Last night after reading some inspirational posts on HelpOthers I decided it was getting a little late so I decided to go to bed. As I was lying there I was thinking about the stories I had just read. For some reason my mind flashed back to my first day at College (High School). The head girl was standing up on the stage giving us a speech about your life and your life journey being a vase full of flowers. Now that may seem a strange context but that speech has stayed with me for many years. I would like to share it with you all! It went something along the lines of… Imagine a big vase of flowers being your life. Each person has a vase of flowers but it is their opportunity to fill it in the way they decide. You could fill your vase with a few flowers ... Read Full Story >>
I heard a great story this morning about a young girl with a very big heart. A friend was telling me a story about her customer's daughter. The daughter goes to an expensive private school where she has a friend, who is on a full scholarship at this school. This friend has very limited means and her mother is an immigrant from China and her father is an alcholic. Although the girl's mother works very hard, they can barely make ends meet. This girl is very bright and gifted at music and that's how she got the scholarship from this school. The stipend also includes an allowance for things like lunch, school uniform and music lessons. The daughter became friends with this girl and would secretly talk to her at lunch (secretly, in order to avoid the other kids teasing her). On her birthday last month, she invited her new friend to her birthday ... Read Full Story >>
I recently got a new version of an old camera that I used to adore... Polaroid instant film! This one is a Fuji, which takes credit card sized instant photos. I named my camera "J5", (after Johnny #5 the Robot, from the '80's films "Short Circuit", mainly because it looks like him :) In J5's short career (this past month), he has blasted off about 80 photographs, and 60+ have been given away to complete strangers. Each photograph is unique, simple, imperfect and beautiful, as those captured within the photos had a story to tell. So far, one story stands out above them all. Last Wednesday, I was in the play area of the Harrisburg Mall. I sat next to a woman who was there with her son. She was very classy, seemed to have it all together. I would have assumed that she had a sweet, upper-middle class life. As it turned ... 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 >>
Mandy was the kind of girl I was blessed to have as a daughter, the kind of friend everyone wanted to have, the kind of spirit that radiated joy and happiness when ever she entered a room. Mandy left this world to go be with her Lord on November 15, 2008 in a tragic car accident. Since then, I have tried to live each day of my life living up to her expectations. I started the Kindness Revolution on Mother's day 2009 and gave out over 100 flowers to random women throughout the weekend along with a card letting them know to pay the kindness forward. I have given away jewelry, paid for coffee and tolls, paid for groceries, cleaned off car windows trying to spread the kindness and to do as she instructed. I know that each time I do a kind act, I get back 100 times more than I gave. The feeling ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday, I wasn't having the greatest day. I lost my wallet, and luckily I found it, but the whole mishap messed up the rest of my day. In the evening, I was reading stories on My Life is Average, and then switched to Gives Me Hope. Reading about so many positive experiences and contributions to society from so many different people made me feel very cheerful. After reading, I was getting ready for bed in an altogether happy mood, and as I was getting out of the shower, I had a wonderful idea. I had this profoud urge to do something outrageously nice for someone whom I don't feel like I've ever done anything explicitly nice, my mother. That's not to say that I don't love her and tell her as such, but doing the little acts of kindness, those usually escape me. And it's not just me that forgets to do ... Read Full Story >>
A social worker played a huge role in my life when I was young. It's a field where the pay is low and many are at ground zero of humanity's dark sides. I wanted to share a letter I wrote thanking them. This was sent out to over 80 agencies across the midwest. If you know someone who could use this please do send it. It does matter. Dear Social Workers, The work you do matters. On the days when you are burnt out, and questioning if it does, take a few moments to read this letter. I was 12-years old when I first met Dale. I was lost in a world of institutions and dormitories for the last few years. The reasons why I didn’t understand. At the time I thought I was broken and no good. I later learned it was my home that was broken. My father was an abusive ... Read Full Story >>
About a year ago, my husband had just come back from a 7 month tour in Iraq. My daughter and I had gone up to see him get off the bus at 6am, and he didn't get there until about 7-7:30am. After a couple hours of work he had to do, we were ready to go home. On the way home, my husband suggested that we go to International House of Pancakes (IHoP) to grab something to eat. We didn't have that much money left, as it was right before payday, but I decided it would be worth it anyway, since he hadn't gotten to eat anything like that for months. We went in and sat down in a crowded resturant. He was still wearing his ACU's (his army clothes) and I was clinging to him and still crying a little bit, just so happy to have him home. We sat ... Read Full Story >>
Our family has had many different pets over the years: Dogs, cats, frogs, lizards, turtles, and even a snake once. CC (our 7-year old grandchild) has always had a compassionate heart for all of them. When we learned about a shelter in the area that was ran by just volunteers she couldn’t wait to get involved. This was an excellent opportunity for her to learn and care for many different animals. What made this shelter different than most is their policy to never have any of the animals put to sleep. The animals they tended to would live at the center until they were adopted. If it took a week or a year for them to find a home, it didn’t matter. When CC learned that many of the animals were there because they had no home, it really bothered her. She couldn’t understand how that could be. When she ... 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 >>
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 >>
I want to say thanks to all of you for your special notes and ideas, after I sent my request for 'gifting acts of kindness ideas' for my nephew's birthday last month. I was excited to hear from some of you with suggestions. Pancho suggested that I give him my attention -- as the greatest gift one human being can give another -- yes! Nipun helped out by sharing his own story, and got me thinking further about how I could do a kindness tag, Idaho style. I gave that kid some super-duper hugs, not to mention every bit of attention I could muster, and a good dose of kindness stories, to boot. There is a long story with great sidenotes that goes with the birthday adventure story, but the short story is as follows: I gave my nephew twenty bucks for his birthday, with the condition that he use it to do something kind for someone ... Read Full Story >>
I am new to this group but not to the idea of helping others. Funny thing is, I never really give helping others much thought, it is just something I do. I am sure that most of those who find their way here are similar in nature and action. The opportunities are all around us if we are open to them and not so caught up in our own routines. That being said, my first post here is not about something that would raise eyebrows, elicit sighs or gain a round of applause. It is just a simple thing but I hope that it brings comfort to many and lets the recipients know that there ARE people out here who care about them. Following my aunt's death 5 years ago, I made a decision to hold on to her condo in the California desert . It is a familiar and serene ... Read Full Story >>
Many of the stories that I read on HelpOthers are all about helping other people, doing acts of kindness for someone else. Often times it's easy to forget that no matter who you are, you're not always the giver - sometimes it's we who receive that random act of kindness. When it happens, it almost feels odd to some extent that you are on the other end - receiving vs. giving. In some way, it can be quite a humbling experience. And so my story begins .... My daughter and I had gone into Subway one evening to get sandwiches for the two of us, plus one for my wife. Prior to going to Subway, I had checked my bank account to make sure that I had money on my debit card. I had moved what I thought to be several hundred dollars to my card. Come to find out in ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday we had a bunch of friends over to play some music and share a meal together. My husband and I had both made some special dishes and when everyone had left, there was some left over. My husband started packing up a few containers of food to give to an older woman who lives in our neighborhood... and then he asked if I would deliver it because "I know how you like to do that!"
I left the house and walked over to the woman's house to give her the food. When I gave it to her, her eyes lit up and she was just thrilled. When I was leaving, she said that I had made her evening so much brighter-- it was how she said it that really touched my heart.
I walked home, gazing at the full moon, and thanking my husband for letting me be the "giver". He always does the right thing and never wants any credit!---I can learn from that.
It's 5:15am at the local Starbucks. I'm standing in line and the person ahead of me in line is putting together what seems to be a large order. "Can I have some bagels, donuts, oh and some brownies too, along with this coffee order." My curiosity is peaked, and she chimes to the counter person, "Thank you, the order is for the nurses at Sloan-Kettering Cancer society because they've been doing a great job taking care of my Dad." I tend to believe that people share things in order to be self expressed, and to be heard, to have their expression recognized. Standing in line, fiddling with my book bag, the possibility of her wanting to be heard flashed by. I, stopped, and asked her how her father was doing. "He's in a coma, he fell into a coma yesterday and my sister and I have been taking shifts being there with ... Read Full Story >>
One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas. There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating. While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the ... Read Full Story >>
I was waiting to pick up a friend at the airport when I had one of those life changing experiences, the kind that you sometimes hear other people talk about, the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly. This one occurred a mere two feet away from me. As I was straining to locate my friend amongst the line of passengers exiting the airport, I noticed a man coming towards me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family. First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe 6 years old) as he laid down his bags. He crouched down and they gave each other a long, loving hug. As they seperated enough to look in each other's face, I heard the father say, "Its too good to see you, son I missed you so much!" His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly,"Me too dad!" Then the man ... Read Full Story >>
We homeschool our children so we sometimes have the flexibility of adjusting our schedule to fit in special things. Today, as part of our 'Kindness Klub' we decided we would head out for an afternoon of giving back. Each of my kids chose from a list of kind things that they wanted to do. I ran down to the local store, picked up a few potted flowers and attached Smile Cards. We then put a few dollars in a plastic bag with a Smile Card. Before we set off on our mission, we read a verse from the Bible about kindness and said a prayer that our efforts would be well-received and help brighten someone's day! First, we stopped off at the local bus stop. We taped the plastic bag to a post inside the bus stop and quickly left ;) Second, my 10 year old daughter said she had seen a house she wanted to drop her flowers off at. She directed me to it. ... Read Full Story >>
Last winter, I had tons of snow on my driveway. My mom asked me to help shovel, since dad was working. I shoveled and shoveled mounds of the white stuff, panting and sweating and silently complaining. My good neighbor saw that I was struggling, came over and helped me finish up. We chatted a few seconds. I can't remember what was said, but I suddenly felt bad for my rotten attitude. This man was pretty much a stranger helping me out without asking, and I couldn't shovel for my own family without feeling sore about it. The year passed and I didn't think much about his kindness, until yesterday. The neighbor was working on his house with a group of his buddies. It was a fairly mild day, but if you were moving about you would probably work up a bit of a sweat and a good thirst. I wrote a quick note, ran down to the ... Read Full Story >>
It was our turn to host the Christmas family dinner. It had been a few years since it had taken place at our house. Three deaths had occurred in the intervening years, family elders. And there was the considerable loss that went with that. One of them, the mother of my son-in-law, had died almost exactly a year earlier. She and her husband had hosted many family gatherings at their large home. The gatherings there would never be the same again without her. And so my wife and I both felt both the need and the strong wish to provide a warm setting for a healing gathering. Some years earlier a secret Santa strategy had been settled upon to help reduce the financial burden of gift exchange. The names of all would be written on separate slips and then drawn by family members. You would give a gift to the person ... Read Full Story >>
I am writing this story because it is not too late for me to talk to my parents. I realized this last night when visiting their house while they were away. I went to freshen it up for their return, and being at their house without them home made me sad. As I went into their bedroom, I saw little reminders of them -- some Christmas gifts still in boxes and family photos that must have a special meaning to them. What took my breath away was seeing my dad's tags from his military service to our country. My father never talked about the Korean War. As I looked at those tags hanging proudly with all the photos that he treasures, I realized that this was an important part of his life, and I never took the time to talk with him about it. The photos of my mom with friends made ... Read Full Story >>
I wanted to share a story from a time in my childhood when I was living with my step mother. She worked all day so I was responsible for doing the household chores and taking care of my younger half brother. During that time in our life, my dad was not present much, but I didn’t mind, my step mother took great care of my little brother and I in any way that she could. I loved her and always wished she could spend more time with us but she worked Monday through Saturday between the hours of 8:00 am and 10:00 pm. At that time my little brother was about 4 years old and he missed her so much all the time. He would always wait up for her but would fall asleep many times before she returned and when she left for work he would be asleep. One day, ... Read Full Story >>
My brother and I were shopping at a department store one day. My mother had taken him home separately and had returned to get me. As we were walking towards the car, I saw a homeless man sitting outside the department store we were shopping at.
I told my mom to hold on a minute. I walked towards the man, and handed him a twenty dollar bill. I usually wouldn't do this, but I knew that I had to this time. When I handed it to him, a tear ran down his eyes, as he said "God bless you".
When I returned to the car my mom told me she was so proud. I asked her why and said that I felt that when people need help, and we have the urge to help, we need to just help them. She then told me that my brother, who she had taken home earlier, did the exact same thing.
Perhaps forty years ago Sadie left her drunk and violent husband. Needing shelter for herself and her young son she took a job as a warden in a housing project for elderly people. It meant she could live "on site" in one of the flats. Eventually, she got to know the residents. One resident, Archie, didn't have a family of his own but his nephew's wife and her kids would pop in from time to time. The nephew's wife was there to help the old guy but the kids were probably more of a nuisance than anything else. Still, they would visit and Archie would give them a few pennies for sweets whenever he could. Sadie helped care for Archie as he battled illness and it was she who called the doctor who diagnosed his terminal cancer. She remembers him fondly as a sweet old man. Time passed. Sadie's son grew up, got ... Read Full Story >>
We had our first child in January and were so overwhelmed by all the love and kind wishes that people from around the world shared with us and our little one. She was showered with blessings, flowers and gifts from near and far and in some cases from people we didn't even know personally! :) My husband's business friend had a shirt made with her name on it for the football team he supports, another lady in Ireland (who we have never even met!) had candles made with her name on them, another friend in India had dresses made for her, our aunt knitted lovely hats and sweaters for her, friends bought her loads and loads of adorable clothes, another friend from New York had a blanket made with her name on it, another friend sent us cupcakes from a famous bakery that spelled out "Welcome Sareena," another friend gifted her ... Read Full Story >>
18 years ago I discovered I was unexpectedly pregnant, I was on my own and in an extremely limited financial situation. I worked at a pet shop, a job I loved, but cleaning cages with unrelenting nausea was pretty awful to deal with. Having little money, and unable to keep anything down, I started losing weight instead of gaining it. There was a neighbor woman I had visited with a couple of times, and to my surprise, she started working at the pet shop too. Everyday, for lunch, she would produce large, organic salads and other very healthy meals. To my surprise she insisted that I have some of her lunch. I tried to refuse, but she was determined. Puzzled, I managed to eat, and when I admitted to everyone at work that I was pregnant, she was very excited, and kept on feeding me, despite the fact that I couldn't hold it ... Read Full Story >>
My now 7 year old grandson, who lives 100 miles away, has had my mobile phone number memorized since he was 4. Since then, he has called me every night before he goes to bed to tell me about his day or just to say "Good Night Gramma". He also frequently calls me at other times during the day just to share a happy or sad moment. Many times he's dribbling a basketball with one hand, or laughing with a friend about something that I never quite catch on about, or crying about something he may or may not want to talk about while I'm on the other end of the phone. I just listen and empathize or laugh with him - just share his current emotion. I always let him be in charge of the subject, the emotion, and the amount of time he's on the phone with me. Many ... Read Full Story >>
Several years ago my young daughter and I moved into the upstairs apartment where we now live. While my loving, wonderful friends helped me move in, the downstairs neighbors began to complain about the noise. That did not bode well for living above them. After all, how can anyone move in quietly? As I suspected, the complaints continued on a daily basis -- well after that initial day. We walked "too loudly" down the stairs, we flushed the toilet too much ... Their child had problems with my child and they complained to me as well. I soon learned that they had driven out the last few families who had lived above them and that each situation had erupted into feuds and yelling. So, I had the information I needed and I tried to think of the situation from a spiritual point of view. I realized that I could fight with my ... Read Full Story >>
Last week as I pulled into the parking lot with my son for his baseball game, I saw a woman trying to change her flat tire. I told my son I would get him over to his practice field and then I was going back to help the woman change her tire. When I got back to the parking lot, nobody had stopped to help her. I went over and offered. She tried to be nice and said that she was fine, but I could see otherwise so I insisted. Besides, my mother as she watches me from above would have cut a deal to send a pigeon to deliver a “special present” for me if her son had walked by and done nothing. Another woman parked nearby and said she had some wipes in the car, as I was getting dirty from the tire. She waited for us to finish ... Read Full Story >>