Random Acts of Kindness – Two True Stories of Kindness Among Strangers.
Author Archives: Michelle
No One Talks About the Fear
This resonates with me deeply. The fear of the unknown is at least as debilitating as the disease itself. Should I? Shouldn’t I? But like the prisoner I find every answer to be the wrong answer and find myself frozen in fear.
The other day was a stunningly beautiful sunny day with a light breeze. Exactly what you imagine when you think of the perfect day to be outside doing, well, anything. I, however, sat looking out the window from my physical therapists office. You know, like you do. My physical therapist noticed me looking and said, “What a beautiful day. Doesn’t it make you want to go for a walk? You know, that is something you can do and it’s very good for your overall health.” I produced my best fake smile and mumbled the appropriate agreement, but it really ruffled my feathers and I couldn’t figure out why. People make these comments all.the.time. Why was this one nagging at me? Turns out, this was a good question.
Who wouldn’t want to take a walk?
Healthy people don’t understand that chronic illness and pain is not linear. This means that the…
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Random Acts of Kindness – Two True Stories of Kindness Among Strangers
It was 1999 I was 21 years old. I was making my move from Pensacola, FL. to Misawa Japan but was making a trip home for Christmas and to drop off my car.
I admit that at 21 I wasn’t the most responsible person in the world but I had this particular trip planned to a T. I left FL early in the morning so I wouldn’t have to make any stops late at night and planned my gas stop for a part of Birmingham, AL. that I was familiar with.
I reached my exit in Birmingham right on schedule. I pulled into the familiar gas station and up to a pump. I slid my debit card into the credit card reader and received the scariest message any 21-year-old woman hours from any one they knew could see, “Insufficient Funds”. I couldn’t believe it. I had checked my bank balance the night before and had plenty of money for the trip but I guess I hadn’t accounted for an automatic bill payment.
I didn’t know what to do. I leaned back on my car, stared for a moment and started to cry.
Moments later a man about my father’s age approached me. I braced myself, keys in my fist protruding through my fingers ready to scream “rape” or “fire”. The man didn’t come too close just close enough to say, “Go ahead and pump your gas. You should have change, go in the market and get a coffee or soda, I don’t want you tired on your drive. I have a daughter your age and I wouldn’t want her stranded this far from home.” I assume he read my tags and saw I lived in Nashville.
I said “Thank you” and he slipped into his car and drove away.
I stood there for a moment in dismay. If I tried to pump gas had it really been paid for? If it hadn’t and I pumped it how would I pay. I just had to have faith that what the man had told me was true. I pumped a full tank and reluctantly went into the store to see if I really had change. It was true, there was enough change for me to get some coffee and a cookie. I thanked God, I knew he had sent me an Angel.
Flash forward almost 15 years. I am now a responsible adult. I have a good job and I’m on my way to work. I know that my disability makes me appear vulnerable and sometimes worry that I will be a target.
Every morning on my way to work I stopped at the same market. All the staff knew me. As soon as they saw me pull in they knew I wanted a croissant for breakfast, 2 chicken tenders to pack in my lunch and that I would be getting a coffee and a soda.
One morning I pulled in as usual. As soon as I stepped out of my car a man got out of his car and started to approach me. It’s a busy market, especially in the morning. Why is he approaching me. I don’t drive a nice car, nothing about my clothes scream “I have money”. What could he possibly want from me.
He stopped about 2 spots from where I was parked. He said “can you help me”. It was freezing cold outside but I stood and listened as he explained that a family friend had called him for help late at night and he left home in a hurry. He had left is wallet at home. His friend was now in the hospital and he didn’t have enough gas to get back home. I glanced at his car tags and assumed he lived about a County away. I told him I didn’t carry cash but to pull up to a pump and I would see what I could do.
I went in, picked up my planned purchases and paid. I then asked for $10 on pump 3 and another cup of coffee. All the clerk said was “Be Careful”. Apparently the man had been there a while
I left the store. I didn’t approach the man but I said loudly, “go ahead and pump your gas and you have a coffee waiting inside.” He didn’t say anything. He put both his hands to his chest and kind of bowed his head. When he looked up he appeared to have tears in his eyes.
I never saw or heard from that man again but I still think of him from time to time. Any of us could end up in this situation and there aren’t many people who would help. There are so many people now who make their living standing outside of gas stations or markets claiming to be out of gas or food. Most of them want cash and won’t accept gifts. Many times I have offered gift cards or food to beggars and had them decline. It’s become so common place that it’s easy for us to just walk past someone with their hands out asking for help. How are we supposed to know who is really in need?
Would you help a stranger in need, have you before? Has anyone ever help you when you were in need?
Fat Cat Lady
“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” – Princess Diana …
How I put a $1700 dent in our budget with a simple error
Protecting Ourselves form Ourselves. Avoiding silly mistakes that can bust your budget. An experience.
Nothing Lasts Forever If You Are Careless
If you follow me here at Canadian Budget Binder you know I am a big fan of having anemergency savings fundand using a budget. Every month I post our budgetand net worth update to show how we made out for the month and areas we need to improve on or we feel we are on target or exceeding with.
Unfortunately not every month is going to be a good month and sometimes we have to suck it up and move on just like we’ll have to this month with a silly error that cost us $1700 but the buck didn’t stop there let me assure you. We often ask ‘how can I protect my computer from viruses?’ but sometimes you also need to ask yourself ‘how can I protect my computer from myself?’
Water in computer
It all started one…
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Going to the Movies
Ok, so the title is a little misleading. I don’t actually GO to the movies for a lot of reasons.
First of all its almost impossible to go to the movies in a wheel chair. That one little section that they leave seat free for people in wheel chairs is ridiculous. People are in wheel chairs for multitudes of reasons and in my case it’s because I can’t move my whole body not just my legs. So sitting in the very front of the theatre and having to crane my head and neck up and to the side to see the screen just isn’t possible. Someone contact the ADA!
Ok now that I have that out of my system (shwew) the main reason we don’t go to the movies is because of the expense. I love movies and I am just as excited as the next guy when a new one comes out. However, I can wait a few months for it to come out on video. They seem to be going to video faster lately.
Snacks. OY! $26 for popcorn and 3 bottles of water when I have free popcorn and water at home? One thing I do like to do is when a friend or family member posts on their Facebook page that they are going to the movie I do ask if they will bring popcorn home to me. There is just something special about movie theatre popcorn that no microwave bag will ever be able to achieve. Besides, if they buy a large the refill is free!
We used to rent movies from our cable provider but it became a hassle (and another large expense). At $5.99 a pop I expect to not have to deal with pixelization, freezes and other digital media inconveniences. Sure I can call the cable company and have the charges removed but have you called your cable company lately?
So now we exclusively get our movies from the library. You can’t get any cheaper than free! The only movie watching dilemma I have left is helping my husband to realize that the library has a whole selection of movies that don’t include car chases, aliens or guns. Yes, the library has movies for women and children as well.
Fat Cat Lady
“You know what your problem is, it’s that you haven’t seen enough movies – all of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.”
P.S. Yes I made my own graphics, they are a little silly but I think they are cute. I am pro “not stealing images” and since I can’t get to the movies to take my own I drew some. Enjoy 🙂
How to be a Christian without being a jerk about it
It’s as if you crawled into my heart and wrote what I could not speak. I was raised a Christian and have been a Christian since I was old enough to understand what it meant. It isn’t tatooted on my forehead but I do have a small white gold cross that I wear on my medical alert bracelet so in the event that I need prayer they will know who to contact 😉 I personally am a big fan of Matthew 6:6 “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” To me it has many meanings and one of those is don’t be a loud obnoxious bible thumping Christian. I am not completely against public prayer I personally pray in public all the time (quietly in my head) but sometimes when I am in a large group of people and I know some of them are not Christians I feel like (or know that) it makes them uncomfortable. Being a Christian isn’t about making someone else feel uncomfortable to make yourself feel more like a Christian. Lastly I am so glad to know that I am not the only one who thinks that the world is not a billion years old. My husband loves to watch science based shows on TV and he hates it when I correct the TV and tell who ever is speaking there is no such thing as 6 billion years ago.
A few weeks ago, the marvelous Lindy West over at Jezebel wrote an excellent post called, “How to be an Atheist without being a dick about it.” As someone who has been the target of my fair share of dickish Atheists in my life, I really appreciated it. However, the behavior of dickish Atheists pales in comparison with some of the behavior of my Christian brothers and sisters. So, dear people, I give you some recommendations on how to be a Christian without being a jerk and turning everyone off to not only Christians, but to Jesus. (I’m going to try to cut back on the language in the event that some Christians who need to hear this are turned off by the swears. Let’s see how I do.)
1) Stop threatening people with hellfire and damnation. Nobody likes it. It achieves approximately nothing so far as spreading the…
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The Hardest Decision to Make
One year ago this week I made one of the most difficult decisions I will have ever had to make. I turned in my final notice at work. Final as in – I wasn’t just leaving this job, I had made the decision that I wasn’t going to work at all.
I used the remainder of my vacation time and my remaining short-term disability and in December I was officially retired.
I was 34 at the time. In 2011 I started IVIG treatments. I was taking a lot of sick days from work and often my Hubs had to call my supervisor at home to tell her I couldn’t come in because he couldn’t wake me up. I was hospitalized with meningitis in November of that year. It should have taken me weeks to recover but I went to work after I had been home for 3 days. That was just my work ethic.
When I was at work I worked hard. I did more than my part. I believed that the efforts I put into my work was the only thing keeping my disease from progressing. I drank coffee, soda and ate candy just to stay awake and focused. I often had to work with my door shut with the lights off because I just couldn’t handle all the stimulation. I left work early almost weekly and often abruptly.
I thought hard before making the decision. I talked to my doctors, my family, my supervisor and I prayed…. a lot. My disease was progressing and my work environment was exasperating it. Due to the amount of time I needed off for treatments and doctors visits I couldn’t just apply to work somewhere else. I had to make the decision to stay at work and continue to go downhill physically or leave work and spend the rest of my healthy time with my family.
When I called my supervisor to let her know I was going to take disability and retire there were tears on both ends of the call. I had spunk, I was good at what I did. I enjoyed my job, I didn’t complain when things became difficult and I always wanted to do more. I wasn’t just working at a job I was building a career.
I was able to leave work quietly and un-noticed. Everyone was told I was taking sick leave but wasn’t told when I was coming back. No one called to check on me, I received no cards or flowers. Out of sight out of mind. This should give you an idea of what kind of people I was working with. They all knew how sick I was, that I would never recover, yet when I disappeared for nearly 6 weeks it phased no one.
I left at just the right time for 2 reasons. One week after it was announced that I would not be returning they announced that they were closing our local office. Also, within a month of leaving work I lost my ability to walk.
I feel that I made the right decision. Even though we miss my income and we have had to make lots of major changes to our lives my health has improved without the stress of that toxic work environment. I no longer have migraines daily, I have seizures far less often and I am over all way less agitated.
Sometimes I wonder had I worked somewhere else, if I had worked with people who worked as a team, who weren’t catty tattle-tales like 5th graders, people who didn’t constantly complain that the job was too hard.. would I have made the same decision? Probably so.
Leaving work wasn’t the end of the world like I thought. I have more time to spend with my Dude and the Hubs. I can take more time to be sure I eat healthy and excercise as I can. Most of all, I’m happy.
Raising a Gifted Child – A Simple Trip to Target
Having a Gifted Child is a blessing, raising a Gifted Child can be a challenge. My son has been able to comprehend adult conversations since he was about 3 years old. We have never been able to “talk around” things when he was in the room because he could still figure out what ever it was we were discussing. He was also able to speak in complete sentences like an adult. Most of the time this was cute but sometimes it meant trouble.
This story takes place when Little Dude was about 4.
One morning before work the Hubs left me a list of things to pick up at Target. He said he would leave the money and the list by my car keys. I called him later to let him know I found the list but not the money. He had forgotten and I said “That’s ok I’ll use my credit card and get the cash from you later.” No Biggie. Off to Target we go.
As soon as we walked through the door the Little Dude wanted a hot dog so I said, “I can’t get you a hot dog I didn’t bring any money”.
We picked up the items on the list as well as a few other things I thought we might need (because that’s what you do at Target) and our total came to just over $100. As I was reaching for my wallet to get my credit card the Little Dude proclaims, “My Mom can’t pay you, she doesn’t have any money but my Dad will give you the cash later.”
Gasp! As I am trying to wind my jaw back up from the floor and force a smile the cashier proclaims (loudly) “Mam, how will you be paying today?” I fumbled through my bag, found the credit card and COULD NOT get out of Target fast enough. I felt as though every eye in the store was on me.
When we got to the car I asked, “Dude? Why would you say something like that, you know we aren’t supposed to talk about money with strangers! That embarrassed me!” And his reply, “Well I just thought that if you didn’t have $1 for a hot dog then you probably couldn’t afford all that other stuff that wasn’t on the list.”
Needless to say until he was bout 10 years old I did not go to Target with out enough cash to buy a hot dog.
Cheers ~ Fat Cat Lady
“A person is a person, not matter how small.”
– Dr. Seuss, Author