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Charity

Up on the beach – helping Syrian refugees

A few years ago, I became friends with a wonderful lady blogger, Sandi.  Sandi is a Florida mid-wife who, at the time, was based in China.  She’s shared her talents all over the world and recently left the safety of home and family to bring comfort to Syrian refugees washing up on the beaches of Greece.

She’s writing of her experiences and I have to tell you, reading about soaking wet children arriving on an overloaded raft, terrified and clinging to their mothers, haunts me.

An excerpt:

Thursday, February 11, 2016… the sun has set, our daily meeting with Toula’s volunteer group (or the group I affectionately refer to as Toula’s Merry Band of Volunteers) is over and Jaymarie and I decide to go to dinner.

Driving down the beach road we come across people coming up from the sea. Refugees. I ask Jaymarie to stop and I get out while she turns around to go back to the village for help. With the exception of one woman who is acting “shocky”, every one of the men, women and children seem to be OK, except they are wet and cold.

A young man, maybe around 25, comes up to me and hugs me and says while crying, “I drove the boat and I got everyone here safely… we are safe, we are safe!!!” The whole crowd starts to chant the same words in their language. My heart explodes with joy that I simply can’t explain.

A bit of an explanation. Sometimes the people on the boat are in a state of shock when they get on the ground. I think it’s a combination of many things including, absolute fear of the crossing (it is dark, their boats are grossly overloaded, many have never been on the sea), they are cold and wet, they are overwhelmed that the hardest part of their journey (fleeing their country, crossing multiple countries and a big, black, turbulent sea) is over and they are in Europe. All you can do is get them out of the wet clothes, put dry clothes on them and give them lots of hugs and love. This seems to work 🙂

Photo courtesy Flammidwyfe.com

Photo courtesy Flamidwyfe.com

The other thing I want to explain is the boats. I’ve touched on this before. They are rubber inflatables. They are kitted out with 30 hp engines, yes 30… that is NOT a typo! The 6 km journey takes an HOUR because there are 50-60 people on a rubber boat with a 30 horse power engine! Thus this young man’s immense joy that he brought this boatload of fellow refugees in safely. I asked him if he had ever driven a boat before and he told me, “no”. In fact, he has never been on the water before. I hugged him extra tight! He told me, “you are like my mother”. I struggle to keep my emotions in check because there is work to be done.

Help arrives! And we decide that it is best to walk them 1/2 a mile down to the clothing warehouse that is donated by a generous local man and maintained by Toula (the amazing local woman who will get her own post!) and her Merry Band of Volunteers. We get them in out of the wind and assist with getting them into dry tops, pants, shoes, socks and coats. Jaymarie helps a family with a special needs child who appears to have CP. (darn it!!! now I’m crying. In a cafe… why? Because I think of my {grand-daughter} Celeste and how scary it must have been for that mommy to travel with this special angel over that water and the whole voyage, gosh I hope they find a good place to live!). Jaymarie held the child while his mom and dad helped his siblings get into dry clothes and then clothed themselves.

Lots of love, lots of hugs, so much gratitude and JOY. What a great reason to be late to dinner!

https://flamidwyfe.com/2016/02/13/up-on-the-beach/

All kinds of help is needed.  I’m leaving the politics out of it.  These are people, real people, with nothing.

  • Any donation helps with basics – clothing, blankets, food, shoes, sanitary supplies, medical help:
  • https://www.youcaring.com/sandra-blankenship-480179 Or via PayPal: flamidwyfe1@aol.com
  • From Sandi:  I’m here because this is where God led me. I’ll stay until He leads me to leave. 

As for me I’ll be forgoing Starbucks and manicures and donating later today.   I’ve shared her blog on my Facebook page. As an immigrant myself, I cringe at the thought that anyone’s journey to a better life could end in the dark on a leaking rubber raft.

 

Matthew 25:35-40 – For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in.

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Categories: Blogging, Charity, Faith, fear, Growth, Life, Opinion, Personal, Politics, Quotes, Travel, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Random February Friday Five

It’s Friday! It’s time for 5 Random thoughts from my corner of the world!

1.  On a regular basis I wake up in the night with at least 600 things running through my head.  Think I could remember them now?  Nope, not a one.

three am

2. Friday is to the week like bread is to butter.  Speaking of, made Hubbs his favorite casserole earlier this week:  “Poor Man’s Chop Suey” – he had plate after plate of it, with a side of bread and butter, and a big ole smile plastered across his face.  As much as he watches what he eats, when a meal like this “magically” appears, he plows in like he’s been clearing a forest all day with his bare hands. And the comments of appreciation thrown my way make my hair curl ~ somethings really are that easy.

Poor Man's Chop Suey

Poor Man’s Chop Suey

3.  Heading out on a road trip today – yay!  The weather is cold and clear, there’s no snow in my future and I predict random song singing all the way to my meeting place. 🙂

amen to that! google.images.com

amen to that! google.images.com

4.  Hubbs and I were invited out for dinner tonight.  There’s something very nice about being on the receiving end of an invite.  Even if you don’t go, it’s just nice to be asked, you know?  But we’re going and I’m glad.  Whee!

5. There are many heart-wrenching causes out there in the “GoFundMe” world —  and, as much of a softie as I can be, I’ve yet to contribute to one. Guy Wolfe is a blogger I follow because of his sincere faith and beautiful writing -he’s served as an inspiration to me more than once when my world felt less than inspired.  He recently wrote of a tragic turn of events in his world – and the HOPE {Hold On Pain Ends} he’s experienced since.  I felt compelled to ask how could I help?    He told me and I did.  Would you?  More info here.

5893-instead-of-giving-myself-reasons-why-i-cant-i-give-myself

John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you…”

And how was your week? Do you wake with a “to-do” list at 3:00 a.m. that magically disappears in the morning?  Is there a favorite dish your spouse or loved ones just love?  Do you say yes to road trips as often as you can? Have you ever given money to someone’s “GoFundMe” site?   Are you the inviter or the invitee in social situations?

Categories: Beauty, Charity, Faith, Family, Friendship, Fun, Growth, music, Opinion, Personal, Random, Relationships, Share | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Perspective

You know you are winter-strong when you hear others comment, “We got a foot and a half of snow in 3 days.” “Yeah, I know, but hey – at least we’re not in Buffalo!”

This week’s record-breaking storm tells a tale unlike any I’ve heard before.  To support the American Red Cross  shelters for those impacted, click here.

Ha! google.images.com

google.images.com

 

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

Categories: Charity, Faith, Family, fear, News, Random, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Blessed abundance

Growing up, we had everything we needed.  We had room to run, ponies to ride, kittens to pet and dogs and each other to play with. We had bales to build forts in, fossils to discover and miles and miles of land to roam and explore.

a coulee that runs for miles

a coulee that runs for miles

My two sisters and I shared a bedroom; my middle sister and I even shared a bed, with  oldest sister having her own. There were 2 tall dressers in that room and one teeny closet; we shared all three. I had an underwear and sock drawer and a shirt/pants drawer. Dresses and skirts hung in the closet.

This looks a lot like our old dresser, except ours was yellow.  2 drawers!

This looks a lot like our old dresser, except ours was yellow. 2 drawers!

Now, I have a dresser that’s jammed full — and it’s filled with stuff I don’t wear.  My closet is the same.  And – to top it off — there are items hanging in there that I don’t even like!

Many of us, including me, keep too much. 

Is it because we are fixated on what something cost? (even if we’ve never worn it). Is it because we didn’t have a lot growing up so getting rid of “stuff” causes us anxiety?  Is it because we just don’t  know where to start?

I think back now on those 2 dresser drawers and wonder if I could live with that today.   I don’t need to, but there’s a part of me that wants to.

So, I’m slowly sorting through and using this simple note that suggests we “give away, throw away or put away.”  

Because all that I have that I don’t use .. could be used, loved, and blessed by someone else.

wise words!

Luke 6:38Give, and it will be given to you.  Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.  For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Are you able to let “stuff” go?  What’s keeping you from starting? 

Categories: Attitude, Blogging, Charity, Determination, Faith, Family, Fashion, fear, Gratitude, Growth, Home, Joy, Life, Personal, Self Discovery, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

See the need

I admit it: I’m a softie for men who share their feelings.

Hubbs does it easily, my Dad, loving and kind, showed it in the tender way he cared for us and all living things.

When a man shares his thoughts openly, there’s a certain level of trust that’s required, paired with the confidence of knowing that sharing their most heartfelt thoughts is possible… and not punishable.

My Iowa blogging friend, Rich Ripley, is a such a man.

His posts are usually crafted with a healthy dose of humor, but every so often, he lets himself go there. 

He goes where most rarely will. He goes deep.

This post, about holidays and loneliness and the true meaning of Christmas, is one of those posts.  Read on….

I distinctly remember Christmas Eve that night. I watched the dinner time news (all the talk was of Christmas events…go figure). The TV shows were (surprise) Christmas shows. I turned the TV off, and took a look outside my apartment window and saw….multicolored Christmas lights glistening off of a blanket of new fallen snow (no lying…north-central Iowa gets snow early and often).

I heard church bells ringing as Christmas Eve services started and ended.

It was awful. I was so alone. I went to bed early…I couldn’t take the depressing heaviness on my heart any longer. Dear God…so alone and sad. Thankfully…I fell asleep quickly.   

Read more here http://richripley.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/theyre-out-there-and-i-aint-talking-about-zombies/

is there room for one more?

room for one more? (google images)

Categories: Blogging, Charity, Family, Holidays, Joy, Life, Men, Relationships, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Frankie’s friends

As many of you know, we had to say good-bye to our fur-ever friend, Frankie, this summer.

13 years & 22 days with the world’s greatest dog.

So lucky, yes we were.

Smart and hilarious, I found him at the Humane Society. (More about his adoption here.) In his honor, we decided to pay it forward and sponsor the adoption of another lucky mutt.  He was all about sharing (especially food!) and I think he would have appreciated that.

Last week, still feeling the pinch of his absence, I received an email that made my heart smile.  Read on:

Dear Marilyn:

I wanted to let you know that Frankie’s memorial gift was used on a terrific family today 🙂  They adopted Penny – a 1.5 year old Pointer/Hound mix who has been with us since October 8.  The cool thing is that Penny joins their Golden Retriever, Sam, who was adopted from us in 2010.   The photo of the adopter, her son and the 2 dogs together is below.

Penny (L), her new brother, Sam and their family

Penny (L), her new brother, Sam (L) and their family

The adopter was so overwhelmed by your generous gift that she started to cry.  She couldn’t believe the kindness of you and your family and was even more touched because she just had to put her cat down last month.  She wanted to keep the generosity going so she made a donation to help more animals!

Thank you again to you and your amazing family!  It is truly an honor to be a part of your fantastic story!

On behalf of all of our animals,  we thank you!!!

Nicole C.,  Humane Society of West Michigan.

* * *

We like to think of Penny and her brother, Sam, as “Frankie’s friends” and we’re happy to be part of their success story.

Ever had a “pay-it-forward” moment?  Please share!

 Well done, Mom!

Frankie would have approved 🙂

Categories: Animals, Charity, Faith, Family, Friendship, Joy, Life, Love, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

What you can do today

* originally published May 28, 2012

image from photos.igougo.com

image from photos.igougo.com

Monday is Memorial Day here in the United States.

A day to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and safety.

What can you do today?

By all means, please enjoy a BBQ, the sun on your face and a drink in your hand.  Laugh and goof off with family and friends.  Stand in the yard and look up at the sky and revel in the fact that you can do all of these things without fear.

And then, then you can say thank you.

How?

It’s simple, really.

Don’t know a veteran?  Local Military hospitals and Veterans Homes would be love to have you volunteer. You can give your time or money. Don’t have a lot to give?   That’s perfectly fine … you’d be surprised how far your monies can go.

When I became a citizen, I asked family and friends attending my celebration party not to bring gifts but instead to buy raffle tickets benefiting our local Veterans Home.  Together, we raised over $250 for the “fun” fund – this pays for birthday parties, bingo prizes, board games and such.   I’ve never been prouder – or smiled harder – than I did walking into the V.A. home to present that check.  The same group buys small items for resale in their gift shop: at Christmastime, residents can “shop” for family and friends far away.     It’s fun to pick items up throughout the year and bring them forward in the fall.  Smiles all around.  Volunteer opportunities can be found here http://www.volunteer.va.gov/.

Lastly, please remember the thousands of men and women still serving us every single day.    Operation Gratitude aims to provide comfort items to troops overseas.    I like to find Beanie Babies(R) at Garage sales and donate discounted candy; my elderly father-in-law crochets scarves and blankets.  Together, we pool our donations and giggle as we mail our contributions. You can find a variety of ways to help by visiting their website here http://www.operationgratitude.com/ .

All gave some, some gave all. To our military and their families,  thank you.

Categories: Charity, Faith, Family, Growth, Holidays, Life, Love, Patriotic, Personal | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

A Valentinian Twist

google images

google images

What’s that?  Don’t have a Valentine?

Valentines Day is for new love and little kids, you say?

Or maybe you’re part of a couple and you’re past all that.

I get it.

It’s winter. It’s cold. You’ve got things to do.

I know.

I say all the same things myself.

And then I read this.  And it made me think:

Wouldn’t that be a fun twist on Valentine’s Day?

No giant teddy bears. No footie pajamas.

I don’t care to match a bear!

No 1-800-whatever.

How about this instead:

Each of us. Take one moment. And do something nice. For someone else.

Clear the snow from a neighbor’s walkway.

Buy some sweet treats for your office mates.

Leave a hand-written note of encouragement for your spouse, child or friend.

Let someone ahead of you at the check-out line.

Smile.

Take a deep breath.

Be patient.

I will if you will.

“Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible.” –Dalai Lama.

P.S.   Please let me know what you did and, most importantly, how’d you feel when you did it?

** Happy Valentines Day, friends! **

You're the best!

You’re the best!

Categories: Attitude, Charity, Faith, Family, Forgiveness, Friendship, Fun, Home, Humor, Joy, Life, Personal, Random, Self Discovery, Share, Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

A lighter load to bear & a little bigger piece of the pie

Driving the other day, I found a country station with this song on it.

The words fit the times, I think.  If only it were that simple.

If everybody everywhere
Had a lighter load to bear
And a little bigger piece of the pie
We’d be livin’ us a pretty good life
And that’d be alright

Go heavy on the good and light on the bad
A hair more happy and shade less sad
Turn all that negative down just a tad
That’d be alright

If my dear old dog never got old
If the family farm never got sold
Another bad joke never got told
That’d be alright

more than enough pie; google.images.com

Psalm 72:16 May there be abundance of grain in the land; on the tops of the mountains may it wave; may its fruit be like Lebanon; and may people blossom in the cities like the grass of the field!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Categories: Attitude, Charity, Family, Food, Forgiveness, Home, Joy, Opinion, Patriotic, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

What you can do today

Today is Memorial Day here in the United States.

A day to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and safety.

What can you do today?

By all means, please enjoy a BBQ, the sun on your face and a cold drink in your hand.  Laugh and goof around with family and friends.  Stand in the yard and look up at the sky and revel in the fact that you can do all of these things without fear.

And then, then you can say thank you.

How?

It’s simple, really.

Don’t know a veteran?  Local Military hospitals and Veterans Homes would be happy to have you volunteer. You can give your time or money. Don’t have a lot to give?   That’s perfectly fine … you’d be surprised how far your monies can go.

When I became a citizen, I asked family and friends attending my celebration party not to bring gifts but instead buy raffle tickets benefiting our local Veterans Home.  Together, we raised over $250 for the “fun” fund – this pays for birthday parties, bingo prizes, board games and such.   I’ve never been prouder – or smiled harder – than I did walking into the V.A. home to present that check.  The same group buys small items for resale in their gift shop: at Christmastime, residents can “shop” for family and friends far away.     I pick items up throughout the year and bring them forward in the fall.  Smiles all around.  Volunteer opportunities can be found here http://www.volunteer.va.gov/.

Lastly, please remember the thousands of men and women still serving us every single day.    Operation Gratitude aims to provide comfort items to troops overseas.    I find Beanie Babies(R) at Garage sales and donate discounted candy; my elderly father-in-law crochets scarves and blankets.  Together, we pool our donations and giggle as we mail in our contributions. You can find a variety of ways to help by visiting their website here http://www.operationgratitude.com/ .

All gave some, some gave all. To our military and their families,  thank you.

Categories: Attitude, Charity, Faith, Holidays, Patriotic, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 36 Comments

on Need

Consider this the next time someone you know (child, in-law, spouse, etc.) acts out, acts up, pouts, snorts, stomps or whines:

Love me when I least deserve it because that is when I most need it. –Swedish Proverb

:: image from Pinterest.com ::

Categories: Animals, Attitude, Charity, Family, fear, Forgiveness, Home, Life, Love, Quotes, Relationships, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 26 Comments

With a click & a prayer

My friend, Sandi, blogs about her adventures as a Dukan-living midwife in China. We’ve never met, but I can tell you this: she’s a fascinating woman with a great spirit and someone I would love to meet in person one day.

Sandi wrote a post on behalf of her beautiful grand-daughter, Celeste.  An excerpt:

As many of you know, Chris & I really need a wheelchair van to safely transport Celeste. As she gets older & bigger, it gets more & more difficult to lift her in & out of our vehicles. The company below is being very generous by giving away three wheelchair accessible vehicles. It would be a huge blessing and relief for us if we were to win one of them. The winner will be selected from the top 10% that rec’d the most votes. Voting is going on now & ends on Sun., May 13th. 

With one click, you, dear reader, can help this child and her parents win a mobility vehicle.  Here’s how:

  1. Click on the link to vote for Celeste.
  2. The first time  you vote, if you enter the #s 873 as the promo code, your vote counts as 5 votes! and
  3. You can vote every day until 5/13

Click here to vote for Celeste: http://nmeda.com/mobility-awareness-month/heroes/florida/jensen-beach/883/jenni-macmunn

and to read the full story, click here: My Granddaughter Celeste Alena.

Lastly, to visit Sandi’s blog, pop on over to  http://flamidwyfe.wordpress.com/

 * * *

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”  Martin Luther King, Jr.
Categories: Blogging, Charity, Determination, Faith, Friendship, Home, Life | Tags: , , , , , | 11 Comments

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