Posts Tagged With: kindness

be aware

I haven’t been writing much.
I could explain why, (school, feeling puny, environmental changes, emotional stuff) but that’s just kind of making excuses that simply boil down to: I haven’t had it in me.
I spend more time attempting to write than actually writing. I spend time considering what I’d like to write and paying attention to why I’m not writing.
It’s an interesting place to be. It’s also troubling. I truly enjoy writing. But can’t seem to make it happen. Not even in my journal. I’m adrift in a sea of paper, pencils, pens, and this laptop. (It makes for a crap visual when I try to write it out, but it was working in my head.)
Anyway, that’s were I am at the moment.

This morning I received this:

I read them several times before I responded. I needed to swim around in her words before I did anything else. For a solid half hour this is what I did.
She had it in her heart, she wanted me to know.
She said she felt compelled to tell me. That’s the word she used, compelled.
She did not know that I needed to read those words today. She just knew she needed to tell me.

How many of us each day think, Oh, I should tell so-and-so something-or-other and it’s only a passing thought? How many of us actually tell so-and-so the something-or-other?
Simply living life gets in the way. That happens to every one of us.
But when we stop for a moment, we can pay attention those little things that are so important in life.
One simple act of kindness can start the most complex change.
Now, this particular act of kindness may not change the world, but it created ripples in me. And that’s all it takes.

Sally shared with me that she was aware. That act of love is a precious and powerful gift. I am at once comforted and inspired by her love.

Being aware.
What a beautiful act of love.
Sharing your awareness.
What a beautiful act of kindness.

And, check it out!
I’m writing.

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Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

faith in humanity renewed

Got a text this morning.

And we meet at our regular joint about half an hour later.

Then she says, “I need shallots and a romper, let’s go to Target!”
Um…yeah!

Only instead of going to Target, we go to TJ Maxx. It’s next to Target, and I know they have loads of rompers, because the girls got a couple while they were here in June.
After some successful (and not so successful) trying on, she found exactly what she was looking for. I found a new Kate Spade bag for $80 and we headed to the check out.
After a quick moment of debate, I decided I wanted a Coke. (It’s been a while since I had one, and to be quite honest, I was the teeniest bit hungover this morning.)
While Nora was checking out I ran to the cooler to grab a cold bottle of fizzy caffeinated goodness and the damnedest thing happened.
My ring got caught in the cooling fan in the top of the machine and ripped the diamond out of the setting!

Y’all!
THIS IS NOT A DRILL!

(I wear the wedding ring my mother wore while she was pregnant with me, and more recently, I’ve been wearing YBW’s mom’s rings. She was very specific that YBW should have them so he could give them to me. It brings us both joy that I wear them together.)

I reached into the cooler, and by sheer dumb luck the ring just happened to get caught in the fan. When I pulled my hand out, the setting was twisted and there was no diamond!

Let me tell you a little something about the state of the world. (at least where I live)
The folks in line behind us got involved, helping remove the sodas from the cooler, helping check under the racks and machine.
One lady checked out and came back to me with a shiny penny in her hand. “This is a lucky penny to help find your diamond.”
Another woman stayed with us as the store manager started trying to disassemble the machine. Yet another woman suggested we pray to St Anthony and assured me she would.
An employee who was meant to leave work at 3:30 stayed all afternoon while we tried to find it.
The assistant manager called Coca Cola to report the incident, stressing that the ‘customer was staying’ in the store until the repair person could arrive.

Nora had an appointment in Alexandria. She needed to leave by 4:00. (She’s a vet, and had a house call.) Of course we’d come together in my car, leaving her’s at the breakfast joint. So she had to take my car back to her car, drop off my key at her house before she could go euthanize some poor family’s animal!
She even arranged for her husband to come get me if YBW couldn’t.

Well, after she left, I called YBW and explained what happened. All I could think was how much I’d let him down, wrecking his mom’s ring that she, and he, wanted me to have.
Bless him, he left work and came straight to the store. He and I worked with the store manager’s tools to take apart the top of the machine and when I heard him say, “Here it is!” I nearly cried!

Here’s what I really want to say.
The actions of the employees and other customers renewed my faith in humanity. The kindness shown to me today was truly overwhelming!
I was panicked.
I was sad.
I was anxious.
Through all of that, my dear friend doggedly worked to help solve this problem. Strangers were on their hands and knees in a retail store. I received so much affection, and positive energy, and physical help from people I do not know, and will most likely never see again.
The sweet woman that didn’t leave the store until I found the diamond had tears of joy in her eyes. I said, “I’m going to hug you!” and she squeezed me tightly!

Y’all, there is real goodness in this world. There is real kindness in this world. The average human is more kind than one might imagine. Today that kindness surrounded and lifted me up. I know I’ll never be able to thank those people personally, or tell them I found the diamond. But my gratitude is out in the world and my intention is that it finds it’s way to them.
I have the phone number for the district manager so I can call and share my experience. I want someone to know what kind and helpful employees there are at that particular store.
I’m grateful for Nora. She is spectacularly calm in a crisis. She’s got a serious Rosie the Riveter ‘We Can Do It!’ spirit about her. God love her, she did not want to leave me there alone waiting for the repair person, but she had no choice. She made the situation bearable simply by being in it with me!
I’m grateful that my precious husband came and helped without being frustrated, or angry, or judgmental. He knew instinctively where I was emotionally and said, “I want to make this better for you.” I had a little ‘merp’ moment and replied, “I want to make this better for you!”
I felt like I let him down. I know it was a freak accident. He knows it was a freak accident. But I honestly felt like I let him down. Like I couldn’t be trusted with his mother’s ring. That his daddy gave her, and she wore for fifty years. And I have it for a few months and this happens!?!
I know he doesn’t think of it this way, but I sure as hell did.

For now, the rings and the diamond are in a zip baggie waiting to go to the jeweler’s.

I’ll be in Falls Church on Monday to see the acupuncturist, he’s literally right down the street from the jewelry store. I wanted to have them adjust the size a bit anyway, so now it’ll be a twofer.

Was it St Anthony?
Was it that penny really lucky?
I don’t know, but I will hold on to the penny, and say a quick ‘thank you’ to Anthony just in case.

I believe in people a little more after today.
I believe there is kindness in each of us, and if we’re very fortunate, we will be presented with an opportunity to express it.
My heart is a little lighter today.
My cup runneth over.
Today, my life was made better by the kindness of strangers.
There is a lesson here for each and every one of us.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

cue the drama

I just had a run in with a woman in a group discount sale. I did not see her claim of an item and someone else claimed it and I sold the item to the second woman.
Cue the drama.
And I’m over here like:

Here’s the thing. It’s a discount sale, it’s chaos. Stuff gets missed. I apologized to her and moved on…and then it started:

I apologized. It was an honest mistake.
Am I sorry? No.
But I apologized because it’s the right thing to do.

And then the woman became a full on child.

“Because I’m angry”!?!
You know who functions from anger? Toddlers. But only because they don’t have the reasoning skills required to deal with anger and see the actual situation all at once. (I’m in no way disrespecting toddlers.)
So because she’s mad, me apologizing for a simple and honest mistake isn’t good enough because: “I really wanted this one”.
Um…truthfully, I don’t even know what to say about that.
But in my experience, even toddlers know this can only get them so far.

The other woman can see all this and sends me a message about letting the item go.
I shut that right down! I will not have her bullied into giving up the item she’s already paid for. This other chick can get over herself.

But the woman continues to tag me in her vitriolic comments. So I ask the group of consultants if anyone has had trouble with this woman. The group administrator gets fired up after reading all the comments and decides to respond to her. She was fed up with the nasties and wanted to shut the woman right down. She then blocked the woman from being able to post in the group for seven days.

That’s not the language I would have used.
But perhaps it’s one of those fight fire with fire situations…? If one is behaving that way, they’ll only understand being spoken to in the same manner?
I don’t know.

But here’s my take away:
I treat other people with kindness and respect.
I’m fallible. I accept and acknowledge that.
I’m not a seventh grader, and I don’t like drama. What that woman fails to realize is that she’s the only one who’s worked up and angry.
I’m over here wishing her well.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

love not hate, and certain unalienable rights

Yesterday was a huge deal for women in my country. Women, no, not just women. People all over the country marched in protest. Marched in love. Marched because they could.
And I was greatly moved.
we-will-not-go-back

I debated heading downtown yesterday, but truly hadn’t made enough of a plan to get it together. I missed a once in a lifetime opportunity to participate, but I was able to spectate. And honestly, that’s perfectly acceptable to me. I experienced it and it continues to impact me.
I was saying to YBW today that I don’t regret not going. That I am truly humbled by being able to watch it happen. That I’m humbled and proud to know so many amazing human beings. That our first amendment is a living breathing thing. That hundreds of thousands of people were able to exercise that beautiful right to take to the streets to say and show what they’re passionate about.

Gloria Steinem’s speech reminded me of being a little girl in the 70s. I did not like that she called out Trump…but I liked other things she said.

I think Madonna needed to shut her mouth before she even opened it.
To me it’s not about how horrible Donald Trump is. It’s about showing the world how strongly (these particular) Americans feel about human rights.

A friend of mine posted about her mother and uncles participating in the March on Washington with Dr. King. That she was marching for the same reasons as they did. Marching to honor them. Marching for her young daughters.
I was amazed at photos and posts on social media! Girls I held when they were babies marching. Mothers of children I’ve taught.
It was truly awe-inspiring to watch.

I read comments written by women who question the motives. And I began to wonder what that must feel like…to not be at all impressed by something that began as a facebook post became hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children standing up for freedom.
not-all-women
This was posted by a woman I’ve known since we were nine and ten years old.
What troubles me about my country being so polarized is that this march was perceived as a “We hate Trump” rally.
Now sure, some of those people do hate him. Some of them are simply exercising their first amendment right. Some are truly all about the preservation of basic human rights.
It feels to me that this woman I’ve known since I was a little girl is focusing on hate and ‘party lines’ rather than perhaps considering that it’s not about hate. That it may be about something more.
That perhaps it might be better to strive for some unity rather than remaining so deeply divided.

This dad and his little daughter in Annapolis know what’s up.
equal-greater-than-divided

I don’t worship Hillary Clinton. I truly felt as though the election in November was a decision between the lesser of two evils. Yet, I couldn’t in good conscience abstain from voting. I could not dishonor the women who came before me in that way.
I don’t idolize her. I don’t demonize him.
I just want to believe that all the hard work that was put into building my country will be honored by everyone with political power.
Though I understand that concept of “not my president” I think it’s awful. He is our president. We have no choice now. Like it or not, if you’re an American citizen, he is your president. Acceptance is where it’s at. You can accept without liking it.
We must stop perpetuating this whole ‘us against them’ mentality. Divided we fail! We are all Americans. We are all human beings.

I’m so proud to be a woman.
A woman in a country in which women have had the right to vote for less than one hundred years! This is a bigger deal than most people ever stop to consider!
What those Suffragettes went through so women could vote…
What the Greatest Generation when through during the Second World War…
What those men and women went through in the time of the Civil Rights Movement…
What same sex couples went through for marriage equality…
What the LGBTQ people are going through to be respected as human beings…
I believe so strongly that we cannot ignore our past. We must honor it. And if we can, we must learn from it.

I read one remark (written by a woman, mind you) that the march seemed to be all about being able to have an abortion. And I thought, ‘Wow are you truly missing the point! It’s about the unalienable rights of all human beings.’ At least for me that’s what it is.
Being able to have an abortion is no longer an issue of concern for me. But it is for my daughters. It is for girls I’ve taught. I don’t believe abortion should be used as birth control. But I do believe every person should have the basic human right to choose what to do with and for their own body.

What the men and women who came before us went through to get us where we are is worth honoring. What those men and women did yesterday is worth honoring.
There will always be haters. On either side of any topic.
But for me, yesterday was about love.
Love for human beings.
what-could-go-right
What can go right if we let go of hate and embrace each other?

Categories: education, love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

feeling inspired

screenshot_2017-01-17-09-17-15-copy

Inspiration sometimes comes from the most surprising places. Thing 2 shared this old photo on facebook this morning. She has been uberpositive of late and it moves me greatly!

I took a screenshot to share.
It got me thinking:
Love the you that you are!
And love the you that you were. Sure, those you(s) need work…so do the work! But always love yourself unconditionally while you do the work.
Treat yourself with kindness!
You deserve to be treated with kindness. That starts in you, be kind to yourself. How else will others know to treat you with kindness?
Share your inspiration!
Stories of ‘failures’ are just as powerful as stories of ‘success’. We all “wore Crocs” at some point in our lives. That is both a good and perhaps a not so good thing. Embrace it. Let it be a source of hope and inspiration!

And in the words of my daughter: “Just freaking worship yourselves, okay?”
You deserve it!

Categories: love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

teeny little significant things

It’s the little things. The teeny little seemingly insignificant things.
These little things make the biggest impact.
I got a teeny little thing with huge impact this morning in the form of a text message from YBW.
I’m not going to tell you what it said, because, well…I don’t want to. And that’s not really what’s important. What’s important is the act of writing and sending the text.

Each of us gets caught up in our own “stuff”. Makes it tricky to remain aware of what’s going outside our own heads. I had a long talk with my friend and mentor the other day. It was lovely. But it took so much of my energy. I’ve been trying to have an important conversation with Thing 1 for well over a week now. I honestly haven’t had the emotional energy. Haven’t seen Sundance or even talked to her for a while. Haven’t even been doing simple hashtag communications with my sister in law.
I’ve been to much in my head. I’m working on slowly shifting my focus outward. It’s hard and I feel lazy…but I’m working at it.
That sweet message from my husband this morning furthered my effort and helped me see he’s working at the same thing.

Tomorrow is September 1. The start of ‘meteorological fall’.
Now, most people see fall as the dying time. I see it as a time of starting new. Perhaps that’s residual from all those years of new children in the classroom in the fall? I don’t know…
But I’m looking at fall as a time to start everything new. New attitude with old projects. New projects with excitement.
Perhaps the wretched hot and humid weather will decide to become new and bring cool crisp air for me to breath. And temperatures that don’t cause you to break out in a sweat the moment you walk outdoors.
But I’m not expecting that until October…Indian Summer is the way of early fall in the Metro area. I know this. I’m just feeling hopeful!
Hope springs new for this little red haired girl in the Autumn.
I’m ready to do the hard work.
This used to be my “catchphrase”…it’s been a long time since I felt like using it…but to life in general, I say a great big, “BRING IT!”
(Until I wake up tomorrow in a foul mood…then I’ll be back to my grouchy self and have to start all over again.)
oscar
Sometimes, Oscar is my spirit muppet.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

riding the struggle bus

I had a bad day Monday.
It was the day of: Are you even alive?
I struggled the entire day. In all honestly, I should have gone back to bed and waited for Tuesday.
My friend Nora was quick to offer to come to my rescue, even though there was nothing she could really do to help. She’s good like that. I’m blessed to have her in my life. She’s a wonderful human being and she’s a good, strong, and loving friend.

I got a text message from her a little while ago. It said: Now it’s my turn to ride the struggle bus today.
She shared her struggle and we “breathed together” and she asked one question that I answered with truth and love. I think she’s feeling less anxious, and I know I don’t feel as concerned for her as I did when it started.

All that said, (and this is why she’s so great…she has the same wack-a-doodle sense of humor as me) I freaking LOVE that phrase “ride the struggle bus”. I’m fairly clever with words but have no qualms admitting I’d probably never come up with that phrase.
She was amused that I dig it.
She could see past her anxiety and appreciate the humor in the phrase.

Sometimes you can’t help but ride the struggle bus.
But if you’re really fortunate, you’ll have people in your world that will ride with you…or at least wait for you at the next stop.
That’s when you can stop and breathe together. And hopefully be amused.

Categories: peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

black (like my heart) Friday

It’s not even eight o’clock and I worry where the day will lead when a fight gets picked within six minutes of waking up. My instinct is to run. In my jammies and sock footed to get in my car and get away from here.
It seems as though I have a tone that sounds accusatory and inappropriate when speaking to YBW. I feel sure it wasn’t my tone, more the subject matter.
Or perhaps the fact that I had an opinion about the subject matter at all.
Or perhaps the fact that he’s felt belittled his entire life and I’ve spent mine struggling to be heard has the most to do with it. I tend to say things over and in different ways because I have a real and desperate need to feel heard. He tends to hear everything as some sort of condemnation, that he’s simply not right or good enough.
This can, on occasion, be a difficult way to communicate.
This morning was one of those times.

As I write this, I am actively fighting my instinct to run. That anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach, the fiery feeling in my brain stem screaming at me to get out and go someplace safe.
Before it’s all over, I suspect I’ll end up with a headache but I can handle that.

It’s not the first time this week there’s been a breakdown in communication that caused a fight. Lately I don’t feel like I can express myself unless I’m very careful to censor the subject matter. This of course triggers my deeply rooted and insecure hot buttons.
I believe it’s mostly about subject matter with YBW and I’ve considered just removing certain subjects from our conversations. Only that’s not a realistic way to live…or communicate. So I watch my tone and try to be honest. I try not to make him feel criticized or attacked in any way.
It’s still censorship.
Kindness is uniquely important…therefore not really censorship? I don’t actually know.

I don’t think YBW is an ass, or stupid, or any of the other things I occasionally get accused of. I think we hear what we’ve been conditioned to hear. We ALL hear what we’ve been conditioned to hear.
I have worked hard to show him I do not think those negative things about him with the sincere hope he will one day know that.

I’m struggling with this life.
I left my life to come be in his life with him with the plan it would become our life.
I have to “parent” two kids that are not mine. Who were raised completely differently than I know how to raise children. So I adapt to the way they do things in this family.
It’s hard. It makes me sad sometimes.
I feel like I’ve had to make all the sacrifices to be in this relationship. (He has made huge financial sacrifices, but the rest of his life pretty much got to stay the same.)
I always knew I would be the one who would assimilate into his life. There was never any question of that for simple logistics, his younger son, his home and employer.
I guess I didn’t realize it would be quite so hard.

It’s painful to feel I gave up everything to make a new life. I always felt it was going to be a better life, so that made the initial pain easier to stomach. I guess I just didn’t realize it would continue to feel that way.
Is it because I’m all settled and we’re comfortable? Is it because neither of us is on “our best behavior” anymore?
I feel like the life I chose, my life, the one I chose when I was twenty years old…however awful it became…was mine. By my own design.
This life is me trying to fit into the life someone else designed.
I deserve the chance to make it mine too.

Yesterday I watched the people in my life sit on the sofa while I made sure we had proper Thanksgiving dinner for their family.
I was asked if I need help, I was asked for specific directions.
I’m not a general. I don’t want to bark orders.
I want people to take initiative…or at the very least get up off their ass and stand in the kitchen with me so I don’t feel like everybody’s bitch.

I don’t think I’m unreasonable. And I can assure you I’ve examined that possibility.

I’m sitting on the sofa with tears on my face and Thing G is worried and comes to hug me.
That innocent kindness is unconditional love.
Unconditional love eludes some of us it’s something we never truly feel. That breaks my heart. I know I have it to give it’s not often that I receive it.
Love is a curious thing.
My heart still feels black but I see light nearer to me.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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