Thursday, May 30, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness Blogfest - A Tennessee story

This is a five-day or one-day fest depending on your time limits. For most of the five days, I've been on a family history quest coming home just in time to do at least two days.

I originally planned to share one story but on my travels, I found a group of people who are doing random acts of kindness for a region in our country that is in need of help.

Reverend Sheldon Livesay founded Of One Accord, an "ever-evolving, non-profit organization that helps to meet the needs of low-income families and individuals in this two-county Appalachian region and beyond. "

I made the trip to Tennessee to search for family roots. While not finding the information I wanted, I did have the opportunity to meet Sheldon, my 2nd cousin. My cousin Patty and I were able to spend some time with him as he shared this portion of Tennessee where our family was from but we also learned about his ministry to those in need. 

While these acts of kindness are not random for him, they certainly are for the families they help. He related one story that stayed with me. 

They repair or restore home for those who need the most help. They had chosen to repair the home of an eighty-year old woman who live in a falling down shack. The shack was no bigger than a 10 by 10 room. The floor was rotting and uneven and the roof, caving in so that it leaked water. She had an outhouse. There was no electricity, running water or way to heat food or the house except for a wood burning stove.  

They decided it was impossible to repair the shack to make it livable so they purchased a used mobile home. They installed a septic tank and ran electricity from the road. They brought in the water lines and added a propane tank. 

This is a much longer story but what caught my attention and tugged at my heart was the ending of the story. When the older woman fixed  lunch for her daughter who had come by to check out the new home, she got up from the table and filled a pot with water from her new sink. She put the pot on the new stove and turned it on. Her daughter asked her what she was doing. She told her that she was boiling water to wash the dishes. 

I don't know about you but not understanding that hot water comes from a tap is heart breaking. Her daughter was able to show her that she would never have to boil water to wash dishes again and turned on the hot water for her mother.


  1. This story makes me sad and happy, Ann. Who knew something so many of us take for granted could provide such a lesson for the human spirit? Thank you for sharing this story.

  2. Like M.J. above, I felt both happiness and sadness on reading this. Actually, I think joy is the better word for me, as it encompasses both happiness and sadness, at least in my head where joy symbolizes the transcendence of happiness over sadness. At any rate, this made me cry--but in a good way.

    What an incredible thing your cousin is doing. We need more stories like this to feed our hope.