Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Why celebrate July 4th?

Jamal Abdullahi knows the answer. He came to the United States from Ethiopia in 1983 with no education and no job, but he was not afraid of hard work. In 2008, this father of three earned a bachelor's degree from the College of Brockport and had the audacity to expect even more for his kids, including his oldest daughter Biiftu. To help her appreciate her opportunities, he took her back to Ethiopia a few years ago. "My parents had told me stories about Africa, but I never really understood until I went there," she said. "(My relatives') eyes upon my life revealed my privilege."

Over the years, her Dad told her often, "All I can do is help you, but it is your future and you must help yourself." So she did. Last month, Biiftu graduated from Wilson Magnet High School in New York. She will attend Barnard College this fall. But there are two more reasons why they'll celebrate July 4th this year. Jamal works nights as a janitor at Wilson High, and Biiftu was class valedictorian. Where else could this happen, but in America?  Happy Independence Day!

Monday, June 29, 2015

A husband's prayer

by Edgar A. Guest

Forever is a long time, the life of moon and stars,
A longer life than churches know, or prison gates and bars,
And I have vowed to love her, forever and a day,
A vow that knows no changing or crumbling away.

Forever is a long time, the life of sea and tide,
No calendar can mark it, no seasons can divide;
It has no bitter ending -- let life bring what it may,
My love must last forever, forever and a day.

Though buildings fall in ruins and earthly splendors fade;
Though death shall separate us, still stands the vow I made.
Though fashions change and fancies sweep all charms we know away,
Our love must last forever, forever and a day.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

For one soldier, July 4th is a religious holiday

Patrick never forgot what happened on his first Independence Day after returning from combat in Iraq. They were barbecuing in a friend's back yard when he heard Pop! Pop! Pop! Assuming it was machine gun fire, he yelled "Incoming!" and dove to the ground with his hands over his head. Then he realized it was neighbors lighting firecrackers. After that, every Independence Day he hid in his bedroom with the lights low, playing college football really loud until the popping ended. No more July 4th for him. Now, three years later, his son Lucas was seven, and eager to see fireworks. Patrick had mustered enough courage to march to the alter at church and accept God into his life, so he told fellow members about his terror, and how war never ends for some soldiers. They formed a prayer chain and put his need on Facebook. He was amazed how many wrote, "We're praying for you. You are being loved." So he signed up to run the hot dog stand at the park where fireworks would be set off. But could he endure them?

Patrick's Dad was also a veteran, so he asked him for advice. "Position yourself where you can see the fireworks being lit," his Dad said, "so you won't be caught off guard. And son, the most important thing is to surround yourself with friends you know and trust." At dusk, Patrick got worried. Last year he would have hurried home, but then a voice said, "We've got your back" and he turned to see two church members. Other church friends gathered around him. The fuses were lit. There was an explosion of color. "Look, Dad!" shouted Lucas. "I'm looking," he whispered, celebrating, for the first time, his Independence Day.                 (adapted and condensed from Guidepost Magazine)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Mom raised him to be a gentleman

Ovealla O'Neal is a 45-year-old home health aide for Samaritan Healthcare in Camden, NJ, where 35% of adults never completed high school and less than 8% go on to earn a bachelor's degree. She's also a single mom with five kids. But Ovealla overcame the odds. This spring her son AJ Ingwe graduated from LEAP Academy and enrolled at Rowan University to study engineering. His mom felt he deserved a "shout out," and she created one that thrilled him.

For $725, she rented a billboard in downtown Camden for three weeks. Below the sign, she arranged a street party with a cup cake truck and an ice cream truck. AJ's older sister picked him up from school that day so he wouldn't see the sign riding home on the bus. She told him they needed to meet their Mom at a spot near the billboard. Driving down the street, he wondered, "why are all my friends coming this way?" Then he saw why, and was totally surprised. Ovealla uses the word "good" to describe her 18-year-old. She raised him with strict rules: limited cell phone time, dinner together at home most nights, and no girlfriends. "She just makes sure I'm in school and doing what I need to do to be successful," he told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

His mom explained, "I wanted him to be a gentleman that young women will appreciate. I wanted to raise him different. I always tell my kids, 'When you are different, people treat you differently, and different isn't bad.'"

Friday, June 26, 2015

Another police chase? You decide.

Washington State Trooper Dave Hintz recently came upon a woman traveling on a busy highway, State Road 546, near the town of Lynden. The speed limit is 45 mph, but the driver, who is in her 80s, had gotten lost after going out for coffee. With her pedal on the metal, she was topping five miles per hour on a Rascal electric scooter. Trooper Hintz pulled her over, and asked to see her road map.

View from dash cam.

Together they realized she'd gotten lost and driven her Rascal four miles the wrong way. After turning her in the right direction, Trooper Hintz followed the woman all the way home, with his lights flashing. It took more than an hour, and some passers-by assumed it was the slowest police chase in history. "I wasn't trying to stop her," he explained. "I just treated her the way I would have wanted somebody to treat my mom."

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Feed the hungry, heal the heart

Last April, Officer T.J. Young responded to a disturbance at a home in Denver, Colorado. It was 10:30 in the evening, and the couple was having a hot argument. The problem? They disagreed on how to pay for dinner for their family of four children and one grandfather. None had eaten yet.

Officer Young quickly determined no crime was committed, and the father of the children "removed himself from the situation" to end the argument. But the mother was still worried about how she was going to feed her hungry family. Officer Young's work was done, so he left, but instead of going back to the station, he went to a restaurant; bought meals for everyone in the family with money from his own pocket, and delivered them to the home. His police department posted that "thanks to his generosity all went to bed with full bellies."

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Reward for a life well lived

Do you know a story of a life well lived? Maybe it's your life, or the life of a friend? Can you describe it in a 250 word essay? If so, you might win the home of your dreams. Tim and Deanna Railing own a 6,000 square-foot luxury cabin with an indoor pool on several acres near Columbus, Indiana, and they're going to give it to you if you write the winning essay. "Someone who didn't expect ever in their lifetime to have this come true for them is going to," Deanna said.

Your next house?

Why reward a life well lived? When he was a teenager, Tim was paralyzed in a skiing accident, but since then he's found joy in his family and his career. "So often tragedies strike and you don't know when they are going to happen," Deanna explained. "We thought if we got enough support from people around the country, we could change someone's world for the better."

The Railings can't afford to give the house away for nothing. The contest has an entry fee. Each essay must include a check for $150. Unless 4,500 essays are submitted, the fee will be returned and the contest cancelled. The deadline for submission is November 16. To read all the rules and see more photos of the house, visit http://columbusloghome.com/rules.html  Maybe it's time to sharpen your pencil?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Twinkle, twinkle, little star

Patrolman Nick Struck was dispatched last week to a traffic accident near Interstate 76 in Brighton, Colorado. A vehicle had blown a tire and veered off the highway, rolling over. No passengers were wearing seatbelts. The father of the family was killed instantly. The mother and three of four children were injured. As paramedics worked to save the survivors, they handed the fourth child, a two-year-old girl, to Patrolman Struck. She was crying. She was soaked in gasoline. "The smells were awful," he remembered. So what did he do?

He remembered his own two-year-old daughter. When she falls down and cries, she wants him to sing "Twinkle twinkle little star" to her. So he diverted this little girl's attention away from the accident that killed her Daddy by pointing to the flashing lights of a nearby fire truck and singing "Twinkle twinkle little star." A passerby, Jessica Matrious, saw the crash and stopped to help. She took this picture, which has been tweeted and retweeted thousands of times. "I know for my daughter, it's just the attention that someone is there listening," Struck explained."It's the same with adults, but kids, they take it to a whole other level. I remember when I was holding her, she was grabbing the back of my arm, which is what my daughter does, just stroking to the music."

Monday, June 22, 2015

As of today, 9,999 page views!

The goal of this blog is to discover, share and archive evidence of "God's fingerprints" on the everyday lives of ordinary folks of all faiths. The first post appeared last August. Since then, there have been 313 posts, and as of today, these "crumbs" have attracted 9,999 page views. Most readers are in the United States, but four are in China, three in India, two in France and one each in Russia and Ukraine. The blog also appears daily on the Web sites of four United States newspapers.

We'd like to mark the 10,000th page view today by sharing an idea which inspired the blog. Perhaps you will agree that...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Not in the police officer's job description

Kazzie Portie of Orange, Texas, graduated from high school on May 31. He is the youngest of five children, and the only one left at home. His folks, Riley and Emily Portie, had talked about his graduation for weeks. They could hardly wait to see him walk across the stage and get his diploma. But on May 24, as they rode together on their motorcycle, they were hit by a drunk driver and killed. Kazzie was home alone when Lt. Eric Ellison rang the doorbell to break the bad news. When Kazzie told Lt. Ellison about his upcoming graduation, the police officer promised to be there. But Kazzie wasn't sure he meant it. "Everyone tells you lots of things to comfort you in a time of distress," he said later.

When Kazzie received his diploma, he got a standing ovation from his class, and his first hug came from Lt. Ellison, who was waiting for him on stage. This police action may not have qualified as network news, but Kazzie's older brother Blake shared a video of the emotional moment on Facebook, where it's been viewed nearly 170,000 times.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Courage is ageless and colorblind

Isiah Francis is ten years old and Jeremiah Grimes is eleven. They're pals, and now they're also heroes. They were playing together last week in the mobile home park where they live in central Florida when they looked out the window and saw flames coming from a nearby home. They knew kids lived there, so both boys ran to the neighbors's trailer and, risking their lives, dashed inside. They said the smoke was so thick they could barely see. Later, Jeremiah told a reporter, "It was really hot. It felt like 150 degrees in there. I was thinking, 'Stay calm. Keep your mind straight. Stay focused on what you're doing.'" The boys tucked two babies, -- an 8-months old and a one year old -- under their arms. "I took the infant, "said Jeremiah. "Isiah took the older one, and we ran back to his house."

 Isiah (left) and Jeremiah (right) are best buddies.

After the rescue, Isiah told a reporter he's wanted to be a fireman since he was five. "Even if I have to go through this hard work, I still want to be one," he said. Jeremiah felt happy. "We saved two people's lives," he explained. "Like probably if no one did that, them two would probably be dead or seriously injured. As long as everyone is OK, I'm happy."

Friday, June 19, 2015

Truth is bulletproof, and his message survives

In the South Carolina state legislature, this is the desk of Senator Clementa "Clem" Pinckney (1973-2015).  Fellow lawmakers call him the moral conscience of the General Assembly.  He was also pastor of "Mother Emanuel" African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston until he was slain this week while conducting a Bible study. One of his relatives feels sure he has already forgiven the man who killed him, and the principle which guided his life is now heard around the world. He said, "Loving God is never separate from loving our brothers and sisters. It is always the same." Godspeed, Brother Pinckney, 'til we meet again.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

9-year-old boy saves racehorse

Brandon Heyman, 9, of Ontario, Canada, was planning his birthday party when he heard about Karazan, a 17-year-old chestnut mare racehorse who needed a friend. Karazan is a direct descendent of Canada's greatest racehorse, Northern Dance, but in the horse world age trumps pedigree and she had just been sold to a meat buyer. "Mummy, my birthday's coming up. Just give my birthday money to them. I don't want her to die," said Brandon.

Brandon's family already had seven horses, one donkey, dogs, cats and six kids, but his Mom was so touched by his compassion that she raised the remaining $650 needed to buy the racehorse. Then she surprised Brandon by giving him a new best friend.

"It's my first horse," says Brandon. "I clean her and wash her, but my sister feeds her." Brandon is determined to fill Karazan's days with love and affection, and the feeling is mutual.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Feeding hungry children

During the school year all students in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, City Schools receive free breakfast and lunch. School cafeterias also serve free meals during summer vacation, but kids who live too far away can't access these meals. To remedy this, the school district transformed two older busses into rolling cafeterias by removing a few seats and replacing them with tables. Sponsored by the Combating Hunger On Wheels program and painted bright colors, they're called CHOW BUSSES.

"It's not just a bus where they get meals," said school nutrition director Sandy Scheele. "They have someone on that bus that cares about them. They know this is their bus. We don't care if they're from the county, the city, or visiting from out-of-town." Any boy or girl under 18 can get a free meal, and the school expects to serve 90,000 meals to school-age children between May 26 and July 31, when classes resume.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The best sleepover ever

Moving is hard on kids. It's especially tough for ill kids who are moved from one hospital to another. First, there's a parade of ambulances. Then there are new windows and doors and faces. So last month, two days after 66 boys and girls were moved from the old Montreal Children's Hospital to the new one, they were treated to the best bedtime party ever, right in the hospital atrium.

Leaving the old hospital for the new one.

All the little patients met on a giant quilted bed. Each one got a stocking cap and a stuffed animal. Adult volunteers wearing clown outfits helped kids get acquainted with the new building. But the best was yet to come. 

Grown-ups at the Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation convinced Orchestre Symponique de Montreal to donate their time and play for free. Wearing stocking caps, the musicians played lullabies by Brahms and Bach. Maestro Kent Nagano said the orchestra hopes "that through these timeless masterpieces of the classic repertoire, we can help ease the transition...and enhance the healing environment."

Monday, June 15, 2015

Vacation Bible School

When I was four years old, the kids next door began vanishing on summer mornings. Mom told me they went to Vacation Bible School, and I wanted to go to, so I started hiking down the street in the direction taken by their car.  A few blocks from home, the street passed over a small brook, and I saw a frog on a stone beside the brook. I decided to put off Bible School and talk to the frog instead. As we were chatting, a nice lady stopped her car on the bridge and asked if I was lost. I said no. I was just talking to a frog. She invited me to ride with her, and as we approached my home, we both saw Mom standing by the curb looking very worried. I never knew I was lost.

En route to Vacation Bible School

Since I never attended Vacation Bible School, here are some Scriptural "facts" I never learned. These are culled from Bible tests taken by children.
  • Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree.
  • Noah's wife was Joan of Ark.
  • Lot's wife was a pillar of salt by day, but a ball of fire by night.
  • Samson slew the Philistines using the Axe of the Apostles.
  • Unleavened bread is bread without any ingredients.
  • After the Egyptians drowned in dessert, Moses went up Mt. Cyanide to get the Commandments.
  • The first commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple.
  • The seventh commandment is thou shalt not admit adultery.
  • Moses died before he ever reached Canada. Then Joshua led the Hebrews in the Battle of Geritol.
  • The greatest miracle in the Bible is when Joshua told his son to be still and he obeyed him.
  • David fought the Finkelsteins, a race of people in Biblical times.
  • Solomon had 300 wives and 700 porcupines.
  • When Mary heard she was the mother of Jesus, she sang the Magna Carta.
  • The people who followed Jesus were called the 12 decibels.
  • The epistles were the wives of the apostles.
  • After St. Paul cavorted to Christianity, he preached holy acrimony, which is another name for marriage.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Give of your heart's rich overflow

On Saturday, June 6, Huntsville, Texas, firefighter Aaron Van Riper responded to an alarm of a head-on traffic accident. He was shocked to see the victims were his family. "My wife Amber was laying there on the ground." His seven-year-old son Jonathan was pinned inside the vehicle. Aaron told a TV reporter on the scene that only God could have saved them because "there was nothing left of that car." Firefighters got the boy out and airlifted him and his Mom to the hospital,where she endured nine hours of surgery. Both are confined to wheelchairs as they recover, and although both parents work, the family has no insurance.

Hoping to help, friends of the family launched a GoFundMe page to defray mounting medical bills. As of Friday, June 12, the page had raised $100,000, including (believe it or not) one donation of $15,000. It was signed with the name Taylor Swift. Aaron was incredulous. "If it is her, I thank her from the bottom of my heart," he said. (Billboard confirmed the contribution came from the real Taylor Swift.) As news of her donation spread, it kick-started a surge of contributions.

Swift said nothing about her donation, but it's not out of character. She regularly visits kids in hospitals, donates song profits to the NYC school system, and gave the Red Cross $100,000 to help flood victims in Iowa. She's been named one of Hollywood's most charitable stars. Inspired by Taylor's gift, the community where the Van Ripers live is bringing puzzles and games to keep Jonathan busy as he recovers, and building a wheelchair ramp so he and his Mom can get around until they can walk again. A good illustration of Matthew 25:40.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Why seek a new church?

Lifeway Research is a church-oriented survey firm. Its studies find that most folks who change congregations feel their current church is not helping them develop spiritually. They seek beliefs they can live with. Fifty-six percent desire wider opportunities to serve others. They want to make a difference, instead of just going through the motions. Sandra Torchia of Leesburg, FL, is an example. She yearned to serve others, so she visited an African-American congregation and got a warm welcome. "I was the only white woman there," she recalled, "but my color didn't matter because I was a Christian." As it turns out, the African-American congregation needed a seasoned worker who "knew her way around the Bible."

Lifeway Research found 87% of church shoppers say preaching is an important factor. Is the pastor a good story-teller? Does he live what he preaches? Is the sermon supported by technology? A church member in Florida who was sick one Sunday watched the service from home on the Internet. "Boy, it was wonderful," she said. "It's like you had gone there."

One religious leader calls church "the structure of Truth and Love," and most pastors agree it's important to commit to a church you can enhance, because, as Edgar Guest observed, "God sends no churches from the skies. Out of our hearts they must arise!"

Friday, June 12, 2015

Another NYC police story

Christopher D'Onofrio is a transit cop in the Big Apple. He and his partner watched a young couple approach a train station on Staten Island. The woman paid her fair. Her husband, Sangeeth Wijesinghe, jumped the turnstile to save money. D'Onofrio caught him and wrote him a ticket, but Sangeeth kept apologizing, saying he and his wife were jobless and could only afford one fare.

"I had a soft spot for his story," D'Onofrio told the Staten Island Advance. "He sounded like a stand-up gentleman." So Officer D'Onofrio called a friend who manages a market near the station and talked his friend into hiring the young man. After a few weeks of training, Sangeeth is working 40 hours each week as a cashier and another 20 hours of overtime.

Officer D'Onofrio believes getting to know folks is what community policing is all about. Sangeeth has a new job, and D'Onofrio has a new friend.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Holy Bible, book divine

In April, 1942, Americans were still frightened by the Japanese sneak-attack on Pearl Harbor. Everyone needed a morale boost. That's when 80 brave men from 35 states, including one physician, Dr. Thomas White, volunteered for a "dangerous secret mission." They didn't know why 16 twin-engine bombers were being loaded onto the USS Hornet. Land-based bombers had never taken off from a carrier's short flight deck, and could not land on one. Once at sea, the volunteers learned that, led by Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, they would bomb Tokyo and then continue west to bail out over free China. Each plane was modified to hold 1,141 gallons of fuel -- enough to reach Tokyo, but probably not enough to reach China's safe zones. This was American heroism at its best.

The raid was successful and Americans at home regained hope. Most crews ditched their bombers and bailed out over free China. But heroes were still needed. After bailing out of his plane, Dr. White saved the life of Lt. Ted Lawson by amputating Lawson's crushed leg and donating his own blood by transfusion.

Eight flyers in the Tokyo raid were captured by the Japanese. Three were killed. One died after being imprisoned and tortured. According to historic accounts, the other four survived until being freed in 1945, "because of the comfort they received from a lone copy of the Bible."

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Prayer in public schools?

On May 7, this year's National Day of Prayer, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed into law the Student Religious Liberties Act. Bentley explained "the right to student-led prayer...while on campus grounds is secured and protected in Alabama's public schools." And not a moment too soon.  Two weeks later, during commencement at Clay-Chalkvilleville High School, grads were receiving their diplomas when someone shouted "medic, medic, medic!" A woman in the audience had suffered a seizure. Instead of stopping the ceremony until EMTs arrived, school librarian Shannon Petty turned to graduating senior Christian Crawford for help. Crawford took the microphone, looked beyond the stadium lights, and delivered a prayer which has reached over 85,000 Facebook news feeds.

A member of New Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church in Birmingham, Crawford claims he did nothing more than listen and relay information straight from above. "I cannot take any credit for what God is doing through me for His glory. People are saying, 'you're famous.' No, God is famous. I prayed, and the will of God took over." The lady suffering a seizure recovered, and soon after graduating, Crawford was invited to present the opening prayer at the Alabama Legislature. If you would like to watch the scene pictured above and hear his prevailing prayer, click this link. www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZ1JKH22Ukw&spfreload=1   Amen.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Boys will be boys, thank goodness!

James Willmert (fourth from left in photo below) was a fifth grader at Franklin Elementary School in Mankato, Minnesota, this year. He has a learning disability, and he was being bullied by other kids until a few classmates came to his rescue. "They were like using him and taking advantage of him," said one classmate. Why? "Because he's easier to pick on and it's just not right," added another.

Five classmates shown above befriended James. The six ate lunch together, played sports together and became best buddies. "He's an awesome kid to hang out with," said one classmate. James' Mom, Margi Willmert, said the boys' friendship made a huge impact on her son. "He used to not want to go out for recess or anything," she said, "Now he can barely eat his lunch to get outside to play with these guys. They're changing him. We just got a basketball hoop last week because now he loves basketball." These fifth graders proved the old adage, "There's so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it ill-behooves any of us to be finding fault with the rest of us!"

Monday, June 8, 2015

Said the robin to the sparrow

For the 300th post on "Crumbs of Comfort," please enjoy a verse which is worth remembering.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Pennsylvania students help Africa's poorest children

Kibera, just a few miles from the skyscrapers of Nairobi, Kenya, is the largest slum in Africa.  Most residents earn less than $1/day. Assault and rape are common. Clean water and electricity are scarce, and many families cannot afford education for their children, pictured here.

Recently (as reported in the Hawley News-Eagle) a class of students at Wallenpaupack Area High School in northeastern Pennsylvania "visited" an elementary school classroom in the Kibera Slum via Skype. The American students were impressed by (1) how little the slum children have, and (2) how grateful they are for what they do have. The class was inspired to collect and send 20 backpacks to kids at the elementary school. Each backpack will contain crayons, a luxury in the slum, and a personalized letter.   To "visit" the Kibera Slum for just five minutes, simply click this link. vimeo.com/80863473   After seeing the slum first-hand, you may wish to support Wallenpaupack students with a donation. The class hopes to collect backpacks by June 16, but contributions will be accepted through June 30. To learn more, email Colleen Connors at connorco@wallenpaupack.org.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Airline reroutes Mom to son's bedside

Recently, Peggy Uhle was on a Southwest Airline flight from Chicago to Columbus waiting to take off, when the plane unexpectedly turned back to the gate and she was asked to get off. Her husband had tried to call her with sad news, but her cell phone was turned off. So he called the airline instead.

After the plane arrived at the gate, the attendant asked her to check in with customer service and call her husband, who told her their son was hospitalized in a coma after suffering a head injury.  He lives in Denver, and even before she disembarked, Southwest had already rebooked her -- with no additional fees or service charges -- on a non-stop flight to Denver, departing in two hours.

"They offered me a private waiting area; rerouted my luggage, allowed me to board first, and even packed a lunch for when I got off in Denver," she said. Her luggage was delivered directly to where she was staying in Denver, and she later received a call from Southwest asking how her son was doing. He is continuing to recover, and she is thankful for the extra-mile service she received. "The care I was shown was second to none," she said.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Officer "pumped" to be of service

Today's crumb was contributed by a faithful reader in Columbus, IN, USA, who saw it in her distinguished local paper, The Republic.

A mentally-challenged resident is familiar to many residents of Columbus. He's often seen riding his bicycle through town, picking up aluminum cans and recycling them. That's how he earns money. Police all know him. He waves to them to let them know he's okay. Officer Frank Dickman received a commendation recently for helping this man.

Second shift patrol officer Dickman noticed the man on a city street, but he was not on his bike because it had a flat tire. The officer used his patrol car to transport the man and his bicycle back to the man's neighborhood, and then left. A few minutes later, a witness saw Officer Dickman return with a new tire and inner tube and fix the man's flat tire. He did not report this good deed.

A few days later at a Board of Works meeting, Dickman was identified as the anonymous officer. "Not only did you go above and beyond what is written in your job description, but you did it discreetly without the desire for any recognition," said Chief Jon Rohde, as he commended Dickman.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Her best birthday ever!

In July, 2013, Hillary Sadlon turned 22. The Seton Hall University senior nursing major wanted it to be her best birthday ever, really unforgettable. So instead of planning a massive party, she spent six months creating a list of 22 random acts of kindness she'd perform on a two-day, five-city, ten-hour goodwill tour with her boyfriend Evan Reed and BFF Meghan Cox. Here's her list.

First, she donated blood at the Miller-Keystone Blood Center in Bethlehem, PA. As a nursing major, she knew how badly blood was needed. Later she delivered donuts to a local police station, and brought balloons to special needs children. She donated pet food and rabbit bedding to an animal shelter. Then she and her boyfriend approached an elderly couple in a Walmart parking lot and offered to load their groceries into their car. They were so grateful. "They just kept telling me, 'May the Lord bless you,'" she said, "and they asked for a picture of me and Evan." When the list was almost finished, she visited her grandmother. "I love my nana," Hillary said. "She's my everything. To do something for her was really meaningful for me. Whenever I come, she's like, 'how long are you staying? Can I feed you?'"  This time Hillary declined any food, and only stayed long enough to weed nana's front yard.

When the tour was complete, "we were in the best mood you could ever imagine," she said. "And that's what I wanted for my birthday. Your birthday is supposed to be a happy day. Making someone else smile makes you want to smile." She hopes her birthday will inspire others to make kindness lists.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Matthew 7: 3-5 illustrated

Today's crumb was offered by a faithful reader in Indianapolis, IN, USA. It's called "The Window from Which We Look."

A couple moved into new neighborhood and one morning, while eating breakfast, the young woman saw her neighbor hanging the wash outside. "That laundry is not very clean," she said. "She doesn't know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better soap." Her husband looked on, but said nothing. Each time her neighbor hung wash out to dry, his wife made the same comments.

About a month later, his wife was surprised to see nice clean wash on the neighbor's line. "Look, she has learned how to wash correctly," she said. "I wonder who taught her?"

The husband said, "I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows."

And so it is with life. What we see when watching others depends upon the purity of the window through which we look.