Tag Archives: kindness

Hope-full Reflections

Carol A. Hand

Is hope fading with every wearing

or seeping inside concealed as deeper caring?

A question to ponder on laundry day

dressed in my secondhand clothes

Secondhand “hope”

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Reflections about Beauty

Carol A. Hand

Grateful for sharing a visit to a garden

with the dear friend who delighted in each bloom

and greeted everyone we met with kindness

as we shared a lunch at a local “greasy spoon

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Hortus Garden – July 2017

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Grateful for the gentle man who paints houses

and writes novels for sharing his creative stories

as we stood for hours under grey July skies

on an unseasonably cool day in these northern territories

 

Grateful to the dragonfly/damselfly (?) for choosing to stay

resting on my jacket sleeve with gossamer wings still

gazing into my eyes in the afternoon sun

before taking flight again and traveling where s/he will

 

Canada Darner – Aeshna Canadensis (photo by Phil Myers, biokids.umich.edu)

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Grateful for all the simple gifts that remind me of the many faces of beauty.

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Reflections about Being a Parent and Grandparent

Carol A. Hand

When my daughter was born,
my view of the world forever changed.

“To have
a child
is to decide
to have
your heart
forever
walk around
outside
your body.”
(anonymous)

Life was no longer something I peered at
from a safe distance
I felt it deeply – glowing in my heart
Powerful, shifting emotions
forced me to realize how precious
and precarious life can be

Holding each of my grandchildren for the first time
intensified my sensitivity and commitment
to do all in my power to be a loving presence
Watching them as they grow
amplifies both joy and pain
celebrating their accomplishments
suffering when they encounter challenges

Self-portrait by my granddaughter – July 7, 2017

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Sometimes all I can do is
to simply try to be a loving presence

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My granddaughter’s portrait of her Ahma – July 8, 2017

 

In times such as these it’s not easy
to believe the future holds bright possibilities
Let our hearts awaken and glow
with celebratory joy

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A Matter of Perspective

Carol A. Hand

A gift in the morning worth pondering…

Pale Blue Dot - Wikimedia
Pale Blue Dot – Wikimedia

 

“Our planet is a lonely spark in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand.

“It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.” (Carl Sagan, from “The best speech about humanity”)

The Best Speech about Humanity – Carl Sagan

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Acknowledgment:

I wish to thank Notes to Ponder for sharing this video.

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Simple Gifts

Carol A. Hand

When my beloved dog Cookie died, my heart was broken. We had weathered many challenges during our eleven years together. She survived many moves from her prairie home – to the northwoods, Rocky Mountains, and different Great Lakes region cities. I knew as we shared our last walk together in October of 2013 that no one else would ever take her place. I had no intention of ever adopting another dog. I hoped my grief would pass with time, but instead of diminishing, it only deepened.

By the end of October, my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter went with me to see if I could find a larger female dog. (I’m sure I wrote about this adventure, but I can’t find the story anywhere.) When we entered the animal shelter to look, the first dog we saw was Pinto, then tiny, a Papillon/Chihuahua mixed-breed.

Pinto Adoption Photo 1 - 2013
Pinto Adoption Photo 1 – 2013
Pinto Adoption Photo 2 - 2013
Pinto Adoption Photo 2 – 2013
Pinto Adoption Photo 3 - 2013
Pinto Adoption Photo 3 – 2013

 

 

 

My granddaughter fell in love with him at first sight. Who wouldn’t? I promised her that we would walk him after we tried the two large female dogs that were waiting to be adopted.

I did walk the two larger dogs, Barbara and Ginger. They made me aware of my age and physical strength limitations. Both were powerful, spirited, and emotionally wounded. My daughter laughed heartily at the spectacle of me trying to control Ginger when she started jumping and tugging to avoid going back into the shelter. When I was eleven years younger, Cookie could pull me over and drag me. Ginger almost did the same in the animal shelter parking lot on her maiden walk.

“Maybe a smaller dog would be wiser,” I thought, so it was finally Pinto’s turn. And he was a joy. He didn’t jump and pull. He merely trotted proudly with his butterfly ears in constant, graceful motion and rolled over so my granddaughter could pet his belly. It wasn’t until I went to pick him up a couple of weeks later that the shelter listed his challenges. He had been abandoned so they knew very little about him except the health issues when he arrived and his behavioral challenges. Many of his teeth had to be removed because they were too badly infected to be salvaged. And he was too dangerous to be around children.

We’ve been together for a little over three years now. I’m glad to say it’s been months since we’ve had to deal with a feral incident. Because I’ve agreed to listen to his “no brushing my ears command,” his feral fits only happen occasionally over some forbidden outdoor “treat,” like rabbit or deer droppings or a twig that will be sure to make him choke. His timeout kennel is still in the living room just in case, although my special leather gloves for handling him have been repurposed for outdoor work.

He really is very gentle with my granddaughter.

Ava and Pinto - June 28, 2016
Ava and Pinto – June 28, 2016

I made a choice early on that accommodates my personality. I don’t like to fight or try to bend others to my will. With Pinto, I haven’t tried. I can only imagine why he’s so terrified when the grooming brush approaches in a gentle trusted hand. He snarls and fights for his life. I would rather be the safe person who gives him a place where he can sing even if he’s grown a little plumper and his lovely fur is a little dreadlocked. He really is a gifted singer.

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The frozen image on the video clip above doesn’t do him justice.

Pinto - July 18, 2016
Pinto – July 18, 2016

I’m truly grateful for his mellowing presence in my life.

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Crossing Divides

Carol A. Hand

 

Finding common ground,

It’s not as easy as it sounds

Just try it once or twice

Crossing divides

into discomfort and uncertainty

Suddenly your attention is heightened

Searching intently, listening deeply for clues

about how to act, what to say

unless, of course, you think you’re there to save others

But it’s definitely worth trying in either case

You’ll learn more about yourself and the world

than you ever thought possible

***

Community Clipart
Community Clipart

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It seems in divisive times such as these

We need more peace-builder boundary spanners

People who genuinely want to understand

The essence of our shared humanity

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“It’s Not Just What You’re Given”

Carol A. Hand

There are those who build walls and gated communities
to protect privileges and possessions

And there are those who courageously reach out
with compassion across borders that divide
to ease the suffering of others during desperate times

Protecting privilege comes with such a heavy cost

When will we realize the price is too heavy to bear?

It’s not me versus you, or us versus them
We’re all on this earth together
Each one carries gifts too precious to squander

***

The title of this post comes from a song written by Si Kahn, “What You Do with What You’ve Got.” It was playing through my mind this morning. I know I’ve shared it before but it seems fitting to share it again.

The song and words of the poem above came to me this morning as I once again choked back tears after watching the video Bob Ramsak shared yesterday on Piran Café. I hope you will all visit his post to learn more about “4.1 Miles.”

A word of warning – The following video may break your heart.

Though our hearts break, may we all do what we can to continue reaching across differences to ease the suffering of others.

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A Message from the Weeping Willow

Carol A. Hand

Once I was young, a mere sapling in this northern clime
nestled comfortably in the embrace of my soul mate
Our trunks touching, our roots and branches intertwined
We grew wide and tall gracefully trusting in our loving fate
Silent witnesses to so many changing times

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Willow - February 15, 2012
Willow – February 15, 2012

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We weathered frigid winters, autumn storms and summer drought
Blooming hopefully together each spring for almost a century
Now I stand alone, a silent sentinel filled with doubt
realizing in these changing times there is no certainty
pondering deeply what my life was really all about

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Willow - May 6, 2016
Willow – May 6, 2016

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I’ve watched children walking past me on their way to school
To many I was invisible though I gave them air to breathe and shade
Most were blessed with curiosity and light, but a few were dark and cruel
I sent them all loving energy because that’s just how I am made
I’ve seen the light dim in many over time because the darkest tend to rule

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Willow - July 18, 2016
Willow – July 18, 2016

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All I ask in the years that remain is for someone to hear my song
To gently touch my weeping branches and lovingly caress my aging frame
I’ll weather more storms but I know now it won’t be long
Please listen to the wind as it speaks through my leaves while I remain
Take time to stand silent beneath my protective shelter, strong,
at one with peaceful loving nature where we all belong

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Reflections about Being Human

Carol A. Hand

Make the most of each moment while you are here

Observe life intently with an artist’s eye, listen deeply with a poet’s ear

Contemplate life with an empath’s heart, engage life with a compassionate mind

Live your life humbly, simply, remembering to be kind

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Lake Superior Dreaming
Lake Superior Dreaming

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Speak your truth when you must

urged by an inner power you’ve learned to trust

sometimes gently with the voice of a singer in a choir

and other times, boldly, with a spirit on fire

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Forgive yourself for the moments you squander

when emotions or daydreams cause your focus to wander

It’s what often reminds you how human you are

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Gratitude – Chi Miigwetch, Dear Friend

Carol A. Hand

A gift of bigger yak trax and pecans
Gleaned from Birmingham streets
Kindness of a beloved friend
Warms a winter heart with thoughtful treats

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Yak Trax and Pecans - A gift from a dear friend
Yak Trax and Pecans –
A gift from a dear friend

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Bringing back memories of treasured times past
Shared laughter and tears built a friendship to last
Despite changes and distances the love will endure
Gracing life with gifts from the heart – who could ask for more?

for Cheryl with gratitude

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Cheryl, the Tennessee Years - February 2014
Cheryl, the Tennessee Years –
February 2014

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Note:Chi miigwetch” means “thank you very much” in Ojibwe.

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