A New Friend

 

HOW I MET THE AMAZING RESHELE

A couple of days before Christmas I had gone to Joann’s to get a couple of items. Ahead of me was a lady with a huge basket of fabric who told me to go ahead. Chatting with her, I learned that she was making blankets for the homeless.   When I went to pay for my items the cashier didn’t tell me the total, but just handed me my receipt and change for the $20 I was holding. I laughed and told her that I hadn’t paid, yet.” She wasn’t taking my money and kept pushing change at me.  while I kept trying to explain that I still had my money in my hand. Finally she said, “It has been paid for.” I wasn’t comprehending, but noticed others in the line looking at the lady with the full basket, who was acting like she wasn’t paying attention. It hit me what she had done. I asked why and she said she wanted to bless me and that God has blessed her.

I got a huge lump in my throat and tried to say something but I wasn’t making any sense.

Another lady   stepped forward asking if she was Reshele, hugged her and said that she worked at Union High School.

I learned that Reshele is Reshele Jackson, who had been a Tulsa Public School bus driver for 16-17 years, then had two pulmonary embolisms, was in the hospital for 12 days and almost died.

Her son who was diagnosed with autism as a child and who was not supposed to ever talk, but who today is  on the National Honor Society  prayed for her:  Guts Church filmed their story here.

However, Reshele could not get the doctors to release her to return to work, since there were other health issues, including, but not limited to seizures, knees swollen from osteoarthritis,  taking three painful shots in her back every few weeks which left her unable to drive herself back home.

She was devastated because she loved working and loved the kids.

She has a heart for the homeless because with no income, and through no fault of her own, she  was 10 hours from was losing the  apartment where they had lived for several years and they were so close to being homeless.

Today she makes gift baskets to sell so she can buy food and items for the homeless to go with the warm blankets she makes for them.   Praying with and for them, she was out each day in the cold, before and on Christmas Day. She now has well over 500  friends on Facebook.

A humble lady, who doesn’t do anything for her own glory, she never said a word when all three local tv stations did stories on her. However her friends began posting the links on her Facebook  for the rest of us to see.   (See the news stories in links on this blog, written by a friend of hers who is always amazed by her:

When she heard about A Heart for the Widowed she said, having been raised by her grandparents and seeing how hard it was for her grandmother when her grandfather passed, that  she was in on doing something to bless the widowed.

She began making gift baskets to sell to make money to buy Valentine’s gifts for them and for others who may be left out on that day.  Her gift baskets are first class. She buys good quality chocolates, Bath and Body and other nice things to put in them.

Sometimes she will make an extra basket and spot someone at QT or some place and give it to them simply to bless them…or like with me she will pay for their items at a store.
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On Dec 26th I mentioned to Reshele about a security  guard at the mall who is around 80, who lives alone by Pryor, OK and who worked the evening shift on Christmas eve and then on Christmas.  She didn’t know him nor did he know her, however,  she made him the most beautiful basket and delivered it to him. He kept blinking and asking why and who she was.

She always goes out of her way to help others and will drive anywhere in Tulsa deliver a basket so the buyer isn’t inconvenienced.

Her vehicle has had some problems, but even when it does she doesn’t get mad. She is thankful for when it does run. Her apartment flooded yesterday and she found the good…   it didn’t ruin any of the gift baskets.
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She has the most positive outlook about her life. She doesn’t feel sorry for herself. I saw  comments she made to keep friends and family up to date on her Facebook that helped me to understand more….since, like I said she doesn’t talk about it:

  •   after a 12 day stay in hospital, with two pulmonary embolisms in 2015 and  less than  18 mos after that a car accident…”seizure activity, EEG abnormal, passing out, losing sensory,  seizure disorder diagnoses”  her neurologist refused to release her to go back to work.  “I miss driving” (She has been off work since Nov 2016 )
  • A nap won’t help. I am not lazy. On meds that cause nasty side effects.may look and sound  fine, but I struggle with pain & fatigue every day. Doctors say it will never get better.

When asked why she does all this to help homeless and widows or others who may be forgotten, she quietly said that her son has autism and was told he would never be able to talk or learn.  “We were 10 hours from being homeless. Everyone left, family and friends stopped calling, wouldn’t answer text or phone calls unless they were in need of something.”

Reshele just doesn’t want anyone to ever feel forgotten.

In a few days she is moving from her current apartment to a smaller place, yet she continues to give.   When friends show concern about where she will go she says “everything is ok, “God has this”.

I have tried to do things for Reshele, but she won’t let me. I tried to bring her pizza and she wouldn’t let me. She goes in for painful shots in her back and can’t drive herself. I have begged her to let me  help her  in that way and she just will not do it. This woman is a true giver….not a taker.

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Here is her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/reshele.jackson.3

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Today, I had one widow left whom I wanted to make sure was remembered as she has been so good in helping to recognize other  widows.

I randomly chose a florist in her town, asked for the owner and explained about Heart for the Widowed and why we do it.

The florist quietly said she would send an arrangement to this lady (She was doing this at no charge).

When I asked her name for my notes I recognized the last name as I knew some people from there with that same last name. I asked who she married, but told her that I didn’t know him, as he must have been younger. She said he died three months ago.

She had never even let on while I was talking about Mary who had been a widow (of about 5 yrs,after her husband was killed in a tragic car wreck.)

What a precious lady to do this for another widow.  Like in the Book of Ruth where the poor widow took care of another widow. I pray that, like Ruth, she will be greatly blessed for her kindness and compassion.

When Mary got the flowers she was stumped. She asked if I had and when I told her who she was shocked as she did not know this lady. She was going to have a gift card delivered to Susan  tomorrow.

Here is Mary with the flowers: https://www.facebook.com/1600kush/photos/a.150870294926426.32925.135808236432632/1970872096259561/?type=3&theater

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Then there is Deborah.....  We had sent little chocolates and a few small things in red velvet Valentine’s bags with a card, with a beautiful butterfly by Darla Berinti  to Deborah (a widow in a small town) to share at church.

Although I had sent more than she thought they needed we learned that it wasn’t enough. She gave up her own gift bag, so that another widow wasn’t left out and never said a word about how she would be the one left out.  I pray that something really good happens for her tomorrow. I’d love it if you would say a prayer for her, also.

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Another story

I had gotten a frame like this for a friend, back in the fall.   Henry (the exec. director for the organization where I volunteer) liked it so much we ordered more to give to other widowed.

Sunday night Feb 11th I was already in bed when it came to me to give one to  my former boss (yeah, 40 years ago).   I got out of bed and looked   up her husband’s obit and learned that the very next day Monday Feb 12th was the anniversary of his passing. I remembered they had a little girl named Lori, back then so I looked her up on Linked in and found she worked for Cherokee Nation. I figured that was so big I ‘d never find her so went to bed.

Early the next morning I was walking and saw a lady who used to bring her baby to walk. When you walk you usually just speak as you go around someone, so that was all I knew about her.    She had been gone for a few years. In fact she said that baby was in school and Monday was the first day of her retirement.   Learning that she retired from Cherokee Nation I asked if she knew Lori. She had Lori’s contact info with her and immediately texted her and then gave me Lori’s email. I forgot to ask the lady her name.

Another wonderful coincidence, since I hadn’t seen her is a few years, didn’t know her name and here she not only worked at the same place but had Lori’s number and e-mail!

The anniversary of a spouses passing is hard day  for the one left behind.  For this to ‘come to me’, the day before that anniversary…Coincidence?

Lori and I agreed to meet at Hobby Lobby when she got off work. Since I saw an ‘additional 20% off even on sale items’ coupon in the newspaper for Michaels (and since Joann’s will take competitors coupons) I decided I’d go over to Joann’s to look around for something for the widows Valentine’s gathering while I waited .

I finally wandered  to the counter to pay.  Chatting with a couple in front of me the nice gentleman offered  to pay for my item. Again, someone wants to pay? I
A  bit embarrassed I said, no, thank you.  He insisted and I kept saying no. However, when theirs was rung up I who noticed they didn’t use  a coupon  I tried to bring up the Michael’s coupon up  on my ancient phone so they could use it. It wasn’t coming up so I suggested  so that we could both use my paper copy if he’d pay for mine , the 20% off would be taken for both then I’d reimburse them for mine. He said he’d really like to pay for mine to bless me…well that did it. I knew God would bless him back and agreed.  The cashier  used both of the coupons on my newspaper which took off an additional 40% from one of his other items. So this wonderful couple who paid for the item that will bless the widows was blessed back with a very nice discount.  Isn’t God good?

My new friend James and I stood and chatted while his wife went to the restroom. I was “all over the place” trying to tell him about how I met Reshele at that same counter a couple of days before Christmas (which was actually the last time I was there) and how she had blessed me in the same way.

James mentioned that he so enjoys doing Random Acts of Kindness.  He wasn’t even aware that this is National Random Acts of Kindness week.

Valentines Day falls in the middle of Random Acts of Kindness week, which ends on Saturday Feb 17 with Random Acts of Kindness week. Just think if everyone paid kindness forward!

 

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There is one on titled Are Churches Failing the Widow: https://tulsage.wordpress.com/widows-and-widowers

We can all do a little more.

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These all work toward helping the Widowed

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This year’s state proclamation:   Heart for the Widowed  state proclamation for 2018  

Thank you, Gov. Fallin for signing it and Thank you, Sumer Curry.

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This entry was posted in A heart for the widowed, Blessings, Coupons, Random Acts of Kindness, Things to see and do in Tulsa and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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