December 2011

Christmas Blessing Comes To Virginia Family

While everyone else was receiving mysterious layaway payouts from a Secret Santa the Mingee family was getting a blessing on the side of the road. Christina Mingee and her kids were broke down on the side of the road and they did not know what to do. It started to rain and Christina felt like things had really taking a turn for the worst until a stranger came up and asked her if she was okay. 

Man Finds 100-year-old Letter to Santa... From his Mom!

Early Christmas present for Dublin resident

Many of us keep letters to Santa Claus written decades ago. Saving such sweet mementos is a great way to remember Christmases past, especially when we were little and took such care to write our wish lists. Sometimes, though, these keepsakes get lost along the way. Finding them again is always great fun. But can you imagine how Dublin, Ireland, resident Victor Bartlem felt, after he found a 100-year-old letter from his own mom to Santa?!
This is truly a great Christmas story, folks. It seems that about 20 years ago, a Dublin resident was having some renovations done on his home. Workers found a letter to Santa Claus inside John Byrne's chimney and managed to salvage it (and yes, it was just a tad burned). For years, Byrne wondered about the letter from Hannah 'Annie' Howard. She was just ten years old when she penned her letter to Santa on Christmas Eve in 1911, asking for a doll, a toffee apple and a gold penny, among other things. This year, to celebrate the letter's 100th anniversary, he decided to take action: Byrne got in touch with The Irish Times and relayed the story.

Secret Santas Paying Off Layaways: A New, Very Needed Holiday Tradition is Born

Phenomenon spreading nationwide, as families find that Christmas came early

Happy Holidays, everyone! And boy, is it a happy holiday for hundreds of families across the country today. Many who owed hundreds of dollars on Christmas layaways at places like Kmart and Walmart are finding that a "Secret Santa" is taking care of their bills. It's truly a great example of the kind of generosity that warms my heart, particularly during this time of year.


Apparently, news that Secret Santas were paying off layaways at Kmart stores nationwide first began to surface over the weekend. Anonymous donors with deep pockets were giving struggling families a Christmas miracle, of sorts, by paying off layaways on all sorts of merchandise, including children's toys. Some are calling them layaway angels, and that seems to be a perfect description to me.

Home for Christmas: Soldier Surprises Daughter in a Heartwarming Way

Kylee Hepworth's father, home from Afghanistan, surprised both of his children in a manner fitting for the holidays

This story happened in my area earlier this week, and it's absolutely great news. With the holidays upon us, many people might be feeling especially down if they have a loved one in the military who is stationed far away. They can't come home for Christmas, sadly. But one soldier could: and the surprise he gave to his children was awesome!
Trust me when I tell you this story will touch your heart. Little Kylee Hepworth of Calera, Alabama, was missing her daddy as her class enjoyed Christmas celebrations. Lt. 1st Class Ryan Hepworth, unbeknownst to Kylee, arrived home from Afghanistan after a year's tour. You won't believe how he surprised her and her older brother, 12-year-old Carsen Hepworth.

Wreaths Across America Honors Fallen Veterans

"Governor Paul LePage of Maine, along with 20 trucks carrying wreaths, left from Maine to help place the wreaths at Arlington."

What started as a small ceremony twenty years ago has turned into a national tradition, and this year volunteers laid 90,000 wreaths at tombstones in Arlington National Cemetery.  In the first year, Worcester Wreath Company owner Morrill Worcester, along with others, laid 5,000 wreaths in celebration of our fallen veterans. 

The German Home of the Future

The house produces 16,000 kilowatt hours of energy per annum which it uses to power itself and cars!

The need to cut carbon emissions and dramatically change the way in which we use energy has been taken to heart in Germany. As much as 20% of the European giant’s power already comes from renewable resources, such as wind and solar power, but they have taken their mission even further with a home that is so energy efficient that it can even charge an electric, family-sized sedan car. This amazing design, which features a cube with a glass side (for public viewing) was revealed by Angella Merkel this past week. So what is it all about?

Maryland Veteran Brings Cheer to U.S. Troops With Care Packages

WWII vet Don Downer, 82, spends his own money to prepare packages for troops overseas

You know, I think I fall into a trap all too often thinking "There's no good news today. How can I tell others about great news when there just isn't any?" I need to adjust my thinking, pronto. There IS great news out there and I found something that fits the bill perfectly. Ever heard of Don Downer of Columbia, Maryland? If not, you need to know who he is!

The 82-year-old Downer is dedicating an incredible amount of time and effort (and money) to provide care packages to U.S. troops overseas. He's kicked things into high gear at the moment, considering that hundreds of thousands of American troops will spend the holidays away from home.

One Man's Trash is the Same Man's Treasure

"There are so many fun ways to dream about spending that money."

It is stories like these that make people want to go out and buy lottery tickets.  A Taco Mac server in Dawsonville, GA threw away a lottery ticket, thinking it was not a winner.  After having second thoughts, he fished it from the trash and took it to a convenience store, where he redeemed it for a whopping $3.  It is what he did with that $3 that really paid off for Andrew Hunter.