"Excuse me, do you have any work that you need done? I'm trying to earn some money," asked the man who approached my car window. He was gaunt, slightly disheveled, and had a weathered look that made him appear perhaps a decade older than his actual probable age. My usual practice when approached by beggars is to first smile within, then smile at them and say an inner prayer for their happiness as I decline to offer cash. There's no art or science to this policy, rather an underlying but untested assumption that someone actively begging is misusing money and caught in some cycle of substance addiction. I wish that my awareness and sensitivity ran deep enough to have an appropriate response to every beggar rather than a go-to policy. "Well, how about 50 cents? I'm just trying to get a taco over at Taco Bell." I catch a flash of irritation at ... Read Full Story >>
Our wonderful staff led by my dear Transitional Kindergarten colleague, Katie, have collected the specific theme books and supplies to outfit the six TK and Kindergarten classes from Paradise, CA. The Paradise Elementary School burned to the ground in the recent Camp Fire, the worst loss of life and property in CA wildfire history.
Katie will travel up to a centralized " dispersal store" to deliver the class sets of new books and materials. I am so humbled by the generosity of our school community. We have gathered enough supplies to outfit all 6 classrooms with everything on their supply wish list. The TK kids sorted and put everything in order for tomorrow's delivery. Big jobs done so well by little cherubs <3
A month back we just got off of a train late in the night. Since we were traveling with parents and our son, my husband wanted us to get home without everyone losing more sleep and booked a cab so it would arrive just as we walked out of the train station. As we were halfway across the station, my son noticed an old lady sitting down, who was probably homeless. We were carrying some food and plantains leaves that are traditionally used as plates. My son wanted to serve her food properly. We suggested he give her the plantain leaf, food box and a bottle of water and then walk quickly so we wouldn't miss our cab- as the police will not allow vehicles to wait beyond a few minutes. My son suspected that she was mentally ill and could not put complex things together. He asked us to leave so we ... Read Full Story >>
Last night, we held a Harvest Festival, complete with catered dinner for the staff and volunteers of Court Appointed Special Advocates in our county of California. It was a great gathering of 75 like-minded volunteers as well as the 15 staff. There were many trays of turkey, ham, potatoes, roils, stuffing, salad, and two types (pumpkin, and baked apple) of individually boxed pie section left overs. At the end of the evening, my dear friend and I transported it all to our garages where we stored it overnight. This morning we made a special delivery to our local Marriott hotel to deliver it. Tonight's dinner will be a harvest feast for the 25 families who are staying at the hotel after being evacuated from the fire storm which has consumed a swath of the area just to the northwest of our county here in northern California. My friend's husband collected mandarins from ... Read Full Story >>
They sat like two little school girls in the corner of the school courtyard. Unaware that they were being watched, they were joyful and innocent. I was intrigued as I passed them and as I approached, they started to hide what they were doing. What they were doing was using an old red pen discarded by a student, and they were trying to use this to paint their lips red. Of course, my intention was not to embarrass them but when I approached the one who was getting her lips 'painted red' by the other, quickly covered her mouth. When I saw the red pen in the other's hand, I realised what they were doing. The one who was getting her lips painted, ran away and into the cleaner's room which is her base in work. How innocent! Such joy from such a basic thing. Of course, I cannot leave this and pretend ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday at physical therpy I was reflecting on how sweet & kind one of the PT Assistants is. He just has the most gentle way with folks, as well as an engaging smile he shares generously. He's also very capable in what he does.
So I decided I would tell him :))))
I told him he has a wonderful way with people and that it will serve him well in his chosen profession. He stopped what he was doing and told me it meant so much for him to hear this. We chatted on & I was so happy I shared how I felt with him.
It only takes a minute to share our kindness, yet it can live on in someone's heart ❤️
A stranger heard we were planning for my daughter's fifth birthday, and volunteered to drop off and set up a commercial bouncy house (that the kids loved) and he wouldn't take a cent in payment or let us help. He just told us to pay it forward.
I was blown away by his generosity and it was a lot of work to set up and pack away and he just said he likes knowing that kids had fun.
I just received a phone call from an old friend that I have not heard from in years. She looked me up to let me know that an old friend of ours was about to be evicted.
She is trying to do what she can to help her out. She figured that since we all were so close for so long, she would reach out and see if we could help. I moved away from the area years ago.
Luckily, I have family in the area. I have an uncle that owns an apartment building. I was unable to help with the eviction but I called my uncle and he is going to give her an apartment to live in for a year rent free. It is a three bedroom place.
She is a single mom with three children. My cousins are renting a truck and are going to help her move the next two days so she isn't served the eviction papers and she will get all of her stuff out of the place so it isn't lost. Being able to help with a hand up is the best feeling in the world.
A friend lent me a book. It was a book about flowers, and trees. For various reasons, it was special in my hands and heart. Maybe it felt good in my hands because I'd lost material items in a house fire. Or maybe it felt good in my heart because it was handed to me with love. Either way, it was a simple joy. Some weeks later I had a tire blow out, at the worst time of day-dusk. I had my two babies in tow and no spare tire. We were in a canyon with no cell reception. And to top it off the only family I had in town-were out of town. Luckily, I don't panic when it comes to basic survival skills. I set up a picnic area and got the scooters out from the trunk for the kiddos. I then checked my surroundings. Easy enough, we'd be fine ... Read Full Story >>
My husband and I were out shopping and noticed an older truck that was being driven by a young man. This man had a child in the cab without a car seat. The child was no older than three. My husband started chatting with the man and he told us that his wife had just left him and had sold everything he had, including the child's car seat as well as his furniture. I asked him if he would come into the store with us and we grabbed a cart, put his child in the cart, and off we went. We purchased a car seat, a toddler bed, mattress, sheets that the child picked as well as a comforter. We also got a few throw pillows, a regular pillow, PJs, a couple of outfits, and toys. The young man was almost in tears. I told him that it was our pleasure. I ... Read Full Story >>
“This is who we are. We take care of each other.” I’d passed that bridge about a half dozen times over the last several months. I noticed the make shift tents and the people and I’d wanted to stop, but wasn’t sure how or where to put my car. Thankfully, my housemate Gail knew exactly where I was talking about when I asked her if she knew about the folks living under the bridge and she knew of a parking spot just beyond. Christmas Day seemed the perfect day to finally meet some of these people and share a bit of hot soup and conversation. Her name is Joy. She likes documentaries. She’s worked in medical records and believes everyone should be greeted with a smile because as she says, you never know what somebody’s just been through. Joy understands about being through something; she happens to live under the bridge. His name is ... Read Full Story >>
I moved and in my new location, many nights on the way home from work I saw the same elderly lady walking down the street with a bunch of plastic shopping bags in her hands. She often stopped and rested during the trip back to her home.
So I watched her one evening and saw which house she went to. I verified she went to the same location again and then on the way home I parked down the street and walked to the house. On the porch I left a folding cart with the big wheels which will roll easily. Taped to the handle was one of the smile cards.
I saw her yesterday with the cart full, pulling it down the street in the chill of the day. She was definitely having a better experience. It is good to help.
I am finding time to connect with those in need who are asking for money during this holiday season. Helping people along their paths by listening to their stories and treating them with kindness, as they are evidently working through difficult times in their lives. Just being interested in, and speaking with someone who is down on his/her luck and helping in little ways can be a real positive force in his/her life. You never know. We, as human beings, really do have a lot more similarities than differences. Peace to us all.
I feel that I was blessed by an Angel not long ago. I was out in town with my husband. We live in a small town. Because of the cold, my finger shrunk, causing my anniversary ring to fall off. I didn't notice this until we got home. I became physically ill. I thought my husband was going to have a heart attack. Yes, it is a material item but it is also a very sentimental item. He went out and retraced our steps. I called the stores we were in and no one turned it in. I thought it was gone for sure. Well, at around midnight last night, our dogs went nuts. We have a sunroom that attaches to our home. The door to that is usually locked. Apparently, we left it unlocked. My all-terrain mobility scooter is parked out there. In its basket was a ring box...holding my ring! Along ... Read Full Story >>
After a flight from Denver to San Francisco and then train to my town, I couldn't find a cab ride to get the last few miles, though there had always been cabs waiting outside the train station before. Thanks to the internet, I was able to identify local cab companies, but the first ten that I called said they don't serve our area on Saturday nights. It was dark and chilly. The eleventh company representative said her people couldn't do it either, but she gave me two numbers that weren't online and hurray...one of them said he would come, but only if I would promise to wait and actually be there -- apparently people sometimes call a cab and skip out if they hitch a ride with someone before the cab arrives. Then the woman who referred him called me back to make sure I was taken care of. ... Read Full Story >>
We had a great encounter with a lovely elderly gentleman on our walk this morning! We see him almost every morning. When we first saw him, months ago, he would walk by us quickly and not look at us at all. I know English is his second language and figured that was why he might have been apprehensive about making eye contact. I don't know any Mandarin so I would always just walk by with no contact as well. Then one day I decided to just smile and say "hi😃". He looked at us and with the biggest smile he shyly said, "Hi!" He smiled with his eyes too! He looked like a different person! So so beautiful. It was that easy! We made contact! We don't see him every morning but when we do, we exchange "HI's!" This morning we saw him from a distance and I thought I would try waving ... Read Full Story >>
After working an inhuman 8-hour shift at a nameless, dirty factory, I got on the bus dirty, tired and hot. It was a beautifully sunny day but most of mine had been spent in the back of a dimly-lit warehouse, unloading freight cars that were filled to the top with parts for cheap office furniture. It was all metal parts, so they coated these parts with a thin oil that protected the metal and inhibited rust. Needless to say, I left that place every day looking like I worked in a coal mine. However, even with my addiction at that time, I still felt a bit proud of myself. I had held this temp job for 3 months which was extremely rare and as I took my seat on the bus going home, I decided that the depressing thoughts of my real life would not dampen my spirit today. I lifted my ... Read Full Story >>
A couple of weeks ago I was in the drive thru at McDonald's. When I got up to the window to pay, I was told that the patron two cars ahead of me had used a gift card to pay for his order then told the cashier to use the remaining balance for others in line. The car in front of me "paid" for her order by donating the cost to pay for the next order after the gift card ran out. She also donated money to the Ronald McDonald House. I, of course, did the same. This apparently never happened to the cashier before. He was amazed by our generosity, he could barely speak. I don't know how long the "pay it forward" continued but I enjoyed the spontaneity of the gestures. ... Read Full Story >>
One of my husband's work colleagues is a young kid with a girlfriend living together in am RV. They are both working multiple jobs and struggling to make ends meet. My hubby has taken a liking to this kid, which is rare cause he doesn't like a lot of people. Today, he treated the young man and his girlfriend to brunch to give them some ideas about continuing their educating without necessarily going to college, and later this afternoon they came over to our house to meet our dogs, because they might be interested in being our house and animal sitters this winter. I had a few extra game cards for an arcade and we gave them those as well. ... Read Full Story >>
Hello kind friends. It's been a long time since I've shared thoughts here, but the love I have for our KS family is always in my heart! I wanted to share with you today a wonderful thing dear Milan (Mr J!) did. A few weeks back his school held a run called, "The Terry Fox Run". Terry Fox was an amazing young man who ran across Canada, with one prosthetic leg, to raise funds for cancer research. After he passed away from losing his battle to cancer, schools began to hold yearly runs in his name to raise money for cancer. This year, Milan presented a challenge to the students at his school! He told them that if they collectively raised $3,000, he would have his head and beard and moustache shaved in front of the entire student body! The children were extremely thrilled at the idea and were happy to take ... Read Full Story >>