Random Acts of "Kindness"

Posts tagged ‘Spiritual’


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.



It was a beautiful morning at the camper — warm, gentle breeze — before a cold front dropped the temperature 20 degrees. During our morning walk, I would have continued further down the trail except I told my husband where we were going and DID NOT bring my cell phone. So Robin and I took the shorter trail and returned home. It was warm enough with a light jacket that I did Tai Chi on the deck. I planned to make a smoothie and sit out enjoying the sunshine. I planned to do Jane Fonda’s Strength DVD but opted to enjoy the sunshine instead.

I had just finished making my smoothie when my husband came back inside, with the chairs. Dark clouds covered the sun, the wind increased and the temperature dropped. I decided NOT to sit outside. I DECIDED to exercise like I had originally planned. OH REALLY! I laughed at the way I HAD DECIDED. Since I have spent many years reacting to “help from my friends”, I recognized an intervention.

I was glad that I picked the DVD, it might be more helpful than Aging Backwards. I am NOT at all pleased with my lose of strength. Getting up from the toilet, chair, floor — even the car has become more of a challenge. I picked the second workshop, and was able to do it. I decreased the weights, paying attention to my sore shoulder. My husband said it might benefit him, he would do it with me tomorrow. I have 5 lb weights he can use.

Last weekend was Fall Festival. I was reminded of all the many experiences I have had during the Festival over the years. In fact I told the story to someone I knew who had lost not only her mother but other family members this year. It was one of the first times when I realized that I am NEVER ALONE. The full story of how I was instrumental in saving my neighbor’s life is written in my book JOURNEY WITH ME. It is titled TRACKING TIME. I didn’t save any one’s life this year but I might have shared stories that was of help to others. We had a flea market but I didn’t spend any money — instead I conversed with many of my friends. I laughed that Sunday morning when I had turned on the television in time for the blessing from the Mass, prayer to St. Michael and song “Here I am Lord.” It is one of my favorites and I sang along. “I will go Lord, If you need me. I have heard You calling in the night.”

We will soon pack up the camper for the season — not planning to return to either the Spring or Summer. It is easier to go home when it is cold, and rainy — harder when it is warm and sunny. For years we left the furnace on and came out in the winter. Sadly age has made me more careful of ice and snow. Winter snowy hikes no longer have the appeal that they once had.


I NEED STORIES. I’m often pestered to write a thought ramble to share with you. If my life is routine, nothing exciting happening, I have nothing to write about — so I’m given ideas. For a long time I have felt that I’m usually in the right place, at the right time to either be helped myself or to help someone else. I just have to be aware, paying attention — not distracted.

There is another purpose to the stories I’m given, not only to write but to physically “tell.” Many years ago I attended an audition looking for performers. I was active in the storytelling guild world at the time and decided to try out. Many people carried equipment with them. I realized that I carried my stories in my pocket — there is always room for more.

Okay — I’m rambling — is there a point to this? YES! Recently “I found a dime” and wrote about it. Recently I had the opportunity to “tell” the story. One of my neighbors is “challenged.” I don’t know much about her — age, name, medical problem. I first noticed her a few years ago — she keeps to herself when out. I first thought she was a child, and possibly lost. Although I often saw her, I never spoke to her. The opportunity didn’t present itself. Since I was concerned, when I saw her landlady I asked a few questions. I learned that she wasn’t a child instead a woman in her forties and capable of living alone. If I learned what her challenge was I have since forgot. Her path has crossed mine a few times, enough where we now exchange a few words. Mostly it is about the weather — staying warm, being careful.

I was out walking Robin when we met last week. For a change the sun was out, light wind, the temperature comfortable for winter. She shared a secret with me, the passing of her mother in the Fall. She asked that I pray for her mother in heaven. I shared a few short stories with her, demonstrating that those who have passed are often with us when needed. I ended my short stories with my recent experience of finding a dime. Since it was recent, it made an impression. Did it help her with her loss? I don’t know. But I find it comforting, when I’m not being hit on the head, to know that those who have passed are still with me, even if they are on the other side, even if I don’t see or hear them.


In the Catholic church, Sunday was the feast of All Souls day. Members of family and friends are remembered in a special way. The first song listed was Come Ye Thankful People Come — not one of my favorites. Then Mass started and the cantor announced the first song — Amazing Grace. Since we have been in the country, I hadn’t been to our church in a month and although surprised at the change, I hadn’t looked at the date of the sheet. I thought I had an old sheet and that the parish had decided to stop providing the sheets for Mass in a conservation attempt. Then the cantor said that the next song was printed on the order sheet. ?? I didn’t have the right order sheet. I like that song, don’t know the words and was not too happy that I had the wrong information. I decided to hum along with the melody. Then I looked at the order sheet that I picked up — then I laughed. HI DAD, HELLO EVERBODY! The date on the order sheet was October 5 — the weekend of my birthday.

As a parting gift, our cantor sang Lloyd Webber’s Requiem. Beautiful!

My life continues to be interesting — today the computer is having fits. It is taking a very long time to load any information. I mentioned the problem to our son — same computer — he didn’t have a problem at all. I could have walked out to the garbage and back in the time it took some things to load — his inquiry’s were immediate. Although I get a warm feeling when I know “my friends in higher places” are around, when they mess with something I’m trying to accomplish it can be frustrating.

This morning I opened the bible to Isaiah 61: The Mission To the Afflicted. “To give them oil of gladness in place of mourning, a glorious mantle instead of a listless spirit.” Evidently my job, if you want to call it that — is to share the good news. Those that have passed over are alive and well on the other side. I’ll admit that I miss the physical but since they are so active in my life — I don’t grieve.

Why did I have trouble with the computer? The answer might be: “Why are you playing instead of writing? We gave you a new story to share.” Although the brain is not clicking along, struggling through molasses as a matter of fact — I haven’t had any problems with the writing. Evidently the words are agreeable.


When I told my husband what I noticed that morning, he responded: “that’s weird.” And I guess it was. But to me it seemed a normal part of my life. I have to admit that one plus one didn’t make two right away. I opened the bible in the morning to a verse in Ezekiel which detailed the interior of the temple. Then I did a morning meditation which focused on how the parts of my body felt. I didn’t connect the dots until I was writing the bible reading in my daily calendar book. That is when I recognized I was being alerted to the subject of the meditation. One plus one equaled two.

This connection doesn’t happen all the time but it is not unusual for me either. I’ll open the bible in the morning and the verse will be the same verse at Mass that day or the next. For me this is normal — not unusual. I don’t know how long this has been a part of my life. I suppose it is like learning to walk. When you begin you struggle to find your balance, place one foot in front of the other but in time, not only are you walking, but you might be running as well.

I used to run rather fast. That was in days past — when I was younger and weighed less. My knees didn’t hurt nor did my hips. I remember racing the buses on the main street where lived — bus on the street, me on the sidewalk. Sadly those days are long gone. When I’m stuck in the negative — focusing on all the abilities I no longer have — I see someone who is more challenged than myself — in a walker, using a cane or in a wheel chair.

I used to be unaware of the “help” I receive on a regular basis. We just celebrated Fall Festival at our campground. This year was chilly — I remembered the year that was warm. That was the year I was instrumental in helping to save my neighbors life — more than 20 years ago. One and one made two and my life has never been the same since. My father was still alive so it must have been help from my mother, but I was unaware. For years after that experience, whenever I told the story, goose bumps covered my arms.

If you are just discovering that there is “help” from the other side. WELCOME — enjoy the journey. If one plus one is only totaling one — give yourself a break. It took me a long time before I reached this point in my life but then I have a job — to help you become more aware. And I have to have something new to write about.


It is always interesting when I look back at some of the events in my life. At the moment, they do not seem important. It is only when a few hours, days, or weeks have passed that I see the connection. I don’t know when the title of the movie GOD’S NOT DEAD first appeared in my life. It was a few weeks ago — on TV, with just a brief description of the plot. I didn’t pay too much attention but the title stuck in my mind.

Recently I learned I could rent it, but I don’t like to order movies via the TV. Yesterday the movie was in my face, at Target, then in my hand, at the cash register and out the door. And on our TV in the afternoon. I thought the movie was well done. I could relate to many of the scenes — their car wouldn’t start. I don’t have that particular problem but many times what I plan to do is not what God wants me to do and even though I’m a slow learner, I do get the message eventually.

It is the Fall season of the year — a time when I tend to get depressed. I don’t know if this year the feeling is worse — but I’m heavier and can’t seem to get with the program. Soon I will be older. That is not making me happy or unhappy but my weight and lack of energy is a growing problem. I’m on FACEBOOK but I don’t spend much time on the computer. Yesterday I responded to a message and found a few things that either gave me a smile or made me laugh. My great granddaughter, although far away, is a delight thanks to her mother’s sharing.

Today, I was trying to meditate — BUT — my computer WOULD NOT LET ME! I accessed FACEBOOK instead. A friend has been challenged to find something that makes her happy for 100 days and post it. I know I won’t take the time to post something on line every day but jotting down something in a notebook every day might be worthwhile.

I saw a video — mother duck at the top of a set of stairs — 12 ducklings on the steps below. Ducklings trying and TRYING to get up the stairs with their mother. THEY DID NOT GIVE UP. Both mother and brood paced back and forth. When the last ducking reached the top of the stairs — mother took off with her ducklings following behind her.

Today I was able to go to Mass at our church. I learned that a friend had passed on Wednesday, we should be in town for his memorial service. I learned that one of our priests was moving to a residential facility. I had noticed that he had dementia, I guess it is getting worse.

I just met a woman whose 96 year old mother lives with her. The mother still has her mind but is losing her sight.

I’M NOT GIVING UP — I’LL KEEP LOOKING FOR MY HAPPY — and I’ll try again to get my weight down and find my energy. Just like the ducklings, I’ll keep trying!


I know it is our civic duty but I REALLY DID NOT want to attend. My name was on stand-by and the location was in Chicago’s Loop. Not difficult for me to get to BUT I was following a NEW DIET PLAN. The idea of being on a jury, not having access to my refrigerator DID NOT MAKE ME HAPPY. Maybe, I thought, I won’t be needed. WRONG. The list of names not needed started FIVE letters from ours. NUTS!

Two days after receiving my invitation, my husband received one too. His court was located in a distant suburb, not easily reached from our house. He is older than myself, and no longer needs TO DO JURY DUTY. A quick phone call and he was released.

Tuesday, I walked through the electronic detection devices, setting them off. It was my jewelry this time. I took the elevator to the 17th floor and checked in, receiving a panel number. Seating choices were a line of chairs or a table. I chose the table and quickly realized that I didn’t belong there. The other three people sitting at the table were world travelers. The gentleman was studying French in preparation for his trip to France. And then there was me. They were highly educated and involved in their projects, not interested in talking.  Sometimes I’m at the right place, at the right time to help someone or be helped in return. Not this time.

I had learned that I could buy packages of sliced apples from McDonald’s. According to my eating plan, fruit was the snack of the day. I was set until lunch. Thankfully before lunch time arrived, my panel was released. We weren’t needed and I WAS NOT disappointed. On the train downtown I realized two things. First, it was Tuesday. Second, the novena to St. Anthony would be said at St. Peters after mass. Maybe that was why I was downtown. Before checking in, I stopped at the church only to learn that the next Mass would be at lunch time. Leaving the courthouse, I knew if I hurried, I would reach the church in time for Mass. If you are curious as to why I remembered the novena, I wrote about my involvement with St. Anthony in Who Is that Man, published July 7, 2012.

After mass and before heading home, I joined my son for lunch. Then I wandered to Macy’s — just to look around. I figured I was safe, I left my credit cards at home and only had a small amount of money with me. I stopped on the seventh floor and totally enjoyed a fashion display. Fashion designers had used paintings from the Art Institute for inspiration. If I said they were incredible, I would not be exaggerating. I wished I had my camera.

As I rode the escalators, admiring the displays, I remembered that I wanted a microplane zester. I decided to try the lower level and see if  one was in stock. Looking at the displays of kitchen gadgets, I didn’t see one. I waited for one of the sales clerks to finish with a customer before asking a question. She looked at the same display that I had previously checked out. Then she offered to check the stockroom. I was concerned that even if one was found, I wouldn’t have enough money to buy it. But you see, I have “friends in high places” — the clerk found THE LAST ONE and I had enough money to buy it, with a dollar left over.

/Every once in a while, I have picked up an artists paint brush and applied paint to canvas — oil, watercolor or acrylic. I have a feeling that I’m being nudged to do so again. I went to the Botanic Garden yesterday where an artist faire was in the process of setting up.

In case you are wondering — I’M EXTREMELY PLEASED with my weight loss. Not finished with the 28 days, haven’t lost 20 pounds, but I’m planning on taking a break, eating potatoes and cheese, with a glass of wine — then starting again. I don’t know what my goal weight will be but at least I won’t look more pregnant than my granddaughter who is expecting her daughter in September.

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