Random Acts of Kindness

Random acts of kindness
Random acts of kindness

The first reference I had ever heard using the term “random acts of kindness” was in a movie I saw many years ago, “Pay It Forward“.  In the movie, a young boy encourages others to perform random acts of kindness after his teacher did something very nice for him.  Part of the project is not only the act of kindness but for the person to also “pay it forward” and encourage the person involved to also repeat the action for someone else.  The idea is that this will make the world a better place one person at a time.  I was amazed at the concept and loved the movie, but years later when I was teaching inner city school, it was announced that there would be an assembly.  The speaker was one of the directors with the Pay It Forward organization.  I discovered that the organization worked with the students to encourage kindness and sharing through random acts of kindness.  I had the overwhelming reaction of what a wonderful idea not only the organization is but that they would target inner city schools where often fighting and bullying is common place.

I remember acts of kindness that have been bestowed on me through my life many were by friends and family, but the ones from people you don’t know and are so unexpected are pressed into your memory.  Once when I had to take a leave of absence from my teaching job, a church in the community  left me a gift bag and an encouraging note saying that thing would get better, just have faith.  I did not know anyone in this church nor had ever attended their services.  I still carry the note in my wallet because I want to be reminded of the feeling it gave me.

Other examples of random kindness can be found through volunteerism.  There are many volunteers that unselfishly give their time on a regular basis to encourage helping others.  This includes people who volunteer in food banks, churches, the Red Cross, the United Way and many others.  the important thing to remember is that everyone can take part and it does not cost anything to participate.  Kindness encourages the world to become a better place.

Please visit the Random Acts of Kindness blogspot:


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Memorial Day Tribute – Tradtional Holiday

As I was driving yesterday to visit with my sister I went through Duluth, Ga., a small town that every year for both Veterans Day and Memorial Day honors our veterans in a very special way.  The citizens line the busy street, 4 lanes wide, with white crosses topped with American flags.  Each cross identifies the soldier by name and the war served in. It is a very striking display with the flags proudly swirling in the wind as the cars rush by.  Not only is it a beautiful and striking display but also an important reminder for us to remember those that lost their lives to protect us and our future.

The history of Memorial Day is an interesting blend of different events. Originally it was called Decoration Day, because of the women that would decorate the graves of the confederate soldiers before the end of the Civil War.  According to the Memorial Day history website,“Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) to ensure a three-day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.”

Memorial Day Tribute
Duluth, Ga. Memorial Day Tribute with flags and crosses

It occurred to me as I viewed the display of crosses and flags along the roads of Duluth all the time and respect that is freely given each time this display is set up for Memorial Day and Veterans Day.  By doing this these kind-hearted people are reminding us to take time to remember those that so unselfishly gave their lives for the citizens of America and defended our freedom.  Any small act of remembrance that each of us can offer such as displaying American flags on our mailboxes can help others remember and show respect for this important holiday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Families – International Day of Families

 

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Many of the traditional holidays are recognized and celebrated regularly year in and year out since they are etched in our memory from the time we were children.  One observance I was not familiar with is International Day of Families that is celebrated on May 15.

The holiday recognizes the importance of family and our personal relationships and encourages spending quality time with those we care for. The General Assembly of the United Nations created the holiday in 1992. It is a global observance and not a public holiday. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Advancing Social Integration and Intergenerational Solidarity.”

International Day of Families is celebrated with a range or events that are organized at local, national, and international levels including workshops, seminars and policy meeting for public officials; exhibitions and organized discussions to raise awareness of the annual theme; educational sessions for children and young people; and the launch of campaigns for public policies to strengthen and support family units.

The recognition of International Day of Families helps us realize the importance of our family and personal relationships and the priority that they should have in our lives.

 

 

Mother’s Day Remembered

 

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I can remember as a child always trying to think of something I could give my mother for Mother’s Day.  Before I had an allowance or worked a part-time job, I would try to think of something I could make her or would hunt for a pretty flower in the yard.  I always came up with something and she was always grateful no matter how simple the gift.  When I became a mother she would give me a present also.  I felt this was underserved but she told me that I was a mother now too and I needed to be remembered.  As the years past and she became not only a grandmother but a great-grandmother, she expressed complete joy at the mere mention of any little story or glimpse of a photo of the great-grandchildren. When she became ill and was confined to a nursing home one of her most prized possessions was a picture of my granddaughter, her great-granddaughter, 6 months old at the time. She kept the photo right beside her on the table where she could constantly see it. She became very ill after this and her last Mother’s Day and I once again was trying to think of something I could give her.  This time the selection was more difficult trying to choose something that she could use in the nursing home.  I chose a sunrise cactus plant that was full of beautiful fuchsia blooms.  I knew she would love it but sadly enough she was not conscious enough to acknowledge it that Mother’s Day.  She passed away about two weeks later.  Mother’s Day seems empty now but I hold in my heart something she told me that I will never forget.  She told me that I was a good mother to my children and she was very proud of that. Assuring me she told me she knew this was true because I read books to my children before they went to bed each night.  She apologized that she never did that for me, saying that no one did for her and so she did not realize that was how you became a good mother.  I am sure there are many other qualifications women need to have to be qualified as a good mother, but the fact that my own mother recognized and put me in this category is of great satisfaction to me this and every Mother’s Day.  I still have the sunrise cactus plant I gave her and after 7 years it finally bloomed again.  I think it is because my mother is looking down from heaven and smiling in acknowledgment of me becoming an author and illustrator of children’s books in the same year, and that I am painting and working on my art as she encouraged me to as a child.

May 5 is Cinco de Mayo

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May 5 is the day that Cinco de Mayo is celebrated each year.  What is the history of this traditional Mexican holiday? Cinco de Mayo is one of the more well-known Mexican holidays, but most people assume that it is celebrated to commemorate Mexico’s independence.  Actually it is to commemorate a largely unknown conflict between Mexican patriots and the invading French forces in 1862. Napoleon III set out to expand the French empire by sending the army to occupy Mexico City and install a proxy ruler. The undermanned and under trained Mexican forces under the command of General Ignacio Zaragoza repelled 6,000 of Napoleon’s finest troops outside the city of Puebla on May 5. Mexico did win the battle but it was only the beginning of a prolonged occupation of the French that ultimately ended in 1867.

How is this holiday celebrated in Mexico?  There are parades to especially honor the military. Celebrations also take place in a Zocalo which each city has as a place of celebration. A fair with rides may also be available for the celebration. There are sometimes reenactments of the battle of Cinco de Mayo. People also enjoy music, laughter, and decorations with bright, vibrant colors, and food. One of the more popular traditional dishes is mole poblano. It is a thick spicy sauce made from than 40 ingredients. It is served on top of turkey or chicken with Mexican style rice. Cinco de Mayo celebrated on May 5 is a holiday rich in tradition and Mexican culture that all people can enjoy.

 

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