A Marvelous Kindness

She was wearing the sweetest little pin. A sort of wonky heart shape in multiple colors that was obviously handmade. It was so charming.

I told her how lovely I thought it was. No big deal, really. A common exchange between friends.

I expected a “thank you” or a “this old thing?” in response. Maybe we would just smile and both admire the cute little pin. Or she would tell me the history of it, where it was made and who gave it to her.

Instead, the most amazing thing happened. Without saying one word, she reached up and unhooked the pin. Smiling sweetly, she put it in my hand.

“For me?” I said.

“Yes” she said, “I’d like you to have it.”

No, no, I thought! These things don’t really happen in life. People don’t just give away their jewelry.

I tried not to accept it, but she insisted. What else could I do?!

I was stunned. No one had ever given me something so spontaneously, so easily, so freely. It wasn’t the size of the gift. It was the enormity of the gesture that overwhelmed me.

I had no words. “Thank you” seemed lacking and yet I was enormously grateful. Finally all I could say was, “I am so humbled by your kindness.”

And I still am. Humbled, that is. Every time I see that little heart pin, I am overwhelmed by the gratitude I feel.

She says I owe her nothing but to enjoy the gift. And I certainly do. That little piece of handmade jewelry gives me great joy.

I think now the best way to pay back my gratitude is to pay it forward. How fun would it be to hand this little pin to the next admirer, freely, easily, spontaneously and with no strings attached.

Just the way she taught me.

Best Advice

My mother always had good advice for me – for everyone actually.  She gave every girl in the neighborhood a good talk before each got married.  She taught every boy how to treat a girl well.

My mother knew a lot and was not afraid to share it with others.  She learned much from her life and was eager to teach it to those she thought needed it.  No one was safe from her advice.  Especially me.

As the only daughter, she saw me as the one who really needed teaching.  I got a lesson nearly every day.  It was important that I grew up benefitting from all her knowledge.

And it was all good.  Some of her advice was standard stuff, like “A stitch in time saves nine.”  No sense reinventing the wheel, she thought, when most things are tried and true.

But some of her advice was life-changing and learned through hard experience.  She always told me to keep a quarter in my shoe (to make a phone call home) and to never depend on anyone else to get myself home.

This good counsel would come to my aid one night during my senior year in high school.  I was on a date with a boy I knew well, and we were out with another couple.  We had gone to a movie (drive-in theatre, in those days) and were on our way home.  I needed to use the restroom, so we stopped at a gas station in a very remote area.

While I was in the restroom, the two boys thought it would be funny to drive away.  When I came out, no one was there.  I was scared to death.

Then I remembered my mother’s words.  I got the quarter out of my shoe and called my dad, who came immediately to pick me up.  Just as he arrived, my date came back.

Needless to say, I went home with my dad and I never dated that boy again.

From then on, I always had money for a phone call and was never in a situation where I could not get myself home.  Meaning I was never too drunk, too high, too isolated, too intimidated or too penniless to take care of myself.  Never!!

Today my mother’s advice still rings in my ear when I leave home for any reason.  Good counsel is good counsel at any age.

Thanks Mom!!

The Best Part Of Waking Up

I am not a morning person.   Never have been.  Probably never will be.  If I never see another sunrise, I am okay with that.  I understand there are pictures of sunrises in books and online.

So waking up in the morning is actually the hardest part of my day.  I don’t rise with a smile, eager to greet the bright sun.  I don’t look forward to jumping out of bed.  (Did I say “jumping”?)  And I certainly don’t start each day with joy in my heart and a lilt in my step.

So what is the best thing for me when I wake up in the morning?  The smell of food cooking, breakfast on the stove, nourishment wafting from the oven – especially BACON!!!

Ah, that wonderful all-around food, go-with-everything concoction, should be on everyone’s diet, bacon.

The smell of it cooking can pull me out of a full blown coma and carry me into the kitchen without my feet even touching the floor.  I believe it might be able to raise me from the dead.  It is that good!!

My friend Kelly has a T-shirt that reads, “There are two kinds of people in this world.  Those who love bacon and those who are wrong.”  I so believe in that shirt and stand by its truth. I am, of course, one the “right” people.

There can’t be too much bacon at any meal either.  At least I have never discovered the limit.  We just ran out of bacon, that’s all.

Now, the taste of bacon is an experience all to itself.  Wonderful, salty, fatty, hot, crispy. Need I say more?!  The perfect food, really.

Then there is the licking of the fingers and on to the next slice of greatness.  On and on it goes, until all the bacon is consumed.

There is never any left.  That would be against the rules.

Enjoying bacon is a full body sport.  Take your time.   Don’t rush.  Be thoughtful.  Lick every morsel off every finger.  Leave no crumb behind.

Bacon – the best part of waking up.

The Value Of Mistakes

Oops! Oh no! My bad! How we hate to say or hear those words. How we loathe to fail. How we dislike to make mistakes. But they happen so often. They occur no matter how hard we try. We all seem so prone to make them. How can we make the best of them?

Mistakes are positive, valuable occurrences. They make it easier to make decisions in the future. They let you know what works and what doesn’t work. By trying possible solutions and taking risks, you find out, eventually, what will be the answer, but not without many, many failures along the way.

You cannot, however, be overwhelmed by your mistakes. Analyze them and be responsible for them, so you are less likely to repeat the same ones but don’t be paralyzed by them. Always be willing to get up from every failure. Always be willing to take a risk again. Always be willing to try one more time.

Each failure is valuable information. Each failure is a possible resolution that never has to be tried again. Each failure is a road that never has to be taken because we know the answer is not there. That is knowledge and wisdom.

Mistakes can build self-confidence by requiring you to take risks. If you are not making any mistakes, you are not trying. You are not really living.

Dealing with failure means you are stepping out of your comfort zone – out into the unknown where only failure and success are possible. Staying comfortable and safe means you will have no failure but neither will you have any success.

Dealing with failure means you are brave and strong. It means you have the ability to learn and grow from those errors. Everything changes after a mistake – make it a positive change.

Every mistake is a learning opportunity – a moment of growth. Very seldom do we become better people during the easy times in our lives but we can make great strides during the tough times. Those are the times of self-analysis and self-reflection. Mistakes definitely help set boundaries for us.

Being open about your mistakes keeps you honest and humble. Your sense of integrity is improved when you take responsibility for your errors and look for ways to correct them. It’s not the mistake itself, it’s how you deal with it that shows your character.

Mistakes can allow you to inspire others. Any mistake and lesson you learn can be taught to another person. It can be a very moving and personal moment to help someone avert making the same error as you. In fact, it is your job to pass this knowledge onto the next generations.

Mistakes add so much to our lives. Embrace them. Learn from them. Share them. Keep making them.

Goodbye And Hello!

What a day this is to say goodbye to the old year and hello to the New Year. But more than that, I want to say goodbye and hello to much more than just a year.

I would like to say goodbye to all the mean thoughts I have had and words I said. I would like to say goodbye to all the grudges I have been holding onto. I would like to say goodbye to all the anger and resentment I have felt.

How about wishing adieu to the sadness or the self-doubt or jealousy I may have experienced? It didn’t do me any good last year. Why hang on to it for another year?

I want to bid farewell to all the negative feelings, non-productive behaviors and shameful thoughts that added nothing to my life but maybe a lesson in reverse – what not to think, feel or do again in the future.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to end this year by saying a final adios to all those unnecessary, unworthy and unpopular actions of mine?!!! Wipe the slate clean, so to speak and say one big fat GOODBYE!!!

And start the new year by greeting a better me with a grand hello!

This year I’m going to say hello to kind words, to promises kept, to wrongs forgiven, to successes celebrated. In 2020 I’m going to embrace fairness, kindness, inclusion, empathy and humility. My New Year’s Resolutions will include thinking the best of others, empowering others and enjoying the successes of others.

I want my New Year to be the most positive, most productive, most rewarding and most fun ever.And all I have to do is say HELLO!!!