Tag Archives: day

I am reminded why voting is so important…

This week I have been on my “stop calling me” bandwagon. I have been tired of answering the phone only to hear a recorded voice tell me what I should do today – who I should pick.

I honestly don’t believe it makes a ton of difference what I personally think – even if I am in a “battle ground state”. It’s cold outside and I really don’t want to leave my house. I am tired of the political ads and the promises that don’t mean squat. I am really tired of the millions of dollars that are spent on plane rides and commercials when people are hurting. That money could be used for so much good. But alas. This is our political process.

And, today, I realize, I am taking a lot for granted.

So, I will vote today. I will exercise this right to vote that others have died to protect. I will mark my ballot with a grateful heart that I can. I am educated enough to read the ballot, healthy enough to stand in line, and free enough to voice my opinion without danger. So I will.

And today, I am reminded of Khan – our former driver in India and how thrilled he was to be able to vote. You can read his story here.

So if you are able, vote today. If for no other reason than you can.

The Ripple Effect………..

So, I pledged to participate in the Generosity Day Project and made some donations on Feb. 13th. On Feb. 14th, I pledged to myself that I would not just take the easy way out and make my contributions solely monetary darts thrown from the comfy, cozy chair in front of my computer.

The giver gets the gift

Every where I went, I tried to think, “what would be generous to do here”.

And while standing at the checkout line at Walmart, I tried to figure out something generous to do. Several people came up after me with much smaller loads than I had but the cashier had already started processing my items. It was too late to let them go ahead of me. Dang. Then I thought about offering to pay for their items. But there was that whole monetary darts thing. And besides it really would have just seemed, well, weird. Especially given that several of them were buying valentinesy kinds of things.

Can’t you just hear it:

Valentine: Honey, you shouldn’t have (brought me this fabulous gift from Walmart)
Gift Giver: Uhm, actually, I didn’t.
Valentine: What?
Gift Giver: Nevermind, it’s too weird to explain

Almost everyone who got behind me quickly changed over to the express lane. Except one man. He was a much older man in a mobile shopping cart. He was already moving kind of slow so my multitude of c.r.a.p. didn’t seem too daunting.

Ah-ha. There was my chance. I offered to load his items on to the conveyer belt for him. I was careful to say “would you like help” rather than “do you need help”, in an effort to not offend him. His face wrinkled and he kind of smirked and said he could do it. He wasn’t insulted but he also wasn’t thrilled that I had noticed that maybe he couldn’t do it alone.

Feeling a little uneasy and thinking he might be feeling it too, I joked that it was Valentine’s Day and said “hey, today of all days we should try to be nice to each other, right?”

He agreed. Then he joked back and said that if he wasn’t married, he would ask me to be his valentine. And don’t worry, it wasn’t in a creepy-I’d-better-be-careful-walking-back-to-my-car kind of way. Just in a nice, funny way. Totally like my grandfather would have done.

And I said pretty much the same thing back. And he laughed and looked a little sad at the same time.

He said that when he isn’t sitting in a cart, he is 6’2″ tall and that it is interesting to look up at people.He said it gave him a whole new perspective – this opportunity to look up. He almost seemed like he felt invisible when he was in the cart. That must be quite a change for a man who used to stand 6’2″ and tower over nearly everyone else.

Anyway, we laughed and had a nice chat. And when I turned to leave the store, we both had little bitty tears in our eyes. He seemed so appreciative of not being overlooked and he reminded me so much of my grandfather that I couldn’t help but get choked up a tad. And then he said, “your husband is a lucky man.”

I know, awwwwwww.

How I ended up with the bigger smile is maybe not such a mystery. I started out to just do something kind – something so simple as stop and help another person – and I ended up having a nice conversation, making someone smile, and being flooded with memories of one of my most favorite people in the whole universe. All in about 2.5 minutes. (All while I would have been otherwise just standing and waiting – doing nothing important.)

As I got in the car to drive away, I didn’t check my rear view mirror to make sure he wasn’t following me. I simply wondered why, why, why.

Why don’t we stop being so distracted so that we can enjoy interactions with those around us. Even if we don’t know them?

Why are we so busy that we ignore what a plain old smile or a helping hand can cure?

Why can’t we just slow down and breathe deeply and exhale slowly so that we can fully enjoy the precious minutes we are given?

I started off by trying to help him and his smile rippled right through my memories and warmed my heart. It’s true that the giver gets the greatest gift.

Putting my money where my keyboard is……

Yesterday I wrote about Sasha’s Generosity Day Project and I pledged to participate on February 14th. Well, dear readers, I just got me a jumpstart.

I started by donating to a project called Acres for Agnes. Naomi is a friend from my Delhi life and her mom has already reached her goal of $12,000 which will do this for Agnes and her family…

Buying me some bovines for the Generosity Day Project.

  • buy 2 acres of farm land
  • build a simple mud hut and separate kitchen
  • dig a pit latrine, with an adjoining washroom (for bathing)
  • and possibly be enough to dig a well so that she and the boys can have clean drinking water

So I figured a little extra can’t hurt because maybe it will be that little extra that will get them a well for clean drinking water. Let’s hear it for clean drinking water! Yeah!

Then I bought me some heifers at Heifers.org. These bovines will be donated to families in need. And I also donated to the Seeds of Change in Arkansas and Appalachia through the Heifer.org website to help those families struggling in America.

And yes, I feel amazing! Tomorrow might not be about monetary donations but I am going to make sure I am generous in one way or another! You can still join in the fun by clicking here to pledge! You will be the one who gets the greatest gift! Pinky Swear!

Taking Valentine’s Day to a whole new level…..

Generosity Day

One of the blogs I read regularly is written by Seth Godwin and today he wrote about selfishness.

He reminds us that, basically, the more we give the more we get. And he is so right – it is a true gift to do something for someone else – and not for the getter but for the giver.

In his post, Seth also mentioned Sasha’s Generosity Day Project. He has deemed Feb. 14th as Generosity Day and invites us all to do more than just give chocolates and flowers.

He had me at: “I felt like what was smart was keeping me from doing what was right.”

I just signed up – won’t you join me?

She did it again………….

Jennifer Tigges is going strong on her commitment to write a letter a day. She is chronicling her project on “A Letter a Day Keeps the Sadness Away“.

She wrote to me (and several other card designers) asking for donations of note cards. I sent her a few and she continues to use them to send handwritten notes to people who have positively impacted her life. So fun!

She sent this thank you note to Jennifer Engler

Jennifer Engler's Thank You Note

And this birthday card to Lisa Dolan

Birthday Card for Lisa Dolan

 

I have to say it’s been pretty fun to see who is getting my note cards. Usually they leave my hands and venture off never to be heard from again. I hope the recipients enjoy them!

A letter a day keeps the sadness away……..

A lady named Jennifer Tigges has decided to write a letter – a handwritten note – every day for all of 2012. She is chronicling her letter-writing campaign on a website called “A Letter A Day Keeps The Sadness Away.”

Note for today from "A letter a day keeps the sadness away"

Most of you know – but for those of you who don’t – I have a handmade stationery business also called A Reason To Write. Jennifer wrote and asked me if I would be willing to donate some cards. Now you might be thinking that was kind of bold, but I am all about the “it doesn’t hurt to ask” modus operandi and said sure.

Today she used one of my cards – you can see the post here (you will have to scroll to the bottom of the post to see the card). In the post she talks about a very interesting book called Strengths 2.0.

Anywho, I love the idea of dedicating time to letter write. I am feeling a little inspired. 😉

I cannot remember the last time I received a handwritten letter – can you? Do tell, who was it from?

Missing the point on SRK………

I wonder if most of you know who SRK is. At least my American-born readers probably do not. I live in India and I did not know who SRK is. Until yesterday. Now I am all too aware that he is a famous actor in India.

SRK is a famous Bollywood actor – apparently very famous – who decided to celebrate India’s Independence Day in Chicago – yes, the Chicago that is in the United States. As far as I know there is not a Chicago in India. At least if there is, it seems you have to get there via New Jersey. He was questioned by US Customs for what he claims was two hours (Customs says it was 66 minutes) in New Jersey on his way to Chicago to attend an Indian Independence Day celebration. I wasn’t there, so of course, I don’t have all the details. But there is absolute outrage in India that one of the “most famous men in the world” was bothered by Customs.

As you might imagine, I am not outraged in the least. He chose to enter the U.S. He is subject to the immigration process. Period.

First of all, he is an actor. Not a world leader. Probably not a humanitarian – at least none of the news reports focused on what a great man he is – just what a famous man he is – what a famous actor he is. An actor. This makes me crazy in the U.S. too. Why do we give so much credence to actors? It makes me insane. Please do not think SRK’s ego outranks the security of America.

Second of all, most Americans are probably not aware of a lot of international movie stars. The Customs officers are surely not trained on who is famous and who is not. It frankly does not matter who you are – famous people can do bad things too. Besides, we have enough drama going on with our own Hollywood crazies to keep track of stars from the rest of the world. So, while he is very famous in India – he might not be all that recognizable in other parts of the world. Part of the outrage is that US Customs should have known who he was and not bothered him. Seriously. I don’t think (reasonable) Americans would be insulted if Clint Eastwood was not recognized in India. Please do not think that Americans are dismissive of the importance of SRK in India. But, he wasn’t in India. And even if he was – should security be suspended for him? Really?

Even if he is famous all over the world – that doesn’t mean he gets a free pass at Customs.

And most importantly, why aren’t Indians upset that he chose to spend INDIA’s Independence Day in the U.S.? It would be like me going to Switzerland to celebrate the Fourth of July.

And isn’t it lovely that Americans in Chicago were holding a parade to honor India’s Independence? I think it kind of is. Very lovely. How did that little nugget of peace, love, and international bonding get lost in the reporting?

Part of the outcry is that he is quoted as saying that he might have been stopped because of his last name – Khan and that he is Muslim. I am sure you can find many, many Muslims who traveled into the U.S. yesterday who were not detained. He had the benefit of being famous and called the Indian Embassy. Besides a little ego bruising, I do not believe he was harmed in any way.

It is interesting that he has a movie coming out about racial profiling and now he has gotten quite a bit of publicity for that movie. Unfortunately, this issue has stirred up quite a bit of tension too.

What really surprised me is that this story about SRK ran as a headliner on the news before the car bomb story that happened outside of NAT() in K*bul, Afgh*nistan, before the Independence Day stories that happened in Delhi. Really? He is an actor. This was not a crime against humanity. Someone in U.S. Customs felt it was prudent to question him further. I am not saying that Customs doesn’t ever make mistakes. I am quite sure they do. But, if SRK does not want that scrutiny maybe he should celebrate India’s Independence in India next year where he can be recognized as the famous person he apparently is.

I am sad that Indians are upset with Americans over this. I believe it truly was not meant to make a statement or to be an international incident. I can guarantee that Americans are stopped entering our country too. It is a matter of keeping our country as safe as it can be. It was not meant as an insult to SRK or Indians or anyone with darker skin or a passport.

Poverty is the worst form of violence…….Gandhi

In honor of India’s Independence Day, Number One Hubby and I watched the Gandhi movie. It is so sad how much history I do not know. But I learned some today.

62 years ago, Indians were released from British rule and became free to run their country as they wanted – free to keep their resources as their own and to keep the profits generated from them. Congratulations!

The level of violence that was involved is amazingly little, especially given the potential for an all out war. The restraint practiced against the British soldiers and police was almost unfathomable. Congratulations again! It seems there was more internal violence between clashing religious groups than anything else. Unfortunately.

In the movie, Gandhi said this quote, “Poverty is the worst form of violence.” Now, I cannot know for sure if this is an actual quote from Gandhi or a Hollywood writer’s scripted idea – but I am fairly sure it is at least a sentiment he must have conveyed at some point. Later in the movie, Gandhi’s wife shared that Gandhi fought against injustices for women and the poor.

Another thing shared in the movie was the idea that material possessions trap you and make it hard to comes to grips with what is important in life. They are distractions that we should relinquish in order to become more resolute in our faith. Gandhi himself seemed to have nothing material. He even made his own clothes.

Now I do understand the distinction between giving up material possessions and being “forced” into poverty – or at least pushed back into it if you try to overcome it. But still, the dichotomy of these two ideas strikes me – especially because they were both echoed by the same man. Their premises are certainly intertwined. I do not know where I stand on it – but which is it – poverty is the worst form of violence – or a lack of material possessions can lead you to a purer life?

Your thoughts…………..