Tag Archives: random acts of kindness

Tuesday:) Toni’s Talking to Strangers Again 

26 Sep

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” ― Anonymous, Holy Bible: King James Version

**************

Today, I was asked to go over to Towne Creek Senior Apartments where I volunteer to be interviewed. The director said that the RHF Housing folks from California wanted to interview some residents and volunteers and ask them about the complex and the people. Well, you know me. I like to talk, so I said sure.

When I arrived, I didn’t realize that it was going to be video taped by professionals. I wore a little microphone, just like a TV celebrity. Cool! When they asked how long I’d been volunteering teaching art, I shared my story about how I journal every day, so I was able to look up when I started going. It was August 31, 2007. So, it’s right around ten years now. 

The folks interviewing me were total strangers, but I felt comfortable, especially since the lady asking the questions said that she had heard so many wonderful things about me over the years. She asked me to share a little bit about the art shows and guests that I had brought in to visit, including the mayor, and author, and other artists.

The last and most poignant question was, what would you like to tell people about Towne Creek and what you do? I said that the beautiful men and women that I’ve gotten to know have become like family.  But, I’d like people to know how much joy you bring to an elderly person who might not have family or friends nearby, and a few hours of your time can enrich their lives so much. The best part is, then you are blessed tenfold and the joy YOU receive is immeasurable. Strangers become best friends.

After the interview, I noticed my friend Karen’s car waiting by the back door. I forgot, it’s Tuesday. She picks up 91’year old, Miss Eleanor, and takes her to lunch almost every Tuesday. Another visitor who became a friend story. Anyway, I scooted out the door and asked, “Where are you girls going?” They couldn’t decide, so I suggested Braum’s Ice Cream. Yeah! I met them over there.

Here’s the really cool part. While I was waiting in line for my double scoop turtle sundae, I started talking to the man in line next to me. He said, “Oh, that looks good. What is that?” I explained and he said that he should get that too. Then, he ordered a root beer float. I asked him, “I thought you were going for the turtle sundae.” He explained that it had way too many calories. I replied, “Life is short! Enjoy! Go for the sundae.” He pointed to his non-existent belly and said he couldn’t. We laughed. 

He was checking out and paying when the girl at the register said, “One root beer float, one turtle sundae.” I chimed in and said, “No, no! That’s my sundae. I don’t even know this man. Well, unless he’s treating, then we are best friends.” Well, this kind man told the girl to put my sundae on his bill. I huffed and I puffed and said, “No, no! I was just kidding.” Then he turned to me after he paid anyway and said, “Life is short. Enjoy!” He also said that it was his last day in town. He was leaving tomorrow for Puerto Rico to help with the relief effort. 

Sometimes God sends you angels and kind people to show you that the world can be a wonderful place. “When you are kind, you are blessed tenfold.”

This is my new friend Rudy. I went over and gave him a big hug and said what I always say, “Selfie Time.”


There are no strangers, just best friends that I haven’t met yet,

Sunday Sermon, A Sunset and Some Other Stuff

20 Mar

“Each time you say hello to a stranger, your heart acknowledges over and over again that we are all family.” ― Suzy Kassem

**************

This morning I had the distinct pleasure of attending two church services. The first at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church and the other, the First Presbyterian Church across the street. The good part was that both services had the same readings, so today, I actually remembered the Gospel without looking it up to write my post.

The Gospel was the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well. First, Jews and Samaritans didn’t get along and weren’t supposed to speak to one another, and then, women were not supposed to talk to strange men, and this woman did not have the best reputation. But, Jesus not only spoke to her, but revealed Himself as the Messaih. This is an important lesson, and happens to be the longest recorded scripture reading in the Bible. 
My take on it…Jesus is showing, by example and words, that we should treat all people with respect, kindness, and compassion, whether it be friends, family, enemies or strangers. This is not necessarily a religious virtue, but should be just an everyday human kind virtue. It was a good lesson.
After church, Jim and I went to the local greasy-spoon diner and sat by the window at a vintage (nice way of saying real old) booth with torn red vinyl seats and a well-worn Formica table. The food was good, inexpensive, and the waitress was attentive. As we sat there, an elderly gentleman shuffled ever so slowly from his car to the door. It must have taken him a good ten minutes. He sat up at the counter and ordered a hamburger, no fries, no chips and water. The waitress poured him a cup of coffee, as he protested that he didn’t order it. She smirked and said to the regular, “Just drink your coffee John.” He smiled back and drank his coffee.

I made a smiley face in my hash browns, and you can’t beat biscuits and gravy with your omelette.

When we got our check, Jim asked our waitress to put John’s burger on our bill, and I handed her a $20 bill for her tip. That was probably the first time she ever got a $20 tip for a $17 check. And, maybe that was the first time someone bought old John a meal, maybe not. But, it was a nice way to share a little kindness and friendship on a fine Sunday with a couple of strangers. Also, a nice way to share today’s Gospel by example.

It was a beautiful warm day, and when we went out for an evening walk around Boomer Lake, God painted a picture perfect sky, and a red-winged blackbird squawked as he balanced carefully on a long bare limb, silhouetted by the setting sun.

 Happy Sunday!

Thankful Thursday and the Ten Thousand Dollar Tooth

5 Aug

“Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.” ― Thomas Goodwin

***************

It was a whirlwind of a Thursday. Every morning, before my feet touch the floor, I think of at least one thing that I’m thankful for. Being most reluctant to get out of bed, I often have time to linger, thinking of more than one. You should try it. Say it out loud, or repeat it in your mind. It’s the perfect way to start the day.

This morning, I was thankful for the morning sun peeping through my window, the special emails that greet me each morning, the ceiling fan and air conditioning that keeps me comfortable in the terrible Texas heat, and the prospect of getting out for an early morning walk. I popped out of bed before 8am, sun glasses, sunscreen, and a smile. It was already in the upper 80’s, but there was a slight breeze. The cute little duck family at the pond waddled up to say hello. Granted, they probably thought I had some food for them, but I said hello and apologized.


I managed to walk 2.8 miles before rushing home to shower and out the door for my dentist appointment. FINALLY! The last step for the TEN THOUSAND DOLLAR TOOTH! 

This poor tooth first had a crown, then a root canal, then when it still hurt, I was told I needed an extraction and implant with a new crown. Yep! About 10 K for one stinkin’ tooth. 


I’m smiling, but that’s because I finished paying for it on my last charge. I was going to do landscaping this year, instead I got a new tooth.


See, 10K tooth!!!

After my triumphant tooth adventure, I drove over to the square to visit with Miss Kathy and Miss Elizabeth at Sweet Spot. A couple youngsters were eyeing the cookies, cupcakes and ice cream. I asked them if they’d like some ice cream, and of course, they said yes. I know their father, and he was sitting talking to friends, and I knew it would be ok. They were very appreciative. 

After the visit, I drove obverse to Good Year to get my car inspected before my expiration, So I can get my vehicle sticker later.  They said it would be an hour wait. I walked over to Taco Bueno too get an iced tea. I took out $2, and asked the young man for a small drink. He handed me a cup and said, “No charge Mam. It’s just a drink.” Well, that was so nice.


I asked his name. It was Chad. I said, “Thanks Chad. You are bpbery kind.” Then, I thought to myself…hmm…I did something nice, buying the kids ice cream, then, Chad does something nice for me.” Random acts of kindness.

A quick stop at the car wash. I even vacuumed the interior mats. How lucky to have a nice car, all paid for, and the gas tank full? 


My car was ready when I walked back. I stopped at the store on the way home because I was out of ice cream…oh no! 

Look how healthy! Organic spinach and chocolate ice cream. They counter balance each other.


When I got home, I had a little ice cream because I didn’t want that melted part to leak in the freezer. I had to help make room for expansion of the melted ice cream. My personal tradition. 

I went for a long evening walk when the sun started to set and a gentle breeze lessened the heat of the day. My total steps for today…5.7 miles. Pretty darn good for an old lady with a bad knee, bad feet, and a new tooth, on a hot Texas night. While I walked, I thought, “Look at me. I can do anything. I’m aazing.” I’m also very modest. Not! I was rewarded with a glorious sunset.


These are all the things I am thankful for today. That’s a lot! I have so many! That’s just one day! How lucky am I? What about you?


Give it a try. Wake up every day and think of the things you are thankful for. Then, end each day recounting your blessings. You’ll be amazed.

Wednesday:) What In The World? …Day 11 “Pay It Forward”

24 Dec

“Because it proves that you don’t need much to change the entire world for the better. You can start with the most ordinary ingredients. You can start with the world you’ve got.” 
― Catherine Ryan Hyde, Pay It Forward

*******************

Today begins my cookie baking extravaganza! I love to bake cookies at Christmas time. I don’t bake a couple of dozen cookies, I bake a couple of hundred! I’m trying out an experiment with a lemon cake mix, bake it, smoosh it up and add a can of lemon frosting, then roll into little cake balls and dip in white chocolate. Well, I made one cake mix,  and it was too mushy, so I baked another box of lemon cake. Let’s see if that works? I’ll keep you posted. 

Of course, I had to make a funny face with the mix. I’ve never used lemon before….

WHAT IN THE WORLD?

   
 
Day 11:) 12 Days of Christmas “Pay It Forward” or Random Acts of Kindness

My neighbor, Kathy, asked if I would paint some wine glasses for her Christmas dinner she was hosting with her family and friends. She purchased some fairly expensive glasses at Crate and Barrel, which made me a little nervous. So, I practiced on some inexpensive glasses I had at home and she loved the example. Plus, the colors, white and silver, matched her grandmother’s fine china. She also requested their names be written on the base, and that would be their place setting and gift. I worked all night and finished around 1:30 a.m. Then, I got up around 8 a.m. To bake them in the oven to heat set them.

  
The before…a little nervous…here we go!

  
The after…turned out great…I was pleased, as was Kathy. I saw her decorating outside  her house in the afternoon and told her they were ready. We each carefully took a box with six glasses each across the street to her house. She was so excited and was showing me her new table linens, decorations, etc.  Then came the big question, and out came the check book. 

I told her about my “Pay it forward” challenge and random acts of kindness, and asked her to simply pay it forward. Well, she was shocked and I got another big hug. I sure do get a lot of big hugs, don’t I? 

  
I know, I’m not a great photographer. She really had a big smile before the posing part. It felt good to know that I painted something lovely for a friend, and that her guests would receive a beautiful hand-painted wine glass. They are all strangers, except for Kathy. She’s going to take pictures of her table setting at Christmas so I can see how pretty everything looked. 

Luckily there’s only one more day left of pay it forward. I’m getting pretty tired staying up late and working on projects. The funny part is, I do these types of things all the time. I just never challenged anyone else to do the same.

Tomorrow is the final day, and my son Matt is flying in to spend Christmas with me. I’m so excited. I’m going to bake his favorite cookies, either tonight or tomorrow. Another late night!

Tuesday:) Taking Time and Day 10 of “Pay it Forward” Challenge

23 Dec

Take time to smell the roses

Take time to smell the air

Enjoy each lovely sunset

And don’t forget to share.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

**********************

This morning, I discovered several still blooming roses and emerging buds on my solitary Knockout rose bush in my front yard.

  
Take time to smell the roses.

  
Look at this glorious sunset. I always take time to snap a quick photo.

Talk about sharing, today is Day 10 of my 12 Days of Christmas “Pay It Forward” Challenge.

Day 10:) A few weeks ago, I had posted some photos of my hand-painted wine glasses and vases on Facebook.  A gentleman had commented how nice my items were and asked if I had any champagne flutes left for sale.  He thought his wife would love them and they’d make a great Christmas gift. Mark is a talented photographer, and it’s always a huge compliment for one artist to admire another’s work. We arranged to meet at Sweet Spot Bakery on the Square this afternoon. When I showed him the flutes, he was impressed. When he took out his checkbook, I explained my “pay it forward” challenge and told him that it was my gift. I did request that he do something nice for someone when an opportunity presented itself. He assured me that he would. We chatted a while about photography, the square, starving artists, and random acts of kindness. Mark and I had never met in person before, just Facebook friends, but today we parted with a smile, a hug, and a promise of making the world a better place, one random act at a time.

  
Don’t tell Mark’s wife. It’s a surprise.

Montage Monday:) and  More “Pay It Foward” Challenge

22 Dec

“In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!” 
― Dave Barry

( A little humor from Dave Barry)

***********

Talk abput a lazy Monday. I turned off my alarm at 7:00, texted my friend that I wasn’t going to kickboxing at 8:15, and crawled back under the covers. I didn’t emerge until 12:45 in the afternoon. I wasn’t sleeping the entire time, but I didn’t feel like getting up either. I think my old weary body was trying to catch up with too many late nights followed by early mornings. It’s 7:37 p.m. and I still haven’t gotten around to eating since lunch yesterday. What do I do with my time? 

Here’s a week in a peek. I especially loved the karaoke bus trip with the Unbiological Sisters on Wednesday. Plus, every day with a new “pay it forward” challenge has been inspirational.

  
Day 9:)

Today, for my random act of kindness, I decided to take a gingerbread house kit to the children next door. We’ve been neighbor’s for over a year, but Jack and Allyson are very quiet and shy. I take brownies and cupcakes over every now and then, and they are polite and say thank you, but they aren’t very demonstrative. I guess I was so used to my adorable neighbor’s, the Reynolds. The triplets would pop over and visit, we baked, had tea parties, played games, and they were like family. They still are, I just don’t live next door anymore.

Jack answered the door, and when I said, “I brought you and Allyson a present,” his eyes lit up and he had a big smile when he saw it was a gingerbread house. I told him that they probably should build the house one day and let it set before trying to decorate it. I learned that the hard way. Who knows, maybe they’ll invite me over to help decorate it?

  
A dark picture, but you can see the smile.

Sunday Sermon and Day 8 “Pay It Forward” Challenge

21 Dec

There is such a special sweetness in being able to participate in creation.

– Pamela S. Nadav

**************

Today’s Gospel was the story of Mary and Elizabeth. It made me think of how very special it is to have a child, not only a blessing, but an obligation as a mother to make sure each child is loved and cared for. No one else can have that sacred bond. 

My take on it…If you are blessed with a child, you carried that child inside you, then make every moment together special. There is no greater love. If you are a child, love your mother with all your being. I love this quote… “Call your mother. Tell her you love her. Remember, you’re the only one who knows what her heart sounds like from the inside.” ~Rachel Wolchin.

LK 1:39-45
Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah,  where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

  
This is the picture that was in my head during the Gospel. It seems like yesterday, not thirty years ago.

*************

Now, for my “pay it forward” update.

Day 8:) “Pay It Forward” and Random Acts of Kindness Challenge

As I’ve mentioned, I really enjoy being a greeter before 9 o’clock Mass every Sunday. Today was especially dreary, cloudy and damp, but I thought…what better day to be perky and cheery. So, I donned my biggest toothy smile, held the door open, and said “Good Morning” to hundreds of people scurrying into church. When I arrived early at 8:20, I was hoping to “random” two people with a gift of holiday chocolates. I’ve noticed this one gentleman every Sunday, and it seemed like every time I would smile and greet him, he just nodded politely and continuesd on his way. I thought, aha, he’ll be one of the recipients.  So, when I arrived, he was already inside kneeling and praying the rosary. I placed a bag with the chocolates on top of his bible on his seat behind him, then back to my greeting. He didn’t see me. Cool!

Then, while I was manning the door and smiling, I looked for a random woman recipient. Mass was about to start, but people were still scurrying inside. I saw an elderly lady shuffling towards me, with what appeared to be her granddaughter, assisting her inside. I asked the young girl if I could take their picture and handed her the chocolates. She thought I was just asking her to hold it while I took the picture. So, when she tried to hand  the box back, I said, “No, that’s for you ladies. Merry Christmas.” I had my poem taped on the box. She glanced at it and said, “Thank you!”

“A random act of kindness is a lovely way to show

 That everyone is special, even people you don’t know.

 Perhaps they’ll “pay it forward”, by going that extra mile,

 Sharing kindness in the world, giving someone else a smile.”

  
I believe they were truly surprised and delighted. Nice smiles!

It was a lovely way to start my Sunday.