Tag Archive: kindness


Originally, I was going to title this one Get In, Get Out & Get On With It because it was raining again and I just wanted to get to the tree, take the photo and get on with my day. Here’s a reality check…as “responsible” adults, sometimes we’re going to have to do stuff that we just plain old, flat out, DON’T want to do. I’m learning that the best way to deal with these situations is to just deal with it and move on. No point in wasting time dreading it if you know you have to do it sooner or later. Forget later…sooner is better. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t dreading my walk this morning. I just had a feeling it wasn’t going to be one of the more enjoyable ones I’ve taken. (Although, I suspected it would still be better than the train incident.)

Turns out I was wrong. By the time I got to “the tree” the outside of my sweatshirt (which was a gift and I love because it’s from a place my mom and I visited years ago and the color makes me happy) was definitely getting soaked, but I was still dry.

My glasses were also showing the effects of the rain and I realized I could probably see better without them even though my vision is horrendous.

The challenge I posted on facebook earlier in the morning popped into my head. Do something new today. Well, I’d never taken my walk without my glasses so I slid them into my pocket and continued on. Pretty much everything was ridiculously blurry and I wondered how I was going to take any more photos. Then something caught my eye. I had no idea what it was so I took a picture hoping I’d be able to figure out later what it was.

It’s bright and colorful so I’m thinking some kind of wrapper.

As I continued on, I started taking pictures of only the things that stood out in the otherwise dark, blurry and mostly green and brown surroundings.

Beginning to see a pattern here?

If I was surprised the day before that I hadn’t noticed the trio of posts, my discovery of many more left me dumbfounded. How did I miss these on all the walks I’ve taken this way before? Even though I didn’t have my glasses on it was becoming clear that something used to be there, other than just some random posts. I wondered, as I moved along taking more photos, if the bench from the day before would also catch my attention as it had before.

Yep, it did, as well as the bright orange construction sign farther down the path.

Did you figure out the one thing that they all had in common? Whether it was the shiny wrapper, the neon mossy stuff on the trees (which is even brighter in real life), the bright yellow of the paint and banners, or the pure white whatever it was, they all reflected the light. The dark path, the web of branches, even the deep green leaves absorb more light than they reflect.

If we want to get people’s attention we have to reflect light. What does that mean? It’s not about thinking we’re the greatest thing that’s ever graced the earth with its presence. There are plenty of people out there who do that and end up making fools out of themselves. They may get attention, but not the kind that actually helps anyone. I’m sure we can all think of an example of just such a person who’s sadly getting a lot of attention right now.

To get the kind of attention that helps the people around us we must first spend time around positive influences. That could be reading books that teach us how to live more effective, powerful lives (might I suggest the Bible) or studying the lives of people who are truly successful (we may all have a different definition of success). By beholding we become changed. The more time we spend focussing on something the more we see that thing in ourselves and reflect it to others. If we want to be positive, helpful, successful people we need to spend less time focussing on negative things/people and more time looking at those who have achieved what we hope to.

Maybe you don’t think you have what it takes to stand out in a crowd. Even if you think you don’t have much to offer or have been rejected and discarded, to a person who’s hit a rough patch and can barely see how they’re going to get through the day let alone the possibility of having better days ahead, something as small as a smile or kind word will shine brightly in their otherwise dark existence. So let your light shine! Be a reflection of the all the good that surrounds us so others can see it, too.

Even though it wasn’t an official walking group day, I headed out for a quick stroll around the neighborhood before taking my son to his basketball game. Since I was staying pretty close to home I wasn’t sure if I’d find too many interesting things to take pictures of. I don’t normally enjoy photographing buildings and I was surrounded, but was pleasantly surprised, though, that several things caught my eye. I guess I shouldn’t have been since we always find what we’re looking for if you’re paying attention. For example, the grass not two steps outside the door to our building.

Or the flowers already blooming on the tree…

…five feet away from the tree that was having a hard time letting go of its leaves.

Nature was spreading out and taking over, forming a canopy of intricate branches and deep, vibrant green.

Didn’t notice the almost hidden view of the stream until after I had passed it. Once my brain registered what I’d seen out of the corner of my eye, I back-tracked to see if I could get a good shot. This one’s not perfect. Maybe I’ll try again next time.

Another sign Spring is just around the corner.

Love these trees. They’re everywhere around here and each one is different.

Happy with the images safely stored in my camera and realizing it was almost time to leave, I headed back home. That’s when I saw him. He was sitting on the sidewalk next to a medical building across the street from our apartment, surrounded by his backpack, other bundles, and a sign that said FOOD. My initial reaction was to immediately turn left and cut across the parking lot to avoid him instead of continuing on past him. Just as quickly as the desire to escape an encounter with him entered my mind, so did a pang of guilt. I’ve been talking about treating people, even the ones society has forgotten or looks down upon, with respect and kindness and have even stepped way out of my comfort zone to interact some of them.

So why was my first reaction to this man to go out of my way to avoid interacting with him? Perhaps it was a hint of fear because I wasn’t used to seeing homeless people so close to my home and he didn’t appear to be fully capable of making wise decisions, but I know it was mostly because I didn’t want him to ask me for anything. Even though telling him I didn’t have anything would’ve been the truth, I knew I’d be uncomfortable. Yet there he was in my path, a person just like me, so I kept going. He did ask me for something as I approached, something I could give. Instead of asking for food or money or a cigarette, all he wanted was directions to the nearest place where he could get a cup of coffee.

It was a good reminder that it’s much easier to tell other people what they should do than to actually do it ourselves, but if we want the respect of others we must talk the talk AND walk the walk. We are an example to everyone we come in contact with, especially if we have kids. They hear the words we say, but ultimately imitate what we do and if those don’t match up they won’t respect us or embrace the values we want so much to teach them. Each and everyday we need to look at ourselves and make sure our walk is in line with our talk. Not an easy task, but like most things that push us outside our comfort zone, worth the effort.

If you read my About page you know I started my life a happy and healthy little girl even though I don’t actually remember those times. The proof is in the pictures. The one on the right was taken in front of the house I grew up in after my parents divorced when I was around 4. Some of the rocks on the top of the wall were loose and when I got a little older I loved lifting them to find huge colonies of rolly pollies, those bugs that roll up into balls when you bother them. 

The photo on the left was from a trip we took to Florida. No, that’s not a real alligator. ; ) You didn’t really come here to see the cute stuff, though, did you? I promised embarrassing photos so let’s move on. From my About page, you may be wondering, “How bad could it have really been?” I’ll show you.

 

Christmas morning was always a time for taking pictures. On the left, I’m next to my dad who’s wearing his Christmas pants. After he passed away, his wife made “Eddie” bears out of the pants and gave them to all of his kids. I love that bear.  On the right, another Christmas morning, same place. As you can see I’ve not only gained some extra pounds, but some super cool glasses, too. Oh yeah. But wait, there’s more!

 

 

What girl wouldn’t love a fur coat and awesome hat? Don’t worry, it’s fake. Not quite sure what I’ve got in my hand, but it seems to be some sort of raccoon(?) purse(?). Wish I could say I didn’t choose my hair style or my clothes, but I’m fairly certain I chose that coat. Once I was given some say in my hair style and the permission to use makeup, this is what I did to myself. Not much of an improvement. LOL! I suppose we all have embarrassing pictures from years gone by.

The point is that no matter what or where we came from, we can transform our lives into something beautiful. Pain and humiliation can make us stronger and give us the ability to be compassionate toward others. If we take the time to look around we can always find someone who needs our kindness. Regardless of how we look on the outside, we are all basically the same. We all need love, respect and understanding. Before we jump to conclusions about another person based on their outward appearance or behavior, we should ask ourselves if we understand why they are who they are. If we see how a person got to be the way they are then we can know how best to help them find some happiness. Sure, it takes time to get to know a person before jumping to conclusions about them, but it’s well worth the effort. If there hadn’t been people out there who took the time to get to know the real me there’s no telling where or even if I’d be right now.