Posts Categorized: Kindness

I’ve Noticed This Odd Thing

Years ago, when I was teaching at the community college, on mornings I didn’t have a class, I liked to watch the Today show (while I stayed in bed and read the paper, too). One morning, the show (and probably the other news shows) was preempted by National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice’s testimony before the 9/11 Commission. It was pretty interesting, and I watched it all.

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Is It Real? Or …

Peter was here last weekend, and we went to the zoo. Friday was a great day. Overcast, not too hot, not many people, (school has started). When we were looking at the bison, I could see, just beyond the zoo’s perimeter, the traffic light and sign from an intersection at one of the park’s exits. I picked Peter up so he could see it and said, “We’ll leave the zoo from that park exit. When we go through the light, you’ll know that the bison are right on the other side.” He seemed unimpressed.

But, when we did go through that light, and I pointed out the back of the bison exhibit and said, “That’s where the bison are walking around, right now,” he said, “Awwwww.”

As we passed through the next light, leaving the park, he said, “I saw an arrow with a red circle and a line.” So, for several blocks, I explained about two-way streets and one-way streets, and how people leaving the park might not realize that the cross street was a one-way street. And how a left-turn choice might lead to a crash. Fortuitously, the street leaving the park is a broad, two-way street that splits after a mile or so into one-way streets. Nice segue.

Peter asks a lot of questions and gets lots of explanations. At this rate, he’ll probably be able to pass the written portion of the Driver’s test next year, when he turns four.

As we approached a light, several blocks on, he said, “Is that a fake tree or a real tree?”

“Where? What tree?” He pointed. Behind us. I looked all around and didn’t see what he meant, and the light changed and we had to move on. I turned and went around a couple of blocks, back to where we were. I drove as slowly as I could, hoping not to annoy the drivers around us, and tried to see what he meant.

“That tree?” “No.” “There. That one?” “No.” Then,

“That tree, Mimi.” I saw which one he meant and agreed. No wonder he thought it might be a fake tree.

img_1787I tried to explain what I thought might have happened to the tree. For some reason, they seem to have cut off the entire top of it, removing all the branches so that it was, basically, a tall stump. Maybe the branches had gotten so large and spread so wide that they trimmed it all the way back to the trunk, so it wouldn’t be in the way of traffic on the street or people walking by on the sidewalk. Maybe they thought the tree was dead. But, the tree began to put out branches and leaves again. And the way those new branches and leaves grew did make it look like a fake tree. Like a Dr. Seuss-type pompom-topped tree. Maybe they did it on purpose. It’s certainly interesting. But I’m not sure it’ll catch on.

I’ll have to start driving up that street more often, and see if the new tree-pruning technique gains popularity with other neighbors.


God told Jeremiah, “Up on your feet! Go to the potter’s house. When you get there, I’ll tell you what I have to say.”

So I went to the potter’s house, and sure enough, the potter was there, working away at his wheel. Whenever the pot the potter was working on turned out badly, as sometimes happens when you are working with clay, the potter would simply start over and use the same clay to make another pot.

Then God’s Message came to me: “Can’t I do just as this potter does, people of Israel?” God’s Decree! “Watch this potter. In the same way that this potter works his clay, I work on you, people of Israel.

Jeremiah 18:1-6 (The Message)

I don’t know how this tree happened to have been pruned so severely. But somebody must have thought it was the appropriate choice. Then the tree, with its internal God-given guidance, started growing, the best it knows how. The real thing. Unusual. But real.

Meanwhile, some zoo photos.


Oh, Those New Yorkers!

I saw a story a couple of weeks ago about some kind, helpful, brave New Yorkers. A man fell from a subway platform onto the tracks, just a few minutes before a train was due to arrive. Three men saw him fall, jumped down onto the tracks, picked up the unconscious man, and, with the help of others on the platform, hoisted him back up, and were then themselves pulled to safety. A young journalism student was sitting on a bench nearby, saw what happened, and grabbed her phone and began to film the incident. It’s been seen by a couple of million people. The place where I first saw the report had a space for comments. One person wrote that, yes, New Yorkers rise to the occasion and do what needs to be done for their fellow man. Another person (apparently in a bad mood) wrote that the three were most likely not New Yorkers at all but people from somewhere else. And, she said, if they were actual New Yorkers, they only began to help when they saw someone filming, and helped because they thought it would be good for their images to be seen being so helpful.

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I remember having a party line, just briefly, when we first moved into this house, in 1959. Mother and Daddy probably had a party line, at some earlier point, but it must have been when I was too short to be able to answer the phone that was in the phone niche.

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Do Unto Others? Pay It Forward?

walmart logoI was at Wal-Mart the other day, with a friend who was purchasing one of those giant bags of flour (for a school project). The checkout lines were long and she said, “Let’s do the Self-Checkout.” (Fortunately, she is much younger and stronger than I, and was pretty easily handling the really GIANT bag of flour.)

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Happy Easter Weekend

I thought that Kevin and April (and PETER!) weren’t coming for Easter. But, then, they decided to!!! Which made a good weekend even more anticipated, more delightful, more satisfying.

I had Peter all by myself on Friday. There was a little shopping. A little napping. And a surprise! April’s birthday is coming up soon, and I thought we could make a surprise for her. I planned to make treats to serve on Sunday. However, when a three-year-old prepares a surprise on a Friday, you just have to have that surprise on a Friday. I asked what kind of cupcakes he thought Mommy would like. White. And what kind of frosting? White. With sprinkles. So that’s what we did.


Saturday was a beautiful day.



Peter was the first one who arrived with flowers.

Peter was the first one who arrived with flowers.

Sunday morning–We have a large cross that stays in the Worship Center all the time.

We have a tradition of putting fresh flowers on it on Easter Sunday morning.





I handed Peter over to David when I arrived at church. Then I went on along to my Sunday School room to prepare for preschoolers’ arrival. As I was rushing around the room, suddenly, something seemed a little odd.

Of all the things we do at my church, and maybe ever have done, my most favorite is how we do baptisms these days. Instead of sitting in our pews and watching from afar (well, it’s not that far), we gather forward. Kids in front, so they can see well. The rest of us packed behind them, on the platform, on the steps, pressed together.

Welcome, young lady. Welcome into your faith family.


“Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.’ That’s the message.”

Matthew 28:7 (The Message)

Christ is risen. Christós Anésti, or Χριστός Ανέστη. (We have Greek relatives.)

Let’s face it, for people who love Jesus, every weekend is a happy Easter weekend.

Not Quite Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, But …

Trying to put together a family Christmas when three families are involved can be a challenge. Not quite as much of a challenge as some folks with several family members who are farther-flung that mine. We have a family of three who live a hundred miles away in Fort Worth, and a family of two who live in Brooklyn, and we two. We share the Brooklyn family with the rest of their family in southern California, And we share the Fort Worth family with a slew of siblings and parents and in-laws and grandparents, almost all of whom live in the Fort Worth area. So, only a little bit complicated.

Holiday treats were ready! Top to bottom--chocolate chip meringues, peppermint stick bark, peppermint M&M's bark (an experiment/tasty!), cookies w/chocolate chips, walnuts, and dried mulberries

Holiday treats were ready!
Top to bottom–chocolate chip meringues, peppermint stick bark, peppermint M&M’s bark (an experiment/tasty!), cookies w/chocolate chips, walnuts, and dried mulberries

This year’s plan was for the Fort Worth people to drive down first thing on December 26. The Brooklyn people were catching a plane at JFK first thing that morning, also. They would come on down from DFW by train to McGregor, a small town a few miles from us. David was really eager to take Peter to pick them up, because Peter loves trains.  Christmas dinner ingredients were in the cabinets and fridge, cookies were baked and pie fixins’ were ready to be put together and baked. A good solid plan.

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Who in Their Right Mind Would Go to the Grocery Store Three Days Before Christmas?!?

Note the late date of this e-mail, and the lack of suggested deadline for answers.

Note the late date of this e-mail, and the lack of suggested deadline for answers.

Who would do that? Well, maybe it would be someone who waited until the last minute to ask family members what specific kinds of food they want to have during the holidays. And, if someone is going to ask the question, then someone feels a little bit compelled to prepare/provide those foods. Since she asked. If she’d been thinking more clearly, she’d have asked weeks ago and given a deadline for responses, but alas, she did not.

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The Falling Leaves


The white oak in my front side yard. The trees beyond it are in my neighbor's yard.

The white oak in my front side yard. The trees beyond it are in my neighbor’s yard.

One of the trees in my front yard is the first one to turn in the fall. It is also the first one to drop its leaves. It drops them into that narrow piece of our property that’s to the side of the driveway.

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