Stumbling into kindness


When fall hits, I start thinking about Christmas presents. I like to have my holiday presents all planned out early so I can enjoy the season without rushing. However, this year I happened to stumble upon some gift giving at the last minute for some strangers. And in the end, it was more of a present for me…

This was the first Christmas that my children would both be gone. They were both off at college and celebrating Christmas morning with other friends and family. So that meant no stockings, no early morning presents or no childlike excitement. Needless to say, my mommy side was a bit sad. I enjoyed making the holidays extra special for the kids. (It may have been even more fun for me than them.)

So when I came across a Facebook post asking for donations for local families in need, I quickly offered some help. It would be nice to feel like Santa and it seemed simple enough. Buy a few grocery items that could be placed into a holiday food basket. The organizer, who was a stranger to me, happened to live just a few miles from me. That made it even easier for me to offer more help upon dropping off my contribution.

After talking with her, I found out that her idea of making a couple of food baskets turned into donations for eight families. Her and her two daughters had come up with the idea and made a simple post to a community Facebook group. Then, myself and others started donating. So her two baskets turned into eight. She was so overwhelmed at the sudden rush of donations, so I offered to help her deliver them on Christmas Eve. I mean, why not? I wasn’t doing anything with my kids that day anyway.

img_0572

This is the “basket” of food that was collected, which then turned into eight more.

For ease and safety, a majority of the baskets were taken to one location so that people could pick them up there. We were met with smiles and tears and genuine appreciation. Grown men and women humbly approached us and said, I’m …. you said to met you all here.  One man was picking up a basket for a woman with cancer. She wasn’t feeling well enough to get out, but her son came along too and greeted us with wide eyes when we gave him the food. Another woman showed up all tearful in her van that had a blanket for a side window. And a tattooed man that spoke of motorcycles could not completely hide his emotions as he drove away. It was touching to see how we had affected people in such a good way.

After we gave out those baskets, we had two more to deliver in the local area. One was to a single mom of five young boys. They didn’t know we were coming and when our cars pulled up on their dead end road, the boys started peaking out the window. I am sure they were wondering what a group of people were doing on their street all of the sudden. With a gallon of milk in my hand, I started to walk with the girls towards the house. Then I stopped. I realized I was walking with the girls who helped plan the event with their mom while she was standing back by the car. I couldn’t give out stuff with her girls while she stood in the shadows. I turned around and urged her to go instead since it was her idea after all. (We were trying not to overwhelm the lady by have too many people come to her door.)

So from the road, I saw the girls hug the young boys and the moms both wipe tears from their eyes. The boys started hopping around looking in the basket. There were no toys in the basket, but food is never a bad thing when your hungry.

Shortly after that, we stopped by an extended stay hotel. A lady came out slowly with a walker. She approached us and let us know that she was the one we contacted. We gave her the laundry basket full of food, and she started to tear up. I don’t know her story, but she thanked us for our kindness. I never thought I’d be in this position…but I am. So thank you. It means the world to me. 

The organizer of the baskets hugs a woman we gave to as her husband and daughter stand nearby.

I thought about her comment: she never thought she’d be here. That is so very true. None of know when life could give us some circumstance that throws us into a tailspin. And I know from my personal experience, it is hard to accept help. It is difficult to admit you need assistance. And it is humbling to need help from strangers.

As I watched these women hug, both crying, I felt a mix of sadness and joy. Here I was on Christmas Eve, standing in a parking lot with a bunch of strangers crying, and yet, I felt complete. Yes, I missed my kids and this was not how I envisioned my holiday. It was not even an idea until two days prior. Like the woman receiving the basket of food, I never thought I’d be here either. But here I was, and it felt good to be a part of something so simple and yet special…even if I stumbled into it.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For the Daily Post Discover Challenge ~ Hope Gone Viral.

Update: Since this unplanned plan went so well. The ladies formed a group called the Breakfast Club and we plan to do more donations throughout the year.

And here is a message from the lady with five boys:

15683347_1475720142453217_137125192_n

 

 

Advertisements

Christmas is Here


Christmas Eve and Christmas were a little different this year. The kids are older and were making their rounds to other parts of the family, so I had Christmas Eve and Christmas morning to myself. Therefore, I decided to use them wisely.

The much-desired white Christmas did not come. Instead it was replaced with a wet Christmas, a very wet one. So, on Christmas Eve, I ran around taking pictures of the growing water levels of a nearby river, ate a Mexican lunch with my boyfriend and then went home into a dessert-making/present wrapping mania.

Christmas morning I slept in for hours. It was a beautiful rare thing. By early afternoon I was cooking and prepping for dinner guests. We ate, drank and opened presents that evening and it was perfect. Though things are changing with time, I am realizing, life is still wonderful. It is just a different version of wonderful and that makes me smile:)

Here are a few pictures for you all to enjoy…

 

For more pictures of the flooding, stay tuned to my photography page, Michelle Lunato Photograpy. I will be posting some pictures there soon. There are a few up on my Instagram right now though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop the Greed


We all like our stuff. From our smart phones and TVs to our green cars and appliances, we are spoiled. We entertain ourselves with fitness trackers, Redbox movies and non-fat frappuccinos with extra whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

We run around stressed at Christmas as we decide what to buy who and when. But giving should be fun. At least it is for me and several others I know. Yet, when I go out into the stores, so many people look angry. And when I hear some people talk about Christmas, they sound so greedy.

We live in a material world. (Great, now I am singing Madonna now…) I get that. I just wish some people had more Christmas spirit and less greed. And if they had this longer than just the Christmas season, that would be nice too. Am I asking too much?

Perhaps. But all things are possible with God I believe. And if all of us spread joy in our daily actions, maybe we could start a wave of happiness. Who knows, maybe those ripples of goodness could spread across the world…

 

“Let us keep Christmas beautiful without a thought of greed, that it might live forevermore to fill our every need, that it shall not be just a day, but last a lifetime through, the miracle of Christmas time that brings God close to you.” ~ Ann Schultz quotes

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For Writer’s Quote Wednesday

and

Ronovan Writes’

120115_2258_writersquot2

Living Christmas


For some, the day after Thanksgiving means Black Friday shopping. For me, it means the beginning of the Christmas season.

Since I was a child, I have adored Christmas. I love everything about it. From the Biblical story of Jesus being born to the glow of lights on a tree, it is all magical to me.

Christmas is not about presents to me. (Though I do enjoy giving them and getting them. Who doesn’t really?) It is more about a spirit of peace, love and caring. It just seems to be a time when the world seems happier and more respectful of each other. People smile more, give more. It is though there is a mask of kindness, one that I wish would remain throughout the year.

In my house, Christmas means time together cooking/baking favorite meals/treats, watching seasonal family movies, and decorating the house. It is about talking and laughing and slowing our pace to focus on family. It is a spirit we feel and try to share. And like Roy L. Smith said, it has to come from our hearts, because it can’t be wrapped up and found under the tree.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

For Writer’s Quote Wednesday

and

Ronovan Writes’

120115_2258_writersquot2