Friday, December 14, 2007

My Cup Runneth Over ...

I was going to post something about how much I have to do, blah blah blah, but remembered something more important that I received from a co-worker via email yesterday.

This is a true story. No need to go investigate snope.com. My co-worker came into my office late last week and confided in me how heavy her friend's story was weighing on her heart and how she wanted to do something to help. I am happy she sent the email out and wanted to share it here.

I am donating my former mobile phone, as well as getting some gift cards for the family this weekend. I have also recommended Dress For Success, which I know about because of my awesome friend KD Reep who does significant work with the Arkansas chapter of this organization.

If you're moved to the point of helping, please feel free to comment here or email me privately. I will put you in touch with my co-worker.

Just remember, no matter how bad we think we may have it, we really are all very blessed.

You might remember a deadly weekend of murders in Birmingham last month. On November 16, 2007, the Birmingham News printed the following:

Birmingham police find man fatally shot in Kingston areaNovember 16, 2007 10:54 PM Birmingham police are investigating a man's fatal shooting tonight in the 4400 block of 11th Court North in the Kingston area.Officers were called about 8:50 p.m. and found a man suffering an apparent gunshot wound. He was taken to UAB Hospital but was later pronounced dead. His name was not available.A green car in which the victim had been an occupant sat in a yard along 44th Street. Residents said a woman was seen screaming outside of the car when police and medics arrived.No further details were available. The death, if confirmed as a homicide, will Birmingham's 80th of the year.

The victim, Ashley Stratton, was a friend of our family. What the Birmingham News failed to report is that Ashley and his fiancé, Shelley, were out for a night on the town just days before their wedding. They left their two children, Dillon (2) and Joseph (8 weeks) with a sitter and were on their way to dinner and a movie. Unfortunately, they were low on gas and made a fatal decision to stop at the Birmingham Airport Exit to fill up. While there were still in the car, two men approached in an apparent robbery attempt. Ashley tried to put the car in reverse to speed away. One of the attackers fatally shot Ashley through the windshield. The car, with Ashley's foot on the accelerator, darted across a busy street before coming to a stop in a yard. Shelley jumped out of the car and ran around to the driver's side to check on Ashley. He took his last few breaths just moments after she opened the car door and he eventually died in the ambulance. Ashley, 30, worked a full-time job and attended college part-time studying electrical engineering. He was set to graduate in 2008. Shelley, 26, dedicated herself to staying home with their two children - Dillon, 2 yrs old and Joseph, only 8 weeks old. Ashley and Shelley were to be married on December 1st. This senseless tragedy has been so heavy on my heart. In addition to losing her fiancé and childrens father, Shelley does not have a job, is going to lose her apartment at the end of December, has no health insurance, no money and is truly in a dire situation. She was in the hospital for several days due to a mental breakdown. Family and friends are doing what we can to help her and the boys. In all honesty, both of their families have very limited resources. Nevertheless, they are helping as they can. I am sending this story to all of my friends and asking for any help you can provide for Shelley, Dillon and Joseph. If this tragedy touches you and you feel led to give, take a look at the list below and please consider helping this family. I am visiting Shelley next Thursday evening 12/20 to take a few presents for her and the children. I would love to give even more from others who share my sympathy and sorrow for the family. I simply couldn't go through this season without asking for help. Thanks for taking time to read this plea for help.

· Prayer - lots and lots of continuing prayer
· Christmas gifts for the boys§ Dillon loves Thomas the Train and cars; § Joseph - baby toys, soft books§ Clothing would be helpful for either (2T and 6-9 mos)
· Shelley will need appropriate clothing for job interviews
· Gift cards for groceries, Walmart, etc.
· Cell phone (new or used) and minutes (The police kept Shelleys for the investigation. They may have it for up to 1 year.)
· Food
· Help with rent, utilities, etc.
· Assistance with finding a job
· Assistance with locating childcare and paying tuition until she gets on her feet
· Any gift or donation, no matter how small or large, would be greatly appreciated

Please keep this family in your prayers.

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