Monday, December 17, 2012

Kindness and Monday's Prayer

This represents one of the very few nice gestures
of my former daughter-in-law
towards me.
Her family company was making them
and she brought me one,
not wrapped up as part of my Christmas gift,
but simply handed to me.

The gesture and the gift meant a lot to me
and it's one of my better memories of her.

What I do remember most is
how she never once complemented me in any way,
whether it was my cooking, my hairstyle,
my clothes, something I did to the house, etc.

I can count on less than the fingers of one hand
 the times she said thank you,
even though every time I babysat at her home,
she came home to dishwasher emptied and running again;
laundry done and folded;
toys picked up;
and children fed
(and if supposed to be--in bed asleep).
(She did say thank you for gifts given her.)

There are other things that I will leave unsaid.
Ten years of being made to feel inferior, disliked,
and unappreciated--
no wonder I do not miss her
and am glad that my son has 50% of the children's time
to teach them things like simple kindness
among other things.

Kind words.
How could they have hurt her to say them?

Kind words.
Verbal gestures that mean a lot to me.
Verbal gestures that I try each and every day to give.

If I pray about it and really open my mind up,
I can even produce a sincere compliment to the teenager
who tries my patience not just each day,
but often the entire period I have him or her.

It always makes me feel bad to see how the student lights up at it,
because, really, how hard was it for me to do it?

Not hard at all.
So why don't I do it more,
instead of concentrating on what is annoying?
(Please understand that some things done
 are quite disruptive to the class.)
It's easier not to, I guess.

Above: me sharing a moment of smiles with Dillon and Scruffy.

Day 45 of 100 Days of Grace for Women
uses this scripture:
Indeed, it is good when you truly obey
our Lord's royal command found in the Scriptures:
"Love your neighbor as yourself."
James 2:8 NLT

Then the person (I have yet to figure out who that is,
although, believe me I've tried) goes on to write:
"In the busyness and confusion of daily life,
it is easy to lose focus,
and it is easy to become frustrated.
We are imperfect human beings
struggling to manage our lives
as best we can,
but we often fall short.

"When we are distracted or disappointed,
we may neglect to share a kind word or a kind deed."

In the case of these pictures --me spending an afternoon
scrap booking with Peyton, my 9 yr. old granddaughter.
"Kindness is a choice.
Sometimes, when we feel happy or prosperous,
we find it easy to be kind.
Other times, when we are discouraged or tired,
we can scarcely summon the energy to utter a single kind word.
But God's word is clear:
we must observe the Golden Rule 'in everything.'"
"God intends that we make the conscious choice
to treat others with kindness and respect,
no matter our circumstances,
no matter our emotions."

Son Doug's girlfriend often paints Addy's nails,
which makes Addy quite happy.
"Kindness, therefore, is a choice
that we, as Christians must make many times each day."
(Whoever compiled this book gives credit to individual sayings,
but not to herself.)

"As much as God loves to hear our worship and adoration,
surely he delights all the more
in seeing our gratitude translated
into simple kindnesses
that keep the chain of praise unbroken,
alive in others' hearts."
Evelyn Christenson

"Sometimes one little spark of kindness
is all it takes to reignite the light of hope
in a heart that's blinded by pain."
Barbara Johnson

I hope that in the days to come
(at least two of the Sandy Hook children victims' funerals are today),
I hope that not only food is brought to the homes, but---
 1) Laundry is done.
2) Gifts, piled up in a closet, are wrapped for the children
still alive in the family,
and the ones for the deceased child put aside
for the parents to deal with later,
3) The children are taken for an outing
 so that maybe the parents can just let loose their grief
in their own house without their other children hearing.
4) and countless other small acts of kindness.

Monday's Prayer
Help me Lord, to see the needs of those around me.
Today, let me show courtesy to those who cross my path.
Today, let me spread kind words
in honor of Your Son.
Today, let forgiveness rule my heart.
And every day, Lord,
let my love for Christ be demonstrated
through the acts of kindness
that I offer to those who need the healing touch
of the Master's hand.

Keeping all those who are grieving this week,
in prayers.

Blessings to you all as you go through this week.


  1. I'm sorry she was such a negative person. I know it was tough when the marriage ended but I think your son will be much happier in the long run. (And probably some separation is good for the kids too)
    A positive comment makes such a difference in anyone's day, and it's good to be reminded to do that.

  2. We can use a lot more kindness in this world...thanks for the reminder and I'll get right to work on it :)

  3. I think that we are a combination of good in how we were made, and evil in our fallen nature. Now, i don't have a list of how that works out in each person, and why, but, each person does struggle in some ways with the two.

    I agree that a good word can help in some ways, and we don't know exactly how that will play out in the future of that person or people in their life or even in our own life. There seems to be a ongoing war being fought within each of our physical and mental lives with one another, in relationship with God and with others.

    It gets very hard in certain cases where evil has shown it's face in places that we don't expect. We think that it should be reserved for the battle field or the dark alley. But, it is in each of us, and this is something that we don't want to accept. We don't want to see that this same hate, anger, jealously, etc., that we don't like to see in others, is also in ourselves.

    We truly need to forgive as we would like to be forgiven, but, i think that we need to ask God for His help in doing this in us. The key is in the asking.

    Thank you for this prayer and for your reminders.

  4. I have thought often in the last few days about all the teachers I know (you being one of them) and how brave you are for continuing to go to class after what happened. After what has happened so many times in schools and colleges across this country. One of the things that made the most impact on me in all the reports coming out after the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, is the tremendous love and courage demonstrated by the teachers, for the children in their charge. One teacher told her kids she loved them, as they hid from the shooter, because, she said, those might be the last words they ever heard. I'm glad you take the time to speak words of love and encouragement and kindness to your students, even when it isn't easy.

    May your Christmas be filled with love and joy and all things good.

  5. Praying for strength for you, Beth, and a good Christmas season.

  6. When the horrific evil hit in Newtown, I had a real heart for you. So many people all over the country were struggling. Focusing on our own and trusting our Lord is sometimes all we can do.

    My son-in-law, for some reason, is ignoring Dave and I. Don't know why, yet, but I expect we'll eventually get an answer re: what happened. In the meantime, we can only focus on our g-kids. Life happens... but love can go forward forever and that is my hope/belief.

    Bless you...


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