While checking out at the grocery store I had been visiting with the woman behind me. She was riding in one of those shopping carts with the basket in front. The basket held just a few items: some apples, corn, a loaf of bread, some canned goods, and a bunch of gorgeous coral colored roses. Several times while we were visiting I caught her looking at those lovely roses and smiling. I commented to her that they were, indeed, very lovely roses. She said, "I really do love them, they're my favorite color. Well, just as I was leaving, I heard her say to the cashier, "You can put those roses back, I really shouldn't afford them." I turned around and asked her if she would allow me to get them for her. She shook her head and said, "Why would you want to do that? You certainly don't have to." ... Read Full Story >>
This morning I took breakfast out to a friend and her family. They are going through a challenging time and must move out of the home they have loved and lived in for 30 years. Many other friends and many extended family members were coming to clean out all the kitchen cabinets, clear closets, help pack boxes, fill bags for donating, paint bedrooms, do yard work, etc. Hopefully, with this one last push, their home will be ready to sell. Though they have a new place all lined up, leaving this one is very bittersweet.
I knew many would be hungry by mid morning so I arrived with lots of breakfast burritos, fresh fruit, and glazed carrot cake nut bread (some sliced for today and a few loaves to put in the freezer of their new home). I was glad I had prepared a fair amount of food as more folks showed up than they had expected. But everyone had a job and all were busy. With so many of us working together, we helped lighten this family’s load in so many ways. So grateful for this opportunity.
It's been a very cold, windy day here so we had lots of drop-in guests while I was volunteering [at the homeless shelter]. I gave out numerous snack bags and cups of coffee and hot cocoa. I also gave out lots of info on where some could find housing. One of the gentleman asked that I pray with him for his wife, currently in the hospital. I was honored to do that. Many smiles and thank you's were exchanged as well as many blessings shared.
Went through some of my books today and got a couple of bags ready to take to our Little Free Library tomorrow. Ours is getting used so much. So gratifying to see folks taking books or just sitting out in the chairs around it in our Community Garden and reading! Grateful for books and grateful for reading!!
In my recent visits to Little Free Libraries, I have noticed that, once again, the choices for young children were really in short supply. So went to the nearest Dollar Store and really stocked up with many items to put together some more literacy activity packets. I have done this in the past and, as a retired educator, I feel that having fun literacy activities for children to do in the summer months is essential. And children love to do them! Packets will include large activity books, fun stickers to put on each page they complete, colored pencils and sharpeners, mini notebooks with there own pencils (used these little notebooks to get my 3rd graders into journaling), and some great bookmarks with drawings of animals found in this area with facts about those animals on the other side. All are sealed in a baggie and tied up with a Mindy dove. ... Read Full Story >>
I was called to go do some shopping for my Father yesterday. I had other plans, but he needed some clothes and a pair of shoes. Things do wear out, but sometimes he gives some of his things away or throws them out as he often doesn’t recognize them as his own. So, off I went to Target. I approached a kind, young woman, who works in the men’s department there and simply explained that I needed to buy some things for my Father, but there was a really good possibility that I would have to return them as he was ill and often doesn't care for new things at all. It was to be the start of a very profound conversation. She said that my Dad sounded a lot like her husband about new things. He was in a rehab center for those with very early onset dementia. I then told ... Read Full Story >>
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!
As we were getting off of the train yesterday and my husband was handing our gratuity to our car attendant, I also handed him a peace dove. (KindSpring member, Mindy, makes them and hands them out a lot). He was so pleased and got so excited! It seems that during his slow times while on the train he does origami too. And he makes frogs much like the one pictured here. He reached into his shirt pocket and handed one of his frogs to me. Now it was my turn to be pleased! Another great kindness connection made on the train. You can make them just anywhere, my friends!
The Wings For Life Back-to-School Party was a huge success! About 250 attended and we had lots of music, singing, craft making, and really fun games. 25 pizzas, over 600 cookies, gallons of lemonade, and school supplies and books to fill 150 backpacks were all gone by the time this celebration ended. Wings for Life, now an international organization, exists to provide whatever support is needed for the families of those who are incarcerated. What this amazing group does for countless people all of the world is far too extensive to list here, but can easily be found online. Besides offering help for families during the time their loved one is away, there are many programs and events that help the families to connect with, and support, each other. Breaking the cycle of incarceration, which often occurs, is one of WFL’s biggest goals. I’m so grateful for all the opportunities this amazing Wings ... Read Full Story >>
Have great fun finding Little Free Libraries around town or when we travel. Have often found many of them have very few selections for children. Items with kids in mind seemed in order. Here's my basket of goodies. It's filled with activity books, colored pencils (with sharpeners), children's books, bookmarks, stickers, and simple jigsaw puzzles They are tied up in a baggie with ribbon and, of course, a dove!
May 7-11 is National Teacher Appreciation Week here in the US! Both my husband and I are retired teachers so we wanted to do something. We decided to make an anonymous donation to DonorsChoose, a nonprofit, charitable organization for schools. Teachers who would like to have special projects funded go to this site and apply. Donors choose which projects to fund and how much to give. According to their website, ‘DonorsChoose was founded in 2000 by a high school teacher in the Bronx. DonorsChoose.org empowers public school teachers from across the country to request much-needed materials and experiences for their students.’ We feel grateful and honored to be able to help and to say, ‘“Thank You!” in this way. The donations given through this program have enriched classrooms all across the United States and provided both teachers and students with connections to the greater community. If you donate funds this way, the ... Read Full Story >>
I am taking a piece of my husband's birthday cake to my dad. My father, known for his sweet tooth, always has dessert. I remember when he would take all his grandchildren out for breakfast and order them each a piece of their favorite pie for their breakfast dessert! I don't think our daughter ever quite understood why we didn't do that at home. :)
Time to pay some bills this morning. I will be adding an extra amount to the utility bills. This will go into something we have here called The Good Neighbor Fund.
It's a fund that helps those struggling to pay their gas and electricity bills make those payments.
Some of it also helps shelters keep their utilities up and running. With temperatures so cold here, this is more important now than ever. Just a little extra on our part, can make a huge difference in the lives of others.
While chatting with a cashier yesterday as I was purchasing a little tree, some lights, and decorations to put together for my Dad, he asked what I would be doing with this little tree. I explained that it was not for me, but for my Dad, as he no longer lived at home. The cashier just stopped and looked at me with the most compassionate and kindest look and shared with me that his Grandfather couldn't live in their home any longer either. He said his Grandfather was living now in a facility for those who had dementia and Alzheimer's. So I shared with him that my Dad was on the same journey. We talked about the difficult challenges that come with this relentless disease, not only for those with the illness, but for their families, as well. He had finished ringing up my purchases, but then he said, "Since this ... Read Full Story >>
This past weekend, in one of KindSpring member '"ThankfulTK's" always wonderful and informative posts, he wrote about the famous American painter, Winslow Homer, (1821-1896). Since Art History class in college, I had always admired his work and I was fortunate to see an extensive exhibition of his work when I was in my early 30's. It was at this event that I purchased a print of his painting, 'Snap the Whip', shown below. I had it framed and until I retired from teaching it always hung in my classroom. I thought it truly captured the freedom and fun of childhood. These young boys playing this game are not even wearing shoes! During my last year of teaching, there was a young woman In her first year of teaching right next door to me and we got to be good friends. She had been an art student before switching to education, so her ... Read Full Story >>
Made a decision this morning to reach out to my ex-brother-in-law. Divorce from my sister was a bitter one and she was left to raise two young children on her own. That was all many years ago and there has not been any contact to speak of. But sadly and very tragically, his brother quite suddenly transitioned last week. Have gotten a special card and will write him this afternoon. Regardless of what happened in the past, he has lost his brother and he is grieving.
Kindness Received-Kindness Given. Sunday, the gentleman who donated our Sanctuary flowers gifted me with one of the arrangements as he said he appreciates all that I do. I was so touched and gladly thanked him and took them home. Today I took them up to my Dad. He loves flowers and he was so glad to have these in his room. Thought they were lovely, too, and I was so glad to share them with him!
We were down at the beach and trying to find a place to park in one of the numerous, and somewhat pricey, public parking lots. We were trying to get down to the beach in time to watch the sunset - one of my all time favorite things to do. After several failed attempts, we finally found one spot in the last lot so we pulled into the only space available. As we were on our way to pay the price of parking there, a woman came up to us and said she had just paid for two hours (all the time we needed) but she had just been called back home and asked if we would like to have her parking pass. She refused to take any money for it and insisted that we take it. We gladly accepted it and thanked her for her kindness. It was truly a "paying it forward" experience that we have ... Read Full Story >>
Our high school youth group held a very clever fund raiser at church yesterday. They had a Dessert Auction! It was the kick off fund raiser to help them travel to a nation wide conference with other high schoolers next summer. I contributed a couple of pies - a blueberry and a french apple. Each fetched a nice sum to add to their trip account.
Some of the kids were the auctioneers, others walked the desserts around all the tables so we could better see what we were bidding on, and others delivered the desserts to highest bidders. The younger children had made colorful, animal shaped bidding paddles for us to use when bidding.
It was such a fun event! And it was so wonderful to see the joy in the faces of these young people, knowing they had done well. A good amount of money was raised. And, even more importantly, all of us had worked together to help this special group of young folks. A good time was had by all!
As I was on my way up to see my father yesterday, I found myself getting a bit anxious. It was the first time I was going to see him since he moved to a different room in an assisted living facility on Monday. I was not sure what to expect. So I decided to interrupt my anxiety with some gratitude. I was so grateful that the move had finally happened. By all accounts, he had been through a rough couple of days, but he was beginning to settle in, and I was so grateful for that, too. Doing that preemptive gratitude really helped me to stop that feeling of uncertainty and it made it easier to proceed. I decided that I would just accept whatever awaited me with more gratitude and deal with it as best as I could. It turned out that I had a lovely visit! My dad was ... Read Full Story >>
Always on a mission to find as many Little Free Libraries as possible.We were able to locate this one during our recent stay in Taos. Located in a residential area at the edge of a large park, and painted in many bright colors, it was very easy to spot. Husband, who is great help with maps and directions, is the one who actually spotted it first. iPad directions were a bit sketchy.
As I always travel with a tote bag full of books in the car, and the library was a little under stocked, we filled it up and were on our way. Have learned to always check the LFL site map before we travel out of town. Those LFL’s are everywhere!
I'm coming to the end of this very full day with a heart full of gratitude. We then attended a lovely memorial service for the wife of a friend who works with my husband. She was a lovely woman and lived in the room next door to where my Dad now lives. She had the same illness as my dad-vascular dementia. We got to know her in the almost two and a half years he has lived there. But our real connection was with her husband. It was by his recommendation, when we were just about out of choices for a place for my dad, that we visited the facility where his wife was living. The moment we stepped in, we knew it was just perfect for dad and our search was over. We will be forever grateful for his help in guiding us to that place. Dad's place is very near where service ... Read Full Story >>
Went to my hairdresser's salon today and saw 5 paper trees, much like the one here, set up as giving trees. They have partnered up with a family near their salon who has lost their home and everything in it due to black mold. Luckily the family was able to relocate, but they have nothing.
There was a tree for each family member (Mom, Dad., Daughter, Son, and a Grandfather). Each star has the name of one of the family members, and each of the decorations have what they each need. Chose a gift idea from each tree.
Once purchased, will wrap and tag with their name, and return to place it under the tree. We can also make financial donations, which I have already done, to the salon owner. They need lots of help and possibly will need assistance with health care. Blessings for her and her staff for their giving. And blessings for that dear family.
Mario Calderón is a toy maker from Venezuela. Stopping by his booth at the International Folk Art Market is always a must! He welcomes everyone with his warm and wonderful smile and an invitation to play!
His whimsical wooden toys are all exquisitely hand carved and brilliantly hand painted. Each toy is uniquely envisioned and created by him. Truly, he and these delightful creations spread a very special kindness that comes right from his heart.
His creativity is driven by a mission that is twofold. Certainly, a big part of his work is to bring joy and wonder to children everywhere. But just as important is his desire to help grown ups remember the fun and innocence of childhood, hopefully rekindling the playfulness in the child that lives within us all.
Calderón’s amazing creations continue to manifest his worthy mission in children and adults alike, always with lots of smiles and lots of FUN!
I stopped by after church today to visit a friend who just had hip replacement surgery. She is in a rehab facility now and will be there for several weeks. She’s having a rather rough adjustment. She’s still uncomfortable from the surgery and very unhappy with the food, so she’s not eating. Knowing that a mutual friend of ours was also on their way to see her, I stepped into the hallway and gave her a call. I was happy to let our friend know that food was on its way!
I’ve recently been working with a Project SHINE group that provides needed assistance to classrooms at a nearby Elementary School. Project SHINE (Support, Healthcare, INtervention, and Education) partners with schools and helps provide needed supplies to students and teachers. And, by the way, the school we’re helping is where I went to 1st grade!
New Mexico postcards and stamps are for a couple of classrooms that have pen pals in another state. Lots of fun lessons in writing, reading, geography, art, and even math are in store for these young children. As a retired teacher myself, I was more than happy to provide the supplies needed for this worthwhile learning.
Today is another day on the path of healing by being good to myself and following doctor's orders. But also doing some acts of kindness as I sit here with my foot up. Have already sent out several email notes to friends and family that are struggling due to health and/or other issues. Found some extra funds in our grocery budget as February ended and have requested a list of what items are most needed for our drop in guests at church. Will shop next week.
Will also work on my block for the Pieces for Peace Quilt this afternoon. Even though I can't really go anywhere for awhile, a big part of caring for my self is also doing what I can for others. Just part of the circle of caring for one another. That is just what we do here at
KindSpring, my friends!
We were without a dryer recently for several weeks so we found ourselves at one of the local laundromats once a week.
We noticed on our first visit that there were quite a few parents with young children also doing laundry and often lots of folks just seeking shelter from our cold winter weather
. So we started bringing some snacks to leave on the folding counters.
This time of year has found us enjoying the late Summer’s bounty. Local markets and generous friends have offered us such gorgeous produce! Photo above is a very small portion of last week’s “harvest”. Most were eaten fresh, right from local fields and gardens. So delicious!
And, after a couple days of work, there are several bags of chilies, tomatoes, and peaches in our freezer. I used the eggplant in Greek moussaka. Enjoyed it with friends and family and froze the leftovers for another time.
So very grateful for Nature’s glorious bounty. So very grateful for local growers and generous friends. Also, very grateful for all the future sharings that this harvest has provided.