Why?

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I have been trying to think of a title for this blog entry and “Why?” seems to fit best.  Regarding the subject I wish to discuss, all my thoughts and questions contain “why” somewhere.

 

For example, why don’t more people read?  Why don’t more people do research?  Why do people have amazing faith in the untrustworthy yet question validity?  Why don’t more people ask MORE questions?  I think there is a lot of effort and work behind wonderment and why questions many rather avoid.

 

You are probably wondering what this blog is all about.  Why?  ;)  Gotcha!

 

Hello to you, it has been awhile since I have written, all the same reasons, of course: work, school, life.  I have just been a busy girl!  Oh!  And we have a new dog!  Remember my last post, “Indecisiveness“…well, Mandy Pandy (her nickname) has been in our home since February 19th.  We formally adopted her on February 27th, but that will be another blog!  Here is a sneak peek of our new girl:

 

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Ya…made her wear a sign of shame last week.

 

Anyway, back to it.  My husband and I have been doing vast research on GMOs (genetically modified organisms), GE and GM foods (genetically engineered/modified), organics, Monsanto, politics, pharmaceuticals, etc., for many, many months now.  My husband really preaches it.  Sometimes I just want to hide my head in the sand around our family and friends because he can be quite overbearing with this subject.  However when you get an amazing testimony from someone who happened to listen…that is what this blog is about.  Why don’t more people ask questions?  Why don’t more people listen?

 

We began asking many questions after seeing Food, Inc.  The questions multiplied once we saw Genetic Roulette.  Actually, our questions tripled and our whole lifestyle and eating habits changed.  For the better.  We also learned much from the documentary King Corn.  Of the three, Genetic Roulette answers so many “why” questions and introduces the viewer to critical thinking.

 

So, my husband shared some information with an elevator vendor at a commercial building he oversees.  The guy actually listened.  He watched all three of these movies and told my husband he now “sings the no-GMO song.”  Wow!  This gentleman has started reading labels, he gave up soft drinks, he eats organic food and avoids GMO products.  In just a couple of months he has lost over 16 pounds, has been taken off of his blood pressure and cholesterol medications, and he has been spreading his testimony to his friends and family.  As well, his wife and two children have completely changed their diets.  He is now a believer!  This made my husband’s day and triggered my curiosity as to why more people won’t consider the dangers of GMO’s.

 

Have YOU seen any of these movies?  Do YOU read food labels?  How do YOU feel about GMOs? Do YOU care?  We have so many friends who could care less about this topic or their own eating habits.  Are YOU opposed to eating organic?  Why or why not?  Many dislike the fact that organic food products are higher priced than non-organic foods.  While this may be true, in the long run imagine what you will save monetarily and gain for your health by eating organics.  Don’t get me wrong, I used to LOVE consuming Cheetos and whole cans of Pringles.  I am also not okay with ingesting pesticides, are you?

 

So, I challenge you to do some homework.  I am providing a simple list below.  I guarantee you will be singing the no-GMO song too!  If you are not willing to do this homework, please allow me to ask why?  Again, I am challenging you and would love, love, love to hear back from you and for you to share your testimony.  Because you WILL have one.  Don’t just take my word on it.  Do your homework and ask “why” questions.

One month from now I want to hear from you,

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Homework

1.  Watch the movie Genetic Roulette.  If you wish to also watch Food, Inc., and King Corn, feel free to do so.

2. Start reading all of your food labels.  Avoid products that contain corn, corn starch, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives and soy.  Corn and soy are the top GMO crops.  Any and all corn or soy products you consume, make sure they are organic.

3.  Stop drinking soft drinks.  Period.  Not even diet.  Just give them up.  Substitute lemon water, plain water or organic teas.

4.  Shop, buy and eat ONLY organic produce and food products.  Look for that USDA stamp and organic certification.  Frequent your local farmers markets.

5.  Keep a journal on how you feel, changes you notice.  How is your energy?  Any changes in weight?  Sleeping better?  Consider getting a blood panel done, talk to your doctor about your diet change, and have that blood panel tested again after one month.  Numbers do not lie.  You will be amazed!

 

 

 

 

 

Indecisiveness

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Almost three weeks ago my path crossed with something I just cannot stop thinking about nor can I make a concrete decision about.  My hands have been tied during this time, thankfully.  I may have made a fast and foolish decision otherwise.  Yet, I may have also been left to make the wisest decision, that of following my heart.  But which is which and what is what?  Heart over head, or head over heart?  Indecisiveness drives me crazy!

Are you wondering what crossed my path?  Let me show you:

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Meet Mandy.  She has pulled my heart strings and plays them daily.

Let me backtrack, because you must know the whole story.  Why?  Because I want some help from you all in helping me with my decision. 

Almost three weeks ago I packed a picnic lunch for my husband and I, we headed north with our #1 dog, Buddy, for an afternoon walk/hike and picnic.  We had the greatest time, the weather was perfect and our dog loves to go everywhere with us.  We were walking across a footbridge when another couple also walking a small dog were walking towards us.  Mandy and Buddy met, nose to nose, and it reminded me of Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp.”  Buddy is a gentle, sweet, smart, affectionate Chihuahua mix.  His mother was Maltese, thus giving him such a sweet temperament.  Mandy is also a gentle, sweet, smart, affectionate Chihuahua mix.  They share the same coloring too, except her legs are longer, she is taller than Buddy.  The woman walking Mandy, Ana, told us she was available for adoption.   Oh great!   We talked for some time, I held Mandy, and gave Ana my phone number.  Ana is a volunteer for the shelter Mandy is at and has Saturday visitations where she takes Mandy for walks and keeps her over night.

Now, meet Buddy.  We have had Buddy since he was a couple months old: 

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See?  They both are adorable!  Buddy just turned 5 years old, Mandy is also 5 years old.  Buddy lives with and loves cats, Mandy also likes cats.  They both are babies and love to sleep under the covers all night long.  Buddy is exceptionally smart and loves to play ball on the beach and go for walks.  Buddy is like our other child.

I just do not believe in accidents.  Why has Mandy stayed in my heart and thoughts for so long?  To randomly meet on a foot bridge is almost story-worth. 

Now, I noticed there was a puffy/reddish area above Mandy’s right eye, her eyebrow area, and mentioned that to Ana, who informed me she would have the vet look at her on Monday.  This is the reason my hands have been tied: sure enough, Mandy had an upper respiratory infection or kennel cough, and was placed on antibiotics and is still in isolation recovering.  We have had all this time to weigh all our options.  And to think, obsess, think, obsess.

I have created positive/negative lists, researched having more than one dog, on and on.  Mandy may be well enough this week.  I may have to make the decision.  We already have our adoption papers in on her and have been approved.  I have done a Facebook poll and more friends and family say yes over no.  I have discovered male/female go best and the Chihuahua dog breed loves having a companion.  However, Buddy is our #1 and we are his parents, I am his constant companion because I work from home.  We also have 5 indoor cats (yes, 5).  We have plenty of room and a large yard.  I love animals and fell in love with Mandy.  I purposely stay away from shelters for this very reason: I could take them all home and I could also have a farm!   

My indecisiveness has led me to obsess about all the possibilities of adopting Mandy or not adopting Mandy, and then I build on all those possibilities.  No matter the steps I am taking to come to a decision, I do not have peace with either choice.  I worry about making the wrong decision no matter the decision! 

I even looked up tips to help with indecisiveness:

  • Research. Do some research so you know as many of the facts of the situation as possible.
  • Ask for opinions. If appropriate, ask your friends and/or family for their opinion – but remember to trust your own judgment first and foremost. Never ask for someone’s opinion after you have decided on your course of action as this will confuse you.
  • List the pros and cons of each decision. To get yourself out of your head, write them down so you have it in black and white.
  • Identify your options. Note how they make you feel and cross out ones that make you feel bad.
  • Choose the option that feels right. From your short-list of options, choose the one that makes you feel best.
  • Form a backup plan. Once you have settled on your decision, think of the worst possible outcome of making that decision. Make a contingency plan that you can use if the worst case scenario comes about.
  • Leave it alone. Once you have made your decision, don’t waste time questioning whether you made the right one. You weighed all the options and did your best to make the right decision.

So, with all this being said, what would you do?  Do you have any further tips you could give to help with this very difficult decision?  It is mostly falling on me more than my husband, as I am the one who cares most for all our pets and like I said, I work from home.  The last thing I want is for adopting Mandy to take away from what we have with Buddy.  Also, Mandy deserves to be loved as much as Buddy has been loved all these years.  I believe I have enough love to do this, yet will Buddy be okay? 

Part of me thinks, let someone else adopt her and give her a forever home.  But what about this almost magical foot bridge meeting three weeks ago?  What about the heart strings?  The time we have been given during her illness and recovery?  Is this a yes or no direction?

I’m interested in your thoughts and welcome them,

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Too Blessed To Be Stressed

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A little while ago I saw this license plate on a car sitting in front of me at a stop light:

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Wow!  Doesn’t this make you think? What a wonderful message to the driving world, a declaration of one particular person’s gratitude.  I love it!

Drama and stress do not just walk into your life out of nowhere.  If they do, they are for a season and not supposed to be for a lifetime.  We either create drama and stress, invite it OR associate with people that bring it.  I certainly see this past pattern in my life and know it to be true.

I believe the older we get, the wiser we become, and the less stress and drama we allow in our lives. No matter the things we are facing today or the stress we have already gone through, we can choose to do things differently and begin to count our blessings one-by-one, day-by-day, and amazingly things begin to happen when we do.  Reduction of stress is just one of them!

So, I am sharing these powerful five words with you today.  Go and be too blessed to be stressed!

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New Year’s Delightful Delectable List!

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Happy New Year!  We are eight days into 2014 and I keep re-checking my Weather Bug Application hoping for rain, instead we suffer with gorgeous days (mid 70′s) and it feels more like springtime stepping into summertime than winter.  Indeed, “it never rains in California“…

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Have you thought about your goals or set priorities for 2014?  Did you create a list?  How did you do for 2013?

I have my 2014 goals typed out and posted right at my desk.  We opened our 2013 memory box on New Year’s Eve and thoroughly loved all the memories and thankful scraps of paper notes.  This is such a wonderful activity to do!

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Take a box with a lid or an empty jar, decorate it any way you wish, place it in a frequented place in your home along with a pad of paper and a pen…then all year long make a note (include the date) of a happy moment, a blessing, celebration, a joy, an answered prayer, special occasion, etc., fold your papers and fill your memory box/jar.  Then, on New Year’s Eve (or even New Year’s morning) read each one and be amazed!  My husband and I love looking back on our year this way.

Anyway, I came across a fabulous blog site today.  I loved “10 Tips for an Amazing 2014”  and encourage you to take some time to savor and taste each part of this recipe.  I cannot pick my favorite ingredient, I loved them all, but one that especially spoke to me I will give you a sneak peek:

5 cups of Focus: find what you’re passionate about. Live it. Breathe it. Own it. Focus on it. Do it.  Be all about it. Not sure what you’re passionate about? Make it your goal to focus on finding that out this year.

Go check it out, I promise you will not be disappointed. Thank you, Lauren, for this fantastic recipe!

With love,

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Happy New Year’s Eve 2013

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Wishing you all a beautiful & safe New Year’s Eve and a tremendously blessed 2014!!

Oh, and wanted to share a great new Facebook page I discovered.  Go check it out, like it and share the love!  :)

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https://www.facebook.com/NogMosNoMore?ref=hl

Not In Time

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Last week I mentioned that my step-father was on hospice and I was soon to be traveling to see him and my mother.  I was too late.  I will now and forever will refer to him as my father.  He was much, much more to me than just a father.

I am thankful to have had a week with them this past January.

They loved to camp as often as they could and they did camp right up to the end of this summer until his breathing made it impossible for one last camping trip they always had before the rain and snow.

His name is John, my father:

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This is my mother, Ginger:

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My father had an infectious laugh.  You know, the kind of laugh that makes you laugh no matter what the laughter is about.  He passed away on Tuesday night, in my mother’s arms as she was helping him into his wheelchair to get to the bathroom.  They were alone when this happened and trust me, it devastated my mother.  I am still going to Oregon on the 1st of November.  My mother needs me there, yet thankfully my aunt is with her now.  Her grief is beyond words.  They were married over 28 years and were best friends, true soul mates in every possible way.  Their love reminds me of the love I share with my husband.  I cannot imagine losing my husband and I cannot fathom the pain my mother is dealing with.

There are many stages of grief and each has its own time for every person.  No matter, the pain stays. It is not always so fresh and sharp, but it never goes away, that loss.  This blog is not about that.  Just a brief post about such pain, that I wasn’t in time to see him one last time, to feel his hug and hear his laughter, the deep pain of missing the one who is no longer with you and of being left behind.

I plan on writing a memoir of my father, in separate chapters.  With pictures.  It is a work coming.  And I will share it here.  It is a remarkable story, their love story, and how I met him before my mother did.  (I set the whole thing up!)  That first chapter will be titled, “The day I met my step-father, he gave me a 10.”

Love those you love fiercely today.  Do not put off what you do not have to.  For now, my concern is caring for my mother and staying close during this most difficult time of extreme grief.

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Swallowing Glass

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Have you ever swallowed glass?  On purpose or accidentally?  I can’t image.  But, then again I can.

How about being stabbed repeatedly by a knife, in the abdomen?  I can’t image.  But, then again I can.

This is how I must describe my bout with recently diagnosed diverticulitis.  There is just no closer resemblance to the pain when diverticulosis becomes an infection.

I never knew I had either of these conditions until last month.  I am pretty darn healthy and eat a vegetarian/pescatarian diet 99% of the time.  I occasionally will have chicken and turkey, but definitely get plenty of fiber, which is of high importance each day (and seems to be lacking in diets of those with this diagnosis) for someone with diverticulosis.  I still don’t know how I got this.  More tests are forthcoming.  (Including the dreaded colonoscopy, I have coined as the “butt scope”).

My doctor initially thought I had appendicitis and sent me to the emergency room, where I had a CT scan which discovered this lovely infection and condition.  I had a fever, as well.  I am so thankful I followed up, usually I grin and bear it, but I knew something serious was wrong, as this was not your normal tummy ache.

What is diverticulitis and diverticulosis?

I think I will refrain from going into all the disgusting, gross details here and point you here where you can read up about it if you wish: Diverticular disease.

Something I have discovered that has tremendously changed my symptoms and digestion is the Food Combining Diet.  I bought a little book and did plenty of research after hearing from a friend that it totally cured her symptoms and flare-ups from diverticular disease.

I added a simple little reminder chart here that I keep on my refrigerator as a reminder:

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Basically, eat fruit alone.  I have my fruit in the morning, before breakfast and after my morning cup of coffee.  Also, do not mix lean proteins with carbs.  Period.  I have lean protein (such as fish, chicken) with veggies and a salad for dinner.  You can mix carbs with veggies- those are the fun meals!  (Think pasta, bread and salad).

I have omitted tomatoes (high acid & seeds), hot things like peppers and jalapeños (which I love) and small seeds like sesame.

I am feeling good and losing some weight as well.  When we let our bodies digest foods in the best and easiest way possible, our bodies will thank us.

Getting older comes with many surprises concerning our health.

I am certainly missing my hot foods, but definitely never want to feel the pain of a diverticulitis recurrence.  I hope this was helpful to you.  I’ll let you all know how I survived my upcoming “butt scope.”  I’m more concerned with what I might blab during sedation (my doctor is a handsome devil!). Wish me luck!

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Friday’s Guest: “Tips For Controlling Your Weight As You Age”

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I am SO GLAD today is Friday!  How about you?

A few months back (quite a few, actually!) I was pleasured to connect with Cole Mill’s writing expertise. Although I went MIA for a bit, his blog certainly did not.

So, please take a moment and enjoy his work, “Tips For Controlling Your Weight As You Age.”  It is full of great reminders and tips…especially for the elderly people my age!

Thanks Cole.  I did not forget you!

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What If’s

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It seems to me, at least this morning, that worry equates to “what if’s.”  I have been fortunate in my life in that I have never lost someone  intimately close to me before.  Everyone I love is living, including my 94 year-old grandmother.

Things are changing, because I am getting older.  So is everyone else.

My step father was recently placed on hospice.  The inevitable is coming, and it could be any time.  I will be flying to Oregon in two weeks to spend time with my mother and my step father, also helping out any way I possibly can during these four days.

I have been filled with worry for my mother.  All the what if’s.  Like, what if my step father passes while I am there?  What if my mother completely falls apart?  I am very concerned about her living alone so far away in their little house in the country.  You know, all the important what if’s.  Of course, they are all important, right?

But…God.  I was reminded this morning by His heart nudging mine that He is God regardless of what is going on.  He is faithful.  He provides.  He does not change.  He is good and He knows the future.  He is God and He changes not.  My job (our job) is to remind ourselves, nourish our own souls by these truths (His truths) and to rest in His care, His promises.

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I am leaving my “what if’s” in His hands this morning.  This is a continual, daily process.  A choice I must make.  He changes not.  He has never failed me before (nor anyone else I know) and He never will.  We can go through our lives worrying and fretting, praying and picking up the burdens again, but regardless, God is God and He is faithful.  Our jobs are to remind ourselves, “work out our salvation,” feed our spirits with His truths and trust that He has everything under control that concerns us and those we love.

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Homelessness: Desperation, Addiction or Scammers?

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I live in a relatively small coastal town.  It is not unusual to bump into people you know where ever you may be.  It is also very easy to recognize the homeless: new panhandlers and regulars.  Over the years I have learned how to recognize the differences between true homelessness and its desperation, as well as those sign holders who make their living for their addiction or even the liars, cheats, lazy scammers.

It completely pisses me off infuriates me when I see how many scammers and addicts have taken over our parking lot exit ways and streets.  I used to feel so sorry for them all until my encounter with the deaf-mute man at Jack in the Box many, many years ago.  I will get to that in a minute.  But, what really irritates me is our city police who do nothing about this growing epidemic.  We have an ordinance against such panhandling, yet these lowlifes people are everywhere…so are the cops, who choose to ignore.

Let me share some photos that pull at my heart strings (possibly yours as well):

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Those who do not hold a sign, but rather bring their pets (my heart turns to mush over animals) and a bucket/container.  I always imagine their story.

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^How about the ones WITH a sign, bundled up in blankets WITH their pet(s)?  This always makes me sad…for the dog.

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Now, we move forward into the audacity of some.  Some idiots people will actually give money to these types because they think their nerve is funny or others even applaud their honest acknowledgement that the money they receive will be for booze or drugs.  These type of sign holders truly anger me, and I feel disgust over the many who support their lifestyle.

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^Ever seen one of these?  I have seen a few in our town.  It greatly bothers me when I see such sign holders because our children can see them, the children who are at the age of reading well for themselves. Not cool.

Moving on, I appreciate the people who hold signs like this:

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or even this:

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…yet, I will NOT give them a penny.  They are willing to trade a service for food.  Really?  Sometimes I have given them a Happy meal.  Or offer them a job.  Most of them have turned down any job offered because “they can make more money holding a sign for a few hours.”  Seriously?  THAT infuriates me.  And we cater to this epidemic.

How about this one:

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These type of sign holders like to make you feel guilty or recount a scriptural truth concerning blessings.  Many religious people who love God will give to these types.  Panhandlers truly have learned the art in how to manipulate us all in some way or another.

Anyway, on to the Jack in the Box deaf-mute man, who I was pleasured to meet many years ago when I drove through Jack in the Box with my kids for milkshakes.  He greeted me at the order window holding a sign made out of cardboard which read:

“PLEASE HELP.  CAR BROKE DOWN ON WAY TO AIRPORT.  HELP MY FAMILY HAVE A HOTEL FOR TONIGHT.  I CANNOT SPEAK OR HEAR.”

As I was reading the sign he held in front of him, he was using hand gestures and facial expressions to pull my heart strings.  I gave him all the cash in my wallet (I think it was about $16) and used my debit card to pay for our milkshakes.  I also bought the deaf-mute man milkshakes for his entire family (family of six).  My kids and I felt so good and were just glowing during the drive home, feeling like we had helped this family.

Well…it was about two weeks later my kids wanted another milkshake and as we entered that same Jack in the Box driveway I saw the deaf-mute man once again.  Except this time, he did not see me.  He was hanging out with a group of sign-holders under a tree towards the back of the parking lot with their camper.  He was quite vocal.  He could also hear quite well.  He was even listening to tunes with ear buds, rocking out.  I spied on him for a few moments and my kids were dumbfounded as pissed as I was.  He was laughing and seemed to be having a great time conversing with the others.  I saw red!  I did all the math and felt so dumb.  I had been completely fooled by a “scammer.”

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Since then, I have a somewhat guarded heart and attitude towards sign holders.  I have seen documentaries about their addictions.  I have learned all about their “ways.”  There are so many resources in our county (as well as all over the United States) for the homeless including shelters, food pantries and meals provided through various churches and centers, our public schools serve lunches during the summer to ANYONE, the ACE program provides medical care, and we have donation sites everywhere.  Truly, if you are homeless in my town you CAN find a bed, clothing, food, shelter and opportunities for rehabilitation and jobs.  We have a few transitional housing centers to help families get back on their feet.  There is even a “river community” of people who are provided services for their needs- they live in our local river bottoms.  Usually when we give money to a sign holder or panhandler, we are only enabling them and feeding a bad habit/addiction.

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But…what about our heart strings?  My own has come to recognize the truly needy, the ones who do not hold signs, the ones who strive everyday to find hope.  We can be that hope sometimes.  Not in an enabling way, but rather much like a guardian angel whose paths cross with such at a particular moment in time.  I have crossed paths with one particular man over the years and just the other night.  He has a shopping cart filled with what little belongings he owns, covered with a blue tarp.  He slumps terribly.  He is very dirty and always sunburned.  He never holds a sign, he never asks for anything.  He just walks.  Sometimes he rests.  He travels miles in one day.  I wonder where his destinations are?  His clothing and shoes reflect he cares about his appearance even if he cannot locate a shower.  His hair is trimmed neatly.  A few years ago I passed to him a Von’s gift card I had received worth $25.  His eyes danced.  They even sparkled.  I KNEW hope came to him that day. I saw him again the other night when I was getting gas.  Once again I felt that urgency and pull in my heart to give him what cash I had in my wallet.  I found a $10 dollar bill.  It was as if he recognized me when I handed it to him and said, “God bless you.”  His eyes danced and sparkled again.  He was so thankful.  I KNEW he was so thankful.

Only we can decipher between true homelessness desperation, addiction, enabling or the scammers.  Follow your heart, but try not to let it be manipulated.  Let go of guilt, because there are resources available.  I know I am thankful every single day for what I have.  I take nothing for granted, honestly.

So, when your heart strings are pulled, let the song play.  Otherwise, grab a milkshake once in awhile for you and your own family.

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