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Bob Hope, Danny Kaye, Bing Crosby.  They were Bumpa’s favorites and when he was sick I’d spend Sunday afternoons by his side watching them sing and dance their way across the screen.  I spent a great deal of time that fall on the Road to Wherever.

I knew Hope could sing and dance and crack a joke, but who knew he was so clever?  I’m sure someone did but it wasn’t me.  I’d compartmentalized him in my memory.  Singing, dancing, funny man.

Compartmentalization is a huge problem in our world.  Us and them.  Republican and Democrat.  Liberal and conservative.  Deserving and undeserving.

I admit that I tend to get a bit squirmy when a discussion moves towards who deserves help and who doesn’t.  Haven’t we all received help at one time that we didn’t deserve?  Maybe someone helped you change a tire or pay a bill out of the kindness of their heart.  But there is also God’s grace.  We can’t earn it.  We don’t, strictly speaking, deserve it.  But God is loving and kind and charitable.  He gave it to us anyway.

I’m not saying I’m perfect.  Far from it.  We writers compartmentalize all the time.  It’s part of how we pitch ideas and decide what information belongs in a project and what doesn’t.  Sometimes this writing habit finds its way into the larger world.  Sometimes I catch myself.  Other times?  I’m human but I like to think my heart is willing.

–SueBE

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Scrolling through one of my favorite sites, Katzenworld, I found an interesting article about feeding cats raw food. There was a picture of the recommended brand, along with the words, “Made with Human Meat.”

What the heck?

Nearly fell off the chair. Had to scroll back up quickly.

“Made with Human Grade Meat.”

Oh. That’s a relief!

For a minute I thought I’d taken a turn into the Twilight Zone, and stumbled into the Little Shop of Horrors!

One word can make all the difference sometimes.

In today’s political climate, you don’t have to agree with everybody you meet. Online, you don’t have to dignify mean-spirited comments about what you believe, or where you come from, or how you live. But sometimes, one word of kindness can change the conversation.

And if it doesn’t, you may come to the conclusion that this isn’t a conversation anyway, but a monologue. You can always – respectfully – unfollow people who bring drama into your feed. This is true in real life as well. There comes a time when you realize that people who were once your friends bring nothing but negatives into your world. It’s okay to let them go.

In many cases, this will happen by attrition as you refuse to get sucked into the vortex of either/or online. You’re one of us, or you’re one of them. Someday, the zeitgeist will change, and we’ll see each other as people again. Until that time, unplugging from the constant barrage of angst and anger will do your soul good. Here’s one word that will hold your heart together: peace.

Mother’s Day started with a power outage this morning around 9 AM.

Hm. Looked at my phone. Only half charged.

Can’t use the internet.

I’ll read my books on Kindle. But… no service. My books are in the cloud.

Well. I’ll go start my coffee.

But. No water.

Hm. Oh wait! I saved my coffee from last night. It’s in the fridge! Yay.

But. No microwave.

Getting chilly in here. Let me turn up the heat.

But. No heat.

So I went back to bed to bundle up. Just then, I heard a car pulling into my neighbor’s driveway, music blaring. Man, that’s loud. What an idiot. Had to catch myself there. No need to be unkind.

It reminded me of the time my father was teaching me to drive. “Watch the idiot,” he said, as another driver encroached on my lane. I had to laugh at the memory. He was always glad to see me when I would visit the house. And my mother would greet me by saying, “You’re the greatest!”

It’s fitting that this happened on Mother’s Day, as we all have a mother (here or in Heaven) and we often take for granted how much she means to us.

In today’s climate, just reminding yourself not to be unkind is an act of kindness. Usually, people aren’t blasting their music to annoy you, but to enjoy their own life. The power goes out sometimes. It’s nothing personal.

This was a gift to me today. A reminder to appreciate the power, all the way up to the power source.

Do something today to show appreciation for all that God provides.

Or at least, don’t be an idiot.🙂You’re lucky, and you know it. This is a good day to remind yourself of the blessings you take for granted.

I think this quote caught my attention because spring is finally here.  At least in Missouri.  I’ve got basil and thyme sprouting in my dining room and am getting ready to seed morning glories.  All of these will be planted in the beds that line the front of our house.  The crocus and daffodil have bloomed.  The lilies and iris are coming up.  And the herbs are coming back as well.  Sunlight and a bit of warmth have made amazing changes in the past week.

Kindness works much the same way.  Whether it’s a kind word or a smile, kindness begets kindness.  Share God’s light and love and watch it grow as it passes from person to person.

–SueBE

 

Credit: Elfie Hall

When my son was young, he asked me how to pronounce the name of a particular Egyptian pharaoh.

“Hatshepsut,” I said. “Friends called him Bill.”

He cracked up, so I had to keep going. “I mean, what else could they call him? Hat? Shep? Sut? Nah. Bill.”

Looking up the name on the computer later, I was mildly chagrined to learn that this ruler was actually a woman! Oh, blerg. Digging deeper, even that fact was in question, so I wasn’t too far off the mark after all.

History is fascinating – and often funny – isn’t it? And so is the future.

When the actor who played Steve on “Blue’s Clues” left the show, he seemed to have fallen off the face of the Earth. Today I read that  a newly-discovered aurora borealis has been given the unlikely moniker, “Steve.” Coincidence? Perhaps. Now, I’m not suggesting that this light formation is actually Steve Burns in deep disguise, but let’s just say, I’ve never seen them in the same room together. 🤔

It’s one of life’s great joys to be able to laugh about silly things and spin a yarn. But when it comes to forgiveness, we may find it hard to let go and laugh things off. It’s as important to forgive ourselves as to forgive others.

If Bill is the past and Steve is the future, we could look upon them both more kindly. We might feel the same way about ourselves as we look back with regret, or look ahead with uncertainty. That’s the yester-you, and she did her best at the time. And that’s the you-to-come. She’ll do her best as well.

Be good to yourself and it’s a breeze to be good to others. There’s a word for that, isn’t there? Oh, yeah. Love.

“Find a need and fill it.”  I don’t know what Ruth Stafford Peale had in mind when she said this.  But I’ve been sitting here thinking about some of the needs I see in our world today.

Kindness and respect.

The other day my niece was telling us about two of her team mates being pulled off the field by their coach.  They hadn’t fouled a member of the other team.  They didn’t sass the ref.  They were arguing with each other about which position one of them was supposed to be playing.

Kindness and respected could easily have led the disagreement in another direction.

When my son offered to take a repair over at church, I watched the head of the building committee.  You would have thought someone had handed him $10,000.  The irony?  Lately he’s gotten a reputation for being an argumentative bully.  Now I’m wondering how stressed he is dealing with the bathroom sinks, the leaky roof, the gutter, etc.

 

Kindness and respect.  It can make a difference.

–SueBE

Kindness. It is as simple as that.  

In fact, it almost seems too simple, but really it isn’t.  This is what Miss Ruth touched on yesterday.  Judge or give someone the benefit of the doubt?

 

I’d love to say that I’m as good at that as she is.  But it is something I have to remind myself to do every day especially when someone has wronged me or called me down when the fault is very much shared.

As Ruth reminds me, I don’t know what day she had before she contacted me.  I really have no clue.  But I can give her the benefit of the doubt.  A small act of kindness and an opportunity to practice what I preach.

–SueBE

Funny that this is the image slated for today.  You see the cat decided to sing us the song of her people until about 2:00 in the morning.  She woke us again at 6:45.  We only managed to ignore her because we put her in the basement.  Needless to say, we are not bundles of sunshine and happiness today.  And we have 20 or so people coming tonight for dinner.  Yep.

First world problems but we are also first order crabs today.  I’ve crabbed at him. He’s crabbed at me.  The boy has stayed out of it by simply refusing to get up.

The thing is that we can, at any point, simply make a decision. We may be tired but we don’t have to be crabby.

Yes, these are small things but how often do small things snowball when we decide to take them out on someone else?  Instead, we could choose to bring light.

Count to ten before answering.

Smile.  No, not the toothy feral monkey kind.  A genuine smile.

Hold the door open for someone.  Let someone else go in line before you.  They are all simple things, but little by little they add up.

–SueBE

 

This past week we’ve been watching a series that my husband and I used to watch when we were in college.  Due South is about a Canadian Mounty who ends up in Chicago.  He makes friends with a mediocre Chicago cop.  Half of the show is all about the contrasts between the “Canadian Boy Scout” and the cop. Let’s just say that the Mounty is an endless source of kindness.

And the thing that makes you smile?  Ninety percent of the time, he gets kindness back even from the jaded people he encounters while investigating a crime. One junior criminal even ends up “dog sitting” his husky/wolf.

I’m far from a Polly Anna but right now, this is what I need to see.  Someone being nice because it is the right thing to do.  And watching how it turns situations and people around.

Not that I expect any of us to be as kind as a fictional character.  But if we each did something kind every day, don’t you think the world would be a more beautiful place?

–SueBE

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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