A Mirror

I was looking for some paper to write a list of things down on that I needed at the grocery store today.  I was getting ready to head into town and I didn’t want to forget anything, since it had just started to snowing hard on our mountain.  We may need to dig in for a little while, after I returned home.

I picked up a notebook and I started thumbing through it. I noticed that there was something written out in my hand and it was long, like a letter or something.  I started reading it and realized it was one of my own writings, I decided to publish it here.  I hope you enjoy it!

A Mirror

I was sitting on my front porch listening to her share her dreams and thoughts about a new life that she and her younger husband want to create for themselves.  I heard joy and hope in her voice and as I looked upon her face I saw that it was full of wonder.   I could see that she thought unlimited possibilities lay at her feet and all about her. 

As beautiful as this was to see, it was like a mirror for me.  Mirroring back to me a time when I first came to Paint Creek.  I’m sure I must have looked  the same way and I may have had some of the same dreams and thoughts. 

I remembered how wonderful that time felt and how things just seem to flow so easily.  I didn’t know then how hard things would get at times living on the mountain and the new life we were trying to create for ourselves.  I was naïve and newly in love, just as I imagine my new neighbor was.

There was a brief moment when I had the desire to tell her about all the things I didn’t know, that made my transition from my old life to this new life much harder.  I stopped myself and just sat there and listened to her share her hearts desires.  When she would take a pause, I would encourage her to continue on by smiling kindly. 

I understood in that moment that we all have our own path to walk in this great life and it is the walking of the path that leads us to growing in our own experiences, our own wisdoms and our own understandings of the world and ourselves.  Why would I want to prevent this from unfolding for her in the way her life journeys was meant to. 

Update:  This was written several years ago.  Sadly the couple in this story have chosen to go their separate ways, but I loved this story and the wonderful memory from that beautiful and sunny day sitting my front porch.

Enjoy!

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Random Act Kindness Update

A good friend of mine, Mik Wright participate in a Random Act Kindness (RAK).  I just wanted to post a quick update regarding the RAK.

Mik makes awesome handmade shoes (thoseshoes.com) and he made a free pair for a woman who is doing work in Haiti’s.  Here is her comment to Mik:

Mik ~

I got my shoes! They arrived yesterday, the last
possible day before my trip to Haiti for another three
months. Thank you so much. I will and do pass on your
random act of kindness. You have helped in more
ways than you know. You see, every day that I am in Haiti
doing the work that I do, I will step lightly and in peace
with your spirit in my soul(s). Thanks for your support.

With happy feet and smiles galore,

~ Kelly

www.greatergoodhaiti.org

If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally
transform one million realities.

-Maya Angelou

Wow!  I love the RAKs that folks come up with.  Keep passing them on and we’ll continue to make this great life better and better, with each RAK we do.

Enjoy!

A Birthday Adventure

I returned home yesterday from a week in the Caribbean.  It was a birthday gift from my youngest sister, Beth.  Beth had won a free cruise for two and she decided to take me on the cruise with her for my birthday.  What an amazing and generous gift.  For details regarding the contest, check out my blog post “7 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise”.

When I returned home from the cruise on Sunday, there was a foot of snow on the ground.  This morning when I woke  up, it was raining down snow and we are expected to get another foot of snow.  Wow!

The cruise ship we were on was called the “Freedom of the Seas” and the cruise line was RoyalCaribbean.  Our ports of call were:
  • Port Canaveral, Florida
  • CocoCay, Bahamas
  • Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
  • Philipsburg, St. Maarten
  • Port Canaveral, Florida

The Freedom of the Seas (FS) was like a small floating city.  It had restaurants, a spa, a sports center, swimming pools, hot tubs, putt putt golf, a game room, arcade (video games), theaters, a skating rink, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream shop, shopping stores, beautiful lounges, a library, an online room for internet access, a casino, a bingo room, a coffee house, night clubs and pretty lounges, art gallery, etc..

The FS had 14 decks and there was artwork  every where you looked.  The theme of the artwork was “The Elements” – Fire, Air/Wind, Water, Earth. The artwork pieces that were chosen to  express this theme were beautiful and unique.  I really love this theme.

There were also quotes that were posted around the ship that expressed the Elements theme.  I should have written a few of these down, but I didn’t.  I was so caught up in the moment and enjoying myself, that the thought didn’t occur to me, until now.

Spa Date

Beth treated me to a massage at the spa.  It was my first professional massage.  It was heavenly.

They massaged our backs, feet, hands, scalp, and face.  It felt so good and I felt so good for several days afterwards.  It was the next best thing to good _ _ _ (you can fill in the blanks).

Beth and I left the Spa with huge smiles on our faces.

Saint Thomas Island Tour

Beth arranged an Island tour for us.  The tour was on Saint Thomas Island.  It was an interesting ride.  They drove on the left side of the road, and the roads were pretty narrow and full of traffic, but I soon started to relax.

We were driven up to the top of the mountain where we could take some pictures and where we could check out the tourist shops that were conveniently located at these stops.  But that was ok.  We saw some interesting stuff and some of the people were entertaining.  Like the man who had a donkey named Monica Lewinsky.  You could get your picture made with the donkey for a small donation.

The Islands were full of lots of tours stores.  Everything from cheap trinkets and clothing to fine liquore and jewelry.   Some of the Island stores preferred only cash and the ones we visited, accepted US currency.

Most stores were Duty Free, but remember that there is a limit on of the amount of Duty Free items you can bring back into the states, then you are hit with the duty for items over your limit.

Exploration through Snorkeling on Saint Martin Island

Beth also setup a Snorkeling trip/adventure.  I have never been snorkeling.  I was really excited about the snorkeling.

The water was pretty rough the day we went out, but I still really enjoyed myself.

I was a little nervous about only breathing through my mouth, but I was surprised by easy this was for me and relieved.

I got to see some fish, strange looking corral that looked like a human brain, black spiny sea urchins and white sea urchin, starfish, and ship wreck.

I actually got to hold a white sea urchin on the palm of my hand.  It moved around and I said to our tour guide, that it moved and he said “that is what alive things do” and smiled at me.

I also got to hold a star fish.  The star fish wrapped its self around my hand and wrist.  It felt strange, but good.  I really liked the star fish.

Cruise Ship Events

The food was endless on the cruise ship and very good.  We had so much to choose from, and of course I ate far more than I should, but I enjoyed every bit of it.

There was also lots of beer, wine, and liquor.  It wasn’t free or cheap, but we couldn’t resist having some on our cruise.

There was good entertainment on the ship.  We saw an ice Skating show, a Comedy show, live music – Motown style, play Bingo, Play a funny quiz game, saw a Magic show, and watched Aerial Acrobat that was performed by a couple and their show was so beautiful and graceful.  I loved it.

Beth won at Bingo (100.00 or so) and she won at the Casino.  We played the quarters game and Beth won about 30.00 dollars.  She was lucky on the ship.

Canon Camera Lost

My sister, Beth lost her point and shoot Canon Camera.  It had all her pictures from our  week long cruise we took.  She thinks she lost it in the Orlando, FL airport – Delta Terminal, but she isn’t sure.

Now, she isn’t happy about loosing her camera, but what she is most sad about, is that all her pictures are gone.

If you find a Canon Camera, if you could at least return the memory card from it with Beth’s pictures, that would be great.  How will you know it is her camera?  Check out my youtube slideshow below and if you see similar pictures, then you found Beth’s camera.  Just email me and we’ll take things from there.  I know it is a huge long shot, but no harm in trying.

Update on the camera:  Someone actually found Beth’s camera and turned it in.  The photos were still in the camera.  Awesome!

In Summary

I had an amazing and fun trip with my sister.  It was a trip of a life for me.  All the places we visited and all the things we did were great, but the best part of the trip was that I got to spend it with my sister and share many laughs with her.  She was a great traveling companion.  Not everybody travels well, but Sissy Beth does.

It was the best birthday ever!

I’m so grateful for this wonderful and generous gift.  Thanks Beth.

I also want to thank my family for their generous gifts and support. It wouldn’t of been the same with out it.

Thanks Danny for your understanding, love, and support.

Love you family.

To see a slideshow of pictures from our cruise, check out the below youtube video:

 

Enjoy!

Leaving on a 7 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise

I’m getting so excited.  I leave for Caribbean Cruise tomorrow with my little sister, Beth.  Beth entered a cooking contest for a chef position on a cruise ship.  She did great.  They choose her as one of the 6 finalist. She didn’t win the contest, but she won a 7 night cruise for two and she invited me to go on the cruise with her.  Wow!  How awesome.  Here is an online article about Beth and the cruise: http://wheatoncollege.edu/quarterly/2010/12/03/newsmaker-beth-littlejohn-03/.

This is the first time I have taken a cruise or even ventured outside our country.  I’m so excited.

My birthday is tomorrow and my sister wanted me to have a special birthday adventure.  What a generous gift.  This is already the best birthday ever.  Thanks sis.

Stay tuned for future blog post and pictures.  I’ll be gone for a week in the Caribbean, so be patience and give me a couple of weeks to get things posted.

Enjoy the day!

KayAndBeth

Left to Right – Beth, Kay

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Random Act of Kindness

When my youngest son was growing up, he went through this phase when he was about 9 years old or so, where he would do these Random Acts of Kindness and then he would say “I got you with a Random Act of Kindness” and he would run off laughing.  This was a game he loved to play.

My youngest son, always had a very generous nature.  We are Native American Indian and generosity is a prized virtue among our tribe and many tribes across the United States.  Our ancestors would save their best/most valuable items so that they could give it to someone else that needed it.   To horde stuff and not pass it along when someone else can use it, was something we didn’t understand.  Our belief is that life is a circle and when we give something away, something we need will come to us, and we’ll have room for it.  We’ll be ready to receive it.  It is the way the circle of life flows.

Perhaps, part of my son’s generous nature came from our culture beliefs, and family beliefs.  I think these beliefs just help to amplify his true generous spirit.

Four years ago I lost my son.  He was killed in a car accident.  This was one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with in my life.  But like many difficult things in life, there are hidden gifts that emerge when we are ready for them and open to them.  I had several gifts emerge through the loss of my son, that I never dreamed would happened.  One of the gifts that emerge for me occurred close to the time of my son’s first birthday after his death.  I was struggling with the fact that he would not be here in physical form to celebrate his birthday with his family.  I thought to myself that this was going to be a really hard day and how would I get through the day.

As I struggled with my son not being here for his birthday, I started to explore the various memories I had of my son.  When the memory of him playing this game of Random Act of Kindness emerged, the memory was so vivid and joyful, that I couldn’t let it go.  I could see my son performing some Random Act of Kindness (RAK) for someone and then saying to them “I got you with a Random Act of Kindness” and then he would run off laughing with great joy and pride at his accomplishment.  I was sudden filled with great joy as this memory played out in my mind.

Then, an idea occurred to me.  I thought it would be a good idea to perform a Random Act of Kindness for someone on my son’s birthday.  This would honor the memory of my son and help me to focus on something else besides grief and loss.  Maybe, I could even celebrate his life.

The more I thought about it, the more I was pulled to do a RAK.  I thought I should let my family and friends know about my idea and invite them to participate in the Random Act of Kindness day (my son’s birthday) as a way of honoring him and helping them to deal with their own grief and sense of loss him.

After letting my family and friends know about the RAK day, it was amazing to me how many of them embraced the idea and decided they would participate.  The guidelines that we use were these:

  • Perform an unexpected Random Act of Kindness – it could be someone you know or a total stranger – your choice.
  • It had to be an act that the person receiving it, would perceived as an act of kindness.  Something that holds meaning for them, not just you.  So, this also means not to give something that is meaningless and useless to the person.  By doing this, you haven’t really given anything.  This would be a hollow gesture.
  • No strings attached to the RAK.  The RAK had to be given freely.  No expectation of receiving something in return.  The  RAK had to be given and done for sole purpose of freely giving a kind act to someone.
  • The RAK could be something small or something large.  It could be as simple as being loving and kind to someone who was in need of this (who couldn’t  use more of this).  It could be money that someone really needed.  It could a gift you made or bought.  It could be a phone call.  You might cook dinner for someone.  Go visit someone who needed their spirits lifted.  Clean someone’s house.  Go swimming with someone, or hiking with someone or a walking with someone or bike riding with someone. The idea was for you to look around in your life/world and see what RAK you could give to someone.

I have done a variety of things for my RAK, but one year, I had bought a book on the internet and when the book arrived, it wasn’t what I was looking for.  When I contacted the seller, they gave me instructions on how to go about returning the book and how I would receive a refund.  I informed them that I didn’t want a refund, that I what I wanted instead, was for them to do a kind deed for someone else.  They couldn’t believe what I was saying and what I was doing, but in the end, they agreed not to give me my refund and to do a RAK for someone.

A few weeks later, I heard from the book seller.  They told me what kind deed they had chosen to do for a total stranger and they just wanted me to know they had done a kindness for someone and they seemed really happy about the whole RAK interaction they had experience.  I was glad and I wonder how far their RAK would rippled out to creation and I wonder if it is still moving today.  Hmmmmm.

I believe in doing service work and being generous.  What we do in life, ripples through out this great life.  It is like throwing a pebble in a pond and watching the waves from it ripple out.  The pebble is the act (hopefully a good and kind one) and the waves are the effects it has on life.  So, remember to be mindful of the pebbles you are throwing into your part of the pond.

I would like to invite anyone who is interested to participate this Sept 4th for a Random Act of Kindness day.  You may have a loved one you have lost.  This would be a good way to honor their memory and to celebrate their life or you may want to do this for the pure joy of doing a Random Act Kindness.  I have always felt great joy and pleasure when performing a RAK.  I think you will to.

If you do a RAK, come back and leave a post about it.  I would love to hear your story know what RAK you performed.

Below is a slideshow of some photos of my children, two of my siblings that grow up with my children and the background music in the slideshow is a song called “Old to Nathaniel” (here is the bands web site:  http://www.myspace.com/answerforeverything).  The song was written for my son Nathaniel by his friends.  I hope you enjoy the slideshow.

A Surprise Gift from Ants

A couple of weeks ago, I went out side to check our mailbox for mail.  When I opened the door on my mailbox, the whole setup fell over and landed on the ground near our driveway.  The wooden post that had been holding it up for the last 9 years, had rotted through at the ground.  It had some help though.  A community of ants had taken residency in the mailbox post and the they had eaten away a lot of the wood, where it meets the ground.

Seeing my mailbox and its post just lying on the ground there, I thought this isn’t good.

My son is a Stone Mason, and later that day he showed up for a visit and saw my mailbox laying on the ground, he said “Mom, I have nice brick that I could use to build you a new pier that your mailbox would sit on”.  I said “sure, I would love that”.

So, he built me a new column out of beautiful brick and my husband helped him attached our old mailbox to the top.  It is so beautiful.  What a good son and husband I have.

BrickMailbox

And for those ants, they did me a big favor after all.  I love my new brick mailbox column.

Enjoy!

Mother’s Day 2010

I had one of the best mother’s day ever.  It was a beautiful and cool day.  It was great for working outside and not working up a sweat, or not much of one.

I have a herb bed out front of my house that I have been wanting to turn into a raised bed.   Yesterday that transpired.  Here is a picture of the herb bed before any work was started.

BeforeFlowerBed

My son and husband built a stone wall around this herb bed.  It took them about a half day.  Here are the after pictures:

BigFlowerBed

BigBedInside

I just love it.  What an awesome mother’s day gift.

I need to add a bunch of compost to this bed.  Hopefully I can do some of that today.

The stone isn’t new stone, but it is in great condition.  We were able to re-claim the stone.  About a month ago we were able to take down an old wall and keep the stone and this is the stone from that wall.

The cost of this wall was just our time and some labor.  I love re-using stuff.  One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

While my son and husband were building the stone wall around my herb bed, I transplanted some White Iris to a new small flower bed near our front porch steps.  Here is a picture of a white iris and the small flower bed.

IrisFlower

SmallFlowerBed

We had some stones left over, so my son and husband put the remaining stones around my new small  flower bed.  I just love it.

Kay

We finished the day off with dinner with my daughter, her boyfriend, my sister mom and her husband.  Dinner was delicious and the company was great.  What a great day.

Enjoy!