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For months I’ve been putting posts up about people doing good things for others: giving to the needy, sharing what we have, helping others in a time of need, showing kindness to others.  It would only seem appropriate to blog about the ultimate good deed — Jesus giving his life for us.

He was willing to die on a cross to save us from our sins when He was free from any wrongdoing. Though he was God’s son, he had to have been frightened – or at least nervous about what was going to happen. He surely could have escaped at any moment, but chose not to. He instead made himself a servant. He endured the taunting, the thorns, the lashes and the crucifixion. The best part, of course, is His conquer over death – for He had risen from the dead on Easter Sunday!

Why would He endure so much for sinners – who have sinned in the past and would sin again? He did it out of love. Though we’re sinners, he wanted us to share in His inheritance of life in Heaven. So He gave up everything he had — including His life here on Earth.

As a people, we are still (and should be) touched by what He did for us.  We could never repay Him for His sacrifices. However, we can show our gratitude by treating others with love and kindness. If you look closely, you might even see Him in the compassion of others.

So during this season, we are reminded of God’s kindness and generosity. He gave his life for us. He had done the ultimate good deed.

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 When Cassie Healy created her necklaces at age five, nobody expected she’d be helping wishes come true. Her crafts of string and colorful buttons started out as a gift for her mom, Kathleen Healy, “because I thought it would look pretty,” says Cassie. Kathleen, a nurse at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, took Cassie’s necklace to work. Other nurses liked them and offered to buy some. “My co-workers started asking for the jewelry almost right away,” says Kathleen, “and so it began.”  Cassie’s project, “Buttons for Wishes” was born. Cassie jumped at the chance to make more necklaces since she loves to do crafts. She offered choices of bright, pastel, or vintage. “Bright is my favorite because you can see it the most,” says Cassie.  
           When Cassie collected $500, Kathleen asked her what she wanted to do with the money. Cassie insisted on donating it to the MakeA-Wish Foundation.I put the money in my Make-A-Wish box,” Cassie says. Kathleen adds, “because of my job, she has been more exposed to children with serious illnesses.”
      Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of seriously sick children age 2 to 18. “It’s rare . . . to get support from a young child who wants to help . . . by fund-raising,” says Rebecca Reid, from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. 
           The children who Make-A-Wish helps are often in a hospital instead of at the playground. Through Make-A-Wish, the children receive an experience they’ll remember forever. When asked why she wanted to give all her money to the foundation, Cassie simply said, “So sick kids can get happy.”   
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                      Cassie’s Kindness Catches On
             Generosity is contagious when you’re around Cassie. Word spread that she was selling the jewelry for Make-A-Wish. “The response was overwhelming,” says Kathleen. Last year, Cassie’s kindergarten class spent schooldays putting together the necklaces and donated money for more supplies. Even some local businesses showed interest in Buttons for Wishes.” 
             When Cassie finished her project, she had raised more than $1,000. Because of Cassie’s selflessness, she helped grant a wish and make someone “get happy.”                

         

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Giving Back

Our community has shown great support for my family over the last few years due to the children’s illnesses. While I was relieved that we had some help, I felt guilty accepting it. Then someone once said to me,”When someone gives to you-it’s as much of a blessing for them as it is for you. Don’t turn them down and take that blessing away from them.”

I didn’t know the true meaning of that until tonight. A friend of mine had her house broken into a few days ago. The thief stole just about everything.

Then I found out that even the children’s things were gone.  I looked around my house at the evidence of all those who helped us before. A generous community plus three children equals toys to the 10th power.

I called my friend and offered to give some of the things we had. My children were not just happy to share – they were excited. When my friend came to pick the toys and books up, the kids practically ran her over at the door.

I watched in awe as my friend smiled and looked over the large pile of toys, with my kids showing her everything. I usually only see that glow on people’s faces at Christmas time.

It was nice to give back to others in their time of need. My friend was right before. Giving is a blessing for the giver as well as the receiver. Maybe even more so.

The Power of Prayer

I’ll pray for you,” a friend says after she heard about a recent misfortune. People say that so many times it’s almost become a common courtesy.

 But what does it mean?

For some people it means, “You’re in my thoughts.”

For others it means, “I hope your situation gets better.”

But the best meaning, the one I hope most of us mean, is quite literal.  “I’ll take your concerns to God in my prayers and ask Him to help you.”

I never thought about this until tonight. My daughter, whom many of you may know by now had a liver disease and liver transplant, gets hit hard with the cold and flu season.

Tonight the worst for her were the stomach cramps. She tried to get some rest. It worked for a while, but it always came back – usually waking her from her much needed rest.

As her mother it was painful to watch. What could I do for her? Tylenol? No. She was afraid it would make her sick again. A drink? A medication? How could I make it stop?

My husband, who knew I was sick too, told me he’d take care of her and get some rest.  But how? Her cries can pierce my dreams.

As I sat in bed, I realized there was one thing I didn’t do. Prayer. I talk to God every night before I go to sleep. Why hadn’t I thought of it before?

“Dear God,” I said. “Please relieve her of her agony. She needs her rest. Please help her.”

Like an instant miracle, I hadn’t heard her cries after that. She even was well enough to go to school today.  

Christmas Kindness

The kids had a great Christmas this year, thanks to the generosity of many people around us. The school the kids go to sent a special family to help us. They know Jacqueline and Anthony have sever medical problems and they wanted to make this time of year spectacular for them. The hospital also did that for us. Combined, the kids were given everything they could have needed: clothes, toys, food, coats, shoes.

We also gave what we could to someone in need. Every Christmas in church there is a “Giving Tree.” The branched were decorated with tags of people’s names and their needs. We picked out one with a need of some new clothes. We couldn’t buy too much, but we were able to buy a few items for this family.

Kindess spreads like wildfire. The good feelings we bring to others when we give is the fuel to that fire. As long as there’s at least one person doing an act of kindness, the fire will burn brightly. May you spread the Fire of Kindness.

 Did you ever wonder what is in a good deed? How far can one little action go? If you see someone in need, how much would it matter if you helped them? Below is a story of what one action did for the community.

It was Jacqueline’s sixth birthday on Sunday. We ran to the food store to pick up the cake and a few other things to help celebrate. As with all our children, we wanted the birthday to be special. Even more so, since Jackie has only been to the hospital a few times since her last liver transplant.

Included in the cart was all her favorite food: Waffles for breakfast, Mac and Cheese for lunch and Ravioli for dinner. I let her pick out the cake ( turned out to be the most expensive one – but, hey it’s her birthday.) . When we went to check out, I pulled out the sixty dollars I withdrew from the Mac Machine.

Oh no. I was $8.45 short. No problem. I would just pull out my check card to pay the balance. I search my purse.  It wasn’t there. I frantically search my pockets. Nope, not their either. It turned out that in our early morning rush, I left the card in the Mac machine. This is why I avoid shopping before my morning cup of coffee.

 We were just contemplating what we could take off our order, when a complete stranger in the check out line next to us insisted on helping us out. I’m not sure how many times I thanked her, but one of the times she said that she’d had some bad things happening over the last couple months and that maybe God would help turn the tables. It sounded like she needed to know how big a help that was for us. So I told her how it was Jacqueline’s birthday and that she is a transplant patient.  She looked as if she were about to cry and hugged us.

Later that morning, we remembered her in church when it was time for our own silent petitions. I asked God to ease what ever burdens she was bearing.  After Mass, a spokesperson for an outreach program asked the congregation to help their mission and to save portions of leftever dinners to be delivered to the elderly and homebound. We signed up. It is amazing how one good deed can spread to help even more people. If the lady from the store hadn’t helped us, we wouldn’t have had the ravioli to share with the homebound. Nobody or any good deed is insignificant.

I realize this story is similar to the first post.  But at the same time it is very different. Judging by her reaction to what I told her in the store, I think  we may have helped her as much as she had helped us.  I didn’t have the money to give back to her, but I did have my prayers to help her. I will never know in my mind if those prayers were answered or how, but in my heart I know God will take care of her. Wouldn’t it be amazing to know the lady’s good deed had come full circle

Small, But Kind

 I went to the gas station to fill my van which was coasting on “empty”. I had just dropped my daughter off at her local Brownie’s meeting.  I approached the window to pre-pay for the gas when there was a sign that read:

“Please use the spring for the bills. Thank you.” Immediately, I panic. What in the world did she mean by “spring”? I looked all around the outside of the window, but saw no other way to hand over the cash.

Then a man lines up behind me, and I didn’t want to hold up a line while I attempted to figure out something that everyone else probably would know the answer to.

So I turn to the man and ask if he knows what that sign meant. I normally would never do this. I’ve always been too shy to even attempt to ask someone I didn’t know a question. But this time I bit the bullet and asked.  At first he was as confused as I was, But then recognition crossed his face and he pointed to a spring inside the the tray where we were to place our money. The “spring” was in place to hold down the dollar bills. This is the precise reason I don’t ask things from people I don’t know.  I was so embarrassed.

As he  pointed out what the spring was for, he grinned. But it was a friendly grin – not a what-an-idiot-grin. Still, as I realized that the answer to my question was staring at me the whole time, I laughed and said, “I’m such an idiot. Sorry.”

His response instead of being nasty:  “Nah, I would have thought the same thing.”

No he wouldn’t.

But it was nice of him to say so.

Another small good deed. It may seem insignificant, but the event still spread some good, some hope in humanity. He could have been mean about it or condescending. Instead, I walked away feeling better than I would have otherwise.  And when we make others feel good, that spreads to even more people.

Anonymous Helper

It’ was Sunday evening. The banks were closed. The new check card is in the mail.I had nine dollars left after finally getting the kids new shoes over the weekend. I stopped at a local mini market for a hoagie dinner with my daughter and discovered I was two dollars short. I immediately deducted things from my total until I had the bare minimum of what I came in for, but still ended up short somehow. 

Without looking, I sensed the line behind me growing by the second. I was sure the lady behind me was beyond annoyed and I was  just waiting for the irritated comments to start rolling in. That’s when the lady behind me handed me two dollars and insisted I use it. 

I turned  and faced her and said I couldn’t do that, all the while, she was smiling. I was surprised. Not only was this stranger not annoyed to the max for me holding up the line and hence holding her up – but she was happy and even offered me help.

I wish she knew just how much of an impact that gesture was for us. She didn’t know that when I got home and ate my dinner I had to give my three year old son medications for his only kidney, or that after the medicines I would be setting up a feeding tube that would run throughout the night. She didn’t know that we do story time at 6:30 because I have to be available for my son’s night nurse at 9:00. All of these things I take in stride. They’re part of life. But that one tiny gesture from the kind lady in the mini market made my day go a little easier. She’ll probably never know just how big her gesture really was. But that’s why it’s so important for us all to go out and do something nice. It may seem like nothing and appears meaningless, but you never know who you’re helping.  You just might make someone’s tough day a little brighter.