Recently, I was thinking about how the porters in our building here in London have been doing a great job servicing the residents. In particular, there is one porter who manages to brighten up my day every time I come and go from our building and puts a smile on everyone's faces who comes by. He's always cheerful and very helpful and seems to be full of life.
I thought it would be nice to thank him for his kindness. So, I decided to put together a small bundle of daffodils and a box of sweets, each with a smile card attached. The plan was to leave it at the front desk anonymously, along with a "Thank You" card.
When I got down there, he was at the desk, so the anonymous game was over. But, I decided maybe that's the way it was meant to be, and I handed him the sweets, the flowers, and the card and thanked him for everything he does on a daily basis. He was definitely taken by surprise and couldn't get over the fact that someone would do this for him. It felt so wonderful to brighten someone else's day, who never fails to brighten mine
I plan to put one in each of my sisters lunches with a special surprise snack and note of love. I will then give them 4 more cards to encouarge them to take part in their own acts of kindness, while I use the remaining cards with random acts when I see a need. I hope encouranging my sisters when they are young will help them and their friends discover a joy of helping others that they will carry on throughout there lives.
Each week, I give my elderly neighbor a ride to the store, when I am going. She keeps trying to pay me, and I keep refusing. I tell her that it doesn't cost any more for her to ride with me. Last week, she brought an envelope saying, "I have something for you." I said, "If it has money in it, I don't want it." But, she laid it on a stand. Later, I opened it to find a 'thank you' card with $10.00 in it. That night, I stopped at her house to give some extra fried chicken that I had. I took a plain card, put the $10.00 in it along with a 'Smile' card, and when leaving, left it stuck in her storm door. The next day, stopping by to return my dish, she said, "Look, I know you put that letter in my door this morning, ... Read Full Story >>
When I was 21 yrs old, I was dating a girl whose parent's friends were going through a divorce. They had a 6 year old daughter and unfortunately their separation was just before Christmas and we both knew how upset the little girl was. Her dad was not living in the house and wasn't planning on spending Christmas with them. So my girlfriend and I wrote little notes like, "On the first day of Christmas, my secret Santa gave to me...." and put a gift each night on their porch for the little girl. We started this about 2 weeks before Christmas. Well into the first week, my girlfriend's parents heard that someone was leaving gifts on the porch for this little girl and wondering who it was. Of course....we didn't. :) As we got closer to Christmas it was getting more difficult doing what we were doing without getting ... Read Full Story >>
When you buy things with money, you feel like its owed to you. But when you receive something as an offering from someone else, the gift is a reminder of something bigger than yourself and you are filled with a humble reverance for all life. Well, this is a story of one of those gifts. In our middle-class living room, we have three shelves of books. We call it the "open source" bookshelf because any of our guests can take any book and contribute any book to it. No one tracks it; it's all based on trust, even though our home hosts many events with hundreds of different people passing through it. These books are typically of the broader inspiration genre -- there's the general Chicken-Soup-For-Everyone books, self-help books like Power of Now, fictional masterpieces like Siddhartha, sacred texts like the Bible, Koran, the Dhammapada, and Gita, many biographies of ... Read Full Story >>
Wow! I got seriously tagged with an act of anonymous kindness last week. Actually, its more like seriously pummeled with kindness. I spent 26 days at a meditation retreat, mainly to begin the process of self purification through self discovery...I guess you could call it a renovation of the interior walls of my mind. As I walked back into my studio home on Sunday, WOW, a few folks had decided that they would self-purify my home and renovate its interior walls as well. The place has been tiled, every corner has been painted, fridge has been stocked, light switches have been replaced, new furniture has been added, and an infinite amount of love has been poured into every inch of that space. On the table in the middle of my room was a flower pot with one smile card attached to the stem. The coolest thing I found was one ... Read Full Story >>
He took it out from around his neck and leaned down a bit, his eyes looking straight into mine. "Would you mind?" he asks. Looking at him through his eye glasses, I smile and say, "Of course not, Lee. It would be an honor." And with that, I was garlanded -- probably for the first time in my life -- with a simple necklace. Lee is the epitome of a happy-go-lucky guy. He used to be a trucker, I think. If there were one word to describe him, it would be happy. Or joyous. And what a pure heart. In one of those fits of unadulterated compassion, he just felt like giving me something. So he takes off his own necklace and offers it to me. It was far from an ordinary necklace. In a small town of Oregon, Lee met a Japanese-American fellow selling small hand-made, glass items. While conversing with ... Read Full Story >>
As I pulled out the usual looking junk mail from my mail box, I noticed a huge envelope still stuck in the slot. There was something really special about it - the size, the art work in front that surrounded my name and address, an unknown, out-of-town From address..this was no ordinary mail.
With a huge smile, as I opened it, I found 2 large size Asterix Comics and a Smile Card! Am crazy about Asterix (actually Obelix) but it was an interest from my teen years and I had not shared it with that many folks I know now. Am so thrilled and puzzled!
On one hand and I really want to find out the Secret Service Agents behind this tag and expose them :) but on the other hand, I really want it to remain a mystery forever.
This Smile Card and all the good wishes that it came with have been passed onto a stranger at a local Caltrain Station.
Thank you for expanding the boundary of this mystery called love. Can't help but SMILE!
Last-weekend, my kids along with few other kids from the neighborhood volunteered to help me wash my car. We embarked on our car cleaning mission when my 10 year old came up with the idea of washing other people's cars as well. It was pretty hot outside and I had no plans to continue being in the bright sun. She further wanted to give lemonade to passerby's for free. I had seen little kids serve and sell fresh lemonade for a small cost (may be 25 cents) but not free. I felt fuzzy and decided to help her out. She promptly asked me, "What if we make this a smile car wash mommy"? I couldn't hold back my tears and encouraged her and the other kids to go inside the house and get creative and come up with ideas. While I kept myself busy in drying the car, the ... Read Full Story >>
I was a first year college student in a Graphic Design course and I'd like to tell you an interesting story that happened to me a few months ago. You see, I live in a "seedy" (an abundance of illegal activity) apartment building whose residents are a large diversity of minorities, most of which I have never met, (I don't even know my neighbors name), and we all have to use the laundry room on the third floor. The dryers in the laundry room are old and usually require more than one cycle to fully dry even a small load of laundry. One evening I found I had only one loonie left for the dryer (they only accepted $1 coins) and so opted to leave my wet clothes in the dryer all night knowing that my clothes would still be damp in the morning and that they were the only ... Read Full Story >>
A dear friend was only weeks away from death from cancer. She said she was sorry she wouldn't be able to see the ocean again and get her toes in the sand. We live in Central Virginia and she was unable to travel so the trip to the coast wasn't going to happen. Some of us decided the solution was pretty simple. We would surprise her and bring the beach to her. The beach included three tons of beautiful white sand dumped in her driveway, two cabanas, beach balls, pails, shovels, beach chairs, a variety of decorations and a fire pit for the bonfire on the beach at night. Of course we had s'mores on the beach. We also rented a sno-cone machine since it had gotten to the point where flavored ice was about all she was able to eat. We ... Read Full Story >>
She stood looking at every tag on the tree for over an hour. Ten years old and a heart of gold, she decided that she would give up one of her Christmas gifts to the boy named Joseph who needed clothes but wanted a skateboard.
Money was tight in our household but her argument was "Mom, I have a lot to be thankful for; maybe he doesn't have that much." That year when she unwrapped her empty gift box, she read the word Joseph in it. My daughter smiled her beautiful smile and we cried.
Ten years later, I lost that daughter in a car accident.
It's been 9 years and each Christmas I stand in front of the tree of angels at the store for an hour, searching for the "Josephs" who will get her gifts.
One year, a 15 year old girl wrote, "My baby brother needs clothes more than I need a photo album and film." So I got her box of scrapbook and photo supplies and I hope they had as much fun with it as I had shopping for her.
I know my Angel girl was watching over me that year. The girl's name was Johanna ... the same as my daughter.
On a Saturday morning, I glanced out of our window to see our chubby, middle-aged postman huffing and puffing on his rounds. I went out with a glass of water. He refused it politely but stopped for a few minutes to chat.
He told me about how his delivery car has no air conditioning but federal law requires that he has to drive with his windows fully shut so terrorists can not get to it easily!
I wanted to offer him something cool - so while he went about his rounds, I frantically looked for something he could take with him and found a cucumber from our garden.
When he came to drop off our mails, I offered it to him and his round, chubby face lit up instantly!
He started talking about his garden and how he cares for his garden. I could sense a bit of sadness when he said that his cucumber wines didn't flourish this summer. But he immediately smiled and said "but am so happy to see healthy ones from another garden!"
As he moved on , turned back and said that sharing of this cucumber meant a lot for the gardener within him. It meant a whole lot for me too.
I came home from work one day to find some business cards and a card holder in the street. Not much, but I figured the person might want them so I called the number only to find out the person was a seasonal employee. No worries, I thought I would just throw the cards out since they didn't seem to be of much value. A few hours later I saw a police car driving down the street, which is unusual. As I went out to see what was going on I saw an envelope on my front porch. It was a package of food stamps or food checks for mothers with young children. There were enough checks to last through October or November and interestingly the name matched the name from the business cards. I called the office that issues the checks, but they were closed so I called one ... Read Full Story >>
Over the Christmas holidays my young boys were driving everyone in the house bonkers with their fighting, usually it's worst just before bedtime. Yesterday, at separate times of the day, I sat with each of my sons and told him "I love you". A few hours later, I realised those words had been missing from my regular vocalbulary since the holidays started. I felt guilty.
With so much time to do things together, it's inevitable that friction happens. It was kind of like coming up for air, when I said "I love you". My sons are more affectionate and calmer when they are around me now. I know it won't last, but if I keep positive, patient and loving, then life will be a lot more peaceful.
When I was growing up in Sierra Leone, Sunday dinners were special. My mom would spend hours making delicious food for dinner and the mouth-watering aroma would fill the house.
In between games, my siblings and I would anxiously check the kitchen to see if dinner was ready. When dinner was done, my mom filled several baskets of food for various families in the neighborhood.
Of course, we wanted to eat first and then deliver the baskets. But my mom would gently insist that we first deliver the food and when we got back, we could all sit down and eat dinner. She pointed out that if we waited to deliver the food after we had dinner, the food we delivered would be cold.
In a simple way, she taught us that giving is not just for when it’s convenient.
I have always believed that people come into your life for a reason. With this in mind I met a man at work who had a drug problem. I knew because I used to.
Over the next 2 years we became closer and had long talks about his addiction. I knew I was supposed to help him, but I didn't know how. I had talked him into rehab and even took him to the center but every time he got out he would relapse. I thought long and hard until "IT" came to me.
I had to give more of myself, go on a leap of faith. I convinced him to try rehab one more time and when he got out I moved him into to my apartment, against the advice of those around me. Getting him out of his earlier environment was the key. He never relapsed again. We just celebrated his 2 year clean date in January, after 23 years of abuse. He is still my roommate and has since helped me more than any friend I have ever had.
A couple we know who have fallen on hard times went out of town over the weekend we think to probably regroup and try to re-establish their love for each other so they can weather the adversities they have recently encountered. They are the type of people who will not ask for help and even if it is offered they will not accept it, at least not willingly.
We decided to do something nice for them by doing a quick landscaping job on their entrance walkway. They have a nice paved walkway but on either side it was just bare dirt, not very attractive. We went out and bought some flowers and some red cinders and replanted the walkway and then spread out the cinders for the asthetic look and hopefully to make weeding easier with less weeds able to grow through.
We think it looks great and hope that when they drive in their driveway they wonder if they are at the right house. We feel it is important for them to know that they are special people who have friends who love them.
When we moved into our new home in January, we didn't really know what we were getting into. We just knew that we were getting the deal of a life time and so when our offer was accepted, we couldn't refuse! We jumped on it and thought that, that would be that. Our next door neighbors weren't exactly part of the deal but they ended up being the best blessing! Since that day, we have now become family. With every little special occasion or event in our lives, they are there to share the joy with us and they have helped us in so many ways that we some times find it hard to believe. I've never had my license and even though I wanted to get one, the thought of the cost of a car, insurance and all that just over whelmed me, but with the help of our new family I ... Read Full Story >>
My Dad's company provided rental accommodations for its employees, usually in multi-level buildings. We were on level 4. For two years, my Dad had been pursuing his application for a ground level house to make the climb easier for my mom who had suffered complications after her second delivery. She was advised bed rest and climbing the stairs everyday was difficult for her. As luck had it, just at that time, my Dad's ground level application was granted and Mum and Dad were thrilled to move in to the ground level accommodation in a separate building that was closer to my Dad's office. Without wasting time, they did the big move the following Saturday and mum was very relieved & excited. The following Monday, when my Dad returned from work and was about to enter the house, he saw an old lady and her old husband struggling to bring a wheelchair down the stairs. He was shocked ... Read Full Story >>
My husband and I have been hosting children in need of orthopedic surgery from Belize since 1993. Our local Rotary district and Shriner's Hospital in St. Louis provide the air fare and medical care. Some say that we are so wonderful to be host parents...maybe, but we are the ones who are blessed to have the privilege to care for these darling children.
Our children have had the opportunity to see the world in a different view than most of their peers and we are all grateful for being chosen to share our home with others less fortunate. Now that that they are adults, our three children host these children too.
If you live within a few hours from a hospital, you too can help others with your immeasureable time and talent (and there are always other experienced volunteers to back you up if needed).
Something happened today to make me realise just how much love I have in my house and I am so thankful for that. My husband used to work in a bank but during the credit crunch he lost his job. The economy wasn't looking good and he didn't have too many options to get another bank job. It was incredibly difficult to see him go to the warehouse to look for work, hoping and praying that he would be offered a position (where he would be paid even less than his own teenage children were making). Someone dear to me encouraged him to keep on "keeping on" and I was right behind them. I told him to just "go for it". He got the job and it brought us such a feeling of pride. With his new job we were still able to pay our mortgage and buy our groceries. But money ... Read Full Story >>
A mother and daughter living in my complex are two of the most unfriendly people I have ever come across in my life. They are totally withdrawn, mixing with no one. As they drive past neighbors they keep their eyes averted and make no sign of acknowledgement. The only fame they have is making a nuisance of themselves to the local police station by reporting music played too loud, dogs barking more than once a day and any other petty little gripe. On moving into this neighborhood, I was warned about these two but decided I would make up my own mind. This proved quite a challenge to me as more than once either the mother or the daughter would knock on my door and blast me with some complaint or other. My warfare? I always answered politely and made sure I waved as they went past my place and also made ... Read Full Story >>
I need to share a powerful and strangely wonderful event in my life that involves death and cancer. I am certain you are struggling with the fact that I am using the words wonderful, cancer and death in the same sentence. I think that after you hear this story you will agree that in this case it is an appropriate combination of words. A dear friend of mine was dying of cancer. Shortly before she died she shared with me that she was very sad that she would never get to go to the beach again. She grew up near the ocean and it was a special place for her. The cancer had made her too weak to travel the 4-5 hours from her home to the ocean. I shared this with several of her friends and we decided we had to do something about it. On a Saturday afternoon in June, while her family kept her distracted ... Read Full Story >>
I was in church one Sunday when my husband’s ex-wife requested the pastor and the church to pray for her. She said that she was a drug addict and she wanted to stop using drugs. She was crying and said that she needed God’s help because she knew that she couldn't do it alone. She was a beautiful woman with four children and they were all crying with her. After church I went to her and introduced myself. She said that she had heard about my marriage to her ex-husband. We talked for a little while and she told me that she did not have a car and that they were going to catch the bus home. I offered to give them a ride and we continued to talk in the car. She began to open up about how bad things really were in her life. I had heard rumours from ... Read Full Story >>
Moving can bring out the best and the worst in people, I'm finding. They say that uprooting can really test a relationship, so, if that's the case, I think I'm passing with flying colors. And I've discovered where a very generous spirit lives: Defiance, Ohio. After suffering through many months of unemployment, my wife and I moved this week from Colorado to Ohio, where she's starting a new job. Not knowing a soul there, we were pretty concerned about all the work involved, not only loading up our entire home and driving two big rental trucks 1,250 miles, but how we'd get all that stuff unloaded without killing ourselves in the process. We made a connection to hire a couple of college students to help with all the heavy lifting once we got there. But, to our surprise, one neighbor after another stopped by and pitched in to help. What!?!? Have we ... Read Full Story >>
A couple of weeks back, my friend had a yard sale, and she offered to sell some of our stuff for us. I thought it would be a good opportunity to clean my 7 year old son's room and get rid of some toys that he had long outgrown. We agreed that whatever we sold in toys would be his money. The night before the sale, we loaded up the truck with toys and a little bike that he was now too tall for. He had taken the bike for a final spin before we left home but happily put it on the truck for the sale. This little bike had had at least 2 previous owners that we knew of. It was not in the best shape and it certainly was not shiny new but it was still a bike, and the tires were still good. We put a price of $10 on it but it didn't sell. So, after the ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday while I was busy doing my housework, my daughter ran up to me and said, "Mommy there's someone at the gate." I told her to ask who it was. It was an old man beggar. I heard my daughter yelling, "Mommy he wants money." For a second I ignored her, but then it hit me what she just said. I found my daughter taking out money from her Dad's wallet. Instead of stopping her, I stood there amazed at her action and the realization: kids give without hesitation and their kindness is impulsive. Then I murmured a little prayer to myself, "God, let my kids never outgrow such a value and let that value grow on us adults." Sure, we all want to do kindness acts as much as we can, but let's also be honest -- how many times have we acted on it in reality? How many times have we ... Read Full Story >>
Last weekend I was out walking with my dog. She loves poking around investigating everything and loves seeing other folks we meet. So it becomes more a social walk rather than an exercise. This day we ran into our neighbor who was preparing to sell her home. She was busy getting ready for her 'open house' that afternoon. After talking a little bit we went our separate ways. I could tell it was a stressful day for her. After I got home I quickly cut some of the fabulous lavender in my garden. Gosh, it smelled good and the purple flowers were so pretty. I wrapped some tissue paper around the bunch and brought it to my neighbor for her open house. I loved her expression when she saw me there with the bouquet of lavender! It completely made my day. It made her stop and take a big deep breath and maybe reduced her stress for a second. The next ... Read Full Story >>
Yes, helping others is wonderful. Feeling so good helping out. You know what I mean..It brightens your day, lifts your heart and that wonderful from the heart smile! Fabulous! And then some. In March we had to take Dad's license away. Our proud, independent Dad was going to have to ask for help and to depend on others! Yikes! How does one do that? He had to ask/accept and we did too. Big changes. Now I celebrate the start each day with 'breakfast with Dad". We share special time. We help lift each other. I leave with a tired body but a fabulous smile. I have to admit there have been days when I had to push myself but was always happy I did. Now for the unexpected WOW! I've been coping with chronic but stable health issues for 10+ yrs. ..being told to pace myself, don't get stressed, take naps, blah ,blah. Well, guess what? My blood work is now the best in 2 yrs! Wow! All I could ... Read Full Story >>