The Kindness Blog: When Gratitude and Appreciation Become a Morning Mantra

Just wanted to share a wonderful reason to be grateful. (Permission given by The Kindness Blog)
By Carmelene Melanie Siani

The alarm goes off and my husband is up, out of bed, into the living room to do his sit ups and push ups, out the door for his 2 mile walk and back home again to unload the dishwasher.

Just after he puts the coffee on he comes into the bedroom, kisses me and asks me what I want for breakfast. We’re going on 3-plus years now and this is how it has been.

Gratitude.

I think about the days when I had to get up and get the kids dressed and fix their lunches and put a load of laundry in and start dinner and drive to work and work 8 hours and then stop at the grocery store on my way home — you know (or remember) the drill — and now I’m in this kind of fairlyland, dream-world life.

Thankful.

I look out the sliding glass door as my husband heads back out to the kitchen. A dove flies into the glass door with a thud. Startled, she lands on her feet, shakes her head a few times and takes off, sailing over the fence as if nothing had happened.

How grateful I am on behalf of the little bird. And then, as I lay there in my soft, warm bed, I think of all the living beings in the world who have hard knocks every single morning of their lives and of people who don’t have sweethearts to kiss them awake let alone to ask them what they want for breakfast. Refugees. Prisoners. Slum-dwellers. Orphans. Maybe even the guy down the street.

I am awash with gratitude for the plenty and abundance in my life, for the more-than-enough-to-go-around and for the simple peace of mind and the time in which to enjoy it.

After breakfast I will take a hot shower under clean water that washes over me from a spray nozzle, I will use shampoo designed especially for “color damaged” hair. When I dry off I will put lotion on my skin and clean clothes on my body.

Appreciation and wonder.

How did this happen? Why me?

The lesson however, is not to ask “Why me?”

The lesson instead is to practice opening my heart wide enough to allow all the wonder and gratitude in without diminishing it with guilt or with comparisons or with self-doubt or questions like “Why me?”

Guilt and self-doubt push gratitude away. They are ways of saying “No thank you.”

“Just be grateful,” I tell myself.

That is your calling now, at this time of your life. That is what brings balance to a world in which there is so much suffering.

“Balance the suffering with gratitude. That is your practice.”

It is a simple and yet so difficult thing to be grateful. It requires stretching and allowing and receiving and acceptance and it requires that you be … happy.

“Thank you.”

I remind myself again.

“Just say ‘thank you.’

It’s my morning mantra.


This article originally appeared in Elephant Journal.com.


Author Bio: Carmelene Melanie Siani

Carmelene Melanie Siani

Carmelene writes stories from every day life and how life itself offers lessons to help us grow, expand, and put our feet on higher ground.

https://www.facebook.co/StoryBelly/

Small Acts of Love

By Sherrie Giddens

I must admit, there are days, or even weeks, when I wonder if I am doing as much as I was created to do. I have read about people who dig wells in areas where water is not readily available. There are others who build tiny homes for those who have no homes. Some people gather up the leftover from families like mine, and feed the hungry. Then, there are those who clothe the naked and cold. There are foster parents who open their homes to children who have no home. There are also people who travel to the ends of the earth to share the Gospel.

I could go on and on. When I ask myself what I have done, I have no answers that would even stand up to this kind of love for humanity. I have said, from the time I can remember, I want to make a difference. My whole life, I have just wanted to make a difference. Ask me how and I would never be able to give you a concise answer.

Why? I have never been able to nail down a plan of any kind. I have no idea how or where to even begin. All I know is that this life was given to me as a gift and a blessing, and I know that when it is over, I want to have left behind gifts and blessings that have an impact on others.

To spend my life in a way that only serves me and mine, is not the way I want to live. But, I know that God puts us into the body in a way that is best for Him. If we were all eyes, there would be no feet. If we were all feet, there would be no ears.

There are a few causes that are near and dear to my heart. There is the Arthritis Foundation, and its programs for children with arthritis, along with the services it provides to others. There are the homeless who stand on corners, asking for help. Yes, I know they might use the money in a way that I would not like, but that isn’t my concern. If they say they are hungry, if they say they are in need, I am going to give them enough to get something to eat. The money is God’s anyway, He just lends it to me.  If they choose to spend it in other ways, that is there choice. There are the young and single moms who carried their babies to term and now are struggling to make it all work. If I could just make life easier for those who struggle, if I could make a difference, a real difference.

I do my best, and then I hope that my best is good enough. It isn’t digging a well, building a home, being a missionary, or changing the lives of those living in small villages on the other side of the world. It doesn’t even change the life of one person. But, it can make a difference in that one day, at that one moment, of that one person. I hope and pray that is enough. When I compare the love that Jesus showed to those around Him when he walked this earth, I hope and pray that I can show even a fraction of the love that He had. Sometimes, I am blown away by the many struggles around us and how little power we have to make the changes that we would like to see. But, when you break it down to simple acts of love, things look a little brighter.

Simple acts of love, they are like taking a piece of your heart and using it to patch a hole in the heart of someone else.


Sherrie Giddens is your family friendly author, offering titles in various genres. While many of her children’s books are not Christian in theme, they do offer a moral compass, or educational experience.

Her adult titles delve into fiction and nonfiction themes that span the charming side of Christian Romance to the domestic side of life.

She brings her life experiences to the written word in a way that celebrates an individual’s many facets. We are all people of various interests and as an author, she shares those varied interests with her readers.

Member of ACFW

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Sherrie-Giddens/e/B006MW3Y6M/


Wildflowers and Toadstools: When God Seems Silent

Have you ever felt as if God was not listening? Maybe you wondered if God was even hearing you. Sherrie Giddens recounts a personal experience from on top of a mountain, where she learns that not only does He listen, He also answers in ways we might not readily recognize.

This title includes photos of the Alaskan landscape.

Reading time is approximately 45 minutes.

Thoughtfulness in a Snowstorm

By Ellen Andersen

Everything in New York City was completely opposite of what I was used to. I grew up in the desert in California, with few neighbors in a small town. Most everyone knew each other and were generally friendly, offering a smile if not a personal greeting.  When I moved to New York City for graduate school, the difference in people’s lifestyles took me by surprise.  I was 3,000 miles from home but still in the same country so I didn’t expect such a culture shock.

Suddenly, I lived in a place where no one spoke to anyone else, despite there being millions of other people there. I’d never seen life move so fast.  People were literally running from one place to another, without so much as a quick hello.  No one made eye contact or spoke to each other unless they had planned to meet up somewhere.

Public transportation took us wherever we needed to go and people were packed like sardines on the subway or buses, not saying a word to each other. Perhaps they were focused on their agenda for the day. Or it may have been a way to retreat from the stress of fast-paced life. Whatever the reason, it was a 180 degree turn from what had been normal for me.

One day in my second year, there was a large snowstorm  there that dumped two feet of snow overnight.  blizzard-NYC Small Acts of Kindness blog postIt had been predicted, but the intensity of this one surprised everyone—even the natives.

It was cold, but the sun was shining and reflecting beautifully off the snow. Most businesses had shut down except a few grocery stores.  It seemed that life had come to a standstill, even in the middle of the city.

As I walked down the block, I saw an elderly lady walking with a cane and carrying a bag of groceries. She began to cross Broadway, but had a hard time with all the snow. A younger gentleman saw her, stopped what he was doing, and gently took her hand, helping her across.  He made sure any cars that had braved the weather stopped and let the two of them get to the other side. He demonstrated compassion for someone he didn’t know who needed help. It wasn’t a particularly heroic thing to do, but in the middle of the snow it made a difference to her.

What have you done or witnessed that impacted someone for the better? Share it here so we might all benefit from the experience.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.

Small Acts of Kindness: “Big Ups To this Dad And All The Dads Out There”

Once again, I share a wonderful post I found on the Kindness Blog. Enjoy!

man-on-airplane…on my flight back to Georgia I saw this man, who was a stranger to this woman, offer to help her because she was pregnant and alone on the flight and her son was upset and fussy.

He did not complain, he just told her that he was a DAD, and wanted to help her so she could rest.

This MAN walked the aisle most of the flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta comforting this woman’s son as if he was his own…

I was in tears…not because he was white and she was black…but because it showed me today that there are still GOOD people out there in a world full of turmoil.

Big UPS to this DAD and all the DADS out there…you are the real MVPS!”

#REALMENTAKEACTION

Twenty Small Acts of Kindness During the Christmas Season

By Jennifer Hallmark

nativity-447767_960_720Christmas. What comes to mind when you think of this most festive time of the year? For me, it’s Jesus, Santa, decorations, trees, gifts, and children. Also words like hurry, busy, rushed, over scheduled, and underpaid. How can we make the holiday season better for people we know and those we don’t? Here are twenty simple acts of kindness:

  1.  Smile and greet people you encounter. There are many lonely people out and about during the holidays. Even those working behind the counter of the supermarket, bank, or restaurant could use a smile and a kind word. It only takes a moment.
  2. Take your family to a Christmas play or musical.
  3. If you’re waiting in a line, offer your spot to someone with fewer items or who has children or the elderly.
  4. Be a courteous driver.
  5. Buy a gift for a child you don’t know through a local or national charity.
  6. Donate items to a food bank.
  7. Take the time to send Christmas cards by the USPS.
  8. Invite someone new to the events you participate in, like dinners or shopping.
  9. Visit a person who is home-bound.
  10. Send a gift card to someone anonymously.
  11. Bake cookies with a child.
  12. Offer to baby-sit so someone can shop.
  13. Sponsor a child from a needy country.
  14. Put holiday sticky notes in a family members lunchbox.
  15. Just listen.
  16. Volunteer.
  17. While shopping, pick up items that have fallen or been left on the floor.
  18. Place your shopping cart in the designated place.
  19. Forgive.
  20. Be kind to yourself.

You can be an agent of change during one of the loneliest and most stressful times of the year through a simple act of kindness. Start today. You’ll be glad you did.

And Merry Christmas!

smile

 

 

Twenty Ways We Can Show Kindness to a Hurting World

By Jennifer Hallmark

Our world can be a difficult place to live. kindness-1197351_960_720Terrorism, racism, weather-related catastrophes, and even everyday irritants can stretch us to the point of breaking. A small act of kindness might not seem like much in comparison to today’s headlines, but we can make our community a better place, one compassionate display at a time. Here are twenty ways to help us all get started in improving someone’s day…

  1. Pay for someone’s order at a cafe or the person behind you in the drive-thru line at a fast food restaurant. (Drive-Thru Difference)
  2. Send a card of encouragement by regular mail.
  3. Give at a back-to-school donation drive.
  4. Volunteer at an animal shelter or zoo.
  5. Pick up trash alongside the road in your neighborhood.
  6. Visit patients at a Veteran’s Hospital.
  7. Take a single mom/dad and her/his children to lunch.
  8. Donate to your local food bank during the annual Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.
  9. Volunteer to read to children at your community library.
  10. Give blood at the local blood donation center.
  11. Take snacks to the staff at the Intensive Care Unit of your local hospital.
  12. Offer baby-sitting services for a young couple or single mom/dad.
  13. Leave a gift card anonymously for someone you work with.
  14. During your shopping time, make a positive comment to each cashier you encounter.
  15. Sponsor a car wash, donation only, and donate to a local charity of your choice.
  16. Leave magazines or snacks in a hospital waiting room/Oncology Center. (Always ask permission first.)
  17. Donate a box of toiletry items to a women’s shelter.
  18. Take note cards, write encouraging messages on them, tape a pen/pencil/candy to the card, and then place them in a basket. Set it in a prominent place at work with a sign saying, “Free. Please take one.”
  19. Go to a nursing home in your community, make a list of supplies needed, and fill the need.
  20. Put together a help kit to give to any homeless people you may encounter.

volunteer-1326758_960_720

Small Acts of Kindness: Seven Dollars Short

shopping-879498__180By Gail Kittleson

The clerk whizzed my purchases through her checkout station. This was a store accepting only checks and cash, so I’d brought my checkbook along, and sure enough, fell seven dollars short on cash.

Then she said they no longer take checks, so I started figuring out what I needed least, but barely began when she said, “No problem. Seven dollars—I’ll take care of it.”

I stared at her , stunned.

“It’s really okay, don’t worry.”

Others waited behind me in line, so I thanked her profusely, and proceeded outdoors. Driving down the highway, I had to wonder how often she did this. Seven dollars is no drop in the bucket, especially when multiplied by more random receivers like me.

The thing is, we have plenty of money for groceries, and I didn’t look especially bag-ladyish that day . . . I simply had a need, so she met it. Pretty cool, huh?  My thoughts veered, as they often do, to Addie, the heroine of my latest World War II novel. She performed plenty of kind acts for her mother-in-law who lived just across the driveway, and for her friend Jane down the Iowa country road.

snickers-461902_960_720They did the same for her. Once, when Addie obeyed a summons to a law office in their little rural town, Jane drove her, and when Addie came out, Jane handed her a plain brown bag with a Snickers candy bar in it. With war restrictions on sugar, chocolate, and money so tight, Jane’s gift might seem small to us, but in those days, it represented sacrifice.

A thoughtful gift in the name of friendship—and Addie understood perfectly. On her journey out of a fear-based life to claiming her God-given dignity, small gifts like this meant so much. Still, she hesitated to eat the candy bar, so Jane asked her to eat it right then, saying she’d enjoy watching.

Some things, we’re simply meant to accept. I certainly didn’t feel worthy of that clerk’s seven-dollar gift. And for Addie, a Snickers bar back then probably might have equaled about that much money.

She did bite into the Snickers, and I’m pretty sure she caught the joy of giving reflected in Jane’s eyes.

That clerk and I will likely never meet again, but as she considered her day’s work, I wonder if satisfaction filled her at the remembrance of meeting a need. A random kind act—the gift that keeps on giving.


gailGail Kittleson taught college expository writing and ESL. Now she focuses on writing women’s fiction and facilitating writing workshops and women’s retreats. She and her husband enjoy family in northern Iowa, and the Arizona Ponderosa forest in winter.

White Fire Publishing released Gail’s memoir, Catching Up With Daylight, in 2013, and her debut women’s historical fiction, In This Together (Wild Rose Press/Vintage Imprint) released in 2015. She also contributed to the Little Cab Press 2015 Christmas Anthology,

The first novel in her World War II series releases on June 6, 2016—D-Day, and the second is contracted with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas for release in February, 2017. You can count on Gail’s heroines to make do with what life hands them, and to overcome great odds.

Meeting new reading and writing friends is the meringue on Gail’s pie, as her heroines would say.

http://www.gailkittleson.com/

www.facebook.com/gail.kittleson

author@gailkittleson.com


In-times-like-these-cover-203x300In Times Like These

Pearl Harbor attacked! The United States is at war.

But Addie fights her own battles on the Iowa home front. Her controlling husband Harold vents his rage on her when his father’s stoke prevents him from joining the military. He degrades Addie, ridicules her productive victory garden, and even labels her childlessness as God’s punishment.

When he manipulates his way into a military unit bound for Normandy, Addie learns that her best friend Kate’s pilot husband has died on a mission, leaving her stranded in London in desperate straits.

Will Addie be able to help Kate, and find courage to trust God with her future?