An Angel Named “Angel”

Friday afternoon, and we were trying to get our errands completed in order to avoid the back-to-school weekend shoppers. We completed our first errand and decided to grab a late lunch. Back in our old Trailblazer, I started the engine and shifted into Reverse. The gear shifter moved but wouldn’t Reverse. As a matter of fact, it wouldn’t connect with any gear.
John tried and same result.  Slightly panic-stricken and frustrated, I started to cry. Stuck in Tampa, car un-driveable, hungry, and I wasn’t going to make my 4:00 appointment. John went back into the building, and asked to use their phone. In addition to the “dead car”, his cell phone died, too. Thankfully, we have AAA, and they sent a tow truck to take the Trailblazer to the “auto hospital”.
I collected my emotions, used my cell phone and called Enterprise rental car.  You know, “Pick Enterprise. We’ll pick you up.”  Within 30 minutes, I was picked up, driven to Enterprise, rented a car and headed back to meet John. As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw the tow truck leaving empty. Then John drove up next to me, and said “let’s go eat!”
We got to Mott & Hester Deli, ordered, and sat at a window-side table. That’s when John told me, “I’ve got a Bea Positive story for you.” Do you know the Bible verse about how God will give you double blessings for your trouble? Well, please read on.

The tow truck pulled up, and the driver asked John what was wrong. John told him about gear shifter sliding back and forth without engaging in a gear. The driver asked if he could take a look. He got in the car, tried the gear shifter, turned it off and crawled under the car. He was under the car for a minute or so, then crawled out from under saying “I’m getting too old for this.” He put the Trailblazer in gear and pulled it up to the tow truck.

John watched, and he assumed he was getting ready to load the car and tow away. The driver pulled the front wheels onto the bed of the tow truck, and used a chain and trailer to lift our car. Once the car was a few feet off the ground, he got back under worked a few more minutes. He got a screw driver out of the cab of his truck and what looked like a tube of super glue.

He looked at John and said, “I might be able to save you a couple hundred dollars” and got back under the car. He worked a few more minutes, crawled out and said, “we need to let it dry”. After a few minutes of chit-chat, the driver said, let me check it out. He crawled back under our car, came out, and said “I think you’re good to go.”
He lowered the Trailblazer off the tow truck, unhooked the chain, and backed it away from the truck. He told John, “there you go. Have a nice day.” There was no paperwork to sign. Very appreciative, John handed him a nice tip and that’s when he saw the driver’s name on his shirt:  A – N – G – E – L.

Talk about being blessed by an angel . . . this time by a tow truck driver named Angel.

Pint-Sized Hero

the daisy project

Do you remember playing “He loves me, he loves me not” when you were younger? In high school, my sister and girlfriends would pick a daisy, or some other flower with multiple petals to help determine whether or not the boy we had a crush returned the crush. We’d pluck each petal one-by-one and say “he loves me, he loves me not” hoping that the last petal was “he loves me”!

There is a young lady in the Tampa Bay area who took this little daisy game and made it into a wonderful charity giving back to St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. She was touched by her friend who was receiving treatment for cancer. She lost her hair and like many kids in the hospital, can’t leave for weeks and months. Our little pint-sized hero wanted to find a way to help her friend as well as the other kids in the hospital.

Chloe, a 7 year old, collects toys, books, craft items, coloring books, anything to help the kids keep their minds off treatment.  She delivers the donations to the hospital. Her mission is to spread blessings from kids to kids and hopefully provide smiles and distractions from their treatment even for a few minutes. Most of all, she wants to remind them that no matter what “God loves them and will ALWAYS love them”.

In December 2013 and February 2014, our local Tampa Bay Fox affiliate recognized Chloe in their segment called “What’s Right with Tampa Bay”. Most recently, Chloe was chosen as a Top 10 Hero by BayCare Health Services “Kids Are Heroes” program. For more information on The Daisy Project, please “like” us on facebook https://www.facebook.com/thedaisyprojectblessings/
http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/story/24770423/2014/02/19/the-daisy-project-aims-to-brighten-lives-of-hospitalized-kids

“Bea Positive” that at any age, you can have a positive impact on others. Seven year-old Chloe is our pint-sized hero in Tampa Bay. How about you . . . don’t you want to spread some blessings, too?

A Mother’s Prayer for Closure

 

This is not my usual post but a prayerful request asking for your help for a dear friend’s plea for closure and justice.  We continue to pray that someone will step forward with information on an untimely death of a young man. Please read and forward on to your network . . . Rob wasn’t alone when he went missing.  If you have any information or leads on the incident leading up to Robert Medley’s disappearance, please contact Tampa or St. Petersburg police departments.

Robert Medley - Unexplained Death

Robert Medley – Unexplained Death

I met “Mamma Jean” 6 years ago through Lost Angels Animal Rescue. We had adopted Yogi from Lost Angels Animal Rescue and reached out to find Yogi a companion. Mamma Jean had a little female Yorkie, Bambi, who was rescued from a puppy mill.

We adopted Bambi on a Sunday afternoon in July. Of course, Yogi went with us to make sure he “approved”. Yogi was a chow hound. As soon as he saw the stainless-steel refrigerator in the kitchen, he started “talking” and let Mamma Jean know that he wanted in the door.

Rob, Jean’s son, came downstairs and sat in the kitchen. He got the biggest hoot watching Yogi claw at the refrigerator and “talk” to us. Rob was a handsome guy and had a beautiful tan, muscled body — evidence of his love to work out.  His smile lit up the room.  He was also an animal-lover.  He loved the beach and loved to fish.

Fast-forward 6 years . . .

Sunday, March 30, 2014, concern started when she didn’t hear from her son. He was out with friends that night at The Getaway bar in Tampa, FL. He was last seen running down the beach away from the bar. Days went by with the anxiety and fear intensifying. Five days later, the nightmare became reality. Robert Medley was found dead in the waters off Gandy Blvd.

Another Sunday, this time, April 13, a “Celebration of Life” was held for Rob. The number of friends and family who attended were so many that an adjacent room was open to accommodate everyone. The stories and memories shared by friends and family confirmed the love and heartache of losing Rob — the loving man with a huge heart.

There have been no answers to the cause of his death. There are suspicious facts surrounding his disappearance and death. The Medical Examiner ruled Rob’s death as undetermined. There is an open investigation in progress in Tampa, FL

June 30, 2014, there are still no definitive leads on what happened. Every time I hear John Legend’s “All of Me”, I think about Mamma Jean, Morgan, the rest of his family and friends who still grieve. Rob was only 28 years old. His family, and especially his mother, need closure. They want to know that they have done everything to find out what happened to him on March 30, 2014.

 

Love With No Strings Attached!

It’s so common these days to hear about people and families struggling financially. Recently, a friend of mine experienced a financial set-back due to no fault of her own. She shared her recent experience because she said it was a perfect “Bea Positive”!  The story follows and shows that while pinching pennies herself, she shared a small token that will return many blessings to her and her husband — I Bea-lieve!

She shops at Sav-A-Lot to save a few pennies on her weekly grocery shopping trips. Her husband is working overtime trying to earn extra money. Not sure if any of you are familiar with Sav-a-Lot, but you bag your own groceries to help them provide lower prices.  So she had her bags with her.

While checking out, the cashier asked if she would like to have help bagging her groceries from two young boys at the end of the check-out. The boys had paper bags already set up waiting. Thinking they might be Boy Scouts trying to make some money, she let the boys bag her groceries.  While she had already decided to tip the boys, she noticed one of the boys was wearing a church T-shirt.  When she reached into her wallet, all she had were a couple of One’s and the next was a $10.00 dollar bill. The thoughts that came immediately to mind: “my husband will think I’m nuts”, “we don’t have much money and are having to start over” . . .  Despite the thoughts, she handed them the $10 dollars and asked the boys if they could split between them. Their eyes lit up like they were getting gold!

When she got home, she realized they actually packed the groceries quite well. And then at the bottom of the bag she found a little card:

“We hope this small gift brightens your day. It’s a simple way of saying that God loves you – no strings attached.”

God loves you -- no strings attached!

God loves you — no strings attached!

There are some people you know that even after many years have passed, love you for you . . . no strings attached.  “Bea Positive” that even a small gesture or token can impact someone’s life forever!

Share a Little Bit of Love Everyday

We worry so about the big things as we make our way through life.
We fill our cup with ambitions ’til it overflows with strife.

Our sights are set on lofty goals. We’re told we must aim high,
and all the while we’re chasing life, it just passes us by.

You see, it’s all the little bits that quietly make up the whole,
all the little unnoticed pieces that fit together to become our soul.

But you have to seek the little bits, and they’re not that hard to find.
They’re as simple as a friendly smile or a warm word that’s kind.

So don’t forget to take the time to pick this fruit each day,
’cause just a little bit of love goes a long, long way.

~John Boxx

The 50¢ Hat that brought a Million Dollar Smile

50¢ Hat that brought a Million Dollar Smile

50¢ Hat that brought a Million Dollar Smile

We had our annual community garage sale last week. The little gray-haired lady pulled up in our driveway in a car that could use servicing. She could be anyone’s grandmother. She was dressed modestly with a white sweater, bright aqua skirt, white ankle socks with brown sandals.

She smiled and walked towards us.  She said “good morning, isn’t it a gorgeous day!”  She was out for a “shopping spree”, and we were her first stop. She lives alone and is on a fixed income. She likes to shop at garage sales because “you never know when you’ll find a hidden treasure”.   There wasn’t much that interested her until she saw the hat rack with hats.  The kind-of-beige-black plaid hat with a large black bow caught her eye. It was one of my favorites for a long time.

While she considered it, she asked “does the bow go in the back?” I said yes and helped her put it on her head. “How do I look? You know I have a round face, and I don’t want it to make my face look fat.” I told her she looked very stylish, and the hat was perfect for her.  She was tickled but had to see for herself. We had a very large mirror leaning against the garage door that had not sold in 2 days. She stood in front of it and turned her head from side-to-side, then smiled some more. If I didn’t know better, I would say she blushed when John told her the hat was made for her!

She asked “how much?” and was so excited to hear it was 50¢ She handed me two quarters and kept admiring herself in the mirror. She said “you’re right! It doesn’t make my face look fat. I’m going to wear it the rest of the day”. She chatted a few more minutes, and then got in her car to “shop” the rest of the neighborhood.

Some people shop at garage sales for the “thrill of the barter”. Most of those who stopped by our house last weekend can’t afford to shop anywhere else like this little lady. She looked so cute walking up the neighbor’s driveway in her new hat, and I couldn’t resist taking a picture. “Bea Positive” was blessed to see her million-dollar smile.

No Matter What . . . Bea Positive!

REJECTION: to be deliberately excluded, to throw out as useless

Active rejection comes in the form of bullying or teasing. Passive rejection comes in the form of “silent treatment”.

The first question that comes to my mind is WHY? Aren’t we humans supposed to be social and interact with one another? Are these supposed to be “teaching moments”?

So it starts with kids; kids can be so cruel teasing and bullying others. How about some of these taunts?

  • “Half-breed” because you’re mixed racial ethnicity
  • “Midget” because you’re the shortest in the class
  • “Fatso” because you’re heavy, overweight
  • “Teacher’s Pet” because you make straight A’s
  • “Captain Klutz” because you can’t hit a ball, kick a ball, throw a ball, etc.

As time passes, rejection continues into adulthood. Now, however, rejection becomes more sophisticated, and passive. Is it because adults don’t want to reject someone outright? No, it’s much more subtle with the passive approach. How about a few like:

  • Your phone number has been deleted from your nephew’s phone; of course, “by accident”
  • Not being included in meetings and/or conference calls that others discuss openly in front of you
  • You call or e-mail someone and never get a response but hear about them through others
  • Your co-workers plan lunch and don’t invite you.  Better yet, they order “lunch in” and “forget” to get your order.
  • Put you on a project for which you have no experience or support – set up to fail and told you’re unreliable
  • You stand up for a co-worker who has been ostracized by the team – only to find out you are also outcast

It doesn’t matter if the rejection happened 3 hours ago or 3 years ago. The stinging emotional pain and psychological distress probably brings back bad memories and maybe a few tears. When you’ve experienced rejection multiple times, you start to question yourself . . .

  • maybe I’ll never grow up
  • maybe I’ll always be selfish
  • maybe I didn’t get the right birthday present, Christmas present, anniversary present, present “just because”
  • maybe I should conform so that “they” will like me and include me in their lunches
  • maybe I should be politically correct so that I can get promoted
  • maybe I shouldn’t be honest when asked “what do you think?”
  • or the ultimate, maybe I’m just a loser

Whether perceived or actual rejection, I think about the ultimate rejection. Heralded a week prior, betrayed by someone who spent 3 ½ years with Him, beaten, spit upon, lied about, scourged, mocked, crucified . . . So I have to remind myself that I have endured and will continue to endure, no matter the circumstances. . . not by my will but by God’s will and will probably never know WHY.

So no matter what, Bea Positive!

Sharing a Paximadia (Greek cookie)

lenthangIn Greek culture, Paximadia is a toasted Lenten cookie made with almonds and citrus. They have a hard texture and are a bit crumbly, and ideally dunked with your favorite cup of coffee. Or in my case, with a small bottled water.  I find it fitting that Paximadia was shared with me during this Lenten season.

My driver was in the hotel lobby at 12:15 p.m., right on time. He asked me how my day was going and helped me with my luggage. As I got settled in the back seat, I noticed a foil-covered pan in the passenger front seat.

I detected a heavy European accent when he spoke to me, so I asked my driver where he was from. He proudly told me he was from Greece and had been in the U.S. 40 years. I told him about the Greek community north of Tampa in Tarpon Springs that my husband and I visited. It’s a cute little town on the bay with Greek restaurants and shops. I told him about the annual “Epiphany Dive for the Cross” in Tarpon Springs. (FYI, this is the largest observance in the U.S. outside of Greece!).

He came to the U.S. 40 years ago to make money and send back to his family in Greece. He originally planned to be here a couple of years.  Two years soon became five. He was so excited to share that he made close to $25,000 after 5 years; “that was a lot of money back then”.  So he kept working and told his family he would stay a few more years and then never left.  He tries to go back to Greece each year to see his family.

He and his wife raised 4 children, 3 girls and 1 boy ranging from 22 years to 13 years old. He has 3 grandchildren, too. His wife cooks dinner every night for the entire family. The 3 married girls and their families live in the same neighborhood. Every night the entire family eats a home-cooked dinner together. I told him how rare it was for me to hear that a family spends quality time together every night and eats dinner together.

So I was too curious and had to asked “is that your lunch in the foil-covered pan?”  He said, “no, my wife loves to bake, too. Here you must try these cookies.” He opened the foil and handed the pan to me. I took a cookie, and he insisted that I take another. Since I hadn’t eaten lunch yet, I was grateful for the cookie. Then he handed me one of his water bottles he had in the front seat along with some tissues for a napkin. I wrapped the second cookie in the tissue to share with my husband once I landed in Tampa.

He chatted some more about his family, and we turned into the airport. As he pulled over to park, I asked how much I owed him. I couldn’t believe when he told me the flat rate because I had paid double the day before from the airport to the hotel!

I paid him cash and told him no need for change. He got out of the car and got my luggage out for me. As I reached out my hand to shake and thank him for the ride, he kissed both my cheeks – the European way, you know. He thanked me and said “God has blessed you to be a beautiful person.”

As I walked through the airport to my gate, I held back tears. It never dawned on me that he would thank me. I was just another passenger in his day . . . Maybe it was because I spoke to him. Maybe because I cared enough to ask about his life and family. Maybe because I shared a home-baked cookie from his wife.  Maybe it is because I was Positive!

 

The Mailbox Boy

John was walking Matthew, our “little ol’ man”, Wednesday evening.  They usually go down the street for a 15-20 minute walk.  When they returned, John saw our mailbox on the ground and what was left of the post was a jagged mess.  John also noticed a gray piece of a car’s side mirror next to the mailbox.

Because we live in an HOA community, you can’t go to your local Lowe’s Home Improvement or Home Depot and buy a mailbox.  John called the HOA and ordered the “approved” mailbox and post.  Until it arrives, our mailman graciously offered to bring the mail to our front door.

The following morning I was out with our fur-babies.  A young man stopped in front of the house and came up to me and said “I’m the Mailbox Boy”.  He was very contrite and took his baseball cap off as he spoke to me.  He lives in our neighborhood a few blocks down the street.  His father gave him the replacement cost of the mailbox, and he had just gone to the bank to get the cash.

“Mailbox Boy” handed me the money and asked me to please let my husband know that he stopped by.  He told me he was “distracted” as he was driving out of the neighborhood and hit the mailbox.  I told him that many kids would probably not even bother to come back by.  I also told him I’m glad it was only the mailbox that was damaged.

Now, I’m not here to judge, and I certainly didn’t witness the mailbox massacre.  However:

  • I know it’s 20 mph in our neighborhood with a few curves in the streets, so you need to pay attention.
  • I know “Mailbox Boy” has a cell phone, and he called his father immediately after the accident.
  • I know that texting or talking on the phone takes your attention and focus away from driving.

“I report it, you decide.”

Bea Alert and Bea Careful when driving because you are the eyes and ears of your vehicle . . . a mailbox can be replaced.

What's left of our mailbox!

What’s left of our mailbox!

“I hope today is the best day of your life and tomorrow is even better.” ~Fernando

It was Monday evening on 5th Avenue in NY City, 6 days before Super Bowl XLVIII, and traffic was CRAZY!  Not that it isn’t crazy any other day of the week.  Fernando texted me that he was a couple of blocks away.  I texted back and told him to look for a little lady in a bright red coat.

A few minutes later, Fernando pulled up, rolled down his window smiling and said “the red coat was perfect”!  Once in the car, I told him I was going to be the “annoying tourist” and hang my head out the window to take pictures of Times Square.  I even saw Neil Cavuto from Fox News, but he ducked into his car before I got a picture.

Times Square was typical and jammed pack full of people seeming to go nowhere.  But this Monday was full of football mania and Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks fans everywhere.  As the car crawled along in traffic, Fernando told me about how he charmed his way out of a ticket.  While he was parked a few blocks away 5th Avenue, a lady cop came up to his car and knocked on the window.  As soon as he rolled down his window and smiled, she said “oooohh, you smell so good and what a beautiful smile!”  She started flirting with him, and I could tell he thoroughly it.  Once he got my text, he told the cop that he needed to go.  She completely forgot about the illegal parking and waved good-bye (and probably wish she had gotten his number).  He turned around and look at me saying “it happens all the time” and smiled his beautiful smile.

We had a pretty long drive to Morristown, NJ, almost 1-1/2 hours with traffic.  Fernando asked if I wanted to go the “lazy river way” or the “roller coaster”.   He said, “some people tell me to stay in one lane  . . . don’t weave in and out.  That’s what I call the lazy river way.”  Well, no need to think twice . . . I said “roller coaster – just get me there safely!  Plus, I only tell my husband not to change lanes . . . “

Fernando is a positive being, another one of those crazy optimists.  He entertained me with a few more stories but what was most fascinating was his outlook on life.  I felt compelled to share Fernando’s viewpoints, positivity and hopefully a few smiles!

  • Live and enjoy this moment . . . because now it is gone, a new one has begun
  • Don’t just exist —  meditate, plan, be intentional in the mind
  • Do something to make the world better
  • Study and keep learning something new every day
  • Money isn’t important . . . necessary but shouldn’t be your 1st priority

When we arrived at my hotel, he helped me with my bag.  I handed him a tip and said “I know that money isn’t important, but I want you to know how much I appreciated the drive and talking with you.”  With that, he shook my hand, smiled his beautiful smile and told me the most amazing thing . . .

“I hope today is the best day of your life and tomorrow is even better.”

Thank you, Fernando!  I hope all of you will share his sentiment and pay it forward. 

Always remember to “Bea Positive”!!

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