On Life, Adolescence, Coffee and Goodbyes

I’ve completed 2 weeks of the Do Good Summer Reading Challenge.  I’ve discovered fourteen wonderful blogs and have been inspired to write on topics that I never would have had reason to before.   I am growing my network and contributing to the truly vibrant blogging community here on Worpress and beyond.  Interested in joining?  It’s never too late.  Click the image on the right to find out how!

Day 11:  I took the holiday off, but discovered this gem on Friday and think it will stick with me for a lifetime.  Clare at Grace and Poise shared with her readers 40 Little Instructions on Life and they are so valuable they needed to be shared.  Clare’s list is simple, yet inspiring.  I frequently talk to my girls about using manners, being kind and the such, and this list is yet another tool in my box for teaching my girls how to live happy, fulfilled lives.  Some of my favorites include:

“Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them. Leave everything a little better than you found it.”

“Think big thoughts but relish simple pleasures.”

“Don’t expect life to be fair”

If you want to read the whole list, you’ll have to visit Grace and Poise!

Day 12:  On today’s hop around the blog-o-sphere, I visited The Waiting.  Emily has one of the coolest “About” pages I’ve seen and her writing draws you in.  Her most current post is part of a Blog Hop called “Remember The Time When We Did The Things.”  As I understand it, the blog hop will have a different theme each Thursday and audience participation is encouraged.  I happened upon the week about summer vacation.  So, in the spirit of participation, I must share some embarrassing stories from summer vacations of yore.  My family loves to tell the story of the time that I galloped down a hillside somewhere in California to pee on the side of the road.  The details are fuzzy.  We were in a van (I think) and on a road trip to Lake Tahoe (I think) and I had to pee like I’d never had to pee before or since.  I was maybe 11 or so and there was not a bathroom in sight.  Despite my pleading, nobody wanted to stop until I started crying (I think).  When the powers that be finally decided to stop the van, I “galloped like a gazelle” (straight from the mouth of my cousin) down the hillside, much to the delight and entertainment of everyone in the van, and relieved myself, hopefully out of the view of my parents, uncle, brother and cousins.  Ahhh, the fond memories I have of summer road trips.   What are your “classic” summer memories?

Zebra Garden
Day 13: Can a cup of coffee create positive change in the world? Sharman at 365 Cups of Kindness is on a mission to find out and I think she is onto something.   Her idea, to buy a random person a cup of coffee every day for a year, came to her shortly after the tragedy in Newtown, CT.  As a school principal, she was deeply affected by the shooting.  When shopping the next day for a gift for her church’s toy drive, she was appalled by the rudeness and hostility shown by the other shoppers and began to wonder if anyone practiced kindness and compassion anymore.   When finished shopping she and her husband stopped at Starbucks, and spontaneously she gave the cashier $20 to pay for coffees for those behind her and the idea for her blog was born.  Now, she has purchased 157 cups of coffee for others and, though each one is special, she writes that Cup 157 may be her favorite.  This particular cup led to a conversation with a man who was truly grateful and whose story is quite inspiring.  Won’t you join me in spreading her kindness further?  Next time you are in line for coffee, think about buying one for the person behind you.  A small kindness goes a long way!

Cup of coffee

Cup of coffee (Photo credit: Etenil)

Day 14: I was incredibly close with my Granny and she passed suddenly one night 10 years ago.  She was not sick.  There was no warning.  I have debated in my mind a 1000 times whether it would have been better for her to go as she did, suddenly, or to have had an illness that forewarned us of her impending death.   On selfish days, I wish that she had been ill and that I could have told her how much I loved her, how important our relationship was to me, that she would always hold a piece of my heart, that I was so sad she would never meet my husband or children, that life without her in it scared me.  But, on my more rational days, I know that she passed in the way that caused her the least amount of suffering.  I would not have wanted her to suffer.  My memories of my Granny’s death were brought to the surface when I read The First Goodbye at Living Life to the Fullest From the End Stage.  Mike has terminal brain cancer and is sharing his thoughts and experiences through his blog.  This particular one is on a topic that is so difficult – saying goodbye to your child.  He writes that no parent should have to say the words “I know we will probably not see each other again” to their child and goes on to tell the story of how he had to say goodbye to his eldest daughter who lives away from home.  This post is full of raw emotion and you should definitely grab a tissue before reading it.  

Random Act of Kindness Weekly Challenge 6.19.2013

This week’s challenge was inspired by another blogger who is documenting her bucket list journey.  Christine at Project Light to Life recently posted about how she found $6.00 on the floor at the mall and went on to leave $5.00 at the Disney Store where she hoped a child would find it.  I hope that a child did find it, because I can just picture the delight on his face at the discovery, can’t you?  I am sure that there was a pit in his stomach, the nervous excitement that comes with unexpected good fortune, as he told his parents about the discovery, all the while hoping he’d get to keep the money.   To find money as an adult is exciting,but to find money as a child is thrilling, don’t you think?

Group of five happy children jumping outdoors.

Group of five happy children jumping outdoors. (Photo credit: Lighttruth)

The Challenge:  Brighten a child’s day by leaving money with a note encouraging kindness where a child will find it.

There are so many ways you can accomplish this and I encourage you to be creative, but in case you are looking for concrete ideas, read on.  The amount of your “kindness donation” is up to you.  Do you have a ton of spare change around?  Fill a baggie with coins.  Do you want to really thrill a child?  Leave a nice, crisp $20 bill for one to find.  I’d suggest leaving your “kindness donation” at a playground, sports field, toy store, pool or community center.  Not sure what to write?  Here are some ideas:

  • “A gift from me to you, out of the kindness of my heart.  Remember, kindness counts.”
  • “Goodness is the only investment that never fails.” Henry David Thoreau
  • “From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” Arthur Ashe

Let Your Child’s Creativity Flow for Charity

Is your child a Picasso in the making?  Does your family enjoy creating masterpieces with paint, markers or pastels?  You can channel that creative energy into a way to support underfunded art programs in low-performing schools!

Host a Clothesline Art Sale:

This is such a fun opportunity to let your children’s creativity shine and support arts initiatives in low-performing schools with underfunded art programs. Fresh Artists provides a step-by-step guide for children and their parents on how to get started. This could be part of a neighborhood wide yard sale, a project for your local playgroup, your child’s scout troop or class at school. Kids will love it because they are getting to create artwork and host their very own “gallery.” Time to get your child to practice their “when I am famous” signature!

via Do-Gooder Kids Activities.

CFC Benefits the Kawasaki Disease Foundation in June


June’s Chores For Charity dropped into my lap unexpectedly on May 30, 2013 via CrowdRise.

I was drawn into CrowdRise when my husband shared a fundraiser led by Sarah Chalke for the Kawasaki Disease Foundation.   When Josie was 18 months old, she came down with a fever, not such an odd occurrence in a child who was in daycare a couple days a week.  On the 4th day of the fever, the doctors began to become concerned and started her on high dose antibiotics that needed to be injected into her arm on two different occasions.  She had a chest x-ray to look for pneumonia – it was negative. The fever persisted. Then she needed blood testing – have you ever held a toddler down and allowed 4 huge vials of blood to be drawn from her tiny arm?  I have and it was one of the most awful experiences of my life.  The tests showed high white blood cell count, high sed rate, high platelet count – all of which are typical in patients with Kawasaki’s Disease,  a rare childhood condition that can lead to long term heart defects.  But, she only had one of the other symptoms, swollen lymph nodes.  Her tongue did not look like a strawberry, her eyes were not blood shot and she did not have peeling skin or rash.  She was admitted to the hospital on her 8th day 103+ degree fevers.  The doctors diagnosed her with Atypical Kawasaki Disease, though there was disagreement about the diagnosis since she lacked so many symptoms.  She was given IVIG treatment on the 9th day of fever and responded well to it.  She was without a fever for the first time in 10 days.   Her stay in the hospital was prolonged when she picked up another bug just prior to her release.  In total, she was in the hospital for 7 days and our health scare saga lasted over two weeks.

As a parent in this situation, it is heart-wrenching to watch your child suffer and be unable to help her.  The number of tests that our little girl underwent while they were trying to diagnose her is staggering.  She had multiple chest xrays, multiple blood draws, strep tests, catheterization to collect urine for a urinalysis, and a CT scan.  I, like Sarah Chalke, just wanted answers and each time the doctors suggested a possible ailment the tests came back negative.  The path to a Kawasaki Diagnosis (particularly with Atypical Kawasaki) is a process of elimination.  Your child’s pediatrician tests for anything and everything it can be, and if it is not that, than it is presumed to be Kawasaki’s and treatment is given.  It would be such an amazing gift for parents and children to have a diagnostic test for this mysterious ailment.    Please support this amazing opportunity to fund research on a prototype of a diagnostic test that could be 95% accurate.  Even better, The Gordon and Marilyn Macklin Foundation will the first $100,000 in donations.  Please consider donating in any amount that you can.  Josie and I will personally thank you.

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Of course, Josie will donate her Chores For Charity earnings in June.  Won’t you join her in helping to ensure that the path to a Kawasaki’s diagnosis is shorter and more concrete?  The Hubs and I already kicked off the fundraising effort – I’d love to raise at least $500 for this cause.  Can you help?


If you are looking for information on Kawasaki Disease, I recently found a tremendous resource page compiled by a fellow KD mom.  Please check out Desperately Seeking Kawasaki  for articles, personal stories and more.   You should also visit the Kawasaki Disease Foundation website for information about diagnosis and treatment of KD.

The Power of Thank You

SONY DSCIf you’ve been reading for a while, you know that Josie donated her Chores For Charity earnings in March to KaBoom!  Well, her mommy had a terrible case of Procrastinitis and finally sent in her donation a couple weeks ago.   Yesterday, the postman delivered a letter addressed to Josie and she could hardly control her excitement.  We read it together as a family and I have to say that she has been beaming with pride about it ever since!  She is so excited that she helped to make a playground and the Thank You Note addressed to her was the perfect reminder.  It will definitely go into her memory box.

Of course, Josie was excited to get mail.  But, I think the fact that it was a Thank You card addressed to her was meaningful and really made her day.  So, my friends, don’t underestimate the power of a thank you.  Go forth and spread gratitude, thanks and goodness!


Random Act of Kindness Weekly Challenge

Today’s Challenge: Remember and honor.  Remember the tragedies that have made our hearts ache and honor the victims by appreciating the people in your life.    And, if you have the means, contribute to help victims of the Oklahoma tornadoes.

How To Help Oklahoma Recover – UPDATE

I am watching CNN and in shock at the devastation that Mother Nature inflicted on Oklahoma.  As a mother, my heart aches for the children who lost their lives at their school today and for their families who have to move forward and pick up the pieces of their lives.  So many lives, young and old, lost.  So many homes destroyed.  So much still unknown about the extent of the damage.  As an American, I know it is my responsibility to take care of my fellow citizens in their time of need.  Do you feel the same?  Here are some ways that you can help:

1.  Support the American Red Cross

  • Text REDCROSS to 90999  to donate $10 to Disaster Relief efforts
  • Donate Online
  • Donate by phone – 1-800-RED-CROSS
  • Donate blood

2.  Support the Salvation Army – mobilizing mobile kitchens to feed 2500

  • Text STORM to 80888 to donate $10 to support Oklahoma Tornado Relief efforts
  • Donate Online

3.  Support Feeding America – pledged to deliver truckloads of food, water and supplies to Oklahoma

  • Give a monetary donation
  • Donate food to a local food bank

4.  Support Operation USA – mobilizing to help Oklahoma’s community health organizations and schools recover

5.  Support the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma

  • Donate Online
  • Text FOOD to 32333 to donate $10

UPDATE:  There are more and more organizations that are mobilizing to help with the recovery and rebuilding efforts and they are detailed below.  One of my readers made the point that if you want your donation to only be used for Oklahoma Tornado Relief, you should designate this on the donation form to be sure.  Go forth friends and do what you can to help the great citizens of Oklahoma in their time of need.  By sacrificing lunch out today and texting your $10 donation, you can make a difference.

6.  Global Giving Oklahoma Tornado Relief Fund – Raising funds for immediate relief and long-term rebuilding efforts

  • Donate Online
  • Text OK to 80088 to donate $10 to the Relief Fund

7.  United Way of Central Oklahoma – Distributing funds to local non-profits organizing disaster relief and rebuilding programs in local communities

  • Donate Online
  • By Mail: United Way of Central Oklahoma, P.O. Box 837, Oklahoma City, OK  73101
  • **Be sure to designate donation to the May Tornado Relief.

8.  Team Rubicon Operation: Starting Gun – Mobilizing volunteers to help assess damages and expedite home repairs

9. World Vision – Disaster response team is loading trucks with supplies and mobilizing volunteers to deploy


Together we can help Oklahoma rebuild and recover.  What will you do to be a part of the recovery?