My husband's entire life is kindness. If I made a list of all he's done and is day-by-day in the 16 years I've known him, it would take me days to type. He's not a praying kind of guy but his life is a prayer.
He doesn't use flowery words, but his language of love is compassion, hard work, and just so many thoughtful things he does. He just handed me a big green shake.
Earlier he cleaned out the fridge joking the entire time about various, er, science projects. I'm constantly astonished that this gorgeous guy loves me enough to stick around so long. Trust has never been easy for me, but he has shown me why trust is the best path, and kindness is a love song.
In the past two months, I have become friends with two women who are sight-impaired. One lives near me. I drove to her house and picked her up. We went to lunch together at one of my favorite restaurants nearby, my treat. It was a good day. Another is a young, talented writer whose stories I've been recording. Yesterday we texted back and forth as I worked on her newest story. I had one other blind friend many years ago. She was my favorite customer when I waited tables at a little diner near my house, and we became friends. We went to mass together and sometimes I helped her with her mail. I've learned a little bit about the frustration and heartache of being without sight. I believe these women came into my life for a reason, especially the two in the last two months. I'm very grateful to know ... Read Full Story >>
Today I got locked out of my car far from home and was truly stuck. I stood by my car wondering what In the world to do. My phone was in the car too so I wasn't able to call anyone. At that moment, a man walked by. I asked if I could borrow his phone. I found out his name is Yogi. He was so accomodating and kind, it was like he walked off KindSpring just at that moment to help. He said, "Of course, certainly. Here stand in the shade. Oh there's a bench, why don't we sit down. Yes please text your husband too and I do not mind waiting for him to call back." He was just wonderful! Because of his kindness, my husband was able to get to me on time so that I could get to my doctor appointment on time. I got Yogi's number from my husband's ... Read Full Story >>
Of course there is no news yet of Ben. Something happened on Christmas, though, that touched my heart so much that I found new hope. Ben's best friend Michael sent me a text wishing me a Merry Christmas. Since Ben disappeared, I have kept a mailing list of all his friends and send out updates as I get them. All Ben's friends are really great people and I have come to appreciate them over these months since he has been missing. I spoke to Michael on the phone not long after Ben disappeared. He said he would be happy to speak to the media if I decided to do that. (Mary Lyall of Hope4themissing.org suggested involving the media. Mary's daughter Suzanne disappeared also on March 2, but 18 years ago.) Since Michael lives hours away, this offer to drive up to speak to the press if we choose to do so was ... Read Full Story >>
365 Small Acts of Kindness in Honor of My Missing Son, Benjamin Morse Archer I'm still keeping my promise to do small acts of kindness for 365 days. I began on February 21st of this year, Ben's birthday. I haven't missed a day. The hardest part I knew would be documenting everything, and I was right. I was getting really overwhelmed and stressed by this. I didn't want to break my promise, so I compromised. I wouldn't write anything down or post blogs, but I would keep my promise by checking in with myself each night before bedtime. At first, I felt like a complete cop-out. I had promised to do this publicly. I was so ashamed, I changed every blog that talked about Buttons for Benjamin into a private admin-view only. I don't think anyone was judging me though, except for me. I'll make those blogs public again as I get ... Read Full Story >>
BUTTONS FOR BENJAMIN 365+ Small Acts of Kindness Getting outside has felt like I'm riding a huge wave. So many things are happening! Friday to Today Voice and Sight Met a young blind writer and -- finally after about 50 takes -- finished recording the first story she sent me. Voicing for someone else is 100x harder than doing my own stuff. I'm learning a lot! I'm really grateful for our connection and I hope this will help her keep writing. She's very good! We'll be doing as many stories as she needs about once a week. These are stories she wrote when she was a teenager before she went blind. I told her I would make sure to get at least one in a week until done, maybe more as I get better at it. She said when she read that she started crying. My heart just went out to her. I told her ... Read Full Story >>
I hope you’re having a beautiful day. â™¡ Here’s another light-filled ¤ Gem ¤ "This past Saturday my wife, Rebecca, was taking my son Jonah and a few friends put-put golfing for his birthday party. On the way there he saw a man with a sign asking for help. Jonah, feeling concerned for the man, immediately asked Rebecca to do something. She could read between the lines that it didn’t feel right to him that he’d be off celebrating with his friends while this man seemed unsupported…” -Ariel Nessel. Continued here: Jonah’s Birthday Wish by Ariel Nessel, on ServiceSpace.org â˜¼ Happy Birthday Jonah! â˜¼ Thank you for sharing from your heart on your birthday and, no doubt, every day. You are a very cool kid and an inspiration. ^_^ ♥. â™¡. under1000skies â˜¼ A “Giftivism” Initiative â˜¼ We are photographers, writers, artists & advocates serving and connecting homeless creatives. ... Read Full Story >>
There's a homeless young man in Portland named Oscar who I got to know over the past couple of years through his Twitter posts. I wrote to him last spring to see if there was anything we could do to help. He has an autoimmune disease and lost his job during COVID and then his home. It took months but he finally responded to my messages. He said in the heatwave of last summer he could use a fan spritzer. It sprays water as it fans. So we sent him one of those. Later he said he was sleeping on concrete and he mentioned a ground mattress. So the next month we got him that. He later mentioned how wet it is in Portland so I found him a pair of waterproof pants. He said he felt like it was Christmas all summer. Lately, he's been helping a friend who is in ... Read Full Story >>
Today I met a lovely 97-year young lady named Mary at my mom's apartment complex. As I waited for my mom, I sat in the car and waved to the folks coming and going. We all agreed it was a lovely day. Mary sat on the bench and I saw her motioning me over. I got out of the car and sat down on the bench next to her...I'm fully vaccinated:). "I'm 97," she said, "and I'm so lonely! Everyone I know has died. I am the youngest child." My heart went out to her and I just grabbed her hand and held on. And she hugged me and we talked for about ten minutes. Next thing I know she kissed my cheek. "You are the nicest lady I have met today," she said. "I'm so glad we met!" I said. I forgot to give her a peace dove, but I was wearing one of the ... Read Full Story >>
Challenged yesterday to "give away something you thought you'd never give away," I decided on a ring that I bought for myself. Married 3x (3rd time the charm 20+ years) and never got an engagement ring. Would NOT want a diamond but it was the symbol that counted.
I'm not sure why it bugged me, but it did.
Someone wrote about marrying yourself (committing to yourself) and then said, "put a ring on it." So I bought myself a moonstone ring. It's really the only thing I have other than my guitar of any value. So, since I can't give up my guitar if I want to write more songs, I decided on the ring.
It's going to my younger sis. The first time I looked at her baby face days after she was born I knew two things: 1. what love is 2. I want to be a mom. I was 7-years old.
Today we gave a monthly contribution to Sister Lucy at Maher Ashram. One day, when Sister Lucy was a young girl, she went to Delhi for the first time and saw people living on the street. She cried and asked her parents why they were there. "Why is no one helping them?" Her parents tried to explain but the complexities were too difficult as they would be for anyone, let alone a child. The little girl decided that, someday, she would do everything in her power to help. At 18 she joined a religious order but they didn't do outreach work. It took five more years to find the funds to build one home. Sister Lucy had nothing when she started except her faith, but her faith never wavered. Every time she saw someone sleeping on the street, she brought them to her house until it was full. Then she got the funds ... Read Full Story >>
Three people in my husband's work lost sisters to illness or accident in the last four years. So every year in their memory we donate to a young woman's enterprise here in the USA in each of their memories. Today's donation was to a young woman (and her husband) who run a duck bowling alley. I have no idea what that is but it looks like fun, and no ducks are actually harmed:). Every year for Valentine's Day I get to give -- this is our gift to each other. So grateful. This year we gave to Maher. We do every month but this month was extra, and I'm so glad we could. Sister Lucy's work is oceans-deep in love. They just celebrated 25 years. Now they have over 30 homes to help women and children on the street. All from one woman's dream. I adore this beautiful woman/saint. She makes ... Read Full Story >>
My youngest sister has been making masks since the beginning of the pandemic for her community and church. Each mask comes with a disposable filter. She's really great at sewing.
Yesterday her sewing machine broke. So we boxed up mine which I never learned to use. It's pretty much brand new. We sent it to her by UPS yesterday. I'm really proud of my sister and grateful for her kind heart.
â˜¼ (Image by Silviarita from Pixabay.) Today's gift was to my friend Oscar in Portland who is unhoused. I got him a $50 Kroger card so that he can buy fresh fruits and veggies. Oscar and I have been talking a lot about gut health and how important nutrition is. I told him about our Cynthia Li's Brave New Medicine and Rich Roll's microbiome series on YouTube. https://youtu.be/yjeS0Q-KDvc Oscar told me that it's really hard to get good food. Most of what is given out are stale, refined carbs. He's always grateful for the food, but he has an autoimmune disease so these kinds of foods are really making it worse. Now that spring is here, hopefully, he can get fresher produce. I told him about the book I'm reading by Will Bulsiewicz, MD called Fiber Fueled. I'm learning so much. Today is day 70 since I started learning to make meals just from plants. ... Read Full Story >>
I got a lovely surprise in the mail from friends here. I'm so very grateful for their kindness. The package included doves, incense, a crystal and bookmark and also quote cards. I'm so happy to be able to share these forward. Thank you so much!
1 Sent a personalized circular Gallifreyan painting and some handmade D&D cookie cutters to my son and his wife for their first anniversary, then left a glowing review with photos for the artist on Etsy. 2 Found handmade gifts for our "Christmas in August" celebration in two weeks when my daughter and granddaughters and their father and aunt visit. They are beautifully crafted and amazingly priced so I left a glowing review with photos. 3 My good friend's daughter announced her engagement. I've known her since she was a little girl (but only online). I sent her a handmade necklace with her name and her new fiance's and she loved it. Same deal, great review. It really helps the artists. 4 And I was able to gift my husband too. I found a company in Ukraine that is still making hand-carved wooden items and found some guitar picks that they personalized. They just arrived and I plan ... Read Full Story >>
You have no idea how powerful the words, "I believe you" can be.
I am honored to have had my story chosen to share among other survivors by this terrific organization.
End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI)
♥ 62 Gifts ♥
I made this tickler file and folders for my cousin who told me her assistant is having trouble remembering things. I hope it will be helpful. It was essential for me at every single one of my jobs.
So far I'm up to 6 gifts of 62.
More about this and the other gifts here:
Two of the six orphanages I featured on under1000skies.org now have GoFundMe pages. The young people who run the orphanages and care for the children contacted me on IG and sent me links. I was able to send a little to one, but next month I plan to start sending monthly to both. The kids made a thank you sign with my name on it. Really sweet. ♥.
We gave again to Sister Lucy's Ashram Maher which has been monthly since 2020. Her heroics during the pandemic inspired us so much.
Oscar told me he discovered he can buy frozen fruits and veg with our monthly gift and keep them in his cooler. He says these retain the freshness which is sealed in when they are frozen and last longer than some of the fresh stuff does in his tent, especially in the 100+ heat and humidity they've been experiencing.
Some recent 62-gifts update though I'll probably just call it something else. I don't ever want to stop doing this.
Created a poster for a friend.
Did some volunteer biographer transcription last week and will again tomorrow. Also some for service space on Monday.
Gave to NaNoWriMo (small amount).
Listened deeply and with all my heart to a family member and a friend, both going through difficult times. I've learned it helps to ask first, "Are we problem-solving or do you just need to vent?" I tend to want to jump in and fix things, and that may be the last thing they need.
Volunteered to be a reader for Recording Recreational Reading for the Blind.
Sent another payment this morning to Oscar via his friend, Mitch. Mitch tells me that Oscar uses the money often to help others who are homeless in Portland. One I know about is his friend who is in a wheelchair.
We sent Oscar most of a case of Right Nutrition last winter and he shared it, as always. I am trying to save up for a full case for Christmas, but it's very expensive. When it is bad weather, Oscar is able to have a full meal with one scoop by just adding water, and each case has 144 meals.
Getting just one meal from those who help in Portland takes him most of the day because he walks so slowly due to his illness, and in the winter that's especially hard because the lines are long.
Oscar sent me a kind thank you note the other day that had me in tears. He said he hadn't felt cared for like this since his parents were alive. It touched my heart. I'm grateful for our connection.
Sent my friend Oscar in Portland more masks. The air quality there has been really bad and he's gone through the 3m masks we sent.
He said his lungs, eyes, and chest hurt but now even his saliva tastes like smoke. So we sent more n95 to replace them. There's an inversion happening that is trapping the air there. If you believe in prayer or sending light, please do so for Oscar and all those who have no homes during this time. Thanks so much.
One of the orphanages in Uganda whose stories I featured last summer on under1000skies wrote to me this morning to tell me that one of their children has Ebola. His name is Masswa and he is 4-years old. He was throwing up blood and the situation is very serious. Even worse is that all of the other children in her care have been exposed. This is a new Ebola strain in Uganda. She asked me for extra $ this month which I sent. I wish I could do so much more, but I can also send love, light, and prayers, and I ask that you will too. Thank you.
Portland has been filled with smoke for the past few days from surrounding fires. My friend in Portland, Oscar @myhomelessmeals recently tweeted that he was having a hard time with the smoke.
The city was not offering shelters for the residents forced to live outside. I wrote to him and learned that his supply of masks was not adequate for keeping out the smoke.
He's already struggling so with an autoimmune disease and difficulty walking. So we got him some 3M 95 masks that he can use that also have an air filter in them.
My heart goes out to him. He said today it's a bit better.