How to Be Kind—with My Computer!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, October 28, 2014

hearts in hands

How to Be Kind—with My Computer!

I was not feeling 100 percent today. (I felt even worse yesterday . . . ) Being under the weather is unpleasant, to say the least! I wonder what God would say about me laying low, and not doing too much, either yesterday or today? I hope God would nod, and say, “That’s all right. You rest up, and take it easy.” I know that’s what I would say, if any of my children or my husband were at home sick. Or, not feeling well. But I can use my computer, even if I do feel unwell.

I also wanted to concentrate on the verse of the month today: Proverbs 19:17 – “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and will be repaid in full.” Coincidentally (or, providentially—depending on how you look at it), I read in an online article yesterday about several ideas for church outreach. One of them really struck a chord. The idea that resonated with me concerned a local school. The suggestion is for a church to ‘adopt’ a school in their community. Willingly filling a need for the school is a wonderful way of giving back to the neighborhood. And, it is a wonderful witness to the community, too.

Yesterday, I sent email to several members of the Church Council, telling them of this innovative idea. I received a go-ahead! One of our church members is also on the Parent Teacher Organization at her child’s school—a school in the neighborhood. She and I talked today, and I am so glad she can ask whether our church might be able to help with any special needs the school might have. Especially since the holidays are fast approaching, along with cold weather.

I suppose this idea was gestating in my head for about a day. On Sunday, two of the older ladies were talking after church about things they used to do for outreaches. Like, for example, collecting mittens, hats and scarves to bring to a Christian child welfare agency in Chicago. I know that my children’s elementary school used to do the same thing—collect mittens, hats and scarves for the needy in our community, too. (Of course, they are long past that age, with my youngest a senior in high school.)

I’m not sure quite what the neighborhood school will suggest to our church, but we can do our best to be ready. To be of service. Be helpful. Be kind. And if anyone would like to offer prayers for our church’s outreach to the elementary school, I would be very grateful. Thank you so much.

Gee, if I didn’t know better, I would think I’m starting to communicate this being-kind-sort-of thing. Thanks for the idea, God! May it be a blessing to many in our neighborhood. Including the good folks at St. Luke’s Church.


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Being Kind? With a Teacher and a Computer!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, August 9, 2014

yoga illustration  from

yoga illustration

Being Kind? With a Teacher and a Computer!

This being a Saturday, I went to the YMCA this morning for yoga class.

Have I mentioned that I just love my yoga class? And I love my yoga teacher. Awesome, helpful, patient. Her classes usually fill the large room, yet she keeps an eagle eye on all of the class members. In a good way, though. Three weeks ago, I moved up from the beginner class to the intermediate level. (I feel very much at the low end of the class. But, I can do almost all the poses now!) The class was doing the plow pose. On your shoulders, arms supporting the back perpendicular to the floor, and legs straight as you can make them, over your head. It’s only the second time in my life that I have ever done a plow pose.

As the teacher walked about the room, she came over and assisted me to try a variation. And then she continued to lead the class in the next poses. I exchanged a few words with her outside of the locker room, after the class. She encouraged me in continuing with yoga, and said she had noticed my improvement. (Such a kind thing to say!) She also said that I needed trust in myself and my own body. I responded, and told her what a tremendous teacher she was. I mentioned, “How important it is to have trust in a teacher. Like you,” I finished, with a big smile. And—I meant it!

I needed to stop by my work after I left the gym. I swung by to pick up my daughter, on the way to do several other errands. We drove out to the church, admiring the forest preserves on the way, too. It’s August. School time will be upon us before anyone knows it. My daughter is going away to college in less than two weeks, so I am glad to be able to spend what time that I can with her.

After I talked with another church member for a little while, I turned on the computer at the office manager’s desk. I don’t appreciate Windows 8, and unfortunately, that is the operating system installed. The church member and I were commiserating about Windows 8, and he mentioned that he was going to try to install Windows 8.1. I had a sudden idea. My daughter—the maven of computers and social media—was in the next room. (She was sitting in my office, on her laptop.) She obligingly downloaded the 8.1 update! Both the church member and I thanked her so much. I truly appreciate those who have comprehensive and extensive knowledge about areas where I am—at best—an advanced beginner.

So, people are kind to me each day! And I try to be kind, too. It certainly helps to make things run more smoothly. In terms of communication, operation, and personal interaction. God, thanks for showing me more great examples of kindness today.


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Of Kindness and Computers, and Then Some!

A Year of Being Kind blog –Thursday, June 12, 2014

BK language deaf hear, blind see

Of Kindness and Computers, and Then Some!

What happens when you spend almost all day looking at a computer screen?

Well, not quite all day. I did do a little shopping for food. And I talked with a woman and her daughter at the store. We commiserated over the high prices. (And this was at a discount store!)

The woman and I exchanged a few comments over our carts, it’s true. But as we talked, I felt her open up. She took a step closer, and became more animated. I could tell she and I connected, even though it was only a brief conversation. And our talk was a genuine expression of emotion, of connection.

I am becoming more and more aware that I need to be a good example. As a pastor of a church, as a leader of that congregation, people are eager to connect. People are watching, too. I am so glad that this woman and I were able to connect, since that is something a pastor very much needs in their life. In their “tool bag” of character traits.

The computer work I did today was important! (Spending hours sweating and slaving over a hot monitor! *grin*) I had to write several reports for a meeting tomorrow. In addition, I got a decent start on Sunday’s sermon.

I’m glad I am disciplining myself to write with more fluidity (if not finesse). Since I need to write a fair amount each week, I want to make certain that what comes out of my fingertips is pretty good. I judge others on their poor presentation skills and grammatical mistakes. I would be so embarrassed if it were me. I probably might want to crawl into a deep hole and not come out. Until, say, at least the Black Hawks take to the ice again.

Just as several of my friends and acquaintances find themselves doing a good deal of computer work, I needed to get things done before I left the office today. And, in writing several different documents, I served as an advocate. I also acted as an investigative reporter, looking into the inside scoop!

God, thanks for the ease in preparation of these written tasks, reports, and help me to continue to be on the look-out for opportunities to be kind, to be of service.


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Of Computers and of Service

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, May 12, 2014


HAPPY I'll be happy

Of Computers and of Service

Today was a computer day. I did a good deal of work on the computer, reading, writing and sending emails. I also read various articles and posts. Responded to several more, and communicated in various computer-ways.

I could talk about the interesting exchange of tweets I had today on Twitter, but the subject matter was rather esoteric. (I enjoyed it! But, I am not sure whether lots of other people would be too interested.) Instead, I want to mention a post I responded to. The blog is – and Marilyn spent a good number of years outside of the United States, and this blog highlights that aspect of her life. (Life as a Third Culture Kid—TCK—or someone who’s neither this . . . nor that.) Robynn also contributes to this blog—another TCK.

Today’s post was From “Yes, but” to “But God” and Marilyn spoke of her experience living in New England. How people there often respond to bright, happy comments with, “Yes, but . . . “ She then followed that up with talking about her snappy comeback: “But God!” I was intrigued. My mind started whirring. (Of course it did.) I started typing a comment, and it became more than a comment. It turned into a post of its own! Except, a post for my other blog, – The post is called “Prayer Lessons from Improv? Yup.”

I also typed a response to Marilyn’s article, which I posted before lunch. In it, I talked about how the “Yes, But . . . “ post had started me thinking about my two years in comedy improv. The example I gave: “. . . the saying, “Never ‘No, but . . .’ Always ‘Yes, and . . !’” If, in improv, I say “No, but . . . ” in a sketch, I’m putting on the breaks. The sketch runs out of gas, FAST! However, if I say “Yes, and . . . ” then the sketch gains momentum! It has the potential to go to further, greater heights.”

Lo and behold, Marilyn’s compatriot Robynn responded to my comment with, “I want to do improv in Chicago!” (Yup, Robynn. Improv was great. I enjoyed it!)

I so enjoyed giving Robynn some more information, in return. I talked more about the improv classes, but I finally brought it around to communicating in various ways, and specifically preaching. (I enjoy preaching, too—in case anyone couldn’t guess!)

I hope my computer-communication was of service today. I hope so. I pray so! Please, God, send me some good, worthwhile way to be of service tomorrow.


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Caring for Myself—As Well As Others

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, March 10, 2014

yoga drawing - Zakar art by Chris Carter

yoga drawing – Zakar art by Chris Carter

Caring for Myself—As Well As Others

I needed to dive right into the week, right off the bat this morning. Work today, running and fetching, some computer work, some necessary telephone calls that needed to be made. Then, I made dinner. At least, I started dinner and asked my daughter to finish turning the chicken in the covered skillet while it simmered. Why the hurry at the end of the day? Simple! I have a one word answer: yoga.

Earlier today I went out of my way to do things for other people. Yes, I did acts of service, intentionally. But I want to focus on what happened at the YMCA. In yoga class. The Y has a number of different classes and exercise opportunities each day. In the pool, in the exercise studios, in the big gym. There are several yoga classes each week, too. I am no expert at yoga, believe me! But the gentle yoga class on Monday afternoons is perfect for me. Yes, there are yoga poses and stretching that challenge me! But nothing is too hard. Nothing that the older instructor has the class do is beyond most people’s abilities.

I’ve been attending the gentle yoga class for about three months, and it helps me! The yoga teacher helps me, too. She has a kind and easy-going way about her. One of the biggest reasons I appreciate this teacher is the open, generous manner she has with each person in the room. She also invites people to leave their worries, troubles, and stresses outside the room. Inside the room is calmness and peace. We can take our time and stretch, and restore balance and harmony to our bodies and our inner selves.

Yes, I realize that there is a component to certain yoga instruction that is rooted in eastern thought and religious practices. Yes, true. But not this teacher, and not this kind of gentle yoga and stretching. I think this is why I enjoy it so much. But—I saved the best for the last. I find this regular yoga class is a superb way to care for myself. I run around most of the week like a chicken with its head cut off. (My father-in-law saw quite a number of these, and he said they were pretty funny!)

Sometimes I am running, or in a hurry, or worrying. Other times I am caring for others—my children, my family, my good friends, those at my work, patients or residents. It seems as if I seldom take the time or the opportunity to carve out an hour to rest, to release the worry and upset of the day or the week. That is just what my kind yoga teacher invites us to do. It’s no wonder I am dashing off to her class each Monday! I need to take the time on a regular basis to allow myself to unwind. And more importantly, to allow myself to become refreshed and recharged—as in this class. I am so grateful to the YMCA for employing such a wonderful teacher. Thanks, YMCA! And thanks, God!


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Helping Others to Be Kind

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, February 22, 2014


Helping Others to Be Kind

I spent most of my day on the computer today. Not the most exciting of Saturdays, but I got a great deal done. Like the list for my Lenten calendar. Yes, I am going to feature a daily calendar for Lenten observance. 40 Days & Ways to Be Kind: A Lenten Calendar of Service. And in case you were wondering, the sign-up hyper link is immediately to your right (right there –>).

Let me back up a few steps and talk about how I first came up with this idea. I have been working on getting closer to God for a number of years, with sometimes lesser, sometimes greater effect. For the past couple of years, I followed Advent and Lenten calendars and readings with mixed results. Yes, they did help me to get closer to God. Success! However, I wanted something a bit different this time. This put me into a bit of a quandary, but then I came up with it—A Year of Being Kind: 365 Days of Service.

For those of you who have been following this space since the beginning of January, you probably know this already. When the idea for this whole “Being Kind” concept came to me earlier in December, I felt that it was such a natural for me! I’ve been told a number of times that I often act in a naturally kind and tenderhearted manner. This blog turns out to be a great way to develop those gifts and graces, and to get more facile at naturally performing acts of service and ministry.  I know I’ve said it before, but I want this Year of Being Kind to be a year of opportunity for me. I have asked God-as-I-understand-God for opportunities to help others and be of service.

That’s a long way of getting back to what I’ve been doing today—which is preparing the Lenten calendar 40 Days & Ways to Be Kind. For the past week and a half, I consulted a number of other Lenten helps and calendars online. I discussed this concept with several good friends and got a few fine recommendations for acts of service. So, finally I was ready. Ready to compile the list from everything I had rounded up.

I had a few ground rules: primarily, nothing that cost a lot of money. Second, service-oriented acts of ministry and kindness. And most important, I was conscious of older or less-abled persons participating with the Lenten calendar.  I would like as many people to be able to use this calendar as possible!

Another thought came to mind as I compiled this list of Ways to Be Kind; some people might not have certain of these listed items in their local area, or easily accessible to them. That’s okay! They can always pray for those at their local facility, or at the place they just couldn’t go to, for whatever reason. Prayer is always a great idea!

So, that is today’s act of service: compiling the Lenten calendar 40 Days & Ways to Be Kind. God willing, many will be assisted in growing closer to God during Lent through acts of kindness, love and ministry!