drove to my sister’s crying. Thankfully my son was asleep in his booster seat.”

go here for more

Ok so you know there is a sermon coming on. I can't help it.

When Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem there was no place for them to stay. No one knows what would have happened that night to them or to the baby Mary was delivering that night had it not been for a random act of kindness from the man letting them seek shelter in the stable. Where would the angles have lead the shepherds? Where would the Magi have followed the star too? More to the point is what would God think of the people who would provide no shelter to His child?

We are all children of God. Our souls sent from His side to live on this earth. We live in a nation claiming to be a "Christian Nation" since most claim the faith in Christ and we claim God "shed His grace on thee" "crowning they good with brotherhood" and yet we allow our brothers and sisters to go without shelter, food, clothing and depleting hope on a daily basis.

A while ago someone posted an angry comment about how I could pay more attention to the homeless veterans in this nation than I do to all the homeless. I tried to explain that if we cannot even take care of the homeless veterans, who unselfishly were willing to sacrifice their lives for this nation, the rest of the homeless were more unlikely to be taken care of or even noticed in the kind of nation refusing to take care of the ones responsible for this nation still existing.

As individuals we can do random acts of kindness that will warm the heart of God but as a nation on the whole, we prove we are not as good as what all the songs about this country claim. We ask God to bless this nation and yet we act like the man in this parable;

Luke 12
The Parable of the Rich Fool 13Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."
14Jesus replied, "Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?" 15Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
16And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop.
17He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'
18"Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." '
20"But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'
21"This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."

I often wonder what people are going to do with all the money they have accumulated over the last decade when they die? What could they possibly plan on doing when their kids will inherit it all after they die? Do they really think their kids need that much money? It's one thing to want a mansion and live the good life if they worked hard for it, but too many have made their billions off the backs of other people. We have a nation of over 300 million people yet less than 30 million veterans and only about 17 million of them are combat veterans. We no longer attribute wealth in the millions but in the billions. You cannot even get honorable mention on Forbes anymore unless you have a billion.

The World's Billionaires
Edited by Luisa Kroll and Allison Fass 03.08.07, 6:00 PM ET
It has been a busy year in the fortune-hunting business. Strong equity markets combined with rising real estate values and commodity prices pushed up fortunes from Mumbai to Madrid. Forbes pinned down 946 billionaires, including 178 newcomers and 17 people who climbed back into the ranks after being absent for a year or more. Two-thirds of last year's billionaires are richer. Only 17% are poorer, including 32 who fell below the billion-dollar mark. The billionaires' combined net worth climbed by $900 billion to $3.5 trillion. That equates to $3.6 billion apiece. More . . .

BILLION BUCKS isn't what it used to be. Own a few apartment buildings in Tokyo, and—even in this market—you're almost certainly worth a bill. Take a high-tech company public when it's hot, and you're in the no-longer-so-exclusive billionaire club.
Ten years ago Forbes started counting billionaires outside the U.S. We found 96. Last year, 298—plus 149 American billionaires. With stock markets around the world up an average 23% in the last year, the billionaire population, like the deer population, is sure to have increased.

If this makes sense to people who want to have a fit over the so called "war on Christmas" like Bill O'Reilly, then you haven't a clue who Christ was, what He wanted us to be or what He wanted us to do. You don't have the slightest idea what He was born to teach all of us as well as die for us because of our own sins.

This Christmas, have a real war on Christmas that would make Jesus smile. Wage war on greed and selfishness. Return one of your gifts and donate the money to a shelter. Take the sweater someone gave you and donate it. Tell your husband you don't need another diamond but you want him to donate the money to a charity in your name for all the love you gave him over the years. Tell your wife you don't need a new set of golf clubs but you want her to donate the money instead to a charity in honor of your life. Create your own random act of kindness and be blessed like the Inn keeper was on the night Christ was born or you can be cursed like the rich land owner who only care about what he could gain.

Kathie Costos

"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." - George Washington