My Flower Power give started with a trip to the flower store. I purchased 48 long-stem roses. I chose 4-Dozen because I was heading into round 4 of my giving for the 29-Day Giving Challenge (give something everyday for 29 days!). The manager gave me a discount and gifted me a bunch of those little water-holding do-hickeys that you can put on the ends of the stems to keep the flowers alive. If I lived in a place where it was possible to go pick wild flowers… or if I had a garden to pick from, I would have taken that route. I considered giving a few other types of flowers like daisies, or little rooted plants that people could keep longer or plant outside, but roses have spiritual significance for me. The rose is a symbol of protection that I often use in my meditations. I carefully chose the colors ... Read Full Story >>
I recently came across 15 Ways to Love Your Neighbor, by Joanne Brokaw. Wonderful ideas! Loving your neighbor doesn't require a huge bank account or selling your possessions and moving to the desert (unless, of course, God is calling you to do that). Here are practical ways you can love your neighbors: 1. Write a note. In these days of electronic communication, receiving a handwritten note is a rare treat. Today, ask God to bring to mind someone who could use a little encouragement. Then take a few minutes to jot a quick note or postcard and drop it in the mail, just letting that person know you're thinking about them. 2. Recycle. If we love God, then we love his creation, and taking care of the earth is one way you can be a good neighbor. You don't have to hug a tree or buy a hybrid, but you should follow your ... Read Full Story >>
August 19, 2009 -- LONDON (Reuters) - Visitors to London always have to be on the look out for pickpockets, but now there's another, more positive phenomenon on the loose -- putpockets. Aware that people are suffering in the economic crisis, 20 former pickpockets have turned over a new leaf and are now trawling London's tourist sites slipping money back into unsuspecting pockets. Anything from 5 pounds ($8) to 20 pound notes is being surreptitiously deposited in unguarded pockets or open handbags in Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden and other busy spots. The initiative, which runs until the end of August in London before being rolled out countrywide, is being funded by a broadbrand provider, which says it wants to brighten up people's lives in unusual ways. "It feels good to give something back for a change -- and Britons certainly need it in the current economic climate," said Chris Fitch, a former pickpocket who ... Read Full Story >>
One evening in July, a few friends and I decided we would get together to brainstorm an idea for a local Smile Card event in London -- something we could do as a group to share smiles anonymously and cultivate kindness in our hearts. We came up with a few suggestions and then picked an idea that got everyone excited and moved ahead with planning it – we were going to bake and decorate 200 cupcakes, buy a bunch of sweets, make some fun smile posters and give it all away at Hyde Park! Our little team of 6 people spent a month planning every fine detail from inviting friends to get involved, baking cupcakes ahead of time, buying supplies, getting t-shirts that say SMILE and a banner with a giant Smile Card on it and visiting the park ahead of time to find the perfect spot for the event. A special thanks ... 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 >>
When I was a young girl, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, who lived in a community especially for the elderly and near to an old people's home. I remember when my sister and I played our instruments for them, which was something my grandparents had encouraged. They used to tell me that if someone elderly engages you in conversation, to make time for them, as you might be the only person they got to talk to that day. I've never forgotten this and still spare time to chat with an elderly person if they do engage me in conversation. So, when I saw the "make a suggestion for how your community would benefit from a $100" idea on this website, I immediately thought of the elderly! As one of the lucky people to win the $100 dollar kindness contest for my community (it converted to £56 in the UK), I then contacted my local community centre, and ... Read Full Story >>
The other day I noticed a young woman, very close to my own age, walking by the store front. I thought she was a student at the local college, mainly due to the fact that she was carrying her books and supplies. She stopped and looked through the window with a somewhat sad look on her face. The next day, around the same time, she stopped by again, the same thing as the day previous. I came to the cafe this morning, after having made a comment of how cold it was outside. The region experienced a drastic drop in temperature last night to around 27 degrees Fahrenheit. I noticed the time was getting close to be around the same time as the previous two days when I had seen the young woman, so I looked for her. I saw her slowly approach the store. She looked as cold as ever. ... Read Full Story >>
Aikido, translated as “the way of spiritual harmony”, is a Japanese martial art. While it is a powerful system of self defense, the greatest benefit of Aikido training is that it provides a means to better yourself and become a happier, more balanced person. There is a piece of calligraphy authored by Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, that reads “True victory is victory over oneself”. This concept and Aikido itself is suitable for people of all ages. For the last year or so, I have had the privilege of being an assistant instructor for the “Kid's Self Mastery” classes at my dojo; helping to teach children ranging in age from 5 to 10 years old. The classes themselves consist mostly of games and exercises allowing the students to learn Aikido, teamwork, respect, kindness, and other skills in a way that's fun to them. They also have “Mat Chats” in which ... Read Full Story >>
A mother and daughter living in my complex are two of the most unfriendly people I have ever come across in my life. They are totally withdrawn, mixing with no one. As they drive past neighbors they keep their eyes averted and make no sign of acknowledgement. The only fame they have is making a nuisance of themselves to the local police station by reporting music played too loud, dogs barking more than once a day and any other petty little gripe. On moving into this neighborhood, I was warned about these two but decided I would make up my own mind. This proved quite a challenge to me as more than once either the mother or the daughter would knock on my door and blast me with some complaint or other. My warfare? I always answered politely and made sure I waved as they went past my place and also made ... Read Full Story >>
Several years ago while living in Pittsburgh, PA my husband and I decided to buy a new couch. We put the old one in the truck to take to the GoodWill.
On the way, we came upon a woman with a flat tire. She had just come upon part of the bridge system so her vehicle was against a high wall just a few feet away from rushing traffic.
We stopped. She and I stood so traffic would not hit my husband as he changed the tire. She offered us some money as he put her flat back into her vehicle. We told her to give it to the Salvation Army and went on our way.
We took the couch to the donation site, drove up to purchase our new couch and were attempting to move the (much heavier) couch into the house. An off-duty volunteer fireman saw us struggling in the house with it and helped us.
None of us knew each other that day but I'm sure we made each others' day!
Not long ago, I was out at the mall, buying a gift for one of my younger friends. I stopoped by Claire's to find something for her. As I was glancing at items, I noticed a little girl around 8 or 9 yrs of age walk in, we were both looking at these cute little mini lip gloss boxes that had a picture in the front: one had penguins, dogs, cats, lots of cute pictures. She started thinking out loud, saying: "They're so cute!" I told her pointing at a box, "Did you see this one? It's super cute, too!" She was just delighted! She said to herself in a soft voice, "I wish I had money to get one." I heard her and I couldn't just leave the store, so I asked her, "Which one did you like the most?" She pointed to the pink box with puppies on the cover. I said, "Ok, ... Read Full Story >>
This was a wonderful experience. It happened about three years ago and it has had a strong impact on me. I would like to pay tribute here to two men I do not know personally but whose actions gave a new meaning to the words kindness and generosity. I was walking down a busy street in the financial district on a cold, windy day in early winter. A barefoot homeless man, probably about 60, was begging for change on a street corner. A BMW pulled up on the other side of the street and stopped and an immaculately dressed executive stepped out of the car. He was a tall, slim and imposing gentleman with silver harid, he was probably about 60 yrs old. He was wearing a blue pinstriped business suit, deep red silk tie, white shirt, mirror-shined black shoes, silver wristwatch, black overcoat, leather gloves, the works. Dapper, dignified, distinguished. He walked briskly and puposefully across the street ... Read Full Story >>
Bobby was getting cold sitting out in his back yard in the snow. Bobby didn't wear boots; he didn't like them and anyway he didn't own any. The thin sneakers he wore had a few holes in them and they did a poor job of keeping out the cold. Bobby had been in his backyard for about an hour already. Try as he might, he could not come up with an idea for his mother's Christmas gift. He shook his head as he thought, "This is useless, even if I do come up with an idea, I don't have any money to spend." Ever since his father had passed away three years ago, the family of five had struggled. It wasn't because his mother didn't care, or try, there just never seemed to be enough. She worked nights at the hospital, but the small wage that she was earning could only be ... Read Full Story >>
"I'm the eldest among us, so you have to let me pay for these tickets! Besides, just one ticket in the States cost more than all three tonight!!" My cousin's wallet hand was faster than mine, pulling out Rs. 520 for three opening night seats to 'Angels and Demons' before I could make good on my intention. "Naaah! Come on- don't worry about it," came the answer. "Ok, but then we have to use this 500 rupees to do something good," I say as I pull out a crisp note. We immediately start trying to figure it out while slowly walking away from the theater. I spot an ice cream vendor selling 10 rupees soft serves not far from us. "Hey, what about ice cream! We could give 50 strangers a cool surprise with this bill. Just random people walking by." "NO! Why?! We should give to someone in need," protested one of my cousins, with ... Read Full Story >>
My four grown children were all home visiting this weekend so we decided to go out for brunch. The centre of attention was my toddler granddaughter. She had never had pancakes before so we were excited about her trying them. We always try to make our family meals special so this time we decided to order every kind of pancake they had and asked that they be served on one big family-style platter! We each took turns digging in and also feeding it to the baby, who loved them. There was a lovely environment at the table and lots of smiles. As I was looking around the table, enjoying this wonderful scene, a gentleman at a nearby table caught my eye. He was eating his breakfast alone quietly, in the corner. He frequently looked over and smiled as my granddaughter continued to entertain us all. Suddenly, I had a great idea. I dug ... Read Full Story >>
Last winter I was going through a rough patch in my life. I had a bunch of terrible things going on around me. I felt very distant and became quite selfish. I hated the way I was feeling and one day I woke up and told myself, “You are above this, stop feeling sorry for yourself.” Then, I tried out an experiment, and it has DEFINITELY changed me for the better. Every day I would do at least one act of kindness - It could be anything… Bringing the trash down to the trash compactor for my 80 year old neighbor, Going into the store to buy something for myself (like a bit of makeup) and coming out with something for someone else (like candy for my boyfriend) Sitting down with my sister or a friend and just simply listening. And I can ... Read Full Story >>
We were having a mini heat wave yesterday and I was in the supermarket, stocking up on juice and ice-cream. Now, I'm not much of a fan of the hot weather and I was enjoying the fact that it was cooler inside than outside, but the lady behind the checkout was suffering. I asked if she was looking forward to getting out in the sun after her shift was finished and she replied that she might not last that long. She was melting! She explained that she shouldn't have been working that day, but she had agreed to cover someone else's shift. Now she wished she hadn't. She felt like she might die! I paid for the shopping and headed for the exit. Half way there I remembered something I had wanted to get for Julie, so I went back in. On the way to where I wanted to go, I passed a rack of ... 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 >>
About a month ago, while in the drive through at Starbucks, I noticed a woman in a car behind me who appeared to be having a bad day. There were two kids in the back who looked to have too much energy at 8am on a Sunday morning. The line moved slowly and at one point while pulling forward, the woman behind me bumped my car. I could tell this worried and concerned her. The entire time that I waited in line for my coffee this woman didn't smile. Looking back at her I could tell she was looking at the side view mirror wondering "Why me? Why today?" When I pulled up and paid for my coffee I requested that the Starbucks barista give the woman behind me a Smile Card and paid for her muffin and latte. Just 30 mins ago I was again waiting in line at the Starbucks. I heard a car door ... Read Full Story >>
It's the middle of the night and I find writing this blog nothing short of imperative. As I've been sitting on the floor in my disheveled room, I began to recall such an important moment in my life. Some might pass it off as "dumb" or "unimportant", but for me, it has held a great magnitude of power over my mind and how I live my life. Something so simple, yet so precious has lingered inside my mind for years now. It was a very cold winter evening when a friend of mine had attempted suicide and was rushed to Westchester Medical Center where she stayed, unconscious for quite a while. FINALLY she awoke. A friend of mine and I decided to visit her, so we picked up some picturesque flowers and were on our way. We reached the hospital and dashed madly across the freezing parking lot through the hospitals automatic doors. After signing in, up ... Read Full Story >>
Yesterday was the Mother of All Bad Days for me, but I was rescued by a cluster of unrelated kind people/angels. My head's still spinning from the experience. Our house is up for sale and my wife and I agreed to have an open house yesterday. Before it was to start, I had to take our dog, who's been suffering from some unknown liver problem for over two months, to the vet. The appointment was timed just right to get back home and help host the open house. That plan soured in a heartbeat! Our dog had been making some progress with her disease, but I got the first round of bad news for the day--her blood test indicated she was getting worse. Nearly $2,000 dollars has been spent so far trying all kinds of ways to help get her better. Now the vet was telling me it would take another $2,000 ... Read Full Story >>
A few weeks ago, I was in a crowded local train in Mumbai. I was sitting in a window seat of the super-crowded ladies' compartment. I was lucky to find a seat as I had got in at the first station. In a few minutes, the seats were all taken, and most people had to stand jam-packed in the aisles. Anyone who has been in Mumbai knows how frustrating a crowded train can be. In the middle of all this, I saw a young girl, about 10 years old, probably from a poor family. It was evident that she was used to the crowd, and the pushing and jostling, because she would silently shift position to be just that little bit more comfortable. I felt a little sad sitting there watching her having to stand. It struck me, that this is the time to practice a random act of kindness. However, I had to overcome some ... Read Full Story >>
It was a hot weekday afternoon and I was on my way to volunteer at a reading session with visually impaired girls. I got in to a rickshaw and immediately struck up a conversation with the rickshaw driver. The rickshaw driver started telling me the story of his life. He related that he had grown up very poor and he and his siblings didn’t have much. He said he worked very hard so that he could make sure that his children had the opportunity to attend a decent school. He said that there were many nights when he would skip dinner to make sure that they would have enough money to send the daughter on a class trip or to pay for his son to attend the computer lab. I was profoundly moved by the simple and matter of fact way in which this man was relating this heart-melting story. When we ... Read Full Story >>
It was 7 in the morning. I was on a train to another city when I struck up a conversation with a young professional sitting next to me. I gathered that he came from a farming family and was now doing exceptionally well in the IT industry. He also revealed that he was stressed and disconnected from his roots. He was kind enough to give me a window seat, help a co-passenger when he dropped his coffee, etc. Just small acts which showed what a good person he was. I was pretty involved in reading my book - a biography on the Dalai Lama. Anyone who knows me well knows that the Dala Lama has played a huge role in my life although I haven't met him. In fact he is one of the main sources of inspiration I have and reading a book about him which my Dad had given to me was just ... 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 >>
I was in the check-out line at a store with two cases of Ramen noodles, one case of Cup of Noodles, one case of bottled water, one pack of plastic spoons, and one box of large zip bags.
While waiting to put them on the conveyor belt, the man in front of me put his two packs of beer on the counter and looked at the food I had placed on the belt. He asked me if that was all I had to eat and I smiled and shared that it was all for the folks that live in the camp under the freeway and behind the car wash. He nodded, turned away and didn't look back.
However, when the food came up to the register, he said, "I want to pay for this food also." I stretched out my hand to shake his, but he hugged me instead. I wanted to thank him but he hurried off and when he looked back I could see tears in his eyes. I knew that God had done something special in this man's life.
It has struck me, lately, how heightened awareness of the things going on around us can present many new helping opportunities! Last week, I was driving through a local sandwich chain at lunchtime, when I saw two men sitting on the grass a few yards away conversing with each another. They very thin and seemed a little dirty and unkempt, and very thin. It seemed to me that they were homeless... but they were not standing around, with signs or asking for anything. I immediately felt like I could not just buy myself a sandwich without helping them eat, too. I asked the person at the window if I could purchase two $5 gift cards. I then drove up to the two men and presented the gift cards to them. They were totally shocked! One man said "is this for FOOD?!" He immediately began thanking me, over and over again. Both these men were tremendously grateful and verbalized ... Read Full Story >>
This is a story that happened 15 years ago but it has always stayed with me since then. On the way back from work every evening, more often than not there would be a homeless man standing at the exit of the freeway. He looked to be in his late 40's but was probably a lot younger. He had shoulder length straight black hair a short beard, and he was of average stature. His eyes were what struck me the most about him, they were brown and they had a sparkle. Like an inside light that was beaming out of his eyes. His eyes, I thought, represented the man in general. People say they can tell a lot from a person’s eyes. It was certainly true in his case. He always waved at every car, he was always happy and smiling and sometimes almost dancing. Every day after work I would remember ... Read Full Story >>
My attention was divided between the book in my lap and the people passing by when I saw her walking slowly towards my parked car. She had a bright blue saree, a large nose pin, orange marigolds in snow-white hair, a large shoulder bag and a face that showed every wrinkle of her 70 or so years of age. She stopped and put a hand out to rest against the car’s hood, gently closed her eyes, took a deep breath and wiped the sweat off her forehead. The sweltring day was taking its toll on her slight frame, and the large bag seemed to affect not just her gait, but also her breathing. She reminded me of a delicate bird, struggling because of the weight someone had added to its wings. Was there a way I could do something, anything, to stretch those wrinkles around her mouth to a smile? But then, I wondered, ... Read Full Story >>
Every day I go into the same coffee shop on the way to work. It's part of a large chain here in the UK. I am new to the anonymous act of kindness concept. I came across it recently, and a few weeks ago I worked up the courage to ask the Barista if I could pay for a coffee for someone later that day. He looked at me kind of strangely and said "okay" and then put the money in the till. I walked out feeling doubtful that this would ever happen (and privately thinking he might just add the money to his tips). This chain stamps a card every time you buy a coffee and when you get 9 stamps, the 10th coffee is free. I had just completed my card today and was due a free coffee next time, so I cheered up as I headed out of the ... Read Full Story >>