Happy Thanksgiving from Joan Wester Anderson

Pam had been praying hard for a pressing family matter that didn’t seem to be improving.  Her city had just had a snowfall, and she was driving towards the downtown area when a middle-aged man waded into the drifts and flagged down her car. Pam noticed a second man standing on the sidewalk. By his ragged clothes, she assumed he was a street person.

“Can you give us a ride to my house?” asked the stranger who had signaled her. “I’ve been trying to get a cab, but in this weather there are none to be found. I met this man who has no place to go, and I want to bring him home, feed him and let him spend the night in a warm place.”

Pam and her husband belonged to a group that fed the homeless one evening each month, but she had never been asked for a favor such as this. And yet she didn’t hesitate, even when she learned that their destination was almost five miles away. “Of course,” she said. “Get in.”       

The homeless stranger never said a word on the journey, but Pam and the other man felt immediate ease with each other, and enjoyed a spiritually uplifting conversation for awhile, then lapsed into a companionable silence.
They were almost to the house when the man turned to Pam. “Miss, you know that family problem you’ve been so worried about? Don’t worry. Everything is going to be all right.”

Pam’s mouth dropped. How had he known? As she pulled up to the front of the house, he and the homeless man got out, thanked her and walked quickly away.

Pam sat for a moment. How odd that she had not been afraid to let two strangers get into her car, or to drive them in difficult weather conditions. And how did they know of the problem she had been praying about?

Peace filled her as she started the car up again. She could leave everything in God’s hands, she realized. Obviously he had sent an angel (or perhaps even two!) to tell her so.

Author’s note: From time to time, we mention earth angels who are in the business of giving to others. They often need publicity because any spare time they have is spent on their cause. There is no obligation on your part to get involved in ANY of these, but some of you like to know… 

— A reader suggests Dr. John Bissler. He has been a doctor for several years in one of the best children’s hospital in Cincinnati, but he doesn’t turn anyone away, and he removed a large tumor from her kidney when other doctors said it couldn’t be done. (Dr Bissler is one of only two nephrologists in the country involved in this genetic tumor disorder). For parents, the search for medical help is often difficult. Many wind up at Dr. Bissler’s Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

“While our patients are seen by an array of physicians, most are in great need of Dr. Bissler, especially for research,” says a hospital spokesman. Dr Bissler is currently raising money so he can travel throughout the world to train other doctors to do this surgery, instead of so many children having to come to Cincinnati to be treated by him. If he raises a million dollars, the hospital will match it.
Any donation is welcome; send to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, Oh., 45229. On the envelope attention to: Jennifer Barlow.  Checks should be made out to TSC Nephrology Fellowship.

— Now that the holidays are approaching, many of you are starting a gift bag or two for the impoverished people in Thornton, Ark. This small town has little or no jobs available and has always been poor, but a wonderful family (the Cayces) has supplemented their lack for more than 40 years. We got involved several years ago, and those of us looking for a charity were delighted to find an outlet for garage sale finds, outgrown shoes and, during the holidays, the toys, candy and Wal-Mart gift cards that help the children have a happy and memorable day. We can talk a little more about Thornton next time: JoAnn Cayce Charities, 403 South Second Street, Thornton AR 71766

— Finally, my own commercial: I now have written seven books on angels and miracles (as well as a humor book for mom), and I can’t imagine a better time of year to give these as gifts. Many families approach my signing table to tell me they are each buying a different book and then trading them; others feature these at their book clubs. Check amazon.com or if you want an autographed copy, visit joanwanderson.com, click on “Books” and follow the order directions. I suspect the angels will be pleased.

Happy Thanksgiving!

About Joan Wester Anderson

Author and lecturer Joan Wester Anderson was born in Evanston, Ill. She began her writing career in 1973 with a series of family humor articles for local newspapers and Catholic publications, and was a monthly columnist for two national magazines during the 1980s. She has published more than one thousand articles and short stories in a variety of publications, including Woman’s Day, Modern Bride, Virtue, Reader’s Digest and the New York Times Syndicate.

Her 15 books include “Where Angels Walk, True Stories of Heavenly Visitors,” which was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than a year, has sold almost two million copies and been translated into 14 languages. Published in fall 1994 were the sequel to “Angels,” titled “Where Miracles Happen,” and for children, “An Angel to Watch Over Me.” Both books were written in response to suggestions from readers and were followed in rapid succession by three more in this series. “Forever Young” (Thomas More Publishers), the life story of actress Loretta Young, was published in November 2000. The actress had read the angel series and requested Anderson as her biographer. The two became close friends. Anderson’s book, “In the Arms of Angels” (Loyola Press) covers angelic activity primarily during the past decade, including stories of hope from the 9/11 and Columbine School tragedies. Her most recent books, “Guardian Angels” (Loyola Press), and “Angels and Wonders” (Loyola Press), focus on amazing and tender stories of God’s answers to prayers.

Anderson has appeared on national television programs including “Good Morning America,” “Oprah,” “20/20,” “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw” and “Mother Angelica Live,” and was featured in such documentaries as “Angels–Beyond the Light” (NBC), “Angel Stories” and “Stories of Miracles” (The Learning Channel), and many videos. She was a story consultant for the television series, “It’s A Miracle,” lectures in cities across the country and has been interviewed on hundreds of radio talk shows.

Anderson, who is Catholic, is a member of St. Edna’s Parish in Arlington Heights Ill., a graduate of Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and a former adjunct professor at Harper Community College in Palatine, Ill. She and her husband live in suburban Chicago, and have five grown children and four grandchildren.


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