Monthly Archives: June 2013

“I just don’t think I’m that interesting… To hear me go blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I mean, who… cares?” ~James Gandolfini


Today was James Gandolfini’s funeral.  In remembrance of one of my favorite actors of all time, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite quotes from his characters.  I think you’ll smile as you reminisce with me…

Source: Tribeca Film

Source: Tribeca Film

From “True Romance” (1993):

Virgil: “Now the first time you kill somebody, that’s the hardest. I don’t give a shit if you’re f*ckin’ Wyatt Earp or Jack the Ripper.”

From “Crimson Tide” (1995):

Lt. Bobby Dougherty: “Big ears and a little mustache. Cary Grant.”

From “8MM” (1999):

Eddie Poole: “You’re not gonna kill me. You don’t have it in you. What are you gonna’ do? You gonna’ shoot me with you own gun, huh? Registered in your name? You really f*cking thought this through, didn’t you, genius? You’re gonna’ have to dig the bullets outta’ my head. That’ll be nice, huh? Or you could dig a hole. Dig it with your own hands, and bury me in it next to your f*cking girlfriend. Go ahead. Pull the f*cking trigger… What do you want me to do, start crying like a little baby? ‘Oh, I’m so sorry I killed the little girl.’ Well, f*ck you, and f*ck her! Go ahead! Put me outta’ my f*cking misery! Pull the f*cking trigger! Pull the f*cking trigger! Do it! Do it!”

From “The Man Who Wasn’t There” (2001):

Big Dave Brewster: “I’m all shot to hell.”

From “The Last Castle” (2001):

Col. Winter: “Sometimes the apple does fall far from the tree.”

From “Surviving Christmas” (2004):

Tom Valco: “My family’s not for sale, pal.” [He’s then offered $250,000.] “Welcome home, son.”

Tom Valco: “I’m not wearing the hat. Now get it away from me before I shove it up your ass!”

Tom Valco: “Trust me. What he’s doing up there, nobody’s gonna’ pay him for, ‘cause if they did, I’d have retired at seventeen.”

From “Romance & Cigarettes” (2005):

Nick Murder: “Two, two things a man should know how to do… Be romantic and smoke his brains out.”

Nick Murder: “What are you, a private dick?”

From “Lonely Hearts” (2006):

Det. Hilderbrandt: [When asked what they say about cops and donuts and being told that neither one’s any good without a hole in them.] “They say that about women, too.”

From “The Sopranos” (1999-2007):

Tony [to Carmela while being asked for a $10,000 donation to Meadow’s college of choice]: “Oh yeah? Who know more about extortion? Me or you?”

Tony: “There’s an old Italian saying – You f*ck up once, you lost two teeth.”

Tony: “I wipe my ass with your feelings.”

Tony: “Maybe I should tap into my roots, too. My grandmother was half Indian… She was in the Fakawee tribe… When they used to get lost in the woods, they stopped and said, ‘Where the Fakawee’”

Tony [to Christopher]: “Listen to me. The only reason I did this is because you’re my nephew, and I love you. If it were anybody else, they would’ve gotten that intervention through the back of their f*cking head.”

Tony: “Is everyone in my life f*cking bananas?”

Tony: “What the f*ck’s the matter with you?”

Tony: “All due respect, you got no f*ckin’ idea what it’s like to be Number One. Every decision you make affects every facet of every other f*ckin’ thing. It’s too much to deal with almost. And in the end you’re completely alone with it all.”

Tony: “You don’t shit where you eat. And you really don’t shit where I eat.”

Tony: “I’m like King Midas in reverse. Everything I touch turns to shit.”

From “In The Loop” (2009):

Lt. Gen. George Miller: “No, I didn’t leak it. I’m not like some little gay mercenary running around doing other people’s dirty work.”

Lt. Gen. George Miller: “You’re his little English bitch, and you don’t even know it.”

Lt. Gen. George Miller: “Look, Tucker, you might be some scary little poodle-f*cker over in England, but out here you’re nothing. You know what you look like? A squeezed dick. You got a big blue vein running up your head all the way to the temple. See, that’s where I’d put the bullet. Only I’d have to stand back ‘cause you look like a squirter.”

Lt. Gen. George Miller: “What about you, pussy drip? Ever kill anyone?”

Lt. Gen. George Miller: “Yeah? Why don’t you try to maim me? I’ll hit you so hard in the face you’ll be shitting teeth.”

Lt. Gen. George Miller: “Yes, yes, I wake up and my eyes are closed and my head is swollen and I look like a giant ball sac.”

Lt. Gen. George Miller: “Do you know what I’m gonna’ do? I’m going to take a nice big shit on his desk, just to let him know that I was here.”

Lt. Gen. George Miller: “I’m a soldier! Look at the uniform… What, do you think I’m one of the f*cking Village People?

Lt. Gen. George Miller: “Why don’t you order me some little mammals? A little bunny and a little puppy, and a little cat, so I can twist their f*cking necks off and drink their blood.”

From “Where the Wild Things Are” (2009):

Carol: “…You know what it feels like when all your teeth are falling out really slowly and you don’t realize and then you notice that, well, they’re really far apart? And then one day… you don’t have any teeth anymore?”

Carol: “I don’t talk to owls. Owls are stupid.”

Carol: “And on our way, I can show you your kingdom. This is all yours. You’re the owner of this world. Everything you see is yours. Oh, except that hole over there – that’s Ira’s. The tree’s yours, but the hole is Ira’s. But everything else is yours. Except for that rock over there – that’s not yours. That little rock next to the big rock. But everything else in the kingdom – except for that stick. That little stick right there – that’s not yours. I want you to be king forever, Max.”

From “Welcome to the Rileys” (2010):

 

Doug Riley: “You know what? You want to parade around here in your birthday suit? If displaying your vagina’s the only way you can feel in control, well you knock yourself out. But I’m tired of your language. Especially the word f*ck and all its various permutations. Now I know it’s your only adjective, but it makes you sound cheap and immature and uneducated. And that may be the truth, but why advertise it?”

Doug Riley: “I guess I’m just not used to being around young women who talk about their private parts.”

Source: Pixelated Dimensions

Source: Pixelated Dimensions

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“Some of the best memories are made in flip flops.” ~Kellie Elmore


Source: lovebuildsthishappyhome.blogspot.com

Source: lovebuildsthishappyhome.blogspot.com

Today’s Be Happy Challenge:

– Three Things You Love About Summertime. –

Summertime and the livin’ is easy…

Ah, summer… my favorite time of year.  Yes, even more than Christmastime.  Warm weather, long lazy days, sandy toes, cold drinks… I love everything about it.

If I had to pick only three things I love about summer, though, they would be:

1. Grilling

I love grilled food – the taste, the smell, and even the aura that comes with cooking out.  In the summer, we resort to grilling everything.  Chicken, steak, shrimp, burgers, hot dogs, fish, veggies, fruit… We’ve even grilled pound cake and peaches for dessert.  In fact, if it can’t be grilled, we don’t cook it.  Seriously.

Alicia Benton Photography

Alicia Benton Photography

2. Fireworks

Even as a kid, my very favorite holiday has always been the Fourth of July.  There’s something I just love about coming together as proud Americans and watching in awe and reverence as beautiful explosive fireworks light up the night sky.  Sometimes in the summer, it doesn’t even need to be July 4th to see a breathtaking fireworks display.

Alicia Benton Photography

Alicia Benton Photography

3. Swimming

We all love to swim, and it doesn’t matter where.  We’ll swim in the pool, the ocean, the lake, or the river.  I even love watching the kids play silly pool games while I lie lazily on my beach chair soaking up some rays.  “Hey Mom, count how long I can hold my breath.”  “Hey Mom, tell us who has the biggest cannonball splash.”  “Hey Mom, tell us who can swim to the other side the fastest.”  That never gets old to me.

Alicia Benton Photography

Alicia Benton Photography

Like I said, these are only a [very] few of the things I love about summer.  What do you love about it?

Source: Goodreads

Source: Goodreads

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.”  ~ Charles Bowden


“Beautiful? It’s all a question of luck. I was born with good legs. As for the rest…beautiful, no. Amusing, yes.” ~Josephine Baker


Source: lovebuildsthishappyhome.blogspot.com

Source: lovebuildsthishappyhome.blogspot.com

Today’s Be Happy Challenge:

– Your Best Feature, Show It Off With a Photo. –

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that my legs are my best feature.  It’s a good thing I didn’t say my boobs, huh, because then I’d have to go and sift through pages of settings to change the rating of my post since today I’m supposed to show off my best feature with a pic.  And… I’m far from being a porn star.

Although, since now I’ve thought about that, I did one of those online name generators to find out what my porn star name would be (you know… had I chosen a different asset as my best), and here’s the result.  My “Industry” name would be……….. TONGUE SERGEANT.  And no, I couldn’t possibly make that up.  Check out your porn star name here.

Okay, now that I’m completely off the topic at hand, here are some photos of my best feature.  Ahem – my legs.

And, I’ve saved the best one for last…

Don’t you love my bird legs?!


“If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.” ~Steven Wright


Source: lovebuildsthishappyhome.blogspot.com

Source: lovebuildsthishappyhome.blogspot.com

Today’s Be Happy Challenge:

– Pick a Pin, Do It and Share. –

Ah, Pinterest… You know… The new internet crack that has us thinking we can do the impossible?

We’ve all fallen victim to Pinterest.  In fact, so many of us have that there’s now a website dedicated to our epic fails.  It’s called Pinterest Fail – Where Good Intentions Come to Die.  If you’ve never seen it before, definitely check it out.  It’s hilarious!

So for today’s post, I was supposed to pick a pin from Pinterest that I like, do the same as the pin, and share my disaster results.

You know I love photography, so all the cute photo ideas on Pinterest automatically catch my eye.  Sometimes it’s difficult to come up with new photo poses and creations, so I’m thankful when Pinterest can get my imagination working.

I saw this pin under the heading of “Cute Photo Ideas,” and I thought that it would be just perfect since we have four kids, as well.

From Pinterest:

Source: http://pinterest.com/pin/233835405623394535/?e_t=4dcc981e2f144281895d6d1997c29e04&e_t_s=pin-text&utm_source=sendgrid.com&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_pin_user

How cute is this photo?!

I enlisted the help of the kids to help me recreate this adorable pin, and here’s our result:

As you can see, this is where my good intention came to die a miserable, slow, painful death.  Not quite as cute as the pin, is it?  Nope.  In fact, it’s a little bit creepy.

And during the entire reproduction, all I heard was this:

“Don’t let your balls get on me.”

“I can’t breathe. You’re squishing me.”

“Get OFF of me.”

“I am NOT putting my thumb in my mouth.”

“Stop breathing on my neck.”

“Why does it feel like you’re trying to hump my leg?”

“Eww, your hair is wet.  Get it off me.”

Yep.  That’s what I heard the entire time I was trying to get one good duplicate photo for my pin.  It’s a good thing Pinterest doesn’t guarantee results… I guess we won’t be using our Pinterest photo idea for Christmas cards this year, huh??!

And now, on to my search for my next brilliant Pinterest reproduction…


“My dad taught me the four seasons: preseason, regular season, postseason, and off-season.” ~Unknown


Source: lovebuildsthishappyhome.blogspot.com

Source: lovebuildsthishappyhome.blogspot.com

Today’s Be Happy Challenge:

– Something Sweet. –

You want to know something sweet?  Okay, but it’s not romantical or cute or full of puppies or babies…

What’s sweet is that there are only SIXTY-EIGHT days until Gamecock football begins!

That means there are only 68 days until:

Jadeveon Clowney knocks someone else’s head off – –

More one-handed, game-winning catches from our receivers are made – –

We begin preparations to beat Clemson again – –

We see more perfect passes from Connor Shaw – –

We beat another overrated team – –

We make Williams-Brice go crazy with a Sandstorm – –

We get to represent the SEC with Sweet Caroline – –

And we get to begin our next unbelievable highlight reel – –

GO GAMECOCKS!!!

 


“Words make you think. Music makes you feel. A song makes you feel a thought.” ~Yip Harburg


Source: lovebuildsthishappyhome.blogspot.com

Source: lovebuildsthishappyhome.blogspot.com

Sunday’s Be Happy Challenge:

– Three Songs That Put You in a Good Mood. –

As you know, I love music.  I have playlists for everything: working out [ha!], boating, lying on the beach, self pity parties, etc.  I can find appropriate music for any mood I can ever imagine feeling.

Here are three songs that can put me in a good mood every time I hear them!

1. Three Little Birds – Bob Marley

“Don’t worry about a thing,

‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright.”

2. Love – Matt White

“And love… such a silly game we play,

Like a summer’s day in May.”

3. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da – The Beatles

“Happy ever after in the market place…”

How can any of these not cheer you up and make you smile?!


“So many books, so little time.” ~Frank Zappa


Source: lovebuildsthishappyhome.blogspot.com

Source: lovebuildsthishappyhome.blogspot.com

Saturday’s Be Happy Challenge:

– A Book You Love and Recommend. –

Reading is one of my favorite things to do.  That makes this post especially difficult.  Also, I’m trying to recommend a book that I don’t think is extremely well-known.  For example, I love The Hunger Games and A Game of Thrones; however, I think most of you have probably already read those.

Instead of picking one book that I’m fairly certain you may have already read, I’m going to do what I usually do in these challenge posts and cheat.  In lieu of choosing one book I love, I’m going to choose two authors whom I love and feel pretty certain that most of you have probably not read many of their books.

The first of my favorites is Kristin Hannah.  Kristin is actually an attorney whose mom told her that she was going to be a writer.  As her mom was in the hospital, fighting a long battle against cancer, Kristin started writing with her.  After her mom died, she buried those pages away and continued her career as an attorney.  While on bed rest, bored to death, she pulled out those pages again and began writing.  The rest is history for her.

The first book I read of hers, Firefly Lane, was actually one I picked up because I liked the cover.  It turned out to be an amazing book, and I went on to read all the rest of hers.  My favorite of them all is Night Road.

Night Road is about a mom who lives for her teenage twins.  The twins befriend a girl who was formerly a foster child with a shaky past, and the three of them become inseparable.  As they grow up together before college, the mom worries about their every decision.  Well, eventually, one of those decisions changes their lives forever.

This book is impossible to put down, and any parent who reads it will come away with a completely new outlook on life and parenting.  Honestly, it changed my life.  As soon as I read the last page and wiped the last tear, I gave the book to my mom and insisted she read it, too.

The second author I recommend without a second thought is Karen Kingsbury.  She’s a Christian author who writes incredible fiction.  Every once in a while, it’s nice to read a page-turner that’s not full of smut.  Karen is a mom of six kids, three of whom she and her husband adopted from Haiti.

She often writes series books, my favorite of which is the Baxter series.  There are five “sets” of books in this series, and I’ve read them all, unable to put them down.  The first set in the series is called the Redemption series, and it focuses on one family and their trials and triumphs.

As the reader, I felt like I knew every character personally, and I found myself honestly concerned with the decisions they made.  This series, like the book I discussed above, was honestly life-changing.  There were things about marriage, relationships, and guilt throughout the series that I needed to hear whether I wanted to or not.

I’ve read all the other books written by both of these authors, and for the most part, I’ve loved all of them.  They’re fairly quick reads, probably because most of them are page-turners.  I’ve got quite an eclectic taste in books, but I would recommend these two women without hesitation.

Source: The New Yorker

Source: The New Yorker

 


Slavery Didn’t Really End in 1863


In fact, slavery still hasn’t ended, and it’s now 2013.

Yes, you read that correctly.  Slavery still exists.

People say that statistics can be skewed in anyone’s favor.  Well not this time.  How are these statistics for you?

– There are currently over 27,000,000 slaves worldwide.  That’s MILLION!  This is more than at any other point in human history.

– One in 100,000 of European traffickers are ever convicted.

– Only one to two percent of victims are ever rescued.

– The average age of trafficking victims is 12 years old.  Twelve!  Some of us have daughters that age.

In case you haven’t been able to figure it out yet, I’m talking about human trafficking.  Human trafficking is a very real problem.  And not just in Eastern Europe and Africa, but here, in the United States, as well.

What is human trafficking?  It’s the illegal trade of human beings, usually for the purposes of commercial sex and forced labor.  It’s the world’s fastest growing criminal industry – even more so than drugs.  It generates $32 BILLION every year.

Every 30 seconds, another person becomes a victim of human trafficking and is forced into this modern slavery.

We’ve all seen the movie Taken.  The young girl was kidnapped and forced into the sex trade.  We think, “Oh, that’ll never happen to my daughter.  We live in the U.S., and people don’t just kidnap children here.”

You’re wrong on two accounts:

1. Human trafficking happens right here, in your own backyard.

2. Only a small percentage of girls forced into the sex trade are actually kidnapped.

Did you know that most girls who end up being sex and labor slaves actually go with their trafficker willingly?

Yep, that’s right.  As terrifying as it sounds, many of these girls go willingly.  Of course, they have no idea at the time what’s really going to happen to them.  Some of them are so unhappy at home that they’ll believe anything if it means they’ll have a chance at freedom and a better life on their own.

They meet an older man who “loves” them.  They’re promised the opportunity to make a lot of money and gain their independence.  They’re promised jobs and promised that they can send money back to their families.  In all of these, and other, circumstances, they’re full of so much hope and promise for a better future.  Then, they’re threatened.  Their families are threatened.  Their children are threatened.  They become addicted to drugs and will do anything for more.

They can’t escape.  They’ll be tracked down by their pimps and beaten.  Or forced into having more sex or performing more sexual acts.  Did you know that many of these girls are forced to meet quotas every day?  Quotas that no woman could possibly meet.  Yet they’re trapped.  They have no money, no resources, and no place to go.

Sex trafficking accounts for about 80 of this human bondage.  Labor trafficking accounts for 19 percent, and the remaining one percent is divided between organ harvesting and child soldiering.  Many of these girls are forced to participate in more than one of these disgusting exploitations.

Let’s talk a little more about them, so you that this may become more than just numbers to you.

Sex Trafficking: These girls are forced to perform sexual acts on and “service” an average of 30 customers per day.

Labor Trafficking: Victims are forced to work an average of 18 to 20 hours per day.

Organ Harvesting: These girls are purchased for kidneys, livers, eyes, skin, and blood.

Child Soldiering: Victims are forced to kill, rape, beat, maim, and torture other human beings.

Sadly, the United States is one of the largest buyers of these human slaves, and Americans account for a quarter of all child sex tourists in the world.

Let’s get a better idea of whom these slaves are: 80 percent of these human trafficking victims are female – 50 percent are children – 80 percent are under the age of 24.

There’s a very real chance that you’ve come into contact with one of these slaves and didn’t even realize it because, unfortunately, our awareness isn’t nearly where it should be regarding this issue.

Sex trafficking victims are often found in strip clubs, in internet pornography, at truck stops, in residential brothels (yes, these exist in the U.S., too), in escort services, and in massage parlors.

Did you know that in a decent amount of common nail salons right here in the United States, there’s a back room full of young girls performing sexual acts on men who come in the back door to pay for services?  These disgusting acts are happening right under our noses!

Labor trafficking victims are often found in agricultural industries, factories, restaurants and food service industries, in the hospitality industry, and in strip clubs.

Many of the men who pay for services from these slaves don’t even know, or are in denial, that these abuses are a major part of the sex trade.  The girls are scared to discuss their situations with these johns, and they certainly won’t ask for help.  The same premise goes for the labor trafficking.  These slaves are simply providing a service for which there is a demand.

As we’ve all heard, ignorance is bliss, and in this case, that certainly seems to hold true.

So now that you know about this rapidly-growing slavery, what can you do about it?

Unfortunately, right now, the main problem that exists in stopping this human trafficking is a lack of awareness.  Most people don’t even know it exists.  They don’t know that people get on the internet and browse thousands of ads for young girls and sexual acts.  They don’t know that the girl in the motel room next to theirs is not there willingly and is being forced to perform or is threatened with torture.

First and foremost, we need to be more aware of what’s going on around us.

We need to get the word out that this heinous issue does exist right here in America.

If you do happen to identify a case of human trafficking or know a victim of this crime, it’s imperative that you immediately seek help or send a tip to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (Polaris Project) at 1-888-373-7888.  These girls are depending on us to help them.  We’re their only hope of getting out of this brutal cycle.

Here are some things to look out for and be aware of.  We need to be observant.

Do these people seem fearful and anxious?  Are they in poor physical health?  Are they paid very little?  Do they seem to always have to answer to someone else?  Do they seem unaware of where they are?

I know some of you may find it hard to believe that you would ever come into contact with a girl who is a victim of human trafficking or the sex slave, but it could happen.  How do I know?  Because I did.

Last summer, while in Myrtle Beach, my sister, mom, and I were out shopping.  We were leaving a popular shopping area, and there was a young girl beside the road in the parking lot, holding a sign that said, “Please Help. No Food for My Son.”  Immediately, I felt bad for this girl, but as I looked at her more closely, I could see in her face that she was terrified.  She kept looking up and across the highway at something.  I thought it odd, so I followed her line of sight across the street, and sure enough, there was a man staring at her the entire time.  Every time she would let her sign drop a little bit, she’d look over at him and immediately hold it back up so people could see it.  This poor girl looked scared to death.

The worst part is that she most likely didn’t need money to feed her son.  She needed money to give to her pimp.  And at night, that “help feed my son” sign probably turned to a prostitution sign.  This was right down the road in Myrtle Beach!  Myrtle Beach – where millions of unsupervised young girls come for Spring Break every year.  This wasn’t in Bulgaria or Greece, people.  This was here – at home.

We need to keep our eyes open, be aware, and write to our lawmakers.  I’m proud to say that South Carolina just passed a bill this year, helping to prosecute these pigs who traffic human beings.  If you have the time, you should read it – H. 3757.

Source: Not For Sale

Source: Not For Sale

Your role is critical in helping these children and girls.

Do NOT purchase or participate in the products and services that exploit human beings.

Hold your friends and family accountable for their actions.

Protect those that you love from exploitation and let them know about human trafficking.

Source: Teen Librarian Toolbox

Source: Teen Librarian Toolbox

Additional sources:

The A21 Campaign

Slavery is Real

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Not for Sale


“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.” ~Orson Welles


Source: lovebuildsthishappyhome.blogspot.com

Source: lovebuildsthishappyhome.blogspot.com

Today’s Be Happy Challenge:

– Your Favorite Recipe. –

I love to eat.  And I love to cook.  Pretty good combination, right?

For today’s challenge, I’m supposed to post my favorite recipe.  That’s so hard to do, considering I love cooking.  And I always hate those recipes that have unusual ingredients, so then you have to go out and buy some crazy expensive spice that you won’t use again until you make that same meal.

In an effort to not do the same to you, I’m going to post a recipe that’s super easy, all the spices come prepackaged, and the end result is delicious.

McCormick has a fairly new product called Recipe Inspirations.  These are recipes that include prepackaged and premeasured spices and seasonings used to make whatever particular recipe you choose, and they include a collectible recipe card.  You buy the meat and whatever other ingredients are required, but there’s no more buying an entire jar of expensive spice when you only need a teaspoon here and there.

I’ve tried nearly all of their recipes, and they have all been great.  For the recipe I’ll share with you, I’ve chosen their Apple and Sage Pork Chops.

This recipe makes four servings, takes 15 minutes prep time, and 20 minutes cook time.

Ingredients:

1 package of McCormick Recipe Inspirations Apple and Sage Pork Chops, which includes the following 5 spices:

1 ½ teaspoons sage, rubbed

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

½ teaspoon allspice, ground

½ teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon flour

1 teaspoon salt

4 boneless pork chops, 1-inch thick

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

2 red apples, thinly sliced

½ cup apple juice

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Directions:

1. Mix flour, all of the spices, and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of pork chops with 1 tablespoon of the seasoned flour.

2. Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add pork chops; brown on both sides. Remove from skillet. Add onion; cook and stir 3 minutes or until tender. Add apples; cook and stir 2 minutes.

3. Stir in juice, sugar, and remaining seasoned flour until well mixed. Return pork chops to skillet. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 5 minutes or until desired doneness.

Enjoy!!


“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” ~Plato


Source: lovebuildsthishappyhome.blogspot.com

Source: lovebuildsthishappyhome.blogspot.com

Today’s Be Happy Challenge:

– A Random Act of Kindness (That You Did or Someone Did For You). –

We’ve all heard a lot of talk in the news lately about random acts of kindness –

The 500 Starbucks customers who had their drinks paid for by the customer directly ahead of them.

The Military Veteran who left a sweet note and $40 on a woman’s windshield at Dunkin Donuts because her husband was fighting in Afghanistan.

The mystery restaurant customer who picked up the tab for 180 other diners.

These stories make you feel good, don’t they?!

Just recently, Eugene was pumping gas, when he ran across a man at the gas station who had been asking other customers if they could spare a few dollars so he could make it to work.  As usually seems to be the case, they turned him away and said they didn’t have any cash on them.  Eugene told him that he didn’t have any cash, but that he’d be happy to put a few dollars of gas in his car for him.  As you may expect, the man was overjoyed and thanked him, probably shocked that someone would actually help him out.

I’d like to think that man’s life was changed, if only a little, and that he then felt the need to randomly do something nice for someone.

Here in Charleston, we have a residential home by the name of Florence Crittenton that offers comprehensive help for pregnant teens.  They offer full-time residential care for these girls, as well as counseling, prenatal care, life skills training, academic instruction, and postnatal placement.

Having been a young mom myself, I know how scary and stressful it is to find out you’re pregnant and not know whether the baby’s father is going to stick by you and support you or not.  In some instances, the baby’s father may even be abusive.  You worry about whether you’ll be able to finish, or even attend, college.  You worry about finances.  Sadly, in many cases, a young woman’s parents are not supportive, as they’re angry at the choices their daughter has made.

As we’re all aware, this fear and uncertainty often leads to abortions and abandonment.  This certainly isn’t always because the young mom doesn’t want to take care of her child.  It’s because she’s completely overwhelmed and lost and has no idea where to even begin in moving on with her life and taking care of an infant.

Florence Crittenton is a great program whose goal is to help these young moms learn to take care of themselves and their babies.  Although I didn’t personally need their help when I was a young mom with two young sons, I am completely supportive of the program and thankful that it’s there to help these moms choose not to abort or abandon their babies.  Not only that, but I’m so thankful that it helps them to be good, educated, prepared moms.

With all that being said, one of my favorite random acts of kindness was something I did a few years ago.  I proposed to our small group that we give up our normal Thanksgiving plans of lying on the coach watching football and go and cook Thanksgiving dinner for these girls.  Sadly, so many of them don’t have the option of going “home” once they announce that they’re pregnant.  They’re disowned and left alone.

So we all got up on Thanksgiving morning, cars full of delicious holiday foods and desserts, giant turkey included, and we went to the house where we prepared every main dish, side dish, and dessert you can think of.  (You know pregnant women love to eat!!!)

I brought the boys along with me because I think it’s so important to teach them to be kind to people who are different than we are while they’re still young.  It’s important that they know that we are undeservingly blessed, beyond understanding, and that we need to help others simply because we can.

Even though we were all working tirelessly, slaving over hot stoves and pans and pots, we had a great time just knowing that we were giving these girls something that they weren’t expecting.  They weren’t expecting to be loved.  They weren’t expecting to be accepted.

I hope that our small act of kindness that early Thanksgiving morning changed at least one girl’s life.  I hope that it gave one girl hope – hope that she and her baby could have a happy, successful future in which she knew they were truly loved.

Do something nice for someone today.

Source: Jennifer Fong

Source: Jennifer Fong


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