Nico came into our classroom bubbling and full of zest as only some five year olds do. Sweetly he strolled through over to where Jaxson stood lining up the Hot Wheel cars. Rather than getting into a verbal conversation with Jaxson whose autism affects his ability to engage in meaningful social conversation , Nico sat down and paralleled whatever Jaxson was doing.
When Jaxson motioned for the car that was in front of Nico, he rolled it over then smiled broadly. Jaxson soon giggled and rolled it back along the table top. Back to Jaxson, then back to Nico. Over the course of ten minutes the car zoomed back and forth,
When I tapped on the bell ringer signaling clean up time, both boys left their car game and sat together on the carpet. Nico put his arm out and Jaxson nestled in beside him, shoulders together.
No spoken words just gentle acceptance, and for me my eyes misted as I smiled wide.
I heard these words as I finished up in the women's bathroom. The petite framed octogenarian in the larger handicapped stall was so sincere, very humbled, and crying ever so lightly. Feeling empowered, I was ready. As she had fallen into the crevice beside the commode, I made the decision to crawl under. After adjusting her undergarments, I assisted her in coming back to stand. She had tripped over her shopping bags by her feet. Together we did a brief once-over of each other's personages and then opened the door. I supported her weight briefly while she did a visual in the mirror. After combing her hair, putting on a new lipstick, straightening her jacket, she left the women's restroom ahead of me. Being alert to a diminutive angel in distress, and helping in adjusting her wings and halo -- what a blessed feeling. ... Read Full Story >>
TJ is one of our bonus year third graders. He came to our school site last August with facial scarring, a pronounced limp, and braces on both of his legs due to a major car accident that kept him out of school for six months. TJ is presently physically limited in his abilities to navigate our school campus. Does that slow him down much...Nope! TJ has,along with his Dad, Reggie, and his paraprofessional Sue, started a Flashlight Science Club. Kids are given flashlights to check out the darkened science room, full of embalmed bugs, snake shed, antlers, petrified wood, and other treasures. Weekly as the students gather, TJ takes the microphone, and step by step shares detailed instruction on the proper use of the small flashlights. The no longer used space, aka science room is then darkened to only a single surface light above the exit, and for the next 30-45 minutes, ... Read Full Story >>
My colleague, Susan has a huge hearted hubby who is once again on the front lines of battling these current fires engulfing Northern CA. As a Chief Battalion leader his job is very dangerous and his time away from his family is often for weeks at a time during "fire season". Before he leaves, Ethan, Susan and each of the three teens hold one another and thoughtfully each shares the best of their traditions, each one promising to do the chores that will keep the family a well oiled machine while Pops is away. Ethan has brought back misplaced animals that are now added into the family fur family, including a fire scarred dessert tortoise, two parrots, and a small herd of Nubian goats. Susan keeps her cel phone on alert for Ethan's text updates. His white substantial facial hair often is mistaken for that of Santa Claus by children who are carried ... Read Full Story >>
The "Weeding Party" Got Together For Their Beloved 92 Year Old Neighbor To Surprise Her In a Sweet Way
Our cross lots neighbors, a family of six, four kids under the age of 12, are outside working in the yard of Eula, their south edged, 92 year old neighbor, while she is away for the weekend. They are holding a "Weeding Party" to surprise her. So far, they have unearthed lots of nature's treasures including long ago disposed of glass bottles, aluminum cans, and shredded fabric pieces. Terence, the patriarch and Melanie, the matriarch have built a large bin, and are in the initial stage of composting four large bags of brown and green waste, Sarah, the eldest of the four kids, and Stephen the next in line (ages 12 and 10 respectively) are making a Welcome Back sign and cookies to leave on Eula's stoop. What a grand surprise it will be. Eula, who is no longer able to stoop to weed successfully, loves her yard and is often outside on ... Read Full Story >>
My soon-to-be daughter-in-law Maria, who lives in Raleigh, NC, found a mother mixed breed dog tied up to a bicycle rack with 7 puppies near her in a large tub.
Now, three weeks later, she has found homes for Momma "Minnie Moo" and her puppies. Maria brought the puppies to a no-kill shelter where they were all held together until the puppies were ready to be weaned and adopted. They were also flea dipped and vaccinated, and Mama dog was spayed. Then Maria put up flyers and spoke with family and friends at church and in their community. She raised $500 for the shelter in donations for their "stay".
I am grateful for her persistence in turning what could have been a tragedy into a dog wagging (p)aw-esome ending. 🐾💕🐾💕
Colby has Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva. His social and school relationships are increasingly limited to those times when he is well enough to join his classmates in the 7th-grade classroom, using a stander that he has outgrown. Born addicted to opiates, he has a wonderful foster family that has cared lovingly for him his entire life.
The 34 students in his Positive Psychology class recently held ten days of bake sales during a myriad of after school activities, manned each day by a different team of 3-4 students along with Mrs. Mc Bryant, their devoted instructor.
Through their efforts, $1,950 dollars have so far been raised, enough for a suitably larger stander for Colby to use when he comes to the school site. Friends "standing up for Colby", a living lesson in kindness.
The Grammy looking woman dropped off her wee one with fifteen minutes left in the church service. "Please take good care of her, bless", she implored my daughter who is the Infant Child Care lead. Knowing that in her gut something was not at all right, Kelsey accepted the child, with a single diaper, a six-ounce bottle and a can of formula. Forty-five minutes passed. All of the other babies were picked up by their care givers. Knowing the baby's name to be Abrielle, with a cell phone number scribbled down, Kelsey alerted the church nursery care coordinator. Another thirty minutes passed, with calls being made by the church staff to the given cell phone number. Kelsey maintained her place in the nursery, refusing to delegate her care of Abrielle until a 'safe sanctuary' was established. Both pastors came to pray with Kelsey and the baby, the emergency care county personnel having been ... Read Full Story >>
My student Sammy, pictured below, and his Mom offer a multi-generational service of kindness and sweet snacks in their weekly visits to Rancho Sante Fe. The duo make seasonal fruited sweet breads and take them to our local Senior Center after school on Fridays. There Sammy and his mom, Rae Anne hold court while playing card games with the Golden Gang of Seniors, Sammy and the Golden Gals play Hearts, Fish, and a definitive favorite, Gin Rummy.
Sammy is learning to play simple tunes on the piano accompanied by 2 of the Golden Guys, former professional musicians. Sometimes my friend, Maize, who just celebrated her 95th birthday, serenades the musicians with well remembered Broadway show tunes.
Sammy serves the sweetbreads along with special napkins, and they all enjoy an afternoon "snack" before the Golden Gang heads out for their individual studio units.
Sammy and his mom haven't missed but one Friday in the past nine months. Sammy is truly a "sweetheart".
My precious mentee at 24 is facing a stomach cancer diagnosis. The city hospital where she is now at awaiting treatment bustles with dozens of uninsured, young and old oncology patients. In the midst of it all is Stella, wearing her overalls, the pockets filled with lip balm and sweets, as the ward greeter and volunteer extraordinaire. Stella spends part of her every weekend on the 5th floor, in the oncology ward. She has her alcove where a few of her"LOVE" tools of care and ministry, are kept. As I came by to see my mentee, Stella was soon quietly, reverently listening, as she was walking along beside us in the hallway. Her notepad in hand, Stella inquired of us if there were items that we would like to borrow. Nail polish? Foot cream? Scented forehead mask? Or perhaps a Word Puzzle magazine? " I hope you linger and make some memories," ... Read Full Story >>
During times of challenge showers of kindness are forecast. As my daughter was stopped at a red light at the intersection closest to our family home she was hit full on from behind. The other driver has accepted full responsibility, and fortunately my daughters car will be fixed. The bystanders who gathered around both of these young drivers were a shower of kindness supporting each young woman before and during police reports being taken, tow trucks arriving. Thoughtfully, one of the off duty police officers present on the scene, volunteered to transport the other driver as she is now without transportation and 45 minutes from home. Grateful for the hugs shared which comforted these women, the warmth of sitting in the rear of the police car; a very welcomed relief from standing out in the pouring rain. I am thankful for opportunity to leave my work early in order to support my daughter ... Read Full Story >>
Last Tuesday as I was seeing my husband off on his return trip back to California, I was notified by text from the airline that my plane,though at the terminal,was having mechanical issues that would require a day long adventure ending up in Baltimore at 9 pm. Missy, " Lady Bug lover" was my seat mate on the plane to Baltimore, and she invited me to be her house guest, even though we had been strangers prior to being seat mates on the plane. I felt that I was called to accept her offer and with my overnight bag in hand, Missy drove me to her lovely home in the suburbs of Baltimore. I found ladybugs in her son's bathroom, though it is now the middle of January, and the ladybug population is typically dormant. As a child, Missy's family nicknamed her "Ladybug" as she was often out of doors finding her ... Read Full Story >>
At the gas station I saw a family of three: Melanie, and two wee ones. The tire on their vehicle was flat, and they had no way to change it. Fortunately, there were highway workers returning from the job site. They had stopped at the gas station for the refilling of the company truck. "No problem for us," the three men told Melanie. With a community effort, the tire was changed and the donut spare tire put on. The guys gave Melanie instructions to get to a tire repair shop up the road in order to get the nail out from the tire tread. The baby was last seen gurgling in her car seat as Melanie and her brood continued on their way, east along the highway. Grateful I could help them get back on their journey home. ... Read Full Story >>
Seth is a vivacious ten year old who loves geology, and biology, bio-chemistry, and most especially rocks. He attends a private school and I have the pleasure of working with him after school twice a month to help him become less anxiously consumed about his frequent stuttering blocks, focusing on rhythmic breathing and prosody strategies.. Last month Seth shared with me his idea of each of us bringing "gifts from our heart" to our therapy session. We then exchange our heart gifts,and talk about why we shared what we did. A great self discovery tool. Today he brought me a heart shaped composite stone from his personal rock pile. I brought a clean paper sack and we collected 7 cactus babies from my Mama cacti for Seth to plant later this week after their calluses form. I am inspired to share this idea, as Seth and I discussed it earlier today at our ... Read Full Story >>
Two weeks ago, on a Sunday, as I flew home from Georgia, I noticed a young girl in the row (18E) across from me. She was a bit younger than my own daughter, maybe 15 or 16 years of age. Her demeanor was very purposefully seeking, it was from her eyes that there was a tremendous outpouring of connection. Those beautiful blue eyes, the "window to her soul" was what my instincts vibrated with. Seated next to her on either sides were two much older adults, a woman and a man. The girl followed me to the airline bathroom. She motioned to go into the lavatory ahead of me, which I allowed, as it was instinctual. She was quick to exit, and she said, "please use this one." rather than the second lavatory that was also unoccupied. As I entered, I noticed a small note on a paper towel, written with what ... Read Full Story >>
The lady was on the wide walkway as were my hubby and I. Her white-muzzled dog was behind her moving slowly. The dog caught my gaze and he grinned in a precious toothy tongue lolling way. I smiled back and asked if I could pet him. The lady nodded and as I reached out to pet the dog, he met my hand with a doggie kiss.
"These are for you," the lady said as she then handed me a bouquet from her cutting garden just beyond the walkway," for seeing my dog's beautiful soul".
Tonight back in our hotel room the flowers now in a vase, I am reminded of the importance of seeing others beautiful souls, furry friends included.
This morning twenty four second graders, one amazing Dad, Mrs. C. and I gathered together to plant a tree. In clumps from the pick axed hole, clay soil came out, and in went soil amendment, pine bark, tree trimmed wood chips,,and a classroom full of purposefully scripted good wishes. Blessed by each child, our California Redwood tree "baby" was then top dressed with part of the original clay soil.
When these now seven year and eight year olds are graduating from our local high school they can return to celebrate the tree they planted, ten years later. Each child wrote a wish for the tree that was placed into the hole prior to the covering up of the root ball.
Dr. Bazette, the father of one of my past students, is a trauma surgeon at our local hospital. His shift had ended when on his way back up the highway he came across a horrific scene. Two trucks stuck together. The second one hinged under the severed air brakes of the first. The driver immobilized and alive, his legs pinned inside his cab. The local firefighters valiantly, over an hour's time manage to cut away the cab of the second truck, and lift the rear of the first truck, thereby gaining access to the driver. For the entire time, Dr. Bazette is actively on duty, supporting and comforting the stunned driver. After he is freed his body collapses, and Dr. Bazette springs into action. In the Life Flight ambulance Dr. Bazette performs CPR on the young man for over 20 minutes, and revives him in preparation for the quick journey back to ... Read Full Story >>
Today I was at the regional non-profit blood center donating Source Plasma. My seat mate Tony was a lovely gentleman there for his 15 gallon milestone. Rather than hold a 65th birthday party he has invited his extended family to donate blood and blood based products including platelets, plasma, bone marrow, and source plasma in his honor. Over the course of this his "birthday week" 35 of his closest buds will be sharing the Gift of Life. What a life-changing birthday gift these people are giving! I signed my hubby up for an honorary Platelets donation on Tuesday, his first one, in Tony's honor. Every donation helps . In so many ways, these acts of kindness work to pay life forward for those in crisis. What would happen if we all did something similar? ... Read Full Story >>
Sweetie is an aptly named canine Read-a-Loud partner who spends every other Friday of the month in the Children's Area of our local library. Earlier today, I was so fortunate to be nearby when she was partnering with a second grader who was reading a Magic Tree House mystery. Every time the child paused for Sweetie to acknowledge his good sounding out of the most challenging words, and his careful phrasing, she would softly lick his hand which was holding the book. With his mom in the background, Sweetie and the young boy shared a 10 minute partnership, and he was rewarded by Sweetie's rapt attention to his every word. Next Sweetie had an appointment with twins who took turns reading from a shared read aloud of poetry by Shel Silverstein. With each girl giggling over the words, Sweetie was seen to be smiling with her tongue lolling a bit as ... Read Full Story >>
My opportunities to serve in our community include ushering at our local community theater. Last night during the run of "DeathTrap", I spent time with 16 "Golden Girls" and 1 "Golden Guy" as they came by the caravan system from their Senior Living Park, to spend an evening of early dinner and theater. Maize, who is 94 was the group's coordinator. She came with canes in each hand, leaning on one to direct the flow of the seniors to their assigned seats. When I offered my arm to help her into her seat, she complimented me on my manners. Ray stood when it was announced that all Veterans would be recognized, proudly stooping a little less as he rose to attention. I offered Vera a seat cushion, as her diminutive frame compromises her ability to see over patrons who are seated in front of her. The twins, Leona and Lily, dressed in ... Read Full Story >>
Today I had an aaah ha from one of my second graders, Luther. As we were walking and talking on the way back to my room he asked me "What superfood do you want to have and why?".
I shared that I wished to eat sweet and salty things with no calorie counts.
Luther suggested that I only "eat" what I like to eat, like kind words about myself, peaceful things that fill up my heart, and that I take time to eat slowly and with lots of love feelings around me.
His family has a family ritual that they practice every weekend morning at breakfast. They put bites of love into their mouths in the form of their breakfast morsels, a little goes a long way, then take the time to create love notes to themselves to share at the family dinner hour.
It is Luther's favorite family treat.
"Hope you had a good day". "Love you" "Peace Be With You".
My daughter and I have just returned from an adventure. We headed over to our local laundromat near the community college. Kelsey and I had made up small clear plastic baggies of 8 quarters each with a Smile card inside, and we brought three baggies to leave in plain view. We entered when the laundromat had just opened at eight am. The place was very quiet and areas to set out our baggies were easily found. We then went next door to get ourselves a coffee and pastry. As we were paying we heard the squeal of delight. A lady with two little preschoolers had found one of our LOVE leaves of quarters. She was sharing with her young sons how some kind person had given her a special gift by placing quarters for her first load of laundry right in plain view by the commercial washer. Kelsey and I sat outside ... Read Full Story >>
Patjos, this is ❤️💞💕💗❤️💞💕 from me to you. Thank you for your gift of a beating heart.Love is All We Need.
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 >>
Sylvie and Bobby were life partners for 54 years and his financial success provides for her care now that he has transitioned. Every morning as the sun rises, she does her ritual of meet and greet with those she encounters at the lovely wooded, end of life residential cottages facilities at which she now lives independently. As she requires more care, she will move into the next level of care provided here, but for now this is her daily ritual. Sylvie is nicknamed " Sunshine" or "Sylvie Sunshine" for her radiance of love that beams through her presence in any room. She literally draws others into her loving embrace and hugs with her entire 120 pound being. Strangers at the facility smile broadly after Sylvie gives them her "smiling treatment". The joy when Sylvie is around is palpable. I've known her now for over thirty five years,and my memories of her loving ... Read Full Story >>
Feel Better 💗
My daughter Kelsi,was sobbing silently as we went through the coffee shop Drive thru. She had received tragic news about a close friend via text.
The young employee Melly was someone I knew from her time at our school site, at least 15 years ago. My daughter went to a different school district, and had not ever met Melly.
What a Kind surprise when my distraught daughter' s smoothie came out with a LOVEly blessing. Melly, thank you for easing my Kelsi's immediate pain.
Today is a blissfully wet day here in Raleigh, NC. By the entrance to our hotel there is Patrick Landry, employee hired by the GM to meet and greet the arriving guests. On this day, Patrick, between his scheduled trips transporting the hotel guests to and from the Raleigh-Durham Airport, hands out personal sized umbrellas, at times sheltering those who with luggage ladened arms, greatly need an extra hand. Patrick is truly in his element today. As we were in the lobby earlier, there he was singing "Rainy Days and. Mondays NEVER Get Me Down", adding his own lyrical elaboration. Born of sharecroppers in rural Alabama, one of 13 children, Patrick has worked here at our hotel since 1987. He started as a bus boy, working his way up to room service, after a stint as housekeeping staff. His love of the rain is what gives him special childlike wonder. Remembering ... Read Full Story >>
Dear Mrs. B;
When I graduate in 43 days you will be there
Like when I came in from recess covered in oozing mud
You cleaned me up and didn't ask what happened
When I stopped sniffling and told you
You offered me warm wet wipes
Then listened to what I wanted to do.
You helped me face those bullies
We called my parents
The 6 parents and 4 kids all came into school
We all came to conference in your office
The kids had to pledge to do kind acts with me
We all planted the garden boxes together.
Thank you for your respect and your love
Forever your friend, formerly your student,
We became both recipient and also giver earlier today. A beautiful bouquet of calla lilies was shared with my hubby and I as we were on a walkabout in San Francisco. The giver was a gardener who was consciously gifting his beautiful blooms today in honor of what would have been his late wife's 75th birthday. "Para ti mis nuevos amigos. Please share these humble flowers, my wife's favorites in honor of her, in celebration of you, both named Lily. Love to share" As I took the flowers he kissed my cheek, pulling my husband in for a hearty embrace, bending oh so gently over to pet our small fluffy dog. " From me to you, mi familia es muy especial" After another sweet embrace we strolled past his neighborhood and went into Golden Gate Park. Sitting alone on a park bench was a blanket draped, weathered, and fragile appearing woman-child with her belongings in a ... Read Full Story >>