Friday, July 30, 2010

Pay It Forward Fridays

Friday is possibly the most hopeful day of the week.  The weekend looms, with all it's endless promises.  The one guarantee is that the alarm won't be blaring it's rude noises at 6:30 a.m.  Weekends are the best and Friday is the start of something wonderful.  It's also the day to pay it forward.  If you don't know what I am talking about it, then here's a video.  Be inspired.

pay it forward

All right, now that you know what it is, here are the three for this week.

My brother had it paid forward to him this week.  While grabbing some Chinese take out he became distracted by an important phone call and inadvertently left his wallet sitting on the counter when he left.  Might not seem like a big deal, but anyone who has ever lost their wallet along with everything in it, knows what a giant pain it is to replace credit cards, licence and insurance cards, not to mention any money that is lost.  To make matters worse my brother was out of his home state at the time.  Returning to the restaurant he was pleasantly surprised to find not only his wallet but everything in it untouched.  The owner had found it, couldn't find a way to reach my brother, and put it up in hopes he would come looking for it.  Although my brother offered him a reward the gentleman wouldn't hear of it. 

Perhaps my brother was just the recipient of his wife's good deed being returned.  My sister-in-law is a nurse on the cardiac floor of a hospital.  She noticed that all the male patients recovering from open heart surgery have only pillows decked out in ribbons and bows to use.  Using her own money, and on her own time she purchased the supplies and made a bunch of "manly" pillows.  All stripes, plaids and pictures of hand tools.  Just kidding about the hand tools.  But, seriously when a person enters the hospital they surrender much of their free will and are left to the whim of the staff.  Good thing they have a caring staff member looking after their health, well being and dignity. 

Finally, another neighbor story.  This time it's two different neighbors.  A family at the end of my street just had babies number three and four.  Twin girls!  With the count now at four kids aged four and under they have their hands full.  Their next door neighbor realizes this and the other day when he was cutting his own grass he went ahead and cut theirs too.  It was a kindness that was appreciated, I'm sure.

I said it last week, but it bears repeating so I'll say it again:  Life is a game of boomerangs.  What you send out comes back with unerring accuracy. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Doctor, My Comedian

I have an orthopedic doctor who thinks he's a stand-up comic.  I know this because he practiced his routine on me during my last visit.  It went a little something like this, "Ma'am, you need to lose weight.  You should be the same size as you were at eighteen."  I laughed for a good five minutes.  Serious he may be, but that was 21 years and 10 pants sizes ago.

In the beginning I tried.  I really did.  But then those darn girl scouts with their cookies came around.  How can you turn them down?  I bought  ten boxes.  With each week I made a new promise to myself.  This would be the week I get with the program.  Each week brought awful pain in my knee and I chucked any sort of exercise routine that I planned on doing.  Truthfully, I never really had any sort of exercise routine planned.  I thought of dieting, but I just love food to much.   That's where it would have ended if not for my husband.  Though he's a skinny guy, and you wouldn't think it to look at him, his doctor ordered him on a special diet and twenty minutes of cardio a day.   What I was to lazy to do for myself, I will undertake for him.  All my plans for life require he be around for a few more years.  At least.

So, we emptied out our kitchen pantry and restocked it with plenty of fat free, multi-grain items.  And, we've joined a fitness club.  My new effort at fitness involves an elliptical machine.  I would be embarrassed to say the first attempt lasted a whole two minutes if I didn't find it so funny.  The second time on the machine went a little better.  I made it ten minutes before pausing the machine for a breather.  Of course, any calories I burned off may have been replaced with the ice cream I stopped and bought on the way home.  Who ever heard of putting a Dairy Queen right next to a fitness club, anyway?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pay It Forward Fridays

If it's Friday, and it is, then it's time for Pay It Forward Fridays.  Here's the deal, if you help three people, and those three people turn around and each help three more people, then you have helped nine people.  Those nine people helped will turn into 31,381,059,609 after just 20 people.  Amazing, right?  Makes me feel like what I do in this world can make a difference.  I encourage everyone to help out three people in the following week.  Here is a video with all this info.

Here are the three stories of people paying it forward for this week.

My mom is the epitome of helping out others.  This week she's in full swing.  Her uncle has been sent home from the hospital under the care of hospice twice a week.  To help out her aunt, who is working a full time job and trying to care for my great-uncle, my mom took three days vacation from her job and is spending it at their house.  Being there means my aunt can go to work and run errands free of worry.  My uncle is in the care of someone that loves him.   Tomorrow after my mom leaves their house she will head over to my sister's to take care of her dog while she and her family are out of town.  Just another week in the life of my mom.

The hubby also got the chance to help out another.  Our neighbor's dog got loose.  She is a great pet owner who loves her two dogs dearly and would never want them loose and on the run.  Unfortunately, the dog didn't see it her way.  He broke free one morning and with the sweet taste of freedom in his mouth took to the open road.  My son alerted me to the fact the dog was loose.  I wanted to help, so I proceeded to run around my kitchen, opening and shuting drawers as I shouted, "Where is that paper with all the neighbors' phone numbers on it?"  My husband took matters into his own hands.  He followed the dog to the next street and managed to get a hand under the collar.  When the jailbreaker was returned, it was to a happy pet owner.

My neighbor (not the dog owner) submitted this one about her and a co-worker.  My neighbor has turned up gimpy (her word) and is finding it harder to get around.  The co-worker has been especially attentive, stopping by her desk through out the day to see if she needs anything.  Seems a few years ago my neighbor did the co-worker a kind deed and as she wrote me:  you never know when the "payment" is going to come back to you. 

Nope, you never know when you will be the one in need, so keep paying it forward.  Life is a game of boomerangs. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Golden Ticket

Ever wonder what you would do if you won the lottery?  Me neither, but recently someone did pose that question to me.  After some consideration, here is what I've come up with.  Minus the "pay off my mortgage and save for kid's college".  Those are a given. 

Buy a condo at Norris Lake, Tennessee.  That way my entire family has a centrally located place to all meet up and hang out.

I'd take my dad and husband on a Nascar Tour of The Century.  Daytona 500, Bristol under the lights, Talladega, all of them.  Actually, I'd probably just wave them off at the airport and wish them fun.

Meanwhile, my mom could grab a friend and view the Grand Canyon.  She's always wanted to go.

Hey, nieces and nephews, college is on me!  Except for the two that have already been there.  A fat check would be in the mail for those guys.

As a matter of fact, I would start up a scholarship program to help fund the college dreams of kids not related to me.

If there is one thing that I would love for my hometown, it's a community center.  Maybe a big down payment on the project could get it up and running.  Think about it: computer lab, open gym, arcade, playground, meeting rooms, all free!  It's gonna be great.

So, here's a line I never thought to hear myself say, "Dolly Parton is my hero". During a trip to Gatlinburg my family and I visited her Dixie Stampede Dinner show.  That was when I found out she provides one book a month for the first five years of life to every child born into a poverty stricken area of Tennessee.  Getting books in the hands of children at an early age is vital.  Hand a kid a book and you have just broadened their horizons.  I would definitely adopt that program for my state.

Right about now my mother-in-law is probably wondering about her.  She's always talked about Alaska and seeing it, so she would finally get her chance.  I think her husband would appreciate a chance to play golf at one of the great courses the United States has to offer.  Here's to Mulligans!

My father-in-law doesn't read my blog, but I won't punish him for that.  Wherever he wants a trip to, book the flight, pack the bags and have a great time!

What would I give my son?  As his mom I want to hand him the moon and stars, if that's what he'd like.  However, as his mom it's my job to make sure he doesn't get any old thing handed to him just because he wants it.  Sorry, kid but keep up the chores if you want an allowance.  That's still going to be the only way you get money to rent your video games and buy your toys.  But, there are going to be some awesome vacations coming your way!

Now, only thing left is for me to actually start playing the lottery!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pay It Forward Fridays

I freely admit that I stole this idea.  While reading bluefroglegs blog I noticed she had an entry about something called Pay It Forward Fridays.  The idea is so simple.  Help three people.  Those three people help three people, and so on.  Here is a video that was posted on the frog legs blog.  With a curious fascination I watched the video, right up until the numbers were displayed.  The end result is mind boggling and I want very much to accomplish it!  Amazing.  Check it out:

So, every Friday I will come on here and list off some of the random acts of kindness that has occurred over the past week.  If you have any you want to brag about, please email me or make a comment by clicking on the link below.  We'll get it up there for you! 

Here is the list for today:

My ten year old niece has chopped off her long hair and donated the clipped ponytail to Locks Of Love.  She is awesome!

My sister-in-law's family has a member that is battling leukemia, and is waiting for a match so that she can have a transplant.  They have already lost a grandmother to this disease.  In their honor, her sister is undertaking a 100 mile bike ride to help bring awareness and donations for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Her second one this year.  For her first endeavor she rode around Lake Tahoe and raised over $4,000.  Impressive.  She could have stopped there, but she didn't.   What a great thing to do for family! 

This one is maybe not as steeped in goodwill as the other two, but today when I was driving home from work and attempting to pull out into a busy intersection, a car stopped to let me go first.  Kindness is contagious.  Pass it on!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Boy's Best Friend

Every kid needs a dog.  And every parent needs one more thing to clean up after like they need a hole in the head.  But, kids and dogs are a magical combination.  So, with that in mind, we set off on the road to adoption. 

Oh, what a road we have traveled.  Deeming ourselves ready for an addition to our family we found our perfect puppy at a shelter home.  She was a tiny, black lab and blue heeler mix, with a shy personality.  It was love at first sight.  We named her Jessie and brought her home.  Jessie is intelligent, sweet and quiet.  Content to be by our sides, she is as loyal as they come.  If only everything continued on in the same vein, this is where the story would end. 

But, there was this afternoon when my son and I headed into the local grocery store,  only to be waylaid by a cart full of fur balls.  Abandoned by their owner, they were hard to pass up.  They needed homes.  We kept one for ourselves and named him Echo.  It wasn't because his constant bark echoed throughout our house either.  The dog is very vocal.  He likes to bark.  At everything.  When he is not barking, he can be heard snorting, grunting, panting, and snoring.  The nonstop noise machine isn't terrible though.  It's become a white noise in the background of our lives. 

Echo has far worse habits than that.  He eats everything.  Whether it is food or not.  And we have the large vet bill to prove it.  That wasn't even for the time he swallowed a glue trap with a dead mouse stuck to it.  Downed it in one gulp while I was running at him, shouting, "Echo, no!  Drop it! Gross!!"  Jessie understands "Drop it".  Echo hears it as, "Eat faster".  No food left laying around is safe in our home, and that includes the food on our plates at dinnertime. Once he tangled with our grill as it was loaded down with steaks.  That only happened the one time.  Apparently, hot charcoal briquettes can get through to him in a way that months of dog training classes never could. 

The great thing about Echo is that he never seems fazed by anything.  The dog goes around with a perpetually happy look on his face.  Tail wagging, he is always looking for attention and a good belly rub.  The dog is hopelessly devoted to our son.  The boy doesn't make a move without Echo by his side.  Doesn't sleep a wink without that dog laying by his bed.   If Echo can't be outside with his best friend, then he will sit at the window and keep an eye on his young master.  And never move an inch until they are reunited.  That is the real reason we have persevered with this canine.  Because, all the chewed up furniture is replaceable.  The five trees he ripped out of the yard were disposed of and upgraded.  At the end of the day you can find my boy and his dog laying down with their arms around each other.   No matter how annoyed with Echo I may get, and it's quite a lot at times, I cannot deny my son the special bond he has with his dog.  The connection between a child and pet isn't something that can be measured or even understood.  It's a bond that may leave one baffled, if having never felt it before.  All I know is, somehow, somewhere along the way this dog has become a member of our family.  And family members never give up on each other.  Even if there is a dead mouse involved.

Friday, July 9, 2010

What Gets Left Behind

Can we all agree that life is complicated and there's always so much to do, and never enough time to do it all in? 

Anyone that exists in the here and now should know what I mean.  We all are flying by life, reading our list of things to do and placing our check marks in the boxes.  Start career: check.  Find a nice home and make it your own: check.  Take a trip down the aisle: check.  Two kids and a dog playing in the yard: check.  What more is there, right? 

Somehow, it's the things left off the list that matter most.  Hug mom and dad tight, then thank them for all those sacrifices over the years:  maybe, next get together.  Maybe, we won't ever get a next time, but we act as if there is always going to be a next time.   Let the little one crawl under the covers to snuggle for awhile longer:  alarm is going off and a million things await.   Maybe, we can snuggle one morning soon.  A morning when there isn't anything that can't wait.  If only a morning like that would ever happen.  Stop and smell the roses: stop and weed the rose bed, then move onto to the next chore.  Lots to do. 

Lots to miss.  Let the world move on without me.  We're having a family dinner.  No phone calls answered.  Nothing the person on the other end of the line has to say is more important than the tale my son is telling.  It's over meatloaf and mashed potatoes that we have laughed the hardest at corny jokes and impossible riddles.    Why fight the snow for a miserable drive to work, where nothing is going to get done anyway.  Stay home and take the family outside sled riding instead.   No kid will ever forget the time mom or dad did a flip off the icy ramp and landed in a heap.  On my list there are a great many things that will never get checked.  Never enough time, not even in a lifetime.   But, what gets left behind in the hurly burly rush, won't ever be my family.  I'll try to make sure they always know how important they are to me, by making time for them.  As long as that box is checked my list is complete.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Do You Know Me?

     Do you know me?  I've been around for awhile.   It's most likely that you've seen me out somewhere.  You think Nike invented branding with that swoosh?  Think again.  It was me.  I invented branding.  Now, I am known worldwide.  Sometimes, people see me and they weep.  Poems have been dedicated to me.   Songs written for me.  I've been shown respect, love, allegiance, and feared.  Once, just the sight of me inspired such great fear that 5,000 men fled from my sight.  I've seen the shores of Tripoli.  Been to the top of Mt. Everest,  North Pole and even the moon.  I am the American flag.
     I was created in turmoil.  War ravaged a nation when General George Washington paid a visit to the lady whose pew was next to his in church.  Betsy Ross.  The people needed a symbol.  Something to unite them in their common dream for a free country.  Thus, the American flag was born.  And immediately flown in battle.  And every battle since. 
    I am more than stars and stripes and fabric and stitches.  I am the cries for victory, and the tears for fallen soldiers.  I am battles fought on land, and wars waged at sea.  I am hope in times of turmoil and pride in peaceful moments.  I stand for everything you do.  I am the American flag and I am how this country signs it's name. 

If a nation is to stand tall,
it must first have citizens that stand tall.