We invite you to remember your loved ones who have died by committing an act of kindness in their honor. Love, kindness, generosity, sharing, these are the gifts we can give to them.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My sweet friend Pam texted me her Theo Stocking story on Christmas day--
She and her girlfriend Jen commissioned a painting of their friends' dog Frankie who died recently.
Here is a photo of the painting sent by iphone:

Hey my friends!

So, Christmas came and went and I never got the chance to share a Theo’s Stocking Story. Things have been quite busy and I honestly forgot about it…time is time is time… This truly made me happy and I just felt like sharing it with you!

So here is my post Christmas story:

A month or so ago, someone who works for a carnival donated a bunch of stuffed animals to Full Circle Grief Center. I was asked if I wanted to take any for Noah’s Children families. "Sure!", I said. Well, those cute colorful stuffed animals stayed in my car all this time (poor little critters must have been cold!). Today I was heading into our office at St. Mary’s Hospital and I decided it was time to take the critters out of my car. I illegally parked in the Chaplain parking spaces (totally for convenience). Because I parked in this space, I had to walk through the lobby of the hospital. I thought, ok – if I see any kids who might need a bear or a monkey, I will just offer one to them, then I won’t have to add to the already plethora of stuffed animals in the office.

The first person I saw was one of the mom’s of one of the kids in Noah's Children. She was heading to the cafeteria. I was surprised to see her, b/c I didn’t know Claire was in the hospital. Mom reported that Claire is doing ok and the hope is for a very brief hospital stay (she was home for Christmas!!). I asked mom if she wanted to take one of the critters to Claire. Sure, mom said. I later received a text from mom who wrote that Claire said thanks – she has always wanted a pink monkey!!

So, my next stop was with a family by the coffee stand. Two shy little girls each got a teddy bear.

Next stop – the waiting area. A sweet 5 year old girl was standing in the middle of the room. I got down to her level and asked if she would like one of the stuffed animals. She smiled all over her body and said YES! She chose the yellow monkey and said thank you (without her mom’s prompt!). She also told me how nice I was to give her a yellow monkey! She told me that her sister (3 yrs old) was in the hospital. She was not allowed to go see her sister and this made her very sad b/c she missed her sister (oh those hospital rules get in the way, don’t they?). This little girl’s mom asked me how much the monkey was. I told her these stuffed animals were all donated, so they cost nothing. The mom was very thankful and as she started to talk about her situation (family does not live in this state, she has not slept for quite some time, she stinks b/c she hasn’t changed her clothes in several days--actually I didn’t even notice any bad smell, but I am sure she felt frumpy,-- she and her husband have to take turns being with the 3 yr old up on the pediatric floor since the 5 yr old is not allowed up there…), she asked if she could give me a hug. Of course, I said. Mom hugged me, I hugged mom, and mom broke down. We talked some more. The 5 year old chose a white teddy bear to give to her sister. Mom hugged me again, thanking me, crying.

And then I met Alexander a cute little 3 or 4 year old boy. His birthday is tomorrow. He was in the waiting area with his mom, dad, little sister and grandmother (?). I have no idea why they were there, but both kids got a teddy bear and the whole family was thrilled! When I walked back through the waiting area to return to my car, Alexander and his mom were sitting in a chair together playing with the teddy bear…
I was thrilled. It was a totally spontaneous act. I left empty handed (at least of stuffed animals!). My heart was full and my smile was big…
Love to you - Kathy

Monday, December 28, 2009

Here is another current act of kindness I have to share. I was up all night working. In-front of the computer thinking and correcting, looking up information to better my Unit Three Paper. I sat in one spot for hours growing more tired by the minute. Seven o'clock in the morning rolled around and I didn't feel extremely tired, but decided to lay on my bed. I thought to myself I should close my eyes for a second just to rest them but not to fall asleep. I open them and look at my computer's clock. It is 1:34 pm. I sit for a second to let my mind tell itself and organize my thoughts of what is happening. I rush to my seat and start typing, trying to figure a way to fix the problem of me failing to do what I've been trusted to complete. I had most of my paper completed, just a few more works cited and I would have been printing. The time was now 1:50 and I remembered my instructor giving thorough, detailed instructions on handing this paper in by the deadline. I was a nervous wreck, mad at myself, so MAD. I then thought to myself, that I should be mad, but it probably wouldn't help me to be mad.  I learned something already from this rush of an experience. I then wanted to contact Mr. F to tell him, explain the facts of this fault of mine. So I sent an email explaining why my paper was not done, and then this I sent this one--the story you are now reading.

The random act of kindness here in this experience, is that I took it easy on myself for making this mistake. I could still be mad at myself, but the fact is, is that being mad won't get me anywhere. It won't make time be more leanant on me, I have to be leaneant on myself. I have to think ahead of myself and know how to execute my decisions and know that they have consequences. I can learn from every mistake--though I am human, but being kind is unique in how I handle them.
Hope you have a great Christmas,

Bobby C.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Inspired by Theo's stocking, I decided to buy a Christmas dress for a little girl, and give it to the Salvation Army. The dress I found was just the kind of thing I would have loved when I was a child, and it had a doll's dress of the same make included, so that whoever received it could dress up a toy as well, and bring it with her to church or dinner, or the back yard, or wherever. I was thrilled.

By the time I'd bought it and shown it to my husband, however, the Salvation Army was closed; we then drove the dress to the Goodwill store, where a confused intake volunteer asked why we were giving such a thing away. When I explained, he became very excited, and assured me that he'd have it out on the floor that night, and that someone would have it by Christmas, for sure.

It made my whole holiday to do this. Thank you, Theo!


Friday, December 25, 2009

Just as an FYI, we wanted to flag you to three posts that resulted from our field visits with Heifer International in Rwanda. They are doing terrific work on the ground...

Here are the write-ups for the Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet

Part 1: Healing with livestock in Rwanda

Part 2: Teacher Turned Farmer…Turned Teacher

Part 3: Got Biogas?

Part 4: For Poor Households in Rwanda, One Cow Makes A Difference

We are travel blogging from Africa at a site called Border Jumpers which can be viewed at http://www.borderjumpers.org/

Love from,
Danielle Nierenberg and Bernard Pollack

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I with few other friends bought pizza & soda and gave to homeless in monroe park before finals week.

Prachi D.


Today we baked and delivered gingerbread through the neighborhood,
including to the grouchy neighbors who are in fact not so grouchy
after all.

Micol H.
Merry Christmas Eve!

Last week I was in an infinite line at the Fan Post Office when the woman at the window starting losing it. "How is that possible! I've been in line for nearly an hour and you're out? Why don't you have a sign on the door?" The postal worker gestured to the line. "When would I do that?"Seems they were out of Christmas stamps. But a few days prior, I'd been to the Post Office and bought too many. "How many do you need?" I called out. The woman held my place in line while I ran to the car and brought her a new book. When she tried to pay me, I refused it. Instead, I told her - and the entire room - about Theo. "So, take these on his behalf, and when you get a chance, pass the gesture on."

Thanks for helping so many people engage in the true power of this magical season. Much love to you all.

---Nicole, Joe & Colette
Hi Karla,

I hope that you are enjoying every minute of Lula this Christmas - if she is anything like Elise, nothing is safe and absolutely everything new in the house must be touched - especially lights!

I was at work today and Lite 98 was doing their annual drive for the Make A Wish Foundation. I decided to contribute to them this year in honor of Theo. If he were still alive I would be doing everything I could to make his wishes come true. There was a parent on the radio saying that if you do have a healthy child, thank God and love him, and remember that there are families who are not so fortunate. That is what I learned from Theo, to give my children 100 kisses every day and appreciate every minute - fun or tedious, happy or sad. He reminds me that my children are a precious gift. I'm thinking of you and your family and wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!!

P.S., If you post this, make sure to tell everyone that I DO NOT listen to Lite 98, it was just on at work. Thanks.

This past May, a dear friend of mine that I've known since my first soccer team was taken from me. His suicide has really had a huge impact on everyone around us, especially because it was so unexpected. His family is absolutely destroyed and whenever I'm back in Northern VA I try to spend atleast some time with his parents, but it's hard. It's hard to tell somebody who's lost a child that everything's okay. Although this is hardly a random act of kindness, I hope that it acceptable to the spirit of this blog. Christmas was a time when Jordan and I would have snowball fights, share video games, go skiing, and even just do nothing together. He will be sorely missed

Merry Christmas!

For Theo's stocking, I took your advice to give an act of kindness instead of money to heart. I have thought over it for several days. I feel like I'm a pretty good person (most of the time :-), and try to do nice things whenever the moment arises.....but I wanted to do something with purpose and with Theo in mind from the beginning. It wasn't long before a call from the VA Blood Services called saying that there was a need for blood donations. I said a prayer for your family and Theo, called and made an appointment, and will now donate blood on a regular basis in honor and memory of Theo. I hope this helps others and spreads the prayers for strength and happiness to your and your family.

Have a wonderful holiday season. I think of you often!

Take care, Angela
Hey Helbert Fueglein Family!

I hope you are enjoying some down time this time of year. I just arrived in FL last night and will be staying through Sunday. It is our first Christmas without my mom, so it will be different. I still need to go through her clothes down here...hoping to do that today.

My Theo Stocking Story took place last Thursday, Charlotte Reynolds, a loving little 4 year old, has a brain tumor and is working with Noah's Children at this time to maintain comfort. Her blog can be found at http://www.cjstuf.blogspot.com/

I went to her house with my portable chiropractic table and provided chiropractic care for her parents, Rachel and Roger, and did some gentle work on Charlotte. At the time, she was unable to open her mouth, so I did some gentle massage on her TMJ and gentle adjusting on her upper neck. The doctor also changed her meds to a liquid form and for the next several days, she was able to open her mouth and eat soft foods!!

It was a heartbreaking visit, reminding me of where we were a few years ago. So much has changed, but so much remains.

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas. Give Lula a great bug hug and kiss from me. I LOVED your Christmas card...ADORABLE and I loved the handprints. Your creativity amazes me!

Take care and Happy 2010, if I don't see you next week. Love to you all!


December 24

I was with my daughter Emily and her team at a basketball skills session with a new skills coach. He had his 18 month old little girl there. She was adorable and ran around the court while her dad was setting up drills and working with the girls.  I talked to her dad, the skills coach, about her age. He is probably in his early 20's. He said that he did not know what to get her for Christmas. He said his wife wanted him to get her a Barbie Car, but he didn't think that was it. I told him that kids her age need the 3 b's, bubbles, blocks and books. He was intrigued and asked what kind of bubbles, we also talked about the kind of blocks that kids really like too. Finally, I said, 'Really, books are the most important. Do you read to her?' He said he did not. I then told him to read to her every night. He asked if sports magazines counted. I said they did. Practice ended and I went on with my week. Well, tonight, I bought 2 books for him to give to his daughter for Christmas. I will give them to him tomorrow at practice. I am really excited. I realized he did not know to read to his daughter, and probably did not know where to buy books for an 18 month old. So, for Theo, and my mom, who died in November, I bought him 'Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See?' by Eric Carle, and 'Moo, Baa, La La La' by Sandra Boynton.
Have the best Christmas you can.

This Christmas is a really hectic one. I am away from my family and friends for longer than what I am used to and I know it will be this way though it's a part of growing up and doing for myself while here at college. I am getting used to this experience little-by-little, but all for the best I hope. For my random act of kindness I have decided to tell about how I recently lost money in trying to make some for college, but still came to doing something nice. I bought an iPod to sell on EBay so I could make some extra money for classes here at VCU in case of emergency. I ended up scammed and lost it due to a person sending me false emails. I lost exactly $366.50 and felt horrible about that at first. The next day I was at Wal-Mart and was thinking of this and how it made me feel like crap, but then I saw one of those Salvation Army guys ringing the bell for charity. I thought to myself that maybe something good could come out of me losing all that money, so I decided to donate for the first time. I felt good, great at that. So even though something bad happened I felt that the only thing to make me feel better was to do good in some form, I donated to this charity and now I can confidently say that I did it again just a few days later after this self-assignment was brought up in class.

--Bobby C.
Marina and Anna made a donation to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
The night I was leaving to go back home from VCU for the winter break, I had realized I did not use the rest of my meal swipes on my meal plan. Now this is very common with most students, and many times people tend to waste them at the very end of the semester. I found out a resident in my building had ran out of meal swipes a month ago, and was left with one meal a day. He did not tell anyone, but he approached me and told me about it. I offered to get him food for the week until his finals were over and he could get home. I didn't do it to use the rest of my meal swipes, but purely because he was starving himself and still had a good 3-5 days at VCU without food and I had swipes that were going to be wasted if I did not use them. I knew it would be better to feed someone else, rather than to waste them on nothing.

--Vi T.
I gave my birthday money to a friend in need.

Shannon C.
I encountered a small but sweet act of kindness while I was at work today. I picked up a phone call from a gentleman by the name of Sean Walker who called the store I was working at merely to wish us all a Merry Christmas and happy holidays, and hoped that we all stay safe. Just the thought that he cared enough to take time out of his day to make that call certainly put a smile on my face.
In the words of Mr. Sean Walker, I hope your family has a Merry Christmas and happy holidays, and may you all stay safe.


Pin Pin N.

P.S. In my free time during this break, I've gotten the chance to lend my ear to the wonderful sounds of Thelonious Monk, and I must say I quite enjoy his music. Thank you for mentioning him in class.
On my way back from lunch the other day, I saw an older homeless woman (mid fifties) asking for money on the side of the road. She was looking at traffic so she didn't notice me, but I stopped and rummaged for a dollar in my bag, and surprised her by handing it to her. 'Bless your heart-have a Merry Christmas!' was her reaction. That made my day.

---Charles S.
This year we honored loved ones with gifts of flocks of chicks through Heifer International.

I went to West Virginia this week to visit my family. My grandpa was having his chemotherapy on Thursday and was coming back around dinner time. I volunteered to make him and his girlfriend, Phyllis, dinner, so when he came back he could eat and Phyllis wouldn't have to make anything for dinner. He seemed to be very happy with the dinner, even though he couldn't taste anything because of the chemo.

--Heather M.
Thank you so much for including me again in Theo's stocking - you remind me what the holidays should be about. I really hope that you and your family are doing well and that you are able to balance your grief with love and laughter this season.

This year, I have already found myself in the midst of an act of kindness by finding a bunch of Christmas gifts to go under the tree of a young family who have really had life test them this year. The family was referred to me by a fellow social worker so there's not much I can say because of confidentiality reasons but this family needed to be reminded of the good in the world. Two of their children experienced tremendous trauma in their lives and their family is slowly putting together the pieces of their lives. In the process of wrapping gifts for this family - nothing extravagant or too fancy, just some toys and whatnot - I was also reminded that there is good in the world and that if we all try really hard, we can be that good in the world.

Merry Christmas! I hope your son's stocking is filled with love and happy things!

Robyn J.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December 23

Several of my classmates and I took a walk to Shafer. While many of us had no swipes left, three of us had extra swipes and we saw that they were selling one large pizza and a two liter of soda for 2 swipes. A fellow classmate and I swiped for two pizzas and two 2L sodas. A third classmate swiped for 6 pieces of cheese cake.
We had decided that we were all going to go to Monroe Park to distribute the pizza and the soda to the homeless people in the park. I was too nervous, because I didn't want to mistake someone for being homeless when really they were not. So I stayed back, while a friend handed out the pizza for me. Afterward, we all went to the University commons to eat the cheesecake that a classmate had swiped for us. It was very generous of him to do so. That's six swipes! And he only got ONE piece! And it was goooood cheese cake. I was very thankful for that.
We are planning on doing the same thing someday soon.

Christiane M.


I swiped a man named Todd, into Shafer. He was hungry, it needed to be done. Enjoy your Christmas this year.

Amin C.


I lied to my parents saying I'm coming home on Friday but I'm really going home tomorrow and surprising them at the door. It’s been awhile since I've been home in California, and I can't wait to see how excited they are to see me. I hope you have a merry Christmas and that you and your family will have a relaxing time off. See you next semester!

Christine C.


Today as a group instead of wasting the swipes that we have left. We used it to buy 2 boxes of pizza and soda and gave it to the homeless people at Monroe Park.

Phi N.


I gave a homeless man a Dunkin-Donuts breakfast the other day on the way to work. I figured sine it's my favorite breakfast, I could get another one for someone else to enjoy. Hope all is well with you and your family, and Happy Holidays!

Ashley P.


A group of us from FI bought a couple of pizzas and 2 liter sodas from 810 to go and handed it out to the homeless people in Monroe park. this act of kindness made me feel so good that i wanted to cry and i want to do it again soon because the looks on their faces and how thankful they are is just priceless! God has blessed me so much that I want to bless those who are less fortunate.

Justina A.


I recently brought some food for Christmas baskets to give to the less fortunate for the holidays. This was my random act of kindness.

A’ishah A.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December 22

I was Christmas shopping and popped into the Dollar Tree to buy some gift bags. I was running late, in a rush, tired, and hungry. I passed a mother berating her little girl for whining on the way in. The store was PACKED with financially stressed, rushed people--many agonizing over their choices. The manager was on the phone negotiating scheduling and the another employee was on another phone with a customer. One lone clerk was running one lone register. He was about 17 and was moving as fast as he could and being mostly patient with the befuddled elderly counting their pennies, the immigrant couple speaking to him and each other in 2 languages, and various rushed people who wanted to get home to dinner. The line just kept getting longer. When I got up to the counter, I took a minute to say, "You're doing a really great job. Is it always this crowded in here?" He paused for a moment, replied, and smiled. The woman behind me in line grinned a big Christmas grin. I want to dedicate this moment in the midst of shopping madness to Theo.

Merry Christmas!

Melissa J.


Having just cashed a check at Bank of America for a reading I had done at Towson University, I was walking along Grace Street near Harrison. As I was heading to Ipanema for a $2 glass of red wine at "happy hour," I looked down and through the darkening evening I saw a leather woman's wallet. I picked it up and went inside to examine the contents.

It contained a credit card, license, medical card, work ID for a tutoring agency, and the usual Kroger and Ukrop's cards: no telephone number, no email address. I left the bar without a having my celebratory glass of wine and went to the library to review the contents again under greater light and to do some Googling (not at the co-eds) to see whether I could learn how I might contact this woman, Daniela, before she cancelled everything and went through the expense and trouble of obtaining new cards, etc.

I found that she was a member of an Italian organization and was a speaker of Italian. (There was no telling whether she was a Berlusconi fan or not.) I found an email address through the organization's Website and through my Google account sent her an email with my VCU account address and who I was. I attempted to reassure her that I was not a bigger Bozo than I am, so that she would feel comfortable contacting me to retrieve her property. After sending the email, I thought there was nothing else for me to do but wait, and so I started out for that glass of red that by this time I thought I had earned.

When I rounded the bend onto Grace Street, I saw a woman walking in from of me with her head down and who entered Ipanema. As I was entering, she was then exiting. I wasn't certain but there was a resemblance to the license photo. She looked up, and I asked, "Is your name Daniela?" She replied, "Yes." I pulled the wallet out of my jacket pocket, and she looked at it and smiled. She told me that I was a "kind man" as though a kind man was a rare kind of man. She left with her wallet, and I went in and finally sipped a glorious glass of cheap red wine. As a bonus, I could think: "What good boy am I."

I am not certain she ever got my email because I haven't heard from her on either of my accounts. My vanity had me thinking that I might receive one more, more thoughtful thank you via the internet. Perhaps my attempt at reassuring her that I wasn't a bigger Bozo than I am, merely confirmed that I am a bigger one than I think.

Rich M.