Somewhere Someone Is Facing A Harder Battle 5-9-19

I’ve seen this before and every time I read the words it reminds me of how true this statement is. I will never forget when I was battling cancer. I was really feeling sorry for myself. No job, financially bankrupt, my hair, eyebrows, eyelashes and toe nails had fallen out. At the time I found myself feeling like my world was over. Father Michael encouraged me to volunteer at the homeless shelter at my church. I agreed.

My first day I received the greatest blessing ever. A huge dose of humble pie. All of our guests who were lined up outside came in to have breakfast. I had never met so many people who exuded more gratitude than those people I met that day. They had nothing. They were living in the park and yet their gratitude was overwhelming. I found myself feeling overwhelmed with a feeling that reminded me of just how ungrateful I had been. I couldn’t hold back the tears so I went to the back room and cried my eyes out. That day changed my life forever. I see others with a compassionate heart. Every time I feel sorry for myself I think of the wonderful people I met that day. Hence, a reminder there are always others who’s story is worse than mine.

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I Hope You Never Have To Do This 1-5-19

My mom and I were driving out of the mall today. As we approached the stop sign to turn on to the main road out of the parking lot, there stood a homeless man holding up a sign that read “I hope you never have to do this”. I have to say, those words really tugged at my heart. I often say “in a New York minute, everything can change”. I should know. My life is very different that it was only six years ago.

We drove out of the mall. I didn’t say anything to my mom but I drove all the way to the main Road. I turned right, then turned right again. My mom asked “where are we going?” I replied “don’t ask. You’ll only make fun of me”. I drove back to the mall parking lot and stopped where that man was. He was not only freezing but I could tell he had been crying. I told him I didn’t have any cash on me but would be happy to buy him a meal and some coffee. He said “yes. Thank you!” I drove across the street to McDonald’s and bought him two meals and some coffee. When I returned and handed him his bag he looked at me in awe saying “oh my god! Thank you”. I then handed him his coffee. My heart went out to him as I could see him tear up. He thanked me again and said “I love you”.

I’m sharing this story tonight because I’d like to encourage others to have a heart and do your best to show compassion to others. You won’t always be greeted with the same love and gratitude this man showed to my mother and I but what you will be greeted with is a sense of peace knowing you helped someone in need. There are no guarantees in life. You never know when you might find yourself standing at a mall parking lot holding up a sign that says “I hope this never happens to you!” It will Be then that you will find yourself hoping someone will stop and lend a helping hand.

Lend A Helping Hand 1-2-18

My mother and I had doctors appts today in Wenatchee. Afterwards we ran to Walmart. I don’t even remember why we went there however what I do remember is an incident that happened after we left. I can’t stop thinking about this.

After we left Walmart I saw a homeless man standing on the street corner by the signal light leaving Walmart. He had a sign that said “I’m homeless. Anything will help”.

For some reason rather than proceeding towards the signal light, I pulled in to this hamburger joint that’s near Walmart on the corner where this man was standing. My mother asked me what I was doing. I said “I’m going to buy that man lunch.” My mother asked “what man?” I said “the homeless man on the corner.”

It was tight wad Tuesday at the hamburger joint. I went through the drive-thru and ordered a cheeseburger, fries and Pepsi. After I got the order I drove towards the man. I called out to him. He walked towards my car and I handed him his drink and bag full of food. He said “I’ll sure take that Maam. Thank you. It will be my first meal today”. It was 2:00. He was so filled with gratitude. My heart went out to him. It was so cold today. I couldn’t imagine being homeless cold and hungry. I don’t know why I was inclined to do this today however I do believe that voice in my head prompting me to help that man was from god. I’m glad I did.

I’m sharing this story not for accolades rather to encourage everyone to lend a hand to those in need. It’s easy to walk away when you see someone on a street corner holding a sign. It’s easy to ignore them but really, is that the right thing to do? I try and put myself in their shoes. What if that was you? I often say “in a New York minute everything can change”. What I mean by that is “god giveth, god taketh away. I spend a whole $6.49 today. For some, that’s a lot. For me $6.49 is nothing if I can help someone in need.

Father Mario told a story once of a homeless man sitting in front of a bank asking for money. People walked in and out of the bank. Not one person helped him. They ignored him. Finally a young man walked out of the bank and lend the homeless man a helping hand. When he did, the homeless man stood up. As it turned out the man wasn’t homeless at all. Rather, he was Jesus. Father Mario asked the question “would you walk away if it was Jesus?” My answer has always been no which is why I try my best to not walk away. I’d hate to miss the chance to help someone only to find out the person I was helping was Jesus.

Next time you see someone in need, lend a helping hand. There are so many people suffering. One little act of kindness will go a long way and heck, who knows. The person you help might stand up and be Jesus.

Angels Among Us 6-10-17

I heard this song by Alabama this morning. I’m not a huge fan of country music however, this song is worth listening to. I am so blessed to have many angels in my life. Angels who have stood by my side. Angels who have picked me up as I’ve been knocked down many, many times these past few years. Angels who have appeared out of nowhere to pray with me, encourage me and believe in me. My heart is filled with so much gratitude. 
As I listened to this song I thought of all the angels in my life. However, there are three angels that really stood out. Not because of anything they did for me but for how they’ve touched my life. Oliver and Audrey, my two grandchildren, are the sweet little angels that healed my aching heart. There’s nothing more incredible than the joy these kids bring to my heart. Even on the most challenging days, and believe me I have many, one kiss from Audrey and Oliver and nothing else matters. My heart feels nothing but love. 

Then there’s James. James is the homeless man I became friends with in San Francisco. His story touched me in a way I can’t put in to words. Besides being homeless, he was fighting bone cancer. James and I prayed often. I even gave him my beloved St Jude necklace. In my opinion, he was an angel. He opened my heart to being compassionate towards those in need. I think of him often and wonder if we will ever cross paths again. I hope and pray he made it. I still cry when I think of him. 

We all have angels in our lives. I would like to encourage everyone reading this post to take some time today and recognize the angels in your own life. For me I would just like to thank mine and send them blessings filled with pure light and love. 

To One Angel From Another Angel 4-14-17

I have said on numerous occasions I joined JMT because I sincerely want to add value to the lives of others and make a difference. I have also shared I have a passion for helping those in need. This morning I woke up and the sun was shining. Rather than go to the gym I thought I’d walk outside and breathe in air and pure light. My walk is 3 1/2 miles on a country road. As I walked I was listening to one of my meditation videos. Today’s mantra was give love to someone in need and refrain from being judgmental. As I walked I saw a van parked along the road. There was a big white dog sitting next to the van. As I walked past the van I noticed a woman sitting in the driver seat. She was wrapped in a sleeping bag. I noticed the van was filled with many personal belongings and the top of the van had coolers and other items. At first I was overtaken with fear so I started running. However, as I ran a voice in my head told me this woman was homeless and she was in trouble. I walked another mile and a half and by the time I arrived at home it was clear I needed to help this woman. I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote this woman a note. I told her I didn’t know her story and it was none of my business. Her story was between her and god but I wanted to remind her that she was loved and I encouraged her to have faith and trust god would see her through this. Encouraging words I have heard from so many JMT members during my own trials. I put a $20 bill in the letter and stuffed it in an envelope. I addressed the envelope “To an Angel from another Angel.” I got in my car and drove to give the letter to this woman. I was fearful as I pulled up next to the van. I could have never imagined what awaited me. The woman I saw was actually a young woman in her mid twenties with a young son who was probably 3 or 4. They were eating dry cheerios out of a bag. My stomach sank. This young woman kept trying to make up excuses as to why she was there. Her son was happily telling me his name was Jaime. I handed her the envelope. She said “oh no. I’m ok really. I just lost my phone”. I knew she was lying. Her young son began opening the envelope. As he did I felt the tears roll down my eyes. I wasn’t alone. This young woman began crying too. I knew then I had done the right thing. I drove home in tears. I don’t always make a difference in the lives of others but I certainly hope I made a difference in this woman’s life this morning. I take my affiliation with JMT very seriously. I’m so grateful that today I was able to exercise the Law of Intuition and use it to help someone in need. I didn’t judge. Instead I gave love to someone in need. Despite my fear, I followed that little voice that said “help”. I’m still teary eyed as I share this story. However I’m grateful to be a part of team who encourages me to be intuitive to helping others. 

Many years ago when I was probably in my late 20’s the priest at my church gave a powerful homily. He told about a homeless man who sat on the sidewalk next to a bank. He was a man in need. This man was disheveled, dirty and had a beard. As people walked in and out of the bank they ignored and shunned him. Not one person stopped to help. Finally, a young man before walking in to the bank stopped to help this man. He not only gave him money he asked the homeless man what he could do to help. The homeless man stood up. When he did, he wasn’t what he seemed. In fact his entire appearance had changed. He was Jesus and he blessed this young man with so many blessings. The priest at my church ended the homily by saying “often times god speaks to us or disguises himself through people. Never walk past someone in need. You never know, you might miss your chance to meet Jesus and miss out on the many blessings he has in store for us”. That homily had an enormous impact on my life. It’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about helping those in need. I don’t want to miss out on the chance to meet or help Jesus. 

You never know whose life you will change when you choose to be their light for a day. And as you’re helping someone in need, remember….you never know the person you are helping just might be Jesus! 

Matthew 25:31-46New International Version (NIV)

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Photo credit Gaylord Rhodes

The Tom Challenge 12-14-16

I haven’t written on my blog in quite some time. In fact, a while back I changed the settings of my blog to private. I suppose because I’ve used this blog with the intent to make a difference, however sharing some of the details of my life would have been best served to be kept quiet. I made the decision that just for today, I’m changing my settings to public in the hopes this story will encourage those reading this to make a difference. 

I was on my three mile walk this morning despite the frigid 15 degree temperature. My walks are so important to me. I use the time to reflect and more importantly pray. Not only for myself but the so many people who are on my prayer list. It was very cold this morning. In fact, so cold the wind was hurting my face. I couldn’t wait to get home to the warmth of my mothers house. I began to think of all those who weren’t as lucky to have a home to go to. Those who are homeless with not a warm place to look forward to. 

It’s no secret that I am very passionate about helping those in need. I’m very passionate in bringing awareness by encouraging others to open their hearts to the needs of others. As I reflected I thought of the many days I served feeding the homeless at the shelter in San Francisco. Four days per week, my church opened their doors for those in need. Tuesday’s and Thursday’s they served breakfast and lunch and allowed their “guests” to shower and do their laundry. Wednesday’s and Friday’s it was breakfast only but every day our guests left with a care package of snacks, socks, toiletry items and new clothes if they needed them. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Even more rewarding were the “guests” who became our friends. My friends. 

I was thinking of a gentleman I served with this morning. His name was Tom. Tom was a very tall, older gentleman with such a happy, giving heart. He was always smiling. He exuded so much gratitude and had a way about him that somehow lit up even the darkest room with a light of happiness.  If Tom wasn’t cleaning, he was helping the sisters, if there was a clean up activity at our church, Tom was the first one there to volunteer. He was always at mass and always willing to volunteer at church when needed. He helped the “guests” with anything they needed. He was a listening ear and always offering support to those in need. 

One Saturday, a church group I belonged to met at the church to make care packages for all of our “guests” for Easter. These care packages were filled with every necessity you can imagine. Not surprising, standing next to me working away was Tom. As usual Tom was not only volunteering his time to help but he was also very intuitive to my needs. I was fighting cancer at that time. The group brought in pizza for lunch so Tom and I took a break and sat together for lunch. Tom was very inquisitive about my cancer and exuded such a caring attribute that he melted my heart. Words can not describe my surprise when Tom began to share his story.  

Tom was not a volunteer at all, rather he was a “guest” of the shelter. In fact, he had been homeless living on Turk Street until a few months prior to meeting me. Turk Street is a very bad area in San Francisco. The sisters had helped Tom rent a room at a hostel. He was so grateful for everything they had done for him. They bought him dishes, pots and pans. Everything he needed for his room. He couldn’t have been more grateful. You see, Tom had been diagnosed with cirrhosis of his liver. He had been given about a year if that to live. He was very sick, yet he never showed it. Instead, he spent his days giving back. Tom shared that he had qualified for a liver transplant. After much thought, he opted to decline. I was shocked and asked him why he would do such a thing. After all, a liver transplant could save his life. I will never forget Tom’s reply. He looked at me with a big smile on his face and said “Velma, I’ve lived my life. I’ve had a full life. I haven’t always made the best choices and life hasn’t always treated me kind, but I’ve lived. I can not deprive a young person who might need a transplant of living theirs. What kind of person would that make me?”  I felt the tears roll down my face. There standing before me was the most selfless man I had ever met. I hugged Tom and from that day forward he became my friend who I looked up to. 

I’m sharing this story because I’d like to challenge those reading this today to take the Tom Challenge. Tom gave up a liver transplant to save his life in order to save someone else’s. What selfless act are you willing to do?  I’m not asking you to give up a liver, kidney or anything drastic but how about giving up an hour of your time to serve those in need, send an encouraging note to someone or just take the time to listen. There are so many things we can do to make a difference. The question is, how selfless are you? Just for today I’d like to encourage you take the Tom Challenge and make a difference. The reward you will receive will be far greater than the deed. 

Love Your Kids Unconditionally 7-22-16

I posted this on my Facebook two years ago. I thought it was worth blogging about. These girls were so wonderful and so full of happiness and gratitude. Their circumstances were bleak. They were shunned by their own families yet they exuded such a positive spirit. My heart went out to them. All they had was each other. I should mention they were only teenagers.  I couldn’t imagine turning my back on my children. They touched my life in so many ways that day. 

I’m really weak today so I ran downstairs to Safeway to buy some drinks and  food to build up my immune system. While standing in line two young girls came up and stood in line behind me. They had a huge bag of bagels and donuts. They were clearly gay. I tried to make room on the counter for them to put their bag down. For some reason, I don’t remember why but I apologized saying. “I’m sorry. I’m just really weak today”. What happened next cracked me up and certainly gave me a new perspective. One of the girls replied. “Omg tell me about it! We are homeless living in a shelter and all we’ve had to eat is a bowl of cereal! But they gave us some money at the shelter so we are loading up on bread!” These girls were young. I looked at them and asked “why are you homeless?” One of the girls, Alice, an African American girl,  shared she was from Sacramento and her parents kicked her out when they found out she was “queer”. Her words not mine. My heart went out to her. Kimberly, a stunning Mexican boy turned girl, shared she became homeless when her parents found out she was a transgender. The thing about these two girls was they were so positive and so happy. And despite their circumstances they were more worried about me begging to share their bag of goodies with me to get my energy back. They were funny, happy and even more so filled w so much gratitude for all the blessings they do have. I had five dollars in my wallet and I handed it to these girls. They were so over joyed and grateful. Kimberly, the transgender said “omg we are so blessed!!!!! Yesterday we found a bag someone accidentally left on a cart and it was filled w cookies. Today we got some money to buy bagels and donuts and now you hand us five dollars!” We had a nice visit. I don’t always understand why people are gay, transgender, etc but what I do know is it’s not for me to judge. We are all the same. I also know that these two girls were a blessing today. Despite all their adversities and challenges. They were happy, grateful and willing to help others. Now in my book that says a lot. I may be facing my own challenge but there is always something to be grateful for! Today I’m grateful for meeting Kimberly and Alice!

One of the things that has stood out in my mind about these two girls was they shared how hard they had fought not to be this way. That’s so sad. Unfortunately they come from a culture that doesn’t accept them. What has bothered me the most and has forced me to pray for them is their positive outlook on life. Their gratefulness, their kindness and their sense of humor. Something they obviously learned from their parents. As parents I believe we should love our children unconditionally. Right or indifferent they are a blessing from god. Kelly and Alice are no different. It really is sad that their parents can’t bring themselves to accept them for who they are. I love my children. I will love them always and forever. Unconditionally no matter what. Carole, a dear friend,  posted this quote. I thought I’d share as a reminder to all parents, especially those w children who are “different” should regard their children as a blessing and love them unconditionally no matter what!