Haibun: The Charity of Strangers

For Poets United – Charity.

Haibun: The Charity of Strangers
Several years ago I had to drive the long distance to Tennessee to bring my mother home. She had been staying with my aunt and my aunt could no longer take care of her. It was a hard lonely drive. I arrived and visited a few days with them and then I loaded mama and her things into the car and began to drive. She was immobile and in the throes of Alzheimer’s. I had her “rolling walker” in the car and when we made bathroom breaks I had to lift her into the transport chair and wheel her into the rest area. I then had to wheel her back to the car. I had to feed her and remind her to drink. I was frightened. I didn’t think I would be able to take care of her. We stopped halfway and spent the night in a Marriott. I was struggling to get her into the transport chair and a man who had just pulled in saw me. He smilled at us and said, “well little lady, looks like you need some help.” He reached into the car and gently lifted mama into the chair and said, “I’ll take her in for you.” I was so grateful and thanked him over and over. He told me how he had looked after his father in similar circumstances.

The next day I finally got mama ready to go and began wheeling her out to the car. A young black woman who told me she was a CNA saw me again struggling, got out of her to car to help me. She gave me some tips for lifting mama that would make it easier for me. Later that day. A teenage boy took over my wheeling mama to the restroom. At the car, a middle aged woman helped me get her back into the car. As we drove I pointed out the mountains, the changing color of leaves, and the small towns we passed along the way. That night I was getting mama ready for bed and she lid through my arms. She dropped. I tried to get her up but couldn’t. I went across the street to a neighbor who was also taking care of her mother. She immediately came and helped me get mama up off the floor and into bed. Until mama went into the skilled nursing facility in January, angels along the way helped me. Many days I was on my own and lived in fear I would drop her. But the fire department came or the rescue squad came and helped me. No charge. When she went into the nursing facility, there were loving people who took good care of mama and also helped me to deal with her dying.
seasons come and go –
leaves change color – but kindness
flourishes through all


Monday Musings – Random Kindness – Raggmunk

free public domain image

free public domain image

I am always amazed and delighted at random acts of kindness. Last night was no different. The neighbors to our right rarely speak except an occasional “hey hey” and a throwing up of their hand. The neighbors across the way always never visit but often speak, shout, and in the fall, came over and just on the spur of the moment, helped us rake our yard. We are down a short, sparsely populated road with a cul-de-sac and often, except for the random passing each other in the car or seeing someone outside as one is walking, we are all self-contained units.

I was trying to decide what to fix for dinner last night. I was at that stage of being in a food rut. There was a knock on the door and the tall, blonde male neighbor from next door stood there when I opened the door. We both smiled and I invited him in. He said his usual “hey hey” but thrust a warm, disposable container into my hands. “Enjoy” and left. I called “thank you!” after him and he threw up his hand.

I opened the foil and there, in all its amazing looking, incredible smelling glory was something that looked good to eat but about what it was, I was clueless. I put it on the kitchen table and called my husband. He came, looked, sniffed, whistled and then pulled a small piece of paper from the foil I had missed. “This is raggmunk. It is Swedish. Enjoy.” and signed. By the last name, after 14 years, I found out my neighbors are Swedish.

I also found out this is one awesome dish! I immediately googled for the recipe. I don’t know where they obtained the ligonberries (I think they had been frozen fresh) but we scarfed it up. It made me glad I always share my summer tomatoes with them. Fourteen years and several bushels of tomatoes later, I find out my neighbors’ last name, that they are Swedish, and that in spite of their reticence, they are kind. This summer, I think I will knock on their door, say “hey hey” and hand them a disposable container of my father’s recipe of fresh peach cobbler, throw up my hand and head home.

We all have different neighbors, we all are different types of neighbors. Which kind are you?

Wordless Wednesday – a day late! Joyous Angel

copyright Kanzensakura

copyright Kanzensakura

This was made for me by a friend, from an oyster shell she found at Nags Head, NC. It was a gift of great kindness and joy during a dark bit of time this Christmas. I hope Joyous Angel makes you smile, as she does me. I have her hanging on my kitchen door to bless this house and its inhabitants and all who enter with the true spirit of kindness and giving.

Cup of Kindness – 2015


And so we come to the end of another year. This has been a year of tremendous changes. In spite of so many hard things, there have been many good things.  In March, I lost my job due to ageism and racism. Ugly combination, hey? And as time has progressed, my mother has become more fragile in her health and after rescuing her from a bad situation in Florida and taking her to live with her youngest sister in Tennessee, she just seemed to just step off the edge of the cliff. Health folks often call it that. She is now in and out of reality. Dementia is a demon from which there is no escape. I call her daily. The other day she asked me where my father was and why he hadn’t been to visit. I gently told her he died 30 years ago. She didn’t remember. This is a daily heartbreak for me. It is also a daily reminder of those fragile relationships that mean so very much and could suddenly….end.

But there has been highs in this past year. I’ve been able to devote more time to my writing, reading, cooking, independent study and went back to school for pharmacy. Being an engineer, my outlook isn’t the typical glass half empty/full thing. Our thing is, if the glass is half empty or half full, then get another glass. So I got another glass.

I am also ending this year finding out that my deep depression disorder is not that at all. I am bi-polar. Not a death sentence by any means but a life sentence none the less. But I can and will cope. I have the best husband in the world and I have friends – beyond excellent friends.  Hope and faith – words for the new tomorrow.  I promise, I’ll do my best not to be whiney about it!

Dear Chloe over at: http://sirenatales.wordpress.com did a post on Automaticity. Just what I was thinking for the past week or so. Basically, practice makes perfect. Practice a dance move, a speech pattern, whatever – until you do it automatically without thinking. Like when I draw my wakizashi with that single sweep and into fight position. I don’t think, I do.

What to practice in 2015 until it becomes so engrained? Here’s my list. What about yours?   Compassion, hope, joy, positivity, sharing, honor, humility of spirit, curiosity, open mindedness, open heart, gentleness, faith…big one – Faith. 

I forget who said this: When we worry today, we rob tomorrow of its hope.  There.  Nuff said.

I thank all of you who follow both my blogs; this one and Aki no Koe. Thank you for your likes, comments, kindnesses, prayers, positive thoughts. Thank you for your posts and all you have shared. Blessings to you in 2015.  I wish you all and those you hold dear, the best that can be granted to you.

And above all, let us practice kindness. Let us drink deeply from that cup o’ kindness and pass it on. Let us practice it until we don’t have to even think about it. Kindness as automatic as our hearts beating. Sharing it without thinking.

Catchin’ up is hard to do…

My dear friends, between life and adventures and hard times with my mother and studying for my licensure exam 09/06, I started taking small breaks to walk outside, check on my mom via phone, email/chat with a couple of my most excellent friends, and catch up on posts from folks I follow.

Well, I was able to go back, up to now, six days. Imagine my dismay when I realized all the likes I had put in on posts had all morphed to no status. The “liked” is now just “like”.

I apologize and can’t know what in the world happened. So at this point, I just wanted to post this. I went back six days and read and liked your posts and/or made comments. It won’t show but please know, I did this. I missed you all tremendously and enjoyed catching up. I am not enjoying seeing that “liked” disappeared.

I am going to be back posting and reading sporadically. Until my exam is over and until I get my mom moved from her nursing/rehab facility in Florida to her sister in TN, it will be sporadic.

Thank you all for your patience, kindness, comments, following during this chaotic time. You all are so good to me and I thank you. Again, thank you all for your prayers, kind thoughts, positive vibes, thoughts of light and comfort, kind words. I cannot say enough about this and how it helped/helps my mom and me.

You all are absotively the bestest!!!!!

Return from Hiatus….Thank you all and bless you

I have a lot of catching up to do and will do so.  But before I even begin to start responding to comments, I want to thank all you out there in the Blogosfamily for your kind words, encouraging words, prayerful words, hopeful words.

I thank you and my mother thanks you.  it encouraged us both that so many people showed infinite kindness to me and to her – a stranger to you all but not a stranger in your hearts.

God bless you all.

Spread the light

untitled (6)


Make Every Moment Count


We do not remember days,
We remember moments.

Cesare Pavese

Photo courtesy of Wiki Free Images

Awards: Accept or not accept?

I have been thinking about this for quite some time. I’ve read reasons to give and accept awards and reasons to not do them in any form. You will notice, all awards, except for the Inner Peace Award have been removed from my blog.

Before I go further, if you do not accept awards and someone should make the mistake of giving you one, please be courteous. Many times, awards are given with the thoughts of kindness and true appreciation of your work. If you can’t respond in kind, then please don’t respond. A simple, “Thank you, but I do not accept awards” is sufficient. The giver of the award does not need a lecture about how you are above such things, don’t belong to social networks (as if the award implies such), or believe in quality rather than quantity, or any other such unwarranted remarks. I don’t know about you all, but I was taught if you can’t say something kind, say nothing. The way you handle a bestowed award says a great deal about you, regardless of your blogging superiority.

That being said, I have decided to no longer accept awards. Not because of the social network thing, which I still don’t understand, not because of quality versus quantity (I control that by my writing, not by the person giving the award), or any other reasons. I appreciate the true kindness and recognition of persons who have given me awards in the past. This is just a personal decision I have made.

However, the one award I am keeping and displaying is the Inner Peace Award. This was given to me by my dear friend Clowie over at Clowie’s Corners. The Inner Peace Award is exactly as Clowie said, “I feel at peace when I visit your blog”. I want people to feel welcome at my blog. I want to connect, to share, to learn from you all and for you all to learn from me – to take away a smile or thought from my words. I write because I enjoy the creative process and I do so appreciate those of you who “Like” and/or comment. I write because I have been writing almost all of my life. I write because I enjoy it.

So again, thank you to all of you who have given me awards in the past. Thank you all for your taking time to comment. I intend to, instead of giving awards, in the future, to make more comments, to show my appreciation for your work.

Let us be kind to each other. Let us take more time to comment and show our appreciation or respect or enjoyment or how the blog touched us. Sometimes that simple smiley face in a comment box means more to me than an award. We are all so busy and I know you all, like me, follow multiple blogs. Share you encouragement, thoughts, dreams, stories.

Thank you again to all of you who have commented, liked, given awards.  Let us give to each other courtesy and kindness.

Two Music Videos – Japanese

I’ve posted about World Order before – one of my favorite groups. Combine electronic music with hypnotic robotic movements to explore crass commercialism, mystic beliefs, boy meets girl fun, the power within you to change, and the newest, Last Dance. Genki Sudo, retired kickboxing champ and martial artist, is front man, singer, choreographer. Last Dance epitomizes “mono no aware” = the pathos of things, the sadness felt at the passing of an era. We see anti-nuclear protests, trees that survived the tsunami bolstered up in the midst of a massive mall, a segment on the beach with Fukishima Power plant in the background, depersonalized automated food/medicine/whatever production, and to me, most wistful telling of times in Japan, a stormy Fuji in the background showing the bare minimum view of the infamous Suicide Forest.

I love Japan, but I think most of you know this. Seeing Last Dance evokes the mono no aware in me – thinking of the Japan I knew 30 years ago and the changes but also, the things that stay the same. Knowing several engineers from Fukishima who are now based in the US, I look at this video and see the movement of the waves, the enveloping, the taking away in the dance movements. I know these men who have lost everything they hold dear.

I hope rather than make you sad, this video will remind us of how we on this Earth, are a family. From mudlides in Washinton, plane crashes, tsunamis – we all weep when we lose a loved one, are stirred to help, pray for those affected, and hope for a brighter future. The kindness of (un)strangers. Let us be kinder.

A lighter video – Change Your Life (forever) bespeaks the power within us to change, reinvent, improve our lives.

I hope you enjoy. I enjoy sharing!

Last Dance


Change Your Life (forever)

The Kindness of (Un)Strangers

I never cease to be amazed by the kindness of people. Right now, I am going through a very rough patch and having good and bad days. Out of the blue, someone called me this morning to check on me. He had been thinking of me and just wanted to say hi and keep my head up and hold on to hope. I hadn’t heard from this person in a few months but he had been talking with a mutual friend and heard things were hard. He didn’t want to intrude, but he wanted to let me know – just let me know – he had been through the same thing a few years earlier and that my kind words of encouragement then, helped him – a lot. So he was returning the favor.

I received an email from a lovely young woman who asked a friend for my email so she could connect and let me know, things would be okay and to just say hello.

A lady in the grocery store yesterday, before she handed off her shopping buggy to me, wiped the handle with one of those wipy things and smiled and said, here ya go!

I received a card from a distant friend with a picture of a cat hanging onto a tree limb with the words “Hang in there!”

In the big hard times of life, the smallest gesture takes on the biggest of importance. Simple kindness. Nothing elaborate,just….simple kindness.

It’s been a bad day but all of sudden, I feel lighter in my heart.

In spite of bad things, good things are still there. I am reminded to pass along those simple kindnesses. The smile I give to some stranger, may be just what they needed. The time I slice out of my day to hug a friend, may make a lot of difference to them at that moment. We all rely on the kindness of strangers who quickly become unstrangers.






“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
― Henry James 

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