celebrate kindness

Posts Tagged ‘friend

A few weeks ago a friend of mine posted a message on Facebook that she had piano and ukulele sheet music to give away. Immediately I thought of my co-worker, Paul, who not only plays the ukulele, but had his own collection of ukuleles on display:

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The only catch in this RAK transaction is that my friend with the sheet music, Lea Cale, lives several states away! She offered to bring the sheet music with her the next time she was in town to visit family (since I live in her hometown), and that’s exactly what she did!

Over the holidays, I had the joy of spending time with her and her daughter as we caught up on each other’s lives. It blessed me immensely to have her in my home!

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The first day back to school, I wrote a note to Paul to go with the sheet music, then left the stack with our music teacher, Abby, for the final delivery.

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While it may not seem like much, especially if you aren’t a musician, it brought me joy to play a part in this pay-it-forward RAK. Oh, how I love the generosity of others!

Maybe you have something you no longer need that could bless someone else? If so, offer it up and see how blessed you feel to brighten someone else’s day!

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Today is one of those nasty weather days where you just want to crawl back into bed and sleep until the darkness brightens and the temperature rises. I am not a fan of cold, drizzling rain. It dampers my Pollyanna spirit! Thankfully, the rain wasn’t severe enough to spark deadly storms like the ones causing devastation in the Midwest, but it was still dreary just the same.

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After a long day at work, I was more than ready to head home and spend some time relaxing with my kiddos, but I knew I had an evening meeting to attend across town. I had plenty of work to keep me busy, and as I pulled out papers for one of my many projects, I had an urge to check Facebook.

Now I know many of you might laugh, but I take these moments seriously because more often than not when I have one of “those feelings”, I discover through the amazing venue of social media a need, a request for prayer, a timely question… and today was no exception!

My Facebook feed showed most recent posts and there, right at the top, was a request for prayer for a dear friend’s wife who was admitted to the hospital today for breathing problems.

It was in that moment that I found my rainy day joy. 🙂

I stopped what I was doing. Said a prayer for healing, then packed up my project. My work here was done – I was needed elsewhere! I quickly drove to the local Dollar Tree and purchased a smiley faced balloon (yes, just like the one in Sunday’s blog post) along with a small container and all the chocolate I could find. I was headed to the hospital to visit my friend.

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Two floors up and a few feet down the hall, I knocked on the hospital door and was welcomed by the sweetest smile you’ve ever seen. Now, I haven’t seen my friend, Cristie, in quite a bit of time, but all that distance was erased the moment our eyes met. Oh the joy!!

We spent the next hour catching up, trading stories and doing a LOT of laughing. Cristie has such a genuine spirit and she is so funny, I wasn’t sure who was lifting up whom. Even as she was taking her breathing treatment, she was making jokes. “Listen to me… I sound like Darth Vader… Luke… I. Am. Your. Father.” It was hysterical!

After a few photos to document our fun, it was time to head to my meeting. As I gave Cristie a final hug goodbye, I said a silent prayer for the joy in treasured friendships. What a way to brighten BOTH our days!

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The next time you read about someone you know being in the hospital, think how wonderful it would be to carve out time in your busy day to spread a little joy with an unexpected visit. You might be surprised to find how happy it will make you, too!

Be blessed dear friends and don’t let the rain keep you from blessing others! It’s OK to get a little wet! 🙂

One of the favorite parts of my job as an instructional technologist is presenting at conferences. I love sharing my enthusiasm with others! Today I presented a session on Edmodo (a social networking platform for administrators, teachers, and students) at the annual Virginia Society for Technology in Education conference. The session was packed, standing room only, and the hour flew by.

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After presenting, I was allowed to return to participant mode. Since this conference is one of the only conferences my teammates and I attend to receive our own professional development, I was excited to learn new things from other educators and technologists. I made it into the next room and got settled just in time for the presentation to begin.

Not even five minutes into the session, I could tell there would be issues. Apparently this particular room was the infamous black hole for wireless Internet and it seemed everyone was having difficulty accessing the resources due to this limitation. Most people handle this setback in stride (even if slightly irritated on the inside), but in this particular session there was one gal whose frustration had reached a boiling point. You could see her from a distance, huffing and puffing, making not-so-quiet comments under her breath… and with each passing minute her anger was rising to a crescendo.

While I knew there was absolutely nothing I could do about the wireless issue, I still felt obligated to do something (anything!). The other participants sitting near her were visibly disturbed by her erratic outbursts and I did not want the actions of this one gal to negatively impact those nearby (or the session presenter!)

There was an empty chair beside the disgruntled lady, so I took it upon myself to sit there and become her very own sounding board. I quietly packed up my belongings and moved to the seat beside her. “Is there anything I can help you with?” I whispered as quietly as I could so as not to disturb those around me. Well, that intro question was all she needed to rant and rave about allllllll the issues in her life. Keeping our voices to a minimum, I listened to her problems, then nodded my head consolingly as she described her frustrations. By the time this session was over, the lady was smiling as she thanked me for listening. She even apologized for being so irritated at the beginning. Realizing I had just sacrificed an entire hour of my own learning time, I just laughed and replied, “We’ve all been there. It’s OK.”

I really think she just wanted to be heard. Because having someone take the time to listen validates your world. 🙂

After the conference, I decided to surprise my best friend (whom I hadn’t seen in 5 months!). I took her out for a quick dinner at a local Chinese restaurant and a Starbucks for dessert, all the while listening to her frustrations of the day. By the end of our visit, she was all smiles, too, as she thanked me for being a friend to listen to her struggles.

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It was then that I opened my fortune cookie from the dinner.

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Wow! What a fitting fortune! It made me smile knowing that my little acts of kindness today may not have been sweeping grand gestures, but were still important because they came from the heart.

I hope you will find a way to bless someone today, even if it is only to stop and lend a listening ear. We are all in this together, so the more we take time to look after one another, the happier a place it will be!

Be blessed my friends!

Today’s Random Act of Kindness is a direct response to a plea posted on Facebook:

“My dear Facebook friends, an old friend of mine has a sister that lost her whole house last night to a fire.  She has 3 young girls aged 7, 2, and 10 months.  I can store anything you can donate at my house.  Just leave it on my front porch.  Thank you so much to those of you who can contribute.”

And this, my friends, is one of the many reasons I love social media.  As soon as I saw my friend make a comment on this post, I felt that all familiar tug on my heart and knew I had to help.  No, I didn’t know the family whose house had burned down.  In fact, I didn’t even know the gal who posted the plea (but she is a friend of a friend, so she is important!)

It’s interesting how these things happen sometimes.  I’m always amazed how in the face of tragedy, God has prompted me to look through my home and out of nowhere I suddenly “discover” all these things that could help someone else.  I immediately thought of the bathroom set sitting on the top of my closet shelf:  shower curtain, shower hooks, trash can, fish decorations, a new shower sponge with two unopened bottles of bath wash.  I kept meaning to list it on Craigslist, but… well… God had other plans!  Then I opened my linen closet.  I immediately spotted the flowered twin sheets from when my daughter used to have a twin sized bed.  Oh!  Her comforter!  That could be given away, too!  With each blink of an eye it seemed my closet had become a donation warehouse of sorts.  Towels.  Washcloths.  Curtains.  I barely had all the items stuffed into a bag when it occurred to me that all those little girls would need toys.  And books.  And crayons.  Markers.  Activity books.  Coloring books.  Right now, those sweet little girls needed a distraction for the loss of all their possessions.  I found a stuffed animal for each of the children so they would have something to snuggle with when they went to sleep, wherever that may now be.  I even found a purse of my daughter’s filled with play jewelry.  (Every little girl needs play jewelry!)  With each item I gathered, I prayed for this family, that through a simple Facebook plea all their needs would be met.

I checked back on Facebook to find more details posted about needs:  Mom wore a size 3-5 pants, small tops, size 8 shoes.  Right there I got chill bumps.  I wear a size 4!  Perfect!  I went into my closet and made two outfits of sweaters and pants, then threw in another sweater and a few shirts.  (As many of you know, I keep a pretty “bare bones” closet – if I haven’t worn something in the past year, it doesn’t stay in my closet!  Unfortunately, I had already cleaned out my closet about a month before, but I was willing to part with a few favorite outfits.  :-))  I also found a long wool coat and another shorter coat for Mom.  Unfortunately, I wear a size 6 shoes, so I wasn’t able to donate any footwear.

I remembered several friends who had donated items to my 40th Birthday Project:  books and “Blessing Bags” (bags filled with essentials such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.)  I gathered those items as well.  As I was laying everything on the floor to take a photo for this blog, a small oak box caught my eye.  My jewelry box.  That’s when the impact of this devastation hit me.  This mom had lost all her jewelry, too.  I literally stopped everything as my thoughts raced ahead of my actions.  No jewelry.  No family heirlooms to pass down to her daughters.  Gone.  Everything.  It was almost too much to bear, and made me think of the recent events of Hurricane Sandy and all those that had lost similar treasures.

I then did what I knew was right.  I opened up my jewelry box and pulled out three of my favorite necklaces and a matching bracelet.  Using a special gift bag my mom gave me on my 40th birthday, I placed the jewelry inside with a simple note:

As I made one final sweep of my closet and bedroom, my gaze landed on one final item.  My absolute favorite children’s book of all time:  Guess How Much I Love You.  All three of my babies were rocked to sleep as infants with me reading this book to them, snuggled safely in my arms.  Each time I see the book at a yard sale or consignment store, I buy it and then wait for an opportunity to bless someone else with the gift.  This particular version came as a gift set with the main character of the book, a sweet little bunny.  If you’ve never read this book, please do, especially if you are a parent.  The story ends with my favorite storyline:  “I love you all the way to the moon… and back.”  Without a moment’s hesitation, I grabbed the book and bunny and jotted a note for this family, including my project business card so they could know that even in the midst of tragedy, they were loved.

Then I loaded everything in my car and dropped it off on the friend of a friend’s front porch.  No one was home, so I simply left all the bags by the door.

Why do I do all these things without wanting anything in return?  Because I believe showing kindness to others is the way we all should be.  I would like to think that if I were ever in a predicament such as this that others would show me kindness, too.  Until that time, I will continue to count my blessings and try not to take too many things for granted. 🙂

If you would like more information of this family’s needs, or how to donate, please send an email to celebratekindness@gmail.com or if you know me on FB send me a PM and I will get all the details to you.  Even if you only have a few items to share, a little can add up to a lot!

Be blessed!

How do you let people know you appreciate their kindness? Do you send a card with the sentiments penned inside? Maybe you pick up the phone and call to say, “Thanks so much!” Well, I’ll be honest with you – I’m bad at both. It’s not that I’m unappreciative. Quite the opposite! I just show my thankfulness in different ways.

My favorite way to say “Thank You” is to cook. Yes, cook! Those of you who know me well are probably laughing right now because you either knew me when I was a newlywed who had never cracked an egg, or you’ve seen how far I have come by the pictures of my meals I post on Facebook. In fact, some of you even stop me along my travels to comment about my meals. “How do you find the time?” Well, that’s an easy one to answer. I make time. Cooking is my way of sharing appreciation and love.

My 40th birthday was no exception. My friend, Michele, had opened her home to me so that I might spend a weekend of fun in Las Vegas.  After a whirlwind 30 hours in Vegas, visiting the Strip, sharing brunch with teaching buddies, revisiting my former home and photographing enough memories to last another 12 years, I pulled out the pots and pans and started cooking. “But it’s your BIRTHDAY! Are you SURE you want to spend the night COOKING?”  Michele was in shock.  Who spends their 40th birthday cooking in someone else’s home?  “You don’t have to do this!  It’s your birthday!  We could go out to a restaurant and relax!”   I simply smiled and asked, “Where are your measuring cups?”

So now you know the REAL story of my wild Vegas weekend.  I spent my 40th birthday cooking for my dear friend, Michele and her family to show my appreciation for her kindness.  And you know what?  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you’d like to see my online recipes, click here.  I made Bang-Bang shrimp in the photos above, but I will post Michele’s delicious salad recipe soon!


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