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.

Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31, 2012

From Michaux Dempster:

 Greg and I sometimes foster stray or rescued kittens; after losing one of our own cats to diabetes at the end of the summer, we took in Jackson and Madeline, kittens who had been scheduled to be put down at the Prince Edward animal shelter*. Though we had them fixed and vaccinated, no one adopted them for a long time, and they became part of our family. Our other cats were not as pleased, however, and right before Christmas we put them on the RSPCA rehoming site; within a day, Anna responded. She used the kittens' names to refer to them on my voicemail, and when we spoke I learned that she had lost her two cats of 17 and 19 years this past fall. She was very interested in adopting both of our kittens together, and would take them to live on a farm in the Northern Neck, where there were chickens and a goat, and an acre of land for them to play on. We miss them terribly, but we have now adopted Madison, a one-year-old with a urinary tract condition. He is helping with our loss, and Anna says that Jackson and Madeline made her Christmas very special. I think Theo would approve!

*(the right hand margin of the link)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

December 29, 2012

From Pat Tabb:
Hello, Jamie,
So good to hear from you and to have an opportunity to help fill Theo's stocking with lovely "gifts."  My family and I were delighted to honor Theo in delivering a poinsettia to a dear lady in Churchill.  She is in her 90s and seldom leaves home these days.  May God bless her and may He bless you and your family during this season and throughout the New Year.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 26, 2012

From Jon Heaslet:

Jamie –

One difficulty with my ‘job’ is separating my self from my work.  When I assist someone, is it my job?  Is it what I do?  Is it who I am?

Regardless, it has been a joy for me this month to visit elderly persons who can no longer come to church.  To take gifts to families who otherwise would have precious little under their tree or in their stomachs.  To visit patients in hospitals.  To acknowledge that at this time of year, not everyone is deliriously happy.  There are many tears shed during this month, tears at the memory of an empty chair at their table and an empty place in their heart.

And so I thank you for the encouragement to make something of this month more than adding to the bottom line of retailers.  As Dr. Seuss said, “Maybe Christmas means just a little bit more.”

I’m sorry for the loss of your son, and grateful that his memory is alive and continues to bring joy to you and your family.

In gratitude,
Rev. Jonathan L. Heaslet

From Lydia Armstrong:

I've been stretched a little thin this holiday season. I'm working two jobs, and am short on time and extra cash. I racked my brains for the first couple days of receiving this email for what I could do in the limited time I had, and in the end, I decided to keep it simple. I smiled at people and said hello to them. I gave out as many compliments to strangers as I could. I told my mother I loved her. I kept my big mouth shut when the guy at the Kroger customer service desk was short with me. I tried to be as nice to everyone I encountered as I could, and all the while I kept in mind your boy Theo. Merry Christmas, Fueglein Helbert family, and may your holiday season be bright.

From Lakilya "LaLa" Dozier:

My good deed for this month was giving out twenty four meals to the people in Monroe Park during exam week. Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas/break.

From Pete Hanley:

This year I had paid for a parking spot on Broad Street, but only used ten minutes of my time. I saw some guys getting out of their car, and scrambling for change, so I gave them the rest of my parking ticket. Thought about Theo's Stocking right after.
Hope you had a good fall semester, and have a merry Christmas and happy holidays.

From Helen McGrath:

Well, for Theo's stocking, I have been taking care of my three older grandchildren while their Mama and Daddy take care of the newest baby and keep the ship floating. I have not whined, complained, told on the kids when they misbehaved or were mean to me. I gave up my place in a cash register line every single time I was in line and gave up close parking spaces to other shoppers. Thank you Theo, I am a better person.

From Sara Weaver Lundberg:

Hi Karla!

I wanted to let you know that I volunteered in the infant room for our Christmas Eve service at church in memory of Theo and for Theo's Stocking.

I held and loved on a crying little, cute, chubby baby. I loved it and snuggled him up!!!!

Blessings to you, Karla.

XOXO - Sara, your MISSister.

From Anonymous:

I visited a friend on Christmas Eve who really needed some company. She is struggling to deal with life changes and grief and loss issues of her own. Spending this time was healing for both of us. I also donated to the MISS Foundation in Theo's memory.

I  LOVE YOU. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

From Anna Madland Bender:

For Theo's stocking  this year, I gave complimentary  visits to a family that has been coming in to see me for a long time. They have recently had a large cut in their finances and they couldn't afford chiropractic care. The wife started getting migraines again and the husband was afflicted with Bell's Palsy. Everyone now though is healthy in time for the holidays!

Love you!

Dr. Anna

From Anonymous:

I don't like to talk about the kindnesses that I do in Theo's memory, I feel like somehow it makes it seem more about me than him. I try to keep in mind his spirit, his beauty, his life  and his gift all season, all year. In that, I try to be a little nicer, even when it is really hard for me to be nicer. I try to remember that it's really about love. Love is the law. I let people out in traffic, I leave big tips, I get doors, I carry stuff when people need help carrying things, I tidy up where it needs tidying, I try to make things a little easier for people how ever I can see a place to do so. This year though,  in addition to every day kindnesses, I am  glad to have helped make it possible for two children, 8 & 11, to have a little merrier of a Christmas this year.  I gave a dear friend money to help her children have a little more beauty and magic in their Christmas this year. Their dad is gone, and is not helping,  or even communicating, she is heartbroken and struggling. They deserve a little bit of fun and light. I am glad we could help, even in some small way, to make this season a little brighter.

Thank you Theo.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

December 23, 2012


From Julie Cantrell Williams:

I bought a gas card today at QT and left it on the pump for the next customer to find. Theo
From Anonymous:
My grandson and I spent an afternoon on a bird project. First we put last year's small Christmas tree on the deck and fluffed out the branches. Back inside, we cut a pile of red ribbons just the right length. Then we tied a ribbon around each sprig of millet. When we finished, we took the sprigs outside and tied them on the tree. We cut up suet blocks, tied a ribbon around each chunk and attached the suet on the tree. Within two days birds, and squirrels, had found the treats.

Frrom Katie Walters:

Dear Karla, Jamie, and Lula,

You are an inspiring family. The love, graciousness, and openness with which you live and share your lives touches my heart. The act of kindness I write about in this letter is one that I have a teeny tiny part in, and in some ways started with you, Karla.

I’m not sure if you are still in touch with Q.  
(Note from Karla: "Q" is a former young teenage client of mine whose mother died of a brain tumor while I was her therapist. She worked harder than any adult I have ever known to move through her pain in healthy ways, maintain a connection with her mom, and live her life in a way that would make her mom proud).
If so, you may already know that she has had trouble with her aunt (who took Q into her home to live when Q'smother died) and has lately been living with her cousin, who is not much older than she is. Q heard another student express worry that, because money is tight at home, his younger brother, who has autism, might not get a Christmas this year. He was already giving his school job earnings to his mom to help pay for gas. Q decided to use the money she earned at school to buy his brother some Christmas presents. I heard about this and asked the vocational teacher how much she had earned so I could match her contribution. Q was very appreciative of this. The plan was for her teacher to take her shopping. However, when Q's aunt heard about the plan, she was touched and decided it showed maturity and a loving heart in her niece. She wanted to take her to do the shopping. We are hopeful this will help to mend their relationship.

On Tuesday, I met Q as she came up the stairs, proudly carrying a wrapped present. She told me all of the cool things she had picked out for the little boy. I made sure to share with Q that her kind and generous actions were inspiring and beautiful.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

December 22, 2012

From Cindy:
My friend Jeannie from the MISS Foundation shared your story about your beautiful son.
My son (who was born the same month and year as Theo) had a brain tumor removed from his cerebellum when he was 2.
            I am touched and humbled how strong a parent can be.
            To fill Theo's stocking, I put together a bag of food---Ritz crackers, pull-top canned goods, nutrition bars---and drove to an intersection where there are homeless folks asking for help.
            I handed the bag to an older man. On the frigid night we are having, I hope he retires for the night and gets out of the cold and eats. He replied, 'God bless you, sweetheart.'
            The bag also contained a note: In memory of Baby Theo.
            I also mentioned my son.
            Theo is inspiring the good in people, as I've seen by submissions and 'shares'.
                        Thank you.

From Kristin Reed:
The last couple of years I haven't known what to submit for this, but this year I have a better sense:
            For the last two years I've been facilitating a support group for people who've been incarcerated at OAR in Richmond (a job I owe to Peter Henry, who very kindly recommended me when he was away two summers ago). I normally only see my group members in our weekly meeting, but this year I volunteered at OAR's day long Christmas party, where we served food and offered clients gifts to give their families. I realized that afternoon that one of the men I met with that day lives under the overpass near my home. I see him frequently, actually, though I've never realized he also spends time at OAR. 
            A lot of our clients are homeless, and a day of free food and small items of clothing can make a big impact. Some of the women we work with were so happy to find small gifts for their children that they cried when thanking volunteers. 
            This isn't really "my" act of kindness; it belongs to the staff at OAR who spent an incredible amount of time collecting donations and food for the clients. It was, though, one of the few things I did this year that felt truly in the spirit of the holidays, and as though it might be a nice way to remember your little boy. 
            Happy holidays, and thank you for commemorating him in such a thoughtful manner.

From Daphne Rankin:
Each year, I do an act of kindness in honor of Theo. This year, I'm
doing things differently. My first act of kindness was to give my
favorite waitress and mother of 4 a 200% tip to help pay for
            Then Newtown happened. This year, Theo and I are honoring those 20
children. I am working on a total of 21 acts of kindness.
            I hope you and your dear family have a very joyous holiday season.

From Liz Canfield:
Hi, Jamie!  I sure do miss y'all!  I wanted you to know that Theo's pic and candle are still on my mantle in my house and I lit the candle for him this past weekend and we had a little chat, as we do sometimes.
            I love that you do this, and though I did feed a bunch of meters on Franklin Street today and try to do other silly random acts like that, I just wanted you to know that Theo is still very much in my thoughts and heart, more than I need to be mentioned on the blog.  I will never forget him, our little dragonfly:)
            Much love to you and yours,
                        xoxoxo liz

Friday, December 21, 2012

Documenting Kindness

On this solstice evening, the 7th anniversary of Theo's Christmas Stocking, I want to share a beautiful gift that was given to us. At the end of each semester, Jamie shares Theo's Stocking and the story behind it with his students and invites them to participate by committing their own acts of kindness in honor of Theo and in honor of those they love who have died.

One student this year was inspired to share the story with others in a different way. Alexander Kreher is an amazingly talented artist, photographer and filmmaker and multi-media producer who is currently studying photography and film at VCU. He found a passion for documentary filmmaking during studies at the Salt Institute early this year. Alex asked us if he could come into our home to document the story of Theo’s Stocking in hopes of sharing the Kindness with others. The video below is what he made.

I am so moved and so thankful to him for this beautiful gift. The knowledge that our children live on, that others are thinking of them, remembering them, that their lives continue to matter to others, is a great comfort to bereaved parents. Our greatest fear, now that they are gone, is that others will forget them. Alex’s gift to us is a testament to the beauty of our son and a testament to the ways that his beauty continues to touch others. Thank you Alex.  


I would also like to share a link to the MISS Foundation and our Kindness Project.  Kindnesses in our children's memories can be done all year round. And now, MISS Kindness Cards can be downloaded for free for your use.

Remembering them all with Kindness.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December 19, 2012

From Christy Smith:

For Theo's stocking, my random act of kindness was to make four homemade baked goodies for a friend and her family. She is helping care for her aunt who is dying of pancreatic CA any day now, and she has had no time to make it feel like Christmas for her own family. Hopefully, the gesture made life feel more normal for her kids and husband and honored her aunt's final days.

From Anonymous:

I'm sharing an act of kindness that someone did for me. I use a walker and am fairly ill, so getting out is not easy for me. I decided to go out to see country musician Lee Brice in concert at a small nightclub recently. I had won a Meet and Greet with him. The nightclub was packed and there was no room for me in the venue to stay to watch the concert. So, I planned on just meeting him and then leaving afterwards. He was very nice and I just casually mentioned that he had a large crowd and would have a warm reception for the night. I also mentioned that there probably wouldn't be room for me to watch the concert but that I'm sure he would have a great show. He not only made sure I had spot to watch the show, but it was a spot by his sound equipment and near the stage. His entire crew of people working for him treated me like I was one of their own for the night and all hugged me as I was leaving. One even gave me a guitar pick. This was truly a random act of kindness that I will pay forward to someone else in the future.


I went to visit someone in the hospital that I haven't seen since high school. Through the magic of Facebook, I had seen her post that she was sick and made up my mind to visit.
She and I were not close in school, in fact, I barely knew her. However something kept pulling on my heart to visit. When I walked in, she started crying and explained she didn't have anyone that had checked on her. Thank you Karla for challenging us all to do something nice for someone. My spirit is restored.

From Bonnie Thomas:

A friend of mine I had known only on Facebook, has been homeless in the last year and finally got to move into an apartment just before Thanksgiving. She has two boys. She is so very thankful to have a home this Christmas and mentioned not having money for a tree. I told her I would buy one-- no worries! I picked her up a few days later (meeting her face to face for the first time) and we went and found a tree for her family and brought it back to her place. This act of kindness was done in Theo’s honor.

From Anonymous:

I bought a little purple sock monkey and left it on a table in a coffee shop where a little girl was sitting bored with her mom who was working (looking for a job) there.
~She was very happy as I spied – thank you Theo

From Lauren Methena:

I gave a homeless man near my home, a man I see nearly every day, a granola bar in honor of Theo and a clementine in honor of Aydin. He was appreciative of them. He seemed like a nice man. I may start carrying granola bars more often. These came out of my lunch box today.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 18, 2012

From Udari Liyanage:
I hope you are doing well. I still remember the story of your son. Like I did last year, I wanted to give back to the community this year also. I bought a bunch of food from my money and gave it away to my friends. It felt good. I hope you and your family will have a nice break. Stay strong:)

From Frank Green and Sally Campbell:
Dear Thelonius Fueglein,
            I just bought Kid Goats for you.
            Oxfam Unwrapped: It's part of OxfamAmerica's exciting gift program that gives in two ways: by providing a symbolic gift for you as well as by supporting people in need.
 For herding families, goats are hardy investment. Kid goats cost less than adults, so buying a pair along with their mother is a way to invest in the future while saving some "doe". That savings can help pay for some human kids education – – – and the mini-goats teach responsibility, too, as the youngest members of their community are often charged with their care. The proceeds from your gift support Oxfam America's efforts to create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice. Together with individuals and local groups in more than 90 countries, Oxfam saves lives, helps people overcome poverty, and fights for social justice.

From Jane Sun:
I only grow out my hair to donate 10 inches to Locks of Love. This
happens every year-and-a-half to two years. Though this act may not be
random, I am dedicating this donation to Theo.

From Jalynn Byrd:
The random act of kindness I did was, I helped my friend finish her final art project. She had an hour left before her class that the project was due in and she wasn't even halfway done. I helped her sit and cut out over a hundred color pallets from Lowe's. I glued down cotton balls and and the color pallets to her project while she cut out more. We ended up finishing the project just in time for her to get to her class.

From Katie Allen:
I gave a cookie to a homeless man.

From Lynn Welton:
Jamie and Karla, I made a donation in Theo's memory to Noah's Children.

From Matt Clingempeel:
Tasha and I sold our house at end of July, or at least we thought we did. We moved out on our closing date because we needed to get our daughter into the school she would be attending for kindergarten. Needless to say, we did not close on our closing date. A little hiccup we were sure. No. Three months later we never sold our house because the buyer could not get her financing approved. She never told us why the entire time we were paying two mortgages. It seemed awful to us, to be led on in such a way, to be told every week that this is the week you are going to close. Then we found out. Soon into buying our house, she learned she was going to lose her job. She applied for numerous positions in her company but was unable to secure one of them. She was without a home and a job now. I sent her a Christmas card telling her that we hope she is well and that things are looking up for her. (I hope she had a forwarding address set up!) I don’t know how many times I need to learn that while things seem bad for me, I never know how bad they are for someone else. I know it wasn’t much, but I hope it made her feel better about everything.
            Theo and Lula are beautiful names. I am sorry for your loss.

From Lindsay Chudzik:
I volunteered to teach a novel writing workshop to middle school students in the Philadelphia School District who might not have the creative opportunities they experienced over the 10-week class had it not been for the amazing non-profit that helps organize these writing and critical thinking workshops for them. Though I am very busy with my full-time job and adding another class on top of my already heavy load wasn't easy at times, the Sunday afternoons I spent with these students were always the best part of my week. Seeing how excited they were to write and learn, how ecstatic they were when I brought in a guest speaker who happened to be a YA author we were reading together, made every second of my prep time worth it. Yesterday was our last day and, already, I miss the students. I've signed up to teach another workshop this Spring.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 15, 2012

From Anonymous:
I donated $20.00 to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

From Cara Vu:
I came home really late the other night and noticed a driver's license on the side of the road. I looked at the ID hoping the person's address was indicated nearby my apartment; unfortunately, the person's home address was not in Richmond. I decided to go ahead the next day and turn in the license to the police department. In addition, because the person's address was not labeled in this city, I was worried he wouldn't be able to be contacted. So, I decided to go the extra mile and find a way to contact him. I reactivated my Facebook (which was deactivated for quite awhile), managed to find him, and sent him a message telling him I found his license and he would be able to pick it up at the police station near downtown. He never replied to my message, but at least the license was not put in the wrong hands and hopefully he received it at the station.

From Melissa Ligouri:
We donated clothes to victims of Hurricane Sandy.
And made dinner for a friend who just had a baby and suffered complications from the C-Section.
We are also buying toys for a child who lost his home to Hurricane Sandy.

From Marci Spilka Greenfield:
Dropping off bags of toys and clothes at a local women's shelter for the holiday in memory of little Theo!

From Jessika Matheis:
I will be buying gifts this weekend for two children I chose off a tree; they would be my baby's age. Before I do that, though, I will go back and choose a little boy who would be Theo's age. ♥

From Anonymous:
I took out my roommate's six bags worth of trash.