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Posts Tagged With: kindness
Today is a big day. Big day!
I had a full schedule planned and was supposed to be at an important breakfast meeting along the Lake shore. Up with the birds, driving in the dark, greeting importants and making everyone feel welcome.
But in the middle of all that, I made an offer of employment to someone I’m very excited about “on-boarding” (corporate words for hiring/acclimating an employee).
And to complicate things, my team and I are off to a conference next week. She needs to come, too. So HR said “she needs to start sooner.” As in today. Friday.
Add another layer of complications, an important agency asked for a meeting mid-state. She’s on the East side, I’m on the west, the agency office is in the middle.
A few other employees were scheduled to appear with me at the breakfast meeting so they’ve got it covered.
I will leave shortly, take the meeting and then boogie on over to where her office is. Coffee up!
I remember my first day: I had a cubicle, a pen and a note pad. No computer. No guidance. No agenda. No direction. No colleagues (in meetings).
I did what I do best: I made a list.
Eventually someone hauled in a computer, a few days later it was up and running. In the meantime I met my office mates, asked questions, learned about the company and started figuring things out.
My first day, week, month weren’t great but they were definitely memorable. And a learning experience x 10!
You only get one first day.
And I want hers to be memorable … but for all the right reasons!
“In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way.” ― Tina Fey,
Do you remember your first day at work? What was it like? Did you feel like someone prepared for you or were you “tossed into the mix” like I was?
It’s Friday – it’s random – here we go ~ Yippee Skippee! 🙂
1. Took a road trip Wednesday and most of the route I spent dodging construction cones. It was in one of those slowed-down jaunts that I noticed the sign for a farm market. And it was the “Honey Crisps” (middle baskets) that drew me off the highway. Perusing the apples brought a smile to my face and a small bag back to my car
2. The apples are sold by the peck ~ which equates to 2 gallons or 10-12 lbs of apples. They are also sold in 1/2 and 1/4 pecks. On our farm wheat and barley are sold by the bushel. When I hear the words “bushel and a peck” I can’t help but think of this song that Mom sang to us when we were little:
I love you a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck …
3. Before I left, I turned the corner and caught sight of this cupboard:
No, I didn’t buy any – for I still have some of my sister’s jam brought from home. Her pantry, while not quite as fancy, can easily rival the professionals!
4. We’re heading north tomorrow to visit my Father-in-Law … the colors are turning and the nights are getting colder. As much as he says he doesn’t need any help, the delight in his voice when we asked to come visit .. was palpable. We’ll stop in., he’ll show us around, point things out, go out for lunch, and I’ll leave behind his all time favorite – peanut butter cookies. It’s the little things, right?
5. Speaking of little things – a sense of humor is always welcome. The meeting I headed south for? This sign, in the ladies restroom, had me chuckling all the way home.
And how was your week? Seen any crazy signs lately? How’s your jam supply these days?
Here’s the thing about Facebook: you can re-connect with people who once upon a time were your schoolmates, pals, neighbors or cousins. You can also connect with new ones. This story is about the new ones.
Hubb’s Aunt kept telling me, “You should connect with Jerry, that’s me and your late-mother-in-law’s cousin. He writes daily posts that are so uplifting and hilarious. You would really enjoy him, Marilyn.”
And so I did.
And I found myself looking forward to his daily words celebrating sunshine and lollipops and looking for the good in every sunrise. Of being thankful. Of praising our Creator.
And then he got sick.
And as a man I’ve never met recovers in a hospital bed a whole group of us rallied around him.
Posts appear on his “wall” about someone taking time to enjoy coffee on their deck that morning.
About reveling in the glory of a morning songbird’s trill.
Posts about finding sunshine and lollipops in unlikely places.
Posts about being thankful. Posts of prayer – for him and his family.
Posts that he’s now able to read from his hospital bed when he’s allowed to peruse his Kindle.
And in his own way, that community he created, rallied together like a virtual church pot-luck.
That’s what being loved and cared for is all about, isn’t it?
“You and I are being guided, of this I’m certain. I no longer doubt that the Universe is constantly looking for ways to communicate with us and lovingly guide us to our highest good, our purpose, and our happiness. But we must pay attention – we must be open to listen with our hearts and to trust the synchronicities, chance encounters, songs on the radio, and random thoughts that gently cross our paths, knowing with bold assurance that we are always being loved and cared for. If you pay attention, you will soon come to realize that there’s a loving intelligence that seeks your highest good and happiness. Listen. Listen and trust that you are being guided. Listen as if the Universe itself were about to reveal the most wonderful secret; because it is.” – Frankie Perez
“A fight is going on inside me,” said an old man to his son. “It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf is evil. He is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other wolf is good. he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
The same fight goes on inside you.”
The son thought about it for a minute and then asked, “Which wolf will win?”
The old man replied simply, “The one you feed.”
―Native American proverb
I admit it: I’m a softie for men who share their feelings.
Hubbs does it easily, my Dad, loving and kind, showed it in the tender way he cared for us and all living things.
When a man shares his thoughts openly, there’s a certain level of trust that’s required, paired with the confidence of knowing that sharing their most heartfelt thoughts is possible… and not punishable.
My Iowa blogging friend, Rich Ripley, is a such a man.
His posts are usually crafted with a healthy dose of humor, but every so often, he lets himself go there.
He goes where most rarely will. He goes deep.
This post, about holidays and loneliness and the true meaning of Christmas, is one of those posts. Read on….
I distinctly remember Christmas Eve that night. I watched the dinner time news (all the talk was of Christmas events…go figure). The TV shows were (surprise) Christmas shows. I turned the TV off, and took a look outside my apartment window and saw….multicolored Christmas lights glistening off of a blanket of new fallen snow (no lying…north-central Iowa gets snow early and often).
I heard church bells ringing as Christmas Eve services started and ended.
It was awful. I was so alone. I went to bed early…I couldn’t take the depressing heaviness on my heart any longer. Dear God…so alone and sad. Thankfully…I fell asleep quickly.
Take a moment and watch this 4 min. clip. I promise there is much here to see.
The past two days have been an adventure, to say the least. After the news in Boston and Texas, it felt good to get out for a road trip on Thursday. Except for the driving rain. And the flooding. And the difficulty doing simple things … like seeing where I was going!
But, eventually, I drove out of the storms and found myself enjoying the ride — the winding roads, the hills, farms and fields. Arriving at my destination, I was met by the smiling face of one of my employees. Our meetings went well, we enjoyed a wonderful lunch in a quaint Northern town and then, off we went again, driving through the rain and the hills and the snow to another city I’ve never visited before.
Wrapping up yesterday, we soon realized that I couldn’t go home the same way I’d came in. You see, the city I live in has a large river snaking through it and the banks were already compromised; every river north of here is swollen and spilling over. I decided to reroute and travel south along the Lake Huron shoreline and then make my way West from there.
Just before a stretch of open road, I noticed something I hadn’t noticed: the gas gauge was low. A lot lower than it should have been for the distance I still had to go. I took an exit off the highway into an area I’ve never been and, driving along, it seemed to take forever to see any signs of gas stations or … civilization. My nerves kicked in and I felt my hands shaking just a bit.
Oh geez, I thought. Wouldn’t this be just perfect? I muttered. C’mon gas station where are you? and then a chime-chime-chime of the gas alert. Oh Lord, here we go.
Coming around a bend in the road, I saw it: a little country stop called, “Gas N Go.” Let’s hope it’s open.
I pulled up, filled up, and walked inside to pay. As I opened the door, here she came: a little (and I mean tiny) old lady in a rain hat and boots, looked me straight in the eye and asked, “Do you know the roads?”
Holding the door, my hair flying in the wind, I replied, “I’m sorry, I don’t. I’m not from around here.” She put her head down and started to walk away when something made me ask “Where are you headed?”
Looking up, her bright blue eyes peeking out from under her plastic rain hat, she said, “Well, I’m headed to Belding; you see my sister died and I need to get there.” I touched her arm lightly and said, “I’m so sorry; you know the roads are bad and it’s flooding and are you sure you should be going?” Again those blue eyes, “I have to” and off she headed to her truck.
I went inside to pay and felt my emotions get the best of me. That could be my Mom out on a country road. That could be me.
I blurted out my concerns to the clerk: that she shouldn’t be out in this, and couldn’t we do something? Behind me stood an older man, a farmer-looking kind of man. The kind of man who could have been my Dad or my neighbor growing up. I heard him clear his throat and put his change on the counter; he stepped ahead of me and went straight to her truck. In the wind and the driving rain, I saw him pointing forward and telling her road names.
Driving back to the highway, I thought of her. I prayed for her. And yes, I cried for her.
You see, as a girl who lives so far from what’s familiar, there’s much of my life that’s an adventure. But there are also moments like this when I feel the pinch of not living where things are known to me.
Last night, I found myself telling Hubbs about that encounter. He listened, as he always does, and then said something that resonated with me. “No you couldn’t help her, you didn’t know your way, but you did what you could: you saw her.”
Maybe he’s right. Maybe we’re not meant to solve everyone’s problems. Maybe the best we can do is take a moment and see someone.
Have you had a kindness shown? Pass it on; ‘Twas not given for thee alone, Pass it on; Let it travel down the years, Let it wipe another’s tears, ‘Til in Heaven the deed appears – Pass it on. ~Henry Burton, Pass It On
Wrapping my gown around me, I stepped into the inner room, the room reserved for women like me. Women about to have a mammogram (the mamm-o-slam, as I affectionately call it).
Chilled, and feeling a bit awkward, I smiled and relaxed when another lady grinned my way.
“Hi.” she said.
“Hi there,” I said back.
“How are you doing today?”
“Oh, good, good, how are you doing?” I asked.
“I’m fine but boy, it sure is cold in here.”
And so on we went with our easy banter.
She motioned to all the ladies magazines laid out for us to read. I chuckled and said I couldn’t hope to enjoy them without my glasses, the same glasses buried deep in my purse in the locker down the hall.
Laughing, she offered, “I know what you mean, some days I wonder what’s left that I can see.” And when she tilted her head just so, the image of that coupled with her kind eyes and warm smile reminded me of my oldest sister.
And it was in that moment that I felt it.
A longing for her so deep that I nearly cried.
I didn’t say anything.
I just sighed and sat with it.
I sat there with my ache in a crowded room.
Has a stranger’s kindness ever both uplifted you and broke your heart?
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:2
What’s that? Don’t have a Valentine?
Valentines Day is for new love and little kids, you say?
Or maybe you’re part of a couple and you’re past all that.
I get it.
It’s winter. It’s cold. You’ve got things to do.
I say all the same things myself.
And then I read this. And it made me think:
Wouldn’t that be a fun twist on Valentine’s Day?
No giant teddy bears. No footie pajamas.
How about this instead:
Each of us. Take one moment. And do something nice. For someone else.
Clear the snow from a neighbor’s walkway.
Buy some sweet treats for your office mates.
Leave a hand-written note of encouragement for your spouse, child or friend.
Let someone ahead of you at the check-out line.
Take a deep breath.
I will if you will.
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” –Dalai Lama.
P.S. Please let me know what you did and, most importantly, how’d you feel when you did it?
** Happy Valentines Day, friends! **
So, there we were last Saturday, hubbs and me, seated at a corner table facing the rest of the restaurant as we waited for friends to join us for supper. A perfect vantage point for people-watching and hubbs could check college basketball scores on the flat screens if he chose to. We chatted back and forth but soon found ourselves paying attention to the next table’s occupants.
We saw them when they first were seated: a young woman, in her thirties I think, and with her, three young boys. The oldest faced me, his young face kissed by a smattering of freckles. He was tall and lanky, maybe 10 years old at most. To his left was his younger brother, who we guessed to be about 7. The mother had her back to us and to her right was sat the littlest, a cute little boy between 3 and 4. The boys settled in and seemed happy to be there. Mom began texting and perusing her iPad immediately, only raising her head to offer a scolding. Frequently she left the table and went outside. We couldn’t help but notice the oldest as he shared his pizza toppings with the littlest , and how he comforted him when asked for Mommy. Mom came back and forth to the table so many times that we lost count. A cluster of club-dressed women appeared and we soon learned that these ladies were Mom’s friends; the ones she couldn’t go out with that night because she had the kids. She said it with such contempt that both hubbs and I recoiled.
It wasn’t long before Mom handed the boys her beloved iPad and let their pizza smeared fingers get busy. This gave her the opportunity to grab her drink and sneak away to the bar, where she stood with her girlfriends for at least 30 minutes, her back to her children. When the littlest one scored points on the game, he raised a chubby arm and gave a triumphant cry. Bar Mom spun and shot a caustic look at the oldest, who clearly was failing the parental responsibilities she’d thrust upon his slim shoulders.
Eventually, and only after settling in the younger two, he warily approached the Mom. At first, she put her arm around him and smiled as she introduced him to her friends. But it wasn’t long before she tired of that and turned away from him and back to her friends; he stood where she’d left him, shifting his weight from one foot to another for a tortured forever.
To my right I heard Hubbs deep voice whisper, “You know, I’ve been that kid. I’ve been that boy trying to get his parents out of the bar; I feel so badly for him.”
There comes a point in circumstances such as this when your heart scrambles to see what you might have missed.
When you hope there’s another truth besides the one being played out in front of you.
There’s comes a point when you realize how it’s possible to feel empathy and anger at the same moment.
There comes a point when you sadly realize that not every child enjoys the luxury of being wanted.
There comes an understanding, too, that there’s little an outsider can do. We were strangers after all. Stranger danger.
We are parents.
We get it.
It’s demanding, stressful, and sometimes not that rewarding, quite frankly.
Sometimes you need a break.
But here’s the thing, sometimes you don’t get one. Why take it out on the kids?
I heard my mother’s words ringing in my head, “Children don’t ask to be here; the least they deserve is love and attention.”
Creating an opportunity, I walked past their table and, as I passed, tapped the oldest on the shoulder. When his brown eyes looked up into mine, I smiled and said warmly, “You sure are a wonderful big brother; what a nice job you’re doing!” He beamed and shyly said, “Thank you,” and off I went.
Coming back a few minutes later, I noticed he’d changed positions and was facing me. And when his eyes locked on mine, I smiled and winked; his grin back told me he understood what I was doing. Hubbs and I enjoyed several shy smiles cast our way for the rest of the time he sat there.
My efforts felt small and days later, here I am still thinking about him. I am thinking of him and hoping those few words of encouragement will sustain him the next time this occurs.
“Children don’t ask to be here; the least they deserve is love and attention.” – my Mom
* * *
Have you ever found yourself in a similar predicament?
How did you handle it? or What do you wish you’d done?
As I neared the check-out lines, I overheard one of the clerks saying something about Bangladesh to another. When he saw I was ready to be rang up, he quickly scampered over and got into position behind the till. While he was scanning my purchases I asked, “did I hear you mention Bangladesh?” and he smiled shyly. “Yes Ma’am,” he said, with a heavy Hindi accent. Smiling, I asked, “And how long has it been since you’ve been there?” His brown eyes, the color of warm honey, glistened “Two years, Ma’am.”
Impulsively, I told him that I was an immigrant once, am a citizen now and that I know what it’s like to be far from home.
Smiling broadly, he told about his Permanent Residence status and, in another two years (I heard yea-uhs), he can apply for citizenship.
“Well, that’s just wonderful; good luck to you” I said, smiling.
He handed me my packages and, grinning broadly, said, “Thank you, Ma’am, Thank you” and with a dip of his head, I knew he wasn’t talking about the purchases I’d just made.
“Maybe you had to leave in order to really miss a place; maybe you had to travel to figure out how beloved your starting point was.”
— Jodi Picoult
Our starting points couldn’t be more different but we enjoyed a kinship in the journey.