celebrate kindness

Archive for the ‘reflection’ Category

Quote - Change

As many of you know, I have been sharing my thoughts as a blogger for almost five years now.

WOW! Five years? Surely that’s not correct.

Yep. Five years.

I began this journey in June of 2012, mainly to document the 40 random acts of kindness I wanted to complete for my upcoming 40th birthday. Of course, once I started to write, I couldn’t stop!

I’ve learned a lot about myself during this time. I’ve discovered my passion for kindness. I’ve met amazing people in the process and been blessed a thousand times over. I’ve been inspired by other writers who mentor me, encourage me, and push me to do more with my stories.

I have struggled as well.

I have been paralyzed by fear that I wasn’t good enough. I’ve been stretched so thin that writing took a backseat to life. I began to question, to doubt, to wonder if any of this even mattered.

It does.

I’ve learned that kindness takes shape in many forms. It can be an action that surprises a stranger. It can be a smile sent across the room. Kindness can be sharing of ideas or encouraging through empathy.

Kindness matters.

And now I’ve come to that place where I have to let go of the familiar and embrace the new.

I have decided to expand my sharing of kindness stories to include other stories from my life. I am a mom, an educator, a writer and friend. Now is the time to embrace all that I am and continue this passion for kindness in a new way.

This week I created a new website: www.tamaraletter.com. The time was right to branch out and take a risk – purchasing my own website domain and, in essence, starting over.

But I want to start over with YOU.

You matter.

You’ve read my posts and shared in my experiences. You’ve celebrated with glee and wept with sorrow. You have become a part of my story and I want that story to continue.

This isn’t goodbye forever, more like moving down the street!

I would love if you would visit www.tamaraletter.com and add it to your favorite sites. If you like email updates, there’s a place on the side and bottom of the new website where you can subscribe. You can also stay connected with me on Facebook and Twitter if that works best.

I will continue sharing my stories of random acts of kindness, so let’s stay connected so we can keep inspiring one another and making this world a better place!

You’ve already inspired me to embrace change and celebrate the new.

BeTheGood

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Recently, I’ve been drawn to doing my random acts of kindness anonymously. No fanfare, no blog posts, no photographic proof of what I’ve done or who I’ve helped. Just me doing my thing, without attrition or acknowledgment.

It’s been a time of solace: balancing the changing tides of people and passions with small little acts that bring me joy. Not quite blog-worthy some might argue.

In fact, there was a part of me even contemplating if my journey as a blogger had come to an end. After all, I started this project four years ago, with exactly 236 stories shared online – quite a few more than my original vision of 40 RAKs for 40 years.

Was the effort worth the impact? Did the countless hours of writing, editing, and revising make any difference at all? Were the stories becoming stale from repetition? Did anyone even read my blog anymore?

Oh, the pondering of my soul.

Then I received an email from WBUR, a public radio station out of Boston, that wanted to spotlight our story about Secret Sisters on their radio show. That’s when it hit me:

Our stories matter.

Your story. My story. The pain, the joy, the questioning, the wonder. Our stories help us connect in this digital age and for some, may be a lifeline for comfort or peace. Our stories engage. Enthrall. Inspire. They give people hope to keep pushing on no matter the circumstance.

So it’s in this mindset I’m carving out time today to write. To share. To show. Not for the pat-on-the-back. Not to gain notoriety. For no other reason than our stories matter and some stories must be told.

For the past two months, I’ve been working with Erika Lantz, an associate producer of WBUR, to share the story of Secret Sisters to a larger audience. She and her staff have worked tirelessly to learn more about sweet Nate Metheny, the lifetime of memories he created in only six years of life, and the impact Secret Sisters had in his family’s journey through the painstaking days, weeks, and months of overwhelming grief and sadness following his passing.

It was a tough story to write; even tougher to speak aloud.

On Tuesday, December 20, the radio show went live, merging snippets of conversations from Nate’s family and myself with Erika’s storytelling skills to produce a seven-minute recap of Secret Sisters. I was almost too nervous to listen to the show with so many worries swirling through my brain. “What if I rambled too much? What if I sounded like a fool? Would I be able to do any justice whatsoever to all the ways Secret Sisters worked together seamlessly to love on this family? This story is not about me!”

Then, I overcame my fear and clicked the play button. I listened to the broadcast with tears filling my eyes. I was reminded yet again:

Our stories matter.

If I don’t tell my story, who will?

Even though we are still a week away from New Year’s Resolutions, I’m making one right now. I’m going to keep telling my stories. I’m going to overcome the fear of public criticism and continue to share my journey as one of the many kindness advocates out there. Because, even though my stories may seem simple and trite, they matter.

I wish you blessings this holiday season as your hearts turn toward others in love. I also encourage you to reach out beyond you comfort zone and share your stories of kindness. It may seem inconsequential at the time, but your story has the power to change the hearts of many.

If you would like to hear the radio broadcast of Secret Sisters, click here. (To listen to the podcast, click the red play button on the website.)

May your heart be touched by our journey.

 Dear Beautiful Family,

Today as I sank my toes into the warm sand and felt the gentle breeze gracefully sweep across my face, I saw you walking towards the waves. You were unrushed; your steps small and gentle as you stared in wonder at the ocean that stretched for miles ahead.

You were a beautiful family of three, a triangulation of love completely balanced in joy as you watched your son play in the waves. My son played there as well.

Your chair rested to my right, your legs outstretched to capture the tickle of the tide as it approached the shore. Your son’s laughter at the rising surf made me smile as the waves crashed around him; the simplicity of childhood captured in a fleeting moment of bliss.

I watched your family and prayed for you.

Today, in this moment, there were no worries. There were no fears. You reminded me that life doesn’t have to be complicated. We shared this space and reveled in the joy of watching our children play, even as the finite world around us raged with anger and hate.

You brought me hope.

I know when you leave this beach, the crushing realities of raising a child whose skin color is much darker than yours may overshadow this moment. That is why I am writing this letter today.

To remind you that your family is beautiful. To share the joy you brought to my heart today. To show that someone cares for you and your child.

You matter.

Your child matters.

Your family matters.

And in this singular moment of time, I wish I could wrap my arms around you, embracing all that you represent, showcasing to the world how perfect life can be.

No anger.

No hate.

Simply love.

 

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There are some days where it truly feels futile to write.

Who. Really. Cares. What. I. Have. To. Say.

We are living in a day and age where hyper-connectivity is the norm. We see all things. Hear all things. Breathe all things. In order to truly disconnect from it all, we either have to have an act of God rip apart our house (because we all know we can charge our phones in the car if the electricity goes out) or we need to vacation somewhere deep in the forest where no cell tower would ever be constructed.

Here’s the thing that gets me. I don’t want to live a disconnected life. Sure, it’s a nice change every now and again, and I will be the first to admit that I adore living in my Pollyanna bubble, but to live my entire life disconnected from the world and all it has to offer? No thanks.

This world is a complicated construct of good versus evil. There is also a wide range of in-between. I don’t have all the answers. Shoot, I barely have ANY answers! I’m just an average, suburban, working mom-of-three trying to somehow raise my little kiddos to be good, kind people in a world filled with mixed messages.

Today my social media news feeds were filled with anger. Angst. Abhorrent rebuke. I could feel myself getting sucked into the rancid riptide as people posted their perspectives on the violence across the world.

Terrorists. Politics. Guns and gangs. Black and white.

Their passionate views literally paralyzing my own.

Who really cares what I have to say?

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These are the times when my writing stalls like a deserted wasteland. “Such a simple-minded girl,” echoes the whispered taunts in my brain. Who am I to think that my little random acts of kindness actually matter? That anyone would be inspired to change their actions because of a few paragraphs written about helping a stranger? Who would take time out of their hectic, hyper-connected world to reflect or reply to my stories? Why take the time to be kind to anyone at all? Does any of this really matter?

Oh, the paralysis of a passionate soul.

This morning I was reminded of my purpose as a blogger. In David Geurin’s post, Why Blogging Isn’t What You Think It Is, he illustrates that the size of the audience doesn’t matter, it’s the message that’s received that counts. Who are you writing for?

I am writing for you.

I write to share. I write to connect. I write to inspire, uplift, and at times reflect on my own daily struggles. I write about kindness because there is an indescribable joy in doing something nice for someone else. I write about educational topics because my I love to learn and grow. I even write about writing because that brings joy and sharing our words helps us become better writers in the process.

And today, when the swirling world around me seems to suffocate with negativity, I write to breathe… so you can breathe, too.

I believe the world needs more kindness. I believe the world needs more love. While I may not have all the answers, I do know one thing for sure:

 

The evil in this world will not stop me from doing good.

And it shouldn’t stop you either.

My random acts of kindness may be small, and they may be simple, but they matter. They are a lifeline in a world filled with hate. They keep us afloat when those riptides pull us away from the shore of safety.

And your stories are just as important as mine.

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Thank you, faithful readers, for having the courage to continue your kindness despite the horrifying events that surround us each day. Shine your light bright in all you do! Share your stories. Be the change. Never doubt the impact your kindness can have on someone else.

In the final battle of good versus evil, good always wins.

Always.


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