On Friday afternoon, when I would arrive at my grandfather's house after school the tea would be already set on the kitchen table. My grandfather had his own way of serving tea. There were no tea cups and saucers or bowls of granulated sugar or honey. Instead he would pour the tea directly from the silver samovar into a drinking glass. There had to be a teaspoon in the glass first otherwise the glass, being thin, might break. My grandfather did not drink his tea in the same way that the parents of my friends did either. He would put a cube of sugar between his teeth and then drink the hot tea straight from his glass. So would I. I much preferred drinking tea this way to the way I had to drink tea at home. If it was Friday, after we had finished our tea my grandfather would set two ... Read Full Story >>
A young woman went to her mother and told her how hard her life was. She said she wanted to give up; she was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose. So, her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what you ... Read Full Story >>
I was 16 years old and living with my parents at the institute my grandfather had founded 18 miles outside of Durban, South Africa, in the middle of the sugar plantations. We were deep in the country and had no neighbors, so my two sisters and I would always look forward to going to town to visit friends or go to the movies. One day, my father asked me to drive him to town for an all-day conference, and I jumped at the chance. Since I was going to town, my mother gave me a list of groceries she needed and, since I had all day in town, my father ask me to take care of several pending chores, such as getting the car serviced. When I dropped my father off that morning, he said, 'I will meet you here at 5:00 p.m., and we will go home together.' After hurriedly completing ... Read Full Story >>
For years I had always taken my change out of my pocket each night and placed it in one of those water cooler jars. I would use the change every so often when it got full. As nature would have it, I got older and the glass jar got fuller. I changed my process to taking the change and putting it in a small container. Then every so often I would take the change to my bank and have it put on a visa card which is what I carry around in my wallet for "Smile Emergencies". So the other day I was in line at Home Depot and a lady with way too many kids for one person to watch at one time was in front of me. She was buying some curtains and various plants and house hold items. She was telling the kids to stand still, be ... Read Full Story >>
A very close friend of mine has two older parents who have been very sick and in the hospital. Her Mom has alzheimers and her Dad has diabetes and just had surgery on his legs. She was able to make arrangements for them to come to her house when they left the hospital, but this is now an additional responsibility for her in addition to her own family.
A bunch of us (9 friends) got together and came up with a calendar of dates for us to take turns making dinner and delivering it to her house. (Thank goodness for email!) It'll be one less thing she will have to worry about while she establishes a routine and things settle down for her. This way she will know they are eating healthy foods and she can tend to her parents needs. I'm so happy to be part of this effort.
MANY HANDS make LIGHT WORK. If we all do our part, it's easy!
Very recently, I have had to move from my home and have been living in a hotel room with my son who is 17, my sister and her two children ages 4 and 8.
Times have been hard and I have been still going to work and pretending every day that it is no big deal, that we will get through this. But today I was really down until I logged on to this site .... and read everyone's stories! It just brightened up my day.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank each and everyone for their acts of kindness.
Even though times are hard for me right now, I am still going everyday to help my mother who has colon cancer and try to help others with their problems. Compared to some others, my problems are not so terrible.
Thanks for reminding me.
This week-end my husband and I are leaving on vacation to North Carolina ... As you well know, planning is essential including cleaning out the refrigerator of food that will go bad.
Yesterday morning, my daughter calls to check -in and mentioned she was going to McDonald's to get a breakfast burrito. I told her I had the items to make that in my refrigerator and I could make it for her. She said her daughter (my grandaughter) wanted pancakes. I said I had that too!
I invited my other daughter and her 3 girls as we ''cleaned'' out the refrigerator and it didn't cost them anything, plus I have less work to do! It was fun and everybody got their bellies full of burritoes, pancakes, sausage and fruit!
Plus I made it with LOVE! You can't get THAT at McDonalds!
It was a very hot, late August day when I took my 8 year old grand daughter out to lunch at a beautiful, fancy restaurant, because she enjoyed feeling like a princess.
As we sat out on the lovely deck with many other diners around us, she reached out to point to the flowers on the table and accidentally tipped my ice water glass into my lap.
She gasped, her eyes grew large, the people at the next table peered to see my reaction. I simply smiled and said, "Oh, that is so refreshing."
We can make a split second decision to have a different-than-expected reaction to happenings that, in their smallness, make the world a better place and teach our children at the same time.
It was five in the morning. The room smelt weird. I saw him, next to me, deep in slumber. I went up to the bathroom and got my answer to the stench. He had had a few extra drinks last night, must have puked all over the wash basin. The basin was clogged and the stench inside was unbearable. A little angry I came back in the room with half a mind to wake him up and ask him to clean up. I could hear his soft snores and knew that he needs that sleep to be normal the next morning. This happened when we were vacationing in Dubai during Diwali holidays. I called up the reception and in an embarrassed tone explained my problem. It was a five star property and the receptionist promised to send someone over within a minute. Before hanging up, I requested him to send ... Read Full Story >>
Today, I am feeling for my father. Its been 11 years since I've been married, since I left home. I want to confess that I have had a very troubled childhood. Though born in an educated family, I had to survive my mother's sudden death when I was five and the temper of my father. My father was a very very short tempered man, though by heart he was not bad. I had one big brother (two years elder), and my father used to beat us very badly for very small things. After a year of mother's accident, he remarried. My second mother also had two children of her own, and she controlled the whole house and my father. Though she was not that bad, she was partial with me ... may be because I was not that good looking. Even if my younger step-sister would abuse me, my father would ... Read Full Story >>
A prayer wheel, or mani wheel, is a wheel filled with innumerable mantras and inscriptions wrapped clockwise around a central axis. Some prayer wheels are tiny, like tops; others are huge, filling an entire room, and one turns the wheel by holding its handles and walking clockwise around it. Others are attached to running streams or waterfalls so that they can harness the natural energy and spread benedictions throughout the land. The faithful believe that spinning these prayer wheels or hanging prayer flags in the wind actualizes the inscribed prayers. The Tibetan province of Kham is akin to America’s Wild West. The people of Kham are great equestrians, and like all who ride regularly, they love their horses. Until about a century ago, Kham was carved into dozens of smaller kingdoms, each of which had its own army, raised by forcible conscription. There was once an old man in far eastern Kham ... Read Full Story >>
This is a true story written from a child's perspective by my dear, 68 year old mother, a post war/depression child living in Newfoundland, Canada at the time this happened! She will be reading this to the children and congregation at her church over the Christmas season. ---- Every year at this time I remember a Christmas when I was 8 years old. It is the one memory of Christmas that has stayed with me all my life. My children always loved hearing it. I grew up in a small community in Newfoundland, with the sea right at our door. My father was a sea captain and was away from home most of the year, but he was always home for Christmas. I remember the excitement bubbling up inside me -- it would soon be Christmas and Dad would be home for at least 3 months. I don't know which excited me most. Everything would ... Read Full Story >>
I stopped at a convenience store on the way home from my monthly trek to the surgeon for a medical procedure. I usually stop and get myself some candy and a pop as a treat for surviving the torture. This time I noticed an elderly woman getting a bag of ice and went to walk around so as not to be in her way. Right then, she paused her work and gently asked, "I can move, if you'd like to pass through." "No, I'm fine. I'll just go this way. But can I give you a hand?" "No, that's alright." And so, I went on inside the store. As I got my candy, I turned around to see if there was anything else I needed and I saw the ice-lady again. "How are you doing?" I asked her. "Okay. Just have to pay for my ice and get home." "How many bags ... Read Full Story >>
After my son's soccer game, he ran over to me and said, "Mom, do you have a smile card?" I said, "I think so." He is telling me to hurry up. We run to my purse and start digging through the million and one pockets and pouches. At last, I found one.
"What do you need it for?" I asked him.
He responds, "It is for Dad. I did not want my cookie and I know how he loves sugar. So, I quietly put it in his pocket while he was talking and now I want to add a smile card!"
His action and request melted my heart and filled me with joy. Not to mention his Dad, who was brimming with joy as he bite into his warm chocolate chip cookie!
This will bring a whole new level of tagging to our household. Secret Spy Operatives are now on the move! Stay tuned for more. :)
It happened so suddenly. She said she wasn’t feeling well, so she took a shower, drank some tea, and went for a nap just before dinner. By 5PM, she had passed away. “That’s insane. I just saw Sushila Auntie last week. She’s fine. I mean, she’s my mom’s age. There must be some sort of mistake,” I thought to myself. No mistake, unfortunately. Sitting in the living room at Narayan Uncle’s house to pay our condolences for the passing of his wife, the thoughts in my head wouldn’t stop. That’s my Narayan Uncle sitting there. He’s been around forever. And next to him would always be Sushila Auntie. I just saw her last week. All I gave her was a perfunctory, “Hi”. Why? Because she was always there. Yet, there is so much more to the being “there” than one realizes, because once that’s gone, things seem strange and askew. I knew nothing ... Read Full Story >>
Consumed by my loss, I didn’t notice the hardness of the pew where I sat. I was at the funeral of my dearest friend - my mother. She finally had lost her long battle with cancer. The hurt was so intense; I found it hard to breathe at times. Always supportive, Mother clapped loudest at my school plays, held a box of tissues while listening to my first heartbreak, comforted me when my father died, encouraged me in college, and prayed for me my entire life. When Mother’s illness was diagnosed, my sister had a new baby and my brother had recently married his childhood sweetheart, so it fell to me, the twenty-seven-year-old middle child without entanglements, to take care of her. I counted it as an honor. “What now, Lord?” I asked, sitting in the church. My life stretched out before me as an empty abyss. My brother sat stoically with his face ... Read Full Story >>
A wonderful Sufi story by Idries Shah: Once upon a time, not a thousand miles from here, there lived a poor old wood-cutter, who was a widower, and his little daughter. He used to go every day into the mountains to cut firewood which he brought home and tied into bundles. Then he used to have breakfast and walk into the nearest town, where he would sell his wood and rest for a time before returning home. One day, when he got home very late, the girl said to him: ‘Father, I sometimes wish that we would have some nicer food, and more and different kinds of things to eat.’ 'Very well, my child,’ said the old man, ‘tomorrow I shall get up much earlier than I usually do. I shall go further into the mountains where there is more wood, and I shall bring back a much larger quantity than ... Read Full Story >>
When I was thirteen years old, I had an enemy. Not a wanted enemy, mind you, but an evil one!
His name was Fred, and boy, was he mean. He took advantage of all my short-comings. My mother passed away when I was ten, and he wouldn't even let up about that!
One day, he and a few of his friends dumped mustard all over my new shirt which I'd begged my aunt for hours to let me have.
A few weeks before school was out, Fred stopped coming to school. Curious, I asked around only to discover that his mother had passed away the week before.
I felt terrible for him! Mind you, he had never been a sweetheart or anything, but I knew how terrible it was to lose a parent as a kid.
I checked the school directory for his address and mailed him a long, anonymous letter about how I coped with losing my mom, and things I'd learned from it. And mostly, I told him how sorry I was for his loss.
A few weeks later, when he returned to school, he still made fun of me, but I felt much better about the situation. My letter hadn't changed him, but I think it changed me!
"Carol Lee?" On our flight to New Orleans, the "Fasten Your Seat Belts" sign had just come on. Carol Lee was reading her book. She lifted her head, "What do you want to do in life?" I asked. I expected her to say she wanted to travel to Europe. Carol Lee turned to me and said, "I would like to hold babies." "Hold babies?" I was stunned. "You've got grandchildren." "I would like to work in a hospital nursery and just hold the newborns." Newborns? Her desire was one to ponder, which I did with each salty peanut I crunched. I looked out my little round window at New Orleans in the distance. Hold babies? Was she serious? A beignet at Cafe Du Monde, the French Quarter, a walk and a tour of the Garden District - joie de vivre! St. Charles Avenue and the streetcar ride; moonlight dancing aboard a Mississippi riverboat; a final ... Read Full Story >>
Lately these days, I have a regular chat mate. We chat for an hour. She makes me laugh. She lessens my homesickness in this foreign land when I see her smile on the Web cam. Every time I see her lowering her head as she types the letters, I anticipate what she has to type. Just this afternoon, she learned how to use the audibles. It was an afternoon filled with fun and love.
Throughout the entire time we chat, though, I can't understand a single word. My chat mate is my dearest sister who has Downs Syndrome.
Chatting with her is the most remarkable feeling. She may not understand what I am typing on the screen and I may not understand what she's typing but I can see the way she nods and she can see the way I laugh, and deep in our hearts, we feel connected.
Always eager, we both show up for each other everyday. We try to communicate with words and typed sentences, but really, no words are even needed.
Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, 'Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over.' I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead 'I will come next Tuesday', I promised a little reluctantly on her third call. Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren. 'Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!' My daughter smiled calmly and said, 'We drive in this all the time, Mother.' 'Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, ... Read Full Story >>
Technically speaking, my Mom is old -- she is in her 70s now. She once used to be a woman full of life and laughter. All of that changed after my Dad passed away about ten years ago. Although they were not what you would call a "lovey dovey" couple, Mom did take his sudden death quite badly. She became a bit of a recluse and more of a worrier. To make matters worse, my brother decided to relocate to another city. Mom decided to stay behind with her sister. Whenever my Mom comes over to stay with me for some time (I live with my husband and his parents), she always demands constant attention from me. She generally gets nostalgic of the good old times we used to spend together discussing books, cooking, or life in general. Sometimes it turned into a cribbing session. "You never spare time for ... Read Full Story >>
This might not seem like such a big deal to someone who doesn't know me or my "story", but for my husband and I and our family it is huge. After nearly ten years of ongoing emotional battles with my husband's ex-wife, we had determined over the last year that we were finished and ready to move on. Over the past year, in most instances we have simply made concessions to her and my step-son regarding visitation changes and the like, to promote harmony and to stay focused on the positive as we try to raise our two biological children as well. Although this was "our" year to have my step-son for Thanksgiving his mother asked if he could come to her mother's home to have dessert after finishing his meal with our family. After asking him if it was what he desired, my husband agreed to this. Although it ... Read Full Story >>
I met my husband (my 2nd) back in 1997 at a colleague's wedding. We immediately hit it off and saw each other regularly. I told him all about my having IIH, and what it involved as well as the worst case scenario, which is blindness. I was also at the time a single parent to an 8 year old daughter. Although in some ways we were total opposites, we shared the same humour, values and ideas, and within a year we were married. It was the most fantastic day, and I don't know who cried more, myself or my husband. He became a fantastic husband, and father to my daughter (the only one she's ever known), and life was good to us. Two years on, due to my IH I lost my peripheral vision and depth perception. After having an Lp shunt to prevent total blindness, my mobility was severely affected, as the ... Read Full Story >>
I'm a bit of a family historian (not that we have much of a history outside coal mining in Scotland and farming in Ireland.) One of my most precious possessions, which probably dates from about 1915, is a family portrait. My great grandmother sits on a chair all stiff and formal with her brood of babies around her feet and on her knees. My great grandfather stands behind her the picture of authorirty, but he is actually standing on "tin" legs after an accident with a railway truck. One-by-one the people in the picture left this world. My gran died aged 82, but in this picture she is about 3 forever. One of her sisters, Lena, outlived all her siblings by quite some way. Going to visit Lena not long before she died it occurred to me that she might not have seen this picture for many decades. So I made a copy, framed ... Read Full Story >>
I believe in kindness. But it's hard to be kind. We're not trained for it. Kindness is for sissies; we learn that early. "Nice guys finish last." If they even get invited to the race. Kindness is taken for weakness, rube-ishness, stupidity. No one seems to respect the kind. They respect the killer. We're taught to value competitiveness, strength, cunning, Darwin. I work in the entertainment business, where kindness just never seems to be "in." It's not macho. It doesn't sell tickets. In the movies, the hero never kills the bad guy with kindness. But I believe Economics 101 is right. The value of a thing is determined by its scarcity. Which makes kindness spiritual gold. I am writing these words a few weeks after my father's death. He was a fervent Republican. He preached an eye for an eye. He was a hawk. But he practiced ... Read Full Story >>
For my daughter's 19th birthday in December, we bought her tickets to go and see Linkin Park, as they were playing in our city in the UK. We didn't really have the money but we knew how much this band meant to her, and she'd seen them years earlier with her Dad. The night before she was like a kid at Christmas, all pink cheeked, shiny eyed and giddy with aniticipation. Every so often she got up and came to sit with us, because she couldn't sleep. On the night of the concert it was good to see her so happy and excited, as she and her boyfriend set off. Needless to say when they returned after midnight , with t-shirts, a programme and lots of video and pictures of the band, listening to her gushing about how fantastic they had been, we knew that the money had been well spent. This will ... Read Full Story >>
While shopping at my local Walmart I noticed a young girl ahead of me. She had with her what looked like a newborn infant in the cart along with diapers, formula, and other food items. This young mother wasn't the average mom shopping at Walmart. The pierced nose and tongue might have discouraged others from helping her. The cashier rung up her items and the girl gave the cashier her credit card. The credit card was declined and the girl looked at the cashier embarassed and horrified. The cashier gave the girl the option of keeping her items in the cart while the girl went to get the necessary money. I wasn't sure if this was the person I was supposed to help, after all there seemed to be a lot of stuff in her cart, and I am a single parent myself. The girl left, supposedly to go get ... Read Full Story >>
I have been doing what I can to look out for someone who lives close inside my heart though the daily lives we experience are quite far apart . In my home, I wake up to a fresh morning, experiencing the luxury and warmth of the comfort of my own bed laden with a floral quilt that my grandmother once made for me. On the opposite coast of the country, within the confines of the lonely hospital walls, my sister rests often unpeacefully and in pain on a cold and firm plaster white sterilized bed. A cancer inside her is spreading despite a recent mastectomy and three months of intense chemotherapy. Radiation was not a possibility for her and now this condition has seeped into her skull and spine. The comforter which I grip so tightly begins to unravel in my hand and the texture of the fabric begins to soil, as I feel a piece of me lying there with her in the hospital room. In order to keep myself from crumbling, I began to send blessing blankets, little toy angels, and a book of ... Read Full Story >>