Thursday, August 31, 2017

Another crumb from Hurricane Harvey

Over 400 passengers were stranded at Houston's Hobby Airport during Hurricane Harvey. Flood waters had submerged all roads to and from the airports. The airport terminals were holding up well, but no one knew how to evacuate the travelers trapped inside. When flooding receded slightly from the Hobby runways, Southwest Airlines got special permission from the Federal Aviation Commission to fly five rescue flights to Love Field in Dallas, outside the storm zone.

                                                                                                                     Rick Gershon / Getty
Airport passengers waited calmly in lines by the gates to board the rescue flights, and applauded the food service staff who kept them fed. In total, 486 passengers (and some Southwest employees) were evacuated to safety, leaving only 17 people in the terminal -- mostly local residents. Southwest put evacuees up in Dallas hotels until they can be rebooked.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A crumb from Hurricane Harvey

Jim McIngvale, also known as "Mattress Mack," owns two furniture stores in Houston. He built both stores on elevated concrete to make them flood proof. As the city started to flood, he posted a video online with a simple message, "Come on over." He also gave out his personal phone number. Before long, hundreds of people streamed into his stores for shelter.

"We sell home theater furniture, and they're sleeping on that," McIngvale said. "Sleeping on recliners, sleeping on sofas and love seats. We have sleeper sofas. They pulled them out to sleep on them. They're sleeping on hundreds of mattresses throughout the store, and on couches, and God bless 'em. McIngvale also has food for evacuees, and he invited them to bring their pets too. "Think a slumber party on steroids," he says.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

An encore crumb from 2014

Here are excerpts from a book called Against the Pollution of the I by French author Jacques Lusseryan. Blinded in childhood, Jacques was a teenager when Germany invaded France in 1940. He formed a resistance group called "Volunteers of Liberty," and at 19 was arrested and sent to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp, where 56,000 prisoners lost their lives. Here he met a fellow prisoner named Jeremy. Jacques remembers Jeremy in these words.

"The horrors of Buchenwald were real, but Jeremy did not speak of them. His gaze was not nailed to the smoke from the crematorium, nor on the 1,200 prisoners in Block 57. He seemed to look through all this. He knew we could not live on the beliefs we had of Buchenwald. He said many of us would die from them, and he was right. I knew many men who were not killed, but died anyway because they thought they were in hell. It was of such matters that Jeremy spoke.

Newly-arrived Buchenwald prisoners.

"Jeremy belonged to the Christian Science faith. He did not try to console us. He spoke hard, but always gently. His eyes were solidly fixed on our miseries and he never blinked. He was not afraid, just as naturally as we were afraid.

"'For one who knows how to see, things are just as they always are,' he said. Buchenwald like ordinary life? I could not accept this until Jeremy enabled me to see. One day I realized Jeremy had lent me his eyes. With his eyes I saw Buchenwald was NOT IN GERMANY, as we thought. Instead, it was in each of us -- baked and rebaked; tended incessantly, nurtured in a horrible way. And we could vanquish it if we really wanted to. The Nazis had given us a terrible microscope, a 'concentration' camp, but this was no reason to stop living or loving.

"Jeremy found joy in Block 57. When he was present, we found joy rising in us! It was like a pardon, a reprieve -- the discovery that JOY EXISTS WITHOUT CONDITIONS, AND WHICH NO CONDITION CAN KILL. I have the clearest memory of finding this joy. I perceived one day a little place where I did not shiver; where I had no shame; where the death-dealers were only phantoms. I owed this to Jeremy.

"He wore a registration number. Others beside myself knew him. But Jeremy was not there in the exclusive manner in which we hear the phrase "to have been at Buchenwald." Jeremy was not happy. He was joyous. This is the mystery and power of beings who worship a God other than their own personalities."

Monday, August 28, 2017

This never made the evening news

Ramadan Jamjourn, 35, is a Palestinian bus driver. Recently he was driving the 422 line from Jerusalem to the Orthodox city of Brei Brak when something amazing happened. He saw a Jewish man exit the bus while talking on his cell phone. As he stepped off the bus, the man dropped a wad of American cash -- $10,000.  The driver called to him, but the man was distracted by the phone and did not hear him.

The driver picked up the wad of cash. He informed the bus company and turned it in. The bus company gave it to the police, who posted an ad in the Lost and Found section of the local paper. The owner was able to call the police station and provide enough details to pick up the money.  Jamjourn said the cash did not tempt him. "It is my duty morally and religiously, and to my God and my work, to return the money," he explained.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Cherishing girl babies in China

For centuries, and especially since the "one-child-only" policy under Communist rule, Chinese parents have favored boys over girls since a boy can carry on the family name and help with farm work. Female infanticide is no longer common, but when babies are abandoned, they are almost always girls. Retired mortuary worker Yu Shangzhong of Zhejiang province and his wife have adopted 12 abandoned girls over 35 years. According to the Qianjiang Evening News, they adopted their first girl when he was 40. Four years later, he found a baby girl dumped in a paper box in his village and called her his own. His third child was also an abandoned girl baby.

Life was hard for the family as Yu earned little money for many years, holding part-time jobs. "When I was little, my mother carried me on he back collecting food scraps and even begging," remembers the eldest daughter, now 35. The four youngest girls managed to go to college, despite their poverty. Yu remembers when he found the two youngest as babies in a span of three days. "They had been placed in paper boxes containing their birth information," he says. These two youngest will enroll at a university in Wenzhou this autumn.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Owners of heart-shaped island have big hearts

A huge fire destroyed three homes on the northeast coast of Australia this month. The families who owned the homes lost everything. But now businessmen Richard Branson and Brett Godfrey are stepping in to help. They own a private island, and are letting the families live at the island resort for free while they sort things out.

Shown here is Makepeace Island, which they purchased in 2001. The resort on the island was opened to the public in 2011. It usually costs over $4,000 a night for a family of four, but all three families are staying free of charge, and their meals are covered too. A reporter reached out to Branson and Godfrey, but a spokesperson said they don't want any publicity. They just want to help.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Today's crumb is from China

It happened August 12 at Xinxiang, in Henan Province. A boy, whose name has not been revealed, was running across a busy street. CCTV surveillance footage shows him running directly in front of a passing white car, which hit him. Upon impact, he bounced up on the car's hood, and then slid off and was trapped under the car when it stopped.

Chao Feiyang, a passerby, saw the accident. He and his two friends tried to lift the car off the boy, but the vehicle was too heavy. Moments later, more than 20 people rushed out of nearby shops and restaurants to offer help. The boy was freed after everyone joined forces to lift the car and drag him out. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he is reported to be in stable condition.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Carrot grows around engagement ring

Mary Grams, 84, lives near Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Back in September, 2004, she was pulling a weed on her family farm when her engagement ring slipped off her finger. She had it since 1951, the year before she married her husband, Norman. After looking for it "high and low on our hands and knees," she quietly replaced it so Norman would never know she lost it. He never did.

                                                                                                            Iva Harberg
Norman died five years ago, after the couple's 60th wedding anniversary. Since then, she's moved away from the farm, which has been in the family for 105 years, but her children still keep a garden there. Recently, her daughter-in-law, Colleen Daley, was harvesting the garden and pulled a carrot from the ground. It was encircled by the long lost wedding ring. Grams looks forward to putting it back on. "I'm going to wear it because it still fits," she said.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Love lost, and found again

Today's crumb began in 1961, in the cafeteria of Occidental College in California, where sophomore Janice Rude served on the serving line. Freshman Prentiss Willson was always early to meals because he thought she was beautiful and looked forward to seeing her. They began dating, and in 1962 a newspaper announced their engagement, but said "no date has been set." Then Janice' father opposed the marriage, and threatened to cut off her tuition. The young lovers could not make it work, and eventually parted ways. Prentiss graduated from Harvard Law School and practiced in the San Francisco Bay area. Janice settled in Reno, Nevada, where she ran her family's diving board business. Over 47 years, each married and divorced several times.

Their paths crossed occasionally through friends. "I tried to stop thinking about him," Janice said, but in 2010, she agreed to join him for lunch. She warned her daughter, "This might be goodbye forever." It wasn't. After lunch, they walked along a path overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and Prentiss asked if he could kiss her. Six months later, they became re-engaged, and in 2012 they returned to Occidential College to be married on campus. "We just couldn't find unconditional love with anyone else," said Prentiss. "We lament every day we missed together. That's about 17,500 days, but who's counting?" Janice says, "We feel like 18 again, blissfully in love."

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The story of Giving Hands Hair Salon

Vanessa Howard grew up in a drug-infested household in Tampa, Florida. As a teen she was the victim of domestic abuse. Eventually she had three children of her own, and only $1.75 to her name. Then she met a landlord who let her rent an apartment, and she started working at a local beauty salon to support her three daughters.

                                                                                                        Giving Hands Hair Salon
Decades later, Howard was finally able to open her own business, called Giving Hands Hair Salon. To help other girls living in poverty around Tampa, she provides free hair care one day each month. Almost 300 women and girls from transitional housing and homeless shelters have benefited from her free styling. "I would encourage other broken woman," she said. "I believe we should use what we've been through to help others."

Monday, August 21, 2017

Shoplifter at Walmart treated kindly by police

An 18-year-old man recently tried to shoplift clothes from a Walmart in Toronto, Canada. His name is unknown, because he was never charged with anything, thanks to a policeman with a big heart.

After the teen was caught, Walmart called police and Niran Jeyanesan (above) soon arrived. He found out the shoplifter was not stealing stylish clothes or shoes. Instead, he had stolen a necktie, a dress shirt, and socks, so the officer asked why he needed them. The young man explained that he had a job interview, and didn't have any nice clothes or the money to buy them. He knew it was wrong to steal, but he was trying to provide for his family. Instead of taking the shoplifter down to the station, Jeyanesan took him to a store cashier and paid for the stolen clothing himself. He said that, instead of making the shoplifter's life worse, he decided to help make it better. And he did. The officer gave the teen his phone number, and the boy called later to let him know the new clothes worked. By being well-dressed, he got a job!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Facebook saves woman stuck in pool

It happened August 11 in Epping, New Hampshire. Leslie Kahn, 61, is a teacher who spends her summers quilting and swimming. But this day, when she grabbed the ladder to lift herself out of the pool, the ladder broke. "Without something for my feet to get leverage on, and without upper body strength, it wasn't happening," she said. Her cell phone was inside her house. There were no neighbors within earshot, so she waited in the pool three hours. Then she got an idea.

Her iPad was on a chair beside the pool. "I got the trusty pool pole, caught the leg of the chair and dragged it over." She got the iPad hooked up to WiFi and logged on to "Epping Squawks," a town Facebook page where something is always going on. She started her post with 911 to get more attention, and asked her Facebook community for help. Soon a woman from two streets away showed up. Then the police came. Kahn then let her virtual friends know that help had arrived.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

An unforgettable Christmas eve service

Did you ever yearn to attend an old-fashioned Christmas Eve service in a country church? Many years ago, I drove from my home in metro-Boston to the village of North Conway, NH. It's tiny compared to Boston, but filled with upscale stores and eateries, not to mention Mt. Washington. After some holiday shopping, I scanned the local paper for Christmas services. Sadly, I was a week early, and the only Christmas service was in an even smaller village a few miles away. Hoping for the best, I drove the rain-soaked farm roads to the village -- really just a crossroad -- where a tired clapboard church sat on one corner. Visitors were not expected, but I dripped through the door anyway. This church had seen better days. Instead of pews, there were ancient wooden folding chairs. The wall behind the alter was decorated with contact paper I'd seen at Woolworths. Instead of chandeliers, bare bulbs hung from the ceiling on cords, and as the service began, they all snapped off with a loud click, plunging the room into darkness. I regretted coming, but then things got worse. A dozen Sunday School kids lined up in front. Each one lit a candle. So far, so good. Then one-at-a-time they read (I'm not making this up) verses from Hallmark Christmas cards! After each kid read his card, he blew out his candle. Parents, many wearing dungarees, were obviously as pleased as punch. I wanted to drop through the floor, until there was just one kid left standing with a lit candle -- the last girl in line. She didn't have a Hallmark card. She had a Bible, and she read, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal."

It was only one verse of I Corinthians, but she garbled it. Instead of "tinkling cymbal" she said "twinkling symbol." Then she blew out her candle, and as we sat in silent darkness I realized something. Until then, my Christmas had been a "tinkling cymbal" -- noisy, selfish gift buying. But Christmas isn't a tinkling cymbal, it's a twinkling symbol -- a star that wise men still follow to find the infinite love of God, manifest as a babe in a manger. I asked myself, "where will I spend this Christmas, at the mall or in the manger?"

With a loud snap, the bare overhead bulbs came on, and folks began rising from their rickety chairs. As I left, the pastor met me at the door and apologized. He said he only serves here once a month, but has a church in North Conway "where we have a REAL Christmas eve service." I told him his apology was not needed. In that weather-beaten old chapel, an angel (disguised as a little girl) had reminded me what Christmas really means.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Boy touches police officer's heart

It happened recently at a Denny's restaurant in Lakeland, Florida. At one table, Lakeland police officer Eddie Benitez was eating breakfast alone. At another table, 9-year-old Noah Cantin was eating breakfast with his mom, Amanda. Noah dreams of being a policeman, so he asked his mom if he could walk over and say "hi" to officer Benitez. His mom said "sure."  But Noah froze, because he didn't know what to say. Then he had a new idea. He'd been saving up his birthday money. Could he spend it to pay officer Benitez' tab for breakfast? He and his mom flagged down a waitress to told her his plan. Once they got the receipt, Noah wanted to write a note on it. He wrote, "I want to be you when I grow up. Thanks for your service." Then he strolled across the dining room and dropped the receipt on officer Benitez table.

                                                                                          Lakeland Police Department
Officer Benitez was stunned. He jumped up from his seat and insisted on taking this photo with his biggest fan. He was so touched by Noah's kindness that he carries the receipt around with him. He said it's a reminder that "I need to keep trying to be a good example for all these young guys." Noah was excited by all the attention. He's wanted to be a policeman for four years. "I'm going to make the world a better place," he says, "and catch the bad guys."

Thursday, August 17, 2017

These two heroes were married 73 years

For half-a-century, the world has applauded astronaut John Glenn as an American hero. On Feb. 20, 1962, he was the first American to orbit the earth in a fragile capsule called Friendship 7. Decades later, after he retired from the U.S. Senate, NASA invited him to suit up again and become the oldest American to fly in space. But few know that, during all those years, Glenn had his own hero, his wife Annie. John and Annie first met (literally) in a playpen when they were infants and their parents were neighbors. They attended the same high school, where Glenn was a three-sport varsity athlete, Mr. Everything, and he only had eyes for Annie. She was bright and talented, but stuttered so badly that 85% of the time she could not speak words. When she tried to recite a poem in elementary school, everyone laughed. In restaurants she had to point to things on the menu. As an adult, she silently handed taxi drivers notes telling where she needed to go. But John Glenn never stopped loving her, and they married on April 6, 1943.

After having two children, she wrote, "Can you imagine living in a modern world and not being able to use a telephone? 'Hello' used to be so hard to say. I worried that my children might be injured and need a doctor." As a Marine aviator, Glenn flew 59 combat missions in WWII and Korea. His last words to Annie before leaving were always the same. "I'm just going to the corner store for a pack of gum." She always struggled to reply, "Don't be too long." Those were the words he used before riding Friendship 7 into space in 1962, and also in 1998 when, at age 77, he returned to space on the shuttle Discovery. But before his final flight, he actually gave her a pack of gum which she carried next to her heart until he returned safely.

John and Annie in 1998

When she was 53, Annie found a cure for her stuttering and could speak freely. John says the first time he heard her speak, he fell to his knees with a prayer of gratitude and wept. He says, "I saw Annie's perseverance and strength through the years and it just made me admire her more. I don't know if I would have had the courage."

Annie was at his side when John passed away in December, 2016. He was 95, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. "It's been wonderful," she said, "because we've had real love."

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Man gives away winning lottery tickets

His name is Hal. We don't know his last name, but Hal is a 77-year-old retired truck driver who lives in Liberty, Maine, about 50 miles southwest of Bangor. Back in April, Hal won the $2 million lottery. He took home $1.4 million after taxes, so he's set for life. But last month he used part of his winnings to buy 56 Pick 3 lottery tickets, and used the same three numbers on all the tickets. It makes no sense, but he won again.

Each of his 56 tickets was worth about $420, so instead of cashing them in, he gave them away. He went to his favorite restaurant and handed tickets to all the staff -- even the girl who had only worked there a few days. He gave the rest of random people at gas stations and the grocery store. He said he's given stuff away before, but never on this scale.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

From a reader in Bloomington, Indiana

Keith Davison lives in Morris, Minnesota. He's a 94 year old retired judge, and for 66 years he was married to Eve, until she passed away in April, 2016. He's been lonely since then. "You get used to having a person there to enjoy," he says, "and now this doggone place is just so quiet." So he found a remedy.

                                                                                                                                     U.S. News
He had a 32-foot long pool with a diving board built in his back yard, and invited everyone in the neighborhood to enjoy it. Now his yard is filled with the joy of kids splashing around. "I knew they'd come." he says. "I'm not sitting by myself looking at the walls. The pool has been a diversion from that."

Monday, August 14, 2017

She completely forgot how old she was

A 103-year-old woman named "Bert" Mullenbach lives in a nursing home in Rochester, Minnesota, about 80 miles southeast of Minneapolis. For years, she's wanted to ride a motorcycle, but once she passed 100, she figured she'd never do it.

That was until this month, when she was talking with her dentists, who is a motorcycle guy. He offered her a ride on his Harley. It's a two-seater with a back seat you can lean back on, so she didn't have to hang onto him. He put her in a helmet and leather jacket and they rode about 15 miles before heading home. Best of all, he picked her up and dropped her off in front of her nursing home, so all her friends could watch from the windows. Did she enjoy the ride? "I completely forgot how old I am," she said.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Some hair-stylists are angels

Kayley Olsson is a beautician from Iowa. Recently a 16-year-old girl came into her shop and asked to have all her hair cut off. She wanted to be bald. She had been suffering from extreme depression."She got to the point where she felt so down and so worthless that she couldn't even brush her hair," said Olsson.

                                                                                                Facebook/Kayley Olsson
Now it was time to have school pictures taken, and the young woman asked Olsson cut shave her head, since she could not deal with the pain of combing her hair out.  Instead, Olsson and her colleagues worked with the girl eight hours one day, plus five hours the next day, getting her ready to school pictures. Her new hair is unrecognizable. Olsson gave her a sleek crop with an ombre-style color and beautiful curls. "We finally made this beautiful girl smile, and feel like she IS worth something after all, said Olsson.

                                                                                               Facebook/ Kayley Olsson

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Pilot "fathers" child traveling alone

In July, 5-year-old Aisley Schatz of Orlando, Florida, went to visit her grandparents in California. She flew home unaccompanied on Southwest Airlines, which allows children as young as five to fly alone if no transfers are involved. But when they arrived in Omaha, Aisley said she was hungry.

Captain Wes Huston was piloting the plane, and he's the father of two boys. When he heard Aisley was hungry, his daddy instincts kicked in. He left the plane and went to the food court at Eppley Airfield and bought chicken strips and potato wedges for her at KFC. "That is always a sure hit," he said. One flight attendant provided her personal cell phone so Aisley could make a video call to her mom. It was the first time Aisley flew on a plane by herself, and her mom said it felt good to know the crew treated her like she was their own daughter. The picture above was taken after the plane landed safely in Orlando.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Who were the good samaritans??

Traffic was slow on I-24 westbound in Johnson County, Illinois. on Friday, August 4. Eight vehicles had come to a stop or were moving slowly due to construction, when a semi-tractor-trailer hit the rear of the eighth car and caused a violent chain reaction. The truck driver said he must have fallen asleep. Police reported that "a team of good samaritans" pulled all occupants from burning vehicles. But who were these good samaritans??

They were music executives from the Oswald Entertainment Group, riding motorcycles from South Dakota to Illinois for a bike rally, when they came upon the accident. The motorcyclists, two of whom used to work as EMTs, stopped immediately. They called 911; assembled onlookers, and started pulling drivers out of damaged vehicles. After rescuing a family of six from an SUV, cyclists found a woman totally trapped inside her crumpled car. "I knew it was going to blow up," said Marc Oswald. That's 100%. It just hadn't blown up yet. It smelled like acid and black smoke." When they failed to get her out, the bikers DRAGGED HER WHOLE CAR to a safe spot on the median. Seconds later, the other wrecked vehicles burst into flames. "The fact that nobody died is a miracle," said one samaritan.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Mayor tells barber, "I've got your back."

Brennon Jones is a barber from Chester, Pennsylvania, who moved to West Philadelphia and started giving free haircuts to Philly's homeless population. "Haircuts4Homeless" caught the attention of Mayor Jim Kenny, who celebrated Jones' kindness. "I'm a huge fan of what you're doing," he said."I'm proud." But on July 17, a woman from the Licenses and Inspections walked up to Jones and told him he had to quit. He lacked a vendor license and was cutting hair on a traffic median which might be dangerous to his homeless customers. When word got out, Philadelphians started a petition which gathered more than 17,000 signatures. One supporter got word to the mayor, and he told Jones "I've got your back."

Jones' mission was not stopped for long, and he credits Mayor Kenny for keeping his word. Recently Jones declared on Facebook, "Just got word from the Mayor. Haircuts4Homeless is back in business. The city found a safer spot for him to cut hair -- the north apron of City Hall or in the Courtyard.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

What does it mean to let go?

To let go is not to care for, but to care about.
To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.
To let go is not to judge, but to let another be human.
To let go is not to regret the past, but to live for the future.

To let go is not to deny, but to accept.
To let go is not to scold, but find my own faults and correct them.
To let go is not to regulate anyone else, but to regulate myself.
To let go is to fear less.....and love more.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

It's a slow-motion miracle

Dana Rachlin is the founder of NYC Together, a nonprofit youth organization that pairs police officers and minority youths in hopes of mending their tense relationship in what Rachlin calls "a slow-motion miracle."  Kids and officers work together on community projects, and do cooking and gardening together. Officers mentor kids, helping with homework and creating an opportunity for each to see the other in a different light.

                                                                                                                         NYC Together
Rachlin started NYC Together two years ago to fill an education gap that youths face in school, and in hopes of reaching kids before they get into the criminal justice system. "All of our young people are students who go to schools that are underserved, really segregated, and lack access to technology," she says. Her program also creates a safe space for painful conversations. "This is not like kumbaya," she says. "When Jordan Edwards was murdered in Texas, we had a program that day, and it was really meaningful for the young people and the officers to be able to engage in a conversation around 'How does this make you feel?  Students feel heard, and that's the most important thing."

Monday, August 7, 2017

His sister says he is an alien

When Jack Davis of New Jersey saw NASA's help wanted ad for a planetary protection officer, he knew he was the man for the $127,000/year job, so he wrote a letter to apply for it. "I may be nine years old," he wrote in pencil, "but I think I'd be fit for the job. One reason is my sister says I am an alien. Also I've seen almost all the space movies and alien movies I can see. I have also see the show Marvel Agents Shield. I am great at video games, and I am young, so I can learn to think like an alien."

NASA could have put Jack's letter in the circular file with a chuckle, but instead they wrote back, congratulating him on his interest. He ever got a phone call from Planetary Research Director Jonathan Rall. While NASA didn't offer Jack the job, they didn't reject him outright, explaining that "We're always looking for bright future scientists and engineers to help us, so we hope you will study hard and do well in school. We hope to see you here at NASA one of these days."

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Should we really expect a miracle?

When I was 12, living in Wilmington, DE, a local theater changed it's marquee. Instead of a movie title, it said JESUS SAVES. Oral Roberts had come to town on a healing crusade. My parents dismissed him as a hoax, so I did too, until recently -- when I learned more about his life.

Did you know he was raised in frontier poverty near Ada, Oklahoma? As a teenager in 1934, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis so advanced he could not survive. With no other hope, his parents took him to an evangelist meeting in a tent in Ada. In his autobiography, Expect a Miracle, Roberts recalls hearing God's voice on the way to the meeting. "Son, I'm going to heal you, and you're going to take my healing power to your generation." At the end of the meeting, the evangelist put his hand on Roberts' head and shouted to the illness, "Come out of this boy!" Roberts fully recovered and began studying the Bible, giving his first sermon two years later.

He began his TV career in 1954 by filming worship services conducted under a traveling tent big enough to seat 10,000. Leaders of many denominations doubted his cures. Arizona ministers offered $1,000 to anyone who could prove medically that Oral Roberts cured them. They received no response, but thousands claimed they had been healed by the touch of his hand.

During his long career, he placed his hand on more than 1.5 million sick people. Millions wrote him seeking counsel, including John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter. In 1972, John Lennon wrote asking forgiveness for saying the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus."

If you never watched Oral Roberts on television, click the blue link below to see a brief clip. His disclaimer at the beginning may interest you, as well as the second healing -- of a boy who stutters. When criticized by churches, Roberts replied, "I have more friends among doctors than clergymen."

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Do you know a teacher like Rudy Jones?

Erin Bishop of Layton, Utah, never thought of going to college. Raised by a single mom who was addicted to meth, Erin began, when she was eight years old, using her babysitting money to buy groceries, and then cook dinner. She asked neighbors for water when hers was shut off. She had no childhood, but stayed in school until she moved away from home at 17 and got a job. She had been a teaching assistant in Mr. Rudy Jones honors biology class, and when she dropped out, he tried hard to find her. Eventually she came to see him, and he arranged for her to finish high school a little ahead of schedule. "Mr. Jones saved me," she admits candidly. "He told me I could do hard things." But she was now a single teenage mom (failed marriage) and could not afford college tuition until she discovered Western Governors' University, an accredited, online university founded by 19 state governors for students like Erin.

Time Magazine calls WGU "the best relatively cheap university you've never heard of." Erin could afford WGU, where she earned two degrees -- a Bachelor's in Special Ed and a Master's in instructional design, and did it all as a single mom. How?  "I could work in the day, be a mom at night, and then in the middle of the night I could do my schoolwork," she explains. Because of the support she received from Mr. Jones during more than 10 years, she decided to be a teacher, and is now a behavior specialist for the Webster School District, rotating between 27 elementary schools, developing behavior plans for challenged students. "The ones that are known as troublemakers are the ones I've always been able to understand and click with," she says. Thanks to Mr. Jones, she knows she can do hard things. Recently she gave a commencement speech to 10,000 WGU graduates. It's only 10 minutes long and very inspiring. If you'd like to be uplifted, visit

Friday, August 4, 2017

Dog's life saved, thanks to Girl Scouts

Firefighters from Bakersfield, California, rescued a little white Shih Tzu from a house fire recently. But when they got the dog outside, it was not breathing. Fortunately, they had an oxygen mask made specially for dogs and cats! They started using it and the dog revived.

But why did the firemen have a special oxygen mask for dogs and cats in their fire engine? Because of local Girl Scouts. Back in 2015, they raised $2,400 to buy 37 of the special masks -- one for every fire engine in the city. The dog had minor burns on his feet, but will be fine, thanks to the Scouts.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

High school students honor holocaust hero

Believe it or not, Irena Sendler's story was largely unknown until 1999, when Norman Conrad, a high school teacher in Uniontown, Kansas, had his students study her. The students produced a play about her called "Life in a Jar," and it was a great success. They staged it over 200 times in the United States and overseas! So who was Irena Sendler?

She moved to Warsaw, Poland, just before World War II. After the 1939 German invasion, she and her co-workers created over 3,000 fake documents to help Jewish families. As an employee of the Social Welfare Department, she was permitted to enter the Warsaw Jewish ghetto to check for signs of typhus, which Nazi's feared would spread beyond the ghetto. Under the pretext of conducting sanitary inspections, she and her co-workers smuggled out 2,500 babies and small children, sometimes hiding them in suitcases and packages. (She personally smuggled out at least 400 children.) Each was given a fake Christian name; adopted by a Christian family, and taught Christian prayers, in case they were tested. But she kept careful records of their given names and current locations, hoping to return them to their original families after the war. In 1943 she was arrested and severely tortured for helping Jews. When she refused to betray her children she was sentenced to death, but escaped execution by bribing her guards. Meanwhile, the parents of most of the children she saved were killed in the Treblinka extermination camp. After the war, Russian secret police brutally interrogated her, since she had been part of Poland's resistance organization. But she survived, living in Warsaw until her death in 2008 at age 98. In 1991, her heroism was finally recognized and she became an Honorary Citizen of Israel. Here she is in 2005, with some of the "children" she saved from certain death.

                                                                                                                              Marinsz Kubik

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Twenty flower girls and boys

Marielle Slagel Keller teachers both kindergarten and first grade at Butler Lab School, part of the Indianapolis, Indiana, public school system. This year, her first grade class has a summer memory they will never forget.  Keller got married a few weeks ago. She said that, when it came time to pick a flower girl and ring bearer, the only children who came to mind were her class.

                                                                                                           Cory and Jackie Photography
So she invited her entire class to be flower girls and boys at her wedding. All twenty children walked down the aisle wearing all white, and carrying garland. For some of them, it was the first wedding they ever attended. "They mean the world to me," said Keller. "The kids and their families were part of the whole wedding process. They are a huge part of who I am." Because Keller teaches both kindergarten and first grade, her flower girls and boys from last year's kindergarten will have her for a teacher again this year, in first grade. But they won't just be her students. They'll be her children.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Camp destroys female stereotypes

For decades, girls at summer camp have enjoyed tennis and swimming, but almost always took "arts and crafts" where they sat inside making leather trinkets or macaroni necklaces. That stereotype has finally ended. At Girls Build summer camps in Portland and southern Oregon, girls as young as eight are learning how to use power tools!

                                                                                                                  Deena Prichep / NPR
Girls wear hard hats and tool belts and work on everything from pouring concrete planters to shingling the roof of a sandbox (shown above). Said one camper, "We were just chopping pieces of wood and we were like, how can this become a playhouse? Then we painted it and it slowly started coming together and now, hey, it's looking like something." At the end of the week-long camp, one parent told how her twin eight-year-old girls have changed. "There's not nothing they can't do," she said, "but now there's nothing they can't try."