Saturday, November 20, 2021

Sunday Stealing

Stolen from the Daily Good

1) What teacher are you most thankful for and why?  What did you learn from him or her? My third grade teacher. She was so warm and made us feel like we weren't wrong, we just needed to try again.

2) What’s the season you’re most thankful for, and what’s your favorite part of each season? I'm a big fan of each season. Right now I'm thankful that my new team at work is so supportive, and yet my favorite part of the season is my upcoming five-day weekend. We've been really busy, and I'm tired.

3) What electronic device are you most grateful for, and what does it add to your life? Air conditioning. I hate hot weather. AC allows me to focus.

4) What musician or type of music are you most thankful for?

5) What are you most grateful for that brings beauty to your daily life? The sky. The colors of the sky always make me happy (even the dark, stormy skies).

6) What philanthropic cause or organization do you feel thankful for? I think I'll choose the ones that focus on animals. They have no say in what happens and are completely dependent on us. I am thankful for the people who look out for them.

7) What foods are you most thankful for? I like dressing/stuffing. I'm glad it's on the menus again.

8) What local store or restaurant are you most grateful for?  How does it contribute to your quality of life? My favorite Chinese restaurant is kind of like the little engine that could. It's independently owned and suffered during the pandemic. But they're still here! I think that's inspiring.

9) What book are you most grateful for, and why? So many! I'm going with this coffee table book because it's my distraction. I pick it up and find myself transported into Jackie's 1970s Manhattan (or Skorpios) life.


10) What act of kindness has made the greatest difference in your life? It's hard to isolate just one. I'm going to say that the acts of kindness I've done have probably made the greatest difference because they teach me about my fellow man and give me insights into the world around me.

11) What challenging experience has ended up changing your life for the better? I had a cancer scare that made a total abdominal hysterectomy necessary. I'd never had major surgery before. I've never been so scared before. Both important learning experiences. Also, after I got home from the hospital, my mom stayed with me for a few days. I treasure those mother/daughter moments now.

12) What vacation are you most grateful for? My first solo spa getaway. I discovered I like traveling alone and I enjoy my own company.

13) Name three days in your life that you feel especially grateful for. Seeing Sir Paul for the first time at the Chicago Stadium in 1976, and the births of my favorite niece and nephew.

14) What product do you use on a daily basis that you most appreciate? Coca Cola!

15) What, from this year, do you feel most grateful for? Getting to know my boss, Aaron. He is a genuinely good person, and a talented one, and he has re-energized me.


Compassion Challenge -- Day 20

I'm encouraged to participate in this November challenge with my church congregation.

Inspiring Compassion: The 30 Day Compassion Challenge. 30 days to explore the topic of compassion: Mindfulness, Compassion for Friends & Family, Self-Compassion, Compassion for All, Compassion for Our Planet.

Friday I ran to my "other" bank, the small community bank where my condo association has an account, not the corporate behemoth where I bank.* I was depositing $70.25 in quarters from our building laundry room.

Anyway, I saw a big box, wrapped in red and white Christmas paper, intended for toy donations for children and teens who would be spending the holidays at the local shelter for battered women. It was completely empty. 

Now maybe it was empty because it had just been placed on the floor. (After all, it's not even Thanksgiving yet.) Or maybe it was empty because it had just been emptied. But its cavernous emptiness gnawed at me.

Imagine between a child or a teen, living at the shelter with your mom because your dad is a batterer. Think about what kind of Christmas those kids can expect to have. Yes, they are physically safe, and that is no small thing. I'm proud that my community makes these women and children a priority.

But how much joy and normalcy is there for these kids, who ended up in this shelter through no fault of their own? I hurt for them.

After the bank, I had to stop at Target for stuff and things. I threw a little card of three pairs of earrings -- green jingle bells, reindeer and red ornaments -- in my cart. Today (Saturday) I walked long way around to pick up my lunch and made sure I made it to the bank before closing.

Those earrings didn't come anywhere near filling up the box, but now it's not completely empty. I know that some girl (I imagine her to be between 10 and 15) will be handed those earrings by Santa. When she goes back to school after the holiday break, and her classmates ask her what she got for Christmas, she can tell them she got three pairs of earrings.

On the way home, I picked up a Hotwheels 5-pack. This coming Wednesday (or maybe Friday), I will go out of my way to drop those off, too. It's not the toy, it's the normalcy I want to give some kid. I want to make sure his Christmas 2021 doesn't stand out as completely different from all the others in his past and future.

Judging by the emptiness of the box, not everyone responds right away to things like this. So first of all, I'm grateful that I do. It's like that Bible verse: "Whatever you did for the least of my brothers, you did for me." Acts like this give me joy because they bring me closer to Christ.

Second, I'm grateful that I have the extra $7-$10 to spend every time I stop into Target. I'm sure that there are those who want to help but just can't right now.

This week, my art director and I joined forced to buy some Polly Pockets, as requested by a little girl for a toy drive sponsored at work.

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, in all the right ways.


*They give me good service, so I have no harsh words for thee behemoth. I'm just striking a comparison.

Compassion Challege -- Day 19

I'm encouraged to participate in this November challenge with my church congregation.

Inspiring Compassion: The 30 Day Compassion Challenge. 30 days to explore the topic of compassion: Mindfulness, Compassion for Friends & Family, Self-Compassion, Compassion for All, Compassion for Our Planet.

Friday I gave a little of my time to Alban. He's the high school student who is a complete anachronism. He doesn't like any of the music or movies that are popular now and rhapsodizes about the culture of MY youth (much of it crap, Troy Donahue, for example). I sense that he's quite lonely in real life -- how many of his classmates mourned when Keith Allison died? -- and am glad that he has a tribe of Facebook followers.

Anyway, he's seriously into Elvis, which I applaud. He's also very indiscriminate, thinking just about turd The King squeezed out is worthy of attention. Elvis once famously said that the only thing "worse than watching a bad movie is being in one," and was aware that much of his 1960s work was subpar. But Alban loves it all.

He IM'd me on Friday, wanting to discuss Frankie & Johnnie, Harum Scarum and other Elvis movies that are just beyond awful. I wouldn't do that. I mean first of all, I was working Friday. Secondly, I didn't want to be a hypocrite. Those movies blow. 

But a lonely boy in another state was reaching out to me. That's a gift in a way, isn't it? And so I answered him, saying, "Let's not talk about where we disagree and focus on what we have in common." We shared an online conversation about King Creole, Viva Las Vegas and Follow that Dream. I gave him a little movie trivia -- King Creole was directed by Oscar winner Michael Curtiz, famous for Casablanca

Alban was happy.

That's the thing about this compassion challenge: it's so EASY to lift someone else's spirits if I just stop to think about it!

Mindfulness, mindfulness, mindfulness.