Addicted people must WANT to change their lives more than anything in the world. A friend of mine recently knew that for years of her life she had been addicted to tobacco. She had attempted to quit smoking many times and failed. Finally, she made the decision to give herself a hope for long life. She wanted to see her grandchildren grow up and be there for their special days. With determination and encouragement, she stopped smoking and has been smoke-free for over six months. We know that it takes courage and the “want to” to make it happen.
The man, shown above is Donald Gould. He was once a Marine, but became addicted to various drugs after his wife died and his baby boy was taken away by authorities, because he was unfit to raise a child. That baby was adopted into a loving, Christian home. Donald became homeless and lived on the streets.
He had one talent…the gift of music and could play the piano was ease and beauty. While living in Sarasota, Florida, he was given a chance to roll out a piano on the street and play where people passing by in this beautiful city could hear him. His story is one of determination, but it is also the story of the caring people around him and those internationally that wanted to see him lick the terrible addiction. It is a one of the most serious health problems in our country and the world today. It is a fact that without help to recover, these addictive drugs will suck the life completely out of its victims. Our military vets are known to greatly suffer from addiction and find themselves without employment and no place to call home.
Through rehabilitation, therapy and opportunities made available to him, Donald found a new life and an outlet for his talent. One of his greatest heartaches was losing his baby boy.
The adoptive parents of his son, who had just graduated from high school, made it possible for Donald to reconnect with his once lost son. They said that they all prayed about it and believed it was the right thing to do.
A contract to make an album of his music soon followed and he was asked to play the National Anthem at a football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Minnesota Vikings. Donald had been given a great and special gift…a chance to start a new life.
If you are fighting addiction, know that you can ask for help. You will also be given the chance to fight the bondage that is making your life one of misery…giving you a chance at a new beginning. You, however, must truly want it! Everyone has some God given talent. Yours may not be music or the ability to play the piano like Donald, but you will find the talent He has given you. Go for it!
Boyer Writes introduces you to Donald Gould and his story. (Turn up sound) At the end of the video are a couple more updates on Donald that you may want to watch: When he played for the NFL game and his first contact with his son.
Did you see that person sitting on the street while you were shopping? Did you wonder who he is or where he came from? Should you take a chance that he needed someone and that someone might be you?
In cold climates, the heat may be off in the homes of many children and their families. Could you see that the heat is turned on ?
Can you take food to the food pantries…or serve in a soup kitchen? Reach out this Christmas. Count your blessings and be generous.
Show God’s love to the least of society’s down and out people. Maybe their decisions have put them in the place they are in…or maybe it had nothing to do with their decisions. So many have lost jobs this year. They have families to support and there may not be much hope in finding another place to work. So many reasons…so many heartaches. Those with addictions need to be shown a place where they can get help. Will you walk by or reach out to offer that information or a resource…a place to rescue a life?
You can be God’s messenger of hope…of promise of newness of life. Reach out. Be HIS hands. Open your heart to the least of these.
Footnote: After posting this blog, I received a comment from a reader in Ukraine that touched my heart. He wrote: “Recently I bought dry socks to give to a sick street man in Ukraine. He asked me for bread, so I bought him a loaf of bread too and when I returned I placed my hand upon his hooded head and prayed for him. I prayed in English and know he didn’t understand a thing, but Jesus heard my prayer and that is all that mattered.”
Video (turn on sound)
He was a young orphan who ran away from an abusive situation. For years he lived on the streets in Korea, but one day he heard a man sing and it spoke to his heart. Perhaps he too could learn to sing. His singing grew into a passion and the possibility that he might be able to pull himself out of the sadness of his life by the talent God had given him.
Hear the story of this young Korean man. Listen to his beautiful voice…and pray that his life may be changed by his courage to sing. For your Sunday listening…..
My son sent me a wonderful story that has several morals:
- Don’t judge people by their looks or surroundings
- Never give up…but also give others a chance
- God has someone who will help you and a purpose for your life
- Hard-luck does not always have the last word.
- Life has many twists and turns and some are surprising.
For the last week of Advent…something a little different.
Policemen are often criticized by the public. People don’t like it when they are pulled over even though they may have driven too fast or broken the law in some way. That’s why we call them Officers of the Law. Yet, sometimes the “bad apples” that get on a police force ruin the reputation of the many who do their jobs far beyond the call of duty.
I have often thought how frightening it could be to walk up to a strange car,especially in the middle of the night, not knowing if that person will pull out a gun. It has happened to many policemen who were just doing their job. Some never lived another day. It takes a “tough guy” to meet the challenges. Nevertheless, I was touched by a story of a policeman whose heart-felt empathy broke the image of the police tough guy.
We found out about Officer Larry DePrimo when a tourist saw the policeman on Seventh Avenue near 44th Street in New York City. She snapped the picture shown here where Officer DePrimo encounters a homeless man sitting on the street in cold weather with no shoes.
(A write-up followed in the New York Times by J. David Goodman)
“…The officer, normally assigned to the Sixth Precinct in the West Village, readily recalled the encounter. It was freezing out and you could see the blisters on the man’s feet,” he said in an interview. “I had two pairs of socks and I was still cold.” . ..They started talking; he found out the man’s shoe size: 12. As the man walked slowly down Seventh Avenue on his heels, Officer DePrimo went into a Skechers shoe store at about 9:30 p.m. “We were just kind of shocked,” said Jose Cano, 28, a manager working at the store that night. “Most of us are New Yorkers and we just kind of pass by that kind of thing. Especially in this neighborhood.”
Mr. Cano volunteered to give the officer his employee discount to bring down the regular $100 price of the all-weather boots to a little more than $75. Officer DePrimo has kept the receipt in his vest since then, he said, “to remind me that sometimes people have it worse.”
We at Boyer Writes are certain that Officer DePrimo is a little embarrassed about the publicity that he has gotten for a simple act of kindness. I would say this to him. Thanks for being an example of love and caring, especially at this Christmas season. You did something that you did not think anyone would know but the man, the storekeeper, and you. God sees what we do and sometimes…just sometimes… He rewards us openly. So, “Tough Guy”, keep on being who you are. We need more Officers of the Law just like you. Merry Christmas!
Unless you watched the 60 Minutes segment on the suffering of children in America, you may not know what is actually happening on the home-front and across America.
I was a Florida teacher in Seminole, Volusia, and Lake Counties. I watched as children on free and reduced lunches came to the school breakfasts that were provided and many dumped much of their food in the trash can. It was hard to understand whether parents were actually sending their children to school hungry because there was no food in the house…or just feeding at the trough of the tax payers? This was years ago. Now things are different. It is not just low-income families needing help, but those who would have mostly considered themselves of the middle class They had jobs and were tax payers.Now they have lost their jobs and their children are in the middle of the crisis.
As a single mother, early in my life and taking care of three children, I understand the short-term need for food stamps and the kindness of a family that took us in while I worked. A parent does what he/she has to do to make ends meet. I remember going to garage sales as early as October to find good, like-new items for my children’s Christmas.
I am shocked to find out that today there are thousands in my home-state of Florida; not to mention the whole nation who are displaced out of their homes because of unemployment situations. The school buses stop in front of shabby motels where the children line up to go to school. Some are dropping out to help the family with odd jobs. The cycle of education and poverty go hand in hand….or so we have thought. It may be just as likely that a person with a Master’s degree is also going to the community food banks.
It is estimated that 25% of American children are now living below the poverty level. That’s 1.5 million homeless children in the United States. The majority – about 75 percent – are elementary-school-aged. Forty-two percent are younger than six.
It is good to know that not only Seminole County, Florida is dealing with the problem in their schools, but other counties have a student services that one can reach by simply picking up the phone. Those of us who are blessed with jobs or good retirements have an opportunity to make a difference. One father said he never dreamed he would be in this position of homelessness when it came to providing for his family. His job just simply went away.
The video you are about to see is heart-wrenching and real. The lights are being turned off. Families are sleeping in cars. Desperate parents are taking to the road to hold up signs for work to feed the family. The tears of children are real. As we look at the world needs (and there are many), what happened to charity at home?
The statistics of the unemployed have reached a crisis level that middle class America never dreamed of. Our parents lived through the Great Depression…not us. We remember the pictures, however, of the bread lines. Now the food pantries in churches or community centers have a hard time keeping the shelves stocked.
My last writing was about the death of my mother. Now, I am having an estate sale of some of her possessions. It is something that has to be done. While doing this, I found that my own closets and cupboards had many things that I had not looked at or used for years. Why are we hoarding these things?
As my husband and I watched this segment on the homeless and displaced children, we decided that the estate sale needs to be in Mother’s honor, and the proceeds need to go to help some families until they can get on their feet. My mother would have agreed with that. She was a most generous person. (Estate sale Thurs, Jun 30-Sat. July 2 E. Cypress St., Howey in the Hills, FL.)
Watch the videos below. You will not stop thinking about this. I promise.
2nd video Interview about the Unemployed