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« Reply #30 on: December 14, 2008, 12:43:40 pm »

Dear Melinda,

The Christmas season is magical, because the world comes alive with joy, and strangers bond in a spirit of optimism, empathy, and generosity.  People forget that the world's problems are "too big" for them, and instead do what they can to help others.  The beautiful and magical thing about you is that you possess this "Christmas" spirit year round.  I've been blessed because of it, I see the difference it can make, so my gift to you for Christmas, is a year of giving.

On December 1, just as our town's Christmas parade was about to commence, there was an accident in which a man ran over several members of a Boy Scout troop, ages eight to ten.  One of the children is still in the hospital, and his family is struggling to make this a good Christmas.  I will provide toys, clothes, food, and anything else they may need.

New Year's Eve brings not only celebration, but sometimes tragedy, and this is often a time when more blood is necessary for transfusions.  I will donate blood to a local blood bank, as well as plasma, which is something that is desperately needed by burn victims.

The Sunshine Fund is backups helping backups.  When one of us experiences a crisis (illness, damage to home and property, etc.), this fund allows us to provide financial assistance, on top of the prayer and emotional support we'd give anyway.  I'm not sure when this will be needed, but here's my pledge to help a backup in need.

Operation Kindness is one of the largest no-kill animal shelters in north Texas.  They take in all cats and dogs; the abused, the aged, the unattractive, the unwanted.  Some of the cats and dogs are victims of unimaginable cruelty, and their medical bills can be staggering.  These animals are carefully adopted out if possible, but they have homes at the shelter, for life if necessary.  This shelter runs on volunteer efforts and supplies, so I will make a donation of items from their "needs list."

I will be participating in the Country Music Marathon to raise money for Malaria No More.  I'm just walking the half, but be assured that 100% of myself goes into this project.

In honor of Memorial Day, and the many men in my family who have served their country with such honor and bravery, I will send cards or care packages to Marines and soldiers in Iraq.

This is my Grandma's birthday month.  She fought a "terminal" cancer, and she beat it.  She stayed in remission til she passed away, from something unrelated.  In honor of her, I will donate my hair to Locks of Love, a project that makes wigs out of human hair.  These wigs, with their more realistic appearance, help to boost the morale of the patients as they endure chemotherapy, radiation, and the loss of their own hair.

The Russ Martin Listener Foundation provides immediate financial assistance to the families of fallen police officers and firemen in north Texas, in the interrom between a tragedy and the acquisition of insurance benefits.  Too often, the families of these underappreciated everyday heroes struggle with financial difficulties as well as the loss of their loved one.  I will make a donation to this organization, to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in order to keep me safe.

I will donate fans to those who cannot afford them.  This is a need that is often overlooked in my part of Texas, especially with the poor and the elderly, who may be unable to afford the high cost of cooling their homes in 100+ degree heat.

Every year, Jerry Lewis inspires me with his Labor Day Telethon.  I have donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association since I was a little girl.  So that's my project for this month.

Just as we needed fans in summer, Texas winters find many children without coats to keep them warm.  I'm going to donate to the Coats for Kids Drive in my area.

Throughout 2009, every time I buy from Amazon or have someone go to the grocery store for me, I'm going to buy some extra nonperishable food items.  Then I'll have plenty to donate to a local food bank, just in time for Thanksgiving.  I may also donate some turkeys, because I think there's a program around here to do that as well.

December 2009
I'll make a donation to Toys for Tots, the Marines' program to provide toys to children in need.

Sometimes as a blind person, it's hard to find ways to help, especially when well-intentioned people give you the idea that any help you would provide could be done faster and more efficiently by a sighted person.  Thanks to you, and the friends you've helped me make, I'll never believe that again, and my life is richer for being able to give to others.  I hope this Christmas finds you surrounded with loved ones, and blessed with peace and joy.  My wish for you is that all the days of the coming year will be just like Christmas.  Thank you, for all that you have given me.

I love you, Melinda.
God bless you.
Merry Christmas.



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« Reply #31 on: December 15, 2008, 01:51:26 am »


A lot has changed in my life since this time last year.  But because of the love, support and charity from some of the Backups, it has also been a rewarding year and I thank them for that.  Sorry, you have to take a backseat this time.  So for those who have been so loving I have made a donation to a Rescue Mission that provides hot meals and shelter for those in need.  I have given to this charity before and even did so this past Thanksgiving.  It doesn't match last year's donation but I knew I had to take part even in a small way to honor these Backups.  Any yes, in doing so, honor you as well. 

Merry Christmas to you, your family and friends.



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« Reply #32 on: December 15, 2008, 05:15:50 am »

Melinda I want to wish you the Happiest of Christmases this year. As we know things are a little tight this year so I am giving to my friend's church in your honor again this year. They do such a wonderful job of helping families in need with food and clothing, but they also have a very special room just for children to go into and pick out a toy for themselves.

I so believe in Christmas for children. They are the best part of Christmas.

Have a Very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

Gem and Midnight
« Last Edit: December 16, 2008, 03:31:33 am by Gemini2 »


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« Reply #33 on: December 15, 2008, 12:54:35 pm »

And they will say “Lord, when were you hungry and we fed you, naked and we clothed you, thirsty and we gave you drink?” Jesus continued saying, “Then, I will answer, so much as you have done it for the least of these, you have done it for me.” There was another time in the Bible when Jesus said, “If you love me, feed my sheep.” Jesus’ ministry was about love. Not empty words of love – but actions that conveyed love. Love came down and love prevailed. Too often we focus on self instead of others. Too often the body of the Church focuses on religion and our differences and we miss the true teachings of Christ. Christmas is far, far less about Wisemen, mangers, angels, nativities, presents and the like than it is about love. The baby in that manger was God’s gift of love to us and the symbol of that love is much more a cross than it is a manger. The spirit of love that tends to be more manifest at this time of year is a good thing, it is also something we should strive for all year ‘round. However, I always feel that the holiday season tends to bring out our better selves. At this time of year, my thoughts turn towards those who do not have enough – not enough food, warmth, money or hope. The “least of these”. Christ came to bring us plenty, to bring us peace, to give us hope and joy. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son”. The world -- not just me or people who think like me or look like me. God loves everyone and wants each of us to love everyone as well; not in empty words but through loving deeds. The funny thing about it is that when you give the gift of your love to others, you receive so much joy, peace and good feeling in return that the giver becomes a receiver of God’s infinite blessings as well.

This year I “adopted” a family of 4 who are unable to provide Christmas for their young daughters, ages 4 and 6, or to have food for a holiday meal. I had the privilege of providing these things for this family in need. In the troubled times we are in, this love for each other is even more important. I’m thankful to be able to share this love with this family and with you for Christmas.  Merry Christmas, Melinda.



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« Reply #34 on: December 15, 2008, 11:27:06 pm »


This is the time of year that we learn to give. Melinda, you have taught me to give more than anybody in this world. Now on behalf of you, I plan on giving with the rest of the Backups. Unfortunately, I am not able to donate financially this year due to the fact of my injury and being out off work, but that's not stopping me. I plan on going through all my clothes and donating the ones I don't need anymore to a church that will help the needy. Also, there is a child here where I live that has a very rare type of anemia. He/She has to have blood transfusions every so often in order to survive. A blood drive is being held in honor of him/her a few days before Christmas. I'm going to try my best to attend and donate blood to contribute to making his/her life longer. Finally, I will once again be participating in the Country Music Marathon for Malaria No More. I know how close you hold the charity to your heart. Melinda, you should be very proud of yourself. I know I'm proud of you, and I know God is as well. Two years in a row now you have inspired many people to give in honor of you. You truly are an angel. Thank you. I love you. Merry Christmas.



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« Reply #35 on: December 16, 2008, 02:11:44 am »
I have a friend on a fixed income who can barely support herself much less have extra money for Christmas shopping.  She has a lot of neices and nephews and it really broke her heart not be able to buy them gifts, especially since their families are struggling right now as well.  She bought for a couple of them only to end up not being able to pay for her own medicine.  I paid for her medicine and took her shopping and bought gifts for the rest of the children.  Her favorite gift and mine too was a Bible for her neice who had told her she would like to have one.

I am also donating to Knox Area Rescue Ministries which helps the homeless here in Knoxville and to the sunshine fund for my backups and to the Music Scholarship and Malaria No More in your name.

Thank you for all you do for us backups and for the inspiration that you are to us all!
His Light shines so brightly through you! 

Merry Christmas! 



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« Reply #36 on: December 16, 2008, 03:14:23 am »

Dear Melinda,

I'm grateful for my life and all the blessings I've received this year.  Some of the year has been really stressful and not everything has gone the way I would have liked.  But then I remember my Native American sisters and brothers and those who have had a particularly hard time just recently on the Pine Ridge reservation.  In November, they were hit with a huge snowstorm that put so many people at risk and brought hardships for all.  Elderly people were without propane to heat their homes and so many lacked food, medicine, and warm winter clothing.

In fact, the Pine Ridge Reservation has been in a state of crisis since its creation by the United States government in the late 1800’s.  The economic situation is desperate. Pine Ridge is the poorest county in America. The unemployment rate is 85%, and 97% of residents live below the  poverty line.  Adolescent suicide is four times the national average. The infant mortality rate is 5 times the national average. If not for AIDS related deaths in Africa, Pine Ridge would have the lowest life expectancy on the planet (47 years for men, and low 50’s for women).

There are many families living without electricity, telephones, running water, or sewers, and often rely on wood stoves to heat the broken down trailers and shacks that serve as their homes.  There are hundreds of families living in overcrowded conditions. It is not uncommon for single-family homes to be occupied by 10-12 people comprised of 3 generations.

And, so, again this year, I will be making a donation to the reservation to hopefully in some small way give back for my many blessings. 

Mitakuye Oyasin,
(We Are All One)
Shining/Teresa/Dr. Quack
(Thanks to Shtuey for the statistics.)


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« Reply #37 on: December 16, 2008, 05:17:59 am »

Vic, it went to you 10 minutes before the deadline..... Well DUH
You have the picture I picked... LOL sign LOL sign, so, I am still looking for another or just use the one I sent.
Thanks, love you for doing this for us....  Big hug Big hug Big hug


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« Reply #38 on: December 16, 2008, 06:45:31 am »

Dear Melinda,

I have given serious thought as to what to do for my project this year.  The answer finally came to me as I was sitting in my office with a single Mom who is a recent breast cancer survivor.  Despite her difficulties, she presents with such a positive attitude, usually sporting a big smile.  She is a woman of faith, who practices focusing on the blessings in her life rather than on the tragedies.  She credits God for helping her to find a new job just months before her diagnosis.  While this job doesn't pay very well, it has amazing medical benefits, and unlike most new jobs, this one had no waiting period requirements for the medical insurance to be effective.  Truly a miracle for someone who was about to face a year of cancer treatments.  While she couldn't work for months due to her surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, she and her teenage daughter scraped by with a lot of resourcefulness.   Her daughter has had to be more adult than child, due to being Mom's primary caregiver during her illness.  Yet, while there has been no money for the things most teenagers have come to expect, she has not complained, and she has been diligent in her studies.  This Mom has told me that parenting her daughter has been her most prized accomplishment.

While Mom is now back to work on a part time basis, she has a difficult financial road ahead of her while she tries to make up for the months when little money was coming in.  She spends hours a day sorting her bills and checking her bank account in an effort to stay one step ahead of disaster.  Anxiety has been her constant companion.  There is barely money for food, so there will be no expectation of Christmas festivities for these two courageous individuals.  My gift, in your name Melinda, is to give this Mother and daughter gift certificates for food and Christmas presents so they can more fully enjoy the celebration of this Christmas holiday.

Also, since I am a Mom of animals only, they always have a special place in my heart.  So, in your name, I am also donating again to Best Friends Animal Society.  This sanctuary, at Angel Canyon in southern Utah, is home on any given day to about 2,000 dogs, cats, and other animals who come from shelters and rescue groups around the country.  Most of the animals who find their way to Best Friends have special physical or behavioral needs. The staff of veterinarians, trainers and caregivers offer them all the help they require.  Most are ready to go to good new homes after just a few weeks of special care.  A few, who are too old or too sick, or who have suffered extra trauma, find a home and haven at the sanctuary, and are given loving care for the rest of their lives.

Thank you Melinda for all that you have done to brighten my life.  It is only fitting that others, both of the two legged and four legged variety, will be able to have a joyous and blessed Christmas because of your inspiration. 

May you, your family, and your friends, have a very Merry Christmas filled with love, kindness, health, and...chocolate.... Smiley

With Much Love and Admiration,

« Last Edit: December 16, 2008, 06:55:58 am by Elcondado »


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« Reply #39 on: December 16, 2008, 02:36:01 pm »


Dear Melinda,

Before I say anything else…  Merry Christmas! I hope that this year has been everything you and your family could have hoped for and wish nothing, but the best for you in this coming year.

I think that like most individuals this year, the financial situation has hit a little harder then anticipated and I found myself trying to conserve rather than spend.  The first to go was the small indulgences such as, buying unnecessary things, the eating out (being a grad student, this was particularly difficult. heh), and running around all over town.  For me, they were the things that I took for granted and soon realized I could live without.  What mattered most was having food on the table, paying the bills, having a decent job and surrounding myself with friends when I’m so far from home.  So that’s where I started. 

The one thing that I can do, or so I’ve been told, is bake. It’s such a small thing in the larger scheme of things, but when you do it for someone else other than yourself?  It’s amazing what an effect it can have on those around you.  Who knew a cookie could cure an entire week of Finals related stress?  Or a bad day at work?  Small things, they make a difference.

As I head off to visit my family for the first time in almost a year, I’m sure that I will once again find myself hunched over a bowl of batter, anxiously watching a stove that’s not quite heating evenly…hoping that everyone can find some measure of happiness and comfort the Christmas season.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Melinda, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

All My Best,
CurlyJ76 / Jessica Roode


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« Reply #40 on: December 16, 2008, 11:45:46 pm »
I POSTED THIS FOR ANGEL.   Love her picture!


Dearest Melinda,

Matthew 11:28-30: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light".

Isaiah 40:11: "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; and He shall gather the lambs with His arms, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young". (Also from Handel’s Messiah, "He Shall Feed His Flock/ Come Unto Him").

Once again we are joined together for the season of giving and celebration. I used to sing the alto solo "He Shall Feed His Flock" each Christmas. However, since I cannot sing anymore, I will “sing” it to you via the written word.  You see, in a manner of speaking, your Backups are part of your “flock”, helping you to spread your gifts of music and good works to the people of the world.

Last year we started the tradition of doing works of service in your honor as our gift to you. You may remember my grandson, Dylan, was born 10 weeks premature and spent 10 weeks in the Children’s Hospital in Mobile, Alabama. We were able to be near him due to the generosity of the Ronald McDonald House; my daughter lived 90 miles from the hospital.

I decided to do my service work again this year at the Ronald McDonald House. We are preparing a dinner for the 11 families that are staying there. We will prepare a dinner of Baked Zita, Salad, Garlic Bread and dessert. We are also donating all of Dylan’s preemie clothes to the house for use of a young mother who may not have the resources to buy the child’s first clothes to take him home in.

My second work will be to work at the Salvation Army Christmas dinner and help serve dinner to the homeless.

My goal for the year is to become certified in a special program that uses a unique form of biofeedback to help returning veterans who are suffering from PTSD. They have been having great success with this program. Once I get my certification, I will work gratis with two veterans a month who cannot afford the treatment; I will do this as another gift to you.  The program is also having great success with kids who are sensory-impaired -- something Dylan’s older brother is dealing with.

Melinda, you inspire me to be a better person and to believe that miracles can happen if you have faith and dream big.  Thank you!

Wishing you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.
With Love,


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« Reply #41 on: December 16, 2008, 11:47:09 pm »
Thread is closed. 
Merry Christmas everyone, and thank you!   Santa Banana Santa Banana Santa Banana