(KindSpring Writer Amritha Mandagondi had a chance to sit down and interview Elizabeth Buechele, the Founder of SmileProject. Here's her inspiring interview on how Elizabeth has found happiness every single day, for the past 3,307 days.) They say life happens to those who pause and listen. Listen intently to that voice that’s calling out the boundless possibilities from within. Our friend in New York, Elizabeth Buechele from the age of 17 has set out on a journey to find the true meaning of happiness. There was no mentor or guide reaching out to help her define what qualifies as “happiness” and what doesn’t. She may continue to be on her quest but is confident that happiness lies in things that are not small but simple. Starting as one of her many rewarding accidents, the crusade of The Smile Project began in the late fall of 2011 as Liz drove home from school. “It was unusually warm ... Read Full Story >>
“Hello, my name is Marisa, and I’ll be your server,” our waitress introduced herself, setting down our menus. Laughing Water Restaurant at Crazy Horse Memorial was in full decoration for the holidays. There was only one other family in the huge dining hall, which was great for social distancing, but not great for Marisa’s tips. Obviously very pregnant, Marisa nonetheless served us with a cheerful demeanor, efficiency and consideration. Remembering how huge and miserable I felt when I was that pregnant, I had the urge to change our customary premade origami packet with a $5 gift certificate to a $50 bill instead for her tip. As we left, I gave the packet to Marisa. She was off in a corner, wrapping silverware in napkins. I didn’t expect her to open the packet immediately, but she called to us as we were at the cashier, “Oh! Thank you!” The surprise and happiness in her voice were evident. ... Read Full Story >>
A while back I saw the video Tashi and the Monk. It inspired me to sponsor one of the children. I chose a young adult who has a year left in her nursing school. I wanted to send something to brighten the kids' day but since the community is in a remote area, it's difficult to get things sent there due to Covid. Right now, the charity coordinators must wait until someone is actually travelling to the community and they send packages with them. Needless to say those packages are limited in size and amount. So, since I love making the peace doves, those seemed to be a good choice and I asked the coordinator who thought it was a great idea. So I'm in the process of making 200 peace doves (more than enough for every child and staff member at the community to have one and there will be lots ... Read Full Story >>
With the beginning of the New Year, I:
- washed and ironed a whole bunch of laundry twice for my mother-in-law who is momentarily stuck in hospital after a hip fracture and then a stroke
- mailed a parcel with bits and bobs and a money donation to support Lorna Byrne's sanctuary project
- gave a man who sells a magazine for the homeless a Christmas card with money and gifted him a Christmas cake from a bakery
- offered the birds fat balls which they love to feast on
- made candles and fire starters from old wax stumps to help the environment
- placed gemstone gifts at healing trees
- picked up litter and practiced gratefulness to nature like leaving little gemstone and coin gifts to honor the elementals
- supported artists on a website platform who design things by buying two cool scarves
- said a little prayer for passing ambulances
I have a dear friend who lives interstate. We met online years ago through a parenting site and have stayed in touch since. She has been through some hard times and is the sweetest of people. One of those who always do things for others but would never ask for help herself.
I found out last week she is taking her family on a holiday. This is HUGE for them as they struggle with money due to her husband not working as he battles cancer. So me being me, got all sneaky and have found out where they are staying.
I called their hotel and have bought s family pass to an attraction called Infinity. I've taken my young kids and it's awesome. The tickets have been placed in an envelope and put into their room for when they arrive tomorrow. I cannot wait for the surprise and joy it brings them. They both so deserve this!
I was standing at the till getting ready to pay my bill at the Fruit & Vegetable store. A middle-aged customer, with a Coke can in hand got to the till and tried to get his purchase fast tracked, but the cashier lady informed him that she had already started ringing my purchase. He shrugged and looked at me and said "could you add bread to my purchase for me, I am hungry and haven't been paid yet at work". I told him to go fetch the bread. While he was gone, I took out 20 bucks (ZAR20) from my wallet and gave it to the cashier, I told the cashier to ring his purchase ahead of mine, it's fine. She rang the purchase and tried to give me back the change; I indicated that she can give the change to him. The man looked at me and smiled and said "thank you"; ... Read Full Story >>
I went grocery shopping and left my wallet in the grocery cart outside. I didn't realize I had left it in the cart until I left the parking lot. It only took a few minutes to get back to where I left my wallet in the cart. I checked the cart and no wallet! I instantly went into panic mode. I knew with all the cash I had left in there to pay bills was forever gone. After the store manager told me that no wallet had been turned in, I drove home in tears thinking how could I be so careless with my wallet! Negative thoughts filled my mind on the way home ( No one will return it. Who's going to return a wallet full of cash? I was asking God and the universe, why is this happening to me? I always return lost purses, money, wallets back to the owner, why ... Read Full Story >>
HERE COMES THE RAIN AGAIN......
"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain"
Today while walking thru the parking lot at work I came upon 2 soaked female students. The didn't have an umbrella or hat.
I called out to them and we went back to my car. I have about 8 umbrellas in my car, all of which have been left at various places on campus. I knew they would come in handy!
I gave the umbrellas to the two girls and they were very grateful. I told them to hold onto these umbrellas, and share them with students who need to stay dry, too.
A simple act of kindness made me feel so much better on this gloomy, wet day.
Remember, if there is a rainbow, it is only there because of the sunshine we all share!
In my favourite tea shop they'd showcased their Christmas teas in little shot glasses so people could sea and smell the leaves. I picked up each one in turn and one of them named baklava smelled absolutely delicious. I only drink herbal teas as caffeine disagrees with me. So, juggling with my purse and the hot tea I'd just purchased, I lifted up the sample box behind the display to check the ingredients in the baklava tea. Unfortunately, I failed to notice that the box itself was open. One by one, as I lamely attempted to right the problem, each and every item inside the box fell onto the display and floor. This isn't unusual in itself: I tend to spread chaos wherever I go, a part of my nature I find in turn sad, amusing, and exasperating. Most of the time, these incidents tend to make people scatter away from me, ... Read Full Story >>
this is the year LOVE
will shine ever brighter still
filling all with PEACE
for our hearts are tired
exhausted with news of doom
discord and disconnection
sick to our souls with worry
at the very brink
that is exactly
when the heart of us explodes
into a Lighter
BEINGness of PEACE
allowing the LOVE
to reach past all distractions
setting free our wings
hold on dear ones hold
onto all the LOVE your heart
can hold and then let
mj poem 12/24/2020
When I turned 50 I asked people to donate to Charity: Water in lieu of gifts for my birthday. Last year, for my 51st, I travelled around town and surprised people buying items for them using 51 one-dollar bills. I told myself that when I turned 52 I would use a deck of 52 cards, set up a card table downtown, and do card tricks for people walking by, but then COVID hit and has stayed with us up to my 52nd. I wanted to do something for someone today, but was unsure what I could do. We reconfigured our garage a few days ago and were able to clear a bookshelf which I put on Craigslist for a few bucks. A young woman said she wanted it, but I'd have to drive it to her place, and with the holidays being so busy, I wasn't willing to make the delivery, especially for such a ... Read Full Story >>
My mother has a wonderful younger friend who takes excellent care of her. I truly appreciate her friend, both for her caring and good humor but also because I live too far away to cater to my mother the way her friend does. Clara drives my mother places she would otherwise not go to – including family events up here in our neck of the woods. Recently, Clara has been undergoing a lot of stress on the home front but she still takes the time to visit my mother and make her feel well cared for. So when I realized that a yoga and meditation retreat was being held up here on the very weekend of my mother’s birthday I immediately contacted Clara and asked her if she would consider driving my mother up for the day. I figured they would both benefit from a yoga retreat. It is also a sneaky way ... Read Full Story >>
I have now the finances to live comfortably but it wasn't always so for me. Thus I look forward to giving a helping hand when I see someone in real need. Recently I was a visitor in Barcelona and saw an elderly indigenous woman in rags with a bowl for contributions.
Eyes downcast, she wasn't even making her presence known & was sitting on the sidewalk against a building out of the way from obstructing the passing pedestrians.
I figured here was a genuine person in need so I put a large bill in her bowl. I watched as she comprehended the value of what I had given her and immediately she started sobbing and looked at me with tears of gratitude in her eyes in a language I could not know.
Her reaction in response overwhelmed me and was a more powerful gift to me than any money loss from me. The saying "It is greater to give than receive" is so true.
I WAS A BOOK FAIRY LAST NIGHT! Last night while waiting for a script at CVS, a young mother and her adorable little girl were sitting at the pharmacy waiting for their script, too. The little girl was entertained by Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul. She was happily reading it aloud to her mother and all of us. It was so precious as she was just beginning to read at a higher level. The pharmacist called the mother to get her script and they went up to pay for it. The little girl wanted this book so badly, but the mother said she would have to wait because she didn't have enough $$ to buy it for her. Instant pout that ruptured my heart! I went up behind them, handed the mother a few dollars to buy the book for the little girl. The little girl didn't miss a thing...she suspected what ... Read Full Story >>
That owl was me today. I was on a mission. My hospital visit went well. I left notes and letters I had written for people to find, gave an elderly man a smiley balloon. I gave activity books and children's dvds to the children's ward.
I left chocolate biscuits and chocolates at the coffee station for those who had loved ones in intensive care. I also had bought scratch cards which I left with a note on cars parked in the car park.
It was a success though I didn't feel it. Today was odd for me. I felt sad and out of sorts. Yet I'm grateful that despite feeling that way, I still got out there and did random kind acts. And. Tomorrow is a brand new day!
Ever received signed blank cheques from strangers? That’s what many times I feel like in life these days. So yesterday I was on a flight from Dehradun to Delhi (and then Ranchi). The guy next to me was sitting on a plane for the first time. He asked me (in Hindi) that at the time of booking the flight ticket he had paid 200Rs. for cashew nuts to be served on the flight, so what would he need to do to get those cashew nuts? I told him that the flight attendant will come and give it to him if it's pre-booked. The flight attendant came, gave cashew nuts to the other guy in our group of 3 seats but skipped this guy. So when she was walking past again after a few minutes, I called on her and suggested that he had pre-booked a meal. She checked and informed me that she couldn’t ... Read Full Story >>
I did a thing today that made me happy. I passed a stranded motorist on the side of the road. I made a couple of U-turns and went back to check on him.
He was a young man, a sweet puppy with him, and his radiator hose was spewing steam. He had no roadside assistance -- of course not, he was all of 19 or 20 -- and had no way out of his predicament.
I called my American Automobile Association (AAA) service and waited an hour with him for the tow truck to come while it was raining. I signed the papers, paid for the extra miles to tow his car home, and then waved goodbye and left. I literally felt like The Good Samaritan, taking care of one of the world's children. I hope he can pay it forward one day.
Lori, a sister-in-love, called the other day with some sad news. It seems as if the Chicago area family and friends have been hard hit with COVID-19 and related issues.
I decided to surprise Lori with a floral arrangement for her holiday birthday, along with the hopes that the blooms will cheer her.
Lori is a mothering soul, who included us in many a family get together. I know these times are especially difficult for her. She is a sister-of-my-heart who exudes LOVE with BIG HUGS, warm embraces and inclusive celebrations ❤️.
Bless all those who are feeling especially overwhelmed this holiday season with super doses of support and encouragement. 🙏
I took two different kinds of homemade soup to my neighbor who has a young child and whose husband is out of town. They have a very strict dietary requirement, so as I was making the soup, I thought of making some for them as well.
The mom and child had just returned from a long trip abroad, so I thought it would be nice for her to have something ready to eat.
The best thing about making homemade soup---you can make it in huge batches and give it away to so many people! It's like a hug in a bowl.
When speaking to a lovely receptionist on the phone who helped arrange a gift for my friend, I learned she, too, was like my friend. My friend always gives and does things for others, but rarely receives and has a hard time accepting gifts. I knew the receptionist would be my next target.
I purchased online the exact chocolate bouquet you see pictured. I included a note:
"We spoke on the phone last week. You helped me surprise my friends and you told me how you do so much for others but never yourself. Well these my darling are for you. You deserve to be spoiled. Enjoy."
I hope it makes her day!