I am a recovering alcoholic. Years ago I went into a hospital because of depression. My life was a mess, my husband wanted a divorce. My daughter was doing drugs. Everything in my life was coming apart including me. My girlfriend's father came to see me. He was a big, barrel chested Irishman, who loved wearing Nike sweatshirts that said "JUST DO IT". Upon my release from the hospital, he began to take me to AA meetings, and we would meet for coffee, or go to his house where he and his Alcoholics Anonymous member wife slowly helped me back to life. They gave me a homework assignment. I was to stand in front of my mirror and look into my eyes and say, "you are a beautiful person, you deserve a good life, I care about you, I love you". He said, "JUST DO IT". Every night he would call at ... Read Full Story >>
My best friend, Marcie, is an amazing person who I treasure. From the first day we met we have been the best of friends. It all began when I was sitting alone at a new job and didn't know anyone -- it was lunch time and she asked if I wanted to have lunch with her. That was in September of 1999. Marcie is filled with kindness and somehow touches someone with it everyday. She is the first to help others and has never let me face anything alone from common childhood illnesses with my children, to emergency room visits, financial crises (and we have many!), helping me with my grandparents' scrapbook and helping me and my family through the recent death of my father, including helping me to find and pay for his urn to hold his ashes. She even helped with the lilttlest ones by getting them ready ... Read Full Story >>
My son's day care provider experienced a tragic sudden death of a friend. She had just met this fellow and had sensed a deep connection before dropping him off at his car. He had a car accident that night, and was killed. Deeply moved by the sadness that my friend was experiencing, I was compelled to write her some comforting words about being able to see the positives of how her friend had influenced her life and suggested that he possibly came to her as an angel of change for her life. This trajedy, impacted her deeply and encouraged her to reevaluate her life, as tragedy often does. I encouraged her to look past the normal conditionings that would have us concentrate on the drama of a trajedy and suggested she instead reflect on the positive message this friend's life gave her and the people around her. This approach would ... Read Full Story >>
As some of you know, my 30th birthday party is coming up and I have themed it a 'Random Acts of Kindness' party where we will be doing various things to bestow kindness upon others. My best friend, who cannot attend because she lives in South Africa (I'm in Australia) has chosen to participate in the event anyway. She has given me the best present possible! I felt so good when I received her email. Not just because of the beautiful comments she made, but also to see that my random acts of kindness idea has even reached the other side of the world and will make a difference to people so far away. It's absolutely inspirational. Here is her beautiful email that I would love to share with you: To my dear friend, Jackie, Since we met in July 2003, you have been a wonderful inspiration to me and a great friend. ... 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 >>
A few years during the worst phase of my life, I ran away from home and did not know where to go. I just landed in a town to meet a friend who happened to be away on a vacation. It was late in the night and I had nowhere to go. I called the phone number my friend had given me. A polite voice answered the phone and informed me that he was my friend's friend. He came to meet me at the bus station and took me home for the night. I confessed everything to him and he really took care of me like a baby and spent the entire next three days with me, trying to reason things. Once he was confident that I was ok, he booked my ticket to go home without informing me. He took me out for the day and introduced all his friends and by evening gave me ... 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 >>
Our son is my newest "Hockey Hero." He plays goalie on his small hometown ice hockey team. One weekend on matchday, we arrived a bit late and quickly found our seats and settled in. As I looked around, I noticed we were sitting with a family who had a mentally and physically handicapped child. We could hear the exciement in his voice when he said, "Mom, look the goalie is going to get the puck now!" Shamelessly, I listened to him and the excitment and joy in his voice as praised the goalie time and time again. During the break, we went and told our son what was happening in the bleachers and, bless his heart, he went up into the bleachers, introduced himself to the parents and sat next to this young lad. He started talking to him and before long the boy was trying on our son's gloves, blocker and helment. When the game was about to start again, my ... Read Full Story >>
I was working for a company in Australia that has a high turnover of staff. I, too, had found a better position and was very aware that management would be dissapointed that I was leaving. I had recently become friends with a young man who had just migrated to Australia. He was unskilled and was finding life difficult being unemployed and married and having two young children. As I handed in my notice I was asked if I was aware of anyone who was looking for work and could do the job as well as I had done. I took this opportunity to line up an interview for my new friend. My friend was not offered the job after the interview. I had to serve a weeks notice and during this time I asked management the reasons why my friend was turned down. They claimed that his English was not good enough ... Read Full Story >>
My fiancee and I decided today was the day to finally treat ourselves to a nice dinner. It started off as 'our' day' but little did we know that it would turn into much more. I didn't want the whole day to be about yearning to leave the office for the upcoming dinner and I didn't want the dinner to be just another romantic night for two... So, I felt compelled to turn up the notch of giving that day and see what that could do. During the work day, I began in small ways. I inserted a few more quarters, dimes, and nickels, into the vending machines at work for the staff, so that something extra jingled inside for the next hungry worker. I posted smile signs in the lobby which gave clear instructions on how to smile as employees entered the office, either before their morning cup of coffee or right before a meeting with their boss. I drafted some powerful words of inspiration on colorful strips of paper and decorated my cube, so that any colleagues who came by, might just stop for ... Read Full Story >>
Once upon a time, a long time ago there lived two very happy people called Tim and Maggi with their two children, John and Lucy. To understand how happy they were you have to understand how things were in those days. You see, in those happy days everyone was given, at birth, a small soft Fuzzy Bag. Anytime a person reached into this bag he was able to pull out a Warm Fuzzy. Warm Fuzzies were very much in demand because whenever somebody was given a Warm Fuzzy it made him feel warm and fuzzy all over. People who didn't get Warm Fuzzies regularly were in danger of developing a sickness in their backs which caused them to shrivel up and die. In those days it was very easy to get Warm Fuzzies. Anytime that somebody felt like it, he might walk up ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday I heard about a single mom with two kids that I barely know. She was pleading for help to pay her phone bill so it wouldn’t get disconnected. I have seen her help many others over the past months. She struggles to make ends meet but puts on a smile so her children won’t worry. She has no family near her so if she loses her phone, her children or their school will have no way to get in touch with her. After reading her plea, I thought about it all night and it broke my heart. This morning I contacted her and told her I wanted to help. I called and paid her phone bill so that she would not lose it. She wrote me one of the most sincere letters I have ever received, telling me how thankful she was. She cried and said that I would never ... Read Full Story >>
A few years ago, I met an older gentleman while I was out walking dogs. His dog was always out in his front yard so we got to know one another as I would pass by. At the time, his wife was undergoing dialysis at the end of a lifetime of diabletes and I offered to care for his dog on the days he had to take his wife to the doctor. That became a regular thing and eventually, when his wife passed away, we had become friends. This man had no children or close relatives and did not know his neighbors well. Consequently, the loss of his wife hit him even harder than this kind of tragedy ordinarily would have. Since my work hours were (and are) very very long, I could only spend a little time with him, so I started talking to his neighbors when I would see them ... Read Full Story >>
I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counselor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn't sure I wanted one. I wasn't sure how my customers would react to Stevie. He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and thick-tongued speech of Downs Syndrome. I wasn't worried about most of my trucker customers because truckers don't generally care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade. The four-wheeler drivers were the ones who concerned me; the mouthy college kids traveling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded "truck stop germ" the pairs of white-shirted business men on expense accounts who think every truck stop waitress wants to ... Read Full Story >>
My son Wynn has autism. As a result, his social skills are stunted. Neverless, he still longs for friendship and human kinship even though he rarely knows how to properly initiate conversations. When he was 7 or 8, he went through a phase where he would approach strangers with survey-type questions such as: "Excuse me, Sir. Are you married or are you happy?" or "Excuse me, Lady. Have you always been so old?" or, my personal favorite, "Excuse me, Girl. How did you grow up to be a fat woman?" As you can imagine, he didn't make many friends for either one of us, and I spent a lot of time apologizing and feeling embarrassed (though I have to say, his questions were actually quite relevant). When Wynn was 10, he entered the phase of being totally enamored with men who had facial hair. In his attempt to interact with his subject of interest, he would approach each ... Read Full Story >>
On a recent Sunday morning, my daughter and I went the the local bagel shop for a treat. Upon leaving, we saw a wallet on the ground. I picked it up, and figured out how to contact the owner. My daughter wondered if we’d get a reward, and I said it was just right to return the wallet and that we shouldn’t return it expecting a reward. We returned the wallet, and the person was grateful, leaving a wonderful halloween pumpkin on our porch. Only 5 days later, I took a business trip and had a very pleasant cab ride with a cab rider whose home country is very distant from ours. We talked of our cultures, sharing our common experiences in our different worlds. We talked of how difficult being a cab driver has become with the slowing economy. I tipped more than usual, just seemed like the right thing ... Read Full Story >>
Psst....I have a secret.
I have a positively powerful secret that I want to share. If you look deep into my heart, you can see how you have touched my life. Can you see me changing? Have you noticed my new countenance? Perhaps you have sensed the smile that has been placed not only in my heart but also on my lips.
When you said the right thing or encouraged me, it made a difference. When you shared my pain or agreed with one of my thoughts, you lifted me up. When you gave me a new perspective, it was welcomed.
Did you know that I am a better person because of your presence in my life? Did you know that I have learned from your pain that you were thoughtful enough to share? Did you know that your insight has heightened my own?
My secret is this: when you share, it shows how much you care. Okay, now you can tell this secret to the world.
I placed Ted's ashes in the ocean and watched as they made a rainbow before dissolving into the sea. In my hand was an envelope with my name on it. I reflected on my friendship with Old Ted, over the past two years prior to his death. It was a sunny mid-day in Tucson. I had been attending a teaching and we were on lunch break. I was the first to arrive at the Furrs restaurant. I was getting out of my car when I saw him. An elderly man in his eighties, thin, tall, and walked with the gait of someone who knew how to put many miles behind them in a day. He came up to me and said, "I'm hungry can you feed me?" "Of course." I said. He looked me over, I was dressed in my red and yellow monks robes. "What are you?" he asked quite matter ... Read Full Story >>
I was thinking the other day, I had been very short tempered with my lovely partner, who didn't deserve it, just because I was stressed about something at work. I stomped about the house and eventually flounced out saying I was going to the library, without a backward glance or asking if there was anything I could pick up for my loved one. I suddenly realised that I had spent all day with virtual strangers (I am a Work Based Tutor and visit different companies daily ) to whom I had been polite, courteous, 'smiley' and generally a jovial person. I did not mention my work worries and nobody guessed I was feeling particularly stressed and unhappy but, I managed to hurt the one person who deserved it least, the person who would have given me a hug and let me have a moan. On my way back from the library I began to feel guilty ... Read Full Story >>
NAIROBI (AFP) - A baby hippopotamus that survived the tsunami waves on the Kenyan coast has formed a strong bond with a giant male century-old tortoise in an animal facility in the port city of Mombassa, officials said. The hippopotamus, nicknamed Owen and weighing about 300 kilograms (650 pounds), was swept down Sabaki River into the Indian Ocean , then forced back to shore when tsunami waves struck the Kenyan coast on December 26, before wildlife rangers rescued him. 'It is incredible. A-less-than-a-year-old hippo has adopted a male tortoise, about a century old, and the tortoise seems to be very happy with being a 'mother',' ecologist Paula Kahumbu, who is in charge of Lafarge Park , told AFP. 'After it was swept away and lost its mother, the hippo was traumatized. It had to look for something to be a surrogate mother. Fortunately , it landed on the tortoise and established a strong ... Read Full Story >>
My wife called,"How long will you be with that newspaper? Will you come here and make your darling daughter eat her food?" I tossed the paper away and rushed to the scene. My only daughter Sindu looked frightened. Tears were welling up in her eyes. In front of her was a bowl filled to its brim with curd rice. Sindu is a nice child, quite intelligent for her age.She has just turned eight. She particularly detested curd rice. My mother and my wife are orthodox, and believe firmly in the 'cooling effects' of curd rice! I cleared my throat, and picked up the bowl. "Sindu, darling,why don't you take a few mouthful of this curd rice?Just for Dad's sake, dear." Sindu softened a bit, and wiped her tears with the back of her hands. "OK, Dad. I will eat - not just a few mouthfuls, but the whole lot of this. ... Read Full Story >>
I felt gloomy the other day. The weather had been dark and rainy, and I just didn’t feel so positive. It happens to us all, I guess. As I was sitting at my desk, I remembered it was the birthday of a dear long-time friend—a single, middle-aged woman who has dedicated the past 30 years to nursing and loves her work. Knowing that she doesn’t have family in town, I decided to give her a call. Sure enough, she was scheduled to work late into the evening, and wouldn’t have much of a birthday this year. As always, though, she sounded cheerful and was happy I called. After I hung up, I couldn’t shake the feeling that she would really appreciate a little attention on her special day. Still feeling a little gloomy myself, I tried to put it out of my mind, but as the day passed I couldn’t shake the thought. I ... Read Full Story >>
There's something in a simple hug
That always warms the heart;
It welcomes us back home
And makes it easier to part.
A hug's a way to share the joy
And sad times we go through,
Or just a way for friends to say
They like you 'cause you're you.
Hugs are meant for anyone
For whom we really care,
From your grandma to your neighbor,
Or a cuddly teddy bear.
A hug is an amazing thing-
It's just the perfect way
To show the love we're feeling
But can't find the words to say.
It's funny how a little hug
Makes everyone feel good;
In every place and language,
It's always understood.
And hugs don't need new equipment,
Special batteries or special parts -
Just open up your arms
And open up your hearts!
John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, 'If I were any better, I would be twins!' He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?" He replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood, or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad ... Read Full Story >>
When I was in South Africa in February this year visiting, my mum and I used to do our shopping together. One day we went to this big shopping centre and I decided to stay with the car while she ran in to get some stuff. I noticed there are a lot of guys who help people find car spots and help guide them in. They also watch your car to make sure it doesn't get broken into while you're shopping in order to make some money for their families. When we got there this gentlemen came up and asked if he could keep an eye on our car. I said there was no need as I was staying in the car. These guys only get given money and change if people choose to give it. I remember standing there watching him help about 8 people, who had come and gone ... Read Full Story >>
I was staying with a friend of mine recently because my parents where out of town. On one of the days, my friend and I went out on an activity day, which was lots of fun and I had the chance to meet a bunch of new people. I was talking with a few guys, and during the course of the conversation, it came up that they where from a town that I was going to move to in just one week. One of the guys was very interested in when my family and I where moving and asked if we where going to have any help moving in. He insisted on getting my information so he could help out. I thought that was quite funny but didn’t really give it much thought. Well, sure enough, he called me the day we were moving in, and when my family arrived, there was a big group of people outside our new house. These people didn’t even know us and ... Read Full Story >>
Two of my friends and I were coming back from a youth meeting when a woman with three children, who were looking unclean and unkept started speaking to us. She said she and her kids needed money to eat, as they had not eaten since morning and it was already evening. I had three hundred naira with me and I wanted to use it to buy credit to recharge my phone. I was tempted to ignore her and tell her I had no money to spare -- even my two friends told me that we should go and I should not give her anything, that she is a fake, pretentious fellow. But, I decided not to listen to my friends and gave her all the money that I was planning to use to recharge my phone without any hopes of getting more money to top-up my phone for a few days. I was so shocked when I saw the woman burst ... Read Full Story >>
We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, 'Hi.' He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment. I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map. We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved and flapped on loose ... Read Full Story >>
One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers. That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual. On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. "Really?" she heard whispered. "I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!" and, "I didn't know others liked me so much." were most of the comments. No one ever mentioned those papers in class ... Read Full Story >>
I had an errand to do in Saltcoats today. I arrived early so I decided to go for a walk by the harbourside. It was pouring down with rain but I had my new waterproof jacket on so I didn't really mind. As I was walking along, I met someone who wasn't so lucky. He had swept back salt 'n' pepper hair, a bushy gray beard, sky blue eyes - and he was soaked through and through. "Could you do me a favour?" He held his hand out. "Probably not," I replied. Things had been tight financially and for the past fortnight I'd been telling my kids we can't do this and we can't afford that. "I've been trying to chase up the price of a beer," he continued. Well, I admired his honesty. If I'd been living on the street like he obviously had, a beer might have been important to me too. I ... Read Full Story >>