Category Archives: Little Things

The Power of Love and Compliments

I'll Give You All I Can...
Brandon Christopher Warren / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”                               ~ Leo Buscaglia

 

I have made it a practice to live my life by my own light, to not look for anyone or anything outside myself to make it all better, because most of the time I haven’t been able to find happiness or comfort outside myself.

Sometimes, though, there is a refreshing moment of love and caring from someone else that does bring unexpected joy.

Today my teenage daughter sent me an unexpected e-card before 8 am. It said, among other things “I love you for everything you do and everything you put up with.” It also said that she thought I was the best mom in the world.

Wow.

It was definitely a very special moment for me, a reminder that happiness can be found in the love we are surrounded by, the love that is sometimes clearly expressed by other people.

It’s not something we can count on or something we should look for. But it sure does feel good when it happens.

Sometimes people aren’t that good at expressing love to each other. We all tend to take our loved ones for granted and may not be very good at showing each other appreciation.

It’s amazing how much inner strength a smile, a touch or a compliment can bring.

We have the power to give strength to other people by letting them know we care. From casual acquaintances to very dear family or friends, we can express love and kindness to the people whose paths cross ours with a little gesture of appreciation.

Spread love and happiness today. It just might come back to you.

On Childhood and Giggles

late 2013 052“It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”             ~ Berke Breathed

 

Yesterday, I took the three grandchildren that live with me to the store in a downpour. I got them to hold hands in a big chain as we ran through the rain across the parking lot. All of a sudden I heard a splash and a chorus of giggles. All three had deliberately jumped in puddle just to hear it splash.

I couldn’t help but giggle with them.

At times if I dwell on the circumstances that led to the need for me to be so actively involved in raising my grandchildren, it makes me feel sad. I wish I had more control over my own life.

But that’s when I’m resisting what is.

The fact of the matter is they live with me. They need me.

And probably I need them too.

I need them to remind me to find something to be playful about every day. Whether it’s impulsively jumping in puddles or running in circles or jumping on a trampoline, the children remind me what it’s like to play and to have fun.

Because of them I can go places I probably wouldn’t go without them. I go to the pool much more often in the summer. We go to the park. Sometimes I get on a swing and for a moment can giggle like they do and abandon the stressors of my life.

We feed the geese. We watch Disney movies. We build puzzles and towers. We bake cookies.

And I realize that at times I am not teaching them about life as much as they are teaching me.

They are reminding me about the joy of each new day, where inevitably there is something new to discover and experience.

It’s kind of like experiencing childhood all over again.

It’s not too late.

Random Acts of Kindness

SONY DSC“Kindness is like snow—it beautifies everything it covers.”

                                         ~ Croft M. Pentz, The Complete Book of Zingers

 

My day started off a bit rocky. It was pouring rain and I stepped into an inch of water while I walked the dog, soaking my feet at 6:30 a.m. As I was driving to the grocery store, I almost got in a car accident because it was so misty and foggy that I couldn’t see where I was going.

I was shaken up by the near-accident and I felt like I was surrounded by cars rushing by me and trying to run me off the road, and it wasn’t even 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning. An aura of negativity was starting to surround me. I walked into the food store, and when I tried to retrieve a grocery cart, it was stuck to the next one in line. I moved to the next line of carts only to find that I couldn’t retrieve one there either. With my frustration building, I pushed and pulled the cart to no avail.

With the negative fog planted firmly around me, I might have had a meltdown then and there, when a stranger came over to me and helped me detangle the cart. And she even gave me a smile.

Simple, random acts of kindness can make a huge difference in a person’s life.

I remember when my husband was on hospice care, the final months of his life were extremely stressful. I was often up around the clock taking care of him, but still had to go to work on an hour or two of sleep.

Little things mean a lot when you are exhausted and your heart hurts. A smile from a cashier or a wave from another driver often lifted me up so I could take the next few steps.

As Blanche said in A Streetcar Named Desire, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

Let’s look for reasons to be kind to strangers today.

Your small act of kindness may be just what they need to get through the day.

photo by: Matt Brittaine

Why Be Sad When It Rains?

rain on water “For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.”

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

Years ago, the Carpenters sang a song called “Rainy Days and Mondays.” In this song, Karen Carpenter crooned “rainy days and Mondays always get me down.”

Does it really have to be that way? Do we have to feel down just because it’s raining?

To some, rain brings with it a sense of dreariness and sadness. Everything appears gray. People want to curl up indoors and avoid getting wet.

My dog, at six years old, still tries to avoid going out in the rain. My teenage daughter on the other hand, loves rain. Nothing makes her giggle so much as going outside, turning her face to the downpour and getting soaked.

To her, gray is beautiful.

Which brings us back to the #1 rule of learning happiness.

The old cliché states that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Likewise, joy and happiness are reactions you choose, no matter what your circumstances.

Just because it’s raining – or it’s Monday – doesn’t mean you have to have a bad day. It doesn’t mean you have to revel in sadness or grumpiness or even anger.

Without rain, the grass turns brown. The ponds dry up. The fish die.

Without rain there are no rainbows.

Some people don’t get reactive to rainy days until there are several of them in a row. Then they start to get caught up in the sense that it shouldn’t be raining anymore.

But the truth is that everything is the way it’s supposed to be.

Life is full of beauty and perfection.

Rain has its own beauty. The smell of rain is the scent of the earth and air being cleansed. If you close your eyes and listen to the drumlike patter of the rain on the roof, the sound is very soothing.

Everything is as it should be.

The rain will pass.

Let it rain.

A Few of My Favorite Things

5 days
DomiKetu / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things”   ~ lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II

 

These lyrics from The Sound of Music pretty much always bring a smile to my face. Although I have to say that the things referenced in the song are a bit odd (to me at least), the idea of making lists of things we like definitely seems to be a good way to focus on life’s positive things….in other words, it’s a great way of learning happiness.

Here are a few of my favorite things:

I spent many years living in a small city in Massachusetts that bordered the ocean. Walking along the beach, inhaling the soothing scent of saltwater and listening to the waves and the seagulls is one of the most spiritual and soothing things I can think of.

I love the sound of my children’s and grandchildren’s giggles and laughter.

I find the burst of red color of a cardinal to be breathtaking.

And here is a list of several more:

  1. The smell of coffee perking in the morning
  2. Cheesecake
  3. Christmas lights
  4. The ability to read; getting lost in books
  5. The sound of a tennis ball being hit back and forth across the net
  6. Weeping willows
  7. Large birds of prey
  8. The color green
  9. Classic rock music
  10. A rare moment of peace and quiet

 

I have to conclude this conversation on my favorite things by saying that reading quotes and other wisdom shared by others is one of my very favorite things.

What are a few of your favorite things?