Nicole J. Phillips
Did you know you can see the crime rate in your neighborhood? If you go online to Trulia , a home buying website, you can click a little button that says “Crime.” The map is light blue in areas where there are few reported problems and dark blue where there are more crimes. What if we could see the kindness of an area in the same way? Wouldn’t it be fun to see how it spreads?
I am not a picture taker. That’s my mother-in-law. And my sister-in-law. Going on vacation with them is an exercise in patience because we are constantly stopping to pose. I was only annoyed until the first scrapbook arrived. Now, I have years of memories lovingly laid out in tidy books on my shelf. Sarah loves to take pictures, and not just of her family. She began taking pictures of acts of kindness as well.
FARGO -- We never really know what someone’s going through, do we? The clerk at the grocery store who stands on her feet all day and then goes home to take care of an ailing parent. The teacher who pours lessons of kindness and sharing into beautiful little hearts and then realizes she’s been sharing her husband with another woman. The teen who spews anger and disrespect throughout the hallways of his school because his self-talk tells him he’s too stupid to learn.
I’m a sucker for a Hallmark movie. Love is in the air when the owner of a small-town bakery falls for the big-city developer who intends to shut her down, but then has a change of heart and sweeps in to save the building from demolition. Somebody hand me a bucket of popcorn and a hot cocoa. In real life, love is a bit more complicated, but as Laurel Baxter shares, it’s still magical and memorable when it’s filled with kindness.
There is a wedding dress out there that's just missing its bride. Could it be you or someone you know? I got this letter from Gail Richardson, who is keeping the gown until the perfect bride steps forward.
People often ask me about maintaining their safety while pursuing a brave and kind life. How do we know if we're supposed to give a homeless person money, or stop to help the car on the side of the road? My answer might sound flippant, but I mean it sincerely: follow your heart. If your heart says "stop," then stop. If your heart says, "Not this time," then take that as a cue to keep moving. A husband and wife were on the same page as far as hearts go when they recently came across a person who needed someone to see him.
Have you ever heard anyone say, "Oh yay! I get to go to the hospital!" Other than the occasional pregnant lady, I doubt it. I imagine, like me, you're glad you have access to quality medical care, but hope you don't have to use it very often. However, many times we find the greatest kindness when we are physically or emotionally wounded and can finally get the help we need.
Are you on the treadmill? Do you wake up each day knowing there are more things to be done than could actually be accomplished? Does it feel like everyone needs a piece of you? When I begin to feel that way, I know it's time to close my eyes.
Have you ever had kindness show up just when you needed it? If your answer if yes, when you've finished your morning coffee, please send me your story. That's what this column is all about. We share stories of the kindness you've given and how it made you feel, or the times a kind act happened when you needed it the most. Kindness has the power to change the way we see people. It has the ability to break through our hard shells, because we want to help another human the way someone else has helped us. Kindness becomes contagious when it connects with gratitude.
FARGO — Can you remember what you got for your seventh birthday? How about your eighth? Ninth? Maybe there's one special present that stands out, but for me, it's all pretty fuzzy. It's not the big celebrations or occasions that I remember from my childhood. My brain chooses to hold onto things that are much more random. For instance, I remember when I was about 9 or 10, my mom would drive me to the "big city" to run errands. We lived in the little town of Reedsburg, Wis., and Madison was about an hour away.