It's hard to ask for help. It's uncomfortable to admit that you need something or that your life would be a lot easier if you could lean on someone else to do a little thing that you always assumed as your responsibility.
I've learned that people won't ask for help, but they sure will appreciate it if you jump in and do something helpful. Before you jump in, however, you have to really understand their circumstance and figure out what act or deed would be most helpful.
Out of habit, we often bring casseroles to the sick. Sure it is helpful, but they get too many and their kids don't like what they get so they have to make something else anyway.
So, instead I try to fill in where others aren't - doing laundry, picking up kids from school, including kids in activities etc. I hope I never forget that silence does not mean someone is ok, it just might mean that they don't want to ask for help.
It was me who received kindness today. I was buying some flowers after doing my grocery shopping and the lady at the shop asked if I'd like some free flowers.
Then she handed me a bunch of yellow chrysanthemums.
I had to hold back tears, as I was feeling worn out and poorly. So I'm spoiled - I have one bouquet of flowers in my bedroom and one in my lounge room. Her kindness meant so much!
My neighbor, who is a young man with special needs knocked on my door one Friday evening. I've known him nearly twenty years. Occasionally, he will help me with odd jobs in the summer. When he came to my door, he humbly asked if I could possibly lend him five or ten dollars until his parents got back into town later in the week. Given our relationship over the years, I know asking must have been very difficult for him. I quickly handed him twenty dollars. He then said he'd gladly work it off or pay me back as quickly as he could. To which I replied: "let's put it on account for spring clean-up." However, it kept me awake all night wondering how many groceries one could buy with twenty bucks. The next morning, I headed off to the grocery store and filled two bags with non-perishable food and some bread. ... Read Full Story >>
My husband and I were serving in Peace Corps in a remote village in northern Thailand. There were many challenges and difficulties, particularly around our housing. We moved into our house this past June. Shortly thereafter, while we were away at a Peace Corps training, the owner ripped out all the surrounding banana groves and the lush undergrowth in order to raise the ground level--she had planned on tearing down our house and building a new one after we left. She brought in literally tons of dirt. This left our house in a kind of moat, and when the heavy rains came, our house flooded. This, needless to say, was upsetting, but it turned into a blessing, because when he became aware of it, the principal at my school got my eighth-grade class to come help clean up. The boys dug into the moat to drain the water, and built a concrete path ... Read Full Story >>
Made a big pot of homemade soup that filled the house with a wonderful aroma. It was cold here and good day for hot soup. I have lots left for the coming week and will bring some over to my sweet 80-something next door neighbor tomorrow. Thanks to Waving for sharing the recipe for the split pea with yam soup.
Today, I was at the grocery store buying a few items when the lady in front of me couldn't find the change to complete her bill and was short 78 cents. She was all frazzled trying to find change to finish paying.
I then gave her a dollar to finish paying her bill. She was so grateful she kind of just stared at me surprised. She thanked me over and over again and apologized for not having the extra 78 cents. I told her not to worry about it and really it was only a dollar.
She kept smiling and thanking me for the littlest act of kindness and it felt really nice to help her out in a little way to keep her day running smoothly
With the winter weather kicking in the homeless are having a tough time. I see them every day sitting on cardboard with a sleeping bag and or dog to keep them warm. Usually, I buy them a hot drink or hot food, hoping that will help warm them.
This year I prepared some small packages as well. Each has a pair of gloves, because I see many with bare hands in such cold weather. I also included the small hand warmers you get in the 99 cent stores. Then I add snacks, hygiene products and for those with a dog, some dried dog food.
While I feel so saddened by the world and the mean-spirited people my husband and my son especially have had to deal with this week, I still believe in being kind to everyone. The little kindness I did for the elderly lady at the grocery store, and the assistance I gave someone else at the local yarn store, are moments that make my days better. Making cookies for a neighbor who got laid off was a small gesture that made him smile.
Sometimes I would prefer to give back the meanness I get from some people, but have learned that just makes it worse. The hard part is not lashing out at those who hurt my family. That has happened too often this week to my son in particular.
Nothing to be gain by striking back, but still it saddens my heart and life at time can be wear your spirit down.
Tomorrow is another day. And another chance to make some one smile
Yesterday a housemate asked if I'd join him with dinner, he just felt like cooking and sharing. So I got treated! I was just passing him in the kitchen, on my way to next door to the supermarket, and thought it would be nice to get some Tiramisu as dessert (I almost never do dessert, but hey it felt good!)We had a great conversation too; he knows I am into spiritual things, so it got interesting. He shared he liked Jason Upton and shared this amazing song called Beautiful People.
We had to run out to buy more food for the feral cats who frequent our "restaurant"..we are in the midst of a cold snap with increasing bitter temperatures & high winds & they need to eat more frequently to stay warm.
The Universe was so kind, we were able to get a break on the cost per bag...a $3 savings per bag! Awesome.
We used some of the savings to buy a basket of strawberries for our 90 year old friend who had shared with me yesterday that she loved strawberries but couldn't see spending $7 a basket (the off-season price we are being charged here now).
Knowing she'd insist on paying us (she's very proud), we dropped them off with her son (she lives w/him) , told him we didn't want any payment & to tell her he paid us for them. Lol. When she called us later to thank us & asked us how much they cost, I told a "white lie" & said $3. She said she was going to give her son the money he laid out....I was chuckling as we said our good-byes 🍓
Tonight I am going to finally start on a project I have been procrastinating on for a while. A few years back, I lived in Japan for two years. I made a lot of friends there, including a sweet old man who worked in the office I did paperwork in on Friday afternoons. He really welcomed me into the community. His hobby was drawing and painting, and he was very talented at it.
I bought this book which is filled with suggestions of interesting things to draw (followed by the appropriate space to draw them) but they are in English, and he can't read them, so I am going to translate the whole book into Japanese. I hope he likes it and still has fond memories of me. It has been too long since last communicating with him.
We took the kids for dinner at Pizza Express. There was a very friendly lady dining alone at the next table who clearly had special needs. When the time came for her to pay the bill, her bank card was declined. The waitress told to her, in a very kind way, that there was a problem but that she would call her manager for help. Jeremy, my husband, immediately leapt up and told the waiting staff that we would pay for the lady's meal. However, when the manager arrived, he explained to the lady that she couldn't use her bank card to pay, but that there was no need to worry. Pizza Express authorizes the restaurant to give away two free meals per month. On this occasion, they would like to provide her with a free meal. She was extremely grateful and apologetic that she had been unable to pay. We ... Read Full Story >>
I received a quilt in the mail today from an local organization that makes homemade quilts for people living with cancer. Someone requested it on my behalf, because I would never have thought to ask for myself. I cannot begin to tell you how beautiful it is, and how touched and grateful I am for this act of unconditional kindness and generosity.
It inspires me, and I hope it will inspire you too.
The individual makers stay anonymous, and ask for nothing back. You can, if you wish, thank the charity on its web site, and donate. Their quilts are just beautiful, and light, and come with their own carrying case.
I have received many kindnesses in the course of my illness, but this one really stands out for me, because it is so unconditional, and symbolizes warmth and comfort in such a concrete way.
Today, I was rushing to an appointment and I passed a man sitting on the sidewalk, leaning against a building, holding a cardboard sign over his head. As I sped-walked past him, I glanced at the sign-- it read "Anything Helps" in thin, blue ink. You could barely read it if you weren't looking closely. There are many homeless people in the city where I live, and I've recently noticed how, when I first moved to this city a decade ago, I'd stop and do whatever I could each time I passed by someone in need, whereas now, I walk right by and avoid interacting as much as possible. I've been wondering why that is. Have I gotten busier? More cautious and jaded over time? Even though I know a human being is a human being, no matter what mental state or social status they carry, or how much or little money ... Read Full Story >>
It was raining and chilly. I passed a homeless woman with wet socks and sandals. I asked her if she had any other shoes than that and she said she didn't. So I asked her if she would like a pair of shoes that would keep out the cold and damp. She was very eager, not surprisingly. Her feet were soggy though at least she had an umbrella and a hooded summer jacket on. It was my honour and pleasure to go with her to a shoe store there and then and do some shoe shopping. I don't have a lot of money so I told her the budget and she was like, "Oh, I can't spend that much any way. I just couldn't." In fact she chose a pair of rain repelling shoes which were on sale and the least expensive in that budget shoe store. She seemed grateful, and ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday I got a visit from a friend I haven't seen in awhile. When he was on his way over to my house, he was saying how his phone might die. I knew then, as a great friend, it would be a very good thing to give a prized possession of mine to him, as he needed it at the time more than I do.
I have this battery pack that will charge up your phone when you are out and about, and it lasts all day. So, when he got here I offered my charger for him to use, and when he was leaving, I asked him if he would like to have my battery pack and the cord that came with it, so he wouldn't have a dead cell phone the whole hour drive back home.
I really loved that thing, but at the moment I knew what I needed to do as he needed a charge more than I did, since I am always around electricity and have a other car charger for when I am out! Sometimes it is the little things! :) He was very grateful!
First, some acts of kindness my fiancee and I have done recently: One sweltering hot day, we were on our way into Sam's Club to pick up something, and saw a homeless man and his dog sitting on the curb at the exit. When we left, he was walking away, but we stopped him and asked if he would like a water for himself and his pooch. He seemed so grateful for the offer, I wasn't completely sure if it was because he (or his dog) was thirsty for water, or just thirsty for compassion... it is my sincerest hope that our two measly little bottles of water helped with both that day. On another occasion, we heard through the grapevine that a friend of a friend, who happened to be a single mother of three (one of them a newborn) were displaced out of their home due to a fire in ... Read Full Story >>
Thank you, KindSpring, for opening my eyes! Today I went to Berkeley, near our old neighborhood - I was a bit surprised by the increased number of homeless (alternatively housed) people walking around. I remember there are more in certain areas. So the first man who asked me for money got all my single bills. So when the second man asked me two minutes later, I said I was out because I gave all I had to the previous person I was headed to the grocery store for a coffee and after I walked into the store I walked out to find him as he had asked me for something because he was hungry and I had just walked into a grocery store. When I asked him what he wanted to eat, he just asked for some vegetables and rice. He talked about how much better the vegetables were as we waited for our number to be called. While ... Read Full Story >>
I was next in line to a lady paying her terminal fee at the port. The cashier seemed to be upset with the big bill the lady was paying because I learned it was already the second time she told the same lady that she has no change available for that bill. I would like to believe the cashier behaved that way because because she was alone in the paying booth and there were people lined up to pay. Or maybe she was just having a not so good day.
So after I paid my fee, I gave her the magic smiley chocolate bar. That simple act changed her mood immediately. I couldn't forget the smile painted on her face just because a stranger gave her a little sweet nothing 😍
Today I went to this weekly market. I eagerly wait for the delicious street food stalls, and as usual, I went to the coupon guy and asked for one coupon (which I then have to hand over to another guy who will hand me the food).
As I was standing in the queue when I saw a lady with her two kids. The kids were so excited to enjoy the food I noticed however that she only asked for one coupon. I was little sad to notice that...so I asked for 2 coupons, one for myself and the other for the lady. I went up to her and asked her to take the coupon, handing it to her with a smile.
I walked towards the food court, and just as I was going to hand my coupon over to the food guy, a kid came to me and looked straight into my eyes. I asked him.."are you okay kid?" and he replied.."I also want to eat, can I please also get a coupon?" Well...no need to guess, he got the coupon. I will have to wait for another week to enjoy those delicacies. Their smiling faces extinguished my hunger.