Wednesday, December 29, 2010

:: One Person at a Time ::

We have days where nothing seems to click and nothing seems to go smoothly. Yet, despite how rotten a day may seem, there is always *something* that gives me a glimmer of hope. Something that I can reflect on and know that regardless of all of the back talk, disobedience, and defiance that may come my way in one day, these two kids of mine are kind, loving and generous.

This morning started out as 'one of those days'. From the moment the kids woke up, they were arguing, bickering, yelling, being rude to one another, and to me. Multiple time outs, tantrums, toy restrictions, and, to be honest, too much yelling on my behalf, all before 10:00am! Then...the *something* happened.

I have to backtrack just a bit to what happened yesterday. We were at a stop light while running errands and Analise noticed a homeless man standing on the corner. She asked what the sign he was holding said. I told her he was asking for money, most likely because he did not have a house to live in, or food to eat. Then as we drove along she said, "Hey! I have a piggy bank with money in it! We could give him my money since he doesn't have any. We have a house to live in and food to eat, so I can give him my money so he can have some."

I instantly got tears in my eyes and told her that she was right, we could do that sometime. She then said, "Mom, there are so many people who don't have houses to live in and food to eat. We could help someone every day and there would still be people who need houses. But you told me that we can help one person at a time." She asked me to pray for him too. So we did.

Which brings us back to today. As I mentioned, it started out as 'one of those days'. While in her room (after being sent there for talking back to me), Analise came up with a great idea. She came running out of her room jumping up and down and talking so fast I could hardly understand her. She decided that she wanted to find the homeless man we saw yesterday and help him. This was her own idea and she was so excited about it. She came up with a list of everything she thought he would need.

She drew a picture to make him happy which said "I'm praying for you" on it.
She and Jameson told me what to make him for lunch. "He would like three oranges. Not one. Not two. But three oranges.  Carrots. Raisins.  Crackers.  Oh, and a sandwich like you make for daddy!"
They each chose a toy of their own to give to him. Analise chose a little bath pelican and Jameson chose his very own special helicopter.
We packed these things, retrieved money from Analise's piggy bank, jumped in the car and headed to the pharmacy to get some essential items. Both Analise and Jameson chose things from the travel bins that they thought would be useful, with a little input from me. When all was said and done, we had the following items to gift to him:

- homemade card from Analise
- an anonymous note from me explaining that he was cared for and prayed for along with a few Bible verses for encouragement
- helicopter
- pelican
- homemade lunch
- bottle of water
- toothbrush
- toothpaste
- shampoo
- shower puff
- body soap
- deodorant
- tissues
- baby wipes
- purell

As we prepared everything and packed it just right in our Trader Joe's canvas bag, we prayed that we would be able to find the same man, and if we couldn't find him that we would find *just* the right person to give this gift to. We drove back to the spot where we saw him yesterday and wouldn't you know...he was there again. As we rolled up to him, I motioned him over and explained that we saw him yesterday and didn't have anything to give at the time, but that my daughter kept thinking about him and she and her brother came up with the idea to provide him with this bag. Because he was special. Because he was cared for. Because he was not alone. His face lit up, as he graciously accepted our gift. He said thank you many, many times. He beamed at Analise and Jameson and thanked them for being so kind. We wished him a good day and headed home for lunch.

As we were driving home Analise said, "I think he was happy. He will like the pelican I gave him." Jameson yelled, "That man will like my helicopter too!" Then she added, with a huge smile on her face, "We helped one person today. My heart is happy right now."

While the rest of the afternoon was far from butterflies and roses around here, and their bedtime couldn't come soon enough for me, I do have my *something* for today to look back on to be reminded that in the midst of 2 and 3 year old chaos, these little people really do understand how to love others in real and tangible ways.

Aside from helping with some church functions over the years and giving a few dollars here and there, this was the first time I have done something like this.  My kids surprise me beyond belief.  I am so thankful that these two little people were given to us.  They challenge us and encourage us to actively help change the world -- one person at a time!

Have you ever helped someone in need?  How so?


Sally said...

That's an wonderful story, Nini. Thank you for sharing. So much more personal than just giving money. I can imagine that being cared for by little ones made that gentleman's day.

Vanessa Voth said...

I was goose bumps from your story!! That is just so precious. wow. thank you for sharing that!

Erin said...

That is so beautiful & inspiring. Thank you for sharing, Nini!!
I need to take time & care like this more often - with my kids. I used to stop in & get stuff for homeless folks on the street occasionally, pre kids. Now it seems too much of a hassle (which is an awful attitude).

sarah said...

not the story I should read 38 weeks pregnant. I cried the whole time! What a great story and what wonderful kiddos you are raising. I'm proud of them and they arent even mine!

Janelle said...

This is beautiful Nini. Total tears in my eyes! I love the beauty of children's hearts!

I am considering a "Blessed to Bless" party. Maybe you and I could put one on in the new year??? Do you know what that is? It has been around the blog world a bit. If not let me know I will find you a link.

Steph said...

happy tears indeed.. SO wonderful. Such a deep desire to have that experience w/ my kiddos one day. I used to be involved in a homeless ministry in college, and then upon moving out here (homeless everywhere :) would do little 'gift bag' drops like that weekly. (not said to be boastful or make anyone feel bad!) It is just something that God has always put very heavily in my heart. But, I as well have not done that since kiddos. Just recently I've finally started to feel beyond keeping my head above water and have started to think about those around us more. This was such a precious reminder and impetus to bring that old part of me forward so my kids can begin to see how humbling and amazing it is to be a part of God moving in someone's heart as they see His divine love.
Thank you so much for sharing that Nini.

congamama2 said...

Hi Nini! What a great thing for you little ones to have awareness and compassion.
I used to get the 'day olds' from the Buttery (still very yummy) and put them in a big basket and take my kids down to the Pacific Garden Mall. We would walk up and down and invite homeless folks to help themselves. Would also take some to the Needle exchange and different Recovery facilities.
Also I collect coats etc. and take them to Elm Street Mission-they are always happy to receive stuff like that.
So many big and little things we can do to bless someone and let them know God has not forgotten them.

Sara Joy said...

Oh Nini, *tears* so sweet! I am so inspired to work to keep a good attitude as a mother - when Benjamin won't stop crying - teaching him to have a grateful and loving heart starts with me, and starts now (even at three months!). I want to be like you when I grow up :) -Sara Wysuph

Krista said...

Nini, what thoughtful children you have! What a blessing. Out of the mouth of babes, right?

It was so great to see you the other night! I really (really!) will have you and your kiddies over soon. Really.

G. said...

That little *something* will last both you and the kids a LIFETIME! What a wonderful blog post to read today! Thank you.

Bonnie said...

This made me bawl and bawl and BAWL! I even called Jon over so I could read this to him. I cannot even find the words to tell you how beautiful this story is. You have incredible children and the generosity and selflessness they showed through this act of kindness will, I'm sure, be life-changing for that man. And for all of us who had the privilege of reading this.
Thank you for sharing Nini. You and Markus are doing an amazing job as parents.... this story proves that.

Trish said...

SWEET ~ in every way !!!!

Montana said...

Nini, I have been out of the blogosphere for months now and just sat and caught up with worth it! Thanks for being such and encouragement and sharing this awesome story!

thecolorplaid said...

you must be just the proudest mama ever! what sweet kiddos you have! so precious. xoxoxo

Stephanie said...

" One person at a Time" - What a great motto to live by!

Thanks for being such a kind & caring person. Clearly, your kids are picking up on your sincere & compassionate heart.