TIS’ THE SEASON

AMAZING CHRISTMAS, 2013!!!

My whole entire life is fitting together perfectly.  Everything “makes sense” to me now…

I can remember “taking down the bully” in elementary school outside on the playground.  I just kind of camouflaged  in with others, awkwardly, during Junior High.  High School is where my life really started to spiral downward, specifically my Junior and Senior years- ages 17-18.  I graduated High School in 1983.  Finished  2 quarters of college at University of Toledo, dropped out.  Quickly planned a wedding and got married in Oct., 1984 and then divorced in March 1986.  Moved in with “male” friend in September of 1986.  Car accident in November 1986.  WOW!!!  Pretty dysfunctional, huh?

I can remember, at some point, feeling horrible for the homeless people, especially during cold temperatures in Ohio before leaving to “find myself”.  This sense of compassion has continued throughout all of these years I’ve lived in Florida, with me ALWAYS worrying about homeless people during the colder months.  Believe it or not, temps. can drop to as low as  the 20-30’s here in St. Augustine.  That’s frigid for us thin-blooded Floridians!

This year, everything seemed to happen in sync, setting things in motion…FINALLY!!!  I had been all over the place trying to spread awareness of my blog, numberoneteam.net, and my current fundraising ventures.

One evening after work I decided to go downtown to the shops on St. George St. looking for possible locations to sell my “TEAM USA” t-shirts.  I will NEVER forget meeting Rev. Reggie as I waited to speak with a store owner.  This gentleman walked by me with a smile on his face and then he paused to say, “please continue moving forward on your mission”!!!  WHAT???  ARE YOU KIDDING ME???  I had never seen this man before in my life!  And I was certain that he didn’t know anything about me or my “mission”.  I could not believe what had just transpired!

Before going home, I had learned that Rev. Reggie, somehow, helped out downtown with providing assistance to the homeless.  I accompanied him to get the final count for meals provided at “The Mission” here in St. Augustine that evening and forward that number to…somebody…I assumed individuals responsible for…???  I wasn’t really sure who he had to report the total number to OR “WHY” he reported it to them.  Welcome to my world, folks!  🙂

Rev. Reggie told me about this “mansion” that some fella had just allowed him to move into.  I was a bit skeptical.  He was, however, a highly religious man desiring to help others in need.  I felt this.  And I heard this in the words he spoke.  Needless to say, I gave Rev. Reggie a ride home, to his “mansion” that evening.

This “mansion” was quite a bit South from the downtown area.  It was not in an area where I would have expected to find a “mansion”.  He directed me to turn into the drive of a run-down duplex.  This, indeed, was the “mansion” Rev. Reggie had spoke of.  I returned home that evening, deeply touched by the events that occurred that evening.

A short time had passed, perhaps 2 weeks, when it became VERY cold here in St. Augustine.  I remembered Rev. Reggie and “The Mission,” so I quickly phoned the company I had already worked  with on the “TEAM USA” t-shirts.  This was on the Monday of Thanksgiving week that I phoned M.M. Grinnan Company in Jacksonville, FL to inquire about “TEAM USA” sweatshirts, also in association with numberoneteam.net.   I had hoped, beyond all hope, that we could rush order those sweatshirts to be completed by Thanksgiving Day…3 days away…for those individuals at “The Mission”!!!  IMPOSSIBLE!!!  But how meaningful, right?  To give out sweatshirts to those individuals eating Thanksgiving dinner at The Mission on Thanksgiving Day!!!  We just couldn’t make it happen that quickly.

The sweatshirts were quickly designed using the exact same logos from the “TEAM USA” t-shirts.  I, immediately approved them and placed an order based on the last known meal count at “The Mission”.  The order was expected to arrive in 7-10 working days.  All because of that one encounter with Rev. Reggie who could “see” that I was, indeed, on a “mission”.  He had inspired me.

To make a long story short…Ya see, Rev. Reggie HAD been homeless at one point, and was put into this “mansion” by a group called “People Helping Reduce Homelessness”.  Approximately 6 adults share the small living space in this home.  I believe they each have their “jobs” with…???  I am not exactly sure about anything involving…ANYTHING!!!

I ended up, however, driving to Jacksonville to pick-up these sweatshirts and dropped off all 8 boxes of sweatshirts  at Rev. Reggie’s “mansion,” somehow believing everything-THAT I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT- was somehow, completely legitimate and that everything would be “fine”!  🙂  This is, totally, MY world, folks!!!

Blind faith?  Stupidity?  I left every last sweatshirt at this “mansion” with a group of individuals I had just met!  I felt okay about this, however, because the sweatshirts were meant to be for people who “needed” them.  End of story.  So, the plan?  My kids would help me pass out “Team USA” sweatshirts at a Christmas celebration for the homeless at a local gymnasium, downtown on Dec. 24th.

Danielle, Chase, and I arrived at the gym and we were able to hand out sweatshirts to people who really needed them.  We sure have had a couple of real cold nights here in Northern Florida just recently.  And although those sweatshirts may not keep the recipients totally “warm” at night, I can sure smile knowing that they somehow  “help”.  Amen.

I find this completely amazing how I have ALWAYS  been concerned about homeless people being cold during winter months since approximately age 22…back in Ohio…and that same concern aches my heart still today at age 49…here in Florida.  I finally acted on this “ache” I felt in my heart all because of a “chance” meeting that occurred one chilly evening in a store in downtown St. Augustine on St. George St., sometime in early November, 2013…

Thank you, Rev. Reggie!

GO TEAM!!!  WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!!!