Sunday, January 30, 2011

Simple Ways Of Kindness

"Dig within. Within is the wellspring of Good; and it is always ready to bubble up, if you just dig." -- Marcus Aurelius

Idea of the Week

"A few years ago my family and I were in the line waiting to grab a bite to eat at Kentucky Friced Chicken. There were three kids in front of us, that looked to be in middle school. I noticed they were scraping their purses and pockets for change to pay for their meals. They managed to pay for it and I was glad. As I watched, I had an idea. While they were quietly waiting for their food, I told the cashier that I wanted three gift cards in the amount of $5.00 each. She handed me the gift cards and I went to the children and said: "Your next lunch meal is on me," and gave them each a $5 gift card. They were so happy and thanked me a lot. One of the girl's said, "I can't wait to tell my mom this about this!" I just smiled and told them to enjoy their day. They were so happy they were bursting with joy. You can tell they appreciated a stranger showing an act of kindness that day. Even a small gesture lik this can make an impact in children's lives."

What a great idea this was to share with all of you today. Even in talking with my teens so often this is a real issue with them and I can only imagine just how blessed they would be to have this happen to them. Remember beginning February 14th starts Random Acts of Kindness week and would love to share all your ideas here. ~ Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Monday, January 24, 2011

Time to Spare for Kindness

Do a deed of simple kindness; though its end you may not see, it may reach, like widening ripples, down a long eternity." -- Joseph Norris

Idea of the Week

"I have just done something out of the ordinary, and it felt fantastic. I found myself with a couple of hours free and nothing to do so I decided to go to a low cost supermarket and made up three bags of food costing about 10 pounds each. I then proceeded to drive to a very deprived part of my town. I knocked on the three most shabby looking doors and waited. Once the door was answered, I simply said: "I know things can be hard sometimes and we all need a little help, I hope this comes in handy." I handed over the shopping, smiled, turned around and walked away. The look on the people's faces was priceless. The food fed the people and the gesture fed my soul."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Real Meaning of Unconditional Love

Comment of the day: “I strive to be the person my dogs think I am.” –20 Year Veggie

Dog sits by owner's grave in Brazil

An image of Leao, a medium-sized, brown dog sitting next to her owner’s freshly covered grave has captured the world’s attention and CNN readers had plenty to say about the moving picture and the power of love between animals and people.

RD said “Pretty hard to beat the unconditional love, devotion and loyalty of dogs. They're the greatest creatures on earth.” Suz said, “Brings me to tears.” JoAnn White said, “Amazing. She (Cristina) must have cared deeply for her dog for her to show such loyalty. We can learn much from our canine friends.” Kim said, “So sad and so sweet all at once.” Patrick said, “What I find strange is that I feel more saddened by this article than any other news story I have read in a long time.”

Will Rodgers said: ‘If dogs don't go to heaven, then I want to go where they go.’ My sentiments exactly,” said Tom. And MDEBERRY said, “I once had a white lab and when I used to live about a mile from my grandfather, my dog would check on him every day. The day my grandfather died my dog became very sad and soon after he died. I know they are keeping each other company. I miss them both.” On a slightly different note, Sleeping Beauty said, “Although this is a heartbreaking picture of the dog, this is also a heartbreaking picture of all the graves. So many lives were lost to this tragedy and we all need to be on our knees praying.”

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dairy Queen Kindness

Here's another really great way to make someone's day! Enjoy ~ Kat

As I was standing in line for my secret weekend indulgence, a medium dairy queen cone. I watched the two teens behind the counter working frantically to get through the long line of hungry customers.

Usually there are one or two customers but today, to my surprise, there were more than ten. So many, in fact, that I wondered if it was worth the wait.

There was a tip jar in the middle of the counter and though most orders were for three or more concoctions no one was leaving a tip.

The order before mine was a big one! Eight "Blizzards," all sizes, flavors, etc, to go. The gal worked efficiently, cheerfully filling the orders and delivering them with a smile and a "Have a nice day!"

Then came my tiny order. "I would like a medium cone."

The gal smiled and said, "Is that all?"

"Yep", was my reply.

I had handed her a twenty dollar note and once the order was filled and I had the cone (which, by the way, looking larger than the medium I ordered) in my hand I dropped the dollars bills and change into the tip jar. I told her and her co-worker, "You guys are working so hard and are still so cheerful. Thank you! And you too have a great day too!"

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Helping Hands

Here's a great story of how helping others can help us as well ~ Enjoy!

Last year my family was moving from New Hampshire to Washington State. In the process of selling our house, giving away most of our belongings (we were moving to a much smaller house and didn't need most of it) and saying goodbye to all the friends we'd made over the past 22 years there; our 27-year-old daughter, who was living with us, became progressively more ill, eventually becoming unable to sit up or walk.

Three weeks before we were supposed to close on our house, she was diagnosed with both Lyme disease and a brain tumor, which was pressing on her brainstem. Her excellent neurosurgeon was able to remove the entire tumor, which was non-cancerous, and within days she could walk again and use her arms. Intravenous antibiotics took care of the Lyme disease.

When we returned home from the hospital (after 11 days away), there was a big sign welcoming us home from our neighbors and dinner in the kitchen. Our friends had set up a meal plan for us so we didn't have to cook for the next couple of weeks!

The people buying our home graciously gave us an extra two weeks before we needed to be out. And a crew from a local moving company generously offered to pack our house at no charge! Because they are professionals, they did it in about a tenth the amount of time it would have taken us (and nothing broke).

Our friends again rallied to help us donate more of our unmovable items, taking loads to Goodwill, our local homeless shelter, libraries, the dump, etc. Some even took furniture that they would store until they found someone who could use it. And then they helped us clean, made sure we had mattresses to sleep on, and generally gave us the most incredible send-off.

Every person who came to help told us of a time when we had helped them when they needed it and how happy they were to be able to reciprocate. By just being good friends and neighbors and were now getting a return on that kindness.

Telling the story brings tears to my eyes of all the wonderful friends we left behind. We can never repay them, but we can pay-it-forward on the West Coast!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Incredible Love

There is no better example of unconditional love besides a sacrifice a father makes for His son! Enjoy!

Monday, January 3, 2011

It's All In Our Reaction

What a great story to share with all of you today. I found this in my email archive and wanted to share the simply meaning behind the story and it's all in how we react to things. This is a classic and I hope you enjoy! ~ Kat

"It was a very hot day in late August when I decided to take my 8 year old grand-daughter out to lunch. I wanted her to feel like a princess, which she always loved ;) so we went to a beautiful, fancy restaurant. We were sat out on the lovely deck with many other diners around us. As she reached out to point at the lovely flowers on the table, she accidentally tipped my ice water glass over and the water fell into my lap. She gasped and her eyes grew large. The people at the next table peered to see my reaction. I decided to just smile, I said simply, "Oh, that is so refreshing". We can make a split second decision to have a different-than-expected reaction to happenings and teach our children with love. I believe, that even in their smallness, these things make the world a better place."

Let's take the time before we react to see just how this might affect others. It may make all the difference in the world.

Life's Expiration Date

I found this story yesterday while browsing through some old emails and was caught completely off guard by the simple message found within. I hope you enjoy it ~ Love and Hugs ~ Kat

In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later: The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes: A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes: A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes: The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour: He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.

This experiment raised several questions:

*In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

*If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . .

How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

Enjoy life NOW .. it has an expiration date

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Becky and The Wolf

With all her big brothers and sisters off to school, our ranch became a lonely place for our three-year-old daughter, Becky. She longed for playmates. Cattle and horses were too big to cuddle and farm machinery dangerous for a child so small. We promised to buy her a puppy but in the meantime, “pretend” puppies popped up nearly every day. I had just finished washing the lunch dishes when the screen door slammed and Becky rushed in, cheeks flushed with excitement. “Mama!” she cried. “Come see my new doggy! I gave him water two times already. He’s so thirsty!”

I sighed. Another of Becky’s imaginary dogs. “Please come, Mama.” She tugged at my jeans, her brown eyes pleading, “He’s crying— and he can’t walk!”

“Can’t walk?” Now that was a twist. All her previous make believe dogs could do marvellous things. One balanced a ball on the end of its nose. Another dug a hole that went all the way through the earth and fell out on a star on the other side. Still another danced on a tightrope. Why suddenly a dog that couldn’t walk?

“All right, honey,” I said. By the time I tried to follow her, Becky had already disappeared into the mesquite. “Where are you?” I called.

“Over here by the oak stump. Hurry, Mama!”

I parted the thorny branches and raised my hand against the glare of the Arizona sun. A numbing chill gripped me. There she was, sitting on her heels, toes dug firmly in the sand, and cradled in her lap was the unmistakable head of a wolf! Beyond its head rose massive black shoulders. The rest of the body lay completely hidden inside the hollow stump of a fallen oak.

“Becky,” My mouth felt dry. “Don’t move.” I stepped closer. Pale yellow eyes narrowed. Black lips tightened, exposing double sets of two inch fangs. Suddenly the wolf trembled. Its teeth clacked, and a piteous whine rose from its throat. “It’s all right, boy,” Becky crooned. “Don’t be afraid. That’s my mama, and she loves you, too.” Then the unbelievable happened. As her tiny hands stroked the great shaggy head, I heard the gentle thump, thump, thumping of the wolf’s tail from deep inside the stump. What was wrong with the animal? I wondered. Why couldn’t he get up?

I couldn’t tell. Nor did I dare to step any closer. I glanced at the empty water bowl. My memory flashed back to the five skunks that last week had torn the burlap from a leaking pipe in a frenzied effort to reach water during the final agonies of rabies. Of course! Rabies! Warning signs had been posted all over the county, and hadn’t Becky said, “He’s so thirsty?” I had to get Becky away. “Honey.” My throat tightened. “Put his head down and come to Mama. We’ll go find help.”

Reluctantly, Becky got up and kissed the wolf on the nose before she walked slowly into my outstretched arms. Sad yellow eyes followed her.

Then the wolf’s head sank to the ground. With Becky safe in my arms, I ran to the barns where Brian, one of our cowhands, was saddling up to check heifers in the north pasture. “Brian! Come quickly. Becky found a wolf in the oak stump near the wash! I think it has rabies!”

“I’ll be there in a jiffy,” he said as I hurried back to the house, anxious to put Becky down for her nap. I didn’t want her to see Brian come out of the bunkhouse. I knew he’d have a gun.

“But I want to give my doggy his water,” she cried.

I kissed her and gave her some stuffed animals to play with. “Honey, let Mom and Brian take care of him for now,” I said. Moments later, I reached the oak stump. Brian stood looking down at the beast. “It’s a Mexican lobo, all right.” he said, “and a big one!” The wolf whined. Then we both caught the smell of gangrene. “Whew! It’s not rabies,” Brian said. “But he’s sure hurt real bad. Don’t you think it’s best I put him out of his misery?”

The word “yes” was on my lips, when Becky emerged from the bushes. “Is Brian going to make him well, Mama?”

She hauled the animal’s head onto her lap once more, and buried her face in the coarse, dark fur. This time I wasn’t the only one who heard the thumping of the lobo’s tail. That afternoon my husband, Bill, and our veterinarian came to see the wolf. Observing the trust the animal had in our child, Doc said to me, “Suppose you let Becky and me tend to this fella together.” Minutes later, as child and vet reassured the stricken beast, the hypodermic found its mark. The yellow eyes closed. “He’s asleep now,” said the vet. “Give me a hand here, Bill.” They hauled the massive body out of the stump. The animal must have been over five feet long and well over one hundred pounds.

The hip and leg had been mutilated by bullets. Doc did what he had to in order to clean the wound and then gave the patient a dose of penicillin. Next day he returned and inserted a metal rod to replace the missing bone.

“Well, it looks like you’ve got yourselves a Mexican lobo,” Doc said. “He looks to be about three years old, and even as pups, they don’t tame real easy. I’m amazed at the way this big fella took to your little gal. But often there’s something that goes on between children and animals that we grownups don’t understand.” Becky named the wolf Ralph and carried food and water to the stump every day.

Ralph’s recovery was not easy. For three months he dragged his injured hindquarters by clawing the earth with his front paws. From the way he lowered his eyelids when we massaged the atrophied limbs, we knew he endured excruciating pain, but not once did he ever try to bite the hands of those who cared for him.

Four months to the day, Ralph finally stood unaided. His huge frame shook as long unused muscles were activated. Bill and I patted and praised him. But it was Becky to whom he turned for a gentle word, a kiss or a smile. He responded to these gestures of love by swinging his busy tail like a pendulum. As his strength grew, Ralph followed Becky all over the ranch. Together they roamed the desert pastures, the golden haired child often stooping low, sharing with the great lame wolf whispered secrets of nature’s wonders. When evening came, he returned like a silent shadow to his hollow stump that had surely become his special place.

As time went on, although he lived primarily in the brush, the habits of this timid creature endeared him more and more to all of us. His reaction to people other than our family was yet another story. Strangers terrified him, yet his affection for and protectiveness of Becky brought him out of the desert and fields at the sight of every unknown pickup or car. Occasionally he’d approach, lips taut, exposing a nervous smile full of chattering teeth. More often he’d simply pace and finally skulk off to his tree stump, perhaps to worry alone. Becky’s first day of school was sad for Ralph. After the bus left, he refused to return to the yard. Instead, he lay by the side of the road and waited. When Becky returned, he limped and tottered in wild, joyous circles around her.

This welcoming ritual persisted throughout her school years. Although Ralph seemed happy on the ranch, he disappeared into the surrounding deserts and mountains for several weeks during the spring mating season, leaving us to worry about his safety. This was calving season, and fellow ranchers watched for coyotes, cougars, wild dogs and, of course, the lone wolf.

But Ralph was lucky. During Ralph’s twelve years on our ranch, his habits remained unchanged. Always keeping his distance, he tolerated other pets and endured the activities of our busy family, but his love for Becky never wavered.

When the spring came when our neighbour told us he’d shot and killed a she wolf and grazed her mate, who had been running with her. Sure enough, Ralph returned home with another bullet wound. Becky, nearly fifteen years old now, sat with Ralph’s head resting on her lap. He, too, must have been about fifteen and was grey with age. As Bill removed the bullet, my memory raced back through the years. Once again I saw a chubby three-year-old girl stroking the head of a huge black wolf and heard a small voice murmuring, “It’s all right, boy.

Don’t be afraid. That’s my mama, and she loves you, too.”

Although the wound wasn’t serious, this time Ralph didn’t get well. Precious pounds fell away. The once luxurious fur turned dull and dry, and his trips to the yard in search of Becky’s companionship ceased. All day long he rested quietly. But when night fell, old and stiff as he was, he disappeared into the desert and surrounding hills. By dawn his food was gone. The morning came when we found him dead. The yellow eyes were closed. Stretched out in front of the oak stump, he appeared but a shadow of the proud beast he once had been. A lump in my throat choked me as I watched Becky stroke his shaggy neck, tears streaming down her face.

“I’ll miss him so,” she cried. Then as I covered him with a blanket, we were startled by a strange rustling sound from inside the stump. Becky looked inside. Two tiny yellow eyes peered back and puppy fangs glinted in the semi darkness. Ralph’s pup! Had a dying instinct told him his motherless offspring would be safe here, as he had been, with those who loved him?

Hot tears spilled on baby fur as Becky gathered the trembling bundle in her arms. “It’s all right, little … Ralphie,” she murmured. “Don’t be afraid. That’s my mom, and she loves you, too!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Starting The New Year Off With Kindness

I got this in my email and found it's a great story to start the year off on a great note. Let's hope this year is filled with opportunities to show a little love and kindness. Enjoy ~ Kat

My husband, my four-month old daughter and I set out on a five day driving journey from California to Washington. We had to stop frequently because our little one needed to stretch from the car seat.

One of our stops, once we crossed the Oregon border, was at a Black Bear Diner. Walking towards the front door we noticed a gentleman standing to one side. He was seriously disheveled, without shoes and wearing tattered clothing. We passed right by him and opened the restaurant door.

Then something told me to go back.

Holding my four-month old daughter I turned around and said to the gentleman, "Sir. Are you hungry?" He said, "Yes." I then asked, "May we buy you a bite to eat?" He responded with, "Sure, I can order something to go."

My husband opened the door and the gentleman went straight to the counter. I told him to order whatever he wanted. The manager of the restaurant came over quite quickly and looked horrified. I spoke before he had an opportunity to. "This gentleman will have lunch on us today," I said. "Please add his order to our tab." The manager crinkled his brow and said, "Ohhhhhhkay."

We turned to be escorted to our table and the gentleman said, loudly and quickly, "Thank You!"

We were seated and upon completing our meal we were presented with our tab. I asked my husband what the gentleman had ordered.

One fresh squeezed orange juice, one coffee, one breakfast combination with a side of hash browns.

When we left the restaurant I looked for the gentlemen but didn't see him but that very small gesture just made my day. I hope in some small way we were able to add some joy to his life, even if only for a few minutes.