Friday, January 18, 2013

Kindness to Others

You may remember in my last post I mentioned that I have set on a course to complete 50 acts of kindness this year, one each week, until my 50th birthday. I am happy to say that I have completed the first 3... and BOY, has it been FUN!

Week One:

While cleaning through my scrapbook supplies, I came across several things that I knew I wasn't going to use. After all, I hadn't used them in the 18 years that I have been scrapping.

Among the stash there was buried several containers with large silk flowers of many bright colors. I am part of a great online community of girls who share the same affinity for scrapping that I do. I decided that I would send them each an envelope stuffed full of flowers.

I sent DH to the post office with eight fat envelopes, containing no return address. He sent them off and I waited to see if any of my buddies would figure out where the flowers came from. Since then I have gotten messages from two of them who figured out who had sent them, since they knew no one else who lived in Kentucky. It is so much fun surprising people!

Week Two:

There are two cousins who are part of our after school program, which I oversee. These two kids are rarely able to purchase something for themselves just because they want it and often depend upon the kindness of others to get things that they actually need.

During my shopping at Michael's a few years ago, I discovered the fat ink pens they sell in the dollar bin. I try to keep three or four to use at school because no one has any like them. No one tries to walk away with my pens because they know that I am the only one at school who uses them.

On a recent night at after school, the boy cousin asked me, "Will you give me that pen?" I told him that if he kept working hard for us, I would try to get him one. On my very next visit to Michael's I came back with two pens, one for each cousin.

I made sure that one of them was generic enough for a boy and the other was girly enough for a girl. The pens were a hit!

Week Three:

About a week or so ago, one of my fellow teachers who is pregnant posted that she was having a craving for watermelon. Of course, watermelon is out of season and in our small community, our stores don't have a great variety of fresh produce available.

My son is going to college in one of the bigger cities in Kentucky and they have large produce sections in Kroger as well as Trader Joe's. I told him to stop and look for watermelon at the stores on his way home this weekend and that I would pay him back.

He was able to purchase two nice seedless "baby" watermelons.

I called up my friend to make sure that she was home and told her that I had something for her. When she saw the watermelons her face lit up and she hugged them up tight. "I'm going to cut into one right now," she said.

I am really having fun doing these acts of kindness. I have discovered that I have been missing a lot of things that went on around me. Just listening more and paying attention to those I come in contact with has helped me realize a lot about the people near me.

I have been surprised how simple it has been to decide on whom to bestow my act of kindness. I think that God is helping to guide me to be in the right place at the right time. The things that I have done haven't been BIG. They haven't been something that would totally change someone's life, but hopefully they have been the type of thing that would brighten someone's day and let them know that someone out there cares about them. I am anxious to see what else God sends my way in the coming weeks.

Friday, January 11, 2013


Yesterday I was reminded of one of the reasons that I LOVE living in a small town.

We were in class, in the middle of a typical school day, when one of my students was called to the office. They had come to pick him up because his house had burned to the ground. He and his family lost everything, including the family pet.

There are three children in high school, the eighth grade boy, a junior girl, and a senior girl. The senior girl is on the track and cross country teams with my daughter. (More about that later.)

As soon as word started spreading about the tragedy, emails started flying with sizes of clothing listed. It even hit Facebook.

It is times like this when our community is at its finest. Within the past 12 to 18 months our school has sponsored two fund-raising events: one to raise funds for an elementary girl who was experiencing her second heart transplant and one to raise funds the family of a senior who has cancer and is undergoing treatment. Any time there is a fire there are always plenty of donations of clothing, food, and home goods. Mention that you or a family member is in the hospital and someone will show up on your doorstep with a casserole (or two). At funerals, there is always food for the family so they can just join together in their mourning.

This might not seem like anything out of the ordinary, but I have to add here that this same county is usually on the national list of poorest counties in the United States. Not only are we on the list, we are usually near the top. Yet, even with very little of their own, the residents always seem to find just enough to help those who need it most.

Earlier I mentioned my daughter....

It made me so proud when I heard her say, "Can we go to TJ Maxx or somewhere else on Saturday?" She went on to explain that she wanted to purchase some running shorts and things for her track teammate, the fire victim. I think she understands how important little gestures like that can be.

That makes me happy!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

This is it...... 2013...... a new year, a year in which I will finish another decade of my life. This is the year that I become fifty.

My thinking about this milestone has changed a lot since I began this blog. The age is seeming a bit more like just a number and a little less like a tragedy.

Like many others, I have set a few goals or resolutions for the upcoming year. I have heard that if you share those goals with others you are more likely to keep them. So..... here goes.....

1. I will spend more time making memories with my family. I want to sit around the table with my hubby and my daughter every night that I possibly can. I want to discuss our day, what went right, what went wrong, what was funny. I want to do more "girly" things with my daughter and spend time getting to know the wonderful new "YOU" that she is becoming. I want to DO more things together rather than GETTING more things for each other.

2. I will spend more time doing things that I love. I have missed scrapbooking. 2012 was a rough year for me. I think I finished maybe two pages the entire year. Scrapbooking has always been my creative outlet and my relaxing therapy. I intend to reignite that creative flame.

3. I will share kindness with others deliberately. There are at least fifty weeks between today and my big birthday. I plan to do one deliberate act of kindness each week- totalling fifty in the year. In some cases, I want to watch those around me and see who could most benefit from an act of kindness and what act would mean the most to them. Some weeks there will just be random acts of kindness. Either way, I want to spend this year giving to others, because God has been so giving to me.