Isn’t that an amazing quote? I love it and it really resonates with me. I’ve felt bereft of my meaning in life since I had to go on disability 12 years ago. When I worked I felt like I was contributing to society. When I got certified in massage therapy I felt that I was able to give back to my community, to my friends. All of that went away with my Fibromyalgia and the pain and limitations it places on me. Now that my son is in school I’m able to volunteer in his classroom – helping in the computer lab, assembling the weekly folders, acting as the Art Docent in his class and all of these small things make me feel worthy again, worthy of being a contributing member of my small community. Really putting energy into doing random acts of kindness is also contributing to my self-worth and my place in the world. They are nothing huge, just small gestures and yet I know that for the individual we’re doing them for that we’re making a difference in their life. I like to think that it creates a small ripple of kindness that will flow out. Perhaps it will inspire others to do the same, for the folks we help out to pay it back in kind when they get back on their feet. So really what Gandhi says is true, in a gentle way through simple gestures you can create a ripple effect around the world. To me that’s a beautiful thing.
We’ve been rocking our Random Acts of Kindness the last few days. Joey and I were able to take our small dog Duke with us to visit my mom and before we headed off we dressed him up as an elf. When we arrived at the SNF that my Mom resides at she was in the dining room with about 10 other residents. They had just finished their lunch. Well we walk in and Duke immediately runs to my Mom, jumping up on her in his excitement to be near her again. As you can imagine this made my Mom very happy. When she lived with us Duke was her shadow following her everywhere, jumping up in her lap, etc. and he has really missed her. After he had his reunion with her the other residents began calling us over or making hand gestures indicating the same. Joey patiently took Duke around to each person so they could pet and love on him. Duke was in heaven as he’d never turn down a belly rub or a scratch behind his ears. It made both Joey and I pleased to be able to bring a smile to their faces and we’re going to make it a part of our routine to bring him and my other dog Hoss around for a visit every couple of weeks.
I was also able to help out Joey’s teacher this week with an art project that was to be turned in the very next day. Our school was hosting a Breakfast with Santa today and each classroom was asked to provide a banner expressing their interpretation of the winter/holiday season as well as acknowledging those that were participating in the event with well wishes. Our banner turned out great and each of the kids in Joey’s class got to decorate an evergreen tree that would be incorporated on it. It was a fun project for me and even Joey got in the mix helping me to design and glue everything on it.
At the same event one of the 5th grade classrooms was soliciting money to try to purchase a pig and so we contributed what little money we had on hand. It wasn’t much but every little bit helps and I am hoping that they raise enough to purchase that pig and to help a family out with food.
Anyway those are just a few ways that my family contributed to our community and the world. It is really rewarding for us to help out wherever we can as we all feel it’s the little simple things that made a difference in everyone’s lives. Here’s to hoping that we’re able to make more opportunities that add to our lives and those lives around us.
I’ve been giving RAK’s a lot of thought lately. In reflecting on my own blessings during the month of November I’ve come to realize how my family, friends and even strangers impact my life in small and BIG ways. This has made me realize that I to have the opportunity to bless others and have decided to start now and work my way through 2014 seeing just how many RAK’s I can accomplish. My family will be joining me on this adventure whether they truly realize it or not.
This past week I’ve been happy to provide a Thanksgiving meal to my husbands cigar supplier, and more importantly friend, Pedro. Pedro is an awesome old fellow from Cuba with many stories to tell. He’s a master chess player and has not only taught my husband how to play a good game of chess over a cigar or two but is working to make Joey a champion player as well. He enjoys spending time with my boy so much that literally he closes his cigar lounge to any smoking while Joey is there. His family recently relocated to other parts of the U.S. and he has been left to his own devices. He owns a small cigar shop in Carmichael, CA and basically lives and works in a 2-block area. We tried desperately to get him to actually come to our home to join us for Thanksgiving but as he’s not comfortable leaving his 2-block comfort zone we couldn’t convince him to do it so the next best option was to bring a plate to him. Of course it gave my hubby a good opportunity to pick up another cigar to two as well so it was win-win in his mind. I’m hoping that before 2014 is over that we’ll actually get him to come to more of our family events as we’ve adopted him whether he realizes it or not.
I was able to score a few hours to myself the other day and decided to go shopping. I managed to get a good deal or two on several toys for the Toys for Tots motorcycle ride that Larry and Joey participated in on Sunday. They looked so cute, Larry dressed up in a full Santa suit and Joey with his elfin ears and hat with jingle bells. The guys got to spend 4 hours with other motorcycle enthusiasts and the children in our community benefitted with thousands of toys being donated, along with cash donations, to make the holidays a little more cheery.
I was also able to shop for Larry’s tree angel that he selected from the tree at his office. She had requested a sweater and I found the softest one for her in a beautiful charcoal grey. That was all she asked for but I think I’ll pick up a few more items just to round her gift out and make her holiday a little more joyful.
On Saturday we, along with my in-laws and some friends, went to the Eskaton Care Facility and sang Christmas carols for my Mom and the other residents who wanted to participate. We may not have been in tune on all the songs but it made no difference going by their smiles. Joey, his cousin Elsa and their friend Ari handed out Christmas cards that we’d all signed. When we finished singing I went to the rooms of the residents who are bed ridden and gave them a card and chatted with each of them for a while. It’s amazing how such a small act can brighten someone’s day. I’m going to try to come up with a few other things we can do with the residents over the next several months since this one was such a smashing success. I’m thinking I’ll take my two dogs next, dressed up in their holiday attire, and do some visiting with those residents who like to hang out, talk and pet the dogs.
Joey and I are going to be making up some pre-packed bags for the homeless that we come across on our daily adventures. Not anything extravagant but items that are needed. We were thinking of tooth brushes with a tube of toothpaste, a bottle of water, some gum or mints, gift cards for some our local fast food restaurants, that kind of thing. We’ll also be donating to Joey’s school food drive, the 680 Sock Drive, and providing a coat for one individual to help them get through the coldest days.
If you have any suggestions for RAK’s that I can do, or that we can do as a family, I’d love to hear about them. Who knows, maybe one you suggest will be our next project and I promise to post photo’s of all that we do over the coming months. In the meantime I’d like to ask each of you how you can make an impact, big or small, to bring a little pleasure to the life of another. If you choose to do some RAK’s yourself we’d love to hear about them.