Ps. 68:19 – Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.
I rarely discuss my life, family or personal issues online, including my blog. In fact, as you will note, both from my comments and the disparity in time frames, I’ve done little with my blog for some time now, choosing instead to post on my own Facebook page.
In fact, past or present, anyone who has followed me since first going online 10 years ago knows that I have never written any article or posted any personal piece on Thanksgiving or Christmas, unless it pertained to the ACLU meddling in these affairs.
That has now changed. I cannot stay silent. Please follow what I’m saying. There’s a reason I’m doing this; in fact, there may be a host of reasons. You might be blest from reading this is one. Another is you might be able to relate. Yet another is you may need Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior which, if just one person comes to Him thru this piece, these personal reflections and comments fulfilled an eternal purpose.
And still another reason you may want to consider all I’ve said, a reason that may not occur to you, is this.
I want to share my Thanksgiving blessings with you – literally; that is, if you are within traveling distance of my home. I want to bless you in the worst, rather best, way possible.
Oh, and I’ll do my darndest to make this as brief and concise as I can, though that won’t be easy, considering that the timeline of events shared below are so woven together that it’s difficult to leave items out. Nevertheless, for time sake, I will. But regardless of whether you can come this Thursday – and I’ll share specifics at the end, please read on.
As you may or may not know, my family has been in a financial crisis for roughly the last three years. After a job layoff in June of 2009, Doris and I had collected unemployment compensation and exhausted all our benefits in May of this year. For nearly 2½ years now, we have gone thru the vicious cycle of filling out job applications, both online and in person, e-mailing and faxing resumes and much more. I do not exaggerate when I say the number of in-person interviews for the both of us over the last 29 months can be counted on two hands. That’s how bad the job market has been, no doubt in large part due to Obama’s and Democrat policies; however, we’ll leave that as it is for the moment. Job income has been limited to working a few days for a temp agency last month.
We have been in and out of foreclosure for nearly the last year and a half and by the grace of God alone we are still here in the Indiana home we purchased just 4½ years ago. The details of how this has worked out thus far are nothing short miraculous but by no means are we out of the woods. In fact, there is a sheriff’s sale set for this property in a few weeks but that is not what I want to share with you in this piece, other than we were supposed to have one at the start of this year but God somehow sovereignly intervened.
I can attest to you that since unemployment expired 5 months ago and with only three months of meager state financial assistance (cut off in September), we still have our gas, water, phone and electricity on. Our township trustee’s office, along with a cooperating church they work with (shhhhh – don’t tell the ACLU), helped pay a chunk of our gas, water and electric in exchange for personal labor at a local cemetery, something I was delighted to do. Our IRA had long ago depleted so as you can see, we have largely lived by faith.
Though I am reluctant to admit it, we were forced by the lack of jobs and income to apply for a food stamp card back in June. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t want to depend on government subsidies for anything; however, our financial situation forced us to do so. Regardless, I thank God for it and as my witness, He knows we have not abuse its privileges as so many folks there have, buying lobster, filet mignon and other costly food items.
And before I move on to share my unbelievable testimonial, in case you’re wondering what happened to our mortgage payments during this crisis, for some mysterious reason our mortgage company largely ceased asking for payments until late September this year. In fact, for five of those months, we got no calls, letters, zilch from Citibank. There are so many intricate details as to what occurred during this entire time of foreclosure that is too time consuming to share but suffice it to say God’s hand was in it. Two individuals, a gospel singer from California and a businessman from Maryland, were recently blessed and used to God to help with the lions share of my need when the lender suddenly made large demands of due payments. They obviously shall remain anonymous but God knows who they are and I owe them eternal thanks and tons of love for their extreme generosity.
OK, moving on to this thoroughly amazing testimony.
Last Monday, Nov. 14th, I received a phone call from the trustee’s office (the same one who helped pay our utilities, though they could not do so this month), stating that the Portage Township High School Student Council voted to supply my family Thanksgiving dinner this year. While financially indigent (yes, I do hate to admit it), thanks to our generous food stamp card benefits, we were not hurting for food and have never in our lives needed food assistance at any time. We have no clue how the student council of the local high school (where my 15 year old autistic son attends) got wind of our need but perhaps the proximity of the school to the trustee’s office being walking distance from each other had something to do with it.
Anyway, the very polite young lady (yes, surprisingly, many Hoosiers who work for government entities in this state are that way) told me to go the senior center on the other side of the city on Friday to pick up our dinner. I was stunned at the call and was briefly inclined to take a pass but not wanting to insult the graciousness of the offer, humbly said thanks and told her I would be there. The office had also previously extended an offer to buy my son a Christmas gift so obviously I was moved at the offer of generosity.
As I headed to the senior center late Friday afternoon (running late), I entered the dining facility which had an appearance cafeteria style with permanently attached tables and chairs. On each of these tables were nine to ten bags of non-perishable grocery items and a turkey to boot. Now as I observed these tables, my thinking was one of two things – either the bags were for individuals and families who were completely destitute of food or that they were all bags individually lined up on the tables because of space limitations.
My thinking going in was that I would get a turkey and maybe a full bag of groceries, possible two or three at the very most. Having once been an employee for the Christian Broadcasting Network when it had a Chicago chapter, I was familiar with how Operation Blessing centers and similarly other food pantries operate.
And having read the stories of how food distribution centers are in dire straits today due to food and monetary shortages with one particular one in an affluent suburb of Chicago reported as having no money to run an operation this season, I certainly did not expect anything out of the ordinary. Again, we were in no big need of any food for Thanksgiving as we had adequate funds in the food stamp card to do so. I would be blest with one bag and a turkey, though we could have bought a turkey on our own.
Well, we did end up buying a turkey on our own; for Christmas, that is. That in more detail further on.
The trustee himself was there at the senior facility and after I came up to him and gave him my name, he checked it off on his list and pointed to one particular table. That table had NINE bags and the turkey. I was completely stunned as I could not believe that we were going to receive that much food. This 51 year old grown man was moved to tears.
And to make things even more moving, the trustee personally assisted me in bringing all these items home. Our car is down so he personally took me, my personal cart (for which I anticipated carrying no more than 3 bags) and the groceries home. Doris saw the two of us bringing all this food in and she began to cry as well.
What were we going to do with all this food? Our kitchen cabinets, which were already adequately stocked, were about to be filled well beyond capacity. Nine bags of groceries obviously indicated that all its contents were not going to be for Thanksgiving alone.
And they weren’t. There was food for far beyond the holidays. And let me further state that these nine bags were not solely filled with items containing white generic labels and from Aldi’s stores as one might expect from a food pantry. There indeed was food from Aldi’s but there were absolutely no generically named items. We did get a fair amount of items with store brand labels but we got an equal amount, if not much more, of name brand items, brand names. The items came from Aldi’s, Wal-Mart, Super K-Mart as well as a couple other neighborhood grocers and quite likely elsewhere as well. Incredible!
To say we were shocked at the amount of items, plus the brand name stuff, would be a monumental understatement.
Time does not permit me to name all the items we got but suffice it to say they were the usual canned and boxed items as well as food items not normally associated with coming from a food panty, like a fancy cookie maker with premium cookies.
Needless to say, my family has been blest beyond measure. But despite it all, I still was rather depressed over the weekend from our mortgage situation as well as a shoulder injury I suffered in the spring of last year while campaigning for a candidate for Indiana’s then available U.S. Senate seat. The shoulder injury had minimal impact on my daily living but it has increased somewhat in intensity over the last couple weeks and has greatly affected my nightly sleep.
Yet the tangible measure of blessing was a clear indication that God was greatly moving in my life and that if He could take care of the physical needs, He would do so the rest.
Nine bags and a turkey, wow! Hard to imagine.
But believe it or not, that was not the end of the blessings. Yes, even harder to believe.
Yesterday afternoon with the TV on, surfing the Internet and doing routine housework, we see a car pull up to the side of the house. At first I thought it would be someone from the sheriff’s office but then I saw the trustee and a middle aged woman coming out of the car and towards the house with a few boxes in hand.
Oh no, I thought, are we going to be further blest? We don’t need any more stuff. Our cupboards are already at capacity.
But who were we to deny someone the blessing of further blessing us?
The trustee had said they had food left over that could not be delivered so he comes this way and delivers more food items, nowhere near as much as on Friday but still a fairly good amount. And this time, along with the food, we get a giant case of toilet paper as well a batch of napkins and paper towels, things we were going to soon need anyway. Doris and I discussed the need for toilet paper so look at what happened.
And if you can believe this, we got another turkey as well. I was beyond humbled. I was at a complete loss for words.
We normally would have planned for that turkey to be ours for Christmas but we had picked up a second one from Super K-Mart this past Saturday, the reason being was that the turkey was just a measly $5. So when we returned home Saturday from our loose ends shopping, we put the second turkey in the freezer, thinking it was for Christmas.
How wrong we were once we saw a third turkey being delivered yesterday Monday.
Well, with our freezer being previously full from our short shopping spree Saturday, we had no place to put the third turkey (the original from Friday currently sits in the fridge) so we temporarily put it in the garage. And this morning with it gradually thawing out, we sacrificed a shelf box to fit the third one in.
Amazingly, we got the turkey in the freezer, a total of two there and one in the fridge.
We are literally loaded with benefits, far beyond almost any human comprehension, as the Psalmist wrote in the 68th Psalm. This cannot be explained in simple human terms. This was the miraculous. I don’t know if township tax dollars went towards these provisions but I don’t believe they were, given area churches knack to assist.
This brings me to what I am so dying to share with you.
And that is I need your help this Thanksgiving. I need your help to get people to come to our home this Thursday.
If you have no place to go for Thanksgiving or you don’t know what to do and you live in the Chicago area or within a reasonable radius of Chicagoland, I want you to seriously consider joining the Kareiva household for a memorable meal with lots and lots of leftovers to take home, including some of the excess items we so generously received. I realize this is on short notice but it was after the second blessing yesterday that I was prompted to put out this request. I only regret that I couldn’t get out this e-mail sooner.
Regardless of whether you are in proximity of our Northwest Indiana home, I also need your help to e-mail any friends, family members or other contacts in the metro Chicago, Northwest Indiana or Southwest Michigan who have nowhere to go for Thanksgiving or are unsure where to go. I want to bless as many people as possible with an unforgettable Thanksgiving dinner. Due to space limitations in the house, we can’t accommodate everyone but at minimum I’d love to bless at least 5-10 people who want to share in our Thanksgiving bounty. I would be so disappointed if no one took me up on my offer. I am a fabulous cook and I want to make a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner for as many as our home can accommodate. We have virtually everything you’d want for Thanksgiving so if you or someone you know is thinking about dining out, save your money and come here.
Luke 14:13-14 – But when you make a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind .And you shall be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for you shall be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
While this scripture may not totally be fulfilled in its context, I cannot adequately express the desire I have to serve you or anyone you may know this Thursday, rich, poor or in between and otherwise. I can and will guarantee that anyone making the trip here will have the best of food, fun and Christian fellowship.
Please contact me thru Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know if you can come and for directions to our home. Provide contact info and I’ll respond in short order.
Also, if anyone is considering coming a long distance to come here, we will put you up for the night or if that doesn’t work, provide a list of inexpensive lodging facilities near our home. We want to make your Thanksgiving one for the memory books. We guarantee not to disappoint. I promise!
I anticipate your response and hopeful visit from you or your contacts. God bless you!
P.S. I am hesitant to make a political statement in light of the Thanksgiving holiday but unfortunately the news out there forces me to address it. Had I not seen this on my Facebook page last nite and on World Net Daily, the following wouldn’t be forthcoming.
The last thing I wanted to do is spoil anyone’s Thanksgiving by talking about Islam and its connection in my testimonial. But the fact of the matter is Butterball has brought this upon itself and it’s going to be up to them to correct it. I won’t say too much else except that the company has no business and no reason to do halal for any reason. Muslims must conform to the American and humane way when it comes down to preparing animals for food. Halal is unacceptable in American culture, period.
And because the turkey I was delivered on Friday, the first of the three altogether, is a Butterball and thus the one we will be serving, I must disclose this information to you.
Personally, while I am not exactly thrilled to serve a turkey that may have been processed other than the traditional American way, I take the words of Paul the Apostle in I Cor. 8:4-9, particularly vs. 4, as scripturally permissible .
Putting it in the modern day setting, if the turkey I serve this Thursday was done in dedication to Allah, I would promptly renounce it in the name of Jesus Christ since Paul viewed idols as nothing and then dedicate the meat to be partaken to the Lord Almighty.
Since this particular turkey was given to us and not paid for by us and since I became aware of this matter after we received it last Friday, I see no problem serving it. It will be blessed in prayer prior to consumption on Thursday. But that said, I will not be buying Butterballs in the future unless the company abandons its dedication to halal.
However, if someone wants to come but hesitates because his or her conscience will be troubled by consuming this particular turkey, I will happily cook another great meal (though not another turkey) for him or her out of the many other delicious food items I have in my freezer. I want this Thanksgiving to be the best possible for everyone coming, despite things being really bad in our once great nation. I want to share our blessings with as many folks as possible. Jesus stated in Matt. 10:8, “Freely you have received, freely give“. That’s what I hope to do on Thursday, praying that even on short notice I can bless at least 5-10 people with a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner.
Thanks in advance for spreading the word.