Thursday, March 31, 2016

Meet Internet grandfather, "Sad Pawpaw"

Have you met the Internet's adopted grandfather, Kenneth Harmon, a.k.a. "Sad Pawpaw?" He became famous after his granddaughter, Kelsey Harmon, tweeted this photo of him munching a burger at his home in Dibble, Oklahoma. He'd grilled 12 burgers for all six of his grandchildren, but none showed up for supper except Kelsey, a student at Northwestern State University.

The tweet went viral. One reader replied, "I'd give anything to have a burger with my grandfather again," and ten days later a massive, public cookout was held in Harmon's honor. Folks came from Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, California and Germany. Guests could buy a burger for $2 and a souvenir T-shirt reading "I ate a burger with Sad PawPaw" for $16. Money raised will cover cookout expenses, and anything extra will be given to PawPaw to use as he sees fit. BTW, he's not sad anymore.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Does life sometimes feel like a subway ride?

Jon Krop thinks so. He teaches meditation, and found three ways to turn his daily commute on a crowded subway car into an opportunity for spiritual growth. If your busy life feels like a ride on a crowded train, here's his advice.  First, look for ways to be generous. On most subways, comfort is hard to find, so stop trying. Instead, seek ways to help other passengers find comfort.

                                                                                                                  Photo by Richard Panse
Krop's next bit of advice is to stand up when there are not enough seats for everyone. Don't just give up your seat for seniors and pregnant women. Give up your seat for anyone who can't find one, even a little child. It will make them feel good, and it will make you feel good too. Finally, if a ragged beggar gets on the subway and starts asking everyone for money, don't look away. Share what you have, and don't share it coldly. Focus on the beggar. Recognize his or her humanity, and then give something. Krop always keeps two Clif Bars in his shoulder bag, to give away. He remembers what Buddha said about sharing. "If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way." That's food for thought!

Good news from Hawthorne Publishers!

Here is a book you won't put down. Dave Horn served the Christian Science movement in several capacities for fifty years. While working as a security guard for The Mother Church, he was night watchman at Mary Baker Eddy's Chestnut Hill home. After more than a decade on the staff of The Christian Science Monitor, he served as Administrator of Midland House in Indianapolis, and later as Committee on Publication for Indiana and North Carolina consecutively. This is his story, the product of a gifted writer, told with verve, skill and humor.

Dave's life stories show divine fingerprints on his activities, and on the lives of those he touched. Memoir settings range from childhood summers at Camp Elektor where he learned to let his light shine, to Boston in the days when the Monitor Youth Forum sponsored a highly successful event featuring Alan Young, of TV show "Mister Ed" fame, to protection in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam era. The book is honest and self-revealing. Discouragement over two failed marriages; then joy at finding the right lifetime companion and becoming a "househusband" caring for young step-daughters. Stints reporting for two Hoosier newspapers; friendships with the Amish in northern Indiana, and the joy of helping others find healing through the full-time practice of Christian Science -- all are here.

Hawthorne Publishing is proud to add this book to its Winds of Change spiritual directions division. 150pp. softbound, $15.00 (plus $5 shipping for first copy, and $3 shipping for each additional copy). To order, call 317-340-8948 or 317-867-5183. No need for a credit card. Your book will arrive in the mail with an invoice.

Hawthorne Publishing
15601 Oak Rd., Carmel, IN 46033

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

"He's a keeper..."

Homeowner Ryan Cox of Oakdale, CA, already has a lawn service, so when 14-year-old Cody Mitschelin knocked on his door and offered to mow his lawn for $5, Cox declined. Cody looked so disappointed that Cox asked why he needed the money. Cody said he wanted to take his girlfriend of six months, Audrey Fierro, out on their first "real date" but didn't have enough money. Cox hired him on the spot, and convinced several neighbors to let him cut their lawns too. He posted a picture of Cody mowing his yard on Facebook, and told his story. With a few days, the post had 83,000 shares, and Cox received replies from New Zealand, Africa and Vietnam, many expressing delight that a young man would actually work for what he needs, instead of just asking his parents for it.

The next evening, when they arrived for their first "real date" at Safari Pizza, the hostess asked, "Are you Cody?" When he said yes, he and Audrey were taken to a reserved, candlelit table and served a free meal. Cody remembers, "When we sat down, everyone in the restaurant went 'aww,' and I was like 'stop looking at us.'" The complimentary meal left Cody with enough money to take Audrey on two more dates. He describes her as charming and beautiful. Audrey says, "He's a keeper."

Monday, March 28, 2016

Was little girl's grandpa her guardian angel?

On March 16, 34-year-old Tracy Anderwald of Portland, TX, and her five-year-old daughter Allison were playing Marco Polo in a backyard pool when Tracy suddenly blacked out and sank four feet down to the pool floor. Home surveillance footage shows what happened next. When Allison realized her Mom had been underwater too long, she pulled her limp body to the shallow end of the pool and turned her over so her face was out of the water. Then she ran to tell her aunt,  Tedra Hunt, what happened. Tedra called 911, and Tracy was taken unconscious to a hospital in Corpus Christi.

                                                                                                         Courtesy of Tracy Anderwald
Doctors said Tracy would not be alive if she was not pulled from the water. They had low expectations for her recovery, but on March 19 Tracy woke up and was released after a few tests. Tracy and Tedra lost their dad two years ago, and Tedra believes he was a "guardian angel," guiding little Allison to save her Mom's life. "It was truly amazing that this little girl, who is pretty small for her age, was able to save my sister," Tedra said.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Today's crumb comes from Toronto, Canada

Kurt Haupt, 81, of Toronto, Canada, had no family and very few friends. His best buddy was Dacky, the longhaired mini dachshund shown here. Dacky was the old man's constant companion until March 9, when the pup was mauled to death by four unleashed dogs in Centennial Park. Haupt said as soon as he saw the four Italian mastiffs grab Dacky, he knew his pet was dead.

The man who owned the attack dogs has been arrested, and five dogs were taken from him, but that was cold comfort for Haupt until a complete stranger who also lives in Toronto, Sue Dunstan, heard about his loss. She decided to help by creating a GOFUNDME page asking for sympathy cards and $3,000 to pay Dacky's vet bills and provide a donation to the Ontario Veterinary College in Dacky's name. When the page surpassed its goal, she asked people to keep sending Haupt sympathy cards since he does not have email or Internet. Since then, he has received hundreds of loving cards and one new friend, Sue Dunstan, who calls him and visits him regularly. Haupt thinks he may adopt a senior dog in the future. "With a new dog," he says, "maybe it would be a brand new beginning."

Friday, March 25, 2016

Try to remember that I'm a kid

This photo, which has gone viral on Imgur and Reddit, shows a sign posted for over-enthusiastic parents of players in the Pleasanton Little League, in Texas.

Responding to a national need for parental restraint, similar signs have appeared around baseball fields in Strasburg, OH, Little Branch, MI, Buffalo Grove, IL, and elsewhere. Hopefully parents will assure their young players that when you're a kid, having fun is just as important as winning -- maybe more important in the long run.  Batter up!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A crumb from Brussels, Belgium

Remember the TV show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," where Fred Rogers gently explained life to his youthful viewers? If some tragic event was on everyone's mind, Mister Rogers reassured worried children by reminding them, "When I was a boy and would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' I am always comforted by realizing that there are so many helpers -- so many caring people in the world." After the recent airport bombings in Brussels, one of those helpers was Alphonse Lyoura, shown here.

Lyoura is a 40-year-old airport baggage security officer. When passengers panicked and ran for their lives, he stayed put -- helping people who were injured in the blasts. "I helped at least six or seven wounded people," he said. "It was total panic everywhere." His natural instinct to help was recognized on the Internet, where one reader compared his heroism to Mister Rogers "helpers." Lyoura proved that terrorism cannot paralyze people who are guided by their heart instead of their head.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A thank-you he never expected

Remember your March 12 crumb of comfort, titled "A father's duty, even if he's homeless." It told about Nicole Sedgebeer, 22, of Milton Keynes, England, who went to London for a night on the town. When she was ready to return home, the last train had left and the station was locked. She found a homeless man in a sleeping bag nearby. His name was Mark Collins, and he climbed out of his bag and took her to a nearby cafe for coffee. Like a father, he made sure that she was safe all night and that she boarded the first morning train. He even called her the next day to be sure got home okay. You may recall Nicole was so grateful that she took his first "selfie," shown here.

The pair has gotten together since the incident. "We had breakfast and he told me about his life," she said. "He used to work in the army and has been homeless 12 years." Wishing to return the kindness he showed her, she launched a crowdfunded campaign online to get Mark back on his feet and help him find a job. It has already generated over $16,000, and she is consulting different charities on how best to use the money to help Mark. Why? "He went out of his way to help me, a complete stranger, when...people just walk him every day without offering him help." And how did Mark feel about the results of the fundraiser? "I couldn't believe it," he said. It was a thank-you he never expected.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Dad who who stole food gets job

"Crumbs of Comfort" recently surpassed 580 archived posts and 20,000 page visits from readers in ten nations. Today's crumb comes from Malaysia. It began when a 31-year-old father of three stole fruit and a few bottles of drinks from a Tesco supermarket in Bukit Mertajam. Caught by store security, he immediately confessed, explaining that he had to care for his young children who were hungry. He and his children were living with a relative while his wife was in a coma at a nearby hospital after giving birth to their fourth child.

                                                                              Rui Vieria/PA Wire
The Tesco general manager was about to call authorities, but when he heard the man's reason for stealing, he offered him a job instead. He also gave the man cash to cover his current expenses, and staff from market visited his relative's house and also the hospital where his wife had wakened from her coma but the baby did not survive birth complications. The store manager explained, "We decided not to lodge a police report since this was a genuine case of extreme poverty. For now, our priority is to ensure that he enrolls his 7-year-old son in school."

Monday, March 21, 2016

Meet a Syrian refugee granted asylum in US

Mariela Shaker is a violin student who lived under siege in Aleppo, Syria, until 2013. Her home was attacked so often that her parents stopped repairing broken windows and doors. Many of her friends were killed. She is a Christian, and knew she might be next. Determined to escape, she visited various Internet cafes, relying on their short-lived back-up generators to apply for scholarships and grants. Finally she was accepted by Monmouth College in Illinois.

                                                                                                                UNHCR / Washington
She was stopped at 70 checkpoints between Aleppo and Beirut before flying to the USA. At every stop her violin case was searched by guards, convinced it contained a gun. "They believed musicians were infidels," she said. Today she's earning a master's degree at DePaul University in Chicago. She's performed at the Kennedy Center and spoken at the White House. She calls her violin an instrument of peace. "When I perform Jewish music for Islamic communities and I'm Christian, it's something that unites us together," she said. Here parents still live under siege in Aleppo.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Trains stop for parakeet

Today's crumb comes from Brisbane, Australia, where three teenage girls were leaving suburban Chelmer railroad station when one of the trio's pet parakeet escaped and flew onto the tracks. Instead of jumping down to the tracks to catch the bird, they hurried back to the station where officials suspended train service and alerted the driver of an incoming locomotive.

                                                                                                                Duncan Smith / Photodisc
He stopped the locomotive a few feet in front of the parakeet and then walked forward to rescue the bird and return it to the girls on the platform.  Station officials commended the girls for "not fluttering about," and following appropriate steps to stay off the tracks and report the incident, which meant they were able to safely stop trains for a short time and save and collect the parakeet. Queensland Rail posted surveillance footage of the rescue to Facebook, and it has gone viral. If you'd like to see the 90-second video, visit

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Four childhood BFFs turn 99

Leona Barnes, Gladys Butler, Ruth Hammett and Bernice Underwood first met as little girls near the end of World War I. They lived in SW Washington DC, where they played jump rope and jacks. As kids, they went to separate schools and theaters than white people. When shopping at a department store, they could not use the changing rooms to try on clothes. As they grew up, three of them had babies the same year, 1933. "We would fight together, and our children would too, and then we'd have a good time," remembers Mrs. Barnes. Mrs. Hemmett's son, Vernon, 60, remembers "every last one of them was mother to me, and I respected that."

                                                                         Evelyn Hockstein/ for Washington Post
All four women have lost their husbands, but they still have each other. Three live on their own and do their own housekeeping. Mrs. Underwood rides her stationary bike each day and loves to dance. "I'm old, but not cold," she says. When they turned 92, they thought they'd seen it all, but then a black man became President of the United States. Mrs. Barnes says, "I never thought in my wildest dreams that would ever happen." They're not sure they'll live long enough to see the first woman President, but they aren't worried. "If we don't make 100, it's up to Him," says Mrs. Barnes, "but we all made 99. It came so fast I didn't realize it."

Friday, March 18, 2016

Award winning Palestinian West Bank school teacher

As reported by The Christian Science Monitor and other media, Hanan al-Hroub won the $1 million Global Teacher Prize on March 13. She teaches at the Samiha Hhalil High School in the Palestinian West Bank city of Al-Bireh. She was honored for teaching students how to learn, regardless of violence all around them. And the lessons she teaches came from personal experience.

As a young girl in a Palestinian refugee camp, she was often exposed to violence, and when she saw how violence later affected her own children, she earned a teaching degree. The trauma of being shot at on the way to school caused her children's grades to fall, so she invented games which restored their self-confidence and also their grades. She explains that "A child will mature quickly here. I must deal with their personalities that were created because of their environments. I tell all teachers, whether they are Palestinian or around the world, our job is humane. Our goals are noble. We must teach our children that the only weapon is knowledge."

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Aggies are sincerely sorry

Earlier this month, about 60 juniors from the Uplift Hampton Preparatory School in Dallas toured Texas A&M University as part of their charter school's "Road to College" program. Uplift students are mostly black and Latino, and the visit was intended to help them learn about college life. During the campus tour, one white university student showed two of the visiting high school girls her earrings, which were Confederate flags. She asked if they could be worn at the charter school. Then a group of mostly white A&M students yelled racial slurs at the visitors, including "Go back where you came from!"

                                                                    Dave McDermand/Bryan-College Station Eagle/AP
When the incident was reported, most students at Texas A&M were outraged. They arranged to write individual apology cards to the high school juniors. THOUSANDS of Aggies wrote notes, some of which were collected by Hope Beitchman, pictured here. She's a member of Texas A&M Hillel. After the cards were collected, they were delivered to Uplift Hampton Prep personally by university President Michael Young and and student body President Joseph Benigno. Yasmin Bhatia, who is CEO of Uplift Hampton, appreciated the apology notes. She said, "I encouraged our scholars to keep the letters as a symbol of a time when they overcame an obstacle on their journey to a college degree."

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Big Brother of the Century

When Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Southeastern Pennsylvania celebrated its 100th anniversary last October, it named Tom McElvoque "Big Brother of the Century." The business executive and Dad, shown here with four of his Little Brothers and their families, has mentored many kids since he graduated from college.

                                                                                                                         Timeline Photos
While accepting the honor, Tom recalled his first Little Brother, a eight-year-old boy named Joe. He and Joe were invited to a screen test for some BBBS advertising. Joe was ecstatic. "We're going to be on billboards! All my friends will see me! This will be the greatest thing ever!" Joe predicted. On the day of the screen test, Joe was  bundle of energy. Tom tried to lower his expectations, but "Joe kept telling me he knew we would get it, and he couldn't wait." Finally they heard back from the ad agency. They felt Joe was great in front of the camera, but they didn't feel Tom was photogenic, so they'd like to photograph Joe with another Big Brother. Tom agreed and called Joe to let him know he'd be in the ads. Joe went crazy screaming into the phone, and when he finally calmed down, Tom explained how Joe with be with another more photogenic Big Brother. Then there was silence. More silence. Finally Joe said, "Tom, I'm not going to be in the ad. We're a team, and if you aren't right for the ad, I'm not either." That happened a long time ago. Since then, Joe was in Tom's wedding. Tom and Joe are still best friends, and their families have gotten together for Christmas ever since they met. That's 43 years, so far.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Teacher will never forget March 11, 1970

Skip Soper (shown below) and his wife are happily retired now in The Villages, Florida, but if you ask, he can still recall what happened to him on March 11, 1970. As a fresh-out-of-college rookie math teacher at Wisconsin Dells High School, he was taking attendance that morning when a student walked into his room carrying a shotgun. The student's older brother had been beaten up by three boys, and their younger siblings were in Soper's class. As Souper recalls, "He came in with a gun to kill those three students."

                                                                                               photo by Amy Correnti, Daily Sun
In college, Souper was in ROTC and experienced prisoner-of-war role playing. Now the training paid off. First, he convinced with boy with the gun to release all the students and keep him instead as a hostage. As soon as the other kids were gone, Souper let the gunman sit at his desk, the position of authority. They talked about fishing and hunting and hobbies, and after two hours Souper convinced the student to put down the gun without a struggle. Later that year, Souper received a plaque -- the Key Club Teacher of the Year Award -- which he still has. Best of all, the incident didn't tempt him to change careers. He taught 35 more years before retiring.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Dad did what he was supposed to do

Mindy and Rob Seay of Anchorage, AL, were expecting their third child, a boy named Lincoln. Even before he was born they knew he had a heart defect, and within three months after birth he needed a heart transplant to survive. Mindy spent every minute with Lincoln, while Rob kept everyone positive. "I refused to let my family suffer," he said, as he left his job and moved his entire family close to Seattle Children's Hospital. He enrolled the two older boys in school, did the shopping, cooking, cleaning and laundry and made sure his children were okay emotionally. "They needed to know they could talk to me about anything," he said. Baby Lincoln was in the hospital when a new heart became available. But as he was prepped for the transplant, he died. The doctors refused to give up, opening his chest and connecting a heart bypass machine. By finishing this two hour task in only 12 minutes, they brought Lincoln back to life. A few hours later he received a new heart, and when he awoke he was a happy baby, full of energy and joy, as you can see.

So who were the heroes in this story? The doctors who never gave up? The mother who never left her baby's side? The baby who endured so much? They were all heroes, but the first person Mindy thinks of is her husband. "I could not imagine getting through this without Rob's support," she said. "He gives his all to our family and he often sacrifices his own needs to take care of ours." And what does Rob say?"That's what I'm supposed to do."

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The heart and soul of an educator

Today's "crumb" comes to us from Ahmedabad, India, where Mr. Kamal Parmar runs a factory. One day, about 15 years ago, he was standing outside his factory gate when he saw twenty 8th graders from Municipality School walking home after taking exams. He asked what they study at school, and was shocked to learn that none of them could read or write. Then he surveyed about 400 students in the nearby slum and found only five were literate. (India has the largest population of illiterate adults in the world.) So he started his own informal school. Children attend for two hours each day and then all have dinner together. Mr. Parmar teaches "everything" and prepares students for Municipality exams, and for dinner he offers them "fancy dishes and sweets."

Many children enroll mainly for the delicious meal, but remain to become literate. When he began teaching, he had ten students. Now he has 115, and he does not need to hire extra staff because his past students return to teach current students. He is justifiably proud that "one of my girl students recently became the manager of a bank." Another became a computer engineer, and another is now a mechanical engineer. Mr. Parmar urges every literate adult to "educate just one child a year and see what a difference it makes to society."

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A father's duty, even if he's homeless

Today's crumb comes from London, England. Last week, Nicole Sedgebeerof Milton Keynes travelled to London for a night on the town. By the time she returned to Euston Station, she'd missed the last train home. Even worse, the station doors were locked for the night. Not sure what to do, she gathered enough courage to approach a homeless man in a sleeping bag near the station and told him, "I'm not from around here. Is there another way to get inside the station?" He said no, but offered to take her to a nearby cafe for coffee, since it was not safe for her to be on the streets alone at night. He said his name was Mark.

                                                                                     Nicole Sedgebeer / Facebook
After chatting over coffee, Mark said he had to go retrieve his sleeping bag, but promised to return in time to walk her to the station when it opened at 5 a.m. She waited, but finally decided he'd never return and started for the station alone. She was surprised when she suddenly saw him running toward her. "Not only did he return, but he had to ride a bus to come get me," she said. She was so thankful that she posted "Mark's very first selfie" on her Facebook page. How did homeless Mark feel about his good deed? "It was a father's duty to get another man's daughter home safe," he said.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Today's "crumb" comes from a reader in Canada

Liberal MP Mauril Belanger has represented the citizens of Ottawa-Vanier in the Canadian Parliament for 21 years. Among countless worthy causes, he's championed national unity, protection for minorities and revision of the national anthem, "O Canada," to make it gender neutral. He hoped to be elected Speaker this year, but was diagnosed last November with ALS. He can no longer speak except through an iPad, and finds walking difficult. Because he is so highly respected on both sides of the aisle, he received a tribute on March 9 never previously bestowed on any Canadian. He was named Honorary Speaker of the House of Commons, for a day.
                                                                                                                                 CBC News
If you watch the CBC News video linked below, you'll see the ceremonial guard marching very slowly as Speaker Belanger pushes his walker behind them. The Prime minister and members of the Cabinet were in the crowd applauding as he approached the grand front door of the House. MPs waiting inside cheered him as he entered the chamber. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke for all when he said, "I salute you, as the honorable member for Ottawa-Vanier and as Speaker for the dignity and grace that you bring to the House every day as you battle this terrible disease." To see a few moments of governmental affection, click on this link.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Does the name Smith-Corona ring a carriage return bell?

If so, then you remember life before word processors. If you typed a report for school or a letter at the office, a typo often meant retyping the entire page! That's how it was when Warren Nesmith came home to his wife Bette after fighting in WWII. Bette was an aspiring artist and loved to paint, but when she and Warren divorced in 1946, she had to support herself and her son, so she studied typing and shorthand. In 1951, Bette Nesmith Graham found work as an executive secretary at a bank.
She was a good secretary, but not much of a typist, and she was tired of trying to erase mistakes, so one night in her kitchen, using her beloved paints, she concocted a quick-drying white paste she called "Mistake Out" With a tiny brush, she could paint away mistakes and type over them! Soon other secretaries at the bank asked for Mistake Out, and by 1957 she was selling up to 25 bottles each week from home. That's when she renamed her product "Liquid Paper."

A decade later, Liquid Paper was in such demand that Bette had to build a factory. She insisted the factory include a child care center and a library, and used her profits to set up two foundations to help women find new ways to earn a living. By 1980, Liquid Paper had 200 employees and was selling more than 25 million bottles per year. That's when Gillette bought the company from Bette for a cool $47.5 million. By all accounts, her inventiveness, management skill and concern for women were influenced by her Christian Science faith.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

All "cooped" up in a Chick-fil-A?

Brad Williams of Suwanee, GA, near Atlanta, has four kids. Sometimes he calls them "screenagers," since they like to spend family mealtime texting friends and scrolling the Internet. To encourage better dinner conversations, he made a rule, "no cell phones at the dinner table." But the problem extended beyond his kids. He owns a Chick-fil-A franchise, and noticed many families eating in silence as they checked their email. So he made an offer some could not refuse.

He put an empty box on each table called a "Cell Phone Coop." If diners silence their phones, put them in the coop and leave them untouched for an entire meal, they are rewarded with a free Chick-fil-A Icedream. And here's the best part. His challenge has been so well received that over 350 Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country have requested Cell Phone Coops! Williams never dreamed his challenge would go national. He never publicized it beyond his restaurant. He explained, "I just want to see if we can play a small part helping the families in our community reconnect."

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Sockman of Crystal Lake

As reported in The Christian Science Monitor and other media, Tom McNamara is dedicating his retirement years to giving new socks to the homeless. After 30 years as a special education teacher, the Crystal Lake, Illinois man suffered tragedies in 2009 which changed his life. First, water backed up from the sewer and flooded the finished basement of his home for 33 days. Two months later, his house burned. He salvaged what he could and stored it in his garage until someone kicked down the door and stole everything. In February, 2010, his wife was murdered by a schizophrenic homeless man. Instead of staying angry, he found a cause, and now he says, "I feel I'm doing God's work, His mission work."

                                                                                                            Courtesy of Tom McNamara
In less than four years, Tom has driven his RV to 23 states, giving away over 5,000 pairs of warm, new socks to homeless men, women and children. He remembers how grateful one homeless man was. "A guy sat down right away, took off his shoes and socks, and put on the new ones. 'You have no idea how good these feel,' he said."In New Orleans, kids were saying, 'Mister, this is better than sex, drugs, anything!' Socks are the gold commodity in homelessness."

Tom has three children, all grown up. They and many of his friends are learning to pay it forward too. "I've heard more and more friends are putting socks in their cars" he says. Maybe you should have a package of new socks in your car too? Just in case?

Monday, March 7, 2016

Hunting dog finds 3-year-old boy

Douglas Downs, 29, is a fireman and pastor of Gum Springs Baptist Church in Natchitoches, Louisiana. He's also the owner of Honey, a bloodhound famed among local hunters for his skill at sniffing out deer. But on the night of February 23, Honey found something more precious than a deer. He found three-year-old Eli Alcock, who has slipped through a hole in a fence and wandered about a mile through the woods of Sabine Parish. When the boy was confirmed missing, Downs was asked if Honey could find him. He wasn't sure, but agreed to try. Honey was not used to working with a big crowd of humans wandering through the woods yelling the boy's name. But Downs let Honey smell a jacket Eli had worn a few days earlier. Downs said, "I just started praying 'Dear Lord, give Honey the ability. Just let her work through you," and immediately Honey started tracking.

                                                                                                         Courtesy of Douglas Downs
Instead of putting her nose to the ground, she smelled the wind as she zig-zagged through the woods. By now it was dark and getting windy. Many searchers had returned to the house, but Downs let Honey keep tracking. Following close behind his dog, Downs soon spotted Eli in a mud hole at the bottom of the hill. The boy was cold and scared but unharmed. Looking back, Downs believes "it was meant to be that way that night, and I really think that God wanted His power and presence to be seen, and it was. I'm just humbled to be part of it."

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The best way to read the book of life

                                                                                                                       Photo by Facebook

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Bet you never did this in first grade

Jennifer Lai, 27, teaches first grade at Global Education Academy in Los Angeles, CA. Sam Nalbandian, 28, has been her boyfriend for three years. Last month he decided to pop the question. One school day while Jennifer was out of the classroom meeting another teacher, he and her sister came to school and told her students what was about to happen. When Jennifer returned to class, the kids were unusually quiet. Her sister asked her to sit down and watch a kid-friendly movie about her friendship with Sam. When the movie ended, all 20 boys and girls quietly lined up and held a letter of the alphabet. What did it spell?

                                                                                                         Courtesy of Jennifer Lai
That's when Sam entered the room with flowers and kneeled on one knee in front of Jennifer. The kids cheered when she said "yes," but most covered their eyes when the couple kissed. "It was a complete shock," said Lai, but that wasn't her only surprise. "I'm also really impressed that none of the kids blabbed. When I've told them secrets in the past, they're running around the room telling everyone 30 seconds later."

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Domestic violence victim receives kindness

April Casey is fleeing domestic violence, and the stress is blamed for a physical ailment which keeps her away from her job at a pizzeria. She has two sons, Skyler, 4, and 14-month old Ethan. Doctors say she may not work again for six months, but she needs money to pay for rent and bills and diapers, and no one is helping her. So last month she tried to raise a few dollars by taking her children and a box of their toys to the corner of 67th Avenue and Northern in Glendale, AZ. She spread the toys on the grass, hoping to sell them while her children played. But before she sold anything, Glendale police sergeant Jeff Turney pulled up. He explained that it was too dangerous for her boys to play near the curb, and she could not sell toys there. She expected a ticket, or maybe worse, but instead he asked why she was selling her children's toys.

Then he took her and her boys to a nearby store where he bought them diapers and wipes. "She didn't want anything but things for the kids," he said. "I practically had to force her back to the grocery section to get food for herself." Before leaving, Sgt. Turney gave the boys junior police badges and a hug. April called his kindness "amazing, and I will be forever grateful." If you'd like to help April or see her recall his kindness on local television, visit

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Keeping love alive after 70 years of marriage

Ed and Florence "Toots" Shevick first met in Chicago in the 1940s. Today he's 93 and she's 91, and after 70 years of marriage, they still hold hands every day, and never go to bed without a kissing goodnight.

While he was overseas during WWII, they wrote letters to each other every day, and for the past 50 years they've lived in the same house in Woodland Hills, CA. They have two children, one grandchild and one great-grandchild. Ed plays tennis several times each week. "I play with kids who are only 75 or 80," he says. But he knows what's most important in life. "At this point in my life, the most important thing I can do is try to make Toots healthy and happy," he says, and she adds, "He's the most important thing in my life, and I'm the most important thing in his life." What kept their love alive for so many years? A shared sense of humor. "We laugh a lot," says Toots.