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Archive for the ‘Pay it Forward’ Category

Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?

[Chorus]
Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love.*

It was one of those weeks. Actually, not even one of ‘those’ weeks. Something entirely different. It has instead been a week that has been emotionally-taxing on my soul.

A dear friend from high school left for the trip of a lifetime with her sweet family. It was something they talked about for the past six months. The anticipation and excitement grew. And then, in the blink of an eye, it was time to board the plane and go. We exchanged notes of thanks and good luck over Facebook and went about our separate ways. But only hours later – Wednesday morning – she mentioned that they were at the hospital; her 4-year-old Mia, a heart transplant recipient, wasn’t feeling well and appeared to have pneumonia. Only a few short hours later the devastating news was shared: her heart was in rejection and she needed the support of a heart and lung machine (ECMO) in order to survive.

Loved ones began to rally. Prayers were offered by friends. Little ones dressed in red, Mia’s favorite color. Mamas showed signs of support by sharing heart photos. An online donation page was even established. Talk about an outpouring of love and support! And for the next 48 hours I watched as people across the nation held tight to their faith in God that 4-year-old Mia would turn around and a miracle would come.

Today, sadly, we learn that Mia’s time on earth is running short. And while a mere four days ago she was dreaming of a trip to the happiest place on earth, tonight her family sits at her bedside in a hospital far, far from home as they prepare for the dreaded task of saying good-bye.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a loved one. I don’t know how parents survive after placing a child in the ground. But during my time working with children facing life-threatening medical conditions I met many, many parents who have done just that. Each and every one of them is a hero to me. They have done the unthinkable, yet find it in their hearts to not turn on God, but rather find strength in Him. They smile. They share their story with others. They know that God is good.

Perhaps that is why I needed to lose myself in service. I was feeling, well, you know. Yucky. Slimy. Guilty that my own children are strong and healthy. So when the opportunity arose to prepare a meal for guests currently staying at the local Ronald McDonald House, I jumped at the chance to serve. And you know what they say about service – those who serve get just as much out of the service as those who receive. After watching the heartbreaking situation my friend is going through, going out and serving is the LEAST I could do for my fellowman.

Ronald McDonald HouseThe home itself is beautiful. Located on Watertown Plank Road, the Ronald McDonald House of Eastern Wisconsin has the ability to house 38 families a night. Families are only asked to pay $10 per night, but no family is ever turned away for their ability to pay. More than 1,000 families stayed at the home in 2011, but another 806 were turned away, due to high occupancy.

RMH heartOutside the home, a giant heart with the initials ‘RMH’ sits on the front lawn.

“How fitting,” I thought – as my week has become consumed with thoughts of little Mia and her failing heart.

Once inside I immediately felt a spirit of love. I believe in heaven, and that’s the only way I can think of to describe the feeling in the RMH. It felt like heaven.

RMH volunteerRMH crock potsA wonderful volunteer showed us the ropes. We were to set up our crock pots and salads and then help the house guests with any dinner-related questions they may have.

At six o’clock prompt the families began to file in to the dining room. One woman sat alone, off to the side of the hall. I asked her if she wouldn’t mind my company and we started talking about the one thing we have in common – being moms. The evening began to quickly pass as I found myself serving those in need.

There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”
But go and do something today.
’Tis noble of man to work and to give;
Love’s labor has merit alone.
Only he who does something helps others to live.
To God each good work will be known.

Perspective. Now instead of sitting on the couch and feeling sorry for myself, I find myself getting lost – lost in service.

*Text and music: Will L. Thompson, 1847–1909, alt.

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I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love the sweet taste of ice cream as it melts in their mouth. Even better than enjoying a cup of nice, cold ice cream though is knowing that your purchase of a nice, cold fall treat is going to help make wishes come true for children facing life-threatening medical conditions.

*For the past 10 years Cold Stone Creamery has hosted the World’s Largest Ice Cream social each September. Funds raised from this event exceed the $4 million mark – making it possible for the world’s largest wish granting organization to make hundreds of wishes come true.

Tomorrow you too can help make wishes come true. One dollar from the sale of any Love It or Gotta Have It size Ice Cream, Yogurt or Sorbet Creation™ will be donated to Make-A-Wish. 

It’s no secret that I have a soft spot in my heart for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Trying to think of my favorite wish that was granted during my nearly five years with the Foundation would be impossible – there’s just too many great ones to chose from. But in witnessing the power of a wish… I believe. I believe that something as simple as buying a cup of ice cream truly can make a difference in the life of a child looking to make it another day. So join me, why don’t you – and let’s help to make wishes come true!

*Numbers taken from this WBGH news alert

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