Monday, August 30, 2010


Dear Lori from Faun Lake

It isn't often that someone we haven't yet met offers us a gift. When that gift represents an aspect of that person's spirit it is rarer still. I wonder, what does that say about you, the giver? What do I know about you?

I know that you are Maryann's friend. That fact alone makes me smile.

I know, through Maryann, that you extended me an invitation to join you and some friends at the Women of Faith Conference in Rochester, New York, in October. I accepted.

I know that on blind faith you committed to selling 50 tickets and despite the $80.00 price, purchased those tickets before selling any. You've sold them all.

I know that for all your friends from Faun Lake (and me) who are attending as a group, you've purchased a small gift of thanks. We should be thanking you.

I know that you have given me pause to reflect on the mystery of faith. There are moments when I am wrapped confidently in it's embrace, moments of frantic searching when it seems elusive, and then profound relief when people such as yourself help the rest of us rediscover our green pastures and quiet waters.

Thank-you for your kindness and inspiration. I LOVE the book and note cards.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Extraordinary Kindness

Today I didn't even put the paper down before I began to write this post. When individuals can reach through (what must be) profound grief to extend kindness I believe we all evolve just a little. Such acts of generosity touch the sole of humanity.

In today's story, 'An exceptional gift of life' two women, mothers of babies born four months premature, find their lives and stories entwined. Nicole's baby, Lillian, was born March 4, while Jennifer's baby, Max, was born April 16. Both babies were born at Overland Park Regional Medical Center in Kansas. Breast milk was critical to the survival of both babies due to the medical conditions with which they were born. Both mothers were pumping their breast milk for their critically ill infants; however, Jennifer soon ran out milk for her son Max. Nicole on the other hand, had a freezer full since her daughter Lilly was too ill to use it. They were saving it for her recovery. When Lillian died in May, Nicole gave all of her breast milk to baby Max.

On August 17, after four month in the neonatal critical care unit, Max went home for the first time. Nicole was there to see him off. Kindness can be so bittersweet.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Tolerance: A Special Kindness

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 F. Buscaglia

I facilitate workshops for sport associations and sport governing bodies that focus on sportsmanship - which is it's own special kind of kindness (and why we have sportdaks!). One of the messages we present is the abolishment of 'zero tolerance' policies. I never quite understood how they gained so much momentum in the first place. Municipalities and organizations invested far too much money creating documents that essentially sent exactly the opposite message to the one that was needed! We need to teach, model, encourage and reinforce tolerance in every aspect of our lives. Tolerance is critical expression of kindness.

When I came across this article in the Toronto Star the other day I made sure to put the story in a place where I could find it easily - not the garage:)Despite a history that spans centuries of cultural and religious wars, all it takes is a few individuals with compassionate hearts and minds, and an understanding that tolerance can change the world, to inspire us.

If you share a comment about an example of tolerance that inspired you, I'll send you some dakbands - for free!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Playground Kindness

I often save sections of the newspaper whenever I come across a story that may be fodder for a post. However, as you might guess, when I finally get around to writing I can rarely find the story that inspired me to save the paper in the first place. This is strangely frustrating, and convinced that perhaps I saved the wrong section, I spend an inordinate amount of time in my garage leafing through papers in my blue box. Thank goodness I found the article I had in mind this evening because my garage is like sauna (albeit a smelly sauna).

Please take a moment to read this article from the Toronto Star, it is the epitome of community, kindness and contribution.

Here is the link to the organization responsible - they have a really cool video that shows the volunteers building a playground.

If you haven't already seen our new website design please have a look, it's awesome. Of course now, I have to keep our facebook page updated and perhaps even try to tacke the twitter phenomenon.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Never too young

I had every intention of posting this story last Thursday evening - when it occurred. But, like many of my good intentions it was relegated by life. However, now that I have finally finished unpacking from our two day camping trip that began and ended with a four hour drive (note to self: future camping trips will always have a five day minimum - just to make it even with the time it takes to pack up, and unpack!), I have seized a quiet moment to share a great act of kindness I witnessed.

Last Thursday I ran out to the dollar store at our local mall for a few last minute items. While I was waiting in line, a couple with a young son about 7 years old, was at the cash register. The 7 year old was proudly marching around with a new helium balloon atop a long plastic stick. While his parents were paying for the balloon and a buggy full of other things, he wandered in and out of the store with his precious prize. A two year old in a buggy outside the store saw the Canada themed balloon floating on the stick and immediately made every attempt to exit the stroller and get closer to the balloon. When the older boy saw how much the little boy in the stroller coveted his balloon, he ran back into the store, grabbed another balloon, ran out of the store and generously gave it to the toddler. Unfortunately, the lady behind the counter was not quite so impressed, she wanted two dollars for the balloon. When the father saw how proud his son was to have made the little boy in the stroller so happy, he quickly and quietly paid for the balloon.

I ran down the mall, with my cheap parfait glasses clattering away, one pink dakband in hand. I caught up to the three of them at the ice cream stand and explained to the balloon bearing youngster that I had seen how kind he had been at the dollar store. When I gave him the dakband, his face broke into an enormous grin. It made my entire week.

Parents, your children are never too young to be kind.
(Oh yeah, the mother of the two year was so moved by the deliberate act of kindness that she was still gushing ten minutes later when I walked by to get to my car)