celebrate kindness

Posts Tagged ‘kindness

This morning as I was finishing up breakfast, there was a knock at the front door.  “Mom – it’s two old ladies coming up the walk.” Sure enough, two impeccably dressed ladies in their best Sunday attire were approaching our house.

Freeze frame.  What would YOU do in this moment?

I’m sure many of you have had this experience before.  Maybe not with older ladies in their church clothes holding bibles, but perhaps it was a college student selling magazines or even a young man offering his yard care services.  What do you do in the moment?

Well, there are many options.  You could ignore the knock at the door.  You might even hide behind a curtain and peek out, waiting for them to leave. Some of you may have had your patience exasperated by the massive quantity of solicitors in your neighborhood, and you now post a sign by your door saying “NO SOLICITATION.”  In any of these examples, you simply don’t open the door.

I will admit, I have done all the above.  Yes, I’ve even posted a sign by my door.  (Do you know HOW many people try to sell you solar screens, solar tint, and water softeners when you live in the Vegas desert?)  But in recent years, I’ve come to view these door-to-door solicitors as more than just unwelcome visitors to my private abode.  They are simply doing their job.

I am very fortunate that my previous experience in sales did not require me to go door-to-door or make cold calls.  I have never had to experience the defeat of a slammed door in my face, nor force a smile with an angry stranger.  I am blessed!  The people who approach my door (which no longer has a sign), are received in kindness.  No, I am not a sucker.  I never purchase anything from these unannounced visits.  But I do believe that my interaction with them has purpose.  It provides them an opportunity to practice their sales pitch.  It reminds them that there are nice people in this world.  Sometimes, I believe they leave my house happier than when they arrive, simply because they weren’t exposed to hatred.

They are just doing their job.

Now I’m not going into a big debate about “if they don’t like the responses, they should choose another job.”  That’s neither here nor there.  The bottom line is simple:  they ARE doing their job.  I feel compelled to respond the only way I can – with love and kindness.

Which brings me back to the knock at my door.  I opened the door and stepped onto my front porch, reflecting the smiles of these new visitors. The next few minutes I listened.  Smiled.  Nodded.  I made eye contact with each lady and allowed them the opportunity to share their information without interruption or discourse.  When there was a natural pause in the conversation, I responded with gentleness when I said, “Ladies, I appreciate the time you have spent with me this morning.  I feel very secure in my beliefs, so I probably won’t be changing my views anytime soon.  But I am thankful that you have such a beautiful day to share your thoughts with others.”  I continued to smile as I shook both their hands, thanking them for their visit.

Then I offered them both a bottle of water.  🙂

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Why did I offer them water?  Because I knew the temperature today is expected to reach the 80’s and these ladies were dressed from head to toe with clothing.  Surely they would get hot making visits all day long!  Seemed like a pretty simple gesture of kindness, but you could tell by their reactions they were not used to such an offer.  Although they declined the water, they left my porch with smiles and sweet chatter.  It was then that I realized I was still smiling, too.

If these ladies return to my doorstep (which I realize is a very strong possibility), I will again welcome them with kindness and love.  Maybe next time I’ll even invite them inside for a cup of tea.  🙂

Be blessed my friends.  Even if you choose to hide behind the curtain at that knock on the door, that’s better than spewing out anger and hatred. Maybe today you will take a moment to listen to someone else who seeks your attention.  Might be your children; might be a stranger at the grocery store.  Take the time to let someone else know you appreciate them.  It could make a world of difference for you both!

Have a wonderful Saturday and thanks for reading!  🙂

 

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Did you know this week is Random Act of Kindness Week?  It’s true!  A whole week dedicated to being kind to those around us – what joy!

The best part about doing RAKs is that they don’t have to cost money or even be that “amazing” of tasks.  Here are a few RAKs I did on Monday:

  • Held the door open for a student whose hands were full of books
  • Complimented a coworker
  • Allowed someone to use the faculty restroom before me (don’t laugh – when you are a teacher and can only leave your classroom during designated times of the day – this RAK is HUGE!)
  • Drove past the closest parking space in the parking lot so someone else could be blessed by a shorter walk
  • Smiled and greeted coworkers as I passed them on the sidewalk
  • Sent messages on FB to friends letting them know I was thinking about them
  • Shared my homemade chex mix with a coworker
  • Stopped what was on my “to-do” list to help coworkers right when they needed help

See?  Random acts of kindness can be easy! (Granted, some easier than others, lol.)  Many times we find ourselves overwhelmed or in a rut when we think we have to do something over-the-top amazing to make a difference in the lives of others.  Let me reassure you that EVERY act of kindness is important and has the potential to be life changing!  Seriously!

Today I performed two specific RAKs.  First, I brought chocolate to share at the professional development training I was leading after school.  (Chocolate ALWAYS makes people feel good, right?)

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Second, I bagged my own groceries at Kroger and took them out to my car in the freezing cold to save the bagger an extra trip outside.

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See?  Easy.  Nothing to it!

I would love to know what you are doing to celebrate Random Act of Kindness Week!  Share your experiences through Twitter, Instagram, FB or right here on my WordPress blog… just add the hashtag #RAKweek to your post so we can inspire each other!

Be blessed, dear friends, and RAK on!  🙂

Today, December 14, 2013, marks the one year anniversary of the terrible tragedy that took the lives of 26 students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  Like so many people in our nation, my heart grieved with a heaviness I could hardly bear.  I felt compelled to do something, anything, to overcome the shock and sadness of that day.

That began my journey of completing 26 Acts of Kindness, one act for each life lost.  Below are my stories.  For those that followed me every step of the way – thank you.  Your support for my passion of kindness is overwhelming and humbling.  Today in memory of that day, please consider doing one simple act of kindness for someone else… and let me know what you did!  🙂

26 Acts of Kindness

Act 1 – In Memory of Noah Pozner, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/new-beginnings-act-1/

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Act 2 – In Memory of James Mattioli, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/new-beginnings-act-2/

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Act 3 – In Memory of Lauren Rousseau, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/new-beginnings-act-3/

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Act 4 – In Memory of Caroline Previdi, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/new-beginnings-act-4/

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Act 5 – In Memory of Charlotte Bacon, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/new-beginnings-act-5/

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Act 6 – In Memory of Dawn Hocksprung, age 47

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/random-act-of-kindness-6-suspended-coffee-26acts/

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Act 7 – In Memory of Emilie Parker, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/random-act-of-kindness-7-of-26acts/

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Act 8 – In Memory of Dylan Hockley, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/random-act-of-kindness-8-of-26acts/

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Act 9 – In Memory of Mary Sherlach, age 56

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/random-act-of-kindness-9-of-26acts/

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Act 10 – In Memory of Victoria Soto, age 27

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/random-act-of-kindness-10-of-26acts/

coffee money

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Act 11 – In Memory of Anne Marie Murphy, age 52

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/05/12/random-act-of-kindness-11-of-26acts-happy-mothers-day/

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Act 12 – In Memory of Madeleine Hsu, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/random-act-of-kindness-12-of-26acts/

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Act 13 – In Memory of Allison Wyatt, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/random-act-of-kindness-13-of-26acts-flowers-and-babies/

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Act 14 – In Memory of Jessica Rekos, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/random-act-of-kindness-14-a-heart-for-oklahoma/

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Act 15 – In Memory of Daniel Barden, age 7

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/random-act-of-kindness-15-of-26acts-blessing-others-in-despair/

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Act 16 – In Memory of Rachel D’Avino, age 29

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/random-act-of-kindness-16-discounts-for-diners/

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Act 17 – In Memory of Jesse Lewis, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/random-act-of-kindness-17-of-26acts/

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Act 18 – In Memory of Jack Pinto, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/07/06/random-act-of-kindness-18-of-26acts-a-heart-for-adoption/

RAK-Adoption Logo

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Act 19 – In Memory of Benjamin Wheeler, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/random-act-of-kindness-19-of-26acts-bubbles-and-glo-sticks/

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Act 20 – In Memory of Olivia Engel, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/07/28/random-act-of-kindness-20-vacation-adventures/

RAK tix

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Act 21 – In Memory of Grace McDonnell, age 7

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/random-act-of-kindness-21-of-26acts-jellyfish-vinegar-and-sharpies/

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Act 22 – In Memory of Catherine Hubbard, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/random-act-of-kindness-22-of-26acts-kindness-to-animals/

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Act 23 – In Memory of Avielle Richman, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/random-act-of-kindness-41st-birthday-at-starbucks/

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Act 24 – In Memory of Ana Marquez-Greene, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/random-act-of-kindness-24-of-26acts-sharing-pics/

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Act 25 – In Memory of Josephine Gay, age 7

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/random-act-of-kindness-25-of-26-acts-birthday-joy/

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Act 26 – In Memory of Chase Kowalski, age 7

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/random-act-of-kindness-26-of-26acts-give-and-it-will-be-given/

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This morning as I sat listening to the sermon at Cool Spring Baptist Church, something Pastor Brad was saying struck a chord in my heart.  He was quoting Luke 6:37 – 38, talking about how God commands us to give and how when you do, it will be given back to you.  How nothing we own in this world truly belongs to us.  How we need to be kind to others, not stingy with our gifts, talents, and resources.

Wow.  It was if God himself was whispering in my ear, “See?  This is what it’s all about!”

Let me explain a little more.  For the past year, as many of you faithful readers know, I have been on this journey of blessing others with kindness.  I do it with no expectation of reward or acknowledgement, although I do feel compelled to share my experiences with others to inspire and share my joy.  Yesterday, those tables were COMPLETELY turned on me as my husband and I were recipients of the most amazing random act of kindness!

It all started when I told my husband I had to run out to take care of a few errands.  He had been doing yard work around the house and without a second thought had placed his cell phone on the top of my car’s trunk, unbeknownst to me.

(I bet you know where this is going, lol.)

Well, you’re exactly right.  I got in my car and drove to Target with nothing more on my mind than my shopping list.  As I entered the store, I received a phone call from an unknown number (which I usually ignore), but something prompted me to answer it.  On the other line was my husband asking a simple, yet weighty question:  “Is my phone still on the top of your car’s trunk?”

Oh. Dear. Heavens.  The walk back to the car was at a frantic pace, already knowing what I would discover.  No phone.  Ugh.

When was the last time you lost something of value in your life?  Now notice I didn’t say “something valuable” because we all have a different measure of value on different things.  To some, a cell phone is just that – a phone.  Nothing more, nothing less.  To my husband, however, that phone was much more.  (And, I might add, to many of us as well!)  Think for a moment about the impact a lost cell phone would have to your life.  Personal and professional contact information, not stored anywhere else.  Photos.  Apps.  Email.  Banking.  Books.  Yes, I know many of these items can be recovered (well, many except the photos – that’s just heart-wrenching), but think of the time, the inconvenience, the cost involved in replacing a lost cell phone.  And if you have a passcode lock on your phone, well… even if found, how would the person get into your phone to even let you know it was found?

Not the way we wanted to spend our Saturday, that’s for sure.

As I scoured the parking lot and retraced my car’s route, I despondently drove home, sharing in my husband’s panic and loss, when my phone rang again with the unknown number.  (My husband was borrowing another phone to call me).  The excitement in his voice superseded any words he actually spoke.  “You are never going to believe this – I found my phone!”

Praise be to God!!

The next 5 minutes of jubilation was spent with him describing how he simply called his phone number and someone answered the phone (apparently you can answer a phone call without having to enter through the passcode lock – thank heavens!).  The kind stranger, named Robert, was driving the same path as me and happened to see something shiny reflecting against the  pavement, smack in the middle of a busy intersection.  Robert took it upon himself to pull over to the side of the road and actually retrieve the object from the road when traffic subsided.

What he found was an untouched, unmarked, undamaged smart phone.

Can I just stop right here and let that resonate with you for a moment?  Untouched.  Unmarked.  Undamaged.  In the middle of a busy intersection.  Of MOVING VEHICLES.  ON ASPHALT.  Wait – say that again?  Untouched?  Unmarked?  Undamaged?

Ladies and gentlemen, you have just witnessed a modern day miracle.  God is so good!  If you are the owner of a smartphone, you know how easily it can get a scratch (or even worse, a cracked screen!)  Yet here was a phone that survived a 35 mph turn, from the back of a car down to the pavement, in between tires of many other cars traveling down the same path.  Untouched.  Unmarked. Undamaged.  Immaculate.

All I can say is… WOW!

Arriving home, I told my husband he HAD to reward this kind stranger!  I raced upstairs and grabbed a restaurant gift card I just happened to have (I was going to give it as a Christmas gift to a family member) and asked my daughter to make a Thank you card. Then I grabbed my very last Sandy Hook RAK card, #26, and said a prayer of thanks.

photo 1Front of card

photo 2Inside of card

photo 3Back of card

photo 4Gift card with Chase Kowalski’s RAK card (#26 of #26acts)

photo 5The recovered phone

Luke 6:38 says: “Give, and it will be given to you.”  No truer words were spoken in this moment.  This RAK is dedicated to Chase Kowalski, age 7, who like my husband enjoyed running (among other sports ambitions.) According to his memorial website, Chase completed his first triathlon at age six and ran in many community races.  I can’t think of a more perfect child to receive this RAK as you must be quick and speedy to run a race and retrieve a phone from oncoming traffic.

Today I leave you with a quote that was in my Facebook feed this morning.  Without a debate about the accuracy (because we all know not to believe everything we read on the Internet), this quote fills my heart with joy and inspires me to do more with what I have.

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.  If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.  If you are honest, people may cheat you.  Be honest anyway.  If you find happiness, people may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.  The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.  Do good anyway.  Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.  Give your best anyway.  For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.”  –Mother Teresa

For those who know me in real life, it’s no surprise that I’m a photo freak.  I take photos of EVERYTHING!  In fact, years before digital photo albums became available, I used to be a Creative Memories consultant, teaching others how to safely preserve and share their photographic memories for generations to come.  I have albums upon albums on my bookshelf documenting milestone events such as birthdays, graduations, and vacations.  For me, photos are the keys to our past and the joys of our future.

Keeping that in mind, can you imagine just how many photos I take while on vacation? It’s crazy!  I am the person who annoyingly asks, “Can you take a picture of us?” to the chagrin of my family members.  I might also be the gal who sheepishly admits to taking not one, not two, but quite possibly twelve (12!!) photos of a gecko who just happened to meander near my sandals.  Yes folks, I am a photo freak by every definition of the word.

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Last month our family took a week long Disney Cruise, a vacation we’ve been saving up for over the course of several years.  I could not WAIT to take photos of the islands we would visit and embrace the colors, sights and sounds of a new culture.   Such joy!   One of our stops was the beautiful island of St. Thomas; 32 square miles of lush tropical paradise with crystal clear water and bright, colorful flowers.  We planned to take our children on the Skyride, a cabin-like closed compartment with windows that travels up a mountain, allowing you to see the island from an aerial view as it rises 700 feet in the air.  Unfortunately, the Skyride was closed the day we arrived, so we had to change our plans while there.

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It was hot.  Scorching.  The moment you stepped on the white cement, you could feel the heat radiating from the ground through your shoes.  Thankfully there was a gentle ocean breeze and several open shops that provided cool relief from the heat.  After about two hours of walking around and taking photos, we decided to head back to the ship.  In order to gain entry on the boat, you had to pass through an entrance area barricaded by a chain link fence.  You had to show a photo I.D. and your boat’s key card as well.  Depending on the time of day you returned, you could be met with quite a line at the re-entry spot as every single guest on the cruise had to pass through this security clearance area.

Once past the chain link fence, you walked towards the ship’s boarding gangway where you stood in yet another line, waiting for your ship’s key card to be swiped.  Did I mention how hot it was outside?  By mid-day it was brutal!  Even though the lines moved forward at a decent pace and the security officers were friendly and kind, it was still a draining process.

My daughter and I were patiently waiting to proceed through the second set of security clearances when I overheard a woman behind me speak with despair in her voice.  “Oh no……,” she moaned “I totally forgot to take a picture of the St. Thomas sign!”  I turned my head at a 45 degree angle to see a dark haired gal pointing to the long “Welcome to St. Thomas” sign on the other side of the chain link fence.  Even if she held her camera high above her head, there was no way for her to take a picture of that sign without an ugly metal fence obstructing her view.

“Would you like me to email you my photo?  I just took one with my daughter right before we got in line.  I even took one WITHOUT my daughter, so you might like that one instead!”  She paused for a split second then grinned from ear to ear as she replied incredulously, “Are you sure?  You would do that for me? That would be wonderful!”  I had to laugh at her shock.  “Of course!  I’d be more than happy to do that!  No big deal at all!”  She gave me her email address and I typed it into my phone.  I even joked that if she sent me a photo of her kids, I would Photoshop them into the picture and no one would ever need to know.  We laughed at the idea and continued chatting through the clearance area, into the elevator and all the way up to our separate floors.

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It wasn’t until I exited the elevator and was halfway down the hall, heading back to my stateroom, that I realized I had completed another RAK.  My business cards! In a moment of sheer panic (which is silly to remember in retrospect – who on earth panics about RAK business cards!?!?), I ran down the hall and up a flight of stairs, hoping to catch her as she exited on the 7th floor.  Sadly, I wasn’t quick enough to tell her about my 26 acts, but I figured if it was meant to be for her to know about my mission, then I would see her again before our vacation ended.

Well, see her again I did.  That night before dinner there was a hypnotist show and who would be one of the people chosen for the show?  Yep, yours truly.  (That, my friends, is a WHOLE separate story right there – oh gracious!)  Following the end of the show, as we were making our way through the crowds of people, I saw her.  Right about the same time, she turned her head and saw me, too.  “It’s you!  It’s you!” she said as we both made our way towards each other.  We hugged like long-lost friends, laughing and sharing stories about the show.  I reached into my purse and handed her the business card, explaining that I had tried to find her after I got off the elevator.  She then touched my heart as she said my kindness reminded her that there is still good in this world.  Priceless.  Humbling.

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This Random Act of Kindness is dedicated to sweet Ana Marquez-Greene, an adorable child who loved to sing with her brother at the piano. In a statement the Greene family made in December 2012, ” [Ana] routinely committed selfless acts of kindness: every drawing or craft project she began was envisioned not for her own enjoyment, but as a gift for another. She often left sweet notes that read, ‘I love you Mom and Dad,’ under our bedroom pillow – not on special occasions, but, rather, on ordinary days.”

While taking a family vacation on a cruise ship to St. Thomas may not count as an “ordinary day”, this RAK was selfless, an offer made as a gift for another.  I’m sure had Ana been standing in my shoes, she would have done the exact same thing.

Be blessed my dear friends and keep paying it forward!

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.

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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!!”

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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.

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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.

How do you like to celebrate the 4th of July?  Do you go to a cookout?  Plan a day at the pool?  Spend time with friends and family?  We do different things each year to celebrate the national holiday, but one thing we always try to do is watch the fireworks.  I love being out with a crowd of people, listening to patriotic music played by a concert band, waiting for darkness to fall and the first firework to light the sky.

This year as we claimed our spot in the open field of Dogwood Dell, we watched as people spread out blankets, played games and chatted, all sharing the same space for the same purpose, a united group of strangers.  If you’ve ever waited for fireworks, you know it’s best to claim your spot early, so we were there hours before dusk.  As soon as I started to unpack our chairs and bags, I realized we had no games for the kids to play to pass the time.  No cards.  No UNO.  No triominoes.  Nothing.  Cell service wasn’t that great, so the games we had hoped to play on our phones and iPods quickly became obsolete as our batteries dwindled faster than the evening shade.

It was about this time that we saw a single bubble floating in the sky.  One.  Single.  Bubble.  We watched in awe, completely transfixed, as it began its gentle descent across our blanket.  >pop< “What…?”  “Where…?”  “Who…?”  The questions tumbled out as everyone tried to figure out who was blowing bubbles.  It didn’t take us long to see a girl with long brown hair and a red skirt, standing with a lady who was probably her mom, both blowing bubbles from huge wands dipped in liquid tubes.  Before I could answer a single question, the kids were up on their feet, running towards them, as more bubbles came our way.

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Popping Bubbles

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Pure Joy!

Oh, to see the joy on my children’s faces!  I glanced towards the girl and her mom and both had smiles that would brighten even the darkest of days.  Children were laughing, shouting, chasing after bubbles on a warm summer night, oblivious to any cares or worries of this world.  It was perfect!

The mom noticed how engaged we were with the bubbles and offered her wand to my son, Daniel.  “Would you like to blow some bubbles?”  Daniel graciously accepted the mom’s offer and together with the daughter, they blew bubbles for all the children surrounding our blanketed space.

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Daniel passed the wand to his Uncle Barry, who then became the Pied Piper  of Dogwood Dell, showering the children with bubbles galore.

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Not long after the bubble fest, the sun began to set and we were surrounded by twilight.  “The glo sticks!” my daughter shouted, as she dug through her purse to reveal four unopened black canisters.  “Hurry!  It’s getting dark!”  She dumped all four tubes into her lap and together as a family we worked together to bend the sticks, releasing their fluorescent glow.

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As we were creating bracelets and necklaces connected by small plastic tubes, we noticed a young boy watching us from his parent’s nearby chair.  “I wish I had some of those,” we heard him tell his dad.  I looked at my daughter and was met with her smile.  She had heard him, too.  “Would you like to have some?  We have plenty.”  She then carefully selected one of each color and attached connectors so he could create his own glowing accessories.  “Have fun!” she said as she turned back in her chair and continued her task.

Could I possible love my daughter more than in that moment??

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Katrina with her headband and necklace

Our evening ended with an amazing fireworks show and we left Dogwood Dell with happy hearts.  It was a wonderful way to celebrate our country’s independence, surrounded by friends, family, and many strangers.  We were blessed by kindness of others and found a way to keep that blessing going to someone else.  Who knew something as simple as bubbles and glo sticks could make such a lasting impression?

This Random Act of Kindness is dedicated to Benjamin Wheeler, age 6.  According to the Huffington Post, Benjamin was always running, a joyful child, who blew kisses to his family saying, “Catch it and put it in your heart.”  His parents were musicians and would write and perform their own music.  At Ben’s funeral, they played songs from a CD they had released right before he was born, one which was titled, “Stars in the Sky.”  On this night, long after the fireworks show had ended, I looked at the sky as we were walking to our car and thought about all those beautiful stars and all those beautiful children from Sandy Hook Elementary.  A lump filled my throat as I looked at my own three children, healthy, happy, still bouncing from the excitement of the evening.  It made me realize, yet again, how special EVERY moment should be; how I need to be still and treasure the small moments as well as the big.

If we are not guaranteed tomorrow… what can I do to make a difference for someone today?

Be blessed!


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