I Dream OF Cupcakes

Just the other day there was a persistent knock on our front door and a neighbor, who has cupcake1two young girls, was there holding out a plate of pink cupcakes. It was Valentine’s Day and school was  canceled because of yet another snowstorm so she was hoping to give them away to her neighbors.

My husband took two in and when I came downstairs and I saw these two mounds of sweet perfection I nearly wept. I wish I was dramatizing this but I am not. There, right in front of me were two vanilla (my absolute favorite flavor) with pink  icing and little white mounds of frosting on top  cupcakes. Shown to the right. I get happy just looking at the photo I took of the cupcake, yum.

I dreamed about them for the rest of the day, my saliva glands in overdrive, thinking about my pink cupcake, when I should have it, where I should have it but knowing for sure it would need an icy cold glass of milk to go with it. This was serious and I wasn’t going to muck it up for anything.

Sweets are very important to me and these, like angels from Heaven, gifts bestowed unto me, meant so much. There have been so many rough days behind us and I fear an equal amount of rough days ahead of us. These cupcakes were a respite from all that was bad and scary and unknown.

The randomness of a relative stranger, walking down the street in the snow to share her  cupcakes with her neighbors because she didn’t want to waste them was such a loving and kind thing.

Pink cupcakes. A random act of kindness. I will pay it forward…

Dedicated to A, J, and B

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Life, Celebrate It

Beauty

Beauty (Photo credit: TONY – M)

Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness (Photo credit: mbgrigby)

I’ve been a little down lately and cranky and I feel just a bit lost. I’m trying to get my footing in a very fast-changing world and I don’t know where I will end up. I know a lot of people, my age, who have felt the same way, even worse. The world is a very scary place, sometimes a very sad place and I know that many people are feeling its effects. I feel them too. How could we not? We’re getting older, if we still have parents, they are getting older and our children are just about adults. The sandwich generation is taking its toll, we are looking back over our shoulders wondering where the last 40 years have gone?

Today I talked to a very close friend who shut me up in about 30 seconds when she told me her aunt was having much more significant problems with her child, they had discovered two masses in his body and were in the process of finding out what they were. Hopefully, they were nothing serious but the stress they were going through was paralyzing. It left me embarrassed with my petty annoyances. Sometimes you just have to look at life that way. Yes, whatever you go through is real for you, no one is going to get down on you for what you feel, but in this life we all need to keep thins in perspective. Keep YOUR problems in perspective.

In the meantime, stop focusing on yourself. Today, as I had planned, I filled out the form to be a volunteer at a Hospice, something I’ve always wanted to do. A few days ago I joined a gym for the summer to finally get myself in shape. (I’ve already lost 30 pounds now I just want to be fit) I won’t have to look away from my internist or down at the floor when she asks me the “how much do you exercise question?” I am trying to help myself, to keep my mind and body busy.

If I do more, I will get more in return. I remember my father teaching me that, long, long ago when I was looking for a summer job in college and hadn’t gotten very many call backs from companies after sending out some resumes: “The more you send out, the more you call, the more responses you will receive” he told me. That was then, when people were courteous and he was certainly right, now, nobody seems to care. I spent over 20 years in Human Resources, calling every person, acknowledging every inquiry, what they do now is horrific. They don’t do anything, even after an interview. Nobody seems to care. They don’t treat people like people. What have we become? In a country that needs good manners the most for the discouraged or unemployed, people treat others horribly. My husband went through this years ago for 2 and a half years…we know.

If you need any helpful hints or have any questions before an interview, feel free to write me.

If there is nothing sparkling new in your life now or nothing to look forward to be thankful and appreciate what you have and don’t think about what you lack. Do some good in the world, some random act of kindness. Volunteer, offer someone who is elderly your arm to cross the street or carry their groceries. Hold the door for people, it costs no money and means so much. Celebrate what you do have and don’t cry over what you don’t. It’s really as simple as that.

Celebrate your life with wonder, grace and gratitude and even if you don’t feel like it, smile. Yes, smile. Sometimes if you “pretend”smile, it can help you as well as others. A very special teacher I had, long ago, called it “The Confidence Game.” It’s worth trying. You have nothing to lose.

I wish you peace, I wish you luck, I wish you hope.

Love Is Love In Any Language

It doesn’t take much to make another person happy. I’ve been actively trying and going out of my way to make sure I give extra smiles, be extra patient while driving (I never said it was easy) and generally be a nicer, better, human being. It has to start somewhere so random acts of kindness and going out of my way to do good has always been part of my life’s plan. I’m just doubling the efforts now. Maybe the people I am doing little things for will actually do something nice for another person and then another person….I hope so. In any case, it certainly can’t hurt.

I’m not the most patient person all the time, me of the rolling eyes and the heaving sighs. Yes, it’s true, I have been known to do that when I get aggravated or annoyed (ask my children they will certainly tell you) but at least I’m aware of it now and if I catch myself while I am doing it, I may look like a lunatic but I try to change that behavior mid-stream. I’m trying. Success definitely takes time.

This isn’t a new 2013 New Year’s Resolution, I frankly don’t believe in those. This is a general way to feed my soul and hope it helps other people. I just want to be a nicer human being and hope others want the same thing too. I want to go out of my way to do something I normally wouldn’t do. At the supermarket I am guilty of leaving the grocery cart near my car, that’s not nice. So, I will make an effort to roll it to the nearest stand, it will only take me an extra minute. I might complain about the cold weather to myself but it’s the least I can do.  If I do something nice for you, please pass it on to someone else. This country needs this, especially now.

If even one person reading this decides that he or she wants to do the same thing, it would make a huge difference. Check out the video below, you don’t need to know the language, you will understand the thought and the kindness immediately.

Love And Blueberry Pancakes

Blueberry Pancakes

Image by Premshree Pillai via Flickr

When I was a little girl, I remember throwing pennies up in the air so that other little kids would find them and be happy. This was not something my mom or dad taught me; it was something I just did. My parents didn’t mind; I think they were mildly amused. Eventually, I worked up to throwing nickels and dimes and imagining excited, delighted children got even sweeter. The first time I threw a quarter my mother put her hands on her hips, stamped her foot and said “are you crazy, that’s a lot of money!”  and it really was way back then.  I went back to pennies, nickels, dimes and, of course, an occasional quarter, when she wasn’t looking. It was something that always felt right to me and defined me as a person.  I never lost that quality, I just didn’t have a name for it.

Years later, when “Random Acts of Kindness” became popular because of Oprah I had a name for what I have always done. I now paid tolls on bridges for the cars behind me, I paid for a cup of Starbucks coffee for the next person in line.  I sent a little boy a gift certificate to Toys R Us after his mom died signed by “a friendly neighbor.” When I heard that one of my on-line friends truly loved a certain book, I arranged for a brand new, shiny hardcover book to be autographed with her name, by the author, who happened to be a family friend. Imagining that book on its trip from the post office to her house kept me excited the entire week.

When my son was about four years old we visited my parents who lived out-of-town. I remember one bright and early morning my son, whom we dubbed ” the farmer,” woke up at 5:30am. Everyone else was fast asleep so I decided to take him out for breakfast, just me and my buddy on a date at a local diner. We ate blueberry pancakes with sweet, brown maple syrup and drank bright orange juice from small, plastic glasses.

In the booth in front of us there was an elderly woman looking cranky and mad and according to my son, “really mean.” We could hear her grousing and complaining often, first to herself and later on to the waitress. I told him that maybe the lady behind us, the “really mean lady” was not mean at all. Perhaps she was ill or lonely or very sad to be sitting by herself on an early Sunday morning. I asked my son if he wanted to play a new game; what four-year old would say no to a game?!   I told him about a happy, surprise game that involved doing nice things for others that we could do together.

After we finished our meal we went over to the waitress and we paid our bill. Winking at my son and looking at his big, warm brown, excited eyes, I asked the waitress to please add the lonely lady’s meal and a tip for herself to our bill.  I remember the waitress looked astonished and pointed to the woman and said “for HER?” We nodded yes, my little boy’s face beaming. My son and I giggled as we left the diner quickly. We couldn’t let the “lady” know who paid for her surprise meal.  Our stomachs were happy, our hearts full and our faces were warm and radiant in the early morning sun. We raced down the steps, sharing a delicious secret, our hands still sticky and sweet, clasped firmly and lovingly, together.