Thursday, December 11, 2008


Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, there lived a mommy and her three little ones. The two sweet little girls were joyful and kind. They loved to sing and play, and they loved their tiny baby brother. That little brother was just a baby, but a very sick one indeed. He was a happy boy, laughing and cooing at his sisters even though he lived every day with high fevers and could only sleep sitting up in his infant seat or he would stop breathing altoghether. His mommy took him to the doctors office several times a week for more testing and to try to keep his temperature and his breathing under control and to try to find out why, at 6 months old, he still only weighed 9 pounds. She could no longer work because that sick little baby could not be left with a babysitter. Their was not a daddy in their lives anymore, so the mommy was the only support of this little family. One chilly November day, the mommy picked up the biggest sister from kindergarten and they went home from another long day of medical testing. Pulling into the driveway, the mommy turned off the car, the doors opened and the two giggling girls fell out, laughing at each other as they tumbled their way into the old trailer house. The mommy unbuckled the baby man and his infant seat, pulling it out of the backseat of the car and wearily trudging up the stairs to the front door, the diaper bag banging against her side as she walked. "Mommy, look! What's this box", greeted her from the two little girls as she approached the front door. Tears filled her eyes when she gazed upon the box of groceries that had been left on her doorstep from the local foodbank. What a relief to know that her children would go to bed with full tummies, at least for the next several nights. Someone, maybe at the doctors office or at the little girls school, had put this families name in to have some thanksgiving food delivered. In the box was also a gift certificate to the local grocery store for a turkey and all the trimmings. When times are so tough, their is no more beautiful a feeling than that box of groceries brought to that young mommy.

The young woman in this story was me, 16 years ago now. It put hope in my heart and fed my soul.

Last night was the annual Food Parade in my neighborhood. The food parade is an annual event here in Astoria. For three nights the fire department is out in different neighborhoods until they cover the entire town. The fire trucks are decorated with Christmas lights, Santa can be seen riding and waving from one truck, Christmas music and singing can be heard all over as they slowly make their way down the darkened streets. The volunteer firefighters and their families walk behind the trucks, collecting food for our local food bank from the people in the neighborhoods. It's something I look forward to every year, perusing the newspapers until I see the announcement, then making sure that I'm home and have a couple of bags full of groceries to add to the mix. The food banks, at least here in Oregon, have been dangerously low the past year and need our help to fill them so that less children go to bed hungry on Christmas Eve. As long as I have an extra can of anything in my cupboards, I will give to the food parade, or to any of the food collections that are around this time of year, giving back just a little bit of the blessing that was given to me and my family those many years ago.

Is there a charity or program that is near and dear to your heart this holiday season?



Christmas lights and cheerfulness fill our street. You can expect no less on "Pleasant Avenue"! Our house is the white one in the picture by itself and the other two are across the street from us.
May your streets be filled with Christmas cheer and your cupboards be full...

20 comments:

Brittany said...

i didnt remember that story, but the way that you told it choked me up. love you mommy

Mary said...

Paula,

I too was that same young mother only it was 21 years ago and it wasn't the food drive that left the box. It was delivered by taxi and I never did find out who sent it, but it was a blessing to me and my daughter.

Every year, I donate to Christmas Baskets in hopes of giving a blessing such as I received on Christmas Eve so many years ago.

Loved your post and the photos. You have a beautiful house.

Blessings,
Mary

Ann said...

Thanks for sharing a great story about "passing it on"....really well said and felt...

Anonymous said...

Im with Brittany, it made me all teary eyed. and even tho i dont remeber the story, i could imagine it in my head perfect, even Brittanys giggles. I love you mom.
~Milo

Shelby said...

THANK. YOU.

This touched my soul. YOU are an inspiration.

Huge bear hugs to you. There are so many people out there that are hurting and need our help.

I have been there too. I told my son the other day 'it's hard being a person'.. when we were having one of those tough life talks.

It is hard. And it's good to remember when it was harder - and to remember who helped us along the way. And now it's our turn to help.

You are a precious soul.

calicodaisy said...

Paula, I'm so glad you shared that story. We never know who we help or what impact it has on any one person or family when we give to food banks or projects that provide comfort and security to those in need. -- Michele

Stacey's Treasures said...

This story brought tears to my eyes.
I like to give to "Toys for Tots"
There is a "Loaves & Fishes" organization in Powell & they have bins in the grocery stores, so you can donate to them year round.

LEArning4Him: Lea Family Homeschool said...

You are such an inspiration to me, Paula. You always have been. This day you have warmed my heart and brought tears to my eyes. You are a special woman and I admire you.

Love, Melissa

Anonymous said...

Typing through tears here...what an appropriate story for this time of the year. I too have been on the recieving end of these food baskets and other charity. I think this makes us more apt to volunteer and share with others less fortunate. I hope our children carry on too.
Robin

Jodi Renshaw said...

Just wonderful Paula. Thank Goodness for the lovely person(s) who put that food on your doorstep all the years ago. Makes my heart sing. And I am so glad that you are giving back. Wonderful. The world is truly wonderful when we all recognize that we are all in this together.

Love,
Jodi

Twisted Fencepost said...

The schools here in our district have started a new program. People give food or money, all through the year, for the children who don't have food over the weekend. The only food they have are what they are served at school.
It's sad, but happening all across the US.
I think a lot of us, including me, have been there before and very grateful for the generous folks looking out for us.
Angels in disguise.

Yolanda said...

I wish I lived in your neighborhood and it is another reason why Astoria is so dear to my heart.

Terri said...

Oh Paula! That must have been such a frightening time for you! It must seem so far away now. I think it's wonderful, how you are repaying the blessing and encouraging others as well. Merry Christmas!

happy zombie said...

Beautiful, Paula. Beautiful.

Beautiful inspiration you've passed on to others, shared with others, given hope, inspiration and kindness to others.

I <3 you!

Love Bears All Things said...

A beautiful memory to share at this time of year. So little sometimes means so much.
Mama Bear

Mimi said...

it means so much to me for you to tell your story...
we do food baskets at our church at Thanksgiving and Christmas...and It really blesses me...and to hear you tell what it really means to the people receiving the baskets...makes it so much more special...

Jeni said...

Like you, I too have been fortunate in that I received some very unexpected help during some rough days in my life. Back in the late 90's, when the only job I had was part-time and occasional temp agency work, my income was far from enough to meet my monthly expenses. One day, I received an envelope in the mail and in it was a cashier's check for $300 and a message that this was from an anonymous donor, given to assist me. I have never learned who that donor was but I would sure love to thank that person as it paid my fuel bill for two months back then! (Today, it would just be a drop in the bucket towards that expense though.) Also, a week after I was diagnosed with cancer almost 6 years ago now, a gentleman from our church stopped by my house to visit and as he left, he pressed some money into my hand -to help with gas expenses, to and from doctors and such. He happens to be very well-to-do and is known for his generosity so I wasn't totally surprised that he did this for me. What did shock me though was the amount he gave me -ten $100 dollar bills! I just sat and cried after he left. That gift certainly came in handy because I had just had to relinquish my unemployment checks in order to qualify for state medical assistance which left me with NO income at all then! The trade-offs we make at times, ya know.
Mandy and I both try to give back whenever, wherever we can, to help others in need too.

Tipper said...

Paula-such an inspiring story of your life-made me cry. It really does show us the way.

disa said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.

disa said...

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