inspirational, thankful

Inspirational Friends


Day 10/30 – I have many friends who are inspirational, but today I’m going to highlight three.

One doesn’t have a website and just recently got her first smart phone. She has seven children, a job playing the piano for school musical offerings and is in charge of keeping the nursery at church staffed. Her goal in life? To have the freedom of schedule so she can be there to help anyone who is in need. Over the years, I’ve seen her cooking for the families of people who were hospitalized, weeding gardens for people who were not home for extended periods of time, babysitting, reading to shut-ins, etc. And it’s all under the radar. I only know about it because I’m part of her existence.

The second is Linda Stanek | Children’s Author, Teacher, Speaker. She is a children’s author, but also so much more. Her passion for animals permeates through every part of her being. She nurtures cats and fights to save elephants. I think I could read her Night Creepers a million times and never get bored.

And the third is Mary Beth Schewitz. She and her husband lived through every parent’s nightmare when their 20-year-old son died from an undetected heart condition, but they turned the negative into a positive by creating a non-profit (Max and the Wild Things) that bring screenings into schools to prevent the occurrence in other kids. There is a fabulous interview with her here.

These friends (and many more) inspire me on a regular basis to become a better person.

  • For November (the month in which we celebrate Thanksgiving in the US), I’m trying to blog about something for which I’m thankful for each day of the month.

Blessing Boxes


Image by by New Life Church CollingwoodCollege students shouldn’t have to think about whether or not they will have a meal during the day. But that is a scenario that many face, and most of the world isn’t aware of the struggle. In 2014, Feeding America, the USA’s largest emergency food assistance network, calculated that around 10% of its 46.5 million adult clients attend school, including 2 million full-time students1.

These are people who are better themselves, putting all their time and resources into educating themselves so they can contribute to the world, and have a better future for themselves.

A Watertown, NY man realized the need for food college students while working on a project for his own studies, and he did something about it. Army veteran Roman Vezpinoza set up a Blessing Box in his yard, and the idea is catching on. Good Housekeeping has an inspiring article on his mission.

Brilliant. And so inspiring.

*This post is written as part of the We are the World Blogfest. Come join us as we spread inspiring stories 🙂





inspirational, thankful

Kind People Running Coffee Shops

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When I visit Europe, it somehow seems magical. Although I know that the people there are the same as the people here, the parks, restaurants and homes seem to have a bit more enchantment. As a result, I am now deliberately seeking similar spots here in the United States. To my delight, I’m realizing that it’s not too difficult. Charming places abound — such as this great little coffee/bagel spot we found in Oakville, Ct. The kindness of the people there was inspirational, and I’m also thankful for the experience.

Chris and I had to kill a few hours while our new-to-us car was getting touched up, and the mechanics at the dealer recommended a place up the street where we could work and grab a bite to eat. We headed up the road, past an old mill  that seemed steeped with  history.


Shortly after that, we stood on a bridge to watch some geese swim. Locals have clearly been feeding them since they all started swimming towards us as soon as we stopped.


We made it to our destination and were welcomed like family. The food was freshly cooked, and the Internet was strong. Sometimes when I work at a place of hours on end, I feel a bit intrusive. But at this place, the woman who was running the place actually came over to us and thanked us for working there. She told us that it was so nice to see the place being used like that (then she offered us free coffee–isn’t that amazing?).

As the hours drifted on, we ordered lunch there as well. Equally as good as breakfast. They even has fresh old-fashioned-style ginger beer.


People drifted in and out — each person welcomed sincerely. Some brought gifts such as fresh herbs from a local farmer’s market. The small-town “let’s all work together to make each other’s life better” vibe was certainly strong.


The woman running the place stepped out with a patron for a moment, and they graciously posed for a picture for me.

If I’m ever back in that area, I know I will be stopping in at Baked and Brewed.



Extra Coins

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Euros - Image from
Euros – Image from

We are winding down our month of living in Portugal. As with any trip to Europe, we’re doing all we can to use up those euro coins since they are awkward to hold on to and aren’t necessary back in the United States. I was mentioning this to a friend, and she had a great suggestion.

Every  time she leaves a country, she takes her left over cash and stashes it in unique public locations in the area. There is always a hope that it will brighten someone’s day when it’s discovered. Perhaps buy a meal or inspire someone else to leave cash stashes around for others, too.

Inspirational thought, eh?

Euros - Image from
Euros – Image from

Perspective on Limitations

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“But just then, for that fraction of time, it seems as though all things are possible. You can look across the limitations of your own life, and see that they are really nothing. In that moment when time stops, it is as though you know you could undertake any venture, complete it and come back to yourself, to find the world unchanged, and everything just as you left it a moment before. And it’s as though knowing that everything is possible, suddenly nothing is necessary.”
Diana Gabaldon, Outlander


Inspiring Quote on Miracles

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miraclesPeople usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes. -Page 54 · Location 882 from Joy on Demand by Chade-Meng Tan