Tag Archives: Kindness

Top 5 reasons NOT to donate to St. Baldrick’s

1. My tiny donation won’t make a difference.

2. They’ll never find a cure for cancer.

3. Those charities don’t give enough of the donations to the cause.

4. I won’t make a difference in the life of any one person.

5. It doesn’t really affect me.

–  –  –  –  –  – –  –  –  –  –  – –  –  –  –  –  – –  –  –  –  –  –

Do any of those sound familiar?

Here are a few facts:

st bald

1. Every dollar matters. I’m pretty sure no one reading this can donate a million dollars. But if everyone who reads this would share it with a few friends, and each one donated $2, we could put thousands of dollars in the hands of researchers in no time flat. (But just in case someone is reading this who can donate a million dollars, that would be really awesome!! In fact, if I can raise a million dollars I’ll shave my head, too!)

2. We can and will find cures. But it takes money.

3. Before getting involved with this event, I checked CharityNavigator.com, and was pleased with what I saw. I even pulled up a few other well-known charities for a comparison. Then I signed up. Click HERE to see their rating.

4. There are parents and children drawing hope every day from these fundraisers. I know, because Robot Boy’s mom is a friend of mine, and I see her getting more excited every day as this event approaches. She knows it’s making a difference.

5. I’ll be posting pics of the event, and I guarantee that seeing what hope and gratitude in action look like its going to make you feel good. And don’t we all like to feel good?

So…

Pay a visit to us over at Team Robot Boy’s Fundraising Page. We’re hoping to break our goal today, and are setting a stretch goal of DOUBLING it before the event Saturday! But we NEED you.

So click. And donate. It’ll feel good. And it’ll make a difference.

LINK TO TEAM ROBOT BOY’S FUNDRAISING PAGE.

And if you’d like to read more about Robot Boy, his Badass mom who’s going to let me shave her head Saturday, and St. Baldrick’s, grab a tissue and click HERE. You’ll be a better person for having done so.

 

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The Two Women

The young woman on the inside is strong and vibrant. Self-sufficient and capable. Beautiful and lively.

The woman on the outside, with her greying hair and thin skin, is tiny and frail. She breathes with the help of oxygen and spends her days confined to bed or chair.

Most of the time, they co-exist peacefully, each unaware of the other’s presence.

The discord comes when the two meet. When the woman on the inside tries to stand, but finds she’s unable. Tries to answer questions about herself, but gets even the basic facts wrong. Tries to place food in her mouth, but instead finds it in her lap.

Frustration sets in, because the woman inside knows she is able. But her physical body is no longer in synch with her mind, and the two do not cooperate with one another.

“How are you today?” asks the nurse. “Fine,” she replies, unaware that oxygen is flowing through a tube beneath her nose.

“Do you have any pain?” asks the doctor. “No,” she answers, not remembering that she can no longer stand after breaking her hip.

It’s hard for us to know how to feel. Because of the woman on the inside, anxiety levels are lower. But it frustrates the woman on the outside, because she doesn’t understand. And the two can swap places without any warning. So you never know which one you’re with at any given moment.

The rhythm of her breathing is comforting. It is a reminder of her physical presence. But everything else creates unease. Each new report from the doctor, each change in her physical status brings more questions. But since she is unable to contribute to her own care, others must make decisions for her.

Others must also bathe her and feed her. The lively young woman lies helpless in a bed. Long gone are her dignity and privacy.

Occasionally, the woman on the outside perks up. She watches television, or replies with one of her signature quips. Those moments are rare gifts. And every week there are fewer of them.

At some point, she will need peace. And we will be left with memories of both women. I hope the memories of the woman on the outside fade quickly, leaving us to reminisce with joy about the woman on the inside.

The woman on the inside, with her handsome, young man.

Celebrate Love. Happy Donna Day.

I had every intention of doing the usual commercially-driven Valentine’s Day festivities this year. You know, a basket of trinkets and sweets from the dollar store and fancy, store-bought cupcakes that we’ll ooh and aah over for a few minutes and I’ll toss by the end of the week while the kids are in school.

But I this morning I started reading Mary Tyler Mom’s post about raising money for pediatric cancer, and my plans quickly changed.

I remembered the flood of emotion I felt when I read Donna’s Cancer Story and my heart ached for her mother. I hope I never understand her pain. I hope you don’t either.

Photo of Donna used with permission.

I thought of Donna, of all the Donnas, who aren’t here to open Valentines and squeal over balloons. And I just couldn’t bring myself to get in the car.

I walked over to my pantry instead and pulled out a cake mix that was already there. I baked heart-shaped cakes for my family, with one extra. That one’s for Donna. For all the Donnas who aren’t here to celebrate with us. It won’t be eaten tonight. It will sit on the table as we have our dessert, and we’ll talk as a family about children with cancer. I’ll tell my boys that instead of spending money on trinkets for them, that we made a donation to Donna’s Good Things. I know they’ll approve.

The riches I have in my children are too numerous to count. Their love, their laughter, but mostly their PHYSICAL presence. Here with me.

For this I am grateful.

I’m counting on Mary Tyler Mom to remind me every year to celebrate real love with Donna Day.

Now it’s your turn. Make a difference today.

  • Go to Donna’s Good Things and make a donation. (I did!) Follow them on Facebook so you can keep up with their great work!
  • Find a St. Baldrick’s event near you. (St. Baldrick’s is a volunteer-driven charity that raises money for childhood cancer causes.) Volunteer, donate, blog it, Tweet it, Facebook it.

The Joy of “Yes”

A while back I noticed something.

I was telling my kids “no” a lot.

“Will you make pancakes for breakfast?”

“No.”

“Can we go to see a movie today?”

“No.”

“Can I invite friends over?”

“No.”

Source: thecircleproject.com

One day I paused, and contemplated what it must be like for them hearing “no” all the time. Not having the ability to control decisions about their day, or their life. Being on the receiving end of parents’ and teachers’ permission all the time.

And I decided I would try to say “yes” more often.

Because when it came down to it, sometimes I said “no” for my own convenience. If I wasn’t up to cleaning up a mess, I said “no” to a project. If I didn’t have the energy to handle a bunch of kids, I said “no” to the sleepover. They heard me saying “no” a lot.

So I had a little talk with myself about saying “yes.” And I adopted a new mantra. “I’ll say ‘yes’ when I can.” Practical realities sometimes intervened, making “yes” impossible. But as I started saying it more often, I liked the feeling I got from being agreeable. “Yes” usually meant something fun. “Yes” usually meant making memories. “Yes” brought joy back into our day.

I started to like “yes.”

And then the strange thing happened. They started saying “yes” back.

“Please pick up your room.”

“OK.”

“It’s time for bed.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

And the one that causes more arguments in our house than any other, “Turn the game off.”

“I will.”

This morning on the way to school, The Caboose was feeling a little run down. He was listening to music on his iPod, getting ready for another day of sixth grade as we approached campus. Now this kid does not respond well when asked to terminate something in mid-stream. The typical response is “after this song,” or “I need to save my game.” But this morning as we pulled up to school, I told him to turn off his iPod and stow it in the seat pouch, and he said “yes.”

God, I love “yes.”

Quiet Time — or How I Watched a Movie in my Own Living Room

I’m not sure if he thought I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, or if Mr. Wonderful made some unshared New Year’s Resolution to pay greater attention to my ‘needs,’ but for the last few days, some freaky stuff has been happening.

Take Sunday, New Year’s Day, for example.  I found myself home alone for a little while.  Mr. Wonderful and the boys left the house for about an hour, leaving me and the dog all by ourselves.

Now, I get my fair share of alone time – after I’ve dropped a kid off at school or at a friend’s house, when I’m headed to my MIL’s to pick her up for a doctor’s appointment, and even in the grocery store.  But you may see a pattern here.  If I’m by myself, I’m usually away from home, and usually doing something for someone else.

I hardly ever put myself first.  I rarely ask others to do what I could just get up and do myself.  And I very, very seldom watch TV.

So with this gift of an hour, I cozied up in the big chair with a glass of wine and the remote.  At first it felt a little odd, scanning the channel guide, passing up all the football games, zombie shows, and Spongebob reruns.  I scroll to the channels that never get watched, and see a lovely chick-flick beginning.  Figuring I can watch the first hour or so, I settle in.

Sipping my wine in the clean, quiet house, a sense of calm sweeps over me.  I resist the urge to watch the clock, not wanting the precious time to end.

{ Source: Touchstone-Disney 1990 }

Just about the time Julia Roberts is picking out some new clothes on Rodeo drive, the guys return home.

That’s when the freaky part happened.

The boys instinctively entered the living room, intent on usurping control from me, and Mr. Wonderful stopped them.

“Your mom’s watching a movie.  Y’all go upstairs.”

Curious, I looked to see where these words came from.  And there was Mr. Wonderful looking my way.

“Really?” I replied.  “I’ll turn it off.”  It seemed almost foreign for me to be sitting down watching a movie — a chick-flick even — when they were home.

But I went with it.

I just sat there.

Watching Julia and Richard get to know one another for the one-thousandth time.

I heard the little kitchen TV turn on and the sound of NFL announcers wafting my way.  Was he testing me?

I was in the living room, with the big tv and the remote, watching Pretty Woman while he sat isolated at the kitchen table watching football.

This was uncharted territory.  I wasn’t even sure how to respond.

Was this some passive-aggressive attempt to get me to put the game on?  Did he have some dreadful news to deliver, and wanted me in a good frame of mind to do so?  Or was he simply … letting me watch tv?

I didn’t really know what to think.  So I pushed the complicated thoughts out of my head.

And watched a movie.

Random Acts

I remember the first time I saw the slogan.  I was living in Texas at the time, and was in New Orleans for a friend’s wedding.  We were at the local hangout, and it was plastered on the wall behind the bar:

PRACTICE RANDOM KINDNESS AND SENSELESS ACTS OF BEAUTY.

I was amazed by its simplicity.  I was inspired by its power.  I committed it to memory.

{ Source: OptimisticMinds }

Now, this was the 1980s.  There was no internet to fuel such a concept.  It was a grassroots movement, forced to travel by bumper sticker and magazine article.  By word of mouth.  By deed.  It was slow going.  If it was going to catch on, I was going to have to do my part.

I went back to work the next week and remember being excited by the concept, and sharing it with co-workers.  A few thought it as silly.  A few thought it weird.  A few thought it was as wonderful as I did.

And so began my journey.

Over the years I’ve paid people’s tolls, bought the coffee of the driver behind me in the Starbucks window, bought groceries of the young couple with the baby in the stroller.  I’ve given blankets to a homeless man, and picked up hitchhikers (I don’t do that anymore).  I remember sitting on the side of the road on Christmas Eve with an old lady who had car trouble. (Before cell phones.  You had to get someone to drive to the next exit to make a phone call for you.)  I sprinkled flower seeds in the empty field and watched them bloom.  I cleaned the statue outside my church.  I carried candy around at Christmas and left it in the tube at the bank drive-up with a note.

But mostly I just tried to Be Nice.  To as many people as possible.  A genuine smile, a cheerful hello, a simple “How are you today?”— while making eye contact and waiting for a reply.  Learning to be friendly, learning to listen, learning to care.

Talking about it seems a little strange to me.  One of the points of a Random Act of Kindness has always been that it should be anonymous.  (Touting them here is only for the purpose of explaining the concept.)  When the recipient of one of my Acts tried to thank me, I always asked for the same thing: for them to pay it forward.  To be kind, or generous, or helpful to another.  I had this pyramid scheme in my head that one day, people would go about their business, constantly being nice to one another.  My version of Utopia.

Twenty five years later, I’m trying to keep up the momentum.

Which brings me to 2011.  A few days ago I came across a website called JustBeeGenerous.com.  The concept was familiar: being anonymously generous.  But this added the ability to push the movement forward using a card, explaining the act of generosity, and urging the recipient to pass it on.  I was so excited!

As things now travel at the speed of Google, it took only a short time for the web site to pop up o a friend’s Facebook page and for me to learn that its creator is someone I know, the niece of a dear childhood friend of mine!  I ordered my FREE cards and exchanged emails with her, and am watching the mailbox for my JustBeeGenerous gear.

Her version of the concept added the missing piece – the message of the act, and the request to keep it going.  I’m so proud of this little girl I used to know, for making such a substantial difference to our world.

So, according to one calendar, Monday is Random Acts of Kindness Day.  (According to another calendar it was yesterday.)  Whichever day you choose to recognize, I challenge each of you to join the movement.  Practice Kindness.  Make the world a more beautiful place.

You never know whose life you may change.  Might even be your own.