Last night I traveled by train. The rampant xenophobia surfacing after the terror attacks has really been on my mind. Shunning the very victims and refugees of horrible aggression has weighed deeply on my heart. How could we turn on people because of their religion, culture or skin color? How could we turn on people who are undergoing such suffering? Are we so narrow? I have been contemplating about what I can do. Could I take in a refugee? I want to somehow reach out to these disaffected people. I boarded the train yesterday. The train was empty so I took the prime group seating at the end of the car so I would be facing forward. Shortly thereafter a mother and her three children squeezed into the row of seats in front of me. I asked the mother if she would like my group seating for her family and she gratefully accepted. ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday I donated some unwanted items to Habitat for Humanity where the items will be restored and sold. As I was carrying the items downstairs I thought about when I was a child. Roll back 50 years.. I grew up in a very poor area. We lived in a terraced house, two bedrooms and 8 children, yes no typos, 2 bedrooms and 8 children, 9 years between the youngest and the eldest. The dining room was converted into a bedroom. Still they were cramped conditions but we knew no different. Money was scarce and my mum never was in a position to donate to charity, we lived in survival mode. One pair of shoes each and in fact I vividly remember going to Mass and not wanting to kneel down for Communion because there were holes in my shoes. I was no different from the rest of my family in that ... Read Full Story >>
I instruct an exercise class at a retirement home every Tuesday afternoon. There is one resident who is no longer able to attend the class because she is becoming so frail. She has had several falls. We have had an agreement between us that I would still knock on her door to invite her to class but instead of an invite I give what she calls a 'wee cuddle'. I have been doing this since about March. Today there was a sign on her door saying she had a fall and was unable to use her walker and must use a wheelchair. I did not knock because she often is napping at the time I make my rounds to gather up folks for the class. After class she was just coming out of the elevator for the social hour. One whole side of her face is badly bruised, cuts around her ... Read Full Story >>
My friend who I caught up with last night shared this story with me: My friend lived in an apartment that overlooked a busy street in sn inner city. On Christmas Eve, from her window she saw a woman, alone, upset and in distress. She went out and down to the street and asked if she was okay. My friend could see that all was not well. She invited the woman into her apartment, and the woman asked if she could shower. My friend said she could, gave her a fresh towel, and clean pajamas to wear. The woman showered. About an hour later, she emerged. She said she was alone in the city and had nowhere to stay. My friend said that she could stay on the couch for the night. My friend felt that being late on Christmas Eve, it would be impossible to get social agency assistance, and it ... Read Full Story >>
My husband and I were having a conversation a few weeks ago about how life flies by quicker than you can imagine. This conversation was unexpected, but I really took it to heart. As we sat and spoke about how it seemed like yesterday was the first day we met. We soon came to the realization that god has blessed us with three healthy years of marriage, a home, college educations, established careers and a loyal furry friend. We also came to the harsh reality that time does not slow down for anyone. Later that day we were on our way to a family event and as we pulled into the local gas station I noticed a woman sitting all alone at a picnic table. It was around 80 degrees and she was dressed in a winter jacket and long pants. As we pulled away from the gas station, I told my ... Read Full Story >>
It’s been a busy month! I am super busy with work. Trying to find that work/life balance that is essential to both. I received happy news from my neighbors, Jon and Michelle. Michelle delivered little Skyler just the day before. She came in with the assistance of a midwife. A one hundred percent natural delivery and all is perfect. Jon was able to overnight with Mother and child for two nights and he texted to see if I would water the tomatoes which I happily did. I saw pictures on Facebook this morning of the beautiful Skyler, a serene Michelle and a beaming Dad. Jon does love his girls! I scrambled to finish my graphics work for delivery this morning. It seems every minute counts when you are up against deadlines. I met with the client where I was rewarded with another project. On the ride home, I thought it would be nice ... Read Full Story >>
Forgoing my normal meditation routine in the a.m. I decided I would go to the Dollar Tree store this morning before work and pick up some balloons for a coworkers departure. Well, you know as well as I do that you end up finding other items and spending more time in the store than initially planned right ? Which is exactly what happened to me. Eventually making my way to the cashier I unloaded my twenty items (Laughing) and while the cashier was ringing it all up, I glanced behind me and there was a woman unloading her items behind me; notebook paper, tissues, comp books, pencils to name a few things. Then the cashier had finished my order. And suddenly I had this overwhelming adrenaline rush of excitement (Hair-raising included) ! THIS IS MY MOMENT to commit a Random Act Of Kindness! So I said to the cashier that I wanted ... Read Full Story >>
I remember how hard and intense the rain fell in NYC one morning. It was as if pebbles were falling from the sky. I was walking to the supermarket and saw a little girl huddled under her moms arms, doing her best not to get wet. Our eyes met as her mom asked her to hold on as the light was about to turn red for them to walk across the street. I was feeling grateful and all of a sudden the rain was a shower of help and health as opposed to a hindrance. I offered my umbrella to them and they were so overcome with the kindness that the mom offered me cash. I smiled and said "You keep the umbrella and give the cash to your daughter every time she gets good grades." The little girl jumped up and down and encouraged her mom to take the umbrella. ... Read Full Story >>
Recently, I went to a small town for a short holiday with my husband and daughter. On the first evening, we decided to visit the nearest eateries to check out the local delicacies and do some shopping as well. After spending some time buying this and that, we decided to get a bite to eat. We had to await our turn at the restaurant. I stood on the street outside, looking at the crowd of holiday makers. Suddenly, I noticed a small boy of about seven clutching an array of hand -made gift bags. They were small but very colourful. The boy smiled widely and asked me to buy one. He said he had made the bags himself as he wanted to contribute in the household expenditure. I smiled back and asked the price of the bag. He named an exorbitant amount. I told him it was too much for such ... Read Full Story >>
I called my mother-in-law this morning just to check up on her. While we were speaking on the telephone someone knocked on her door. She was obviously anxious and asked me what she should do. I told her not to open the door, and if it was someone who knew her well they would knock the living room window. I rang back about 10 minutes later to check on her. She was really upbeat and told me a friend had called. I was pleased but thought this was a bit mysterious as she did not identify her "friend." A short while later she called me back. She sounded so happy. Her friend had just left. It turns out her friend was a policeman from the local police station. A few weeks ago, he called to her house when someone attempted to break in. Since then he returned with alarms for all ... Read Full Story >>
Years ago, I celebrated my 40th birthday with a large group of friends at C&O Trattoria in Marina del Rey. Many of us arrived ahead of time and waited outside the restaurant. As I stood on the sidewalk with my friends, a homeless man approached me and asked for money. I had been given strict orders to not bring my wallet lest I should feel compelled to contribute toward the meal, so when the man approached me, I let him know that I didn’t have any cash. He quietly smiled at me, and moved on. While the homeless man was still in earshot range, a friend who was just arriving called out “Happy Birthday Marc!” Upon hearing this, the man turned and asked, “Hey man, it’s your Birthday?” “Yes it is,” I said. He walked back to me, a huge smile on his face and exclaimed “Happy Birthday, man!” I was completely unprepared ... Read Full Story >>
A few weeks ago, while I was going home from work, I saw an old dog laying on the side of the road. I got closer to see why he would be there and felt shocked when I saw he was not able to move his hind legs. Some people who live nearby told me that he was hit by a motorcycle and the driver pushed him there. I went daily to give him food and water, also got a plank to cover him from the heavy sun. I heard on the news about the awful weather for that weekend and decided to bring him home with some help from my father. Called some vets to help him with his legs, since he was not able to stand on four and dragged the hinds.
After some painkillers and sheltered home with love and food, he is now able to walk with a little difficulty and he even runs around now. He is so adorable and even though I have three other dogs and two cats, I made some space in my home and my heart. I feel so happy and joyful when I see his eyes. I love animals and these 6 hairy babies are the most special things ever :)
I have a been going out of my way to call people by their names, especially people who serve me in drive-thrus and in stores, those type of situations. Faces seem to light up when I do this, so I am thinking it must be more important than I imagined. Our busy world can be so harsh, real recognition is welcome. I know the smiles received in return are a gift to myself and perhaps a day made a tad easier for all.
I received a call from my colleague and friend on Wednesday night that he had to go into the hospital emergency with a high fever and severe body ache. The doctors admitted him in the hospital for tests and treatment. I wished him speedy recovery and promised to visit him at the hospital the next day. Next day I went to work as usual but wore one of my good suits to the office. I reached the office a little early so that I could finish my work and get off earlier, so I could go and visit my friend in the hospital without rushing around. I finished what had to be done, urgently the rest I put away for the next day and got out early. I went into the local shop bought a basket of fruits for my friend and reached the Hospital with plenty of time on ... Read Full Story >>
I received a call from the summer camp that my grandkids will be attending in two weeks. They had a "problem" -- we had mistakenly paid for 4 kids but only have 3 grandkids attending. The camp's policy is to not offer refunds for cancellations less than 30 days out except in cases of emergency.
As the camp director tried to figure out how to refund us for the "mystery child", my husband and I quickly offered a solution: offer the spot already paid for as a "campership" to a needy child so that s/he could attend camp. The director was so excited as they do have a waiting list of kids who they would love to accommodate! I love it when I can turn a "problem" into a wonderful opportunity .
Was at our local Fruit Basket Market to pick up some local fresh fruit. Kind woman said cantaloupe was a bit over ripe and would not charge me. I insisted, but she still said no. So, when she rang up my bill and told me what I owed her, I purposely over paid (enough extra for the cantaloupe and then some) and told her to just keep the change. She just smiled. Cantaloupe was delicious!
A friend is going through her second round of chemotherapy for cancer. Her immune system is fragile, and none of us can give her hugs because a cold or infection could be deadly. So my husband designed and printed a bunch of cards that say "HUGS" and I got all our friends to sign them. Even people who didn't know her wanted to sign a card. Everyone loved the idea!
Some people added a short message or doodle to send her love and encouragement. Then I put the cards in a gift bag with some organic tea, took it to her house, and left it hanging on her doorknob as a surprise. She finally guessed where it came from and phoned me to say how overwhelmed she was and how the support and caring of others sustained her. "It's changed me," she said. "It's opened my heart to the world."
In the carpark at the park tonight as it was getting dark, a young man was asking for help, and everyone said no to him, then he asked us for help, his car wouldnt start and was a few streets away. We were happy to help a young man in distress with a flat battery. His phone had run out of battery too. I keep jumper leads in my car, so we drove to his car and eventually after many tries to get the bonnet open, we got his car started. I suspect that he may be living in his car from what I saw inside it. He thanked us, and shook our hands and I said I hoped someone would help one of my sons if they were in the same predicament.
My neighbor and friend was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and had some minor surgery to diagnose the condition before her other surgery. We were talking and she had an incision under her arm and said how difficult it was to get comfortable. I have had pain in my arm previously (not from cancer, thank heavens) but I knew a soft stuffed animal is better than a pillow. So the other day I dropped by and gave her Butterfinger (her favorite candy that she can't eat because she is diabetic) to help her sleep and be her friend. She said it was perfect and she keeps it upstairs in her bedroom. But wait there is more: she had a mastectomy a few days ago and because of drainage, etc. she has to sleep on her back and she mentioned that she is going to sleep on the recliner in her living ... Read Full Story >>
The other day I clicked on "see memories" on Facebook and I realized that all of my old posts were so negative and bashing....and then I realized how much I've changed in these last 2.5 years since I've discovered kind spring....and I'm glad that I don't feed that negative side anymore (most days. Some days are harder).
Thank you all for showing me how to be kind again.