Good news: 13-year-old donates toys to hospital

For six years, a 13-year-old Columbus, Ohio, boy has been raising money to buy toys to give away at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. This year, Caleb Silvia raised $5,000 to buy 500 toys for those who are hospitalized at Christmas.

Caleb, who founded Caleb Cares 4 Kids, which is an Ohio nonprofit LLC,  knows what it’s like to experience hospital smells and lie in a hospital bed. For Caleb, his fundraising and helping others is personal.

When Caleb was 2-years-old, he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called Kawasaki Disease and spent time at Nationwide where he recalls the toy cart. Although he’s been free of the disease for years now, he recalls what it’s like to be in the hospital.

At 8 years of age, Caleb decided to donate some toys to the children in the hospital at Christmas. Now, his efforts have grown. Recently, Caleb and his family brought two vans overflowing with toys. They were met at the door by hospital employees who helped load up the carts and distribute the toys.

Says Caleb, “The ability to give back to a place close to my heart … it’s just something I feel passionate about.”


11 Ways to Stay Young

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”–Romans 15:13 (NIV).


I found the following list, “How to Stay Young,” in a weekly Oklahoma newspaper. No one was given credit for the list but I wanted to share it with my readers because I thought they were a good reminder for all of us.

  1. Try everything twice. On one woman’s tombstone she said she wanted this epitaph: “Tried everything twice. Loved it both times.!”
  2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.
  3. Surround yourself with what you love: whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.
  4. Enjoy the simple things!
  5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath. And if you have a friend who makes you laugh, spend lots and lots of time with him/her.
  6. The tears happen: Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Live while you are alive.
  7. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.
  8. Keep learning: Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening or whatever suits your fancy.
  9. Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next city, state, to a foreign country, but not to where the guilt is.
  10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.
  11. Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a second chance.
What would you add to this list? 
Please feel free to let me know in the comment section below.

5-Year-Old Begs His Mother to Feed a Homeless Man

Then he prays for him

To my readers: Sometimes, the media overlooks the positive news in our world. I found this article in a news feed on twitter and wanted to share this heartwarming story with you.


by John Callahan

Seeing a homeless man inside of a Waffle House in Alabama caused one little boy to respond with kindness.

After seeing that this man had no food, this boy quickly rushes over to his mother and asks if she can buy him a meal. The homeless man is in shock and it doesn’t end there. Josiah Duncan goes over to the man and begins to pray, and after that, there wasn’t a dry eye in the building.

This young boy has a heart of gold. His mother, Ava Faulk, was in complete shock and felt so blessed when he prayed for the man.

“He came in and sat down, and nobody really waited on him,” Faulk told a local radio station. “So Josiah jumped up and asked him if he needed a menu because you can’t order without one.”

The photo is now being shown all over the world to promote kindness, and it sure does touch your heart when you look at it.

“Watching my son touch the 11 people in that Waffle House tonight will be forever one of the greatest accomplishments as a parent I’ll ever get to witness,” Faulk said.


Woman pens her own obituary: “I was born; I blinked; and it was over”

emily-cropped-internalA 69-year-old Florida grandmother knew she didn’t have long to live when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February. So, she decided to write her own obituary–her farewell to the world in her own words. Emily Phillips’ self-penned obituary has gone viral on the Internet since she passed away last week, and according to The Florida Times-Union, it has garnered more than 5,100 likes as of last Tuesday.

In the obituary opening, Phillips wrote, “It pains me to admit it, but apparently, I have passed away. Everyone told me it would happen one day, but that’s simply not something I wanted to hear, much less experience.”

A longtime public school teacher who loved in Orange Park, Florida, Phillips recounts her journey through life, beginning with her elementary years in North Carolina. She talks about here memories of her father calling square dances, her 4-H club skits in fifth grade, being a beauty pageant competitor and leading her high school band down King Street in the New Orleans Mardi Gras parade as a head majorette.

“I was born; I blinked; and it was over”

Shifting between humorous and sentimental, Phillips’ obituary not only reflects on those little moments of her life, but she also tries to answer some of life’s more existential questions.

“The grandmother of five grandchildren, Phillips began writing the obituary soon after she was diagnosed with the terminal illness in February, according to her daughter, Bonnie Upright. “At first,” Upright says, “the family was resistant, but listened when she insisted they hear her read it.”

Uptight added, “We laughed where we were supposed to laugh, cried where we were supposed to cry, and looking back at it now … it really was one of the most special moments in my entire life,”  adding that the warm response to the obituary has helped soothe the family’s heartbreak.

“Being able to smile through the tears on my face has been an incredible experience, and an incredible gift that mom left us,” she said.

Phillips penned the following as she wrapped up her self-written obit:


Lent: A Time for Reflection


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Often the victims of crucifixion were left hanging on their crosses for days. Why? To be an example to others of what happened if you disobeyed Roman authority. But one bold man dared to ask for permission to bury Jesus, who had taken his last breath at 3:00 p.m. on Good Friday.

Who was this man? Scripture tells us his name was Joseph, a respected leader in Jerusalem. After Pilate agreed to his request, Joseph laid Jesus to rest in his own tomb—a freshly hewn tomb from the soft Jerusalem limestone located in a garden.

In Day 40 of Adam Hamilton’s book, 40 Days of Reflection, the author says, “The burial and subsequent resurrection of Jesus points to yet another way of understanding the mission of Jesus as he died on the cross. On the cross, Jesus took all the evil that human beings could muster. He was persecuted the righteous. He was tortured by the powerful. He was crucified unjustly. And finally, he died.”

Did it appear on that Friday afternoon that evil, sin and death had won? Would Jesus be just one more innocent and good man who had been unfairly put to death by the Romans?

Hamilton adds, “The cross was a sign of injustice, jealousy, hatred, bigotry, abuse of power, and every other kind of sin. And on that day, the forces of evil and sin defeated God and goodness and righteousness and life. Death, the great enemy that had reigned since Adam and Eve first turned away from God, had once more proven the victor. All that was left for Jesus’ followers was grief, disillusionment, and despair.”

BUT we know it wasn’t the end of the story. Not by a long shot. “On the third day, He rose from the dead!” What amazing words to hear!

When we look at Good Friday through the lens of the Resurrection, we can exclaim, “He has risen! He has risen indeed!”

On that third day, victory would come. We must remember this when the forces of darkness in our own lives threaten to have the upper hand. Because of that third day, Christ has defeated evil and even death.

Today, let the Lord know how grateful you are that His death and burial were not the end of the story.

Read the following scripture today as you come to the end of this 40-day lent journey: John 19:38-41.

 Note to my readers: Thank you for joining me on this 40-day Lent journey. It has been a challenge for me to write a post each day and get it out to you. However, I am grateful the Holy Spirit nudged me in this direction. I’ve heard positive responses from some of you who have shared it with others. Let HIS name be glorified as we celebrate the beautiful message of Easter. Shalom!

Lent: A Time for Reflection


Friday, April 3, 2015

In Day 39 of Adam Hamilton’s book, 40 Days of Reflection, the author reflects on the torn curtain. He says, “When Matthew, Mark and Luke describe the curtain of the Temple being torn in two, they mean for us to understand that Jesus has gone before the mercy seat of God, has made atonement for the sins of the human race, and has reconciled us to God.”

As Jesus drew His last breath, He gave out a loud cry. It was at that moment that the curtain of the temple was torn in two—from top to bottom. Most of those standing by Jesus when this happened still didn’t understand. However, Mark’s Gospel tells us this: “Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was God’s son!’”

God knew the Israelites would sin. Even before Jesus’ birth, He had made provision in the law for their restoration and healing through atoning sacrifices. As an expression of their remorse and to make amends for their sins, the people were to bring a sacrificial offering to God. Hamilton says, “The sacrifice was the worshiper’s way of saying, ‘Lord, I am sorry for what I have done. This gift is a small token of my desire to be restored to right relationship with you.’”

However, Jesus came, lived, ministered, taught, healed and sacrificed for us. Hamilton adds, “He offered to God not the blood of a goat, but his own blood on behalf of the people. He said, in essence, ‘God, I give myself for these sinful, confused and broken people. By the giving of my life, I ransom them. And by this sacrifice I mean for them to understand that their sins are forgiven.’”

We all fall short of God’s glory. Join me in asking God

  1. to create in each of us a clean heart
  2. to renew within each of us a right spirit
  3. and to live our lives in a grateful response to the gift of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

Read the following scripture today as you continue on this 40-day lent journey: Mark 15:37-39.

Lent: A Time for Reflection


Thursday, April 2, 2015

“It is finished.” Only three words—three powerful words from Jesus before His life ended. We could equate them with “The End.”

While it was the end of His life as it had been on earth, it was a beginning in other ways. Jesus had accomplished His goal. It was complete.

In Day 38 of Adam Hamilton’s book, 40 Days of Reflection, the author says, “Jesus’ dying words tell us that he did not understand himself simply to be the victim of a tragic miscarriage of justice. Instead, in his death, he had accomplished the mission for which God had sent him.”

Hamilton reflects on this fulfilled mission. “Theologians have devoted volumes to answering the question—what was the mission Jesus fulfilled by his death?”

The answers, says Hamilton, take three distinct but broad directions which are not mutually exclusive—more likely, adds Hamilton, they are complimentary.

  1.  According to the first view, the suffering and death of Jesus were meant to affect the human race deeply. “Recall that John began his Gospel by saying that Jesus was God’s Word become  flesh. Jesus revealed God, and God’s will for humanity, to us.”
  2. Jesus’ suffering and death was a mirror to the human race, revealing our own brokenness and sin.
  3. But these events also revealed God’s love—a God who willingly suffered on our behalf in order to save us from ourselves and to win our hearts to him.

Hamilton adds, “Jesus’ death changed how we see ourselves, God, and the world around us.”

As Good Friday approaches, imagine Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross. How does the story affect you?  Ask God to help you love sacrificially and faithfully as His disciple.

Read the following scripture today as you continue on this 40-day lent journey: John 19:30a.