New Year’s day may have come on gone but the memories of this special day will warm my heart for years to come.
Family Time is a Priceless Treasure
With our oldest daughter leaving for Australia in just a few days we wanted to spend as much quality family time as possible.
New Year’s eve found us on the ski slopes, enjoying one of our family’s favorite winter activities. My hubby was working ski patrol. The girls and I caught up with him every chance we could in between very wet runs!
By mid afternoon rain turned into snow and the conditions were absolutely divine!
The highlight of the day for the girls was taking part in the annual torch light slalom put on by the ski patrol. Cris was asked to lead the parade with a toboggan. Our little Sabrina was exhilarated to sit in the toboggan and enjoy a front row seat. The two older girls and I were invited to participate as well. It was a fun run despite the atrocious fumes from the flares. Yikes!
We had planned on ringing in the new year with friends but came home wet and ready for a quiet night. So no champagne and silly hats for us, just some quality family time with a good movie and a good night’s sleep.
We had big plans for New Year’s day after all….
The Gift of Giving Back
We had volunteered to help my friend Jason Brown deliver gifts to a group of homeless men and women he had befriended. I wanted to do more than just show up so I decided to make a couple of quiches and a “Bûche de Noël”, our traditional chocolate Christmas yule log, to share with them.
I wanted to bring food that was tasty, healthy and filling. I made some garlic mashed potatoes to use as the crust for my quiches. One quiche was filled with zucchini and spinach. The other with ham and cheese. The bûche was a decadent treat of white and dark chocolate because everyone deserves to be spoiled. The girls helped put the finishing touches of marzipan decorations when they got up.
We headed out to Hollywood around 3 pm, loaded with our gifts and hot meal.
We were greeted with smiles and open arms!
The men we met were well groomed, curious and respectful and clearly wanting to get off the street.
They all benefit from services at My Friend’s Place in Hollywood.
The mission of My Friend’s Place is to assist and inspire homeless youth to build self-sufficient lives. They provide meals, a safe place to rest and on site medical care. Most importantly they offer workshops and “life” training to all who choose to benefit from their services. They achieve this through private funding and partnerships with all sorts of organization.
Jason excitedly shared with me that his company WET will be partnering with My Friend’s Place this year with an exciting internship program.
The gifts we delivered were acquired thanks to the generous support of WET staff and friends 🙂
My 9 year old Sabrina settled on the sidewalk with a young boy of 13 and his 4 month old puppy Lucky. His dad owned the mom. They had sold her other puppies to provide for their needs but kept Lucky as his birthday present.
The afternoon went by far too quickly.
We shared stories, laughter, good food and lots of hugs.
Life Lessons from an afternoon with the Homeless
Our afternoon with this special group of young men left a beautiful imprint on all of us.
My friend Jason shared with us that he too had been homeless for a while. He had a job and a car which provided a safe place to sleep. But no home to call his own. He knows first hand that anyone can end up homeless. He also knows there is hope. With determination and a little compassion from fellow human beings, anyone can change their circumstances. I hope to share more about Jason’s story and his “Grapefruit Ministry” in an upcoming post.
As I said goodbye to the young men, one of them said he hoped he wouldn’t see me again. “For good reasons” he added with a smile. That made me smile as well. I wish him much success.
On our way home, Alexandra reflected on our afternoon. She was so grateful for the time we had spent with these young men. “I’m so happy our family does things like this,”she said. “We need to do this more often.”
What she shared next melts my heart.
“It’s so easy to walk by these people and ignore them. Cross the street or look the other way. But they are people just like us. They deserve to be treated with respect and compassion. All these men obviously take care of themselves. They want to get out of their situation. They want to have better lives.”
How true! We are so quick to judge and discard…
But the men and women who live on the street have stories… Their circumstances are as unique as they are…
They deserve our time.
An open heart.
Alexandra also reflected on her own life. How easy it is to complain about small things. To want more when we already have so much. How easy it is to open our hearts and give of our time and what a gift that really is to those of us doing the giving!
I am forever grateful that my girls are who they are.
Thank you Jason Brown for inviting us to share a little love.
I could not have imagined a better way to start the New Year. 🙂