As my 56th lap around the sun nears its completion I have chosen to borrow an idea from some on here, and others have done…complete one act of kindness for each lap. Today I completed four. This morning I opted for a small, local coffee shop, rather than the national chain. I wanted to randomly pay for someone’s coffee. Since they didn’t take cash (a covid thing) , I purchased a gift card. I gave the gift card and a Smile Card to the barista and suggested what she might do with both. Then this evening, while standing in line at WF, I noticed a young lady behind me with a few bagels. I asked if she’d let me pay for them. In a heavy German accent, she declined. I didn’t want to force it, but I told her she would really be helping me out and I explained to her her ... Read Full Story >>
Today I had lunch with Cynthia, a former student of mine. The go-to restaurant I use for events like this is Merit Vegetarian. it's a good introduction to vegan food and everyone I've brought there has loved it. As I was waiting for my friend to arrive, I overheard someone saying they needed to go to their car to retrieve cash in order to pay for something. When they stepped outside, I spoke to the staff and offered to pay their bill. As it turned out it was just for a piece of cake and I asked them to just add it to my bill. I handed the cashier a Smile Card, asking them to give it to the man. When he came back with his money the man was pleasantly surprised. I thought I had done a good deed, but there were more surprises to come. Cynthia and I were sitting enjoying a ... Read Full Story >>
The first stop on my nearly 25 mile bicycle ride today was the post office. I had four packages with Smile Cards to mail out, so I was already in a pretty good mood:). Cathy, who is one of the kindest and sweetest people I've met, is the postal worker who seems to help me out almost every time. She said, "it's always good to see you." I was carrying a sandwich baggie with 2 peanut butter cookies that I had made the previous night. I asked if she liked peanut butter cookies and she said, "of course!" I offered them to her and she gladly accepted. Then I thought, wait...I have some heart pins in my bag. I took one out and gave it to her. She was so excited and couldn't stop smiling. There was a customer next to me, who gladly accepted my offer of a heart pin, too. I ... Read Full Story >>
Today was a big day at our school. 337 of us were tested for the Covid-19 antibodies! 336 tests came back negative and one test showed that someone did have Covid-19 somewhere between 3 weeks and 3 months ago. So, we were all in a safe zone...at least for today. So, while I'm teaching my class via zoom, my colleague in the room next door peeked her head in and asked if I was teaching. I said yes, but I sensed something was wrong so I asked her what was up. She told me that her brother passed away today. She told me about their troubled relationship, she hadn't seen or spoken to him in many, many years. But she also spoke how there was comfort in knowing that he was on this Earth; now that was gone. I just listened. And then I said, "if it'd help, and you want, I'll ... Read Full Story >>
While a friend and I were dining at a "new to me" vegan restaurant, Simon, as his name turned out to be, approached us. He asked if we had a dollar to help him in his bid to find a meal. I went to my wallet and, knowing that one dollar would not buy Simon much, but that that $10 could get him something like the burrito I was eating at the time, I offered him the ten instead. We started talking and Simon said, "I think I saw you when you were much younger!" I replied, "yeah, maybe even in a previous life." Then Simon asked if we'd like a bottle of water. Since my glass was empty, I felt the need to accept his kindness and say yes. As Simon dug into the cooler he was wheeling, I noticed that rather than the normal ice you would see in ... Read Full Story >>
As I was waiting for a friend outside of a Starbucks a man approached me. Stumbling and slurring his words, in a language that sounded different than English, all I could make out was "egg rolls," as he pointed across the street as a Jack in the Box. Without getting too close (I was wearing a mask and he wasn't), I made sure he safely crossed the street. The only way to order food was through the drive-thru. I walked up to where one would place an order and soon realized that a car would be needed to trigger the system. Soon after, an auto arrived. I moved out of the way so the car could pull up to the speaker. Soon I heard a voice through the speaker, "may I take your order?" I approached the car and asked if I could place an order ahead of them. The young ladies in ... Read Full Story >>
After waking with a slight sore throat, with a function of nearly 300 people that I was to attend, I thought it best to get a rapid covid test. I made an appointment for 12:15 pm. I arrived around noon and was told that I had to wait in line, even though I had an appointment. A little more than six hours later I finally received my test. Of course, I didn't receive my results (negative:)) until it was too late and I missed the function I was to attend. In fact, I didn't get my results until today around 11 am. And the only reason is because of Alexandra, who answered my call. After being on hold for nearly an hour. At the helpline of the company that did my test. As she took all of my information, we chatted about everything from the weather (she's in Chicago) to football. I found ... Read Full Story >>
I love my life and what I get to do every single day...leave impressions on young minds :) I received this gift of an email from a student a while back <3.
"I am really sorry for crying today; it was mainly because I was afraid my mom was going to get really mad (she told me this morning that if I broke my water bottle, she would be mad because it was rather expensive and then someone broke it).
But, I am really thankful that you were so nice and gave me a slip from the positivity jar; it really cheered me up and helped me get through the rest of my day!"
I'm trying to do what my heart says, rather than waiting for my brain to give permission.
As I was standing in line at Safeway the other day, there was a gentleman who seemed to be hesitating between standing in line behind me or the line next to us. As if thinking, which line will be faster?
I asked him to give me his items so that I could purchase them for him. He declined. I asked again, being more insistent. He finally acquiesced.
I feel grateful that I was able to do something for another human being...someone for whom I should do much more.
We exchanged a ONEderFULL fist bump (don't judge me for breaking Covid-19 protocol!). In another time, I would've given him a huge hug <3.
What is your name? I asked as I offered the gentleman some freshly made blueberry and banana pancakes. I go by Mr. X; he gladly accepted the pancakes. He immediately noted, now that's a good amount of blueberries! Mr. X told me about a lady who brought him some oatmeal with blueberries, of which he was very happy. Until he discovered there was only 1 blueberry in the oatmeal. Since he wanted more blueberries in his oatmeal, his solution was to just put the pancakes in with his oatmeal:). And then he began to talk, and talk, and talk. As Mr. X would near the end of one story, indicating that he was almost done, he would tail off into another story. He just wanted someone to listen to him. He told me the details of how a friend of his was killed by the police as if he was standing there ... Read Full Story >>
Jack and Neeta own the store where we get our drinking water. I was telling Neeta about the vegan mango yogurt I make with cashews and she mentioned that some of her close family followed a vegan diet. So this morning I brought up a jar so that she could share it with her family. I also asked Jack if they were interested in a jar of special peanut butter I make (with unsweetened coconut added), but he declined. I then decided to stop for an iced oat milk latte at Peets Coffee. The first thing Ashleigh said was, "I love your shirt!" Then she showed me her tattoo (Aum), which was on my "be love" shirt. I asked Ashleigh what her favorite thing to put on toast was. She replied, "almond butter." "What about peanut butter," I asked? She said she just enjoyed eating that by the spoonful. I offered her my ... Read Full Story >>
I went to our local farmer's market this morning to pick up some fresh fruits and veggies. As I was thinking about what to get, a lady was making her own purchase. She was asked for another 80 cents, though. As she was searching through her purse, I offered her a dollar to cover the cost. The lady declined and found the money herself.
As the worker rang me up, she threw in some extra veggies saying, "that was so nice of you to offer your own money for her."
I've found that to be happening more and more often. I try to do a RAOK for a stranger and it bounces back to me :). Life is a blessing indeed.
I've discovered this website called trash nothing. It's basically a place to offer and/or request items for free, or as I like to think of it, as gifts. It's been a blessing to us.
Rather than finding their way to our local landfill, or worse, the ocean, I've been able to provide a young person with a Mac Book Pro so that she can use it to help her find work; some tennis rackets and antifreeze will get some use, as will an electronic dartboard and some bbq tools.
Most of the stuff I put on the site to give away. However, the computer was given to someone who was requesting it. With so many unnecessary items thrown away, I'm glad to have found this service.
It is awful hot here in the Bay Area, with little relief for those delivering our mail. So, I thought I would offer something to our mail lady, who is always smiling...I can even see that through her mask...and enjoying her work. I had just picked some tomatoes from our garden this morning.
I packaged some up, along with a bottle of cold water. When I gave it to her she said, "how did you know I was thirsty?" And then she thanked me. It's I who owe her, and all mail carriers, a debt of gratitude.
I know how often I hear complaints about our U.S. postal system...and I'm sure I levied my share...but I'm amazed that, given the volume of mail they handle on a daily basis, that 99.99% (ok, I'm making that up, but I'm sure it's close!) of the mail makes it from its origins to its destination with no damage! Thank you postal workers, as well as all front line workers during these most interesting times.
Since returning to teaching (I enjoy it so much, calling it "work" doesn't seem fitting!), I've found myself super busy. This evening I have some reflection time. One thing that hasn't changed is that kids will be kids. Yes, they are super inspiring and continue to amaze me with their accomplishments and kindness...and many still don't pick up after themselves:(. At school, I've had the opportunity to spread kindness by returning dirty dishes to the kitchen, picking up litter (why, oh why do we continue to use plastic?!), and trying to make students feel seen by being deliberate about greeting them as I pass by. Of course, I've had the opportunity to deliver, anonymously, four packages of tomatoes and avocados. What I am most excited about is a delivery that I get to make on Friday. A dear friend found an organization accepting donations for helping the soon to be here refugees ... Read Full Story >>
Anjili, a parent of a former student, texted me and said that she had some "Indian essentials," as she called them, for me. This evening she stopped by to gift me one of those trays with 7 holders for everyday Indian spices, as well as a handmade wooden board and roller to make roti!
She was so happy to offer me these gifts that she picked up in India awhile back. And I was excited to accept. In exchange, I offered her a jar of my homemade strawberry-rhubarb jam! When the Shelter in place is over, she promised to have me over in order to teach me how to make roti and how to make my own garam masala. The world is full of kindness...sometimes it just creeps up on you.
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.
When I arrived at work this morning I discovered a soy latte on my desk. A coworker had gotten it for me <3.
And then I received a Thanksgiving Gram from a student that reads: "Thank you so much for all of your kindness and support!"
I LOVE my students. As I was talking with one yesterday, I teared up as I told her why I teach. It's not because of the subject at all. It likely was when I began, but not anymore.
Now I teach because of the students. I'm sure I offer something beneficial to them that they will carry with them, some throughout their lives. But every day I receive so much more from them. There are days when I think I'll never quit teaching. I'll just die in the classroom when my time comes.
Over the past several weeks 15 colleagues came together and decided they wanted to do a 21-Day Kindness Challenge. Instead of online, they preferred journalling and then meeting once a week. I did encourage them to post on KS, so we'll see if there are any newbies:). I distributed Kindness journals yesterday, as today is the first day of the challenge.
For my pay-it-forward, I wanted to make a meal for a dear soul who is going through her own journey with cancer. She has family over today, though, celebrating her brother's birthday so I've decided the kind thing to do for her would be to wait for another day. Instead, I made a couple of batches of peanut butter (speaking of which, if you'd like a jar, please pm me with your address...I'd gladly offer you one as a gift). I'm going to take some out with me and see where they land. I am also working a loaf of vegan milk bread for a friend of (my) wife's.
As I was standing in line at Mountain Mama's in West Yellowstone, Marilee proceeded to tell the cashier that she would be buying my drink. I think she liked the message on my t-shirt!
I don't know what I expected, but I've actually found West Yellowstone to be a very accepting town. Everywhere I look there is the message to "Be Kind" posted around town.
One gentleman even apologized as I walked across the crosswalk because the bumper of his truck protruded maybe a foot into the crosswalk.
And in the park people have been super friendly when
we ask for advice on the best place to see certain animals, like bears or wolves. I'm still waiting to see the gray wolves, but we're hopeful and grateful for the welcoming people here.
I'm back home and spreading my birthday gift on the west coast now. Many of my acts began at home this time, with my family. Since my return yesterday I've done two loads of laundry. I rose at 6 am, made coffee for my wife, along with vegan pancakes...a recipe that I've adapted myself. I took my daughter to Chipotle. The real act of kindness here was that I did this without lecturing her about eating out too much:). And I shared my Peet's coffee reward with her. I was telling my daughter about what I'm doing and asked her what acts of kindness she thought I've done today. I was happy to hear her say, "you opened the door for me!" That was small, but given that I wasn't going through the door with her, I'll count that. And now for dinner, I'm making wife and I VBLTA's for dinner (vegan bacon, ... Read Full Story >>
OK, I think I just completed my 56th act of kindness: Yesterday, I offered a student my full attention during my prep period, which some teachers hold sacred to complete their own work.
However, I had a student who was struggling and
had lots of anxiety over the topics we were covering. I worked with her one on one for an hour, after which I think she felt more confident and relaxed. I tried to reassure her also that in the big picture, what we're doing academically and how one performs isn't all that important. And today I made a trip to my favorite vegan grocery store, where I picked up a couple of extra packages of vegan "bacon," two of which I offered as gifts to friends. We'll say that puts me at 56. Of course, this doesn't end here. Much gratitude to this space for reminding me of why I'm here.
Since I missed my last week of school because of COVID, a few students wanted to see me. Today we were finally able to connect and they surprised me with these flowers, along with some freshly picked ðŸ’, some vegan banana bread one of them made, and a card with with a message that continues to remind me of what an honor and privilege it is to work with the most caring and special human beings that I've ever known ðŸ’š. As most teachers would say, "I love my students ðŸ’œ!"
This morning I get the text, "Can you come by and pick up some biriyani and chole I made for you?" This friend knows my love of Indian food, especially chole. And when it's made with her love. Oh, it's so, so sweet! I couldn't resist. I had to nibble on the meal as I drove back to work.
As I get home from work and Neeta who owns the water store with her husband, where we buy our water, calls me. She says, "I made some chole and I know how much you like it. Can you come and pick it up?" What? I can't believe my luck? Who am I to turn down such kindness?
I also needed water and had some tomatoes from our garden, so I was able to gift her some of those. She told me how much she loved the last batch I gave her.
I awoke this morning with the feeling that members of our Safe Parking Program would appreciate a hot lunch. I cooked a pot of my favorite lentil soup and then, at the urging of Carol (spouse), I gathered a few items to offer them. When I arrived around noon there were only three participants there (this is the only church that will allow the participants to hang out there during the daytime) and one wasn't in any shape to eat. That's a story for another day:). Palma is someone that I'd met before, but Shirley is new to the program. They were so excited about the hot meal and had three cups each! I was more interested in listening to Shirley's story and she wanted nothing more than to tell someone. So many times she apologized for talking so much...I'm just happy I was able to lend an ear...and a ... Read Full Story >>
As I was leaving Starbucks this morning, I held the door open for the gentleman walking in. I reversed direction and followed him back into the store hoping he would place his order at the counter...more and more often people are ordering through the mobile app. As luck would have it, he stepped up to the counter.
After he ordered his drink I stepped in and said, "may I buy your drink for you?" He asked why. I replied, "it would be your birthday gift to me." The barista looked a little confused, but he got it and gladly accepted. Giving and receiving...it's a lovely dance.
Every teacher says this but...I have the best students ever! Joelle greeted me with this piece of (vegan) pumpkin bread from Philz, where she works. You'll notice I've already had my share! If you've ever had this, you know how scrumptious it is:). Joelle and I have more conversations around being fellow vegans than we do calculus:).
And a senior wrote me a thoughtful thank you, offering me, as well as our mother earth, the best gift ever: she's working toward becoming a vegan! I can't think of a sweeter gift<3. Oh, and every teacher who says they have the best students...it's true<3<3<3.
I've been advocating for the release of, whom I believe, to be a wrongly incarcerated man. I spend time calling Gov. Newsom's office and sending emails to him, trying to flood his inbox.
On another note, in case you haven't heard it yet, Granddaughter's Eyes is Nimo's newest release<3. You can listen to it here.
For Mother's Day today...speaking of which, Happy Mother's Day to all of you out there<3...I am in charge of the meal for the three mothers whom we'll be hosting today.
So yesterday I spent most of the day prepping. The focaccia bread is ready for the oven, creme brulee is ready to be torched, and the corn+bean salad marinating in the fridge. All that's left to do is the pasta dish, which I will begin shortly. As a surprise, I made some peanut butter cups and chocolate-covered strawberries last night:). And as is always the case nowadays, everything was made with kindness to the animals, using no parts of them<3.