Random Acts of "Kindness"

ARE YOU AWARE

I had to laugh! I don’t normally watch daytime television except for the news. When I do,I am surprised by something that is said on the program I’m watching. This morning I caught a segment — Dick Van Dyke at the young age of 91, still singing and dancing. I’m often given hints that I need to watch what I eat, take care of my health and exercise so that I’m able to function independently as I get older. At first I was given examples of people in their seventies. Since I have reached that age, the examples have aged also — now it is 90 or 100. People who are still vibrant, healthy and have a good quality of life.

Last week, a person on a daytime program asked: “Is there anything that reminds you of someone who has passed away?” And I laughed.

The day before, I was shopping at Costco and noticed a huge pork loin in a person’s cart. Wandering through the store, I saw another large pork loin in another person’s cart. Seeing two in a short period of time, made me wonder. Now I will admit that I have PLENTY of pork roasts — two — in the freezer and many packages of pork chops. I DID NOT NEED more pork BUT they had a deal $8 off a pork loin. The bargain hunter in me wouldn’t let me pass up the deal. Instead of looking for the largest, I looked for the smallest BUT a pork loin found its way into my cart.

The same day, I went down an aisle which I usually skip. First I saw Ramen noodles made out of rice. I have to admit, they stayed on the shelf, but since I used to LOVE ramen soup — the sodium has omitted them from my diet– the noodles might be in my cart on the next trip. Then I found, in the same aisle, low sodium, organic beef broth. Soon it will be winter, the season for soup and stews — the broth found its way into my cart.

Depending on what I am doing, I might be unaware of the “help” I receive on a daily basis. If I’m too involved and not paying attention, I often get hit on the head. I DON’T LIKE TO GET HIT ON THE HEAD!

When I first started writing, I was often surprised with the synchronicities in my life. I can truthfully say that I think they have increased. I try NOT to take them for granted. I try to say THANK YOU for the many blessings and gifts I receive. When I first started writing this thought ramble, it had a different title. I think I have mentioned that I have “editors” that “help” me! I COULD NOT save what I was writing. I received many messages telling me why it couldn’t save. The file was being used by someone else, it was protected, the disk was full, etc. etc. etc. I have to admit that I stopped. Then I asked my son to look at the external disks I was using for backup. When he said nothing was wrong with either of them, I knew that there was a different reason. I changed the title!

No surprise, the ramble saved without anymore problems!

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AVALANCHE

I hope my title didn’t give you cause for concern. The descending of stuff wasn’t outside — snow or rocks or mud. The slides occurred in our freezers. ALL OF THEM — the upstairs refrigerator, the downstairs refrigerator and the upright freezer. Normally I feel the freedom to get rid of stuff when our cash flow is on the positive side. Sadly, at the moment, I’m watching our pennies. BUT being in danger every time I opened a freezer door had the desired effect. I searched through each shelf and discarded items that were really old.

I hate to admit it, but I found one item from 2010. Thankfully it was only one item — most were of more recent dates. I didn’t list everything I tossed, nor did I list everything that I saved. I promised myself that I wouldn’t stock pile as much stuff again. I found many of my favorite proteins that thankfully were still new enough to eat. I found bag after bag of individual bags of soup. TWENTY FOUR servings in all — most were beef lentil or minestrone all from 2017. I vowed that I wouldn’t make any more soup until my stock was down. EXCEPT I don’t have any chicken soup. Evidently, that is my go to when I’m feeling a cold coming on. I found fish — salmon, tilipia, shrimp and cat fish. We are eating more fish, so everything I found was current. Two bags were hidden behind other stuff. I’m glad that they surfaced. I also found fish burgers that I had forgotten about. They were on sale, buy one, get one free. I had good intentions, not great follow through.

I didn’t find any pot roast, nor a stock pile of ground beef. Evidently I use the beef quickly. I found a lot of chicken — whole bird, chicken breasts and thighs except for the whole bird, the rest were boneless and skinless and current. Evidently I also use a lot of chicken.

Now I have room to freeze leftovers from the holidays. I have room to freeze cookies. I have room to add more to my stockpile. I won’t have a landslide each time I open a freezer drawer. Hopefully I will REMEMBER to only buy the supplies I’ve run out of — until Spring comes again and we head out to the camper. Then, unless I have a list — I’ll forget AGAIN!

RAINDROPS

When I first began to write this blog, over five years ago, I didn’t expect that I would still be writing. If I had, instead of thinking of a title for each ramble, I would have numbered them. Coming up with a title each week, is often VERY HARD. This title was given to me on Sunday when a break in the clouds allowed me to take Robin for a walk without either one of us getting wet. I have noticed that often when I need to be out and about, the rain stops for a little while. I’m reminded of the time when I was writing To Pap, With Love. Every time I printed chapter 4, the story of our granddaughter’s first communion, the printer STOPPED. Many rewrites later, I discovered the reason for the problems with the printing. It wasn’t in what I had written or failed to write, I didn’t realize that the rain had stopped and we had been given a beautiful day. Once I understood the change in weather, the problems with printing chapter four stopped.

This weekend, my husband and I attended a play. The forecast was for rain, sleet and snow. Just what I wanted to hear. I thought we should leave early, give us time for delays and if we were early, we could do some holiday shopping. Traffic although not clear, continued to move at a safe speed. We had over an hour to shop. We found the presents we wanted for our grandson. I had HELP from my “friends”. I wandered down a clearance aisle and found two presents for my granddaughter that I thought she would enjoy. I didn’t know it was a clearance aisle. Checking the price on a scanner I was happy!

Earlier that week, I remembered the ginger cookies and mulled fruit drink that I purchased from Ikea. A phone call confirmed that the product was in the store. That day my husband and I drove out to the store. The weather was sunny, not warm but not freezing. The traffic moved. We purchased our supplies, enjoyed a cup of coffee and drove home with clear roads. The next day we had rain and snow and many accidents on the highway.

I often hear things in passing that is a benefit to me. Something that is on sale in the store, a program on television that I would want to watch, a reminder of things that I need to do. These tidbits do not only benefit me, but they benefit my family too. I stopped in the pet food store to tell a story to the clerk I know. While there, I asked about a knee cap bone that had been discontinued. Another clerk heard my query, and brought the last new knee cap bone in stock. Yesterday I was working on the clutter. I found blank note cards that are very appropriate for a letter my husband needs to send to our grandson’s school. I LOVE the “help” that I often receive!

ABBEY

My youngest daughter invited me to go to a woman’s retreat hosted by her church. I have attended a few over the years and totally enjoyed each one of them. It is a chance to take a break from my life, spend time with my daughter and see if there are any messages that haven’t gotten through because I’ve been too busy.

Normally the retreat is held in September, this year, it was later, almost November. Cooler weather — winter coats anyone. Thankfully I had already switched my summer clothes for Fall. We had been at the Abbey before, but I had forgotten all the stairs involved in getting from place to place. In the warmer weather, we had just exited the building, walked through the grass and entered where we needed to be. Not wanting to carry a coat around, that wasn’t the option this time.

Thankfully my knees have improved. I don’t know how I would have managed if the retreat was held during the summer. Arriving at the Abbey, before dark, the parking lots were already full. Eight hundred woman had signed up for a refreshing of spirit. My daughter parked close to the spa. And we entered that door. It was building three of five — all of which are joined by hallways and stairs.

I had a pleasant surprise. It had been a four hour drive and since my daughter has an SUV, my knees didn’t hurt. As a matter of fact, I didn’t need the adjustment time that normally occurred when I had been sitting for more than an hour. Our next car might need to be an SUV.

The distance from where we had entered to the front lobby was interesting. Made more interesting when we decided to help a fellow member who was loaded down with luggage, bags and a cooler making her way to building five. We offered helping hands. Many hallways and flights of stairs later we arrived at the lobby, helped by the lobby signs pointing the way. Only to learn that our room was on the first floor, near the spa, in building three.

I was VERY GRATEFUL that I had been taking Arthocin for three months. I hate to think how I would have managed if my knees were still as painful as they had been in the summer. I have to admit that I shared my experience with the Arthocin with many of the woman at the retreat.

I won’t bore you with the minute details — just the highlights. The theme of the weekend was Grace Overflowing. And I noted many times that Grace was Overflowing. It started on the way to the Abbey. We stopped at a Barnes and Noble in Rockford — just to break up the trip. I found a mystery book by Donna Andrews that has given me many hours of laughter — two books in one, at a reduced price. I was unfamiliar with her books and plan to investigate further.

During the opening prayer, I closed my eyes and had a vision of many rosaries — the whole screen filled with strings of beads. Many people praying for not only the retreat but family members, our world and other concerns. The room assignment near the spa gave me signs to follow getting back to our room. We decided that since the car was parked so close to our room, to leave it there and eat at the Abbey. The food was excellent.

I opened the bible on Saturday morning to Psalm 107:21. “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness and His wonderful works to the children of men.”
Snow showers during Saturday morning. I attended a session on the importance of taking care of your body and soul. The importance of celebrating the Sabbath — taking time to refresh, restore. I talked to the person who was leading the yoga and decided my time would be better spent in the pool and hot tub.

We crashed a party on Saturday of some of my daughter’s friends. The restaurant was completely booked, they had reservations for thirty five, not including us. The manager found a couple of chairs, we became a party of thirty seven and totally enjoyed the buffet of crab legs and prime rib.

Sunday morning, I opened the bible to Isaiah 6:8 “Whom shall I send and who will go for us.” And I laughed.

WEEDING

WEEDING

We have camped at the same place for over 40 years. During that time many people have passed through our lives. As I wandered on my scooter for the last ride of the season, I visited many of the campsites where the people I have known have either gone on to the other side or have sold out to visit other venues. Sadly each year the list grows, but I have enjoyed the time spent with them. I know people who have sold because their friends are no longer there. Thankfully we are not dependant on others to remain camping.

Back in the city on a lovely Fall day, I wandered to the Garden. Once again I was lost in time. Remembering all the places I have visited — some with my daughters. I thought of one of my aunt’s that had passed over and regretted that we had never wandered the Gardens together. Was I a member of the Garden then?

Still in the city, on another lovely Fall day we wandered to Lincoln Park zoo. We didn’t know that the weekend was Fall festival. They had many rides for the children. I was sorry that we didn’t have any of our grandchildren with us. At the same time, I was glad — we wouldn’t have had the money for all of their rides. Watching the polar bear play in the water I remembered when my grandson at the tender age of 2, was delighted when the polar bear at the time came up to window to visit with him. Lincoln Park is a small zoo, I visited there as a child and enjoy it, possibly even more, as an adult.

It is hard catching up when we close the trailer for the season. I have to find homes for all the food and stuff we brought home with us. The mail goes on forever. In fact — I still haven’t gotten to the bottom of the pile. The pile might be for higher than from our most recent trip. It might have stuff accumulated from all summer.

Then there is the food supply. Stuff that I thought was on hand is gone! I looked all over the freezer for catfish fillets that I knew we had. I found two pieces. Not enough for the three of us. Recently I was remembering some of the unusual stuff that has occurred in my life. And remembering that my life has quieted down. OR HAS IT? This morning I received a message from my husband’s sister. Her husband passed a few weeks ago. When I went to look for the message — it wasn’t there. Instead I saw her beautiful picture on the center of the page. I wrote a note back that the message was undelivered. The top of the page said “secret.” I noticed that the first letter of every word in the sentence was capitalized. I was confused. Was I receiving “Help?” Who? Was someone teaching her husband tricks?

Since I didn’t know if the “secret” message reached her, I wrote another message explaining that I was confused. Later that day, I had an avalanche in my freezer. As I put back all the fallen food — I saw an unopened package of catfish fillets. Last night, I used up the bottle of sesame oil when I was cooking. I put the item on my shopping list. Before going to the store, I went to retrieve an item from the shelves in the basement and found TWO unopened bottles of sesame oil. Did I think my life has quieted down? Nope! It just goes in different directions.

GARDEN

In the city, BEAUTIFUL FALL DAY — blue skies, sunshine, very windy. I went to the Garden. Thankfully I brought the hat my oldest daughter bought for me in Florida. It has a ties that can keep the hat on when the wind blows. I would have lost the hat at least three times. I almost did when I put it back on and forgot to tie it under my chin.

When I left the house, the temperature was in the low 60’s. I wasn’t sure how warm it would be at the Garden so I wore a long sleeve shirt and a hooded vest. Then I tied my jacket around my waist. I had to laugh when I saw my shadow. In fact, it was so silly that I had to take a photo of the strange person walking ahead of me.

It was late in the year but many flowers were in bloom. I LOVE the roses. When I first entered the Garden, a white rose was high lighted. It had a lovely fragrance. And a lovely name — MOONDANCE. I wander the Garden with camera in hand. I must admit that I probably take the same pictures each time I go. That morning, the sunshine on a bush made the leaves look like silver. A closer inspection revealed that the leaves were really green, no silver any where.

I usually follow the same route when I visit. I arrived just as the bells rang out the hour of noon. This time I decided to be good to my knees. I sat down three different times during the ramble. Each time I decided to sit, I paid attention to the wind and picked a sheltered area. I also made sure that I would be able to get back up. The first time, I looked at a sheltered brick open building but decided to sit on a bench and enjoy the fountain and white mums instead. Soon after I sat down, a dad and his little girl wandered to the space. Perfect place for her to play and good photo opportunities. I was glad I picked the bench.

I wandered down a lane that is full of flowers on both sides. In the spring, tulips and poppies hold court. They are replaced by an assortment of summer — fall varieties. They are the favorite hangout of hummingbirds and photographers. A woman stood at the ready, camera in hand. I asked if hummingbirds were still at the Garden. She replied that they had left but she was on the lookout for Monarch butterflies. She had a bigger camera than mine. When I felt the weight, I was very glad that my camera is SMALL and LIGHT. Her camera was a retirement present to herself. She has tremors in her hand and the speed of the camera keeps the tremors from showing.

The waterfall was still flowing. Another opportunity to sit and listen to the falling, singing water. I wandered to the island just as the bells rang the one o’clock hour. I thought I saw mountain mint, it smelled like mountain mint, but I was surprised when the sign read Russian Sage. If I remember, I would like to get a plant or two for our garden in the country.

After stopping for lunch in the cafe, I left the Garden as the bells chimed two o’clock. I was very surprised — my knees DID NOT hurt. I was also very surprised when I learned that I had walked over 12,262 steps.

THE BOOK

Years ago, I used to watch Dr. Oz on Oprah’s morning show. Then he got a show of his own, and I turned it on regularly. Time passed — I realized the although Dr. Oz had a lot of good information, I couldn’t use most of it and at times, the various health issues had me concerned. I found it was better for me to only watch it every once in a while. But I bought some of his books. Four to be exact. Looking at the titles that are in my library, and the titles that are in his newest book, seven didn’t catch my attention. Some of them are meant for younger parents — raising children, teenagers. Some might have been of interest to me but I didn’t know about them.

Since I don’t have an intuition that speaks to me, things I need to know or be aware of are brought to my attention by other means. Reading one of the weekly woman’s magazines I learned Dr. Oz had a new book coming out — Food Can Fix It. Since I’m having issues with various body parts, my interest was peaked.

I was at Costco for a food run or prescriptions or something important. Entering the store, I noticed a large pork roast in a woman’s cart. I have often bought that particular item, especially when it is on sale and cut it into chops or roasts. Since it caught my attention, I looked for it. It was on sale — $2.00 off to be exact. Now I know that isn’t a lot of money but pennies and dimes add up when you are on a limited income. It would have been very smart on my part to look for a smaller pork loin. But sometimes I don’t necessarily do the smartest thing. I don’t know if I found the largest, but it wasn’t the smallest — 20 lbs. to be exact. I cut it into 2 roasts and 4 packages of boneless pork chops.

While in the store, I looked at the book shelf. I found Dr. Oz’s new book — it was quickly in my cart. We were going out to the camper for our last trip of the year. Pool is closed — I would have plenty of time to read. But I couldn’t buy it? It was not supposed to be on sale for three more days. It would have been illegal! I wasn’t HAPPY!

Since it was an honest mistake, the manager told me that I could have it for FREE when it was available for sale. Thankfully we would still be in town. Our insurance company wouldn’t okay our prescriptions until then.

I returned to Costco on Monday. I picked up our prescriptions and went to the desk to get my book. Someone had put it AWAY! Thankfully I found the gentleman I had spoken to and he went on a treasure hunt for me. He found the books, still in their boxes on the floor. I HAVE the new book. Will reading it help my body? Good question. It includes a 21 day weight loss plan. I don’t have any expectations that the plan will work for me.

JUST A NOTE: Since we were in town, I took the opportunity to switch my summer clothes for winter — to be prepared for the cooler weather that was expected at the camper. While I was packing up my clothes, the forecast predicted a couple days in the 90’s. I SHOULD HAVE PAID ATTENTION. I DID NOT! I packed ALL of my long dresses, shorts and tank tops along with lighter weight clam diggers and slacks. The 90s continued for more than a couple of days. SIX to be exact. I wondered what I was going to wear to church. Thankfully I hadn’t packed my exercise clothes but I wasn’t wearing them to church. I retrieved clothes that I put in a donation bag. And THANKFULLY the colder weather that had been predicted for the camper was exaggerated. It will be in the high 70’s.

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