Monday, September 30, 2013

A Miracle for Morgan

Morgan's parents thought she had the stomach flu when they took her to the doctor. They were shocked to learn her organs were shutting down to protect her heart. She was diagnosed with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (a failing heart) and her condition degraded quickly with no warning.

After being admitted to Medical University of South Carolina Children's Hospital and initial treatments proved futile, she was put on a heart/lung bypass machine (ECMO). Within hours, doctors determined a heart transplant was her only chance for survival. Until a heart became available (typically a very long wait), Morgan was temporarily put on a Berlin Heart.

Unlike ECMO, the Berlin Heart let Morgan breathe on her own, eat and walk.
Soon Morgan was cruising around the hospital charming everyone she encountered. After nearly six months of waiting, "Princess Morgan's" heart finally arrived. By then she'd charmed the entire community and everyone celebrated this little girl's new opportunity at life.
One of the only reasons Morgan survived is because of the ECMO machine that was purchased from donations to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® which raises funds and awareness for 170 member hospitals that provide 32 million treatments each year to kids across the U.S. and Canada.
The donations stay local to fund critical treatments and healthcare services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care. Since 1983, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has raised more than $4.7 billion, most of it $1 at a time. Its various fundraising partners and programs support the nonprofit's mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible.
While shopping at Wal-Mart today I was told of the commitment the associates and administration have made to the Children’s Miracle Network. The donations are made into see-through bin designed to be fun for children to deposit money. The money slides down a tube after it is deposited and winds around to the bottom of the container like in the old fashioned game of Mouse Trap.
Today’s gift was watching my money slide through the donation tube, knowing that I was contributing to miracles for children like Morgan.
In Giving,


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Never Give Up

  • The memo from the testing director of MGM, shortly after Fred Astaire’s first screen test, said “Can’t act. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” Astaire kept that memo over the fireplace in his Beverly Hills home.
  • Thomas Edison’s first teacher described him as “. . . addled and too stupid to do anything.” His father almost convinced him he was a dunce.
  • “He possesses minimal football knowledge and lacks motivation,” according to an “expert” coach about a young coach named Vince Lombardi.
  • Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor for “lack of ideas.” He also went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland.
  • Before he succeeded, Henry Ford failed and went broke five times.
  • Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women, was advised by her family to find work as a servant or seamstress.
  • Beethoven handled the violin awkwardly and preferred playing his own compositions instead of improving his technique. His teacher called him “hopeless as a composer.”
  • Eighteen publishers turned down Richard Bach’s 10,000-word story about a soaring seagull. By 1975, Jonathan Livingston Seagull had sold more than seven million copies in the U.S. alone.
  • Winston Churchill seemed so dull as a youth that his father thought he might be incapable of earning a living in England.
  • Charles Darwin did so poorly in school that his father once told him, “You will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family.”
  • Albert Einstein’s didn't talk until he was three years old. From elementary school through college, his teachers and professors thought him lazy, sloppy, and insubordinate. He performed so badly in all high school courses except mathematics that a teacher asked him to drop out. Many of his teachers thought he would never amount to anything.

This morning we were visitors in a church in Murrell’s Inlet, South Carolina. The minister quoted many of these fun facts. I was not able to remember all of the details. Afterwards, I easily found the facts on the Internet.

Later, a friend said she was having trouble with her computer. So I thought that for today’s gift, I’d help solve her computer problems. I changed some settings on her computer, showed her how to save and send pictures and then gave her guidance on programs she was using. She really appreciated my help. I told her it was really nothing; especially since it was from someone who was told in elementary school that she was “below average,” but who, like the stories above, never gave up.

There are a lot of lessons to be gleaned from experiences like this. Persistence, passion, and practice are all common themes for anyone who ever works to learn a skill. Never giving up is another.

What I thought would be today’s gift, assisting my friend with her computer problems, turned out to be the gift of gratitude that she gave to me! I received a warm feeling from her just for doing what is easy for me. Thanks Joanne for giving me the opportunity to help.

In Giving,


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Healing Power of Food

Mom “did southern cooking proud” tonight by preparing barbecued baby back ribs, slaw, scalloped potatoes, pinto beans and cornbread. I can make the exact same thing, but it never tastes quite like hers. Maybe that is because she includes a special kind of love that just isn’t listed on the recipe.

The saying “a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” was demonstrated tonight. Tim was in the kitchen pacing and watching for several hours while dinner was cooking. Finally when it was served, he gladly left the Georgia–LSU game in the fourth quarter for something he loved even more than football.

I know that when I’ve been sick, my friends have come over with soup in a crockpot or frozen flat in zip lock bags, ready to be heated up. They have ordered dinner from a local caterer or delivered a covered plate full of comfort food designed to cure me. It is a compassionate way to demonstrate that someone cares.

When I was young my father was a fireman and worked 24 hour shifts. We would take him dinner prepared by my mother of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, homemade rolls and fresh apple pie. Mom would pile his food on a plate and cover it with aluminum foil. My brother and I would argue over who would get to “ride shotgun” because who ever rode in the front passenger seat got to hold the plate of food on their lap and hand it to Dad as he came to the car to see us.

One of Mom’s neighbors was not feeling well so I called and asked if I could bring dinner to her. She said she didn’t feel much like eating and didn’t want to waste it. I told her that sometimes when I’m not feeling well and don’t want to cook for myself that food made by someone else tastes really good. As I was helping Mom put the food on a plate for her, I reached to grab the aluminum foil. As soon as it was placed over the plate of food, the feel and smell took me back to Dad’s fireman’s dinner. It had to be the smell of food made with love.

For today’s gift, I took food to someone who is not feeling well. I hope that the healing power of food, the love that my mother made it with, and knowing that someone is thinking of her will all combine magically to make her feel better in a jiffy.

In Giving,

Robin (with help from my Mom)

Friday, September 27, 2013

An Encouraging Word

When has a rest stop exceeded your expectations? I found one today in Seagrove, North Carolina. It is in the central part of the state where I have warm memories of when I visited here with my grandmother. She loved the outlet stores located all along the “Pottery Highway.” Since the eighteenth century, this area has been known for making and selling hand-turned or "hand-thrown" pottery.

Upon entering this brand-spanking-new visitor center, we were warmly welcomed with a kind, inviting southern accent. We told the two hostesses where we were from and one replied, “Oreeeegon, bless your little heart!”

Then her counterpart exclaimed, “How niiiiiiiiiice it was for us to stop by and see the fiiiiiiiinest part of Narthcaliiiina.” Only in the south can one-syllable words be made into multiple syllable words. “Won’t ya’ll sit fer a spell.”

From these very proper, southern belles, I learned that Seagrove was named after a railroad official, Edwin G. Seagraves. However, a sign painter ran out of space and simply dropped the 's' from the end of the name and compounded it by misspelling Seagraves as Seagrove.

Curiously, the name of a town just southeast of Seagrove is named Whynot. The origin of that name came from residents debating a title for their community. After going back and forth for an interminable amount of time, one man asked, "Why not name the town Whynot and let's go home?" Even though I was enjoying learning about the history of the area, we needed to continue our journey south to see my mother in South Carolina.

As we got back at the car, Tim asked me if I’d like a Triscuit cracker. I didn’t know we had brought any. He said, “Sure, here’s some laying on the ground.”

Just then, a workman walked up and began sweeping them into a dustpan. I told him that my loving husband had offered them to me.

And in a slow, southern draw he said, “M’aaaaaam you can have ‘em if you want ‘em. I’m not worried about my job security. There’s plenty more for me to sweep up.”

I chuckled and said, “This has to be the nicest rest stop I’ve ever been to . . . and we’re from Oregon so we’ve seen a lot of rest stops.”
I went on to add “You do a wonderful job of keeping it spotless. I can tell you take pride in your work.”

He continued his job of methodically sweeping and moving to the next piece of trash to collect in his dustpan. As he did, I might have seen his step to be just a little lighter. Today’s gift was to tell him the good work he does to keep the place clean. Maybe it was because someone had given him an encouraging word for his efforts.

In Giving,


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Family Giving

On Facebook today I read about a friend, Billy Redd, his wife and their two young children who will become full-time missionaries to Cambodia. This is somewhat of a change from the work he has been doing. Since 2005, Billy has been a pastor for a campus church at a university in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Once the family spent a summer in Cambodia working alongside missionaries, they were hooked. They labored in many different capacities just to get an idea what living there may be like. The entire family absolutely loved it.

Billy has had many people ask him, "Why Cambodia?" His answer is: "That is where our hearts are; that is where our family fits."  He tells stories of all the victories and miracles as a result of their visit. When they return to Cambodia, they will begin by learning the language, building contacts, and planning their first church plant.

He and his wife, Meredith, became interested in Cambodia when they began studying it and discovered that it was a country that was torn from the inside out during the 1970's. The Khmer Rouge seized power in 1975 and established a new constitution with a new flag under the official name, Democratic Kampuchea. As the new ruler, Pol Pot, set about transforming the country into his vision of an agrarian utopia, cities were evacuated, factories and schools were closed, and currency and private property was abolished.
Anyone believed to be an intellectual, such as someone who spoke a foreign language, was immediately killed. Skilled workers were also killed, in addition to anyone caught in possession of eyeglasses, a wristwatch, or any other modern technology. The millions who failed to escape Cambodia were herded onto rural collective farms.
Between 1975 and 1978, an estimated two million Cambodians died by execution, forced labor, and famine. In 1978, Vietnamese troops invaded Cambodia, capturing Phnom Penh in early 1979. A moderate Communist government was established, and Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge retreated back into the jungle.
The current culture is still trying to regain ground that was lost in the 70's. Virtually all skilled professions were demolished. As a result, there are very few teachers, doctors, artists, etc. The people are only recently beginning to build up these professions again.

My gift for today was to donate to the Redds in Cambodia. The Redds have raised 75% of their fundraising goal. I can’t wait to hear about the blessings they receive from being such a giving family and the difference they make in a country that needs so much.

In Giving,