celebrate kindness

Archive for August 2013

It’s interesting how many acts of kindness I’ve witnessed by others the past few weeks. Maybe my Pollyanna glasses are always on, I’m not sure, but it always makes my heart so happy to see others being NICE with no expectation of personal reward or financial gain. Last week as I was dropping my husband off at work, we approached a bend in the road where there were cars at a standstill on the opposite side of the street. From a distance it appeared to be construction work, but the closer we came we saw the leading vehicle was a truck with an opened driver’s door. Was there an accident?

Slowing our speed, we saw the cause for the backup. Two adorable beagle pups, tails wagging to and fro, smack in the middle of the road. “Watch out!” I said to my husband, as the pups were in our direct path of travel. We came to a complete stop and watched as a young gentleman hopped out of the truck and approached the dogs. He knelt down, hand extended, and coaxed each pup into his arms. Then he placed each dog in his truck, hopped back in, and drove away.

animals-truck

I tried to snap a photo of the nice young man and the pups, but it all happened so fast, this was the best I could do. I did, however, see the name of his business on the side of his truck: Tree Frog Tree Service. What a wonderful act of kindness to observe at the start of a work week!

A few days later, I was enjoying the mild temperatures by giving my youngest son a wagon ride through our neighborhood. The Red Flyer wagon, used with all three of my kiddos and now starting to show signs of age and wear, still provides a smooth ride for anyone under the age of five. After making our way to the very back of our neighborhood, it was time to turn around and head back home, which prompted my three year old to hop out of the wagon saying, “I walk now, Mommy. You pull the wagon.”

Have you ever been on a walk with a three year old? It is very special, reserved only for moments of unrushed time. No emails to answer. No busy schedules to manage. No arguments to dispel. Just precious time spent with my boy, finding the simple joys in the world around us. Oh, how I treasure these moments!

He scanned the edges of the smoothly paved asphalt road looking for rocks. “Look Mommy! This one has colors!” Upon close inspection, I discovered this ordinary piece of granite did in fact have colors – thin strands of peach and pink threading across the speckled grey hardness, sparkling in the sun. “Oh, that’s a special one! It’s a keeper!” We smiled at one another, speaking a language only our hearts could translate, and continued our journey home.

“Look! Mommy! Look!” It was a voice filled with sheer delight. I watched as my son ran right into the middle of the road and knelt down, pointing to something my forty year old eyes could barely see. “What’s that? What did you find?” I asked my son. “A worm!” he shouted, with pride and excitement. “A WORM!!”

animals-caleb

animals-hand

We watched the little critter crawl from the road to his hand, as my son giggled from the delicate caterpillar hairs tickling his hand. Oh, the joy! His hand twisted a bit and the caterpillar fell off, crawling back on the road. We both stooped down to observe his wanderings right about the same time we heard the rumblings of a truck coming towards us. “Come on, baby. There’s a car coming! Let’s get to the side of the road,” I said as I started to pull my son out of the middle of the street. “NOOOOOOOO! The worm! The worm! He’ll get smushed!”

Do you ever have moments in your life where you are convinced things happen in slow motion? This was one of those times. I looked up, trying to half-carry my son while pulling a wagon handle, and saw the truck that was previously barreling down the road come to a complete stop in front of us. The gentleman behind the wheel smiled and motioned for me to take my time (thank goodness, because we could have easily been hit!)

As I dropped my son to the ground, we ran back to the caterpillar and scooped him in our hands. He was now safe! Returning to the side of the road, the truck pulled up a little closer and the man rolled down his window. “Caterpillar?” he asked. We both smiled a secret smile as I nodded and thanked him for his kindness. I bet he was remembering his younger days as a boy as he drove away.

I decided to take both of these acts of kindness and pay it forward with another act of kindness focused on animals. I purchased some tennis balls and decided to drop them off at a local dog park so someone else could play with their pet.

animals-dog park sign

animals-tennis

animals-donation

This random act of kindness is dedicated to Catherine Hubbard, age 6, who loved animals of all kinds. She was especially fond of bugs and butterflies that she would find in her backyard. Catherine’s dream was to open an animal shelter and even though she was only six years of age, she already had business cards ready for her dream job. Her parents are planning to build an animal sanctuary in her memory, which will be built from a child’s point of view. In addition to an adoption center, a farm animal rescue, a wildlife rehabilitation center, a learning center, and a butterfly garden, there will also be a gallery showcasing Catherine’s artwork. If you would like more information on this project, please click here.

Take time this week to notice the little things. Be kind to one another, even if you receive nothing in return. You just never know how your one act of kindness can affect someone else’s day!

Be blessed, dear friends.

Yesterday was a great day for a mini beach trip with the kids and my mom.  High temps coupled with beautiful, fluffy white clouds – such a change in the rainy, unstable weather we’ve had recently.  I packed the van with chairs, towels, beach toys, cooler, bags of snacks… everything we could possibly need for a fun day in the sand and surf!

We chose a small beach about 45 minutes away – a little inlet that would allow the kids to play without the crowds of tourists.  What a quiet, peaceful way to spend the day!

beach-sand

We settled in, three kids coated from head to foot in 70 SPF sunscreen, and after a brief bout of a three year old screaming at the top of his lungs, “CARRY ME!  CARRY ME!  I DON’T WANT TO WALK ON THE SAND!!” everyone was soon playing and having a good time.   My daughter approached me, her small red sand shovel extended away from her body, her voice equally filled with fear and fascination. “Mommy!  Look what I found!  Is this a jellyfish?”

beach-jellyfish

Lo and behold it was!  Now, I don’t know what your experiences are with jellyfish, but I have vivid memories of going to the beach in late August and battling the waves while trying to avoid the inevitable encounter with a stinging jellyfish.  “Oh no!” I said as I cautioned her.  “Don’t touch it!  You’ll get stung!”  No sooner than the words escaped from my mouth, a nearby teenager looked my way and said nonchalantly, “Oh, you don’t have to worry.  Those jellyfish don’t sting.”  She then proceeded to tell me all about the “moon jelly” type of jellyfish that are more like round blobs floating in the water, not like the stringy, tentacle laden jellyfish of my youth.  “You’ll see lots of them here.  Won’t hurt you a bit.  Touch it!  You’ll see.  You’re fine!”  We took the dare, touched the jellyfish, and were surprised how squishy and non-threatening the little sea creature was.

Well, my son overheard this conversation and that was all he needed to spark his curiosity.  Within minutes he transformed from an ordinary nine year old into a professional jellyfish scientist, collecting specimens to compare and contrast cellular shape, size, and color.

beach-danplaysand

beach-bucket

After an hour of this, and a brief break for lunch, the kids were back in the water splashing and playing their own games.  It was easy to lose track of time as my mom and I chatted, baking in the warm sun.  Suddenly, my son came running out of the water, holding his upper right arm, screaming and crying.  “I got stung!  I got stung!”  At first I thought he might be joking, but the closer he ran to me the faster I ran to him.  “Put sand on your arm!” I shrieked, realizing too late that despite my careful packing, I was completely unprepared to deal with a jellyfish sting.

“Here!  Use vinegar!”  I turned towards a deep voice noticing a man surrounded by his family,  holding out a Ziploc bag with a bottle of clear liquid inside.  “For the jellyfish sting.  This will make it go away!”  As I tried to calm down my son, this stranger came towards me and quickly removed the bottled liquid, uncapping the lid and pouring it generously over my child’s arm.  “Thank you!  Thank you!”  I couldn’t find any other words to express my appreciation at his act of kindness.  He poured more vinegar on my son, calmly reassuring him that the pain would dissapate quickly.  “You’ll be OK. I promise.  The vinegar will make the pain go away.  You’ll see.  You’ll be fine.”  As he poured just a little bit more vinegar on the bright red welt now very apparent on my son’s skin, I looked at him with unabashed gratefulness.  “But we used almost all of your vinegar!  I’m so sorry!”  He smiled at me, his eyes reassuring my panic, simply replying, “It’s fine.  That’s why we have it.”  He gazed back at my son with a final nod of a job well done and patted him on the head.  “All good now?”  Just as he promised, the pain had diminished and my son was back in the water, enjoying his day.

beach-danfloat

I returned to our spot on the beach and asked my mom for a pen, so I could write a quick note of appreciation to the kind gentleman as I knew this was worthy of a #26acts RAK blog entry.  We searched through our bags and containers, but couldn’t find a single writing tool at all.  I decided I would just approach him and tell him about the blog, but when I turned to make my way towards his family’s spot on the beach, there was no one there.  NO ONE.  No chairs.  No towels.  No family.  Nothing!

Now, I am not going to go off on a religious tangent of what I believe this encounter could have been.  All I will say is this man was in the right place at the right time to save the day for my son.  I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about this heaven-sent angel in my midst.  🙂

This RAK is dedicated to Grace McDonnell, age 7, a beautiful blue eyed, blond haired girl who loved the beach, seagulls, and lighthouses.  Shortly after this encounter with the stranger and the vinegar, I captured the graceful flight of a seagull, an image I know would have brought a smile to Grace’s face.

beach-seagull

Grace was an artistic child, one who loved to paint and draw pictures for her parents and loved ones.  She especially loved making peace signs, even drawing them on her bathroom mirror fogged with shower steam.  At her funeral, her parents and her brother Jack brought sharpie markers and decorated her white coffin with colorful drawings of her favorite things:  ice cream cones, lighthouses, and of course, sea gulls.  “We had peace when we left,” stated her mom in an interview with Anderson Cooper, noting that her coffin was covered with beautiful pictures, drawings, and notes from those who knew her best.

It’s with that knowledge that I am taking this RAK received and paying it forward in the next few weeks.  I plan to purchase a pack of colorful sharpie markers and will attach one to a small pad of paper with an invitation to “Draw.  Create.  Live Life.  Share Peace and Grace.” I will leave these markers and papers in various places to be discovered by children.  Playground.  Park.  Doctor’s office.  It’s the least I can do to celebrate Grace’s memory and show my appreciation for the kindness of others.

Be blessed my friends!  Always look for ways to encourage one another and pay it forward!


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The cards I made as random acts of kindness to bless others through iServe #iservecsbc #rak
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