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Sunday, July 31, 2016

A film worth seeing, and celebrating!

Filmmaker Evan Briggs has noticed how America's seniors are locked away out of sight after a certain age. "Why are we OK with that?" she asked. Then she learned there was a pre-school in a retirement home in West Seattle, Washington. During the 2012-13 school year, she filmed three days a week at the intergenerational learning center for children ages 6 weeks to 6 years inside Providence Mt. St. Vincent, a retirement home for 400 adults. Her feature film, "Present Perfect," captures how it feels to grow up, and grow old, in America.

                                                                                                                                Evan Briggs
Briggs observes that the place where children and seniors overlap in always the present. "They've arrived at that place from either having an abundance of life experience or no life experience," she says. The elderly get a renewed sense of self-worth, and the children get unconditional love from doting residents, who do a "complete transformation" in the presence of children. "Sometimes they seemed half-alive," said Briggs, "but as soon as the kids walk in for art or music, the residents come alive." If you can spare four minutes, please watch the trailer for "Present Perfect," linked here. You'll never forget it.  https://vimeo.com/129831958

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Ben Moser keeps his promise

Ben Moser first noticed Mary Lapkowicz in second grade. She has Down syndrome, but that made no difference to him. He liked her anyway. Mary's brother Tom remembers, "A lot of grade school kids might have stayed away from Mary or thought she was weird, but not Ben." His fourth grade teacher said, "Ben was always the energetic kid in class who looked out for Mary and made sure she was included in all activities." They were in the same class for second, third and fourth grade, and fourth grade is when Ben made a promise. When they were old enough, he'd take her to the prom.


Now fast-forward seven busy years. They aren't in the same class anymore. Not even in the same high school. Ben's a junior now, and a star quarterback on his school's football team. One night he played a team from Mary's school. He saw her in the stands, and remembered his promise,  and invited her to their junior prom. When the day arrived, they both got all dressed up and went to the prom at Mary's Central Dauphin High School. Guess who came to see them off? Their fourth grade teacher, who says she has felt "truly blessed" to watch Ben and Mary over the years. Mary's brother added, "Ben has put a smile on Mary's face, and restored my faith in humanity."

Friday, July 29, 2016

Husband makes impossible dream come true

Micah Faris has heard all of his wife Jennifer's childhood camp stories. How her Dad bought an Apache camper and took the family on wonderful trips. All her fondest childhood memories happened in that camper, but when her Dad was killed in an accident, the family gave the camper away and it was later sold. Now fast forward 15 years. Micah and Jennifer have little kids of their own, and would love to take them camping. Of course it could never be the same as with her Dad, since the camper is long gone, probably in a junkyard by now. But Micah wonders if there's any possible way to locate the old rig and give it a new life with Jennifer and their kids.

Jennifer's Dad (upper left) when he took her camping. And Jennifer today.

Well, this story has a happy ending, but you'll never believe how it happened. Was it just a lucky coincidence, or is Jennifer's Dad smiling down from heaven? To find out, set aside eight short minutes and enjoy the video linked here, where Micah reveals the amazing details.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmQfFxiZesU

Thursday, July 28, 2016

"Becuz I Care"

Ten-year-old Leah Nelson lives in West Sacramento, California, and she's planning to change the world, one bracelet at a time. She's launched a program called "Becuz I Care" which encourages folks to treat each other kindly. And she hopes her effort to spread good deeds will go viral.

                                                                                              becuzicareII/Twitter
Her social experiment is simple. Do something nice for someone else, and then seal the deal with a bracelet she will provide. Each bracelet is passed along from one person to another as each does a good deed. But that's not all. She asks anyone who does a good deed and passes along her bracelet to share the story with her  on Twitter by tagging @BecuzICare11 or using the hashtag #BecuzICare11. Why? "I want the world to be a better place," she says.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

It flew through the air with the greatest of ease

A sick man was taken to a hospital in Bode, Norway, recently. He needed an ECMO machine which supports the heart and lungs. Without this machine, he would die in a matter of hours. The nearest machine was at a hospital in Trondheim, 280 miles away, a ten-hour journey by car. There seemed to be no hope, until doctors remembered there's an air force base near Trondheim. They called the base and learned an F-16 fighter jet like the one shown here was available to transport the life-saving machine.

                                                                                                                    Getty Images
The swift action of the Air Force was praised by doctors, who said, "It's very rare we have to borrow equipment on such short notice from another hospital." How fast was the delivery? "Usually we spend about 35 minutes in the air," said Lt. Col. Borge Kkeppe, leader of 338 Squadron, "but because of the special cargo, the pilot gave a little extra, so he was there in less than 25 minutes." Forty minutes after the first call asking for help, the medical equipment had arrived.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A reader in the midwest offers today's Crumb

It seemed like a small thing at the time, but it meant a lot of Coty Vincent, a young mother from Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her twin sons had just been victims of a hit-and-run-collision. She needed transportation so she stopped by Enterprise Rent-A-Car at 11th St. and Lewis Ave. in Tulsa. One of her twins was in a stroller, but she had to hold the other in her arms while she tried to fill out the paperwork, until the employee helping her (John, shown below) offered to hold her son while she completed the application. John has a twin sister, so he understands twins. Coty was so touched by this kindness that she took this photo and posted it on her Facebook page with the wish that everyone would be like John.
                                                                             Coty Vincent / Facebook
When the Enterprise social media team saw her post, they reached out and put Coty in touch with corporate officials. Within hours, Enterprise announced it would reward John for his outstanding customer service, and also purchase a double stroller for Coty's twins. "We were so moved by Coty's Facebook post that we wanted to do something special for her," said a company official. Coty hopes people recognize that no act of kindness is too small. "I think this world would be a much better place with small acts of kindness that go so far," she said.

Monday, July 25, 2016

700 crumbs all prove the same things

Since it began in July, 2014, this blog has found and shared over 700 "crumbs of comfort," viewed over 25,000 times by readers in 12 nations. If you're a regular reader, you know each crumb of good news proclaims a hidden message. And here's what we've learned so far.




Sunday, July 24, 2016

The grass is greener when it's mowed for free

The lady pictured below lives in Huntsville, Alabama. She is on a fixed income and just came out of the hospital. The man who lives next door was cutting her grass, but she could not longer afford his price. He was harassing her for payment, until she mentioned her problem to Rodney Smith, Jr., a computer science student at Alabama A&M University. During his college years, Smith noticed how many seniors, disabled folks or single mothers needed help with lawn care. He used Facebook to offer these clients free mowing every other week. In a month, he exceeded his goal of mowing 40 lawns for free.

                                                                                                                                      Faeebook
Since then, he and partner Terrence Stroy (shown in photo) formed a team of 20 young men from age 7 to 17. They're called THE RAISING MEN LAWN CARE SERVICE, and they voluntarily mow over 100 lawns every other week. The price is always $0.00. Smith says it's not really about lawns. It's about mentoring boys and raising men, since his volunteers are learning that "It's cool to give back." He feels this lesson puts "a good head on their shoulders." The initiative, financed by donations to a GoFundMe fundraiser page, captured the imagination of Briggs & Stratton, famed manufacturer of lawn mowers, who provided RAISING MEN with state-of-the-art equipment and also paid off the group's GoFundMe appeal. Smith hopes RAISING MEN will spread from Huntsville all across the United States, mentoring thousands of young boys and helping folks who need it most.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A letter from summer camp to "Grandma"

Earlier this month, Canada Post mail carrier Natasha Villeneuve was shown an envelope addressed from an 11-year-old camper named Abby to her grandmother, and the address was incomplete. This is not uncommon, but instead of tossing the envelope into the dead-letter box, Natasha posted a photo of the envelope on Facebook, hoping for a few dozen responses from her small town of Perth, Ontario. Instead, the post was shared nearly 16,000 times!

                                                                                                                                   Facebook
The rural route where the letter was addressed "To Grandma" has hundreds of residents, but a chance encounter helped locate Abbey's grandma, Dawn Kierans, and Natasha was able to deliver the letter within one week. "I owe Tasha a real thank you for delivering it," said Dawn, "because I would have been disappointed if Abby asked me when she came back, 'Did you get my letter?' and I had to say 'no.'" Meanwhile Abby is still away at summer camp and has no clue how many people helped deliver her letter.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The world really wants to help the needy

Take underprivileged kids in Buffalo, New York, for example. James Karagiannis, 36, and his team of 15 pedal freezers of ice cream and frozen novelties through poor neighborhoods on the east and south sides of town. Each treat costs $1, but what about the little boy or girl who does not have a dollar? James could not turn anyone away, so he made them answer a history or math question (with hints) before getting the treat. Everything was fine until The Buffalo News told his story.

                                                                                                      Courtesy of James Karagiannis
First, regular customers began making donations to cover the cost of free treats, but within 24 hours, two media outlets in the United Kingdom and ABC News had reached out to him. And that was just the beginning. "Media from everywhere in the world is calling," he said. A fundraising effort expected to garner $400 quickly grew to $4,500. "That's a lot of ice cream to give out," he said, so now each needy child who cannot afford a dollar must write message on a thank-you postcard which is sent to one of the many donors. It helps the children value the gift they receive, and brings a smile to donors who may have forgotten they contributed to this worthy cause. James never expected his scheme to gain worldwide notice. "It's just a little thing that I had no idea would snowball (no pun intended), and I'm proud," he said.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Is any act of kindness too small to matter?

The man in the picture below is James Varnado, a recent shopper at the Target store in Kenner, Louisiana. The parking lot was drenched by a torrential downpour so, instead of rushing to their cars, customers were waiting out the storm inside the store.  But Varnado had something nobody else had -- a huge umbrella and an even bigger heart.

                                                                                                              Deepak Saini/Facebook
He was drenched from head to toe but had a smile on his face as he escorted mothers and kids to their cars and helped them unload their purchases. According to photographer Deepak Saini, "Every time he returned he said, 'Who's next?' with a big grin." Why did Varnado do this? "People are people," he explained. "It doesn't matter if you're the richest person in the world or the poorest. Somebody needs help? Help 'em."

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Black Lives Matter protestors and police co-host barbecue

On July 17, Black Lives Matter activists and police in Wichita, Kansas, co-sponsored a "First Steps Barbecue" in McAdams Park. Food was provided free by the police, the community and local businesses. Protestors had planned a march, but the two sides agreed to break bread instead. Chief Gordon Ramsay led a question-and-answer session during the gathering, and some questions were very blunt. One person asked about weeding bad officers out of the ranks.

                                                                                                                                      KSN-TV
Only about 400 people RSVP'd to the event on Facebook, but more than 800 actually attended. Black Lives Matter organizer A.J. Bohannon explained the purpose of the barbecue. "First thing we want to do is break that boundary, break that barrier. The second thing we want to do is start that conversation."

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Prisoners escape to save guard's life

It happened at the jail in Parker County, Texas. An officer, who has not been identified, was guarding eight inmates who were locked in a holding cell. He was joking with them until he sudden fell down unconscious. Inmate Nick Kelton thought it was a joke at first, but then realized the guard had suffered a heart attack, so Nick and his cellmates made as much noise as possible to attract attention to the crisis, but no help arrived.

                                                                                                                      YouTube Media 24
Realizing their guard needed immediate care, the inmates broke out of their cell to save him. At that moment, they had access to the unconscious guard's gun and keys, but they yelled for help until other deputies came and called paramedics who defibrillated the unconscious guard, saving his life. "It never crossed my mind not to help,whether he's got a gun or a badge," said Kelton. "If he falls down, I'm gonna help him."

Monday, July 18, 2016

The secret ingredient was gratitude

Police officers in Detroit's 11th Precinct enjoyed a homemade bag lunch recently. Each bag contained a sandwich, some fruit, a cookie and some chips, along with a big serving of heartfelt gratitude from the cook, nine-year-old Samya McLaughlin. "I was thinking that I should feed the officers because I wanted to show them that I support them and I thank them for what they do," she explained.

                                                                                                                   J. Scott/WWJ NewsRadio
According to her mother, Samya decided to do something special for the police after watching news coverage of the Dallas shooting, which left five officers dead. So she used her birthday cash to buy food needed for lunches. After feeding the police, she made 30 more bag lunches and which she handed out to the homeless. Samya's father said his daughter has a big heart and knows how to appreciate what's going on."

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Pre-teen knows 1,000 people by name!

Kenzie Hinson of Goldsboro, North Carolina, was only 11 years old when she learned one in three children and one in five grown-ups in her community don't have enough to eat. It didn't seem fair, so she opened "Make A Difference Food Pantry" in a church and helped a few dozen people once a week. After growing the pantry for a year, she garnered enough support from Food Lion, Panera Bread and CVS to donate groceries to more than 1,000 people each month. And here's the part you won't believe. She knows nearly all of her 1,000 customers by name! Her pantry now occupies 2,400 square feet and her operating costs come mostly from fundraising. "I raise funds at local restaurants like Zaxby's," she said. But this spring her fundraising got a huge boost.


The 12-year-old was selected by Tyson Foods as winner of their Meals That Matter Hero award. It's a great honor, but she was totally shocked (as you can see by her picture) when the company surprised her with a new commercial-sized freezer and a $20,000 donation. "I got so excited when they surprised me with that gift that I couldn't help but cry," she said. She now wants her pantry to be in a 10,000 square foot warehouse and have a garden so it always offers fresh produce. The 1,000 hungry folks she knows by name hope she succeeds.

Friday, July 15, 2016

A sympathetic reader in Raleigh, NC....

....offered today's Crumb. It happened in Barnesville, GA, where 19-year-old Fred Barley put up a tent outside a local college. That's where officer's found him, but instead of ushering him off campus, they listened to his story. He's a homeless college student from Conyers who rode a bike six hours in the Georgia heat, carrying two full duffel bags, to register for his second semester as a biology major at Gordon State College. When he discovered dorms are closed until August, he decided to sleep on campus in his tent for a few weeks, with only a box of cereal to eat. He didn't expect any favors from the police, but he was in for a surprise.


First, the officers took Fred to a local motel and paid for his next two nights. An officer's wife posted his story on the Barnesville community Facebook page and hundreds more stepped forward to help. The motel owner paid for Fred to stay until the dorms open. A local pizzeria hired him as a dishwasher and plans to train him to cook pizza, working around his school schedule. Residents have stepped up to care for his medical and dental needs while donating clothes, school supplies and a new bike. A GoFundMe page raised nearly $9,000 in 48 hours. Amber Shoemake, shown above, felt an instant need to help Fred. He plans to attend church with her and her family on Sunday. He says God has been the driving force that keeps him going. "You can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me," he explains, adding, "My legs are working. Millions of people walk and bike to work every day. I definitely think I can bike a couple of hours to get to my future." But he is amazed at the kindness of strangers, especially the officers who first ordered him to come out of his tent with his hands up. "I am black," he says, "and he didn't care what color I was. He just helped me."

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A loyal reader in Plymouth, Indiana...

...contributed today's Crumb. A police team from Homestead, PA, near Pittsburgh, are regular diners at the Eat n' Park restaurant. They were waiting for their meal recently when a couple entered the restaurant and refused to be seated at a table next to the officers. This may have been due to tension toward law enforcement following police shootings. One of the officers assured the couple there was nothing to worry about, but the patrons decided to sit on the other side of the restaurant.

                                                                                                     Homestead Police Department
Instead of bearing a grudge, the officers decided to pay the disgrunted patron's $29 tab and add a $10 tip for their waitress.  This finally led to a smile and a thank-you.  Officer Chuck Thomas explained their generosity. "We work the the public," he said, "and we just want to better the relationship between the community and the police."

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

68-year-old grandfather finishing 10th grade

His twenty classmates call him Baa, which means father in Nepali, but his real name is Durga Kami, and he's a grandfather who is not sitting on the sidelines. When his wife died, he decided to work through his grief by returning to school and eventually becoming a teacher. He even got a scholarship to pay for his uniform and supplies.

                                                                                                                  Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters
Six days a week, he walks more than an hour from his one-room house in Syangja, Nepal, to Shree Kala Bhairab Higher Secondary School, where he's quick to participate in class and ask questions. He even plays volleyball with his school friends at lunchtime. He grew up poor and his family could not afford to keep him in school as a child. Now he plans to study and learn for the rest of his life, and he hopes his efforts will encourage others.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Book now available on Amazon.com

Dear reader, As you may know, I wrote a book last winter called "God's Fingerprints: Dusting for the divine in the life of a Christian Scientist Journalist."  Until now, it has only been available directly from Hawthorne Publishers in Carmel, Indiana.


Beginning today, it is also available from Amazon.com. If you wish to order a copy, or have already read the book and wish to write a brief review for Amazon, just visit www.amazon.com/Gods-Fingerprints-Christian-Scientist-Journalist/dp/0996394931/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1468331241&sr=8-1&keywords=God%27s+Fingerprints%3A+Dusting+for+the+divine+in+the+life+of+a+Christian+Scientist+Journalist

Monday, July 11, 2016

Was $100 a fair reward for taxi driver's honesty?

It happened during the July 4 holiday weekend in Boston, MA. Raymond "Buzzy" MacCausland has been driving cabs in the Boston area for half-a-century. He remembers how a passenger once left a briefcase containing $10K in his cab, and he returned the money. But he'll never forget this weekend. He gave a homeless man a ride to a hotel, and the man left a backpack in the cab. Buzzy took the bag back to the hotel where the man was staying, and discovered it contained $187,786.75 in cash. (The homeless man had just received a inheritance.) Buzzy immediately took the fortune to the police, who returned it to its rightful owner. The owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, rewarded Buzzy by giving him a $100 bill from the bag of 187 thousand dollars. Was that a fair reward?

                                                                                                                      Credit: Matt West
Lots of folks don't think so.  Buzzy lives on Social Security and whatever he can earn driving a cab. When the folks at Royal Caribbean heard of his honesty, they called and offered him and his long-time girlfriend a free, seven-day Caribbean cruise. They're even including the airfare from Boston to the point of departure -- Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Bon voyage, Buzzy!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Calm, controlled and very professional in Dallas

As we all know, police in Dallas, Texas, have identified Micah Johnson, a 25-year-old Army veteran, as the sole suspect behind the killing of five police officers last week. The gunfire erupted during a Black Lives Matter protest march. A professional photographer named Robert Moore was covering the march when he saw one officer had been shot, "and then the gunfire really opened up." Moore crouched next to a car with three officers, unable to move for almost two hours. He took a few photos, including the one below. It shows one of one of the officers who was behind the car with him.

                                                                                                                     Robert Moore / Facebook
After two hours there was a break in the gunfire and Moore wanted to leave this area. The officer in this photo (who is yet unnamed) stood up to create a human shield. Moore got behind him and they walked as hastily as possible back to the main police line. Moore said, "That guy was calm, controlled, very professional. To be in the presence of someone with such command lends an air of assuredness to the people around that things are going to be OK."

Friday, July 8, 2016

Four-alarm surprise on 100th birthday

If the Norfolk, Virginia, Fire-Rescue Department had an official grandmother, it would be Jeanette Carty. Her late husband, Joe, served 30 years with the department, starting in 1942. Her nephew, Captain David Bear, and his father also served. Jeanette still lives in the same house where she and Joe raised their children, and recently the Fire-Rescue Department came to her home -- not to extinguish a fire, but to honor her on her 100th birthday.

                                                                                              Norfolk Fire-Rescue Department
Firefighters escorted the grinning centenarian outside to a reception line where dozens of firefighters stood in formation. They presented her with a sunflower bouquet as new recruits in red shirts applauded. How did Jeanette react? "I was never so surprised in my life," she said. "It was amazing."


Thursday, July 7, 2016

NYPD sergeant disobeys direct order (from wife)

Last January, Nancy Viola asked her husband, Vito Viola, to buy Powerball tickets. She had the Powerball fever that was sweeping the nation. But her husband didn't listen. Instead, he used a leftover dollar to buy a Quick Pick for the Mega Millions. The next day, Nancy heard the winning ticket had been purchased from a nearby location, so she checked her ticket. "I thought I was having a heart attack," she said. "There was a little screaming."

                                                                                                                               Brooklyn Paper
The couple kept their winning a secret for months. They assembled a financial team, and set up a foundation to cash the check before claiming the ticket on March 10. The couple has not made any major purchases yet, but Vito has put in for retirement, since they chose to receive the prize as a one-time lump-sum payment of $64,796,160.00.  And Nancy isn't angry that Vito didn't listen to her.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

11-year-old refugee thanks Canadians

Thousands had gathered on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on July 1 to celebrate Canada Day, but some were there for the first time as they prepared to start a new life. Among the newcomers were Wejdan Toubeh, her daughter Aziza, 11, and sons Wessam, 17, and Ward, 22. Accompanied by their sponsors Susan Whitley and Hoda Mankal, they were dressed in red and white to enjoy the festivities. They have been in Canada since December after fleeing Syria's deadly civil war. Their father, a welder, did not make it. He was killed in Lebanon while the family waited to gain refuge. In a brief CBC interview, Aziza, shown here, began crying as she thanked Canadians for providing her with sponsors. "I thank you for much," she said, tearfully.

                                                                                                                                         CBC
When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heard about Aziza's gratitude, he and his wife Sophie immediately came into the crowd to greet her, and Sophie gave Aziza a hug. The unexpected meeting appeared on social media, where one reader responded, "This is what Canada is about. The more I know of Canada, the more I love her." No doubt Aziza will say the same when her English is fluent.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Army sharp-shooter saves bald eagle

It happened near Rush City, MN, last Thursday. Army veteran and sharp-shooter Jason Galvin spotted America's national bird shown here -- dangling upside down after its feet got tangled in a rope 75 feet up a tree. He called local authorities who claimed they could not help because they believed the eagle was already dead and body movement was caused by a breeze.

                                                                                                          Jackie Galvin, Facebook
Jason disagreed, and was determined to save the bird. He borrowed a .22 caliber rifle with a good scope and during the next 90 minutes he carefully fired 150 rounds until his bullets cleared the branches and severed the rope so the eagle could fall. He never hit the eagle, which was very much alive and is now eating and drinking well at the U. of Minnesota Raptor Center. Jason, who served two tours in Afghanistan, said, "Fourth of July, you know, that's our bird. I can't let it sit there."

Monday, July 4, 2016

"When I'm thinking bad thoughts, I like to read."

The jail in Montgomery County, TN, has a library for inmates, but the library has no budget and is not supported by taxpayer money. Since it relies entirely on donations, deputies were thrilled recently when Tyler Fugett walked in unannounced with more than 100 new books he bought at local bookstores.

                                                                                            Montgomery County TN Sheriff's Office
Tyler isn't a local businessman or philanthropist. He's a nine-year-old boy who used his allowance to buy the books. He wanted inmates to have something to take their minds off their surroundings. He told his mom, "When I'm thinking bad thoughts, I like to read, so I want to collect books for them." His mom says their family lives "penny-to-penny," but "I've never seen a child with a heart like his."

Sunday, July 3, 2016

A letter from John Adams to his wife Abigail

"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival...with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forever forward.


"You may think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration and support and defend these States. Yet, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory."  (July 3, 1776, written from Philadelphia)

An author, a teacher and a tweet

The past 18 months have been difficult for 8-year-old Heidi VanSumeren of Michigan. In March, 2015, her 11-year-old sister Avery died. Avery had been allergic to cats, and Heidi always wanted one, so in December, 2015, Santa brought Heidi a kitty. Three months later the VanSumeren's home burned down, and the cat did not survive the fire. Heidi's mom, Beth VanSumeren, was fearful Heidi would give up hope. Heidi loved books, and lost her entire collection in the fire. Two days after the blaze, she returned to Parma Elementary School in time to see visiting author Bob Shea make a presentation. At the end of his talk, he calls on a student to assist him, and he selected Heidi. He made her feel important, and she loved it. Later that day, the teacher thanked Shea and told him how Heidi lost all her books and her writing desk in the fire. That broke Shea's heart, so he tweeted some fellow authors and illustrators to see if they could help. That's when, according to a third grade teacher at the school, "Twitter exploded."

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Within 48 hours, 150 books, with personal notes from the authors, arrived at the school for Heidi. So far, more than 300 have been received, along with art supplies, gift cards, stuffed animals and books for Heidi's older sister Hannah, who is in junior high. And where will Heidi read all these new books? A librarian in Montana raised enough money to send her a new desk, chair and bookshelf from Pottery Barn. Because of all the support she's received in school, Heidi now hopes to be a teacher when she grows up.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Is your dog microchipped?

Garrick Quinones is a chauffeur in the New York City area. Recently he was driving across the Brooklyn Bridge when he noticed another car had stopped. He saw a little dog limping under the stopped vehicle, so he quickly pulled his limousine to the curb and hurried to help the dog. The frightened pup didn't want to be caught, but Quinones used a phone charging cord as a leash and finally pulled him out. Meanwhile, other cars were speeding by and honking.


Quinones knew the dog was thirsty and gave him a drink from a bottle of water.  The dog had no collar, so he took the pup to the 19th police precinct where he was told they would scan the dog for a an ID chip and take good care of him. When Quinones was about to leave the police station, he said, "my newest little friend started to follow me and didn't want me to leave." A few hours later, the police called and told him the dog did have a chip and the owners were notified. Another reminder to have you dog microchipped.

Poor children in Texas get swimming pools

Someone recently posted a picture on Facebook of low-income children in San Antonio, Texas, using the back of a pick-up truck as a swimming pool. Several comments mocked the children in the photo. Todd Arredondo (shown here) didn't feel the children should have to swim in the bed of a pick-up to avoid the hot Texas sun, so he used his own money to buy the family a new, inflatable pool.

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After seeing how happy the children were with their pool, he used Facebook and GoFundMe to raise $8,000 so far for a campaign called "Pools for Kids." He's dedicated three weeks of his vacation to the project. First he was helping five families, and now he's helping 24. He wants to buy "as many pools as possible" for needy families on the west side of San Antonio.

Friday, July 1, 2016

When all is said and done....

To my wife, as we begin a new chapter in our life together.



Come, pray with me that we may know
When all is said and done,
We have not labored vainly in the field,
But burnt each tare, and harvesting the yield,
Give thanks.