Be There

Don’t you just love the soul-lifting power of kindness? 

Whether it’s in a smile from a stranger or a letter from a friend, kindness warms the heart. 

In general, it seems like “people” as a whole get a bad wrap. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that the world is a bad place and people are just mean. 

Yeah, I don’t really buy into that. Sometimes, if we just look and listen, the stories of good-hearted folks are just about everywhere. 

In fact, just this week, one particular tale waltzed into my life, and you are going to love it.

Today in Nebraska, there is a wedding and  because of kindness, love is coming full circle. 

You see, the couple was going to get married in 10 months. 10 months would have given them plenty of time to make plans and check off all the to do lists. 

That changed 15 days ago. 

One of their family members is really sick, so they moved the date up. As you probably know, 15 days isn’t much time to put a wedding together.

Can I just tell you, people have stepped up! 

  • A kind woman donated a building for the ceremony when the weather for an outdoor ceremony got iffy. 
  • Not one, but two photographers offered their services for the wedding photographs. 
  • Someone who makes wedding cakes offered to make theirs.
  • Someone donated 100 pounds of fish for the fish fry at their reception.
  • Someone else is smoking the pulled-pork. 
  • People gave money for plane and bus tickets to get family members there for the big day. 
  • There wasn’t time to mail invitations, but with social media they got the word out and people will fill those seats today. 

How cool is that? Brings happy tears to my eyes. 

My favorite part of the story is the generosity of the couple. What an act of love to move their special day up for someone else. Who does that? 

They do. 

They love somebody sooooooo much, that they just wanted them to be there. 


Try Anyway

Have you ever completely stepped outside  of your comfort zone and tried out for something you might not get? 

Oh man, I have! 

In 9th grade, I tried out for cheerleader. Just picture a small town high school gym, all the football/ basketball players in the bleachers, and me, some awkward and uncoordinated teenager down in front of all of them, trying to belt out a cheer and do a cartwheel! 

Hmm… I’m not really the cartwheel type, but somehow I made it onto the JV squad! 

Something similar happened to me last month. A health/ wellness website I love was seeking writers. Like paid writers. I’ve never tried out for anything like that before, so I applied real quick before I could talk myself out of it. 

Then, I waited.

And, waited. 

And, waited. 

I checked my email every 5 minutes for like 3 days. Nothing. 

While waiting, I found myself actually brainstorming ideas for a health category on my own blog. Plus, that’s also when I woke up and suddenly had an idea for a book, completely out of the blue…

Pretty cool. 

And, guess what! You will never believe this. That email that I was eagerly anticipating? 

It came!

I get a chance. 

The lesson?  

Even on those days when self doubt comes sneaking in, push it to the side, and try anyway! 




Bless My Heart

Did you ever notice how Christmas seems like a great time to think about every-single-little-tiny one of our blessings? 

  • Family? Blessing.
  • Children? Blessing.
  • House? Blessing.
  • Heat? Blessing. 
  • Vehicle? Blessing.
  • Gas for the vehicle? Blessing. 
  • A warm place to sleep? Blessing. 
  • Being able to use a bathroom that’s not in a public building because there aren’t any private bathrooms on the street? Blessing. 
  • Food on the table? Blessing. 
  • A visit from Santa Claus? Blessing. 

A few days before Christmas, I went to the store in our small town. When leaving the store, I saw a man who was holding a sign, standing on the corner. 

We’ve lived in the town 15 years and there’s only been less than 10 times I’ve ever seen someone with a sign and because it’s a rare occasion here, I notice. 

For a few weeks, I’d had some money in my back pocket, I wasn’t spending it, just had it there. I pulled up and gave him my offer of a few bucks. He was beyond grateful. As he walked back towards the curb, I asked him what his sign said. 

“Need propane and a blanket.”

My heart broke. A blanket? Someone needs a blanket? You know what I mean? How many extra blankets do we have in a closet that rarely get used? 

I reached back in my pocket. 

That night our furnace started making racket. The times it happened before left us with no heat. Uh oh. The low forecasted for that night? 7 degrees. 

Thinking that the furnace would go out in the middle of the night, I was soooooo thankful for the blankets we have. I scrambled them all together and piled them on the bed. 

We didn’t lose our heat and our kind repairman arrived in the morning and fixed the furnace. 

Fast forward to Christmas Eve. We were up at my parents and Santa needed some batteries for Christmas morning. I went 20 miles to Iowa to get them. When I left the store, something caught my eye. 

On the corner by the stoplight was a mom with 2 little boys, who were blowing bubbles. A pretty joyous thing to see on Christmas Eve, until I saw her sign. 

I’m not exactly sure what the whole thing said, but what I saw was “I have 3 children and need food.”

I had $10, so I went to the dollar store. I did pretty darn good with that ten bucks. 10 packages of cookies in one box for $1. 2 cans of soup for $1.20. 2 packages of crackers for $2. A box of cereal for $1. And, 3 of those red handled plastic candy canes with candy in them for $3. Grand total? $9 and some change. 

I drove back to where she was and told her I had something for her. She had only one question. 

“Food?”

I handed her the stuff I bought. I don’t know if it’s a mom thing, but just looking into her eyes, there just seemed to be an understanding, you know? You never want your babies hungry. 

English clearly wasn’t her native language, but I’m sure what she did say, will stay with me always and forever. It was genuine, heartfelt, and simple:

“Bless my heart.”


Smile Wearing is Sharing

Have you seen that phrase “Sharing is caring”?

Mostly, I’ve seen it used on social media sites, like at the end of blog posts or on Facebook pages.

The concept seems quite simple. If you like what you see or see anything that would help you or others, please pass it on. 

Pretty cool. 

I love the idea of extending something we have to someone else. Whether it’s a shoulder to lean on, encouragement, or even a meal, there’s such a beauty in it. 

Last week, on our way to deliver a couple of meals to sick friends, we were sitting at a stop light where a man was also sitting. 

Only he wasn’t in a vehicle, he was on the curb. With a sign. 

The only word on his sign that I can even vaguely remember was Homeless. I was too busy watching him to pay attention to what it said. 

There was just this way about him, you know? It was different. If you’ve read any of my other stories, you may recall that sometimes the folks I see with signs are kind of sad. 

Not him. 

He was smiling. 

And, waving at cars as they went by. 

I can barely get words around what a joy it was to see. It was almost like when sunlight beams through clouds on an ordinary day. If it’s not too cloudy, those rays may go unnoticed. 

Did anyone else notice that unyielding smile among a sea of asphalt and concrete? Hard to say. 

We did. 

The lesson learned? 

That even smile wearing is sharing. 

Both Sides of the Window

Have you ever been hungry? 

Like “worried about what you were going to eat or where your next meal would come” from kind of hungry? 

I feel really lucky that I don’t really know what that’s like. 

Sure, in my early 20’s, when I was trying to make it on my own and scraping to get by, my grocery money was pretty tight. 

I had my fair share of peanut butter sandwiches and Ramen noodles, but I always had something to eat. 

Heck, even a couple of years ago, our money was slim and we had to eat eggs 3 meals a day for 2 weeks until pay day arrived, but we ate. 

It really bothers me that other people, for whatever reasons, may be hungry and without options.

A couple of months ago, I wrote a story called “Over Cookies” about an experience I had while taking meals to my friend who’d just lost her mom. (You can read it here, if you like.) 

On the way to her house, I saw a man standing by the road with a sign. 

He was one lane over and up a bit from me, and I watched as he stared into the car right next to him. 

When he got no response, he looked down, and I nearly wept. 

I’ve seen that happen before, one staring in and one staring straight ahead. What an extremely difficult position for both people to be in. 

Can you imagine being so hungry that the only choice is to stand on a corner with a sign hoping someone will look your way and offer something, anything?  

Can you imagine sitting in your vehicle at that stoplight, knowing someone is staring in at you, but having nothing to offer them? 

Wednesday we were pulling up to a stop sign where a gentleman was standing and holding a “homeless and hungry” sign.

There was a truck in front of me, so I totally expected to see him looking into that truck. 

For some reason he wasn’t. 

His steel blue eyes were looking into mine, at me!

That threw me a bit sideways, I mean, that was totally new. I’d never seen anyone looking in the 2nd vehicle back.

It’s like that “you’re up” call, when you’re not quite ready. I scrambled a bit and grabbed a box of date/ nut bars I just bought and handed it to him. 

Later, when I thought about why he wasn’t looking into the truck ahead of me, I had some revelations. 

Maybe he did, didn’t get a response, and I just missed it. 

Or, what if the light hit the glass just right and it reflected back an image that was just too hard for him to see? 

A couple nights ago, I caught this reflection on my truck in our driveway and I realized something. 

Maybe sometimes we just don’t know what other people are going through and just maybe there’s a story on both sides of the window.

The Circle of Kindness 

Has anyone ever said something nice to you and it instantly made your heart bubble over a little?

Aw! Those moments are the best! 

It seems like they have the ability to multiply like crazy and cause a ripple effect. 

It reminds me of when I was a volunteer at Little Bit’s old school. The counselor was quite a genius in the way she taught kids how to make friends and treat each other. 

The Compliment Circle. 

They sat in a circle, one started and turned to their neighbor and said a few friendly words.

“I like your haircut.” “What a great shirt.” “Wow. I love your new shoes!” 

By the time they made it back to the starting point, everyone heard something that someone liked about them! 

What a great concept!

Turns out there’s something similar in blogging, and it’s called Blogger Awards. 

When I started my blog last October, I’d never heard of such things. Then, in January, someone nominated me for an award. 

An award? Me? I was pretty excited, though had no idea what it meant! I googled it. 

Basically, it’s an avenue for bloggers to get to know each other by asking  a list of questions, recognizing who nominated who, and naming more people to essentially continue the circle.

That’s pretty cool because last fall when I researched how to have a website/ blog, I read that there are like 294 million blogs. Wowsa! 

At that time, I had no idea that bloggers even interacted, and now I see that “awards” make it a bit easier to find writers/ readers with common interests. 

Since January, I have been nominated for 7 awards. SEVEN? Where are they? 

I know, I know, I’m a bit behind. It’s kind of like when our new neighbors moved in last year. I was g-o-i-n-g to bake cinnamon rolls and take them over there to welcome them. Then, a month passed, which turned to six, and going now would be a bit embarrassing! 

This week I was nominated for two more awards! Woo hoo! So, the best I can tell, it’s my turn. 

Thank you to these wonderful writers for nominating me from January until now:

I’m choosing a few questions from each award.

1. Name something you love about yourself: I rock at making meringue! 

2. Favorite movies ever: The Cure, The Mighty, The Big Chill

3. Name a random fact about me: I drive a Toyota Tundra and it’s paid for! 

4. Why did I start blogging in the first place? Last August I told a friend I’d never have a blog- I thought I was too old fashioned and too scared to try it. The next month I had a huge health scare and something was pushing me to start a blog, so I signed up for WordPress in the middle of the night…

5. If you could be any animal, what would you be? Dolphin

6. Write a short paragraph about you and what your blog means to you: For about 10 years I wanted to write a book. I have one finished, another started, and several ideas swimming about. I’ve never had the money or guts to publish them. It’s scary putting writing into the world for others to judge. 

This blog has helped me put my thoughts into the world and essentially learn that it’s not so scary and that except for one negative remark in 10 months, (which was deleted!) everyone has been completely supportive of my writing.

7. If you could go back in time, would you and when? Hmm. That’s tricky. I love the time I’m in. But, if there was a moment I could relive, it’d be when we found out I was pregnant. After losses and five years of infertility, THAT was an incredible moment! My sister in law was there and her sheer joy was something I’ll never forget! She was jumping up and down and her hair was flying! It was SO awesome! 

Recently I wrote a story about getting hit with gratefulness suddenly in the midst of a weekday afternoon. I thought it’d be fun to share all those who “liked” it, to continue the circle of kindness. 

Miriam, Karen, Jessica, Joy Loves Travel, Daily Musings, Swamp Yankee Style, Rachel, Mrs. Strawberry Blonde, Diane, Weird Guy With The Dog, Lynn Thaler, From Dream to Plan, Claudia Hernandez, The Snow Melts Somewhere.

      Greek Marinated Steak with Tzatziki

      Way back in January, did you make a New Year’s resolution?

      I generally make a list of a few and try to make it through the year with them all in tact.

      When I saw this post, it ignited one of those stop-you-in-your-tracks lightbulb moments! I not only love that she chose a word of intention, but also that she picked JOY as her word!

      Can you imagine? There is enough ability in that single word to turn any sort of day and any situation around. Just think of it!

      Raining out? There’s joy in puddle jumping and flowers growing!
      Weeds taking over the garden? Hey, something is growing!
      Truck break down? There’s that joy-filled moment when someone stops to help and for the tow truck!

      From now on, I think I’ll try choosing a word of intention as well. What an easy way to tell defeating thoughts to “vamoos! Scat! Be gone!”

      Thank you so much, What’s For Dinner Moms?, for not only letting me reblog this, but for opening my eyes to the positive power of a single word.

      Bonus? She shares an amazing recipe, too!

      What's for Dinner Moms?

      Greek Marinated Steak with Tzatziki

      Back, what seems eons ago in January, I chose the word JOY as my word of intention through this year. My life got off track a bit and I was starting to get overwhelmed by health stuff and home stuff. I went back and read my resolution to choose JOY in making decisions and living life this year.  There is no reason for me to not choose it. The weather is sunny, the beach is a mile away, we are relatively healthy and we have what we need. My house may not look House Beautiful ready but it is what we need. It keeps us safe, dry and comfortable. It is a place where we are feed emotionally and physically. We are okay. Sometimes I just need to be reminded it is okay for me to be joyful.

      So last night we cooked out. I had a steak marinating all…

      View original post 151 more words

      Meet Sara

      Don’t you just love those stories about how when an animal needs a home, it gets one? 

      Oh my gosh! Me, too. 

      A few months ago, my parents were shopping. Dad wanted to go into a sporting goods store that was right next to a pet store. 

      What’s a girl to do?

      My “heart of gold” mom who looooooooves cats, marched herself right in to the pet store! 

      There was an extremely nervous female cat hiding in a crate. Like so nervous, that no one could see her face. Mom was curious, so she asked about her. 

      Turns out, after 8 years, the previous owners gave her to a shelter. The poor thing’s life had to have been flipped sideways. She had such a hard time adapting, the shelter took her to the pet store. 

      The pet store workers tried to talk mom into getting a friendly, yellow tabby, but  mom went with her heart and chose the  cat that nobody wanted. 

      Good choice.

      After a few weeks, that once “scared in the pet store” cat, warmed up. 

      Now, it’s almost like she’s right where she was meant to be, with mom and dad. 

      Meet Sara!

       


      Rockin Our Family Time

      Don’t you just love spending time with family? 

      Whether your family consists of kiddos, pets, or a significant other, it seems like opportunities for time together are countless, if we’re looking. 

      Sunday I wrote a story called “Even the Rocks Rock”, about a gal who started a Community Art Project in our town. (You can read it here if you’d like.)

      Yesterday, my husband, Little Bit and I set out to go around town to hide the rocks we made. At the first stop, we were so excited to find three rocks! 

      Next, we headed to a nature trail. Located in the center of town, it is filled with local history. 

      Our excitement continued as we found three more, in hiding spots that were quite clever, including the crooks of trees.

      I can’t even tell you how great it was to get out of the house for a couple of  hours, rockin’ our family time. 


      Even The Rocks Rock

      Do you want to hear about something really amazing?

      Ok, you already know I how much I love our town, right? So far, I’ve written several stories about how nice the people here are. 

      Kindness Noticed is about the time my son was crying while we were standing on a corner at a closed business in town and someone opened a door. 

      When Those Hats Came Full Circle is about walking into a store in town and realizing we are right where we’re meant to be.

      In Welcome Wherever We Are, I tell about a local store owner that lights up this world with her smile. 

      Oh, and in Stumbled, it was because a local business extended my bill when our money was short, that I included that as a gift of Fate.

      There’s something new I want to tell you about that you’re going to love!

      Recently, a gal saw Community Art project in another town, so she started it in our town. 

      The premise is simple. Decorate rocks and them hide them around town for others to find. It’s sort of like a giant Easter egg hunt, but with art! How awesome is that? 

      We met friends at a park on Tuesday and hid some. Later, on the project’s Facebook page, someone posted a picture of our rocks that had been found! 

      Local businesses are even joining in and giving prizes if their rocks are found and brought in to their business. 

      I absolutely love this idea, especially since the town pool closed several years ago and the new one isn’t built yet. This gives everyone something fun to do on a summer’s day. 

      Also, it’s open to everybody, any age, and any artistic ability. Once a rock is found, it can either be kept, or hidden again. Isn’t that neat? 

      See the ones in the pictures? We made those and we’re going to hide them today. 

      Aren’t they are cute? We decoupaged the small ones, then painted the dots. I drew the snail and skateboard onto the other rocks then painted  them. We’re pretty excited for someone to find them! 

      This is just another reason why we love it here. How fun to live in a place where even the rocks rock!