Passing along a kind word – or just passing?

A couple of weeks ago, we ran into Publix early in the morning for just a few things. We had a great parking spot right up front and center. As luck would have it, our battery refused to start when we came out. I know, I know – our battery didn’t really care how many things we were there to get, but on quick trips or stops, it just doesn’t seem right for our cars to give us a little trouble.

Anyway…we immediately reached out to roadside assistance, and they were wonderful. And then the wait began. While we waited, the spot in front of us opened up, so we decided to lift the hood of the car. We hoped that if anyone wanted to pull in, they would see we were waiting for assistance and leave that spot open for the help that was coming. It was really early, and we were not keeping folks from the only prime spot. (At that hour, there were lots of spots!)

After a few minutes, a guy pulled into the spot right next to us and without hesitation came right over. In the kindest and most sincere way, he asked if there was anything he could do to help us out. We let him know that help was on the way. When he came out after his short trip in, he asked again. Shortly after that, a woman pulled up with some little girls. When she got out of her car, she made the joke that ‘this was not a good way to start the day.’ She was very sweet and so were her little girls – they made sure to say hi to us, too.

We sat there for just under an hour. Quite a few folks spotted us, but walked right by – oddly, three of them were actually Publix employees and they never even acknowledged us! (How is it that none of the Publix employees that were walking by didn’t at least ask if we had help on the way?) However, four sweet shoppers went out of their way see if they could help us out. Those are the folks I remember very clearly. (If I had to, I bet I could even remember what they were wearing.) They stopped to take that minute from their busy schedules and check in with us as they saw our trouble. In my mind, their kindness still sticks with me…even today.

When we seize the moment to offer a kind word, or even make a funny remark, others appreciate it and it stays with them. Sometimes, we don’t have to chase down an opportunity to shine a little goodness on someone – the opportunity just presents itself.

I think it’s important to remember that, in a tough moment for someone else – whether we know them or not – an offer to help out or even a kind word might stay with them, and you might not even realize it, but the goodness resonates.

How ‘bout today we keep our eyes open? If an opportunity crosses our path, let’s not let it pass. It could seem like nothing to you, but it could be a moment that sticks with those you come across for a while, or even makes their day.

How about instead of passing on an opportunity, we pass a kind word or just a smile? Let’s keep the goodness flowing!

There’s No Expiration Date on Goodness

So I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus for a variety reasons. Stay tuned and I’ll share with you some of what’s been going on. But that’s for later. While I’ve been carefully plotting and planning my return, I had an experience earlier this week that really blessed me! I’ve decided to make it my first official post as I end my hiatus.

Without further ado…

Earlier this week, I attended a dinner with the Señor who was our Spanish teacher in high school. While I never took Spanish, I knew him because our high school was fairly small; I had classes in the rooms next to his. But I had lots of friends who took Spanish. (I took Latin and French)

This all came about because one of our friends from school posted on Facebook that she was coordinating a dinner. She asked us to RSVP. As soon as we saw the post, the two of us in my house said without hesitation to count us in! It was a few weeks away, but it seemed like forever. As each week passed, I became increasingly more excited!

Of course, we were the first ones there (we are always early). We initially ran into one of the guys in the parking lot he was early for this reunion as well. Now keep in mind Señor hasn’t seen us in a very long time. He came right over before we could get to him, arms wide open for each of us individually. He was quick to say he recognized Miguel, as that’s how he’d always referred to Mike. Of course he did – Mike looks much the same as he did back then, and pretty good, I might add.

Since we were the first ones to arrive, we had him all to ourselves, and the conversation began! There was no uncomfortable silence or standing around, not knowing what to say or do. We all knew how to lean in to each other and just started sharing as the years melted away.

It was only a matter of minutes before all of the other folks arrived, and we all had to give each other a hug. Just a simple hello wasn’t enough. Even though we all graduated in different years we lived in the same area. Many of us have known each other for a very long time. (Our high school was 8th-12th grades). We still have a tie that binds us in community.

Even though the dinner was in his honor, our Señor showed up with a gift for each of us. (I have a hard time calling him our teacher because he was and is so much more than that). Candidly, I felt bad that I hadn’t brought anything for him because I had thought about it. He pulled out an envelope with a picture of a map on one side with pictures on the other side. He had one for every one of us – not just a few. The map had signatures of all of our high school teachers, one they’d given him when he received his citizenship many years ago, and on the flip side were a couple of pics of him. I liked that he’d put his name over one of his photos. But of course we recognized him, as he’s made an indelible mark on our lives!

Somehow, with no planning of my own, I got the best seat in the house between Señor and Mike. Across from me sat a fella that I have known since kindergarten. And thanks to Facebook, reunions and most importantly, Words with Friends, we are still in touch today. I really enjoyed that the evening was a real group event. We had a big table and spent the evening in conversation and just basking in the goodness of each other and being together. I’ll spare ya all the details, but I could go on and on…and have, with some folks.

Before I knew it, the evening was coming to an end. When I looked at my watch, I was shocked at how much time we’d spent together because it felt like just a few minutes. We all agreed we’d do this again very soon – and I am confident we will!

I was so excited about the evening that I believe I talked Mike’s ear off on the ride home. I then had to call my dad and tell him about the get together. Before we hung up, I also had to say thank you. I had to thank him for where he and mom chose to raise my sister, brother and me.

I woke up this morning still basking in the goodness and feeling so grateful and blessed for such a sweet evening, and the community that is such a blessing to me.

As I wrap things up today I want to remind you that there’s no expiration on memories, good times and plain goodness! So take a minute to think about a friend, family member, or group of friends and just lean in, whether it’s with a call, a note, a text or whatever works for you. You never know what’s in store when you do. I’ll bet there’s goodness just around your bend – will you lean in, or miss out?

Look Up, Look Around, Reach Out

One important life lesson reiterated at D23 is don’t keep your head buried in your electronics. Look up, check out what’s going on around you…you never know who you might see or even have the honor of chatting with.

And while I certainly have my head in my electronics more than I should, I did try to take a minute – or a few – to check out all that was going on around me there. I certainly was blessed by it! While waiting for the Legends presentation to begin, I had the brief opportunity to have a quick chat with Marty. (I will link to my post about him.) I also met Tom Nabbe -he was very friendly, and I think he was wearing one of the best ties I’ve seen in a while.

On several other occasions I saw some other celebrities as well and even made some new friends. But of course, this lesson holds true even outside of D23.

Earlier this week we went to Chick-Fil-A for breakfast. I am very guilty of spending breakfast catching up on the morning news. I did take a minute to look up, however, and I saw a girl milling around in the ‘to go’ area. When one of the fellas from the back came out and saw her, he ran over to her and gave her the biggest hug. They stood there for a little while talking and kept hugging – and he kept saying ‘it’s so good to see you.’ She also would lean in and say ‘I’ve missed you.’ I found myself just focused on them…and I was even moved. It was just so sweet! After a little while, I walked over and asked them how they knew each other. I told them that I knew it was none of my business, but if they were comfortable with it, I was interested. (I had to give them an out, didn’t I? What if they hadn’t realized they were making a little bit of a scene?) The fella told me it was no problem. He said ‘I haven’t seen this girl since she quit working here and I miss her every day!’ I replied, ‘well you caught my eye and your chat just looks so sweet. It’s very obvious to an outside person that you guys care a lot about each other.’ Almost in unison they said ‘thank you.’ I apologized for interrupting but thanked them for being so sweet and open about it. They let me know it was really okay, and the guy said it worked to his benefit because he was going to hug the girl right then and wanted all to see! Now, while they might not have seen each other in a while (two weeks is what they said), it was clear that they loved each other and were very excited to have these few minutes together.

So here’s my question – or rather my challenge – for us. There’s a lot of ugliness going on in the world these days. Why don’t we take a minute and think about the folks we should be hugging or reaching out to? It was obvious that sweet girl came in just to see that fella. When he saw her, he made a wild dash to just put his arms around her and give her a hug. By the way, it was just a few minutes after 6am when this was happening. She had made a point to stop by when she knew he’d be there.

Let’s think about it – who is it that we should be reaching out to hug, or picking up the phone to call, or sending a note? I don’t know about you, but when I get that unexpected hug, call, text or note, it makes my day – sometimes my week. How about we agree together that, over the next week, we reach out to someone – even if it’s long past due – and let them know how much we appreciate or just plain love them?

As I conclude my D23 series, I have to close with a song, don’t I? I’ve been trying to find a way to share one of the songs from the Alan Menken presentation, and I think this is the perfect spot. He sang a few songs that I really enjoyed. But in true Disney fashion, I want to close this series with a song that I think best suits it.

Happy listening, and take joy this week in the goodness of reaching out!

Can you hold the door….please?

Today is Blog Action Day, and this year’s theme is #Raise your voice. And I’d like to use this as an opportunity to share with you a little something that happened to me this week that I just can’t seem to get off my mind and heart.

On Tuesday, we went to Chipotle for lunch. As we walked over to the restaurant, I noticed a woman in a wheelchair sitting close to the door. I also noticed a couple of people proceed to walk through the door, right past her. In each case, I also noticed that the woman tried to slip through the door with them – and, in each instance, they did not offer her the opportunity to come in along with them.

As we approached the front door, I asked her if we could hold the door for her and she was very thankful. And that was that. It didn’t cost us a thing – not a penny, not even a minute – we all could go through within seconds of each other.

So here’s my suggestion: next time you are out and about, why don’t you offer to hold the door for someone? It won’t cost you anything – not even any of your time. And it might give the person you hold the door for more than you even realize – perhaps something beyond common courtesy and kindness – it may just turn their day around. In the end, you might be the one who gets the most out of it…it can feel pretty good to simply do something nice for someone.

So in honor of Blog Action Day today, how about you offer to hold that door? That someone you hold it for doesn’t have to be in a wheelchair – it could just be the nice thing to do and make their day. More importantly, though, when you do pass someone who needs the help, why don’t you hold the door for them? You never know the good it could do! One random act of kindness can go a long way!

Mad Marchness…make your mark

Here we are at the middle of March. Many of you have been referring to this time as March Madness. I tend to refer to it at Mad Marchness. This month has been a lot of fun for me, many of my friends, and even my family. And don’t you think it’s more fun to refer to all of the goodness that has come my way this month as Mad Marchness?

This month is also one that brings to mind many sweet memories. And one of my very fond memories comes from my grandfather. We had lots of fun to say the very least, and March 17th is his birthday. He is one of the people who’s made an indelible mark on my life, kinda like a Sharpie. What do I mean by that? If you think about it, it’s next to impossible to erase the mark made by a Sharpie. I’ve been blessed to have quite a few people who have made that kind of mark on me.

Most recently, my friend Parker has made that kind of mark on me. He’s a pretty special fella, ya know? I mentioned him recently, and how irresistible I’ve found him. Today I have Parker with us, and he wants to challenge us to seek out a Mad Marchness opportunity. Candidly, I can’t think of anyone better to inspire us. So without further hesitation, I bring you Parker…..

Ok are you are you up for it? Parker’s challenge is pretty easy, and will certainly be something your special person enjoys. How ‘bout we all take the opportunity and maybe make a little mark of our own?

Are you in? Let’s do this! Happy Mad Marchness!

 

Irresistibly…Inspiring

As I mentioned recently I’ve chosen inspire as my one word resolution this year. And in my mind, inspire goes both ways. While I hope I can be a source of inspiration to others, I also want to share some of the people and things that inspire me as we go through this year.

So… that said, over the last year I’ve met a little guy and his family who have been a real source of inspiration to me. I can’t think of a better fella and his family to begin with as sources of inspiration. Parker and his family are so much more than an inspiration to me – they have touched my heart in a mighty way. His family is a unique tribe of folks with big hearts, lots of goodness and a fantastic sense of humor. Oh and I almost forgot – they are also big Auburn fans!

However I would submit that this family is far more than an inspiration to me, and I am not sure they realize how far their influence truly reaches.

Parker is the little guy I am referring to. And he is a magnificent triumph of the Children’s Miracle Network. Here’s a little of his beginning:

Parker’s Story

Parker today is very much more than this video.

Candidly, I find myself struggling to find the right words to describe him. I find that this sweet 6 year old is absolutely irresistible! He has never met a stranger. On my first encounter with him, he made his way over very quickly and asked me my name. After that, I was part of his ‘gang’ that night. On my next encounter with his family, without any hesitation he reminded everyone of who I was. He has a heart that is as big as the sky, and warmer than toast. Oh and I almost forgot – he is a very serious Auburn fan too, and often begins or ends conversations with ‘War Eagle’!

Today I just want to give you a little bit of his story. Stay tuned, as he has offered to chat with us in the next week or so. And he has told me that he wants to give us our next opportunity but knowing him it’s more likely going to be a challenge to seek out. I for one cannot resist that!

 

Save a rescue – Share a linen

Today’s opportunity I will keep short and sweet.

The Petsmart in my community is made up of a unique group of folks. Over the last several years under new management, they have been a blessing, not just to me but to the community as well.

I recently had a conversation with the manager of the store about their ongoing efforts to do what they can to support the rescues and other organizations – not just in our community, but in other parts of Georgia as well.

This morning as I dropped off my pup for Day Camp, I ran into the manager and as we were chatting, she mentioned to me that right now, they are partnered with some other folks to help out a rescue that is in dire need in Fitzgerald, Georgia. She shared with me that donations are always helpful. There are other things we can do to assist as well – for instance, she mentioned that old linens would be a wonderful help. However Fitzgerald, Ga is not the only rescue that could use help – many shelters are in great need and could benefit from our kindness.

So I have asked her if I can share the need and encourage you to help.

If all you have is just one old towel or sheet that would be greatly appreciated. And if several of us or more wanted to do this, we could be an even bigger part of supporting a shelter. In this case, due to the great need in Fitzgerald, the linens and other donations will be helping them.

The Petsmart in my community at 3630 Peachtree Pkwy, Suwanee, Georgia 30024 has offered to accept any linen you might want to donate at the front check out stations (you don’t even have to go that far into the store). If this location is not convenient for you, why don’t you reach out to the animal rescues and even the Petsmarts in your area – I’m sure they need could use some support in a variety of ways and I’m willing to bet old linens would be on their lists as well.

 

One dream can change the world…

Here we are, a little over ½ way into this month. Are you going to join us in this experiment to choose one word as your New Year’s resolution? Have you chosen your word yet?

As you know I have chosen inspire as my word. Over the last 2 weeks, there have been quite a few folks who have and are inspiring me, and I will be sharing them with you in the coming weeks.

But today, I think might it be nice to stop and recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. He is someone who was very much inspired and was not afraid to stay the course, regardless of the consequences. One of his most famous quotes started with “I have a dream.”

His dream was his driving force – it changed the world, and continues to inspire, encourage and plant seeds of change today.

Have you chosen your one word? Who knows what it might bring about for you and maybe even outside your circle of family and friends?

The inspiration, passion and courage of Martin Luther King, Jr., continue to inspire and encourage people today. And while I’m sure he didn’t choose just one word, it all started somewhere for him. So why not start by joining in our experiment. You never know – one word could be the beginning of something that might inspire and encourage people for many years to come.

 

Still looking for a resolution for 2015? Think about this

And so a new year begins 

Often it can stir up questions for us:

  • What does the year have in store for me? The people I love?
  • What is it that you’re truly seeking?
  • Am I going to make any resolutions? If yes, then what are they?

And this list can go on for many folks

Well, I’d like to suggest a new type of resolution for you to consider. This kind of resolution you are certain to meet. The degree to which you meet it will be entirely up to you. It’s something that if you ‘drop off’ or forget, you can pick it back up with ease anytime during the year.

What am I talking about?

Recently someone mentioned to me that at the beginning of 2014 he had been challenged, instead of making a list of resolutions, to simply choose one word. Yep, that’s right – one word and only one word. So after careful consideration, decided to take the challenge. And the one word he chose was ‘buildup’. Without going into details, he found this experiment surprisingly successful. Not only was there ‘buildup’ in many areas of his life that he’d sought and wanted for some time, but he also discovered that there were a few things he needed to, or should, eliminate from his life and he achieved that as well. And finally, he also found positive buildup in areas he’d never even thought about.

So, how about this? Why don’t we take this challenge? Let’s take a little time to think about it and then choose that one word that would be just right for you – just one word. What word you choose is entirely up to you. You may or may not want to share your word with anyone – and that’s fine. And you may or may not want to jot down a starting place. Some might want to keep a journal (or not), while some of you might want to just wait until the end of the year to review your progress {last phrase is just a suggestion}.

I’ve decided I’m going to choose one word and take on this challenge and see what shakes out for me. I’m going to take the next day or so to settle on the word that I think is just right for me. And then, I’m going to go for it

Calling all shopping cart ditchers

I promised as we began this journey together to write more often. I want to apologize right here in the beginning. I’m going through a bit of a season of loss and, while it’s not an excuse, I share that because I want to be clear that I’ve not lost my drive or inspiration. I’m still in!

That said, I begin by shining a light on smaller opportunities to chase to bring some goodness to those around us. So…I think today’s opportunity for us to chase is pretty simple. I believe if we ever go into a parking lot, this will be a piece of cake.

Over the last week or so, I’ve come across more than several instances where people have just let their carts in the parking lot right outside the stores where they’ve been shopping. It’s pretty simple to return your cart to the store, and if the store is too much of a walk, in most cases there’s a corral where you can simply push your cart without stepping in to connect it to the other carts.

Often, I will come across situations where someone has left one cart in front of another store – yep, that’s right, not even the store it came from. I’ve also seen situations where people will take the trash from from their car and put it in the cart they are not planning to return, either to the store or the corral.

I’ve also seen more than once this week several carts left in the handicap parking area. There are more than several reasons it’s not a good idea to leave your cart here. And in most cases, the handicap spot is just a few steps from the store in any case.

These stores are kind enough to provide us with these carts and even baskets so that it’s easier for to carry the things that we are interested in around the store – we can fill up those carts and decide not to buy what we’ve placed in them. They are also kind enough to allow us to take these carts with us to make it easier to get the items we’ve purchased to our cars.

Yet another reason to return these carts is because, when left in the parking lots, they can easily roll into another car….maybe yours. If they are left in the middle of a parking space, then it’s a space someone else can’t use…maybe even the one where you’d like to park. Carts left in the parking lot or half on/half off the curb are more likely to roll into a car. What if that car is yours?

One final reason to be mindful of this is that just one cart left behind can become a dumping spot where other people will push their carts. It’s like a blinking sign saying, “push your cart and trash here, let’s see what mayhem happens!”

So this week – just 7 days – let’s make a conscious effort to return carts we have used to get things to out our own cars. And if you are really feeling generous, and maybe a little energetic, then why not push a cart maybe even two that have been abandoned to the corral or even the sidewalk of the store the cart belongs to.

This tiny act seems small but its impact can go quite a ways. It will not only get these carts out of the parking lots, but you just might inspire someone else to return their own cart or maybe step out of their comfort zone and return someone else’s cart to the store or one of the conveniently located corrals.

So whadda ya say – is this something you can take on for the next week? I bet it won’t be hard to seek out these opportunities. And who knows the goodness it could bring to someone.