About a year back, I got off the train and was waiting for my ride to come pick me up. Suddenly I felt the inspiration to write a poem. I looked around and found a pen, but no paper. There was not even a scrap of paper in site. Bummer! So I sat there for a moment in a predicament, alone with the stunted inspiration. Then looked around a little more. It turned out that in my wallet I had a dollar bill. Looking at it a little more thoroughly, it became clear that there was very little writing surface on the dollar. But I could write something... So I took my pen and wrote something like this: "This is a very special dollar - given to you with love. Do not keep it. Do not spend it. Pass it on. Give it to someone else with love, and watch ... Read Full Story >>
How did you hear about us? My Friend handed me a card. What inspired you to join? The joy of doing good things. --Joshua, in New York This is my second time emailing you. First, I only asked for a few cards to try this at our school and the response has been great. Both teachers and students have been coming to my office in the Guidance, where I am Academically Gifted Resource Teacher, asking for more cards and wanting to join in this game. Also, some were quite excited when they had been tagged. Your cards really brighten our school days. If you could send us some more to brighten our already sunny days in North Carolina, we would appreciate it very much. Many thanks to you from all of us at Lufkin Road Middle School. We are getting ready to take the EOG's this month and could use some extra acts ... Read Full Story >>
Some deeds are big some are small, but the point is for us to think of other people. I want to share the lovely feeling of joy on being around a bunch of 4 year olds for whom I was a complete stranger yet felt so bonded by my presence and connection. Early this week, I offered to do some Ďstory time readingí at a local preschool. The kids and teachers were very excited about it. It was wonderful to be around these incredible kids who all picked their favorite storybooks for me to read. Due to time constraint, I could only read few books but promised the other kids to read them their favorite story the next time. I already made 2 trips to the school to keep my promise and looking forward to more! I was thinking of ways to show my appreciation to the teachers and staff of an ... Read Full Story >>
My kids and I bought inexpensive fresh flowers from a store and randomly picked 2 women from the supermarket parking lot to give them to and said "these are just for you... have a great day". The response was touching: The first woman started crying and said she just lost her husband of 50 years a few weeks ago and she was just sitting in her car thinking about him. We cried and hugged each other and talked about her loss...I told her I think we were sent to her that day ...maybe her husband sent us to give her the flowers. The other woman stated that she could really use the flowers because she was really sad that her mother was ill in the hospital. My kids are always retelling this story... "Mom remember when we gave those flowers to those ladies and they cried because they were so happy".
Mondays are usually pretty hectic for me. On one of these typical Mondays, I get ready to go to work thinking about all the things I have to accomplish on that day and walk down to get to my car scolding myself for being late to work, but surprisingly the car was nowhere to be found. I parked right across my apartment the previous night but it wasnít there that morning. This was at 8.00am in the morning. I made trips to all the towing places, police stations all the time thinking that it was towed by cops. By around 10.00am, I couldnít find it anywhere and the cops decided that it was actually stolen. After filing a report with the them, I finally get to work thinking how my day was completely messed up. Later in the day I went to pick up a rental car at Enterprise only to realize ... Read Full Story >>
The three of us met this morning at a crowded cafe in downtown Manhattan. The streets outside wet-gleaming in the rain and blossoming with umbrellas. Me, and K and M. K a young woman I'd met only just this morning. A person with a wonderful spirit working towards finding balance through a challenging period in her life. M a woman I met two years ago in the park. A writer struggling with writer's block and an internal inertia- who later attended an informal poetry workshop we put together and wrote a beautiful little poem - her first in close to a year. So there we were- the three of us- unexpectedly together (who can explain these things?). The napkins on the table were huge, white and irresistible. So of course we had to write a poem together. Because what else are huge, white, irresistible table napkins for? I started the first ... Read Full Story >>
"Right on. This is my kind of protest," he says while going past me. I hadn't thought of it way before. But perhaps it is a protest for lack of smiles in the world. About 15 of us gathered earlier today to create poster boards that we would proudly hold up on busy street intersections of San Francisco. The posters would say simple things like "smile" or "smile anyways" or "spare a smile?" or "smile, it's free". We weren't doing this as a part of any organization but rather as friends and well-meaning citizens of the world. After our morning creative sessions, we split up into teams of four and spread over various intersections on San Francisco's Van Ness Road. My team was at the Lombard intersection, one of the busiest. For the first couple minutes, there's always that awkward question mark on your face -- "I am making a fool of myself?" ... Read Full Story >>
We were recently at a concert. The young artists were playing their hearts out but unfortunately, the audience was largely empty. Moved by the artists, my wife felt we ought to do something to support them. Something, anything. The guy next to us, an Italian youngster named Arthur, had become our friend in applause. We just knew that he felt the same way, because at the end of the concert, all three of us stood up to give our own version of a standing ovation for these budding artists. After the concert, we go outside to the front desk and ask the little girl behind the CD-counter. "What is your favorite item? This t-shirt or this CD or this card?" The little girl was also part of the ten-person band; she was the daughter of the lead singer. A little shy, she shrugs her shoulder with ... 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 >>
I'm having a lot of fun with my smile cards! Thanks you so much for all that you guys do, it really is awesome!
I just recieved some great news! I recently won the Violet Richardson Award for starting my STARS, a volunteer club, and my club was given a grant and we have already planned our next project! It's called "Operation Bear Hugs!" We are going to purchase a lot of teddy bears for little kids at our local safe house and we are going to attach smile cards on them! We are so excited!
We also are making gifts for a children's hospital that we hope to visit later this summer ... they are called "Smile in a Box." It is a small brown box that has a poem attached and when you open it there is a smiley face tap light that when you push it it lights up! It's for kid's who are scared at the hospital ... they can have a warm smile anytime they need it! Even late at night! And of course, what would the smile be without a smile card!
Again, thanks for all you guys do! I know that it takes a lot of work! Keep it up! And remember, smiles are contagious ...
What better way to start a journey than to tag the passengers on my flight? What to tag them with was the next question. The kids were easy. I went out to a party supply store and picked up a variety of goodies- bubbles, mini mazes, cards, candy, notebooks and pens. It was perfect, the store had smiley face bouncy balls and smiley face bags. But what of the adults, the day before my trip, I realized the perfect solution was in front of my eyes for weeks. For graduation, I had received a bag of smile stones. If you haven't had the pleasure of finding a smile stone, I hope you come across one. Smooth glass stones in a myriad of colours with smiley faces drawn on in permanent black. Mid-flight a child behind came crying to her family, it was time to begin. I pulled ... Read Full Story >>
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 >>
My daughter's birthday is May 29. She was 6 by then. As it was Monday, we prefered to celebrate it earlier, i.e. on Saturday 27 May. This was easier for me as I'm free on Saturdays. On Thursday the entire family was busy packing the presents and putting funny pins on them. I promised my litte princess that I would wake her up early in the morning and distribute the presents to her classmates. I woke up at 05:30. After I took a bath, I planned to wake her up ... but.... as I came out from the bathroom, I realized that an earthquake struck. I screamed to wake my husband up and asked him to carry my daughter; and ran out of our house. We were watching our house swaying from outside. It happened for just 3 minutes, but... the piano thumbled down, tiles came down, some cracks appeared ... Read Full Story >>
Wow! What a diagnosis. I just kept telling myself that if I can get through this Chemo, I will give back and help others.
It truly has changed me and opened my eyes to all of the blessings that we take for granted. It was very humbling to me as I watched my hair falling out in the shower. My strength came from my faith, family, and friends. I am 3 yrs out after having 2 consecutive surgeries for mastectomy. God leads us where he wants us to be.
I was lead to become involved with raising money for breast cancer through donations to Susan B. Komen funding. We made a hospital wide recipe book as I am an R.N. at a St. Louis, Mo. based hospital. We made #1 medical group for donations and contributions this year. We also helped St. Louis to become the largest Komen foundation "Race for the Cure" of over 64,000 participants.
This would not have happened for me if my own diagnosis had not occurred. I am very happy to be giving back a small amount of what has been given to me by such thoughtful people, family and friends.
I work for Bell Mobility.
Recently I had a customer in my store who was fairly aggitated about his monthly bill. We talked for a good 20 minutes, not about the bill, rather his theory that there was no good left in this world.
The instant the words slipped from his mouth, I was thinking to myself 'gotcha!' While he wasn't looking, I slipped a smile card into the envelope for his bill with a the words 'think not of all the misery in this world, but of the beauty that remains.' He didn't notice, which was perfect and left my store.
Two hours later, he drove back (through a terrible storm might I add) and walked into the store holding the card in his hand and a big ol' genuine smile on his face. He said, 'This is exactly what the world needs... more kind people like yourself.' He gave me a hug and off he went.
I watched him leave the parking lot outside and sighed in relief... ah, nothing better than a good days work.
What does kindness mean to you? I think the associations people have with kindness are often things like meekness and sweetness and maybe sickly sweetness; whereas I do think of kindness as a force, as a power. When I look back over the instances, the encounters of my life, even when I just look around at the world, there's something that moves me so strongly that really is inspiring and uplifting about people just taking the time to pay attention to somebody or going a little bit out of their way to seek to help them. I can almost feel the palpable force of that. It reminds us of our own inner strength and our capacity to give, and it also reminds us of how connected we all are. In what way can kindness be a spiritual practice? It's both an internal spiritual practice and it's an external practice. I think one doesn't ... Read Full Story >>
At Manav Sadhna, a non-profit organization in India, itís a common site to see people come in asking to see Jayeshbhai (one of the Founders). One day, I was milling around when I saw an elderly man come in using a walking stick. It was obvious that the man was blind and as I went to him to offer my assistance, I found out that he was blind in both eyes. The manís sons did not take care of the man, so he lived with his brotherís sons. Everything was fine at home, but the man did not want to be a financial burden on others. He wanted to support himself through his own sweat and effort. He could do the rope work for wooden bed frames and knew such a business in Palitana would do well. In order to start this business however, ... Read Full Story >>
well, im millie, im 15 years old, and im going to tell you about my daddy =) i dont see him much anymore, but i learnt so much when i was with him. i remember one time, dad, my little brother and i were on our way back to sydney on a plane...we were stuck inside the plane for an hour and a half after we landed because some trailer wouldnt work. anyway, a little girl and her brother were sitting in frount of us, they were about 4 or 5, and they were afraid of being stuck in the plane...the little girl was crying. So my dad started to do "magic" tricks, he had a yo yo and was making it "dissapear" and making funny faces, in no time at all, my dad, me, and my little brother had a small audience, the people next to us and the people behind and in frount. the parents of the kids thanked us, and we havnt seen them since, but i learnt from my dad that day...Laughter is the best medicine.
The Japanese man points to my airplane seat, right as I head to the bathroom. He didn't speak much English, so I just signal that I'll be back in couple minutes. When I return, we play charades to see if he wants to swap his aisle seat with my window seat. "Yes, yes," he says with a child-like glee. I am more than happy to oblige. My window shutter has been down for couple hours of the flight already and I am hardly planning on making any further use of it. Right before he changes seats, he folds his hands and bows as a gesture of gratitude. It's touching when someone is thankful for something that takes almost no effort on your part. Before he can even get settled in, he slides up the window shutter and curiously looks outside at the clouds. He's happy. I can just tell. And that he's happy, ... Read Full Story >>
What people appreciate the most is the people. Thatís what we learn at the annual "Walk for Hope" each year. Sure the quotes are great. This year they were even hand made and literally took over three months to create. The activity stations are great too, they give the walkers a chance to pause, interact and reflect. But year after year, people always say that the best part of the walk is interacting with all the people that are there. What a concept, just your mere presence becomes a gift at the walk for hope. Just by choosing to walk, you are giving a gift to another walker. The people that come to the Walk are pretty unique I would agree. They participate in both the moments of silence and the warm-up exercises by the Laker Girls. They wish to make the ... Read Full Story >>
It's a late night on the streets of New York. Larger-than-life size billboards come alive with their glitz, trying to make you want things that you don't really need. Up ahead, I notice a homeless man who doesn't have the things he really does need. Ironic. "Gift size chocolate bar, one dollar, one dollar," he says while showing a candy bar to people walking by. He's rejected. "Just one dollar." Rejected again. "Candy bar, candy bar for you," he shows it to a child walking with her mom. The mom jerks her kid away and moved further. They say that homeless are used to taking rejections, but seeing the charades ahead of me, I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. As I stand next to him, shoulder to shoulder, I pause to see if he will try to sell me ... Read Full Story >>
I am a middle school counselor. Earlier this week, I had a very caring, compassionate student tell me about a project she has undertaken. She said she has started a collection for supplies for the troops to make their holiday's more joyful. I asked her what organization she was doing this through and she was confused by my question. Finally, she said, "No, see my sister who is in 5th grade and I are doing this on our own!" I was amazed that they had thought this up on their own. I asked their mother about it and she said that they had come to her to tell her about it.
I was happy to help her. I told her to put a box in the main office with a sign and a list of supplies (which she had already typed up!). She brought the box in the next day and students have already begun to add to it.
What a beautiful thing these kids are doing. I am so proud of them!
The soccer ball sounds like the clatter of a rattlesnake's tail, fans are barred from cheering too loudly and the sidelines are clear plastic walls meant to keep the players in-bounds -- clearly not an ordinary World Cup. Save for the goalkeepers, all of the athletes are legally blind.
Welcome to the fourth World Championships of Soccer for the Blind. Spectator Marcelo Gonzalez, who coaches blind teenagers and 20-somethings in Argentina, said he still marvels how sightless players are so attuned to sounds, vibrations and the fast-changing position of their competitors.
Read more at http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/11/24/america/LA_GEN_Argentina_Blind_World_Cup.php
I just finished my Human Services practicum and as much as I loved the class and the instructor, I was dissapointed with my classmates. It was a small class - just 12 of us - and the other students took advantage of the instructor's kindness with late work, excuses for not completing assignments, etc. During the last 3 weeks of class, she was expressing her dissatisfaction and how she was going to have to re-think how she taught the class next semester. I really felt bad for her as she is a great inspiration to me and I could relate to her pain. In Chicken Soup for the Soul, there is a story about two guys walking down the beach covered with starfish. One guy is throwing the starfish back into the ocean as they walk. The other guy says "There are thousands of them you can't possibly make a difference." At that ... Read Full Story >>
This year, my family applied for Christmas Assistance from the Salvation Army. I'm a single mom and have not been able to work. Dad's a bit of a non-entity and was fired earlier in the year so times have been really tough. My son has been in and out of the hospital for six years with severe kidney disease. He is 8 years old and his brother is 7. My sons know we have money troubles, but not the mass extent of it. They have and will always be provided for as I have a very loving and supporting set of parents. We were at Meijer and I was stressing about grocery money, and gas money and the holidays coming up. Meanwhile, my 8-year-old sees the Salvation Army guy, and it's really cold and he asks if we can give him some change. My son walks over and gives the guy a dollar, and my ... Read Full Story >>
I frequent a small postal outlet that is always busy at Christmas. (Aren't they all?) There are only 4 staff members and they work HARD at Christmas time.
Not all the customers smile at them. The day before Christmas, I take in small gift bags. This year, the bag had a single serving of flavoured hot chocolate, a mug, a scratch ticket, one yummy chocolate and a really silly fridge magnet. I sign the gift tag with my postal box number! One of the girls actually scratched her ticket and won $3!!! I got 4 smiles that day. The gifts cost me a total of $10 and was worth the time and effort to assemble.
While I don't get any special rates on postage during the year, I do get return smiles all year long.
I was headed to the UMW womens basketball game yesterday, and I saw an older man, maybe 65, sitting next to a stop sign on William Street at the intersection of Route One and William Street. He was sitting down wearing tattered clothes, and an oversized jacket. A homeless man holding a sign that said: "Hold care in your hearts Thanks very much And God Bless!" I parked my car in the Goolrick Gymnasium parking lot and walked up to the old man and asked "How are you doing?" He looked at me suprised, like I was going to injure him, kind of caught up in words he just said "I am fine, just making a living." Embarrassed, he said "I live on the streets." The one thing that suprised me was that he never asked me for anything, no money or food, seeing that he was homeless was given he even told me so. Even his sign didn't ask for ... Read Full Story >>
Good day, I was recently traveling and bad weather had surrounded the airport, causing many flights to get canceled or delayed. I was sitting by the gate, having changed my flight to another one already and was watching the unfortunate airline rep at the gate counter. She was being bombarded by a number of people who seemed to assume that the poor weather, flight cancellations and everything else causing them grief was her fault and each one in turn laid all of their grief on her and I could see she was being pushed to the brink. A little ah-ha light bulb flashed in my mind and since I am apt to follow my instinct, I stood up and took my place in the line of people intent on sharing their bad day with her. I patiently waited my turn and when I was finally standing in front of her, her weary ... Read Full Story >>