Guest Post – Little things

It truly is the little things that can make an impact on someone’s day.
A couple days ago my wife received an unsolicited compliment from a friend. He said how wonderful she is and how he couldn’t do what he needs to without her help. He said this not only to her, but in front of others as well. Five or six times since that praise she has brought it up to me, that she can’t believe he said that and how good it makes her feel. A little thing like a compliment made a difference for her, and for me.
This morning as I was driving in to work I happened to look in my rearview mirror and started to have a critical thought but had it quickly change. There was a mom driving her teenaged daughter and the daughter was totally oblivious to what was going on because she had her headphones on and eyes lowered. My initial reaction was “I hope that never becomes me and my son”. I want to develop a relationship with him, I like talking to him and hearing about his day, his thoughts and have discussions with him about life, the universe, and everything (Yes, that’s stolen from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, he and I both loved the film).
Then while watching them my day got unexpectedly brighter. The mom, unbeknownst to the daughter, kept looking over at her and smiling. It was beautiful. A look of pure love. It didn’t matter that the daughter didn’t see it, didn’t know it was happening. No words were exchanged. It was just a mom looking at her offspring with love in her eyes and face.
They will never know that they made my day brighter, that the expression of love was a great pick me up, but it was wonderful. While I still hope that I am able to have conversations with my son instead of him isolated with headphones, I hope that I can be happy in the moment enough to smile a look of love at just being with him.
Two small things, a smile and a compliment, made someone’s day better. I’m sure we all can do something small that will make some else happy today, which in turn will make you happy too.

Not a quick hit of kindness, but interesting anyway

Another guest post by Lee.  Angie is the one with the talent for writing interesting things that make you think and get you to action.  I find interesting things on the intertubes and post them.  Like this:

The writing is a bit small so let me transcribe it for you, just one of the many services I provide other than posting pictures!

None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an afterthought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else. — Reddit user “Hotsauceinmyeye”‘s mom

I have the be silly and be weird down. Angie has the be kind locked up.

Normally when one of my friends has a birthday I send them a quick note saying “Happy birthday” and include some form of insult, possibly on the FacePage thing.  I’m not sure why I have friends plural and not just maybe one sick and twisted person who puts up with me because they think I’m funny.  Today I did something a bit different and sent a personal email with “the truth that you’re carrying in your heart” and it felt really good to express myself with none of the macho-manly don’t say what you feel and definitely not to a guy garbage. No time like the present and no sense holding onto the treasure until you can use it in an eulogy.

So the challenge to you is to take one of the suggestions above, and don’t just pick the easy one about eating delicious food, and do it over this weekend.  I’ve done the one and will do all of the rest except jump in the ocean, but I will jump in my pool.

Quick Hits of Kindness – Nice Photos and Angry People

Good morning and happy Friday everyone!  My sister sent me this collection of photos and it made my heart happy (I hope the Kindle came with a charger and I’m always leery of people who accept payment in “hugs” but the images are a nice change from what we’ve seen in the news this week).

I felt a weird energy in the air this week – maybe because of the number of angry people I encountered over the past few days. Picture this: I’m at the check-out line with my weekend groceries and one of my items didn’t scan, so the cashier called for a price check. The man behind me sighed loudly and banged his pork chops down. Normally, I’d say “take it easy”.

I didn’t.

I turned and smiled at him. He glared at me and shook his head in disgust.

I packed up my things as we waited for the price check and once it came I paid for everything, wishing the cashier a lovely weekend. Grumpypants behind me said “you should really pay attention to the prices when you shop”.

Oh?   Looking for a fight are we?

I had a choice in that moment.  Every cell in my body wanted to lash out and return his anger with a self-rightious “fuuuuuuuuck you!”.

The outcome of that would be a surge of adrenaline throughout my body. The argument would have escalated (because I don’t back down easily) and I would have been angry on the ride home – which would have affected my driving. I’d be annoyed at his unprovoked hostility toward me and I’d be all wound-up when our son got home. I’d recount the story to Lee, which would fuel my indignance. It would have coloured my entire day. This is not the ripple effect I want in my life.

So in that moment, I fought the anger. Turned and looked him straight in the eye and said “I wish you peace and love today and every day”.

He didn’t know how to respond.

I left him gobsmacked. In a non-hostile way.

I went merrily on my way – no adrenaline, – no bad feelings at all – in fact. Just a sense of peace.  Wishing all of you a peaceful weekend full of good thoughts and feelings. Quick hits of kindness don’t always come easily on days like these, but they are worth fighting for.

Here are the photos my sister sent me:

The man who gave the shoes off his feet to this homeless girl.
Good deeds
This motorcyclist who stopped
to help an old woman pass safely.
Good deeds
This barber, who offers haircuts for the price of a single hug.
Good deeds
Consolation knows no color
Good deeds
The police officer who handcuffed himself to a woman
to make sure she knew she’d have to take him with her.
Good deeds
The many people who helped make this boy’s dream come true.
Good deeds
This dog owner who mourned by giving.
Good deeds
This store employee who gives extra service.
Good deeds
The person who decided to put new tires on a stranger’s car
just because he needed it.
Good deeds
 The crowd who decided a fan should be able to watch the show,
no matter what.
Good deeds
This dry cleaning place that helps the unemployed for free.
Good deeds
These kids helping an injured member of their rival team to score.
Good deeds
The man who played for fun and gave his winnings away.
Good deeds
This man who missed his train
helping this older lady with her bags.
Good deeds
This man who gave something to a homeless man no one gives –
something to occupy his mind.
Good deeds
And Dan, a man who, twice a week, buys coffee for every patient,
nurse and doctor at local cancer centers.
Good deeds
The people at the animal hospital,
knowing how hard it is to say goodbye.
Good deeds
This man who gave his umbrella away
so this cat could have a dry night.
Good deeds
Good deeds

Quick Hits of Kindness – Mother’s Day Edition

Welcome to a guest post, written by Angie’s husband, Lee.  I will do my best to match the style and awesomeness that she has set out, but there are no guarantees.

I asked if I could do this post since she has a muscle spasm in her shoulders and is having a hard time doing virtually anything today, and also because Mother’s Day is coming up in North America and by doing this it’s a bit of kindness to her as a great mom.

  1. A great 5 minute way to show your mom, your child’s mom, or simply anyone how much they mean to you is a hand-written note of appreciation. It doesn’t have to be Shakespearean prose or the next great novel, just not a greeting card with your name signed in it. For the digital age, a personal note to them with some detail is also appreciated. I left my job of 4 years this week and it’s amazing how nice a personal email telling you how much you will be missed and that you have had an impact on someone’s life can make you feel. The same goes for the special person in your life. “Thank you for all you do for me, all you have done for me and for being there for me when I need you.”, while it may sound greeting-cardish, as long as it is personal and has meaning between you is all that is needed.
  2. I think getting your child to fill out a “What I know about my Mom” survey is great, however I like to go a bit more personal with a video. As the spouse, or really if they are older than 8 nowadays they know how to record themselves, get them to sit still for 5 minutes and you ask them the questions and let their answers flow. It is really fun to look back on and see just how little they know about you!  A good one, and quick can be found here.
  3. Skip the flowers. Really. “Here is what I think about you, I found something beautiful and killed it for you. Actually, I didn’t even go to that bother. I had someone else kill the beautiful things and I just bought them.” Go for something useful and beautiful like a living plant or maybe some herbs. How about an experience, particularly something you can do together? Winemaking, art class, a nature hike, going out someplace where you can spend time talking and doing something.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to wake my son up to record his answers and then find some blank paper that isn’t the back of a bill and a working pen so I can write my wife and mom notes. Also I have to Google the difference between dandelions that you get in a salad versus the million I have in my backyard, because I think a pot of those could technically count as a ‘living plant’ or ‘herbs’ and I could knock two to-do items off my list.

Angie’s Quick Hit’s of Kindness will return next week with a quality post from someone who is actually published and not from her husband. No, do not try to eat the dandelions from your lawn or put them in a pot to give as a gift. That is an awful idea.