Feeling Sad—but Helping Anyway!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, July 26, 2014

striped cat

Feeling Sad—but Helping Anyway!

Today was my niece Josie’s wedding day, in Tacoma, Washington. (I’ve already seen a photo from the occasion. Lovely! She looked so happy. As all brides ought to.) The wedding took place outside in a beautiful park. Many of my family members attended the wedding, including my two older daughters. But, alas, I was not able to attend. (For a number of reasons, not least of which was that I really needed to go to the two conferences I attended last weekend.)

I felt badly that I was unable to go to Washington, and regretfully told my niece so about a month ago. I did send my best wishes, good thoughts and prayers with my oldest daughter. Plus, I’ll be sending a card next week. A little extra wedding good-wishing, after the fact.

However, this circumstance frees me up to take care of my daughter’s cat. My oldest daughter and her roommate have an apartment not far from where I live. I can easily run over there and pop in on the cat. Give her food and water. A friendly, sometimes attentive cat! While I sat at the dining room table with my laptop, the cat jumped onto my lap a number of times. Rubbed her head and shoulders against my hands and arms, and was insistent about being petted. Accordingly, I petted her willingly enough.

This cat likes people! That is, usually. She does have her moods, and sometimes goes off to hide or to be on her own. But even so soon after my daughter left (early yesterday morning), the cat came running to see me as soon as I came in the back door. Eager to be with company, desiring attention and praise.

Reminds me a little bit of . . . me. Me as I used to be, as a teenager. I wanted attention. I craved praise and admiration. (Strokes, perhaps?) When I was a teenager, and afterwards for a number of years, I had a sad case of low self-esteem. Due to a number of factors, I would strive for attention, help out at school, church, neighbors’ homes, and also my own home. Also, I would go after praise and strokes from others. I seldom heard these compliments at home, so I listened hard whenever anyone sent a compliment my way. I valued them, so very much!

Now, of course, I have gained greatly in self-esteem. Plus, I have a faithful prayer team that lifts me up in supportive prayer on a regular basis. I regularly encourage and support younger and more tentative people. (But enough about me.)

Yesterday and today, I gladly went to take care of my daughter’s cat! I know the cat was very pleased to see me. Moreover, I am pleased to help my daughter, and to be of service when and where I can. Plus, I got to pet a friendly cat! A win-win-win situation.


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Being Kind—with Dessert!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, July 5, 2014


Being Kind—with Dessert!

I love dessert. Honestly, I do! Cake, cookies, pies, other baked goods. Ice cream, sherbet, jello, pudding. It doesn’t matter. I enjoy them all. (Well, almost all of them. Not marzipan. And I’m not wild about butter pecan or butterscotch. But other than that . . . )

I need to be careful of what I put in my mouth now, especially since I’m getting older. My metabolism is slowing down. (How slow? I’ll tell you—if my metabolism were any slower, it would be going backwards! Ba-dum, ching!) But I still indulge, on occasion. This weekend, being a holiday weekend, I called my oldest daughter. I offered to bring over some dessert, and stop by and visit for a while. My third daughter came with me, and we all had a great time! Oh, and we brought over some key lime pie and fruit sorbet, too.

On a warm summer evening, it’s a lovely time to have some refreshing dessert. Mmm, sorbet . . . and key lime pie!

I enjoy baking, too. I love to make Christmas cookies—all different kinds! And, I make a mean banana bread. So moist! I’m not a bad hand at homemade pies made from scratch, either. If I do say so myself, my apple pie is superb. (It’s the tart apples, and a little less sugar than the recipe calls for. Mom said so. My mom always used Granny Smiths, too. So do I.) There is nothing like bringing someone some home baked something. Even if I didn’t have too much money, or was pinching pennies in some other way, I always found a way to continue to bake. And make some kind of baked dessert.

When someone takes the time to bake or make something to eat, people are touched. They so often respond with, “Thank you so much!” or, “How did you know I really liked—“ , or even “This is great!”

Why not make a wonderful idea even better by sitting and talking? And, my less-anxious presence often goes a long way toward making people feel at home and relaxed. This helpful service works in congregations, works with long-time friends, even works with acquaintances and casual friends.

God, the verse I’ve chosen for the month of July is James 1:22, the part where James admonishes the congregation he is presently serving. I know this position can be somewhat unkind. Try to be kind, anyway! The verse also describes communication between God and God’s representative, and then some!

We are encouraged to take this verse seriously. “Be doers of the Word.” How can you be a doer of God’s Word, today? How can I? By a simple thing, like making a dessert? Good thing to think about!


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Lovely Afternoon to Be Kind!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, May 17, 2014

Lagoon at Chicago Botanic Garden, May 17, 2014 (photo-Rachel Jones)

Lagoon at Chicago Botanic Garden, May 17, 2014 (photo-Rachel Jones)

Lovely Afternoon to Be Kind!

So there we were, on our way up to the Chicago Botanic Garden. Absolutely gorgeous May afternoon. The sky was blue, and partly cloudy. With big cumulonimbus clouds stacked in huge piles around the sky. A great day to be outside, and especially going to such a wonderful place as the Botanic Garden!

My daughter wanted some lunch, so we stopped at a Subway sandwich shop on our way up Green Bay Road. As we got out of the car in the jam-packed strip mall parking lot, I noticed the car next to us, on the north side. Being a friendly sort of person, I smiled at the man standing next to the car. He nodded back at me, but didn’t smile. That’s okay. Sometimes people don’t feel like smiling.

We walked the short distance to the sandwich place, stood in line, got our order, and went upstairs to the cute seating area (first Subway I’ve ever seen that was two floors!). My daughter and I often have excellent conversations: today at lunch was no exception. After the leisurely lunch (did I mention the wonderful conversationalist I had to talk to?), she and I walked back to the car. There was the same car. And there was the man—still waiting. Or just standing there. He was on the shorter side, almost compact. Small mustache, light gray jacket, still hanging out next to his car.

I almost drove off without a second thought. Almost. Then, I did have second thoughts. And third ones, too. I put down the window on the passenger side of the car while my daughter almost died of mortification. “Hello!” I smiled again. “Can I help? Do you need something?” The man seemed honestly surprised. “Hmm—n-n-no,” was his response. I stayed put. He continued, “I wait for someone.” He nodded at another person talking on her cellphone, some two hundred feet away. “All right, if you’re sure,” was my exchange. He nodded. I smiled again. Then drove on further north, on Green Bay Road.

We had a lovely time at the Garden. My daughter took a number of photographs, and almost very flowering bush and tree was in bloom. (Gorgeous!!) But that man wouldn’t leave my mind. I have found that this is what happens when I am supposed to pray. I did pray for the man and for his companion, the woman I saw at a distance on the telephone.

I thought about the man and his companion, when we were on our way out of the Garden, as well as on the ride to the nearby bookstore. I am concerned about this gentleman, and for his companion. I hope their car is working properly. And knowing what I do, sometimes? About people on the North Shore suddenly getting a change in economic circumstances. I hope nothing like that happened to him.

I hope he and his companion had a lovely afternoon, too. I pray so, too! God, please hear my prayer.


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