Random Acts of "Kindness"

Posts tagged ‘GIFTS’

LOST GIRL

Don’t be alarmed. This thought ramble is not about a person who is actually missing. It is about me. I wonder who I was in the seventies.

What brought this up? You might ask. The answer is very simple. While our son was on a cruise with his sister and niece, I took advantage of the time and cleaned out the space under the stairs going to the attic. I found MANY TREASURES. So many in fact we scheduled a run to the Salvation Army store. Our trunk was completely FILLED. And now there is more stuff ready to go.

It must have been in the seventies. My father was attending a weekly auction. He also had rented a space at the flea market. He picked up stuff to sell. He stored the stuff under the stairs going to the attic. I just FOUND 3 lamps. I also found a bag of wrapped beverage glasses. The glasses are fine, the bag ripped when I picked it up. They are now waiting in a box to go to a new home.

I found a football. I found a basket ball. I found 5 rolling suitcases and a suit bag. Some stuff left. Some stuff remained. When we were in square dancing, I made many of our outfits. I found bags upon bags of material. A woman of many talents I found zodiac signs embroidered in yarn — not a complete set — 5 or 6 finished. I have NO IDEA what plans I had for them.

I also found bags upon bags of yarn. Some contained projects that were in the works but not finished — a western vest? Lovely wool! A cobalt blue sweater, with huge needles, not finished. The magazines for both projects packed with the yarn.

I also found an interesting dazzle yarn coat — fringe — tied in the webbing. The colors are BRIGHT — hot pink, orange, golden yellow, avocado green made to fit a much smaller person than I am now. I couldn’t get rid of it then, I can’t get rid of it now. I have NO IDEA what possessed me to make it. The coat is FINISHED. Like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon — I have changed. I used to be very shy, not going out of my way to speak to people. I’m definitely NOT that person now. I can’t imagine myself, in the 70’s wearing that coat. If it fit, I don’t know if I would have the courage to wear that coat now!

In the 70’s, I wasn’t aware of the extra gifts I possessed. My father was alive and healthy. We had four children. I was working, adding to household money. We had a camper, escaping to the country on weekends. Recently my husband realized that I have been a caretaker all my life. And he is absolutely right! My mother, brother and others were probably busy helping behind the scenes but I was unaware of their presence.

On a beautiful Saturday, I took a walk to our park. I’m still trying to increase the number of steps to be ready for Hawaii. I heard music on the air and searched for the source. A retired gentleman was playing an alto sax. A woman was standing near by when I approached and told her I was going to interrupt his playing. I wanted to tell him how much I enjoyed it.

He has only been playing for 6 years. It was one of the things he wanted to learn to do when he retire. He also thought about writing. I mentioned that I was a writer, by this time the woman had joined us. She was a professional writer, writing for magazines and a newspaper. When I mentioned my crazy coat, she remembered that fringed yarn was all the rage in the 70’s. Answer — I guess that is why I made the coat?

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AFRICAN VIOLET UPDATED

AFRICAN VIOLET UPDATED

This thought ramble was written and published before. Of course, I had forgotten I wrote it and was surprised when I saw the title, already used. Since I like what I had written. I decided that updating was an option.

SPRING is poking its head around the corner. The winter of 2019 has been LONG, COLD, ICY! I have been restricted to the house because of the ice. FINALLY the ice path in our back yard has MELTED. Remembering to water the African violet I was surprised to see flowers. In the past, I think it has waited until June to bloom. It is still March. Usually it might have one blossom, at the most two. This year it has SIX. Thank You Muscles. (Now you know why an addition was called for.)

My father’s mother used to grow beautiful African violets. I didn’t pay attention to the care she gave them, I just liked the flowers — purple, white, doubles, pink. I bought an African violet when we first moved into our house and it promptly died. Not giving up easily — I bought another. Then another — and so on and so on. It didn’t take many plants before I learned that I didn’t have a green thumb. I didn’t know if I watered them too much or not enough. I learned that they needed to be watered from the roots — which I did. They had access to light, not bright sunshine but filtered light. Didn’t matter — they picked up their leaves and left.

Since I have had so much success with African violets, I am AMAZED that a plant that was given to me more than twenty years ago is still not only alive but thriving. I DON’T FERTILIZE IT, weeks go by when I forget to water it. It still blooms every spring. Sometimes it overgrows its pot, a portion of it wilts and the rest recovers.

This plant was given to me by MUSCLES. I think I have written at least one thought ramble about him, and referred to him in others. Muscles was a VERY DARK, elderly African American man. He adopted our family when our children were small. He took them to many Cub games and planted a garden in our back yard. His tomato plants were taller than our garage. Our back yard didn’t get much sun, so we didn’t get many tomatoes. He planted two apple trees and a lilac bush at our camper. Sadly because of the tornado, only the lilac bush is surviving and blooming.

So why do I mention this now. Because I remembered to water the plant today and it looks fantastic. More often than not I forget to water it and NEVER feed it. The only reason it is surviving is that thankfully someone unseen is taking care of it. I’ll admit that when I see the plant, I think of Muscles and the difference he made in our lives.

GIFTS ACKNOWLEDGED

Naming a thought ramble is becoming harder and harder. I even contemplated numbering them starting with the new year. Then my daughter mentioned it would be harder to find once they were written and not having a title — possibly generating less interest. A gift — constructive help in making a decision. Didn’t help with the title though. Often I receive feedback or information that helps with a decision. Often it is a gift that I don’t acknowledge.

It is easy to recognize gifts that come wrapped in paper — harder to recognize gifts that arrive on the wind or unwrapped. We received an unexpected Christmas card from a friend. Seeing the card, seeing her name brought a smile to my face. Her husband passed a few years ago, they had moved out of our neighborhood and I lost track of them. I still had to write our Christmas letter. A gentle reminder that time is passing.

Often I recognize gifts that are found in the stores — I’m reminded of product I need to buy when I see it in another cart. If the item is on sale, I’m happy. I acquired an instant pot unexpectedly when I found it on sale at Aldi’s. We returned from out of town and we stopped to pick up milk, salad and bread. I noticed the item on their sales sheet. Lovely surprise.

Often I read something that is of benefit to me. Or I hear it on the radio or television. Maybe I meet someone walking down the street or in a store whom I hadn’t seen in a while. All of these are gifts. They bring a smile to my face or laughter.

Filling the car with Gas at Costco has been a challenge the past couple of weeks. The number of cars waiting overflow the lot and wind down the street. When I inquired as to the best time to fill up, I was told before 10:00 or after 6:00. They were getting three truckloads of gas a day. My husband dropped me at the store, and joined the crowd waiting to fill up. Finished shopping, I sat at a table while I waited. A young boy was enjoying his hot dog and we talked about Santa. They left and I invited an older oriental woman to join me. I must have commented on her age and learned we were the same age. I shook her hand and she replied “you look so young.” What a gift. I wasn’t feeling very young when she said that on a cold, dreary winter day. It brought a smile to my face. A gift — forgotten except I wrote myself a note.

Maybe that is the key — write down the unexpected gifts that arrive — beautiful weather or just sunshine after a dreary day, a birds song, a phone call, or meeting on the street, a sale, a compliment — the list goes on and on.

SINGING

It is hard for me to put my relationship with God in words. To say that He/She has my respect and gratitude is a true statement. To say that I am ALWAYS GRATEFUL is also true. To say that I am obedient to the plans for my life is often up to debate. When I was young, I told God that I would have as many children as He/She gave us. I had three children born and a couple of miscarriages. I said that when the children were in school. That was it, I was done. And God laughed. Our youngest daughter was born.

Today is her birthday. All of our children have been a blessing. The job of our youngest was to keep me young and with her children, they are trying their hardest. I have to admit that I argue with God. I used to feel guilty but I read somewhere that God likes a bit of spunk, within reason. Well, I certainly have spunk.

My recent debate is my job of writing the blog. I have had a thought ramble publishing every week for OVER six years. The problem is that I always want it to have some influence of Spirit. The second problem is that my brain seems to be asleep or in hiding. I have suggested that I quit or at least take a break for a time. One of my suggestions was that I could reprint some of my earlier thought rambles. I’m not sure how any of my suggestions have been received. I have often mentioned that I neither see or hear “my friends in high places.” God is in the highest place!

Today is my youngest daughter’s birthday. I wasn’t in the mood to send her a sugary sweet card this year. I looked at many cards that made me laugh but she is TOO YOUNG for them. She told me I should have sent them anyway. I found a card that passed the sweet test and mailed it. This morning I sent her an instant message “Sing with me, ….” I don’t have a smart phone, just an old flip. I seldom access Facebook, looking at the thought of the day, not spending much time. This morning I followed suit. AND WAS AMAZED!

Just for me, balloons, music — “Happy Birthday with a picture of her daughter taken years ago when she had braids, eating corn on the cob.” Of course I sent it to my daughter.

The only words I had: “Thank You.”

TOYS

This summer I acquired a cookbook for my slow cooker which made planning meals an adventure. We were at the camper. The big question “Would my husband not only eat it but enjoy it?” Every new recipe I tried, he invited friends to eat it with him. Thankfully, each recipe was a success.

Now we are home, in the city. Lately the temperature is COLD. It is only November but the air feels like winter. Although I still use my slow cooker, it is more tempting to use the oven. My winter recipes I have made for YEARS. At first, it was like visiting with old friends — so happy to see them again. I hate to admit that I’m bored — wondering what I should cook for supper. In my defense — I have cooked for more years than I care to count.

To the rescue — a new toy — an instant pot. I have used pressure cookers over the years — for canning and also cooking dry beans. I never gave it a prominent spot on my stove. I debated getting an instant pot for over a year. I even bought a cookbook and looked at the recipes available. I successfully left the pot in the store. Until Aldi’s featured the pot at a more affordable price. Now it is MINE! I’m still learning how to use it.

I have successfully burned myself with the steam. I thought I was being careful! Not careful enough. I wasn’t sure how to set the pot for pressure. I couldn’t reset the time. The last time I used it I was successful. I learned that you can not set the timing lower than the regulated time for that item. Needless to say, I don’t have one of the more expensive models.

Still looking for a new recipe to try, I have acquired two new cookbooks. The recipes are outside of my normal range. I would like to eat the food of the world — my husband is content with the food of the United States — not spicy. The new cookbooks contain recipes from South America, Italy, India, Korea — the world. I can reduce the sodium, I’m not sure how I can substitute ingredients by I’m willing to try.

Since I got the new pot, we haven’t been home enough to try it. I made my recipe for chili — dry kidney beans, finished in an hour. LOVELY! I recently made a macaroni, beef and cheese dish. The entire dish cooked in less than an hour. Both the “boys” liked it. I have received the go ahead to make it again. I made a note to add more seasoning to the sauce.

LITTLE THINGS

It is the littler things that slip through the cracks!

Sunday was the feast of Pentecost — the day the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples in the closed room and changed their lives. I find that feast significant because I realized that I am celebrating my six year anniversary of Wandering With Spirit this month. I can’t say that the blog has changed my life — but maybe it has. If I don’t write on a regular basis, if I don’t have something scheduled to publish every week, my life becomes more interesting than I want it to. More things go wrong. I’m REMINDED that I have work to do. Since I am always on the lookout for a writing idea, I might pay more attention to my life.

One of my favorite sayings is: “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him/Her your plans,” I had been at the Garden the day before. I had many steps on my pedometer. I planned to do NOTHING. The phone rang at 8:10. It was I Dot — we have a transponder that allows us to speed through the tollway gates at a decent speed, not wait in line forever. It was a present to my husband a few years ago. Now I was told it wasn’t working. We would be charged a cash car rate any time we went through. Camping season is starting. We use the tollways a lot. I learned where an office was. I learned that the battery might have run out. The number I received for our credit card didn’t match. I had no idea where the number came from. The one thing I did know — WE HAD TO GO FOR A DRIVE AND SOLVE THE PROBLEM. It was an easy solution. The battery on our transponder had run out, we just needed a new one.

On the way home, I suggested we stop at Wal-Mart so I could try on some shorts. I’ve noticed that my old ones are slipping down. It is most uncomfortable. I planned to order from a catalogue, but in order to do so, I needed to know my size. I tried on a smaller size and IT FIT. My husband suggested I buy a second swimsuit for back up. I like to exercise every weekday at the camper. If my suit is still wet, it is too cold to wear again. I saw a swimsuit that I thought might work. It has to be one piece, two pieces DON’T WORK for exercising. The hanger had my size so I tried it on. I looked at the tag on the swimsuit — it was the smaller size. HAPPY!

I picked up frozen pizzas at the store. My husband put them in the downstairs basement for me — saving my knees. I found them on Friday morning in the fridge — not the freezer. When I asked him — he said I told him to put them there???? Saturday, we went to a steakhouse to celebrate Mother’s day. He drove a different way, and said that was how he always goes. ????

One plus one didn’t add up. I was becoming concerned. On Sunday — Pentecost — I said a couple of prayers — asking God to “help” my husband. My father had Alzheimer’s disease. I REALLY DIDN’T WANT my husband to be affected. I decided that I wasn’t going to worry. Hands off — God was in charge.

Walking home from church — I noticed a shiny lilac object lying on the ground. I almost passed by. Then I backed up and took another look. It was a lilac sparkling gem in a hanging earring. It had a stopper to keep it from falling out of the ear. It reminded me that the night before, I had lost the backing on one of my crystal earrings but luckily the earring had not fallen out.

THANK YOU! Enough said.

IRISH MORNING

I have to admit that I have never been to Ireland. I don’t know if the opportunity to visit will ever come. My mother’s father was from there. I have finally learned the county that he was from but since I don’t know his birthdate or any other pertinent information, and his last name was very common — I’m not trying to learn anything more. I’ve titled this thought ramble Irish Morning not because the day reminded me of Ireland but because I was having lunch with a dear friend. She is not only Irish but she came from across the water. For years she lived on my block, went to Mass with us on Sunday. But time passes and our bodies reflect the passing. She had trouble walking up and down the stairs in her house. She moved to a Catholic senior residence. Even though she is on the third floor, they have elevators.

She phoned a few days ago and invited me for lunch. Of course, I accepted immediately. Then she fell, and we postponed the date. Then the snow fell on rain drenched stairs and I didn’t like the crunch as I swept the stairs. And we postponed it again. The day finally came, cold but with sunshine — blue skies. If I gave serious thought to the meeting, I wouldn’t have arrived empty handed. Ooops!

Her residence has many opportunities for a person to stay busy. I passed a room where art work decorated the window. I recognized the name of a friend and stopped to take a photo. A woman passed by with her son and asked if that artwork was mine. I admitted that it was a friend’s, I wasn’t a resident. She had recently moved in and was having trouble adjusting. I had to share a story of my recent painting experience and a photo of the finished art work. She didn’t paint or draw. She used to sing but has lost her voice. I suggested she just sing to herself inside her head. She was on her way to therapy. I was navigating the halls, looking for the building were my friend’s apartment was.

SUCCESS! We had a pleasant visit but more snow and rain was in the forecast. I really didn’t want to get stuck out in the weather. I learned that she had had a stroke a couple of years before. Somehow I missed that information. Her son used to live on our block and shared information about his mother. He rented their house a couple of years back, and moved to an apartment. I no longer receive current news. She is doing well now — in her late 90’s. Not bothered by the aftermath of her fall.

Going back down I shared the elevator with a woman who had a lovely accent. When I asked, she admitted she was from Ireland. Walking down the hall with her, I voiced the question of a bathroom. Two gentlemen going in the opposite direction pointed to a sign on the wall. I told my companion that I’ve noticed that when I ask a question, I often get an immediate answer. I wondered if the same thing happened to her.

Leaving — I met the same woman I saw when I first arrived. She hadn’t slept well the night before and was heading to her apartment for a nap before supper. I mentioned that it must be hard, giving up her house, her car and living in a new place. There were people there from her parish but the friendship is just starting.

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