Giving Archive

They’re All Around Us

Posted March 12, 2014 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Last weekend I sat in a local restaurant waiting to meet a friend. An elderly lady sat a couple of tables away from me. We exchanged nods of greeting and both went back to our tasks.

I was so engrossed with planning out my week, I didn’t notice that she had gotten up and shuffled to my table. When I looked up, she held out her watch.

“Darlin’ are you good at setting the time? I just mess it up every time and it would mean a lot to me if you can do it.”

It was a simple watch with a stem that you pull out, turn and set the time. Easy, peasy. So, within seconds I had her watch running with the correct time.

She thanked me and shuffled back to her table. I sat grateful that she’d asked for my help, thinking what a blessing it is to be available and able to help someone in their time of need.

Moments later, she gasped and said, “I thought it was only 10:30 but you set my watch for 11:30.”

“Yes ma’am, the time changed last night to daylight savings time.”

She giggled and blushed that she’d momentarily forgotten the reason she’d needed me to change the time on her watch. We struck up a conversation and I realized how lonely she is.

Earline only bought coffee. I have no doubt she had coffee at home. And, looking at how nimble her fingers were, I also realized she probably could have set the time on her own watch but she needed human connection. That was her greatest need on Sunday morning. So I gladly helped her out.

We chatted for the longest time before she called herself a cab.

Here’s the thing. They’re all around us. Somewhere out there, they’re waiting.  Just look around. You’re sure to find someone who is lonely, depressed, or generally deprived of human interaction and connection. It’s sad really, particularly since we’re so close to them.

I blessed Earline that day but she blessed me more. Being able to provide human connection and caring to someone else is by far the one thing we can do that will give us the greatest return.

It took maybe fifteen seconds to set her watch. No big slice of my time but it helped her. And when we chatted, I discovered she was a very pleasant woman. I really enjoyed the banter.

Please take a look around you. See who needs your help. Your connection. Your caring and offer it to them. It won’t be time consuming and it will bless you way more than it blesses them. I promise!

When was the last time you reached out to someone like that? What was the outcome? Share it here!

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Paying it Forward

Posted October 1, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

If you’re been following the Road to Freedom Blog, you’ll remember  many stories about the unexpected generosity of total strangers. Such was the case today. I’d like for you meet Ed.

While preparing to resume the Road to Freedom tour, I tried to figure out something that could help prevent a re-injury of my knee as I pedal. I began researching bicycle trailers as a potential option. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive, particularly regarding the Bob Yak trailer.

Captain Ed shows me my new trailer

Captain Ed shows me my new trailer

I talked to cycling buddies and decided it could actually help minimize the strain on my healing ligament. Trouble is, they retail for $450. So, I headed to Craig’s List where I found one for $125. It was three hours away by car, or two days hard ride fully loaded on my bike. 

I had specific questions so we emailed back and forth for a few days. Finally, I was ready to at least go try it out. I was blessed when my friend, Cathy, volunteered to drive me to Savannah, GA to look at and possibly purchase this used trailer. So I made a call to Ed, the owner. 

Ed said he’d been following my blog and immediately asked how my knee was doing. When I told him it was doing great, he said he thought the trailer would help quite a bit. And he should know. In 2010, after passing the Bar Exam, he and a friend rode from Maine to Key West. He pulled the trailer for three months. 

Ed then said something I wasn’t expecting. He said he would not sell me the trailer. I was okay with that. I’d be reluctant to sell my cycling equipment. He then said the Road to Freedom was such a noble mission he wanted to donate the trailer to me and the Tour. 

Ed paying it forward!

Ed paying it forward!

So Cathy and I hit the road for the 150 mile trek to Savannah. Ed, an attorney, serves our country in the Army as a member of the JAG corps. And he is a wonderful young man. He said, “So many people helped me along my trip. I”m just paying it forward.” 

I felt like I’d known him forever, and yet, we’d only met moments before in a gas station parking lot. I suppose some people met there to deal drugs, or to hitch a ride, or just get gas and the 42 ounce fountain soda they sell for only 99 cents. But Ed was there paying it forward and I was there being blessed beyond measure.

The ride through the low country marshes of north Florida and Southern Georgia are breath taking but they fail in comparison to the beauty of a soldier, a total stranger, so eloquently and completely met the need of The Bicycle Lady and the Road to Freedom Tour. Ed made a way for the tour to continue by helping ease the strain on my recovering knee.

This is yet one more miracle that has occurred on the Road to Freedom Tour. Even though I will sleep in the undeniable peace that comes from a need being met, I have no doubt that Ed will receive the greater blessing for having set aside monetary gain and decided to be content with paying it forward.

You mean Bob is really mine?

You mean Bob is really mine?

When was the last time you either paid it forward or was blessed by someone paying it forward? Share it here.

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The Heartbeat of America is Alive and Well

Posted September 9, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Help Henderson4They lined up as far as the eye could see, the sun over the stadium casting the all-telling shadow over them as they waited. Inside the stadium, volunteers unpacked boxes, set up tables, cooked food. In just moments, lives would change.

For the workers, it seems like not enough time to get things ready. For those who waited outside, the moment would not come soon enough. 

I walked slowly through the crowd with the other workers, praying for and pronouncing blessings on these citizens of Henderson, Kentucky. An elderly man saw my knee brace and said he needed one too. He raised his shorts and showed me scars from surgeries. Had mine fit his enormous leg, I would have given to him. 

Mothers with children asked that we pray that their daddies would be released from jail. They were too young to understand he’d Help Henderson T-shirtcommitted a crime. They just felt the gigantic hole it left in their hearts since daddy left. A lone child stood in the wings listening intently as we prayed for a particular family. As the team walked away, she tugged at Melody’s hand and quietly asked if she could pray for her daddy. He was in jail, too.

Those in need lined up in complete orderly fashion, patiently waiting for their turn at each booth. No pushing. No shoving. Just grateful realization that people in this town understand they have needs and are doing something about it.

Mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters walked together, hoping against hope that their lives would improve today. Wide-eyed children took balloons and candy from agency tables as moms filled out applications to receive aid and Help Henderson8other assistance. One end zone was filled with clothing, shoes, books and toys donated and manned by Goodwill Industries.

The other end held a prayer tent, filled with volunteers ready to intercede for the needs of others. Between helping with the event, I walked around observing how this town takes care of its own. Rich, poor, young, old all together in one place working together to make life better. 

As a praise band sang and prayer blasted from the stadium PA system, I knew in no uncertain terms that the heartbeat of America is alive and well. God is still on the throne in Kentucky and hearts are still tender toward Help Henderson6neighbors in need. 

I left there and went to a block party in an underprivileged neighborhood. We cooked hotdogs, hamburgers and offered fun and
fellowship to people who just don’t normally receive and outreached hand… well, except in Henderson. Kids played on inflatable obstacle courses while others looked on, eyes gleaming as they anticipated their turn. 

They were grateful. Joyful. Filled with wonder that total strangers would reach out to them where they live Block Partyand extend the right hand of fellowship. It was a good day Saturday in Western Kentucky. God is very much present on the Ohio River and the heartbeat of America is alive and well. 

There’s a lot of gold in Henderson, Kentucky. It fills the hearts of the kind people here and they can’t rest until they use that prosperity to help their fellow citizens who are in need. Thank you for reminding me how people should act.

 

 

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Live On Purpose: Tribute to Todd Satterfield

Posted August 19, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Gift from Girls in McDonalds in Henderson KYI never met Todd. He passed away more than a week ago from cancer. He was 33. What I did meet was his influence from total strangers in McDonald’s in Henderson, Kentucky.

On Saturday, I told the story of two young ladies who Blessed me… on purpose. They approached me in the fast food joint and asked, “Are you the bicycle lady?” When I confirmed my identity, they said, “We’ve been sent to bless you… on purpose.”

They handed me a $10 McDonald’s gift card, a small bottle of water and a note that said, “You’ve been blessed on purpose.” It also contained “+1”.

When I reached my destination, over grilled hamburgers I told the story. They knew exactly what it meant and they told me about Todd.

Candlelight Memorial for Todd

Candlelight Memorial for Todd

Todd was diagnosed with esophageal in 2011. He knew he had a hard road ahead of him and determined he was going to live his life for God, “On Purpose”. 

Todd studied his Bible while receiving chemo therapy treatments and determined that, no matter how he felt, he would always try to influence at least one more (or +1) to move closer to Christ.

Though he left this small border town over a week ago, his influence is already far reaching and getting stronger by the minute. That’s what compelled two young women to approach a total stranger in spandex and helmet hair, reach out to her in a random act of kindness. 

As I talked to the local people, two things became crystal clear:

 

1) EVERYONE knows Todd Satterfield, either personally or by his reputation to put others before himself.

2) His spirit is alive and well in this town.

Right now, as I’m on this bicycle tour, I am living on purpose, but as I listened to his story, I lamented over those endless days I’ve let slip by without a purpose. Without reaching out to others. Without giving a drink of water in His name.

Todd was married "on purpose"  in Hospice

Todd was married “on purpose” in Hospice

Todd passed on to eternity the same way he lived… on purpose. He refused to let anyone say he lost his battle with cancer. He fought the good fight and God healed him the way He saw fit. There is no loss in that.

Todd will be missed here in Henderson but he will not be forgotten. His influence will be found on the local baseball fields where he once played and coached. It can be seen in the candlelight memorials as locals come out to honor him and commit to living their own lives on purpose. 

Todd gave me water +1 by ministering to me in a very big way. 

Do you live your life on purpose? If not, why not start now? Thank you Todd for reminding us all we’re not in a dress rehearsal and we must live life on purpose TODAY.

 

Rest in peace, brave soldier. You have fought the good fight. Your name and your mission will live on in the hearts of us all. 

 

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Today, I Choose to Be Generous

Posted February 2, 2013 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Give and it shall be given unto you.

That’s what the Good Book says. But, is it true? Well, let me ask you a question. Honestly, would it matter? When you give of yourself, your treasure, your time and your gifts you assume your natural role in the universe. But, indeed it is true.

I know someone who is married with two children. They motto has always been, “Us four and no more.” How sad, not only because they would have more today than they do, but they have missed out on one of the greatest blessings of a lifetime.

You may be thinking, “Reba, I would love to give but I have no money. In fact, I’m so poor I can’t rub two nickels together.” I get it. I really do. I’ve faced times when there is too much month at the end of the money. But that promise doesn’t only apply to money.

You can generously give a lot of things. Here are a few:

  • Your time. That’s huge. There are endless numbers of people who need what your time can provide. Doesn’t cost a penny.
  • Your talent. In December, I gave my truck driving skill to a friend who was relocating by U-Haul. I have a lot of experience in driving large vehicles.
  • Your treasure. You may not have money but you may have a notebook, dish, a towel or broom that someone else needs.

 

Giving is not only an act. It’s a lifestyle.

My friends know that if there is any way I can help them I will. And, if I have anything they need, they know they can have it.

I know people who sell things on E-bay and Craigs List. And they make a lot of money doing it. I’ve sold on them in the past but I have to admit, I’m not good at it. Why? Because, if I have something that you need, I want to give it to you.

I advertised a bicycle hard shell shipping case once. Someone took the bait and wanted to buy it. When he came to check it out and made the decision to buy, I gifted it to him. It was just cluttering up my garage and he was getting ready to travel abroad.

Personally, I got more of a blessing giving it to him than I would have spending the money. Why? Giving is my lifestyle. I’ll never be a millionaire because I give it away, but I’m probably about the most wealthy woman you’ll ever know.

Seriously.

I give freely and generously. It makes my heart sing to know I blessed others. I promise it will make you feel that way as well. Would you be willing to choose today to be generous?

Do you have a story to share about giving? Did the blessing come back or did giving leave you empty? I really want to know. Please share it here. 

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