WTF: 12/24… Christmas Eve…

 

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Tomorrow’s Christmas… It’ll soon be Christmas Eve… Stockings all hung… maybe a logs glowing in a fireplace… Tree lit and hung with tinsel… A cup of Christmas cheer…  with a cookie… or two.. or three…

I don’t wanna talk about cops… good or bad… I don’t wanna talk about injustice or justice… I don’t wanna talk about race… I don’t wanna rant or rave… I don’t wanna talk about religion or war or revolution… I just wanna let things be for once, and, try and think peaceful thoughts.

Its Christmas… damn it… oh, sorry… that was an almost rant… and… not very peaceful in the thought department.

Me? I spend Christmas quietly… just me and mom… some Christmas ham, or, a small rib roast… nothing overly elaborate.

Maybe some cousins will stop by later, and, some Christmas snacks will be enjoyed. It’s all good… it’s all just nice and peaceful… a day of rest, serenity, and, hopefully, love…

The only thing that could make it more peaceful would be if there is snow that would softly fall… slowly… serenely drifting down like glistening old time Lux soap flakes.snowy

Don’t know if any of ya’ll have ever listened to how it becomes when it snows. Slowly… steadily… just a pillowy falling snow, coating the ground… everything becomes quiet… like space and time stand still. A beautifulness surrounds the world and beseeches a calm that fills the air and the soul as a special serenity settles upon the land. I find myself in a place that is rarely felt… transfixed into a time that is inexplicably of, and filled with, peace. I hope for that to fill me on Christmas day… with or without the snow.

So… for this time I thought this space would be well filled with words from songs of that I hold dear to my heart… not carols… but songs that express how I want the day of Christmas to be.. .for all days to be…

I thought… Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night…

Peace…

But, then, I thought… that’s really not what I want to do at all… I thought… for once, let me write a column where I see and speak no evil… or… nastiness… or… words of despair… or… of anything that is unpeaclike. Let me write of ten moments… of ten things… that are good, and, of doing peace and expressing the wonderful neature that we all are capable of being. Of being gracious and wonderful, loving and caring… of being all about what good folks we can be, if, the effort is just given. And if that effort is given… we might find it wasn’t all that hard to give.

So, this Christmas Eve… and, if, it’s the day before Christmas then to me it’s Christmas Eve… I present ten moments that have recently occurred that somehow made someone’s life more better, more beautiful and more wonderful in some individual and small, yet, beautiful and magnificent way…

joe11) After a having a college kids night out, 22-year-old Dominique Harrison-Bentzen found herself stranded, alone, penniless, and, with no way to access any money, or, to contact anyone… she had somehow lost her bank card and her cell was dead.

A stranger offered her help… a man who had less than her but still saw a need and just wanted to make someone’s life easier and less stressful. Some peeps would call him a bum. To some others he was an unfortunate soul without a home who was living by his wits on the streets.

But, he saw the young woman and he asked if something were wrong… if, she needed help. And upon hearing her tale of woe… offered her his loose change… all the money that he had… about £3 pounds… or what us yanks call about $5 or to be exact it was $4.60 American.He offerd his life savings to Dominique Harrison-Bentzen, so, she could try and get a cab ride home.

The University of Central Lancashire student said it was a stunning gesture, but, she couldn’t allow herself to accept the man’s offer. She did say that she was touched by his offer “… from a man who faces ignorance every day.” And, after finding a way home that night, Harrison-Bentzen thought of the man who offered his last bit of money in an effort to help her get home. So, she decided she needed to find the man “to thank him personally for his kindness.”

So, she went on a quest… to search for her benefactor, and, as she searched, she began to hear about a person who was a kind and selfless soul. A man who would give his scarf to someone who was cold and shivering… or… return a dropped wallet with the contents untouched.
And, after 4 days of searching the town of Preston, she found Robbie and they talked and she learnt that he had been homeless for 7 months through no fault of his own, and, just needed to get back on his feet, needed a job… but, couldn’t get a job because he had no address… he was homeless after all.

So, earlier this month, young Dominique started a campaign to raise money for Robbie. She posted on Facebook that she would spend 24 hours on the street so she could “understand the difficulties” that the homeless face on a daily basis.student-raises-43k-repay-homeless-man

She said in her post… “Please sponsor me $4.60… as Robbie attempted to give me his only $4.60. Together our small act of kindness can change someone’s life this Christmas and finally get him off the streets safe and warm.”

As of last week, 4,800 people had donated almost $50,000.

More than enough to help Robbie secure a place to live… with plenty left over.

The leftovers? Used to help supply soup kitchens and food banks. All Robbie’s idea, according to Dominique…

Imagine that…

Somebody saw someone in need and cared enough to offer his last bit of change to help that somebody and then it got paid forward and changed parts of lots of somebody elses worlds.

And, it still is being paid forward even as ya’ll read this…

Dominique says, “It just keeps on coming in. I hope my campaign will help people think a little more about the people around them, Christmas is a good time to think about other people. If people can see what I am doing then maybe they can take the time to just stop and talk to a homeless person, hear their story.”

Imagine if you cared and it meant something… Just imagine…

2) A cop on the beat… who patrols the streets… does more than just keep the peace; he helps spread it, too.

Houston (TX) Sergeant Steve Wick helps run the city’s Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) within the police department’s mental health division. Since 2011, Wick, along with the organization’s staff of 4 other officers and 3 mental health case workers has been able to get over 400 folks off the streets and into temporary or permanent housing. Additionally, HOT was worked with other organizations to help the street peeps to get more than just get bodies off the streets as they have also provide or gotten homelss folks many other vital and needed resources suchs as ID card and health care.

Wick says, “All these folks in the street are not bad. These are people that need somebody to talk to, somebody that cares about them, become their advocate and help them get off the street. HOT’s mission is to curb complaints associated with homeless people by finding them stable shelter. Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it?”

Pictured above left to right: Officer Janice Terry, Case Manager Deirdre Charles, Sergeant Stephen Wick, Senior Officer Jaime Giraldo. Photo by Senior Officer Matt Fowler, Houston Police Photo Lab.
Pictured above left to right: Officer Janice Terry, Case Manager Deirdre Charles, Sergeant Stephen Wick, Senior Officer Jaime Giraldo. Photo by Senior Officer Matt Fowler, Houston Police Photo Lab.

According to a 2014 count by Coalition for the Homeless… The city of Houston, on any given night, can have about 5,351 homeless people in the city… which is actually down 37% percent since 2011. Also, since January 2102, the city has also been able to find hosuign for more than 2,800 homeless veterans.

One street dude said, “I see him just about every day, and he always stops and says, ‘Hi.’ That doesn’t happen very often with other cops. It means a great deal, because at least somebody out here cares, you know? Someone in a uniform cares.”

As Sgt. Wick says… sounds simple, huh?

It’s easy if you try…

3) Santa Claus lives in Pennsylvania… well, if not Santa, then, either one of Santa’s relatives, or, somebody who likes being a Santa impersonator… and, an anonymous one at that…

According to the Silver Springs Commons’ (Mechanicsburg, Pa) Wal-Mart store manager Steve Myers, a person called the store and said he was donating $50,000 toward all of the store’s layaway balances. Meyers said that meant that 100 customers had the remainders on their layaway accounts paid off, and that the remainder of the funds would go to various charitieslawaways paid

He added… “We first thought he said $5,000… but no, he wanted to make a $50,000 donation.” Myers said he did ask the donor to repeat his offer. Myers said the secret Santa only asked ot be referenced by the sobriquet of Santa B.

Hell… donate 50 large ones and I’ll call you any freaking thing you damn well please.

Meyers said the 50 grand was the biggest donation toward the layaways that the store had ever seen. Usually, when such donation are made they typically are in the 2 or 3 thousand range. The store received cashier checks for the amount on Monday, December 16th. Which was significant because that Monday was the last day a person could pick up their items, and, any orders that had not been paid off would have been cancelled.

One customer, who had come for the gifts he had put on layaway for his grandkids and was told he owed nothing, said, “I’m overwhelmed… I’m just disappointed I couldn’t say thank you.”

Sounds like you just did, my man.

Cause, I’m sure whoever this Secret Santa dude is he knows it all already… after all, if, he’s anything like the real guy, then he knows when you been good or bad, so, for goodness sake… why wouldn’t he know when you were thankful?!

Myers also said the holidays tend to bring out the “layaway angels,” as Walmart and other retailers now call these donors.layaway-angel

In fact, the Wednesday previous to the Monday donation, another angel donated $20,000 to pay off the layaway bills at a Toys R Us in Massachusetts. Workers at that store told media sources that a “bubbly, older woman” who made the gift said, “If you have it, give it.”

Some shoppers, upon finding their layaway bills had been paid, said that they were going to make donations to charity with the money they saved.

Paying it forward…

Imagine all the people… sharing all the world…

4) Recently, CNN recognized Pen Farthing him as its 2014 Hero of the Year.

Why?

Because Pen has made it his personal task to help soldiers to be reunited with the stray cats and dogs they befriended while they served in Afghanistan.

In 2007, Pen started Nowzad Dogs and has since gotten almost 700 service folks back with the animals they befriended… animals that they learned to love, and, got back from those animals unconditional love in return. A whole bunch of needed love, for both the person and the animal, which both were in a place that was simply… war torn.

Pen says, “Dogs are known for their loyalty and companionship, whether it’s a normal dog in someone’s home or in Afghanistan, in my case, just spending that little bit of time was a way of just dealing with that stress.”

Pen Farthing, had served as a Royal Marine sergeant in the British army stationed in afghanistan. At one point, he helped break up a dogfight. He says he didn’t think that much about it… stopping the fight… after all, the town… Nowzad… was overrun by dogs, and, it was just one of those day-to-day things.

But, one dog followed him back to base, and he says after that, it was hard to tell who rescued whom. Nowzad-Dogs-Poster

He says, “As the troop sergeant, I was there to motivate the guys and get them fired up again to go out and do the job. … But no one was doing that for me. My time with this dog was a way of de-stressing, collecting my thoughts and popping my head back in the game.”

After his tour ended, Pen wanted his new friend to come home with him… he didn’t want to just abandon the dog and leave him back unloved and alone on the street. But, he also found it wasn’t easy to get his friend out of Nowzad… the process was extremely hard. And, after he succeeded, he also came to see he wasn’t the only one who was in such a quandary… and… he founded Nowzad Dogs to help other soldiers who had had their lives saved by an animal who had loved them, too.

Imagine all the people… (and animals)… living life in peace…

5) Dahlia was a self-sufficient person who never asked for help… and… she went from full days of cleaning, cooking for her son and working evening shifts at a group home, to feeling utterly helpless.

Why?

In October 2011, she collapsed and was eventually diagnosed with lupus. Dahlia had nerve damage in her hands and feet, and, was confined to a wheelchair for days on end. No longer was she a self-sufficient person… a person who since she was a teen had worked… a person who had had three children… two now grown adults and one who was a ten-year-old.

Now, she couldn’t work… couldn’t cook… clean… do simple stuff… like just brushing her teeth. She couldn’t keep her home running and her child cared for.

Dahlia, who would only provide her first name, said, “Disaster — that’s one way I could put it. I cried every day. In the hospital, in rehab, I’d see the doctor and just start crying, because even though I couldn’t get up and I couldn’t help myself, I found myself telling the doctor that I have the children at home to take care of, and I need to go home.”

And, when she was able to finally get home… “I was home… can’t cook, can’t walk, can’t help myself, bills piling up. Everything was just falling apart.”

Desperation sometimes makes people do desperate things… things they never would do previously… for Dahlia… it was asking for help….GodsLoveWeDeliver

Dahlia said she called nonprofit God’s Love We Deliver, and, now she is one of its roughly 5,000 clients living with a chronic or critical illness who receives meals delivered to their doorstep year-round, free-of-charge. She now gets 10 meals a week for herself, while her 10-year-old son receives 10 meals and five snacks a week.

Dahlia says, “I am so grateful, I can’t even express myself.”

No need for greed or hunger… a brotherhood of man…

6) While scouring over the internet… I found this… “Not every child will wake up on December 25th to a mound of presents under the Christmas tree. Some won’t even wake up with a permanent roof over their head.”o-HOMELESS-KIDS-LETTERS-TO-SANTA-900

Youth homelessness in the U.S. has reached unprecedented levels… according to the National Center on Family Homelessness… 2.5 million American children were without anything that would resemble a “stable shelter” at some point in 2013. And, that number is an all-time high.

A Coalition For The Homeless spokesperson said, “While losing one’s home is difficult for anyone, it is devastating for a child.”

Among things that happen to children who become homeless… they have to cope with friends who are no longer there, losing prized possessions… and… of course losing a place that they called home.

But, I have not come here to piss and moan about stuff, but, rather, to point out how good can come from stuff that can sometimes be bad… how peeps can, and do, rise to the occasions… so to speak…o-HOMELESS-KIDS-SANTA-900

Coalition For The Homeless, a NYC-based organization, gets countless amounts of letters to Santa from kids who are in family shelters. And, each of those letters, usually, have one central theme in common… they just want to have a Christmas the same way kids who have homes spend their Christmas. But they can’t.

Coalition tries to answer as many of those letters as best as it can by providing gifts each Christmas for those children…

If anyone wishes to donate to the Coalition for the Homeless’ gifts for homeless kids, you can purchase a toy for a child in need here.

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It’s never too late to make a donation. 

You may say I’m a dreamer… but I’m not the only one…

 

7) Pvgzly Addams knows what it is to be without a home… to be like a complete unknown… or… without even some semblance of a roof over one’s head… so… sometimes he finds himself donating his time hammering away at nails in Ocean Park, Washington.

The formerly homeless man builds 20-square-foot “homeless huts” for those who are most vulnerable… the homeless.

Addams and hut
Addams and hut

According to Addams, providing a shelter could be the difference between life and death for those living without a home, especially when temperatures drop. He writes on his fundraising page…GoFundMe… “As the weather gets colder, more and more people living on the streets are going to succumb to frost bite, hypothermia, pneumonia, and possibly death due to lack of dry, warm shelter. If we can raise enough to build one shelter, for one person, that’s one less person who might die.”

At last count, his GoFundMe page has raised more than $2,200 so that he, and a group of volunteers, can continue creating insulated, lightweight and portable shelters for people living withou shelter from the storm.

It isn’t hard to do…

8) Its not “all about me” after all… peeps showed that they could put a little aside to give back some despite all their spending… and over spending… that they be doing for the holidays.

The third annual Giving Tuesday event raised $45.7 million (12/2), saw a 63% increase from last year, according estimates released by the Case Foundation on Wednesday (12/3).GivingTuesday

The fundraising event, which falls after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, aims to remind consumers what the holiday season is all about… Giving… and not just buying for the sake of finding out who wins because they gots the most toys when finally they succumb to this life over excess that some of us in this world seem to be driven to.

So, after frantically pushing and shoving on Black Friday to get whatever gotta have bargains could be gotten… then bashing fingers upon computer keyboards on Cyber Monday to get even more freaking bargains… some folks found time this December 2nd to either donate time or money… or sometimes both… to give something back for those who got little to nothing.

The Case Foundation released a statement that said, “Much like everyone anxiously awaits…the amount of online spending on Cyber Monday and Black Friday as a measure of our nation’s economic health, measuring the amount of online donations every #GivingTuesday serves as a gauge of our nation’s philanthropic health.”

Founded by the United Nations Foundation and the 92nd Street Y, Giving Tuesday started out as a domestic campaign in 2012, and, as the some of us are wont to say… the rest is now history… it is now partnered with 20,000 nonprofits and has gotten 68 countries involved.

Celebrities, nonprofit leaders, politicians and supporters alike, got on board to spread the message about Giving Tuesday and to help the causes they care about most.

Correct… there is no one charity… or charities… that folks are required to give to… it’s just all bout the giving and the helping those who have the need to be helped.

Examples…

And… to be part of the event ya’ll didn’t even have to open your wallet…

Nearly 700,000 tweets were accompanied with the hashtag #GivingTuesday and a number of groups translated those tweets into contributions… for instance… each time a supporter retweeted a message from Pencils of Promise, $1 was donated toward building a school in Ghana. Or… when users tweeted the hashtag #YouGiveWeGive, 10 meals were donated to Feeding America.

I hope someday you will join us… and the world will be as one

9) Back in January 2012, Canadian Emily Demello was vacationing at a Cuban when her camera fell out of her hands. Amid a probably bunch of “oh shits”, “damns” and “fucks” and what have yous, she finally resigned herself to the fact that the camera… chock full of irreplaceable pictures and videos of her trip… was gone and lost forever. C’est la vie

Then, recently she got a Facebook message from Ruben Urquiza, a professional diver, who claimed that he’d found the camera under water and in sand but was able to extract the memory card… and… it still held her pictures.found-camera

So, how the hell did Rueben make the connection between the camera and Emily?

She had taken a picture of her plane ticket and through a little internet sleuthing found her on Facebook.

So, he wrote to her and said… “Hi Emily, I am from Cuba, my name is Ruben. I know that you (were) in my country in 2012 because I am diver in Varadero and I found your camera in the beach. Please accept me in your Facebook friends and I will send you your pictures! I am sorry my bad English, have a nice Sunday!”

Now, Emily is no fool, and, of course, she thought, this jamoke is clowning me. But, after a little sleuthing of her own, she soon found that Reuben was the real deal.

And, although she won’t be reunited with the camera itself, which was too damaged, she will get to relive the memories of the trip with the pictures Reuben has since emailed to her.

Imagine that… someone taking the time from their life to be nice to a stranger because… well, because its nice to be nice…

It isn’t hard to do…

10) Don’t know if you have heard about the story of the Oakland Raiders and 4-year-old Ava Urrera of Las Vegas, which Jay Glazer recently reported on Fox’s NFL Sunday pregame show.

This is it in a nutshell… Glazer had uncovered that Urrera has a heart condition which Glazer described on his show as being equivalent to having “half a heart,” and, that her doctors weren’t that hopeful for her.

Specifically, Ava was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which interrupts the blood flow through her heart. Ava has now had 14 surgeries to deal with the problem. Now, for anyone, that’s a lot of damn operations, but, it can’t be that great for a 4-year-old… regardless of what they say about children having these great and wonderful immune systems that are able to recover and bounce back and all that stuff.Ava

Anyway… the Touchdown Dreams children’s charity, which is run by Glazer, arranged to tell the story to someone with Oakland Raiders and the football club agreed as an organization decided to go all out for the child and her family… On December 21st they had the kid, and her family, as a guest of the team and they made her captain for a day, showed her and her family everything around their facilities, gave her a signed helmet, tickets to the game, the whole nine yards.

But, second-year offensive lineman Menelik Watson went beyond the whole nine yards and then some… He got together with Ava’s father and told him he was giving them his paycheck for the week.

Watson’s weekly paycheck is about $37, 0000… with federal and California taking about half of that… the money donated to the family is about $18,000.

Menelick & Ava
Menelick & Ava

Now… don’t care what anyone thinks… $18,000 is $18,000 and that ain’t simply hay for a second year player, or, for that matter most NFL players to just reach into their bank accounts and give away. But, Watson thought it was the right thing to do and he did it. With no fanfare… no cameras clicking away.. no video… he did it because he felt it was the good and the right thing to do.

Mery Christmas, indeed…

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky

Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You, you may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will live as one

(Songwriter: John Lennon and Published by © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC)

So, that’s it… ten things that I found that I thought were good, and, in touch with what the true meaning of the season is supposed to be…

Merry Christmas to ya’ll…

And… ya know what?

I do have one Christmas song in mind to leave ya’ll with… It was first written as an anti-war song and since Christmas is supposed to be all about peace, love and happiness and if that ain’t as antiwar as it can get then I don’t know what is.

Any way… since, I first heard this song, I have always associated it with Christmas. And, it somehow always seems to drift in and out of my subconscious self to my conscious self, and, I find myself randomly singing it from time to time, but, especially, at this time of the year…

So, this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Lets hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The road is so long

And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let’s stop all the fight

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun

And so happy Christmas
We hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

War is over
If you want it
War is over
Now

(Songwriters: Yoko Ono;John Lennon and Published by ONO MUSIC;LENONO MUSIC)

 

And, this weeks gratuitous pictures.. you thought I would forget????  Sheesshhh….

 

Magdalena

Magdalena-Frackowiak-

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Magdalena Frackowiak (29) is a Polish fashion model.

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Another thousand words…

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Oh…what the heyyyy… one thousand words more… it’s Christmas after all…

snow

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Comments

comments

5 Comments

  1. Had a picture to share with your blog but i can’t figure out how to post it. Guess I’ll put it on your fb wall.

  2. hmmm… let’s see… ya know… time to bring in the experts…texperts… because I haven’t the foggiest either. drat….

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