The best kind of contagious…

I decided to give you a break from my cancer diagnosis anniversary to let you know about a great book. I’ve followed Nicole Phillips’ column for a while. She writes a weekly column for the Forum newspaper about kindness & recently released a book. “100 short stories to remind you God is good and so are most people.” I bought 4 copies. Guess what 3 people are getting for Christmas? (Aside from 3M products) The book is a compilation of her columns, all good reminders that it doesn’t necessarily take lots of money or time to spread kindness, sometimes you just need to be nice.

The book gives you lots of examples of how something small can mean a lot to someone else. Sometimes we get too wrapped up in ourselves to think of others. I’m guilty too. We rush about and don’t take the time to listen to others, to smile at the cashier, to ask the server how her day was or to look people in the eyes. If nothing else, maybe it will make you more aware of your fellow humans.

Several years ago, when Dallas was small, we visited family & went to church in Oakes, Nd. They had “quiet bags” for the kids… a bag with some distractions for them. A stuffed toy, coloring pages and crayons, a car, a book etc. Both Cam and I thought this would be a great addition to our own church. The nursery in our hometown church wasn’t “sound proof” and we felt self conscious of our loud toddler. With our tax refund money, we bought cloth bags, found clearance stuffed bunnies, used coupons for etch-a-sketches and found Bible coloring books at the dollar store. I painted on each bag and we filled them up. Over the years, someone brought in 2 stands to put them on and our boys have helped us fill and re-organize the bags. If it makes some parents with little kids feel more welcome and more willing to stay for church with their kids, then that’s great. It was our way of spreading kindness.

There are many simpler examples though… pay it forward in the drive though… help someone who is short on money at the grocery store…visit a nursing home… find out the needs at the local shelter. The ideas are endless.

Each year, for the past several years, my best friend Jessie and our families do a giant baking day. It’s a 12-14 HR marathon day of cookies, candies, bars and snacks. It started when she lived two houses down from us. It seemed like a good idea to use our double oven and kitchen island. Over the years, we streamlined our process and added cooling tables in the garage too. The husbands were in charge of dishes and packaging up the finished product. We each brought our favorite recipes and then doubled or tripled it. We both like to bake, love the chance to visit, and like to share the Christmas goodies. The majority of our treats go to family gatherings, but also to school teachers, mail carriers, bus drivers, co workers and homeless shelters. I know I wrote about this recently, but for us it was a really great tradition… one that we are both missing this year. It’s also one that for us was an easy way to spread kindness.

As we navigate some new paths on our journey, we look towards the opportunity to spread kindness in our new location. I hope you will order Nicole’s book and it will spark some ideas for you too. And, when you are done reading it, do what I did – share it with someone. I gave mine to my new co-worker (with a note thanking her for making me feel so welcome). Peace be with you on your journey of enough… may you have enough  this holiday season to be able to share with others!

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