Monday, December 17, 2012

Celia Yeary asks: "What Would You Do?"

KAREN: We have Celia Yeary today. She is a seventh-generation Texan. It is no wonder her romances with a little bit of Texas ring true to life. Let's give her a warm welcome.

***CONTEST: Celia will be choosing one lucky winner. In the spirit of giving, she will"Gift" THREE copies of A Christmas Wedding to the winners' Kindle or Nook--whichever the winners have. If neither--she will send a PDF. For everyone: she's posted a recipe of a yummy Chocolate Christmas Treat!

What Would You Do?
By Celia Yeary

It's amazing what people do during the Christmas season, something they might not do otherwise. Recently, a NYPD officer found a man on the street who wore no shoes on one of the coldest nights of the year. With a giving heart--and not knowing he was being photographed by a young woman with a cell phone--the officer escorted the man to a nearby shoe store and bought him a pair of sturdy, expensive shoes.

The story went viral, and it stirred people's hearts. Many began to give more in ways they'd never thought to do before.

But the story doesn't end there. The facts? The man was not homeless, although his home was rather small and shabby. The next day the same man appeared on the street--without shoes. When questioned, he claimed he had the shoes hidden "because they cost a lot of money."

Now, some--like myself--might think he sold the shoes, maybe for drug money, and who knows what. I might judge or think negatively about such a person on the street. But what do I really know? 


How did people react when they learned the second part of the story? It seems many decided to help a needy person or cause, when in previous years they had not.

Aren't we taught to feed the hungry, (Didn't your mother say, Clean your plate. Remember all the starving children in China.) clothe the naked, and house the homeless? But suppose we stop and analyze--"Does this person really need food, or clothes, or a home?" None of us want to be scammed.
But what the shoeless man did with the shoes was not the point. It was the feeling the person received in carrying out this little project.

A gift is free, clear of any obligation. Give the gift, and then don't worry what the person might do with it.

Since my husband and I give in various ways, I'm not too worried about whether to give more or not. But the effect this had on me hit home--and I won't ever forget it--a feeling of peace and while not quite happiness, just a calm lovely feeling that someone had done the right thing.
Do the right thing--that's what I think about more now than I ever have.
I'm excited that one of my publisher's lowered the price of an ebook for a novella Christmas story to 99cents. This is my one and only story that has something about Christmas. Actually, it's a story that could take place any time of the year--I just happened to set it then and titled it A Christmas Wedding.

Again, it's not exactly about a special couple getting married at Christmas. There's a little more to it than that:

A Christmas Wedding-by Celia Yeary

Kailey Lovelace, maid of honor in her brother's Christmas wedding, hopes the best man Alex Dunn won't bolt when he sees she is six feet tall and has frizzy blond hair. At the airport, she almost loses her breath when she learns he's even taller and looks like a dream. If only he likes her enough for the week of the wedding to go smoothly.

Alex Dunn, recently discharged from the Army, can't believe his good luck when he meets his partner for the wedding. Kailey is just the right height and gorgeous, as well. He looks forward to a pleasant week in Texas.

What could possibly go wrong?

The doorbell rang…and rang and rang. Kailey stumbled to the door and peeked through the security peephole. Alex. And Sam.
With a little adrenalin perking her up, she opened the door, standing there in her lacy black bra and a pair of too short sweat pants that came to mid-calf. She pointed a finger at both men and said, “If you laugh, you can just turn around and go home.”
Sam groaned and covered his eyes. “Sheesh, sis, put on some clothes.”
She glanced at Alex. He stood with his hands in his coat pockets, grinning, looking from her eyes to her breasts, and back to her eyes. Funny, she wasn’t embarrassed. I’d have on less if I were in my swim suit. And she liked the little thrill that ran through her.
Leaving the door open, she turned away, waving her hand at them. She looked around the room, under the table, behind the sofa, when finally she found the sweatshirt—one of Sam’s, too—behind a door. Pulling it over her head, she walked as straight as she could to the sofa, shoved Shelley’s feet to the side, and sat down.
“Sit up, Shelley. The guys want to talk.” She glared at both of them. “Well, sit, both of you. I’ll get a crick in my neck looking up. Hey, Shell, wake up. Look who’s here. Your fiancĂ©, the one you've been avoiding!”
NOW 99cents, just in time for the holidays for your Kindle or Nook!
         BARNES &; NOBLE

****CONTEST: I will randomly choose three visitors who comment and "Gift" a copy of A Christmas Wedding to your Kindle or your Nook--whichever you have. If neither--I will send a PDF.
And now, here's a recipe for your Christmas celebration and the Holidays:
Chocolate Bark
10-oz package of chocolate chips (I use dark chocolate chips)
1 Tb. vegetable oil
1 tsp. extract (I use Almond extract--Peppermint works also.)
Dried Fruit
Candy Bits
I use one cup of chopped pecans, 1/2 cup Craisins, 1/2 cup Toffee Bits

In a large saucepan, the oil. Heat slightly.
Add the chocolate chips and extract.
Melt on low burner.
Stir in the remained of ingredients.
Spread out in a cookie sheet lined with greased foil (I use margarine.)
Cool in refrigerator two hours. Break apart into pieces.
Store in airtight container.

Thank you!
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas


Sarah J. McNeal said... Best Blogger Tips

I met this same dilemma a few years ago about giving without judgement or expectation. I stopped at a local convenience store to put gas in my car. I had three dollars left after I filled up. A ragged man came up to me begging for money for food and crying. I hesitated as I judged him thinking that, if I gave him money, he would just go buy some cheap booze or something. The words of a recent sermon ran through my head about this very issue. It is a blessing to give to someone without reservation, no matter what the recipiant does with the gift. When you give someone something, you have to let go of the outcome. I gave him my last three dollars. He ran into the store and was out in a few seconds licking the wrapped of a honey bun and then tearing into the second. Yes Celia, my heart was gladdened that my gift had at least for a few minutes helped another human being. If he had bought alcohol instead, I would have still been blessed.
I saw your story, The Christmas Wedding, was on sale for $.99 and bought it this morning. I cannot wait to read it. I am quite a fan of your work.
All the best to you, Celia and thank you for this uplifting blog.

Celia Yeary said... Best Blogger Tips

Sarah--thanks for your story about the man and the honey buns. You just never know. We see some drifters or homeless or just down-and-out people out at the interstate where it connects with a street with the supermarket, Wal-mart, and McDonald's. More and more we're seeing a woman and a man and a dog. I read in the paper that studies showed that beggers had learned people give more generously if they have a dog. Imagine that. So, many of them are now having dogs with them. Such a dellima.
Thanks so much--your posts are always so thoughtful.
And I hope you enjoy A Christmas Wedding--it's not my usual kind of writing.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Celia,

Thanks so much for coming by and sharing with us.

Where I work we have what we call the gypsies. They send the women out with a baby to stand and beg in front of the grocery stores. The babies never stir. They are 'dead' asleep and this is all day. When does a toddler ever stay that still? We're sure they drug them so they will stay asleep for the hours they are out there begging. It's really sad.

Beware of Scams: On a trip up north, we had a woman approach us at a gas station, saying she had no money and she'd run out of gas. She just wanted a few bucks. We felt sorry for her we gave her some money. The thing is, we stopped at the same gas station on the way home and guess what? She was there and had the same story for us.

I don't mind giving to those who need it, but scams really tick me off.

On occasion, I've bought food instead of giving money. I'd hate to think anyone went hungry when I could have shared. My parents were always generous in feeding those who didn't have much.

Heck, my mother is Italian and serving a meal was all a part of visiting at our house. She'd even feed the mailman. lol

Caroline Clemmons said... Best Blogger Tips

Celia, the dog is also a guard when they sleep, a time when they are most vulnerable. If I were homeless, I'd definitely want a big dog. Plus, the less you have, the more you need the unconditional love of a pet.
Plan to read your Christmas story before the kids arrive for Christmas. Love your books.

Celia Yeary said... Best Blogger Tips

Karen--In Rome, the gypsies hire young women--really just girls--and strap a life-like baby onto their front--facing the woman's chest--and it really looks like the baby is real and asleep. We were warned about them--one approaches you, stumbles and falls--you rush over to help, and as soon as you bend over or anything, she's up and running away and you've had you pocket picked--and they can get things out of pocket that you wouldn't dream they could.
I've bought food, too, more than once. But not that often. Once I had coupons for a free hamburger at McDonalds--which was nearby--and the homeless man wouldn't take them. He wanted cash.
Also,there's the scame that uses young "homeless" people, and they have a "pimp" who drives by once in a while and gives his charge a bottle of water, and she/he hands over the cash she/he has collected. They get a small share.
Sickening, isn't it?
There are all kinds I've seen--a long list. You just don't know what to do.
But food? Yes, I know what you mean. Thanks for the comment, and I love your blog!

Celia Yeary said... Best Blogger Tips

Caroline--if I lived on the street, I might want a big dog, too. Now that you mention that, the dog is always big--never a little lap dog.
Thanks for getting my story--I would have given it to you!
Have a blessed Christmas!

Gerald Costlow said... Best Blogger Tips

What you describe is how my Grandmother approached giving. When I once asked her, "Aren't you afraid he'll spend the money on booze or drugs?" she responded, "If he does that's his business. It's his money now, not mine."

Begging for a living is a hard job for little reward. If not, more of us would be doing it for a living.

Linda Swift said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for sharing this story, Celia. I recently saw a photo of a man giving shoes to a homeless street beggar. Is this the same, I wonder? A Christmas Weddding is a wonderful novella. One of my favorites of all your stories.
I love the cover also.

Mona Risk said... Best Blogger Tips

I don't care how a person will use the charity I give. It's their problem. Mine is to give. During my last trip to India and Egypt I really saw poverty in the streets and wished I had even more money to distribute. From people without legs, dirty children, babies with flies in their eyes. No matter how much you give, it's not enough.

I want to win!!!

katsrus said... Best Blogger Tips

I would give and hope for the best for that person. I love the story with the honey bun. Celia your book sounds wonderful. Pretty cover. Thanks for the giveaway.
Sue Brandes

Breila said... Best Blogger Tips
This comment has been removed by the author.
Breila said... Best Blogger Tips

In cases like that, I wouldn't give money but I would go in and buy some food before coming back. This way, your helping someone who may actually need it but you're avoiding being scammed at the same time.


Morgan Mandel said... Best Blogger Tips

When I worked in Downtown Chicago, I passed the same people begging on the streets in the same spots each day. Sometimes I felt guilty for not giving them something, other times I figured this was their job and they were doing fine. I'd heard somewhere that the take could usually be about $84 at least day for them. Not a lot, but no taxes.

I do like to give money where it's needed and hate to think I'm being scammed. And, yes, we had a guy with a dog for many years begging, then someone stole his dog and he got it back. People were very generous to him, and he was even featured in the paper once.

Morgan Mandel

LK Hunsaker said... Best Blogger Tips

Hubby used to work in D.C. He dealt with a lot of beggars and he would always offer to go in and buy them a hamburger. Most often, they didn't want it and walked away. A lot of these people are actually scamming and live quite comfortably. No, I won't give money on the street. If they buy alcohol or drugs, I'm enabling and I won't enable. Sometimes giving is actually more harmful than forcing them to try to make an honest living. Enabling is very detrimental. I give, but I'm careful where I give. I don't give to make myself feel good. I give to help someone else up, not to hold them down. It's a fine line.

Keena Kincaid said... Best Blogger Tips

No one wants to be scammed, but I agree, Celia that the blessing is in the giving not what the recipient does with the gift.

Where I used to live, I'd cut my restaurant dinner in half (didn't matter what I ordered, it was always way too much food) and give the "doggy bag" to the homeless guy who was always on the corner. He was always outwardly appreciative.

Celia Yeary said... Best Blogger Tips

Gerald--yes, that's always my worry. That they'll spend it on booze or drugs. I'm always conflicted, but in the end I give to solid charities, like the Presyterians Childrens home or the Red Cross. It's difficult to pass up a person who appears to be very needy.

Celia Yeary said... Best Blogger Tips

Linda--the photo you saw was most likely the same.It was all over the news. And thank you so much for your comment about A Chritmas Wedding. It's somewhat different from most of my other stories..but I liked it, too!

Celia Yeary said... Best Blogger Tips

MONA--that's the way of it--it's never enough. Anything we do is a fleeting moment of help. It's very difficult, too, on the people walking by. Me? I always get nervous and upset...but usually don't give anything. I've read about too many different kinds of scams. We choose...

Celia Yeary said... Best Blogger Tips

Sue--thanks so much for dropping by and leaving a comment. I'm glad to meet you.

Celia Yeary said... Best Blogger Tips

Breila--I don't think you can ever go wrong by giving food. Surely they can use food. Thanks so much for dropping by!

Celia Yeary said... Best Blogger Tips

Morgan--one year on a trip into the interior of Mexico, the bus stopped in a small town--in front of a cathedral. Outside the gate was a very elderly, thin, bony woman, barely able to stand up, holding out a cup. When the bus stopped, the tour guide--a Mexican citizen..told us....give to that woman if you want, but her son puts her there very day and comes by about every other hours and takes the cash. They get about $500 a day. I wanted someone to do something about that creepy son...not my problem. But as I watched, person after person dropped money into her cup. Very sickening. Clearly, she didn't benefit from the money.Thanks for commenting.

Celia Yeary said... Best Blogger Tips

LK --you have a good point about enabling. Actually, I never thought of that. From your comment, I believe I'll be even more careful. I think you're right.

Celia Yeary said... Best Blogger Tips

Keena--what you say is true. So each time, we must decide. Frankly, I resent being faced with this every day. I know that sounds selfish, but our town has places people can go. It's a difficult decision all the time. Thanks for you comment.

bn100 said... Best Blogger Tips

Lovely post. Thanks for the tasty sounding recipe.


Paula Martin said... Best Blogger Tips

It's impossible to distinguish between the scammers and those in genuine need, so I don't give money to anyone who begs. The only thing I will do is buy a copy of 'The Big Issue' which is a magazine published here (and in some other countries), written by professional journalists, and sold on the streets by homeless or 'vulnerably housed' people, who are given this opportunity to earn a legitimate income. At least I know they are genuine, and not scammers.

Celia Yeary said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks, BN--I'm pleased you came by to visit.

Celia Yeary said... Best Blogger Tips

Paula--that's an interesting concept, a magazine published for unfortunate people to sell on the street. I like that. I don't give to beggers, either--I always, always feel selfish and guilty, but that's the feeling they want to evoke--makes more people give.
I've notice--and I'm not the only one--that all their signs, here and in Austin,all the signs looks alike. A piece of cardboard with something written in black Magic Marker. The same person makes all those signs, and I'm sure that person also takes some of the money from these beggers. Very frustrating situation.
Thanks for coming by!

StephB said... Best Blogger Tips

Celia, what a heartfelt post for the Christmas season. I don't know if I would have been so generous in the police officer's shoes. Then again, shoes are so important and I'd be more inclinced to buy shoes for a homeless than buy them a meal.

For me, I want to know that my money makes a difference so if I have that feeling, I'll give. When I give to a chariatable (sp?) organization or fundraiser through church, I'm confident my money truely helps.

In James, there's a phrase that's stuck with me since I discovered it this summer, "Faith without deeds is dead" so I'm working on that aspect of my faith.


Cheryl Pierson said... Best Blogger Tips

Better late than never, right? LOL We have a ton of homeless people here in OK City. There are certain corners they stand on. I've gotten pretty hardened to them after seeing a special on our local news about how they work in "teams" and relieve each other during the day, then split the take at night. They were making close to $500 a DAY! That makes me angry. So now, I only give if I see there's an obvious disability. As for the dog? This summer there was a man working the corner of one of the main streets here. It was 100+. He was in the sun with no shade for him or the dog. But HE had water. The dog didn't. As we sat at the light a police officer drove up and was explaining to him that he could not keep the animal out in the heat or he'd be arrested for animal cruelty. I always give to the firefighters and police officers when they're out on the corner for certain charities. On two different occasions, I've been behind someone in the check out lane who needed a few bucks to buy what they were needing in the way of groceries, and I've paid it. There are a lot of ways to help, but I don't like being taken advantage of, no matter what. Now what I do more than anything is donate to worthy animal causes--I know my money is being spent on necessities for animals that are hurt, abused, sick, or needing transport to a new home. Your story looks great, Celia. I'm going to get it! Such a deal!Great post as always.

Celia Yeary said... Best Blogger Tips

Steph--I like that phrase--Faith without deeds is dead. That gives us a roadmap of the Christian life.
Shoes? No, I probably wouldn't buy shoes for anyone, but I do admire the group of women in Austin who provide socks--big thick soft gray socks. The spokewoman told of homeless people's feet--not kept clean, etc. and the thick cushioned socks helped a lot.
I wish you and you sweet family a Blessed Christmas.

Celia Yeary said... Best Blogger Tips

Cheryl--yes, you're better late than never. No matter how long it takes you to answer--I still love your comments. You and Sarah have a lot in common--long comments that are a joy to read and are very interesting.
All cities, I'm sure, have many homeless. It seems they all look alike to me.
One year, we were in San Franciso--downtown--and it got dark before we knew it and were rushing along an empty street to get to the trolley car. In a recessed doorway to an office building, a homeless man had built a 'home' with cardboard boxes. As we walked past, I heard him talking--yes, he was talking on a cell phone! I want to believe his family gave him the phone so they could keep track of him. It struck both of us as very out of place. Yet,these days, you'll see a homeless person on a corner, holding a sign in one hand and texting on an iphone with the other. Figure that out. Thanks for visiting me here--being here on Karen's blog has been great.