I was visiting my sister a couple of weeks ago and it was snowing hard, in between bursts of icy raindrops. My husband and I dived into a coffee shop for a quick burst of heat. Sitting there watching the rain run down the window and people battle with their umbrellas all I could focus on was the one girl standing outside of the shopping centre selling a homeless magazine. Her approach wasn't pushy, just to ask if anyone wanted to buy it and then avert her gaze to the puddles on the ground. So many people walked past weighed down by bags of goodies from the sales that I began to feel quite sad. I sent my husband back to the counter to buy her what I had just enjoyed -- a big hot chocolate with cream. Her smile melted my heart when I handed it over to her. She was foreign so ... Read Full Story >>
I met a work colleague of my husband's a few weeks ago and had forgotten just how hard he was on himself. He thinks he's stupid, ugly, unable to communicate, a bad parent, unable to control his temper and unlikely to amount to anything much in his life. I found this to be a complete contrast to what I see when I look at him. He's caring, considerate, a good listener, very capable at work and a real family man who will sacrifice anything to give his loved ones the best. After a few drinks I broached this subject of affirmations and told him I was going to write him a book of inspirational quotes to make him stop in his tracks and see what others see. So, one long wet winter afternoon I sat with a little black notebook and put what I consider to be an inspiring quote on every ... Read Full Story >>
My dad had a heart attack seven years ago and was rushed to a specialist hospital 200 miles away from where we lived. My mother, sister and I were travelling there by train. It was touch and go. His heart had been seriously damaged and doctors were warning us that by the time we reached the hospital it might be too late. We were a fairly sombre group.
Suddenly the train swerved and a suitcase came crashing down striking my sister on the shoulder and banging into a lady sitting nearby. This initiated a conversation. The lovely lady listened to my mum's concerns about my dad and knowing that we had nowhere to stay when we needed it most offered us accommodation at her daughter's flat, which was just a few miles from the hospital. Her kindness touched us all and although we didn't take her up on the offer because we were advised to stay in the hospital itself, my mother has kept in touch with her.
My dad made a full recovery, undergoing a triple heart bypass, and subsequently my parents have visited the lady at her home. It's amazing how such a simple gesture like offering someone a place to stay can be like a candle in immense darkness.
If you've ever felt that a smile is wasted think again. This morning I went out for a beautiful woodland walk. To get there I have to pass several houses in nearby cul de sacs. I smiled at the first few people I met and was sternly ignored because they were either wearing an iPod or because they just didn't know who I was. I wasn't going to be deterred. By the time I reached my woodland entrance I had managed to get at least 5 people to beam at me. The power of a smile far outweighed the grim outlook of the first two.
I'm not sure who came away the happiest today, me for receiving five big kind, smiles and a 'good morning' or the 5 individuals who took the time to welcome a stranger to their neighbourhood.