a surprise gift to the neighborhood dogs
“the simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.”
This sculpture was built by the Irish people in their own country to honor the American Choctaw Indian tribe.
They were grateful because the Choctaw people sent money to Ireland
when they learned that Irish people were starving due to the potato famine.
And that is a lesson in how to be a person in this world.
“Generosity is not giving me that which I need more than you do,
but it is giving me that which you need more than I do.”
source: open homes, open hearts u.s., karen waters
i happily take part
in a wonderful program
to help warm the children.
through the generosity of the local community
money and time are donated
to provide new warm clothing for children in need.
children are referred
by school counselors and social workers.
these families meet with volunteer shoppers
to help with the process.
all of the money raised
goes directly to purchasing clothing,
with no administrative costs
subtracted from the donations.
i am one of the volunteers who take the families shopping
and never fail to be amazed by the people i meet.
on my shopping trip this year
i met a single mother whose husband had died
raising sons, 12 and 16
supporting them by working at mcdonald’s,
her oldest son works at taco bell
she’s had a rough time of things lately
extra money has been harder to come by
both sons are in school, play football, and do chores at home.
when i asked how she was able to do it all
she told me, “life goes up and down. you just do what you have to do.”
after we shopped for her sons’ winter clothing
we made our way to the register.
just ahead of us in line
another family was checking out
who were also program recipients.
after being rung up, it was discovered
that they had gone just a bit over their allotted budget
and were going to have to put something back.
the mother i had shopped with
reached into her purse
and gave them the $1.89 they needed.
what an incredibly generous act of compassion
from someone who had so little herself
as she helped someone else to warm their children
when we checked out and went to leave
she hugged me and said,
“thank you so much, i always pay it forward.”
“to keep a warm heart in winter is the real victory.”
participating partners: kiwanis club of ann arbor, washtenaw county, walmart, mlive, old national bank, ann arbor news
what a lovely afternoon spent
with a family whose three daughters
each of us have taught and loved in our turn over the years
as they gave thanks to all of their teachers
by cooking and serving us an amazing brunch
at a beautiful table
complete with many homemade delights
main courses, sweets, desserts, coffee, and fruit prosecos
dad and daughters prepare our meal
while mom finalizes the drinks and details in the dining room
such an amazing and generous gesture
as their last daughter leaves the familiar comfort
of our elementary school
and moves on to her next chapter
in the middle school division
along with her lovely family
who we will miss
and who have taught their daughters
the wisdom of gratitude and kindness.
“what wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?”
the kindhearted and quiet and hardworking kid
who comes and goes
without much of a pattern
asking if i’ll hire him
to shovel my snow and mow my lawn
now has a name – ‘max’
and his legend is growing and spreading
he came once when i wasn’t home
and my neighbor paid him to do my lawn
in return for the help i’d given her in the past
and the next time he was over mowing
max suddenly stopped his mower
because he found a baby squirrel
who had fallen from the nest in the tree
and was sitting motionless and scared
we tried to pick the squirrel up
but he feebly ran away
into my neighbor’s yard
who then came out to help
and we all took him to my other neighbor’s house
who loves the squirrels
and said that he didn’t look good
put him in his backyard and see if he would play
then brought him back
and laid him down below my tree
the squirrel soon passed away
and we buried him in the garden
and now, after meeting him
my other neighbor has given max a job as well
and as more and more
of his generous and hard-working sprit is revealed
his business and his reputation as a decent human being
both continue to grow.
“as much as we need a prosperous economy,
we also need a prosperity of kindness and decency.”
found this sweet surprise
waiting for me in my mailbox
a very old tiny sleigh with a handwritten letter
from a neighbor i’ve never met
who’s lived nearby for over 50 years
she left it for me to add to my fairy garden
when the season is right
she took the trouble to repaint the sleigh
and write me this lovely note
wanting to visit the garden
but too shy to stop by to see it up close
it was such a kind and thoughtful gesture
i wanted to thank her and figured out where she lived
then wrote her a long letter back
to let her know
how much i enjoyed her special gift
and what it meant to me
i really hope that we meet in person in my garden one day.
“give what you have. to someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”
― henry wadsworth longfellow
i recently made a wonderful discovery
when playing with a couple of my grandies
at the park across the street from my house.
the people in my local community
who visit the park or live nearby
leave toys behind
for any and all children to play with.
what a simple, powerful, and generous act
what an amazing way to teach children gratitude
of sharing what we have
with others in the world
who may not have as much.
“the essence of community, its heart and soul,
is the non-monetary exchange of value;
things we do and share because we care for others,
and for the good of the place.”
― dee hock, One from Many