“IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR…!”
The late November through December holidays, that many of us respectfully celebrate – whether it’s Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and/or other traditions – tend to be some of the most enduring moments and memories made in our lives (FILL-IN-THE-BLANKS!).
And yet – the uplifting joy of these cold seasonal holidays, can also feel lonely and isolating for those who are hurting, in need, or have experienced recent loss.
Every winter break since 2001, my family has been blessed to partner with amazing local friends, family, neighbors, and our awesome 912 family to help bring joy to hospitalized local children in Palm Beach County. When these kids see the wagons and boxes with all your generous GIFTS – you help bring some MASSIVE, unexpected smiles to these precious babies, toddlers, children, and teens.
And wow, for the PARENTS – it can be overwhelming. For a brief moment, they feel like “somebody” out there in South Florida cares about the private burden their hearts carry for their children during the “happy holidays”.
I would like to share just a “few” of this year’s personal stories…
– Lorena, age 16. She was so happy to get a simple deck of CARDS – and a warm pair of SOCKS. (You DO know how COLD those hospitals are kept LOL).
– Matthew, age 3. Surrounded by family, he picked out a brand new toy FIRE TRUCK. Excitedly, he asked his mom to take out her smartphone – he asked to take a *PICTURE* of everybody after we sang “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” to his family! LOL
– TWINS – two 2-year old sisters, Genesis and Joanna. Can you imagine BOTH of your babies in the hospital? They got puzzles and dolls.
– Gabrielle, a newborn girl just 5 DAYS OLD, and a tiny 6 pounds – fighting her infant illness from the blue illuminated glow inside her incubator. Her mother Lisa was at her side, guarding her firstborn child. She just cried openly with us – this young mother was just so powerfully touched by thoughtful strangers. She asked if we believe in prayer – so together we prayed at her small daughter’s side for the miracle her small daughter needs…
– Hadley, a 13-month old baby girl with HUUUUGE blue eyes. Respiratory problems. Its so hard to hear that labored breathing. Mmm.
– Tanya, 11 month old girl – her family speaks mostly Spanish in the home. My daughters led the room in a chorus of “Feliz Navidad”, and WOW – little Tanya’s spirits lifted quickly!! Great fun.
– Jamie, 5 months old . Whew. He was alone in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) – and I just whispered a quiet prayer of hope for his recovery. I placed a safe stuffed animal beside this small infant boy, and suddenly he struggled visibly on his little face, when – BOOM – his big, brown eyes popped WIDE open. And he just ‘stared’ back at me, so innocently, with those dark brown eyes – 5 months old, a baby. I whispered softly to Jamie that I would not forget him – and that other people care about him too during this holiday. Jamie just tore me up.
– Joseph, age 3. In the ER. He was the first kid we saw there. He saw our toys, and finger pointed, exclaimed, “BOOK!!!” Even the nurse laughed. His parents said he loves books more than anything, and that’s what he wanted for Christmas.
– George, age 11. Had a massive scrape across his face (OUCH!) from wiping out on his bicycle. He was a tough kid – but not too cool to smile – or take a toy truck home.
– The last person to get a gift this year, was a grown ADULT… LOL! “January” (yes, her real name LOL), a woman in her mid-40s in the ER watched the joyful commotion with keen interest. When we exited the ER, I saw her looking kind of lonesome. “Are you okay?” I asked. She kind of nodded forlornly. She just moved to South Florida to start her life over, after a bad relationship gone wrong, and has no family here. “Would YOU like a little something for the holiday?” I asked. She nodded yes, and with a bashful smile she said, “Awe… yeah. I need a TEDDY BEAR!” She smiled at the beige bear and said, “I’m going to name him, ‘HOLIDAY’…” – and so she did.
Thanks to Tathyana for walking us through the hospital again, like last year. Interestingly – my 15-year old daughter was just diagnosed with Type I Diabetes this past year… and amidst a very painful personal time for us, it was powerful to see this hospital be able to give something back to my family when WE were in need. So, thank you to the kind, skilled and competent staff at Palms West Childrens Hospital. We are fortunate to have them in our community.
THANK YOU – everybody at the South Florida 912 For helping make a difference special thanks to the Shields family Candi Kayce and Sean, Mj Dunstan, Dan Guetheon for helping us deliver the prayers and good wishes and a SPECIAL THANKS TO Janice for her beautiful hand made cards:) WOW!
God Bless and Merry Christmas and Happy new Year!!!
Doug, Shannon, Tyler, Alexa, and Hunter Armstrong
We had a little bit of everything at the December meeting of South Florida 912 at LaBamba in North Palm Beach.
Jim Hunter regaled us with some great songs before the meeting – battling a little bit with muted Mexican and Christmas music in the background – but he was great! David DiCrescenzo led us in prayer and then we did the Pledge of Allegiance. Shannon Armstrong – co-founder, served as MC for most of the evening.
We had several people cover various topics – Doreen Baxter – our Membership leader – spoke a little bit about bening a member. Marianne Polulack told us about what was new on The Blaze network and how much Glenn Beck has expanded over the last year. She encouraged 912ers to check it out.
Shannon talked about how one thing that distinguishes 912 is our involvement in previous charity programs such as relief for floods in Tennessee, Haiti relief, her family’s 12th year of bringing presents to children in Palms West Hospital, gift boxes to soldiers, canned good drives, operation sunscreen, veterans programs, foster care support etc…
Andrea Plescia thanked everyone for the donations to the homeless Vets – she is tireless in her activism in support of Veterans. Hunter Armstrong read a story about the history and significance of the Candy Cane.
Fred Scheibl discussed the vote earlier in the day by the PBC Board of County Commissioners to proceed with exploring putting a .5% surtax on the ballot in November. Dan Guethon, chairman of the REC’s youth outreach committee, and the Young Conservatives at Florida Atlantic University brought another young YR with him and spoke about how South Florida 912 made young people feel welcome.
Carlos Muhletaler of Americans for Prosperity spoke briefly about what AFP will be doing in 2014. Tyler Armstrong read a short essay on George Washington crossing the Delaware on Christmas, 1776.
Beverly Hires, one of 6 GOP candidates for Congressional District 18 against incumbent Patrick Murphy talked about her motivations for running.
Tyler Armstrong then read “George Washington’s Christmas”, a blog post by Brian Tibbs about crossing the Deleware on Christmas day 1776, that ends with “So, this Christmas, remember Washington and the greatest Christmas present he ever gave the United States. The gift of hope. The gift of victory. The gift of America. “. Shannon, Alexa and Hunter Armstrong then joined Jim Hunter in leading us in a Christmas carol to end the meeting.
Whew – we covered a lot of ground but also had a lot of time, during a brief intermission, to mingle and touch base with old friends and new. It was a nice way to close out the year.
Looking for a very active 2014 as we’re back in Election mode! Watch the website and facebook page for upcoming details.
Meanwhile – wishing all a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!
Please come out to the National Cemetery and join us on Saturday, December 12th at 11:30 am. We will be placing wreaths at each grave site. parking is on the premises.
The address is 6501 south state rd 7 lake worth Florida 33449
I have done this with my family and it such a powerful thing to do during the holiday season. Please join us. This is a 912 event to go to, but 912 is not the sponsor or creator of Wreaths Across America. It’s something we have enjoyed participating in for our community. It is a great thing for our children to learn to honor the fallen heroes as well as a reminder to us all about our freedom.
See you there !
Join us for some 912 holiday cheer next week at La Bamba in North Palm Beach.
We will talk over the year just past and look forward to the next, along with some musical entertainment by Jim Hunter, and some inspirational thoughts from Shannon, Doug and others.
|Date:||Tuesday, December 17|
|Place:||La Bamba Restaurant
730 U.S. Highway One
North Palm Beach
Note: We will be meeting in a back-room behind the bar area at La Bamba. The food is good and the service is friendly – arrive early and have some dinner.
Candidates are always welcome at 912 meetings.
Please RSVP by Monday October 16th so we can get a rough count. Use the button below.
Please note – if you can bring new unwrapped toys specifically intended for children in the hospital at Christmas. This is our 12th Anniversary doing this with our family. It something we do regardless of economic status…. it is to bring Prayer and Joy to a family stuck at the hospital with an ill child. Books, ipods, puzzles, remote control cars(with batteries) footballs, etch and sketch, stuffed animals and baby blankets, teething rings, baby dolls, trucks and cars, craft kits, and handheld games, gift card for a meal for the family to order out. Kids range from new born to 18years old. Anything is appreciated – if you would like to join us to help deliver please let me know. We go to Palms West Hospital.
We are also taking donation for homeless Veterans: White t-shirts (M, L, XL), Crew socks, Underwear (all sizes), baby wipes, toiletries such as toiletries such as shampoo. toothbrush, toothpaste, bar soap,combs, brushes. NO HAND SANITIZER PLEASE – DUE TO ALCOHOL CONTENT.
This is the 12th year we have delivered toys and prayers and good wishes to the hospital at Christmas time.
It all began when my son was five and Doug and I felt that Tyler was a little selfish and I did not want to raise a child to grow up that way. We went to the store and bought a few toys on my son’s Christmas list and together he and I went to the hospital to let him give away the gifts to other kids that were stuck in the hospital at Christmas. It was such an amazing experience – Tyler learned so much and loved it and I believe it formed an integral part of who he is today.
Please bring a donation to our next meeting (Tuesday 12/17), and feel free to join us to deliver Christmas joy and prayers. Just comment or send me an email or feel free to call or text me. I look forward to seeing everybody at our next meeting. Last year it was such a pleasure to go with the Shields family and MJ Dunstan and others to visit and pray with the Children and their families at the hospital. This is the season to give. And it is so appreciated
Good morning all!
Tomorrow, December 3rd, we must have as many people as possible at the Martin County and Palm Beach County BOCC meetings in opposition to Seven50. Please join us!
Here are the details:
PALM BEACH COUNTY BOCC MEETING
Link to directions: http://www.pbcgov.com/directions.htm
If you can attend the earlier Martin County meeting as well, here is the address:
2401 SE Monterey Rd turn left on to S Kanner Hwy/SR-76 W