Tag Archives: Kindness

You Can Make the World a Better Place

Good luck with that!

This meme came across my Facebook feed this morning. And while at first glance, it looks like a good idea, it is not a viable option for any of us. We have all been struggling because of the ongoing and increasing outbreaks of the coronavirus. And now our country, the good, old US of A is in political distress in a way that it never has been before. Just when I thought things could not get any worse, here we are. (Giving you something positive here Good Things in a Pandemic World ).

My ever problem solving mind insists that I try to find a way to fix this. Realistically, I realize that I can not fix this. But surely there are things that we can do to make the world a better place. I will list a few things that I have come up with to make the world a little more pleasant for at least a few people. Maybe you can join me and we can improve our corner of the world for a handful of folks. It is a start. And a small change can make ripples that chart a new course.

  1. Call, text, or email a friend, family member, or acquaintance that is isolated and/or could use cheering up. We can all benefit from a little more contact from our fellow human beings these days. You may save someone from thoughts of despair. Or, you may just make someone’s day happier. Either is a win.
  2. Send a letter or card with the same intent as above. Everyone loves to get mail. The written word can be read over and over to extend that feeling
  3. Smile at people and be kind when you go out in public. We don’t see others much these days but even curbside pickup gives an opportunity for interaction. With your mask on, a smile still extends to your eyes. And a few kind words delivered along with a thank you can make everyone feel happier. The recipient and the giver.
  4. Cut people some slack. We are all under extra stress. People forget things, and get grumpy and snap. Be kind. We’ve all been there.
  5. Try to understand other people’s point of view. You don’t have to agree with it. But trying to understand keeps us all human.
  6. Adopt a pet. This will make the world a better place for the animal. (Make sure you can make a lifetime commitment to the animal so its world continues to be better!) You will likely be happier and feel a sense of purpose. And as for making other people happier, I’m sure those shelter or rescue people will be having a better day too!
  7. Pray for those you can’t help. Feelings of goodwill are certain to benefit them and you.
  8. Share. Numbers 1 through 7 involve feelings and goodwill in one form or another. If you can’t get to that point yet, share something physical. Donate clothing or other items to a homeless shelter. Donate food. Share books that you have read. If you want to remain totally hands-off, donate money by mail or on-line.

None of these actions is earth shattering. They are all relatively easy to do. You may think that none of them will change the world, but who are we to say? Kind words at a pivotal time can affect a person’s life altering decision. And that person could in turn have an affect on another’s life altering choice. And so on.

It is especially important to be kind in these unprecedented times. Just take the next right, or in this case, kind, step. Peace be with you.

Can You Tell Which Dog Is Reactive?

Shelby, upper left; Zekie, upper right; Baxter, lower left; Cassius, lower right.

Can you tell which of the four dogs above is leash reactive?

Leash reactivity, at least in the case of my dog, causes him to lunge, growl, and bark excessively at other dogs, people, or fast moving objects like cars, bicycles, or motorcycles. He is fine walking with any of our dogs. He is fine if people or dogs come in our house or gated dog yard to visit, be they known or unknown to us.

And this prompts my apology to the person we encountered at the intersection up the hill near the fire station of our township. I was walking four of our dogs this morning and a car approached the intersection where I was getting ready to cross the street. I waved the car on. The driver of the car waved me on, and kept waving, insistent that I should go ahead. This left me with no choice but to proceed. Very thoughtful, right? Indeed it was. The only problem was, this left me trying to walk with two calm dogs, one dog that was barking, lunging, and jumping at the car in an attempt to reach it and no doubt scratch it’s paint job, plus one dog who was barking because the reactive dog was going into freak out mode. So, I apologize to the kind driver, if the expression on my face was not warm and appreciative. I had my hands full and was doing my best. Oh, I was also carrying two bags of poop on my way to the nearby dumpster at the time.

The reactive dog has shown improvement. It is just slow and ongoing. I have learned that if I go into the grass about four feet off the road, cars can pass without incident. Usually. This sometimes puts me in people’s front yards. I hope they don’t mind. It requires keeping a vigilant eye out for approaching vehicles in front of and behind us. I need to have ample time to get the required distance off the road, and must remain calm while doing so as not to insight a reaction

This is the kind of dog that is not for the first time dog owner, the physically weak, or the faint of heart. This is a labor of love. Ironically, if I kept the dog at home all the time, he would be friendly 100% of the time. Even with visitors. But, I want more for him, so we walk and try different training techniques. A work in progress.

By the way, the leash reactive dog is Zekie in the upper right hand corner.

Be Kind, Always

I’ve been struggling with something recently. I like to think that I’m a nice person. I try. But I’m not so sure that I succeed.

I had a friend that I used to talk to from time to time. We would do a few things together. We had some things in common. Dog causes and activities, go figure.

My friend made a few political comments and I discovered that we did not share the same political opinions or support the same politicians. I still cared about my friend but decided it would be best to avoid her for a while, until the political climate changed and such issues were not hot topics.

If I heard from my friend, I was always polite, but we didn’t do things that we had done before. Well, I learned recently that my friend died. This should not have come as the shock to me that it did. This friend was not a young person.

This gives me cause to ponder if perhaps I am not the kind of person that I thought I was, and have strived, and failed to be. I think now that I should have still gone places and done things with my friend. If the subject of politics arose, I could have said “let’s not talk about that. Let’s talk about something else.”

People are certainly allowed to have their own opinions. They don’t need to be the same as mine. I don’t need every one of my friends to think exactly like me. It would be a boring world. Another thought-how will the world solve various issues without discussion and multiple insights?

I do not have the answers to these questions. But I have learned that I need to be a better friend, and more tolerant. Maybe not accepting of some ideas, but caring enough to still be there.

I debated whether to share these thoughts as they are rather personal. I decided that maybe someone else can benefit from my experience. How will you feel if you discover that it’s too late to make a different choice?

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. – The Dalai Lama

Kind Acts

I have a day planner/journal that I use to try to keep a record of at least one kind act that I have performed for someone else each day. The idea being that it helps to keep me mindful. If I know I need to record something then I keep an eye out and look for opportunities. The journal helps me to be a little less self centered and to think about others. Now lest you think that I will have a book of 365 kind acts at the end of the year, I must admit that I miss many days. But truly, it is better to have done something, than nothing.

For today’s kind act, I was going to record that I took a day off from work to watch one of my nieces, who is 16 months old. Above is my face upon returning home so you know that it was a thoroughly enjoyable and fun day.

Upon contemplation, I realized it is a cop out to record this as a kind act that I have done for someone else. We played, we napped, we ate lunch, we went for a walk. Then we played some more. I was blessed with the opportunity for a bonding experience with my youngest niece. This was a kind act for myself!

I even got to take two of the dogs, Shelby and Nikki with me, so I was able to spend my day off with them as well. The only thing that would have made it better would have been spending the day with both of my nieces. But the older of the two is in kindergarten this year. (I did not give her permission for this growing up but I guess I will not hold it against her.) It did result in a special day that was just for me and Younger Niece.

So I will need to find something else to record in my journal of kind acts. Perhaps I will log the fact that I did not curse or yell at people who cut me off in traffic. The little acts are sometimes the hardest!


“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. ” – The Dalai Lama

I thought this quote would be a good concept for us to contemplate today. If you are kind, you can make a difference. If you are not kind, you can also have a different type of impact. Who do you want to be? Choose wisely.

6 Ideas (Or create a ripple)

With all the angst and horrific things happening in our country and abroad, I felt compelled to do something. But I felt I could do nothing to have an impact. Then I came across the above quote on my Facebook memories. Great words from a humble woman who made a difference.

Makes you feel like you should perform some heroic or prophetic act doesn’t it? But she was talking about a simple act. What are some simple things that can be done?

  1. Smile at someone.
  2. Take a few minutes to listen to someone.
  3. Tell someone you hope they have a nice day.
  4. Bite your tongue instead of saying something mean or telling someone off.
  5. Take a minute to write or email someone an uplifting note.
  6. Tell a young person they are good at something.

The first few items could brighten the day of another person. A worthy goal in itself. A few simple, kind words might also be the difference between whether someone is so down or angry or depressed that they take a life. Be it their own or that of other/s.

A couple of the ideas could make the difference between whether someone pursues their talents and go on to make great discoveries or do things that change the world.

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to change a train of thought and a course of action. And you may never have a clue. Granted, most these simple ideas will not have such far reaching results. But what if just one time, one of them does?

I challenge you to do just one of these ideas. Or come up with some of your own. I would love to hear them. Create many ripples.


Think you can’t make a difference in someone’s life? Think again. Everyone can make a difference, even dogs! This is Shelby, my registered therapy dog, sitting outside the school where we go read to the kindergarteners. You can see that she’s quite proud to be wearing her “I’m a School Visitor” badge. We visit here once a month and I think that we teach the kids that reading is fun and dogs are fun. And accepting. 

One boy is a student with special needs and each time we see him, his behavior is calmer. Last time he even sat with us and the other kids for a while. Now this may have nothing to do with Shelby but I can’t help but think she plays some small part.

I’ve taken other therapy dogs to a home for profoundly disabled children and I know for a fact that the dog calmed some of these children. Kids that aren’t normally verbal make sounds. And kids that don’t interact, pet the dog. I’ve seen the same reaction with older folks who don’t interact anymore. They will ask a question or call the dog over.

We all have a chance to make a difference in the lives of others every day. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture either. Just saying hello or sharing a smile can change the course of someone’s day. And you may never know. Your kind gesture affects someone so they are nicer to someone, and so on. Small acts can make big ripples.

If a dog can do it, so can you! 

The Gift, aka Encounter with the Ex’s Wife

Garden gate, flowers

I had the most wonderful experience this past weekend at a post funeral dinner. The funeral was for my one time mother-in-law (MIL), and forever mom and friend. The service was beautifully orchestrated by the aforementioned MIL. It was a fine send off, with some tears, and a whole lot of celebration of her life.  And there was a lot to celebrate.

Afterwards, there was “the Luncheon”. This was a somewhat uncertain event for me because it would be the first encounter with my ex-husband since our divorce some 17 years previously. And calculating out just how long it had actually been, makes me wonder why I gave it any credence at all. That is one heck of a long time!

I have remained family and friends with the ex-husband’s relatives over these many years. They continued to play an important part in my life, even becoming friends with my new husband. This was as it should be. I got divorced from one person, not a family.

There were some minor concerns in my mind about how the whole day would go. I didn’t know how my reception would from my ex and his current wife. Over the years I had thought there were some negative thoughts and impressions of me, and no doubt at some point there were. That would be natural and expected.

However, at “the Luncheon” my ex’s wife approached me with something to say. And what she had to say was this, which I will paraphrase. “Thank you for coming. It was very kind of you to come. Insert MIL’s name, loved you and she would be happy that you are here.” There were a few other pleasantries of a similar nature passed back and forth but this was the crux of it.

I can’t think of a more kind, compassionate, heartfelt gesture she could have made. This was a true gift. I didn’t have to wonder any more how things would go. What a special person she has proven herself to be.

I take a lesson from this encounter. Be kind. Always. It makes the world a better place.

Journey of the Apathy Warrior


 Over the Christmas season I had my Caring Revolution that you can read here https://sanctuaryacres.wordpress.com/2015/12/01/the-caring-revolution/. I tried to do one nice thing every day to increase the presence of the Christmas Spirit. I posted the above quote to my Facebook page yesterday, thinking, why should it be only a holiday thing?  And so I shared it, thinking everyone could stand to benefit from this.

But then I thought some more. Rarely a good thing. So I shared this post, now what? Does it become buried in my newsfeed, never to be seen again, except perhaps next year in my Facebook memories? That’s not going to work for me. So I am going to keep a log in my Creativity Journal and try to do at least one good act every day to record. So far in 2016, three days have passed. I did a kind act to record on days 1 and 2 but nothing for the 3rd. Today is the 4th day and it is still early so I better get busy.

I will report in on this Journey from time to time with some specifics and let you know how it is going. Please feel free to join this army so that acts of kindness may be spread far and wide.

The face of an Apathy Warrior
The face of an Apathy Warrior


Caring Revolution, Part II

I didn’t seem to be doing very well at performing caring acts during this holiday season.  I wasn’t sure if I didn’t remember the acts after I did them or if there just weren’t many acts of thoughtfulness. So I decided to keep a list. This turned out to be a very good idea because now I am looking for ways to be kind and show thoughtfulness so I can put it on my list. Maybe not the best motivation but acts become habits and this is a good thing.

First on my list was writing a note to a coworker on my special puffin notepad that I save for special occasions. I told her what a good job she always does of preparing some reports that I need to proofread every month. Her good job makes my life easier.


Second on the list is taking in a family member’s cat for “two weeks” while they make accommodations for a change in living circumstances. I suspect this kitty will be here more than two weeks. Infact I suspect he will never leave. I’m ok with that. Our cat population is down. By the way, I am taking him to be neutered on Monday.

Also on the list, writing some personal heartfelt notes in Christmas cards. A number of people have shown me a great amount of compassion this year. Especially at the time of my Mother’s death. I have some pretty impressive friends and family.

This morning I made a call that I have been wanting to make to the local newspaper. They have a column called Sound Off where you can make comments that are published. I thanked our township folks for having the display of Christmas lights lit up when I drive by to go to work at 5 o’clock every morning. It always gives me a smile to start the day.

Nikki  Shelby

And no list of kind acts would be complete without my favorite, the therapy dog visits that Nikki, Shelby, and I make to our friends at the nursing home. I’m not sure it’s fair to count this as a kind act though because I get as much out of it as the friends that I visit.

So my goal for the rest of the holiday season is to continue doing kind acts to add to my list. May your list be long and equally as fulfilling. Merry Christmas, my friends.