We’ve Been Nice!

This is a simple blog because we all have better things to do this week than hang around on the internet (I hope).

I believe in cursing the darkness. I believing in airing the best, most creative, specific, vivid, forceful vocabulary I have when I’m naming my woes and miseries. Naming has a power to contain, to render an enemy concrete and thus, defeatable.

I also believe in lighting candles, in doing the next necessary thing to bring kindness and honesty forward in the world. When I was parenting a Strong Willed Child, one of the best pieces of advice I got was, “Catch her being good, and praise her for it.” To catch somebody being good, you have to pay attention to them. So I’m paying attention to you in the comments. Tell us something you did this week that was kind, that lit a small candle, even if nobody else saw you. I am Facebook friends and Likes with a lot of my regular commenters. I’ve seen you this week baking cookies, hanging with the grandkids so Mom and Dad could get some wrapping or shopping done, dropping off books at the homeless shelter…

Modesty deters us from tooting our own horns, usually. Put the modesty aside, please, as I shall now demonstrate:

I was in my little local post office when closing time came, and the line inside the door was looooong. I had many books to mail all over the world, so I peeled out the line and went to the end, allowing everybody else to get out of there a little earlier.

Your turn! And I’m giving away a fistful of Amazon and Starbucks gift cards this week…






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56 comments on “We’ve Been Nice!

  1. I have been baking a lot this year for Christmas. My goal has been to share my love and talent for baking. I wrapped up quite a number if cookie trays and presented them to many people like my hairdresser, the Schwan man, my husband’s work. It isn’t much, but was hoping to spread some cheer. I also make 20 batches of puff caramel corn for United Way bake sales at my husband’s work. Some bags went for 10 dollars so I feel I helped them out too!

    • Susan, I have a theory about preparing food that says the emotions you’re experiencing when you prepare the food become part of the result, so you can pack your kid’s lunch box full of love as well as nutrition. I’m sure you did share the love as well as the nutrition, and I hope you enjoyed doing it, too.

  2. I went today and took my aunt out since it was her birthday she didn’t have anything to so but sit in the house so I took her for a ride today and bought her breakfast. Now I am home alone surfing the net in bed while I wait for the holidays arrive and maybe some family too ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Merry Christmas Grace!!

    • Vanetta, if I had a nickle for every time I’ve seen you post, “going over to my aunt…” or uncle’s, or cousin’s… you look after your family in a big way. Hope your holidays are stress free, and that Santa Claus looks after you a little bit too.

  3. I prayed for the kids of Newtown Con. I cooked my niece an entire dinner dessert included from scratch.She just had a baby 2 weeks ago. I took care of the baby while she got some much needed sleep and when she woke up I had her favorite dinner cooked including her favorite dessert. While the baby slept she showered and ate.

  4. I run the bakery at our local Walmart. I made certain the Food Bank got first run Christmas cupcakes and cakes this week rather than the day old sort. I know many children with families depend on our local Food Bank for their daily meals, but everyone deserves some special goodies at Christmas!

    • That was, um, sweet of you! And yes, everybody does deserve some Christmas. When you can’t bake for your children, can’t buy them presents, and can barely keep the heat on, something as simple as a Christmas cupcake can make the day special.

  5. I worked today trying to stay cheerful because the customers that come into my store deserve a Happy Shopping Experience. I helped a friend move Microwaves and no I didn’t have to do it but someone should have been there and I was there. I baked the Date Cake for my fellow workers tomorrow that have to work on Christmas Eve and I made deviled eggs which I’ve made better but I was in a little pain. But all these things are what I should be doing so no praise expected there. I owe you a book Grace Burrowes and an Amazon Gift Card to you. Now I want to do it so help please, It’s not asking for a Gift if I tell you I WANT YOU To Have one for all the pleasure you give to me with your work. So make it easy on me and send me the Information. LOL I sincerely mean this. If I go back thru my emails I would find your assistent that sent me my book. That’s my next step if you don’t email me. LOL

    • Peggy, I will send you my addy! And I do my own mailings, lady. Your post strikes a chord with me because I think most of us, most of the time, have the dial set on “be kind.” It’s our natural impulse to look after each other, give each other the benefit of the doubt, and guard each other’s backs. It’s easy to lose sight of that, though.

      And I bet the deviled eggs were scrumptious.

  6. I was at the store last night and saw an older man and I am guessing his Grandson wandering around the store looking for something. He passed by me and says, I wish my wife would have come here instead, I have no idea where coconut is! He turned the corner and kept looking. I finished getting my item and then headed straight for the baking aisle and found a bag of coconut. And then started hunting for him, I found him 5 aisle away…walked up and handed him the bag. He smiled so big and said thanks. And I smiled and asked if there was anything else I could help him find. Nope, that was the last thing. So I said Merry Christmas, turned and finished my shoppping. Felt Great, a grocery store is a place I know, so I love to help other shoppers find what they are looking for. Most of the time it isn’t easy to find an employee and sometimes they don’t even know where something is either.

    • Exactly! And then you’re following the employee all over the store while they look for another employee who might know where the plain gelatin is, and you’re thinking, “I could have found it by now…”

      And heaven help that guy if he’d come home without the danged coconut.

  7. everyone has such great things that they have done. I can’t think of anything that makes my experiences stand out. I always try to me polite, helpful and treat people the way I would like to be treated – Merry Christmas to all ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Vickie, you shared my facebook post about this blog, and you’ve shared many of my posts. Tending to the social media, while hoping to enhance name recognition and connect with readers can take up a tremendous amount of time, so your shares and re-posts are REALLY appreciated, and I see from your Facebook feed that I’m not the only person you support this way.

      So, thanks!

  8. I make corn bags every year to give to neighbors, friends, pastors, and my kids’ teachers. (Little microwavable heating pads made with deer corn). This year the teachers also received homemade lemon sugar body scrub. My cashier at the grocery store gave me too much change so I went back to correct it. I tried to tip more than normal these last several weeks because I know people need money for the holidays. Always stopped to put spare change in the bucket every time we passed one. I want my kids to be givers. I also baked cookies for the teacher cookie giveaway at kids’ school. I still wish I could do more. My life is so richly blessed.

    • Nice, nice, nice, nice! And you’re onto the other big piece of parenting advice that worked for me: Model what you want your kid to learn, leave the preaching out of it.

      And you’re doing plenty–a lady needs time to read, right?

  9. My daughter works long hour with her job, so she does have a lot of free time. She has all of her son’s Santa gifts at my house. The other night I wrapped every one of them for her and sent her a picture to let her know it was all done.

    • You will never know how appreciated that is, from two perspectives. First, there’s the simple time involved, and after tending to ever other obligation, a working mom just runs out of hours in a day.
      Then there’s the loneliness part of it. Your daughter may not be a single parent, but that she’s expected to do the wrapping means it would likely have been a job she undertook between 11 pm and midnight, on her own. That’s a lonely hour. I was a single mom from Jump Street, and two things slammed that home to me: Having to ride every ride with my daughter at the carnival (Dads are supposed to do the Ferris wheel or at least throw the stupid balls for the Teddy Bear), and having to purchase and wrap every present for every Christmas and birthday.

      Way to go, Grandma.

  10. I don’t think I did anything really unusual, except that this week, I bought more food for the food bank than I did for myself.

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

    • Oh, yeah, that’s all–an entire week’s worth of groceries for somebody who’s probably getting threatening notices from the power company, would have to choose between food and fuel, but for your generosity.

      Well done, friend.

  11. I’ve just tried to be friendly and cheerful out and about during these last few days and gave extra to the Salvation Army kettle and bought extra toys for Toys for Tots. I haven’t done anything outstanding – just little things like holding doors open, not getting cranky when people cut me off and reminding myself why this season is special. Love you Grace!

    • You, only better? I don’t buy that, Kim. I think it’s just you, being you, but maybe letting other people see a bit more of the song in your heart. And the big gestures are fine, but I think it’s that “chop wood, carry water” kind of good cheer that’s most contagious.

  12. I didn’t do a whole lot different this week but did what I could. Had an appointment Friday at 11am with lab work to be done at 9am so the results would be ready ahead of the clinic appointment. The man who usually takes my blood was behind the desk and the lab was busy so I didn’t ask him to stop what he was doing, I let the man that called me draw the blood, 3 vials, and didn’t bitch at him because he had a little trouble. Wished him a Merry Christmas too. Went back to wish the lab supervisor Merry Christmas and he apologized for not being able to draw my blood, I told him it didn’t matter.
    Had gotten a venti Peppermint Mocha and a blueberry muffin at the little Starbucks when I first hit the hospital as I was cold so I went into the cafeteria to eat and wait before going to the clinic. The lady at the next table was having a taco and I decided I’d rather have one than my muffin so I gave it to her companion. Didn’t say anything when I saw all he ate was the top, it didn’t matter, it was his at that point.
    Went to the clinic and waited patiently for the receptionist to return from wherever. She was apologetic as she’d been chatting with the nurse. I didn’t mind because I was almost 2 hours early and know they don’t have much time to chat.
    A gentleman for the internal medicine clinic came in and we chatted about our time in the military. He served during the VietNam war but from what I understood he didn’t have to go over there but I thanked him for his service anyway.
    The doctor apologized for being late because she had had to make rounds in the hospital and there are lots of patients to see. As I told her I’ve learned to dedicate the whole day to being at the hospital if necessary because it’s the local veteran’s hospital and emergencies do come up, though generally not in the Rheumatology clinic.
    Went to the pharmacy picked up my prescriptions and left.
    The driver of the last bus I rode had the a/c on even though it was only 54o outside but I didn’t say anything. Wished him Merry Christmas and told him thank you for the ride when I got off.
    My most profuse thanks that day went to my landlord as he was at the convenience store where I get off the bus and he took the time to give me a ride home rather than just waving and going home to his wife and kids. He is an amazing man and works hard at his job of maintenance for this trailer park and the park owner’s rent houses even though he only has one coworker.
    I recently realized that many many times I complain when I should just brush something off as it really isn’t all that important. I’m learning as is said to not “sweat the small stuff”.
    Sorry for rambling on so.

    • What a busy day! And anybody in the medical profession probably gets groused at a zillion times a day. That you’d take the time to say hi, to be early, to be patient, might well have been the only kindness shown them all day.

      And I did catch the mention of Starbucks, Madam. Good to know.

      • Grace it was 30o out when I was waiting on the bus near my daughter’s apartment. I was fine except for the fact I had forgotten to take my gloves with me when my daughter picked me up Thursday afternoon. By the time I got to the hospital, about an hour and two bus rides later, my hands wanted something hot to hold. The little Starbucks booth, as I call it, is on the way to the lab so I stopped off there first to buy my hand warmer. I love the Peppermint Mocha, and before anyone asks I get mine made with full fat milk. Yummy! And, to top that off, I’m no longer overweight and I have a BMI of 24.5.

  13. This wasn’t anything I did that was special for this week, but on Wednesdays I cook dinner for my SIL and niece. I pick up my niece after school everyday and see first hand how hard it is for my SIL to try to cook after working from very early morning till 7 or so at night. One day a week I make a huge meal and they eat at my house. This week there were lots of left-overs so I sent them to school the next day with my SIL and she told me that the teachers appreciated the special lunch. (I had made a delicious chicken tortilla soup)

    • And you do this every week. I know when I was single-working-mom’ing that I hated to call in favors, and felt EVERYTHING was my job, all the time, no matter what. That you spend time with your niece and SIL, and are a regular part of their support network is an enormous comfort to them both. This, I KNOW.

  14. I love reading all these responses. I really didn’t do anything special this past week. Like some of the others on here I try my best to live “love” everyday. I try to have a smile for everyone, to not lose my patience while waiting in a long line, to help someone who can’t seem to find one they are looking for. I am the person who will let someone with a handful of items go in front of me and my cart full of items at the grocery store. My husband and I recently took all our boys out to a real restaurant for my husband’s work Christmas party. We don’t usually do this because it’s hard on me, but all 4 of our boys were wonderful and our waiter was so understanding of our situation. We always tip well, but when we go out with the boys we make sure to tip more because our situation is so unique and when we get a waiter/waitress who goes above and beyond with our children how can you not reward that.
    Merry Christmas, Grace!

  15. Grace. My divorced sister in TX bought our 80 year old Mother a Kindle Fire HD for Christmas. We arrived in western NY on Friday and I spent several hours yesterday getting it registered putting on the screen saver and cover and downloading the books I had sent her as Amazon gifts including Lady Sophie. Today I spent several hours getting Skype set up so my Mom can see my sister while talking. My sister has not seen any of us since June and this will be a great way for her to share the holidays since she was unable to join us for the holiday. There will be 15 of us on the 26th together and this way she can see us!

    • WOW! That is truly a labor of love, Martha. And good on you for grabbing a 99 cent Lady Sophie! Many of the people reading my books are up in years, so I hope your mom becomes one of them.

      And good on Mom, if she can figure out all the technology and use it to stay connected. My 92-year-old dad would be all but shut in, except that he figured out the internet and email before he stopped working entirely. His seven children are endlessly grateful that he did.

  16. Our church provides food to an overflow church shelter in the city’s downtown. I took the all my Friendship Bread starter and ended up baking 10 loaves of bread. It was a hit – actually got the starter recipe at the end of an Amish book. I added walnuts and chocolate chips to the dough.

    • And where was I when you had all that starter–and that walnut chocolate chip bread? It really is Friendship Bread, isn’t it? My Mennonite in-laws would bring that stuff to gatherings, and geesh… who needs a main course?

  17. I spent the week volunteering at my children’s schools. I got to help my two preschoolers class get ready for their big Christmas program and hopefully helped lessen the stress on the teachers. At my sons school I helped his grade make sandwiches for Must Ministries. That was a wonderful experience.

  18. We bought a stack of Christmas Cards that include a voucher for a free coffee and I’ve been writing thank you/Merry Christmas notes on the spot — I gave one to the travel agent who helped me with my family’s tickets for an upcoming trip — and one to the guy at my TelCom provider who helped me with my phone upgrade.

    We gave the rest to my children’s teachers.

    Like Sarah, I’ve also enjoyed reading everyone’s comments — many thanks for the extra boost of warm, fuzzy, happy thoughts!

    Happy Holidays!

    • What a great idea–packing Christmas Wishes everywhere you go. I try to leave bigger tips over the holidays, but as a function of your comment, I’ll put a reminder on my calendar to leave a few around the rest of the year, too.

  19. I gave a tree trimming party today but I invited two relatives that pretty much exclude me from a lot of things. I figured it was time to start including them again anyway and I’m glad I did.

    • Well done! Rituals–holiday gatherings, weddings, christenings and the like–give us a chance to open doors that have been closed, sometimes for generations. It takes determination, and persistence to repair long term damage like that, and I’m sure a batch or two of cookies didn’t hurt either.

  20. For the past two weeks, I’ve been running errands in preparation for Christmastime. While my parents work a conventional schedule, I do not and have been doing their Christmas shopping for them (and wrapping!). I took care of a friend who lives alone and was struck down with the flu. Soup, tea, comfort meds and some light reading. And tonight, I am working a shift for a co-worker who wanted to spend Christmas Eve with her little ones, especially now that they are getting older and the Belief in Santa is fading away…

    Anything I can do to make this time of year more pleasant for others is the least I can do.

    • Zounds, Christy! You are going to need a holiday to recover from the holidays–though it’s fun being Santa Claus, isn’t it? My coworkers have family in the area, while I do not, so I take the court-shift during Christmas week. Like you, that’s part of my holiday jollies, now that my offspring is elsewhere.

  21. I work in retail at a store that also has a restaurant. I also has a porch, with rockers. You may know the place…
    I wrapped alot of gifts. I mean…ALOT!! We ran out of boxes, Christmas paper, bows and store seals. When I had to tell a frantic, tired and cranky someone that we were out of boxes, I thought she was going to cry. So, I made one for her out of smaller boxes to fit her gift and wrapped it up extra special. While I was doing that, I teased her, and got her to laugh. She hugged me when she left, and thanked me, and told me I made her day. Come to think of it, I might have gotten something out of that, too!

  22. It wasn’t something I did, but every year that we work Christmas Eve, my work tries to let everyone leave 2 hours early provided someone agrees to work until 5 and one of the girls on my team always volunteers so people with families can spend as much time as they can as she doesn’t have children and doesn’t have far to travel.

  23. I arranged for my 79-year-old mom to take her first trip to California this Christmas. She is staying with my brother and sister-in-law and attending the Rose Bowl Parade, a life long dream of hers. As a single mom of two, it meant cutting lots of corners on my Christmas but it was worth the joy in her eyes when she received the plane ticket and parade details on Christmas eve.

    • Oh, well done! I once casually asked my mom if she had any wishes, and she mentioned a desire to see her older bro who lived a few states away. We made the trip (easily), and when her brother died shortly thereafter, it was a comfort to her that she’d seen him… and to me.