I received the last of my tax refund this morning. I wanted to do something different with it, so I went to local gas station.
I asked for $40 cash back. I gave the clerk the money to pay for the next customers' purchases. I also gave her $5 to keep for herself.
1 - Thank a landscape worker for making a park look beautiful
2 - Offer pizza to a homeless man
3 - Wave and smile under my mask at strangers walking by in the park
4 - Talk with an old friend on the phone
5 - Surprise someone with succulents from the garden
6 - Give a bag of freshly picked arugula to a neighbor
7 - Let go of an attachment to an idea I shared to let someone else run with it
8 - Express gratitude to a friend for listening to me
9 - Share nature photos with friends
10 - Meditate under a canopy of trees and in front of the ocean for a dear soul who has left us
11 - Pray for peace and grace for everyone
Last week saw the passing of three former workmates. All were lovely, gracious, kind women. I had been in touch with the daughter of one of these delightful women.
She was going through her mom's things as she began the task of cleaning her mother's home. She found a journal I had given her mother when she retired about seven years ago.
My friend had written a bit every day for about two years, including one thing for which she had been grateful for each day. She mentioned I had given her the journal and where it was given. Her daughter seemed pleased to have this memory of her mother.
I was expecting the delivery of a “surprise” gift from a kind friend today, so I picked up a box of doggie treats while at the grocery store to give to our delivery person.
“Do you have a lot of dogs on your route?” I asked the delivery driver when I handed him the box of doggie biscuits.
“I sure do!” he responded, shaking the box. “Thanks!”
Our neighbor gifted us a sampling of the Passover foods she prepared for her family, which enabled my husband and me to enjoy a wonderful holiday meal tonight, the start of the Passover holiday.
We usually spend the first two nights of the holiday with our friends at their home, but this year, due to Covid, we are on our own. Our neighbor’s sharing is especially meaningful right now.
She brought it over in a pretty silver shopping bag. I love that all the dishes are identified and wrapped so carefully.
Sometimes I like to go for a drive through the German countryside. Usually some farmers have a stand or a table by their gate where you can buy fresh eggs or potatoes and leave the payment in a cash box, often a heavy-duty padlocked metal affair. I have also seen this concept of "pay it by trust" in Denmark. I like to support the farmers this way. I have noticed that more and more little systems have been sprouting up, usually outside people's houses in the middle of nowhere. Typically they are selling wares such as homemade jam or even cake, local honey, handicrafts or flowers for a couple of Euros. It appears some people have been especially hard hit by the pandemic and are finding creative ways to enhance their income. I am making a point of leaving loose change in the car, so I can stop off and support these ... Read Full Story >>
I was on a train heading into Sydney where a middle-aged man experienced a mental distress episode. It made those around him extremely uncomfortable.
A young woman sitting near me started talking to him to make sure he was OK. The two of them spoke for about 10 minutes. The lady showed such compassion and empathy towards this complete stranger.
Not only did she calm him down and help him come to the decision to seek assistance, she stunned those of us sitting in the immediate area with her kindness and humility.
As I sat in a restaurant, an elderly man using a cane dropped his coffee as he was setting it down on the table. I took over a bunch of napkins and wiped off his chair and the table.
An employee followed up with a wet rag to prevent stickiness. The man told me he has carpal tunnel and can't feel much in his hands. As I write this, I think: Let us not develop a form of "carpal tunnel" in our hearts.
I was struggling to think of a kindness to write about this morning, and while I was wracking my brains my email went ping with a blog update in my inbox. I read it while I pondered.
I saw a description of a friend's morning routine, seeing to her sheep during lambing season, and it brought a tear to my eye as it was beautifully written.
Kindness dilemma instantly solved! I wrote her a message immediately saying how much I'd enjoyed it, and she wrote back saying how lovely that was to hear and how she didn't think anyone actually read her ramblings.
Now I follow quite a few blogs but I rarely comment. Maybe I'll start making more of an effort to let the writers know they're being heard.
One of my students' parents brought a boatload of these pens to pass out to the class. There was enough for me to share with two other classes. She had them made with this incredible positive affirmation. It kind of made my day! :)
My six-year-old grandson visited. I played some marble games with him, and then I walked with him to the local park. He had fun on the jungle gym. We then went on a walk in the park, and stopped and watched the older kids at the skateboard area.
He saw some garbage and insisted on picking it up and throwing it in the trash can. He said, "We can't let the planet get hurt."
I'll take him with me to a clean up project on Earth Day if his parents don't have plans. I think he'll like that.
Every time I am in 'my' supermarket I make sure to talk to the cashiers, smile at them, wish them a good day, etc. Today one of them looked stressed so I made sure to give her an extra bright smile and her reaction shocked me: She started smiling herself and told me that she always is happy to see me, as I would be one of only a few people who would see her as a human being and not as some sort of cashier robot.
I mean, it is a huge supermarket in the middle of the city, they have lots of customers! And obviously, most of them ignore her as a person. I didn't do anything special, yet it was special to her. While I feel touched and honored by her praise, I am also a bit sad that such basic contact is obviously such a rare commodity for her.
Winter storm headed our way this evening with heavy wet snow expected, between 10-20 inches. Spent most of yesterday preparing: baking, cooking, filling buckets of water, making sure generator works, alternate cooking methods, minimal heating options, etc...
If we lose power, we lose our water (on a well). We are about 7 miles from town, but at least we are on a school bus route, so our road will get plowed, eventually.
Well stocked on seeds and food for the birds and creatures.
We volunteer today at the foodbank and charity shoppe. Grateful that we can do before the snow hits. Have a feeling that we are going to be busy with folks stocking up on supplies!
*Banana bread is for fellow volunteers. Always like to bring an appreciation treat :).
For the second time in several weeks, the tire pressure indicator flashed in my face on the dashboard of my car. The tires looked fine, but I took the car to the tire center near my home. Confession: over the weekend, I somehow managed to drive over a curb. The guys at the tire center checked everything out. They couldn't find a problem except for one tire that showed no damage but lost some air. Keep an eye on it, they said. For the second time in several weeks, there was no charge for the services.
Before I returned to pick up the car, I stopped at the local drug store and purchased a giant bag of miniature chocolate bars (135 of them!) to give them in thanks.
My 89-year-old mother was visiting me. As she was helping me fold laundry, she commented on how pretty my bras were and lamented that when she started wearing bras, pretty ones weren't available. When they were available, she couldn't afford them because she and Dad were raising a family. Then she felt too old for them.
I decided to take Mum down to my local lingerie shop. A wonderful salesperson professionally fitted her for a lovely, lacey, colourful bra while telling her no woman was ever too old for va-va-voom.
Mum would have considered it frivolous to spend more than $20 on underwear, but I bought the bra she liked the best. The smile on her face as she left the store with an elegant little bag containing a puff of lace wrapped in tissue was amazing. She hasn't stopped smiling since.
After reading it’s International Woman’s Day, I wanted to do something to note the occasion. I bought some mascaras to donate to a local woman’s shelter. My sister-in-law works there, and told me lots of women at the shelter wish they had the means to buy “non essential” things like make up. I hope this little gift lifts their spirits.
Staff at schools have had to make accommodations during the pandemic, with people taking up extra duties when needed. When our office staff was reduced on campus, a woman named Patty, who hadn't ever run our office, took over. She has done a phenomenal job. She's been like a saint to everyone on campus. So, today we celebrated her as our Saint Patty, with a staff-signed poster, flowers, Starbucks, a gift card, Gummies, and more. She seemed stunned.
Many years ago, a dear friend taught me to end each conversation on a high note. To this day we never end a conversation on a negative note. In fact, I think we take the time to think of something just to ensure we end our conversation positively.
Over time this has become a regular practice for me. If a conversation keeps turning to topics that drag me down, I try to change the topic or put a positive spin on it. Hopefully if I am heading down the path of negative thoughts, someone will do the same for me.
Sometimes there are topics that need to be discussed that are not uplifting and there does not seem to be a way to find a positive note. At such times I find it is important to remember to be kind and speak with love and compassion.
Garden shops and florists are finally open after being closed three months for the pandemic. We visited a florist friend who I have not seen for over a year now and splurged on lovely flowers: two bouquets and 10 plant pots of pansies.
I think it is so important, now more than ever, to support small local businesses, even if they are a tad more expensive than the bigger stores. I gave my husband a big bouquet and seven of the potted pansies to take to his mum who is not so mobile nowadays. Some of the flowers are for the house to cheer it up. Spring is in the air!
My nephews Nived, 8, and Krishiv, 5, were getting ready for their new karate class. Their mom asked me to drop them off. As we were leaving, we found a kitten squatting outside the door. Since we are not typically friendly with creatures in my part of the world, the cats usually run away when they sense human presence. But this one stayed put when she suddenly found us a couple of steps away. We felt she might be afraid, or she might be in need of some care. With my nudge, Nived picked up the kitten. We are usually quite afraid about contacting animals, but this time he brought her in. We arranged a little bit of milk, and she drank as we took turns stroking her back. When we had to leave for the karate class, she followed us out the door. Two street dogs showed up and we could physically ... Read Full Story >>