acts of kindness
This 2nd post of the new year provides you with my quarterly column in the online publication, Grandparents Day Magazine, based out of Adelaide, Australia. My byline, In Your Corner, addressed the topic of how every effort we make can benefit others. I hope you enjoy: Big Things Come in Small Packages. And believe it or not, the topic is not babies. Check it out.
A quote from the book Love is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times by Bishop Michael Curry & Sara Grace
There was once a wave, bobbing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. All was well and the wave was enjoying himself. He was just enjoying the wind and the ride, until one day he noticed what was happening to the other waves in front of him. They were crashing against the shore.
“My God, this is terrible,” the wave said. “Look what’s going to happen to me!”
Then another wave came along who asked, “Why do you look sad?” The first wave says, “You don’t understand! We’re all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn’t it terrible?”
The other wave’s response: “No, you don’t understand. You’re not a wave, you’re part of the ocean.”
There is a science to being kind, and UCLA in California has set out to prove it! They opened up the world’s first Research Institute on the Science of Kindness, which I’m sure you’ll agree is something the world needs right now. Check it out for yourself!
Angels exist everywhere, and if you’ve ever been touched by one, you’ll agree. This story out of Milford, OH will touch you like none other. I certainly hope each of us meets an angel like the one portrayed in this brief story. If you’re having a not so great day or week, this angel is sure to improve your outlook.
Patricia Constance Conroy Desonier: born on May 6th, 1917, she married my father on May 26th, 1947,
and died in her sleep on September 24, 1994.
My mother never complained about how much pain she experienced in her life. Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis as a teenager, she lived with this debilitating condition, staying as active as she wanted to be. When I was a young adult, I told Mom how much I respected her for her activity level, knowing each deformed joint in her body never let her forget the disease that got progressively worse as the years wore on. Mom’s response, “If I stay at home and do nothing, I’ll still hurt. I’d much rather be active, doing something I love, and hurt more.” Nothing stopped my mother – absolutely nothing. She took neighborhood walks; she golfed using special clubs with thickened grips; she made all our clothing; she painted the insides of each home I lived in and stripped and restored wood furniture that stayed with the family in various iterations throughout our lives.
Mom encouraged me to write from a very early age. As a four-year-old, she let me pound on her manual typewriter, typing gibberish but encouraging me to read my “stories” to the family at dinner time. My current soft activism can be attributed to both my parents, but especially to my mother. I say “soft” activism, not because I pull punches, but because I learned how to have an impact on others without offense, without judgment, and with a kindness that speaks far louder than words. Like my mother, I won’t stand for injustice; also like my mother, I won’t dish out unjust behavior just so my voice can be louder than the offending voice. I guess the phrase, “Kill ’em with kindness” is applicable in this respect. My mother killed many a person in that manner.
Mom didn’t miss out on seeing all of her grandchildren, including my daughter, Erin, above, but she did miss out on meeting my extraordinary husband, Jerry, and his two daughters, which she would have welcomed as her own granddaughters. Dad had the privilege of getting to know my husband and he met my additional two daughters, and for that, I am truly grateful. I honor Mom today – her birthday – and every day because she deserves the same honor and respect she bestowed on others, including my father with whom she was married for forty-seven years.
I love you Mom and am so pleased you live within me.
The more I examine good news, the more I am convinced that it does not take extraordinary efforts to be the producer of such news.
Case in point: recently during a fallen officer procession in Birmingham, Alabama, an officer stood at attention in the pouring rain, drenched to the skin. Her dilemma did not go unnoticed. A perfect stranger rectified the situation showing respect for her, and respect for the fallen officer. You can read all about it right here.
I am so thrilled to offer this local story in a town called Lake Stevens where both of my husband’s daughters live. We take for granted the comfort and warmth of our homes or apartments when some people’s reality is not having any way in which to heat their abodes. This featured family is chopping hundreds and hundreds of cords of wood and giving it away to anyone who needs it. Their good deeds have been featured nationally and in other countries. One of the family members was astounded at the reach of their simple act of kindness. “It’s amazing to see because a lot of people out there don’t believe that good exists, and we’re showing that it still does,” said Henry.
Good news travels fast, yes?
This week’s kindness spotlights the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) a fabulous group for writers of women’s fiction. Most if not all the administrative staff is volunteer – the reason why their kindness is this week’s selection. As a member of this organization, I was given the opportunity to have a podcast recorded for their Hear Me Roar program because I’m a debut author. Although my novel, Requiem for the status quo was released a year ago, it was my debut publishing effort.
This podcast is approximately 30 minutes in length, and although my novel is certainly the focus, much attention was spent on the prevalence of Alzheimer’s and other dementias in the world. Perhaps this podcast will keep you company on your commute in the next few days; although it may seem a bit choppy, I think it’s worth hanging in there to hear my, and the host’s, provocative discussion.
Those family members who have had, or who currently have, a family member or close friend with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, you are my hero.
You took on the task of showing your love and compassion by signing up to become a family caregiver which at its best is a learn-as-you-go, long-term commitment. Your efforts make a difference in the life of your loved one. They may not be able to express their appreciation for all that you do, but please know that the essence of who they are acknowledges your kindness.
Your name and/or identity may be lost to them, but you are still a vital part of their lives, and your friendly and loving demeanor goes far toward affirming them and making them feel valued and loved.
Thank you for all that you have done, continue to do, and will remain doing in the future. It is an honor to be in your company.
Requiem for the status quo was released by Black Rose Writing on July 20th. You can order Requiem at Barnes & Noble and Amazon as well as all online and brick and mortar chain and independent bookstores. Be sure to shop around for the best price, you won’t be sorry you did. And for those of you with eReaders, the eBook will be available at most online book retailers on, or about, July 27th.
I’m launching a new series this year called Kindness Fridays. You’ll still be privy to my Lighten up Mondays series (humor to start your week) but with Kindness Fridays, I’ll report on at least one episode of kindness that was recently extended to me. My first kindness encounter actually occurred in December of last year and was the inspiration for this new blog segment.
The beginning of December, I road the bus into downtown Seattle to have lunch with my sister-in-law. I allowed for plenty of time to do some Holiday shopping prior to meeting up with her.
One particular shopping structure called Pacific Place has an entrance through a Barnes & Noble bookstore. Not being super familiar with Pacific Place but pretty sure I could access it through B&N, I chose that entrance. Upon entering, a security guard greeted me. I asked, “Can I enter the rest of the mall through this store?” He assured me I could and provided instructions for me to do so.
There were escalators to ride up and down and quite frankly I got confused and arriving at the top of an escalator, I found myself right back where I started. The security guard – whose job it was to stand at the street entrance to the store – noticed me, waved, and walked over to me.
“I’m sure you gave me the correct instructions but somehow or another I translated them incorrectly.”
“No problem, let’s go down this escalator and I’ll show you.”
“Really, you’ll escort me to the mall entrance?”
We talked on the way down and upon arriving at the bottom of the escalator, he walked me to where I could access the Mall.
“Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. That was very thoughtful of you.”
He lightly touched my arm and said, “That’s why I’m here, I was happy to do so. Happy Holidays and enjoy your day.”
Wow. Such a brief yet powerful interaction but it was an act of kindness, the positive effects of which still remain with me today.
I published this post in June of 2015. I am re-blogging it today as part of my weekly effort to propose – and promote – kindness. Just as we have the ability to recognize happiness in our own daily lives, we can also nurture a better quality of life in others, one small act of kindness at a time.
Every day, and every encounter during each day, we have the opportunity to do good, or to do bad; to improve upon someone’s day, or ruin it for them. Right now, or at the end of this day, thi…
This post centers on the following theme:
Never put off for tomorrow what you can do today.
Unfortunately, I did just that.
My sister met her biological mother several years ago. Ever since that time I’ve dreamed of flying to Manitoba, Canada – where her mother lives – with my sister to meet Cathy. That didn’t transpire but in the alternative I planned on sending Cathy a letter to thank her for the unselfish and generous act of placing my sister up for adoption when she found herself pregnant as a high school teenager.
Had she not placed my sister up for adoption way back in 1952, I wouldn’t have the wonderful, giving, fabulous, sister I have today. I wanted to thank Cathy for giving me the best sister a person could ever have.
Guess what, folks? I can’t do that now because Cathy died of a massive stroke this past Mother’s Day. Oddly enough, for the past three weeks I’ve said to myself more than a half dozen times, “I’ve really got to ask Mary for Cathy’s address so I can mail her that letter.”
I guess my intuition is stronger and more reliable than my constitution. I guess I thought I’d have plenty of time to gift Cathy with that letter. How moronic is that, folks? The next minute isn’t guaranteed so why would I think a woman in her 70s would be sitting around just awaiting for the time when I would finally get off my ass and make good on my plans?
Do me a favor, all of you who are reading this post:
do what you intend to do as soon as possible.
I don’t know what that intention may involve. Reconciliation with someone? Complimenting someone who could really benefit from your kind words? Asking forgiveness of someone for prior acts of which you’re ashamed?
Regardless of what that intention looks like, please put it into effect today, not tomorrow.
Tomorrow may never come.
And then where will you be?
Three extraordinary – yet small – things happened at that early hour when I was feeling less than able to even stand while I waited for the pharmacy gate to open.
- A store clerk that was doing some pricing procedures in the main part of the store in front of the pharmacy greeted me, asked how I was doing, and when I responded, “Not so great, actually” offered to help me to the pharmacy bench.
- Then the pharmacist opened the pharmacy early, 8:55 am, and told me my prescription would be ready in 10 minutes. I then left the pharmacy to go to the women’s room and as I was walking back, the third kindness occurred.
- The store clerk who had greeted me upon my arrival in the pharmacy area took the time to find me at a different area of the store to let me know my prescription was ready.
Big deal, such small courtesies are hardly worth writing a blog piece about, right?
Wrong, they lightened my burden and jump-started my day.
Don’t ever feel your efforts won’t make a difference.
They do, and they have.
A recent article in Parade Magazine spotlighted the efforts of older adults mentoring children on how to be good citizens. Specifically, Veterans and Congressional Medal of Honor recipients volunteer as mentors in schools across the nation.
The article emphasizes the point that parents and other adult family members should be the main source of such teaching – teachers have enough work to do just getting our children educated – but with a little bit of reinforcement at school, the lesson becomes that much more vital to the young learners. Read the rest of this entry »
My post Do Little Rather than Nothing suggests that we have the ability to change someone else’s life, 365 days of the year. The attached article at the top of this post reveals how important one person’s generous act was to someone whose life was about to change forever.
Why do we wait until we can do something grandiose to exert a positive imprint on mankind? Why do we ignore the multitude of small opportunities presented to us in which we can impact a person’s life for the better? Whether that opportunity requires we spend 30 cents or 3 minutes on someone in need, we always have a choice of whether or not to allow a momentary inconvenience to be a part of our day – a miniscule inconvenience that nonetheless greatly benefits others. Read the rest of this entry »