I was moved by an article about a woman posting on Craigslist seeking a family to be a grandmother to over the Christmas Holidays.
It really tugged at my heartstrings.
After reading up on this – it appears the young man who was moved by this original posting, Carson Carlock, was able to reach out to the lady. The original post had been removed because some people had responded unkindly to her post.
This story has gone viral – and yesterday I wondered, “WHY?”
The article is attached in case you haven’t read it.
Ya’ll I’ve come to the clear realization that “I am not a blogger.” However this is hope for me – I do want to have a web page that generates kindness in whatever means possible.
Since July 21st, 2019 when my friend encouraged me that MyFriendDeAnna.com needs to exist we’ve been trying to define – what do you really want to do? It’s kind of like people ask a kid, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Well, at 49 I’ve decided I want to be a KINDNESS GUIDE.
The problem is most people you talk to consider themselves generally kind, and I like to think that is generally true. But I’m also of the belief that kindness needs to be practiced often to others and to ourselves.
There are things I get more excited about than others. Some things touch me heart, spirit and soul and other things just tickle my ears and pique my interest.
This second half of 2019 I’ve been reading with interest what others are doing to be kind.
Just today I read of a young man, Tyler Stallings who decided to raise money to help homeless veterans. He started when he was 4 and half his life later, at 8 half he has raised over $50,000 – and I find that very inspiring! Here’s a link to an article about this wonderful young man.
Today a friend posted on Facebook, “So proud of my babies” and there was a lovely article about Caitlynn Lovelace (one of her former students) that donated $2,000 worth of items for the Ronald McDonald House in Winston Salem, NC.
It’s inspiring to me to see kids do something for their community. They see a need, they aren’t bound by “that won’t work” or business models – they simply DO!
2020 will be my year of “DOING” and reporting the good things I see being DONE. It’s never been my intent to make this page about what I’m giving, because the Bible is clear that giving done in secret will be rewarded (Matthew 6) but sometimes it feels so good to give, you can’t keep it inside and you do inspire others. We can help be kindness cheerleaders, and change the world!
This past week I was able to work with Guilford Education Alliance and be a “Principal for the Day” at Colfax Elementary School in Colfax, NC on Thursday, November 14th.
My principal that I shadowed was an awesome hostess. Julie Kimsey reached out to me by email and we touched base.
She asked me to arrive at 7am so I could help her meet the car riders. As soon as I walked in the treasurer said, “DeAnna Lawson!” I had gone to school with her. Isn’t it a small world?
So we started the day – and ya’ll what wonderful fun we had. We went out and got to meet the car riders. Welcomed the kids in to school. Ms. Julie Kimsey set such a lovely tone for her staff and students. We walked around and greeted staff and students. We went to her office as the announcements and Pledge of Allegiance and then we took off for a staff meeting.
The meeting was with the Math Guru from Eureka and 5th grade math teachers. These teachers are prepping their kids for middle school and they are passionate about this. Now, I never had children, but if I had to help them with math today, it would be terrible. The math guru had us work out a problem and I knew how to do the problem and get the answer – BUT what they want is the children to think critically. I raised my hand and said, “I’m sorry are you sending cheat sheets home for the parents and grandparents? And are you making it clear that the initiative is to make them think critically instead of solve the problem? I would struggle with that.” Bless their hearts they all looked at me and said, “We try.” I will tell you one thing, in that class room I saw people that were VERY CONCERNED about the books your children are learning from, the standardized tests your children are taking and I was very impressed with the teachers at Colfax Elementary School.
My mini-rant is on the standardized tests that are required. If this is what children are being graded on, then each school needs to know anytime there is a change to the requirements on these tests. There has to be a way to communicate this information directly to the teachers that are teaching. There also has to be a way to relay to the parents.
Okay, back to school! Ms. Kimsey went in to her classes and I met some of the greatest kids. One thing the children were focused on is kindness. This just tickled me to the core. The Viking Best Code requires the students to Be Responsible Exercise Self-Control Show Respect Treat others kindly
There is one school in Guilford County that has a service dog and I was at that school. Ya’ll know I love dogs. Iris is trained to alert people if “her person” has low blood sugar or high blood sugar. She looked at me a little suspect, but she realized I was there for a good reason. (Or maybe my sugar was high?)
Ms. Kimsey had gone to Colfax Elementary as a student and she has deep roots in the community. It was evident as she took me around to the trophy cases the pride she had in her school and dedication to her students and past students as well. It just tickled me to see the joy she had talking about the Colfax Basketball Championship in 1962 and finding their championship basketball.
Around 10:50am we were getting ready for the Grandparents Day at the book fair. The grandparents were coming for lunch and to take the grandchildren to the book fair. It was so nice to visit with the grandparents and help them get signed in. I was able to do that while Ms. Kimsey handled some other issue.
We left the school at 11:15 my “principal for a day” gig was done. It has taken me 4 days to write this blog because I don’t think words could share how excited I was to participate with Guilford Education Alliance and Guilford County Schools and Colfax Elementary for this event.
We went to a luncheon with all the principals and shadow principals and there were many people from the community. Dr. Sharon Contreras the Superintendent of Guilford County Schools was there and explained the vision you has for Guilford County Schools to grow. It was very informative.
I have great respect for all educators and support staff at the schools and my job as Principal For A Day just opened my eyes to how much goes on to make a great school. Your principal sets the tone for the school, encourage them, encourage the staff and encourage your child’s teacher.
After my first staff meeting!
I just had to be the I in KIND. I’m glad I’m fun sized.
Ya’ll my Daddy served in the US Army in Vietnam. He was drafted and went there and did the job he was supposed to do. My husband served in the US Navy in Desert Storm, he signed up for 6 years and he did his duty.
I’m very thankful for the veterans in my life. My father in law, sister in law and brother in law, 2 cousins, an uncle by marriage all served in the Air Force. Many of my friends.
Now my blog is geared towards kindness. I’m always looking for stories of kindness to share – and I can think of no one else who is more kind than men or women who could potentially lay down their lives for me. The Bible is clear, John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”
Tomorrow morning my Mama, Mother in Law and I take my husband out for breakfast at Denny’s – we fuss over him proper. He deserves it.
Last year we went there and there was an older gentleman eating alone, and another man asked if he could join him. When we left, they were telling stories. It was beautiful to see this comradery a WW2 veteran and a Vietnam veteran. The desire to help your brother in arms not be lonely. I left their tip, and there were a few others.
This past month I saved some change so I leave tips for more veteran’s tomorrow at Denny’s. I’m looking forward to doing that small and simple gesture.
I’m hopeful as I write this that you can find a way to say “thank you” to a veteran. Even if you say, “Thank you for your service.” That will mean a great deal. My husband is very shy, but he beams when someone tells him that.
If you are a veteran and you by chance are reading this THANK YOU. From the bottom of my heart I thank you for your sacrifice and your time. What a blessing you are in my life even if we don’t meet this side of Heaven.
When I started this blog, I wanted to make sure this wasn’t about “what I’m doing that is kind” but I want to present ideas to everyone that would help spread kindness in simple ways.
Today I was invited to host a “Holiday Social” for a local senior center, the memory care center. Now many of ya’ll don’t know me in real life, but I love senior citizens, as much as some folks love little kids, one of my friends called me the “geriatric whisperer” and it’s a title I could live with!
This party is near Christmas, but they call it a “Holiday Social” because not everyone celebrates Christmas. The groups that have participated in the past served food such as: angel food cakes, cheese puffs, fresh fruit, cheese trays and diet beverages and that’s a fairly simple menu. (This allows the diabetic folks to have choices and no one is left out due to dietary restrictions.) Also, they will provide prizes for BINGO and small gifts for all members – and the last line broke my heart, “this is such a nice gesture because some of our members do not have family to celebrate with so it really makes them feel valued and appreciated.”
WELL – how could I say no to this opportunity? Bingo at 2pm and refreshments at 3pm.
Ya’ll – I’m going to be asking a couple of places to help provide some things and I’m going to ask for help. I could come up with a lot of reasons to say no – but the one reason I have to say yes is simple, one day I will be old. I’m an only child, with no children. One day I may “be alone with no family to celebrate with” and it’s my goal to treat others the way I want to be treated.
But what an amazing opportunity for any group to serve in – and have fun. I hope someone is interested and will do this.
My friend Helen mentioned this is something necessary, “but I have found that elderly persons LOVE to be asked about their lives…from childhood forward. They have a need to share their history. Very important, too, that the listener draws near (many elderly persons have compromised vision), makes eye contact, and allows the person to feel as if he/she is the only other person in the room” so I would like to suggest – take some friends to go and visit.
You don’t have to do this with a senior center, you can visit a rest home, you can go and visit a community center, you can host people at your church. This is one of those things, if you seek – you will find.
If you take up the #HolidaySocialChallenge, please let me know. Post pictures on Instagram (#MyFriendDeAnna), Twitter (@MyFriendDeAnna1) and Facebook (@MyFriendDeAnna) – feel free to reach out to me at DeAnna@MyFriendDeAnna.com for any kind of pointers / tips / tricks. This is new for me too, so we could learn together.
As always, spread kindness however you can! Feel free to share ideas with me on how kindness is being shared in your community.
Update 10/19 I created a #GoFundMe if anyone would like to donate. The people that have donated are all friends of mine in real life!
Last weekend I went by the Ronald McDonald House in Winston-Salem and had a chance to chat with the Weekend Manager, Kaila, about different things going on there and I was intrigued by the Pop Tab Program.
Kaila showed me the collection center for pop tabs (tops off of beverage cans.) The Ronald McDonald House in Winston-Salem raises about $3,000 annually from pop tab donations.
Now that may not sound like much to you – but consider it takes approximately 1 million pop tabs to get $350 – that’s a LOT of pop tabs. (The aluminum price fluctuation makes this hard to estimate)
Let me challenge you – begin saving your pop tabs, and encourage your friends and family to do it and drop off at the Ronald McDonald House closest to you once a month.
If you work with 100 people – let’s say 50 of them drink 1 can of soda/energy drink daily. 350 tabs (7 days 50 tabs) could be saved weekly. Over the course of a year, approximately 18,000 tabs could be saved. If you encourage 56 people you know to do the same thing – POOF you’d have 1,000,000 tabs over a year. (Not to mention some folks drink more than 1 soda a day and may have beverages at home….) Make it easy for people to give you their pop tabs. Get your kids to decorate brown paper bags for pop tabs. It’s work, but you can make it seem fun!!!
THEN (here’s where it gets WILD) – what if you found a few small businesses to be a “POP TAB DROP OFF LOCATION”. Or you could ask local bars if they could participate. Or you could ask a local restaurant to participate. Or you could put a note on NextDoor and find an easy way to meet your neighbors and collect pop tabs. Or a fraternity. Really, the possibilities are endless of what you COULD do to help a great organization.
The Ronald McDonald House has a special place in my heart, one of my dear friends had a preemie and while the baby was in NICU the parents were residents at the Ronald McDonald House. They were able to be close to the hospital, get a shower, eat something, not think about anything except for their baby for a month. It’s an amazing organization that really operates on a well-managed budget.
What if 10,000 people in each state accepted the #PopTabChallenge ? You’d have 550,000 people in all 50 states with the same goal. (Okay that’s the whole state of Wyoming participating….) In one year, each state could raise $3.5 million dollars (10,000 people trying to get 1 million pop tabs making $350) to help families. Any thing will be a help.
If you feel like the #PopTabChallenge is not for you (It’s a lot of work) – but you’re inspired to send your local Ronald McDonald House $10, they will use that money to their best ability and many families will benefit.
“Little things make big things happen.” – John Wooden
When I started blogging I wanted to put up a post every other day that would “turn people towards kindness” and I apologize, the past couple of weeks have been crazy. One of my aunt’s passed away, she was very precious to me, she didn’t have children so I’ve been working with her business and trying to take care of my uncle. They were married 68 years!
This gave me a chance to regroup on my plan for the blog.
If I could do anything in the world, I’d like to be a “Kindness Coach” and train people to find more kindness in this world and start looking for opportunities to be kind in the small and quiet ways. If you don’t know me in real life, I was raised by amazing parents that encouraged generosity and to change the world in small ways. They were empathetic and didn’t want to raise someone who felt it was important to judge others, but to be open to help others. This is not something I take for granted. Many people weren’t raised in that kind of environment and others may not have had the opportunity.
If you break kindness down, you’ll find being kind is much different than being nice. Being nice is on the outside but kindness is to the core of your being. Being kind is based on your values, your beliefs and your thetics. Some things you’re born with, and other times you can influence others.
Here are some kindness qualities: 1) Friendly (sometimes a smile makes.a difference) 2) Generous 3) Considerate
All you have to do is to be genuine and have concern for others AND yourself.
If we lived in a world where kindness just happened, it would be a little different. But in this world – we’re inclined to learn from pain, so the painful things are what stick to our brains – the painful things teach us to be cautious, the good things our mind just takes for granted and moves on. So we’re going to have to train our brains to help find kindness, and my blog will be the “bright spot” that will set up a place for KINDNESS REPORTS. It may be something very simple, because as Aesop said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” And how amazing is that thought?
So I encourage you to look for ways to simply “be kind” and if this is new for you – start small. But start. Now I want you to be smart too. I’ve noticed a movement on Twitter for philanthropy, but people have gotten in on there and just made something sweet, into a place for scammers and greed. Once people identify you as a giver, the takers will be right there. There is always someone to help, there is always a need. As a Christian most of my good points come from the Bible, and Matthew 6:1-4 NKJV says, “1 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.” I encourage you to give, but you don’t have to tell what you gave. You may find yourself wanting to tell people WHERE you are giving, but you don’t have to tell WHAT you gave. Giving feels good and it’s natural to be excited about giving.
You can find ways to give anywhere. My next post will be about the Ronald McDonald’s House and how they take soda pop tabs to raise money. It doesn’t get more simple than that!
If you’re inspired by kindness, please feel free to forward this article and see if we can start a movement to kindness. Come back to the blog every other day for new reports of kindness – and I’m always looking for stories at DeAnna@MyFriendDeAnna.com – and the stories will focus on 3 areas – 1) how YOU can be kind to others 2) KINDNESS happening around us 3) Encouraging you to be kind to YOURSELF.
Thank you for taking the time to read! I’m just getting started on blogging, so bear/bare with me as I learn and grow!!
Today (Wednesday 9/18) I had the pleasure to talk to Sabrina
with the Davidson County Senior Services.
She works with Meals on Wheels and the Meals on Wheels for Pets program
in Thomasville, NC.
The Meals on Wheels For Pets program was started when
volunteers saw the need to help elderly pet owners who were Meals on Wheels
Now, some people may say, “If you can’t afford to feed your
pet, do you need one?” My answer to this
is, “How much companionship does your pet provide to you? If your financial status changed would you
get rid of your pet?” Hopefully a pet
lover would see this as an opportunity.
(Just a quick story – my mother is 75 years old and lives
alone, but she has Chimbi, a cheerful dachshund and a wonderful nurse. When Mom recovered from breast cancer surgery
Chimbi was Mom’s constant companion. Mama
has the means to provide, and I’m available to run and get Chimbi’s food – but a
lot of older people don’t have someone they can count on.)
In steps, Meals on Wheels for Pets of Davidson County. Sabrina shared with me about how meaningful the Meals on Wheels program is to seniors. Many seniors suffer with isolation, and those with pets have a reason to engage in physical activity and they have companionship.
Currently in the US, there are over 6.5 million Americans
over 65 years old that deal with some type of depression. In many cases this didn’t occur until they
lost their independence, or the aging process, or being cut off from social activities. There are over 11 million people 65 and over
that live alone, so that means half of the seniors that live alone deal with
depression. (Statistically there are about 48 million senior citizens in the
You can probably see where a pet in the life of a senior can
provide a reason to get up, something cares if you’re alive. (I mean, ya’ll know what John Wick’s dog
meant to him….)
The Meals on Wheels for Pets program was funded, but the
funding was removed and now they rely on donations. Sabrina said that they could make it on
$3,000 yearly. They serve 45 senior pet
owners monthly. That is amazing, and
This blog post is specific to the Meals on Wheels for Pets in
Davidson County, NC – but It’s also a reminder to whoever is reading this, there
is an opportunity to serve others and our aging population may need a little
If you’re interested in providing a little help – you can make
a donation to them
Davidson County Senior Services – Thomasville Office – 211 W. Colonial Drive Thomasville, NC 27360
If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can order a bag of cat
food or dog food and send it to this address.
It would be greatly appreciated.
Your community may do something similar, and you may see the need to get
involved. You may find out your
community doesn’t have a service like this and maybe you could start one! (YES YOU!!!!)
Lastly, let me encourage you to think of seniors you may have
in your life. My church picks up seniors
and brings them to church, because they cannot drive and they just don’t get
out very often. If you think long
enough, there may be a senior in your life that would love a call from you,
they may appreciate you running to the grocery store for some bread and milk,
or just drop by with a milkshake and let them tell you a story about when they
Kindness doesn’t have to cost anything except your time and it can mean so much to them. (and if they have a pet, bring them a can of “wet food” – it will “tickle them pink”)
Also – a shout out to #MyFriends – we’ve already got $50 to send to help them just by asking a few friends. That’s about 1 week’s worth of food in their budget.
This morning a friend came running in my office, she said, “DeAnna I have to tell you about some kindness that happened to me last night.” Of course I was very interested and I listened.
Last night she was leaving work downtown Greensboro and at the corner of Cone Blvd and Yanceyville Street (Greensboro, NC). This happened 5pm-ish – 9/10. A young lady had a broken down car and it was holding traffic up for a bit. My friend was merging and another car got really annoyed, he was motioning and raising his hands and she was too.
I’m looking confused as she tells this story, she’s said, “Let me get to the good part.”
Well they calmed down, they drove past the lady with the broken vehicle. At the next stop light he pulled up beside my friend. She looked at him, he had handwritten a sign that said, “I’M SORRY.” (He realized there was a lady in distress with the broken down car and my friend truly wasn’t a bad driver). She gave him a thumbs up, she smiled and they parted ways.
I looked at her and started to get tears in my eyes. Not like a full on cry, but a “how sweet, it touched my heart” kind of tears.
Ya’ll my friend was sharing kindness and concern for a lady in distress, and all she knew is this man was overreacting to something he couldn’t see fully. All this man knows is, he was ready to get home – and then, he saw what was happening and was able to say, “I’m sorry.”
How often do we do this in our own live? We react to something and don’t know the full story. We react and then regret.
I applaud this young man for saying, “I’m sorry.” ( I’m also quite impressed that he had a pen and paper in his vehicle!!)
Let’s take time to be kind, let’s take time to not react harshly. Let’s give a thumbs up for an apology if someone does act too fast. If we’re wrong, just say, “I’m sorry.” He touched my life with this simple gesture.
Tonight as I opened the computer I prayed. “Lord, open my eyes to some joy and kindness in this world.” WELL, He is indeed faithful. There was a story on my local NBC channel WX11-12 about Champale Anderson of St. Louis. She has 6 kids of her own, but she opens her doors daily and serves the kids in her neighborhood. What an act of kindness these kids run to her door and she is able to provide for them physically. How amazing is that?
Here is an article to the complete story – but this just overwhelmed me.
She brought to mind that there is opportunity to serve, and sometimes these people are right outside your front door. You don’t know in which ways you’ll be able to impact people.
Sometimes we put a lot of pressure on ourselves but kindness doesn’t require perfection, it requires connection. If you can’t feed someone today, smile at a stranger and compliment something about them. Those kind words could carry them through the day.
PS~Champale’s GoFundMe raised $16,328 as of the writing of this post. Because people see the need for her brand of kindness!!!
For ya’ll that don’t know me, I’m DeAnna – late 40’s, short, friendly. One of my many mottos is, “I talk to strangers, but I never take the candy.” I’m at the point where my path is not clearly defined, but it’s getting clearer. You need folks like me to spread some cheer.
This past year or so it’s just been pressed on my heart that there needs to be more kindness in the world. Like everything, if you’re looking for something specific, you’ll find more of it.
This year I heard about 2 young women who I think are doing AMAZING WORK in their communities.
3 Wishes for Ruby’s Residents really struck me. When I read about this my Mom had been in a rehab facility for a few weeks after back surgery and let me tell you what, this story just touched a place in my heart. My Sunday School class (The Dorcas Class I lovingly refer to as “My Dorcas Heads”) are widowed ladies all 75+ and I see the need for community at their age. (This weekend we are skipping Sunday school to “go visiting” one of our girls in pallative care) How amazing that Ruby was brought up in an environment of giving and caring.
Another little girl that touched my heart was Bella Smith. She found out her classmates didn’t have cakes for their birthdays and she started making boxes for her friends. Cake mix, sprinkles, plates, balloons. She covered it all in her boxes and her smile – every time I see it, she just makes me smile. 🙂
So these 2 young ladies really inspired me. Now me, I’m a connector. I like to connect people so they may be inspired. I’ll pick up bits and pieces of the good things I see and hear and work on spreading the joy around.
This blog is for a few reasons, but mostly I’d like to generate kindness. The world we live in needs it so much. I’m just getting started, so it’s a little sloppy, bear with me, I’m a work in progress. But keep coming back for some good news and tips.
As 2020 kicks off I had grand plans for MyFriendDeAnna.com and I was looking forward to getting started on “finding kindness stories” and then life happened. My Mama had to get a hip replacement surgery in a fairly fast time frame. (Her MRI was done 12/21 – surgery 1/27) She did great and I’m hopeful her pain is minimal and she can get back the quality of life she was enjoying before.
Whenver people ask me what my goal is for MyFriendDeAnna.com is I always tell them, “I want to teach people to be kind, I want to encourage people that they matter.”
I was very fortunate to be raised by parents that loved me, they didn’t make things perfect for me, but they let me fail because they knew in my failings, I would grow.
Last year was a great year for me, I was introduced to several organizations in the Triad and able to work with Guilford Education Alliance, Wellspring Solutions, and Ronald McDonald House of Winston Salem. I was also able to touch base wit other individuals who are making a difference in their community. With each of these groups I participated with them to #MakeKindnessLoud in my community. If it was collecting school supplies, serving memory care patients or collecting pop tabs for my #poptabchallenge I was able to do something to make a difference AND I HAD HELPERS!!! People showed up to help me and they had fun as well.
So as 2020 is now in full swing (January is almost over – can you believe that?) I’m launching my website in full force now that Mama is done with her surgery.
How would you like to see kindness grow in your community? What are you doing to make the world a better place? Have you been the recipient of unexpected kindness? If so – please feel free to reach out to me by email – DeAnna@MyFriendDeAnna.com – I’d love to hear from you!