Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Future and A Hope

This is a moving and tearful story of hope I just had to share with all of you. It was in my email this morning and I hope it changes you as much as it moved me! Enjoy! ~ Kat


I was waiting to pick up a friend at the airport when I had one of those life changing experiences, the kind that you sometimes hear other people talk about, the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly. This one occurred a mere two feet away from me.

As I was straining to locate my friend amongst the line of passengers exiting, I noticed a man coming towards me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family.

First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe 6 years old) as he laid down his bags. He crouched down and they gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each others face, I heard the father say, "Its too good to see you, son I missed you so much!" His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly,"Me too dad!"

Then the man stood up and gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe 9 or 10 years old) and while cupping his son face in his hands said," You are already quite the young man. I love you very much." They too shared a very loving and tender hug.

While this was happining a baby girl was squirming excitedly in her mother's arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said "hi baby girl!" as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to her chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder, motionless in pure contentment.

After several moments, he handed his daughter to his eldest son and declared, "I have saved the best until last!" and proceeded to give his wife, the longest and most loving kiss I ever remember seeing.

He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed "I love you so much." They started looking into each others eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands. For an instant they reminded me of newlyweds, but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn't possibly be.

I puzzled about it for a moment then realized how totally engrossed I was in this wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm's length away from me. I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I was invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask,"Wow! How long have you two been married?" "We've been together 14 years in total and married for 12 of those." he replied, without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife's face."Well then how long have you been away?" I asked. The man finally turned and looked at me, still beaming his smile."Two whole days".

Two days?! I was stunned by the intensity of greeting, I had assumed he had been gone for at least several weeks - If not months. I know my expression betrayed me, I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace, "I hope my marriage is still that passionate after 12 years!"

The man suddenly stopped smiling and looked straight into my eyes and with forcefulness that burned right into my soul, he said something that just left me a different person. He said, "Don't hope...friend...Decide!" Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said "God Bless!" With that he and his family turned and strode away together.

I was still watching that exceptional man and his special family walking away when my friend came up to me and asked," What are you looking at?" Without hesitating, and a with a curious sense of certainty, I replied, "My future!" "I wish I could be such a wonderful wife of such wonderful man."

Monday, November 29, 2010

Kindness Times 2

Here's another great example of just how simple it is to spread kindness and love in so many unique ways. I found this in my email and had to share it with you. The author is unknown. Enjoy! ~ Kat

Having experienced the joys of giving small gifts to others through regular random acts of kindness, I have increasingly questioned whether I was truly being generous or whether I was seeking ego-gratification or some sort of karmic credit to justify living an otherwise ordinary life. To test this concept, I asked myself if I would be just as generous if the acts were truly anonymous, and I would receive no credit.

In seeking out those opportunities, an even more interesting challenge arose - providing random strangers with the opportunity to gift acts of kindness.

The first experience was as a restaurant in Times Square with a pre-fix lunch that included dessert. I did not want any dessert, so I asked the waiter to find another customer and tell the customer that he was offering a free dessert as a random act of kindness. I specifically made sure he did not mention me or the circumstances, as I wanted him to receive full credit (after all, he could have simply eaten the dessert himself). We got to see him make the offer to a group that looked like tourists, who were clearly shocked, and the smile on his face afterward was priceless. We left a generous tip and departed.

The second experience was at an airport in Minneapolis. I was traveling with my girlfriend, and we had been delayed on two separate flights, which had led to significant scrambling and inconvenience. The airline gave us two $20 food vouchers, but we had already bought food as we ran through the airport trying to make the connection. We decided to enjoy a bottle of wine during our four-hour delay, only to discover that the vouchers could not be used for wine. So switching into generosity mode, we asked the waitress to find some other customers and offer them the vouchers, without mentioning who the vouchers came from. She came back so inspired by the experience that she wanted to give us complementary glasses of wine. We promptly invited her to gift those as well, and departed for our flight!

Sadly, I can not report that I have found a way to *not* feel gratified about these acts, so perhaps I am still acting with selfish motivations. That said, it is interesting to see that the act of giving is a gift in and of itself, and by adding a "surrogate giver" into the chain, the resulting good feelings have effectively doubled with no additional "costs"

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Finding Hope In A Loss

"The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you." -- John Southard

Idea of the Week

"I work within an assisted living complex, and I truly love it! One afternoon, one of my residents's told me a story that really moved me and I wanted to share it. She said that she had lost her wallet many years ago but that a young woman called her a few days later to say that she had found it. When she went to the woman's house to collect it, she saw that the woman, who had three young children, was struggling to make ends meet. From then on, every Christmas for many years, she sent this woman Christmas gifts for her and each of her children - anonymously! I was amazed! Firstly, that the wallet was returned by someone in such a difficult situation. And secondly, by the resident's gesture - which just seemed so thoughtful and kind. And to do it anonymously, no less!"

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sharing Kindness

I think this is a great tip that we can use to incorporate not only the gift of kindness to those around us but give them the desire to pass it along as well. Enjoy this wonderful tip from Helpothers.org. ~ Love and Hugs ~ Kat

I submitted a kindness idea to Helpothers.org $100 kindness contest and I won. Armed with $100 and a mission - WOW! What an amazing week I just had! It started out last weekend - the first goal was to fill 20 “Smile Baggies” to give out.

I had so much fun all Saturday picking out the items to buy. I'm a single mom of a teenager, so the opportunity to buy something without worrying about whether it would hurt our monthly budget made me feel like I had won the lottery!

I picked out some practical items – a post-it note pad, pen, hand sanitizer wipes, and breath mints. But since it was a “smile baggie”, I also got some fun stuff too – microwave popcorn, hot cocoa, bubble gum, a smile stamp, and a small bottle of bubble bath.

I spent Sunday night bagging all the goodies and attached the following letter to each bag:

"HI! This “Smile Bag” is just for you. I hope it brings a smile to your face. It brought many smiles to my face as I picked them out for you. The Smile Bag was inspired by www.helpothers.org – which is dedicated to small acts of kindness. The idea is to make someone smile, to do something for someone (without expecting anything in return) – making the world a better place – one act of kindness at a time, one community at a time.

The second bag (with the Smile Card) is for you to give a smile to someone else. It could be someone you know - a friend, a co-worker, or a neighbor. Or someone you don’t – like the cashier at the store, the teller at the bank, or the lady that sits next to you on the bus. You will be amazed at how great it feels to bring a smile to someone else.

And I encourage you to keep the spirit a live. Go to www.helpothers.org for ideas, stories, and inspiration. Kindness is contagious!"

Because I wanted to remain anonymous I decided to bring 4 “smile baggies” (2 sets) to work each day (I figured it would be too hard to hide 20 smile bags). Then I set off “planting” them around the hospital I worked at. I left a set in the employee lunchroom near the microwave, in the employee locker room, in the nursing medical supply room, on a cleaning supply cart, in the copy machine room, etc. I woke each morning excited and had fun thinking of where to leave the next smile bag. It felt like Christmas!

Thank you helpothers.org for allowing me to experience such an amazing week. I hope that I was able to make a big splash and that the ripples from this week flow far and wide and never end. WOW!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Thanksgiving Filled With Generosity

We can do no great things, only small things with great love. -- Mother Teresa

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

When Your Gift Comes Back To You

Here's another great heartwarming story I found in my email. Enjoy and see what you can do everyday to make someone's day. ~ Kat

My husband and I were at a discount grocery store waiting in line.

We were behind a mother and her boy who was probably about seven years old. She had a beautiful purple bouquet in her basket. The flowers brought a smile to my face. I remarked to the lady how lovely her flowers were and she said her son picked them out. He just beamed at the compliment so I asked if he would like to pick some out for me.

He was off like a shot down the aisle to pick out a bouquet for me. When he returned he was so obviously pleased at having done a two-fold good job: picking out nice flowers and helping an "old lady."

When I thanked him, he said a very loud and clear "You're welcome." So, by then Mama is beaming at her helpful polite son who feels great about doing a good deed. They're feeling great and I'm feeling great about getting to be a part of this exchange.

But it didn't end there. You see, among the whole line of people watching as they waited to check out was a woman I had overheard saying that she live alone. As we were leaving the store a little voice inside said, "Give the flowers to that woman." In the parking lot I went up to her and explained that the little voice had said I was to give her the flowers.

In our brief exchange she said that she really couldn't take the flowers but that the gesture was truly moving. She thanked me for the kind offer.

So, this bouquet touched the hearts of a mother and son, me and my husband, the line of shoppers and, our special stranger in the parking lot. And my bonus? I got to go home with the flowers!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Flowers of Kindness

"I want it said of me by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow." -- Abraham Lincoln

Idea of the Week

"I cut some flowers growing in my yard, wrapped them up nicely and left them on the doorstep of some random house in my neighborhood. I rang the door bell and quickly ran off. A while later I walked by and saw the flowers still there. I went and picked them up because I didn't know how long the people who lived there would be away for and by the time they got back, the flowers could be wilting. I went to find another house. I saw an elderly couple leaving from their home on a walk. It was the perfect place! Once they were out of view I dropped the flowers off. I was riding back when I saw them again. They were on their way back home. I can't help but wonder what their expressions would be when they discovered the flowers. It was an awesome thrill and I loved it! I'm excited to do other acts of kindness!"

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Lesson in Homeless Compassion

Even some homeless stories have happy endings. I found this one in my mailbox and hope you enjoy it. ~ Kat

It was my birthday so my wife, my brother and my child treated ourselves to dinner in a restaurant that we had never been to before. As we walked back to our car a very thin man approached my brother saying he hadn't eaten in a while and asking for money. Usually my wife and I treat such requests with suspicion but my brother took a different approach and he started talking with the man.

The man said he was a singer and had come to Dubai from Pakistan to find work. His visa was expiring in three or four days. He had no friends here, couldn't land a singing job, and was surviving hand to mouth. He had a return ticket that had to be confirmed. To do this he needed 70 Dirhams.

My brother gave him 20 Dirhams for food and asked the man to give him a call from the airline's ticket office the next day. He also gave the man a travel card for the Dubai metro.

Later, I found out that my brother went to the ticket office the next day and had this man's ticket confirmed. There were some extra fees, plus the man had 300 Dirhams room rent to be paid. Having done all that my brother then helped the man get some chocolates and gifts to take back home to his family.

The man was so touched. He kept in touch and even called my brother from Pakistan later, thanking him for all his help.

Well, it was a valuable lesson in human kindness that I learned from my younger brother on my birthday!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Long Distance Acts of Kindness

This Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching us and between now and next Thursday, let us all pay extra special attention to those around us and people we come into contact with to see what their plans are. This year especially families all around us have been hit by this horrible economy and may find themselves just thankful to have a roof over their heads but no feast for the table.

Let us all be a little more generous this year and take note of the little things we can do to make a difference for one person this Thanksgiving. Perhaps it's inviting a whole family over for dinner with yours, perhaps it's taking them a gift card from a local grocery store or restaurant for dinner, or even making a dinner and making an extra special delivery. There are so many ways if we only are will to look and see them. Here's a special story that will help illustrate that point in a great way:

I work with a warm, fun-loving woman named Heather. This year our boss asked a group of us to join his family on Thanksgiving. Seated around the table, Heather said something had totally changed her the day before -- like she was walking in a new direction. I listened and watched as her eyes welled with tears.

Heather deals daily with people on the telephone. She was speaking with a Veteran and asked if he was looking forward to Thanksgiving. She was surprised when he said no, and asked why.

He had been let go from his job more than a month before and was having a tough time making ends meet. He shared how hard it was to feel powerless to provide a Thanksgiving meal for his wife and children. She wished him a happy holiday and good luck. There was nothing to do but say good-bye and hang-up.

But I must do something, she thought. She knew the man’s address and started calling restaurants in California (we’re in Florida), asking if they could prepare and deliver a complete Thanksgiving dinner. Over and over she was told no, it was too late or no, we don’t do that or no, we don’t deliver on holidays.

Running out of options, she called a delicatessen and relayed what she wanted to do. The man at the Deli Man agreed to help -- If Heather would pay, he would shop for everything, prepare the meal and deliver it to the family on Thanksgiving.

And so it was, with a warm (anonymous) wish for a joyous Thanksgiving from someone who cared.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kindness Goes Around

Here's another heartwarming story from an email I received. I hope you enjoy and it brings warmness to your life today and bringing a sunny smile! ~ Love Kat

My wonderful Aunt Helen Louise recently passed away very unexpectedly. I have been trying to stay positive during this time. Today was an especially emotional day, so I decided to try and keep myself busy by doing a little 'treasure hunting' at my local Goodwill store.

Whilst I was browsing, I saw a young girl trying to ride a bicycle. Her grandmother and grandfather were steadying it for her. Her grandmother was very encouraging and it made me smile to see the look of determination on the little girl's face.

I browsed through the racks but didn't find anything I wanted to buy. I was on my way out of the store, when I noticed the bicycle parked at the checkout counter. A light bulb went off right away in my mind, and I asked the clerk if the bicycle had been paid for. She told me that the little girl's grandparents were going to buy it after they were done looking around.I quickly searched my purse for a Smile Card I told the clerk I wanted to buy the bicycle for the girl. I paid, got the receipt and handed it, along with the Smile Card, to the girl's grandmother. I told her that the bicycle was paid for. The looks on that family's faces were priceless and I could feel my Aunt Helen's approval shining upon me.

I miss my Aunt Helen every day, but I will continue to honor her legacy of generosity by doing random acts of kindness.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Gift of Laughter

My religion is kindness. -- Dalai Lama

Inspiration of the Day:
"I have been confronted with many difficulties throughout the course of my life, and my country is going through a critical period. But I laugh often, and my laughter is contagious. When people ask me how I find the strength to laugh now, I reply that I am a professional laughter." So begins an excerpt by Dalai Lama on why he laughs:

Be The Change:
Laugh, smile, be happy. Today is World Kindness Day. Do an act of kindness and share it with others.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Passing along Thanksgiving Blessings

"You have not lived a perfect day... unless you have done something for someone who will never be able to repay you." -- Ruth Smeltzer

Idea of the Week

"As I was getting ready to do my grocery shopping for Thanksgiving, I had a thought - why not pick up an extra item or two to donate to a food bank? My library has big barrels for collecting food - maybe yours does too? Or maybe somewhere else in your town you can drop off canned goods? I filled up some bags with the canned/ nonperishable food items that I had bought and dropped them off at the library today and I wanted to share this idea with all of you... While we are doing all the "have to do" things for ourselves (like grocery shopping, dropping off library books, etc.) why not use that same time to do something for someone else too?"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sharing Hearts

I found a website that sells tiny pewter hearts which are not too expensive, so, I bought a batch and I keep a couple in my pocket most of the time.

Whenever I find the opportunity, when I am out in stores, at a yard sale or at work or anywhere really, I will ask the person I am speaking with to give me their hand. I put two of those little hearts in the palm of their hand saying, "Keep one and pass the other one on."

The responses I get are amazing! If I had won the Lottery there would not be bigger smiles or more excitement. Everyone immediately wants to tell me who is getting the other heart; someone with cancer, their child who was grumpy this morning, and so on.

A little sharing really makes people happy!

P.S. In my other pocket I carry dog biscuits so even their canine friends can be happy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Strong Urge To Say Thank You

I went through some old emails to find the right kind of inspiration this morning and happened across this one. I hope you enjoy it. I am not the author of this story but it bears things that can happen to any of us. Enjoy ~ Kat

All the money I had on me yesterday was some loose change, so I went without lunch (I had a freezer full of food back home but I was out and about) and well, hey, I could stand to miss a meal or ten! Luckily, it was the end of a little financial lean period. That evening a sizable payment for some work I had done arrived in my bank account. Great! Which bills to pay first?

But before dealing with any of that I had the strong urge to say thank you for my blessings. (Oh, it wasn't as clean-cut as that. I had more than a little mental turmoil about giving away money I could be reducing our overdraft with.) I decided to give a percentage of my payment to a young woman I know who works with abandoned children in Romania - so I electronically zapped the money over.

This morning I had a message from her. She said they had been having a meeting last night around the same time as I sent the money. They had been asked to try and find long term sponsorship for an abandoned family, a woman and six kids. They thought they could do that, but it would take a couple of months. How could they keep that family fed until then?

How much money did they need for that? Exactly the amount I was sending at that very moment!


But this story isn't about me giving money, because as poor as I thought I was yesterday I am so rich in blessing it sometimes makes me cry. It's about how God works things out. We need to put love out there, whether it be money, hugs, prayers, whatever. Then He'll take it and do wonderful things with it.

Give it a try. Ignore those little voices telling you why you shouldn't. Put the love you have out into the world in whatever way works for you. Then stand back and prepare to be amazed at how often it's exactly the right thing at exactly the right time.


A few hours after I posted this story to HelpOthers, I got an e mail from an editor I do a lot of work for. She apologized for their bad book-keeping and said they hadn't paid me for some work I sent them a year ago. I hadn't noticed but the payment is now on the way. How much? Three times what I sent to Romania.!

I'm lost for words ... so, I'll just say, "Thank you!"

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Meeting Anger with Kindness

Here's another great story to show just another reason to share kindness. This came in my email last week and wanted to share it with you. Author unknown.

From 1993 through 1998 I was a vendor for Chevrolet dealerships. Each week I would take a look at their used cars that were for sale. I would fix cracks in leather, cigarette burns in fabric, re-color carpets that had stains, repair windshields that had been hit by a rock, etc.

Every week I would walk into this specific Chevrolet dealer's used car lot to see what the used cars needed in the way of repairs. The general manager's wife was named Cindy. Cindy was always very rude, treating me like I was below her or that she was better than me. I was always upbeat, positive and kind, but that never seemed to work with her.

One day she accused me of charging her to dye the carpet in a mini-van that had a stain in the carpet. She had driven the van for the weekend and said the stain was not there. Just trying to continually be aggressive, and negative without cause, she accused me in front of all her peers that day, and because I have always been an honest person who I finally took offense.

However, instead of being angry at being looked upon as someone that was not honest or had no integrity, I went to a florist and bought almost $100.00 in red roses with angels breath and had them put in this nice basket. I picked out a card, and stated that I was sorry for the misunderstanding and that I did not ever have the intention of making her angry.

The following week, I walked into her office like I did every week with my list of used cars that needed some attention before they were sold and said, "Hi Cindy," with my usual happy and up beat attitude. She gave me this big smile and said, "You bought me flowers." Every week thereafter she would always make a point to say, "Hey Mike, how ya doin?" or "Nice to see you, how are you?"

This woman began to change, perhaps because of this small act of kindness. It was actually so nice to see Cindy's whole way of being - change with me. She was always very kind, and would always have a big smile when I walked into her office.

I guess people can change with a little bit of kindness!