Love Thy Neighbor

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This is Lawrence DePrimo, a NYP officer who is 25 years old and bought an older homeless man a pair of warm boots with his own $100 on November 14th.   There are good people in the world.  What if each of those “good” people did one random kind thing per week, per month?  Remember the movie Pay it Forward.  Being kind can include giving your time, a listening ear, your place in line, giving aid to an elderly person, mentoring a youth, cleaning up your neighborhood.  You can start anytime, too.

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”
― Princess Diana

I saw a report about Mary Sauter who gives thousands of children gifts each holiday season.  She works year around on this project, every year.  The holiday season brings lots of these stories to light.  How about more of this in everyone’s lives?  Be compassionate. -smilingbug

For Dylan

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This is Jack Frost from McDonalds.  He is the guardian of fun from the movie The Guardians.  I picked this toy up when I took my son for fries and an ice cream yesterday.  Yesterday Dylan Redwine had been missing for 9 days.  He was reported missing on November 19th while he was visiting his Dad for the Thanksgiving break.  He has a confident smirk in his school photo that is being shown on the news.  He is 13 years old.  There are so many (many) injustices in the world but children are innocent and not prepared for some of the circumstances of life that can be precarious.  Yet kids think they can handle any situation, I wish they could.  I hope this boy is ok and will be found and will be able to recover fully from whatever he has gone through these past ten days.  Pray for Dylan’s Mom and siblings to stay strong.  Pray for Dylan Redwine to be brave and resilient.  I can’t focus on writing about anything else with my mind on Dylan and children like him.  Pray for his safety and if you don’t pray, imagine him safely with his family. -smilingbug

Smell the roses

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I was walking through my kids’ school yesterday and I saw this awesome Cookie Monster that someone made in wood shop sitting on the side of a hallway.  Everything seems so wonderful at a school to me now and when I was a kid I wanted out of there so badly.  Is it the grass-is-greener effect or a case of not being able to appreciate things as they’re happening, I wonder.  When I went back to a homecoming football game a few years after graduation from college I literally thought they had put in a new turf field or changed the mascot because everything was so bursting with color.  It was all exactly the same as when I lived there and went to every game. I just didn’t take it all in when I was living it, it was there and I took it for granted.  A friend of mine passed away recently and he knew he was going to die for about three months.  He said he was ok with leaving and accepted that it was his time but the one thing he worried about was missing all of the people in his life.  Faced with the end of one’s life the wood shop class or football game colors mean nothing.  But the people we love, there is no way to reconcile the thought of not having the relationships we treasure.  All of the philosophies about seizing the day or living in the moment– all of those go out the window and the one thing that doesn’t is the love for the people in our lives.  The time we have together in this lifetime will come for all of us one day.  Show or tell people what they mean to you often. -smilingbug

Remember what Matters

Today I had a Pretty Woman moment. Not the “Big Mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now” moment but the first shopping experience Julia Roberts had when she is treated like dirt by a sales person because her appearance says she clearly won’t be buying anything in the store. So what about retail employees or store owners who favor customers who will shop and ignore or dismiss those who don’t appear to be big spenders? They are running a business or working on commission, makes sense right? But what about that image that was posted on a busy side walk about character and then shared in lots of social media. The full quote is

“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If you take that to heart then it would be a nice gesture for a store owner to spend time with everyone. Spending time on that person’s inquiry would be a sign of kindness, selflessness, character. What if everyone was nice to each other just because? Make it a kinder world. -smilingbug

Practice Tolerance

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It’s our first holiday season with a Christmas tree for my older kids.  We have ornaments that they made in school that I’ve kept in boxes and taken out to decorate the house during the season- Star of Davids, a menorah.  I have a few ornaments I bought when I couldn’t resist their cuteness- a small white stocking, a red row boat, the South Park characters.  Then there are our make shift ornaments like pine cones from outside and draidels hanging by a ribbon.  Our lights are all blue because I’ve always put up blue lights to celebrate Channukah and be in the holiday spirit.  Multi-faith can be tricky.  I wrote about it some time ago and maybe that post was a bit emotional  sappy but it is a sensitive topic if you take your faith to heart.  As a different person, I experience first hand how tolerant others are in society.  I believe tolerance is a word that is overused, under practiced.  Everyone wants no war, a compassionate government, a utopian environment where we share and care…yet how many are living those ideals in their day to day lives?

In our human life, tolerance is very important, it helps you overcome difficulties. Without it, tiny things irritate you and you overreact.

Be kind to all. -smilingbug

Gifts, …the power of giving

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Tis the season to buy gifts.  I usually leave the gift giving for my children to our families since grandparents and relatives are eager to give them wonderful things and they don’t really need more from me.  This season we won’t spend the holidays with family and since my older kids are growing up, I felt ready to give them something big on their wish list.  I saw an efunny that said something like “America, where we get in line in the middle of the night to buy things the day after we gave thanks for the things we have.”   I never cared for Black Friday but I also never bought my kids an expensive electronic and this season (with no holiday travel on the calendar) I gave in to an Xbox for my son and similar special gifts for my daughters.  My son told me we could save $150 by going to buy it at 5AM.  Then my daughter told me Black Friday was on her bucket list.  (go figure!) So we did it.  There was no crowd, no lines where we live.  As I looked around I recognized the experienced Black Friday-ers who had the eye of the tiger and asked sales associates for certain discounts.  As for us, we were newbees, looking around for what we could get on sale but in reality we bought what we had come for and we left.  It was still dark when we walked into the parking lot feeling like consumer warriors– being at Target at 5am. -smilingbug

Give Thanks

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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day.  I am so happy to be home with my family, not running out the door, not rushing to the bus or practice or lessons.  This is it, this is the best.  Free time with my kids, sleeping in, hanging out together, making menus and arts and crafts, loving life.  The reality for three days… For them: fighting over who cooks what, arguing about the arts and crafts being in the way or the muffins not being browned enough, screaming because they don’t get to spend days at their friend’s house, throwing things at each other when they’re frustrated, being bored, being annoyed, not wanting family time, hitting, swinging, hollering, picking, bickering, critiquing, crying, sitting in front of the computer for hours, staring at their Iphones, banging on doors, slamming doors, whining, screaming, hurting.  For me: up at 5AM with my toddler, up at 6AM with my baby, up at 7AM with a headache, talking, punishing, coping, helping, explaining, refereeing, washing laundry, folding laundry, shopping, unloading, taking a hot shower, taking Advil, coloring my hair, sending them to their room, hugging them, loving them.  For both of us: growing, feeling, healing, loving, hugging, sharing, experiencing, making up, baking, decorating, making crafts, watching funny movies, getting excited about the holiday and the fun it brings.  But “Wow” and that is a Clare Dumphey silent “Wow.”  Today I heard a newscaster say “let us give, let us forgive, let us give thanks” while wrapping up a story.  I look outside of our window and see the beautiful pink sunset sky.  I look around my home and I see my family I adore.  I remember the sadness for people who are ill, the violence in Gaza, the suffering in hospitals, the real misery for people in bad situations around the world.  Then I remember what Gloria said when we were laughing our pants off watching Grown Ups last night:

”Life can be difficult sometimes, it gets bumpy. What with family and kids and things not going exactly like you planned. But that’s what makes it interesting. In life the first act is always exciting. The second act… that is where the depth comes in.”

So “let us give, let us forgive, let us give thanks.”  Thank you. -smilingbug

Little Joys

I looked out of the window yesterday and saw the bus pulling up to the stop at the bottom of our hill.  I grabbed my keys and pulled my jacket on as I was dashing out of the door.  Other than a quick drive, I had been inside for days…caring for little kids, making beds, washing and folding laundry, cleaning dishes, all of the routine tasks that any person running a household does day to day.  All of a sudden I was running at full speed in the winter air and all of my surroundings seemed pronounced.  The cold air going into my lungs took me back to runs in physical ed class when I was required to run even if it hurt.  I looked down on the pavement and tried to step on dry areas so not to slip on black ice or snow.  My mind said “thank you for everything in this life, thank you for this cold air, the snowy pavement, the entire world around me” as I took a big breath in and smiled.  -smilingbug

Good Luck

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Good luck charms bring so many images to mind and they are so comforting.  The soft black rocks picked up on family vacations that are scattered around our home.  My Grandfather’s saint pendant hanging on his chain that I wear anytime I want to feel safe.  The gratitude stones I collected with my kids at the dusty mountain trail across the street from our old house.  The red string from Israel my employer gave me that I wear on my wrist.  The purple Brazilian wish bracelet that I tied on with three knots and three wishes a couple of years back.  I’ve heard it said that no superstition is worth believing in unless you want fear to rule your life.  Meanwhile who doesn’t enjoy the imagined or real comforts of a four leaf clover, a horse shoe, eye, chai or ladybug.  I wish I still had my azabache that I wore on my necklace when I was nine years old.  Lucky charms, the protectors of our destiny?   -smilingbug