26 February 2017 : Melinda in France!

Melinda with Calvados meant for me!

Melinda with Calvados meant for me!

Any longtime follower of our family’s trips to France will know that Melinda is pretty clever. Early last year she starting playing this “game” with credit cards that allows a person to earn a lot of frequent flyer miles. She’s such a good “player” that she earned enough to fund a free flight to France and decided to take advantage of it over the past week.

Christine, Celeste & Melinda at the Bertail's.

Christine, Celeste & Melinda at the Bertail’s.

Christine, her best pal who happens to live in Nantes, had the last week off from work and PSCS happened to have an abbreviated week of school. Melinda has accrued a number of vacation days and decided to cash in three of them. Presto-chango, eight days ago I dropped her off at Sea-Tac. I pick her up in a couple of hours.

From the Boudeau kitchen, a place I know well!

From the Boudeau kitchen, a place I know well!

Melinda stayed with the Bertails, specifically in Celeste’s room (who was gracious enough to give it up). On Tuesday night she had dinner at the Boudeau’s. And on Friday night, the Boudeaus came to the Bertail’s home for a gathering of our best friends. Melinda connected with me via FaceTime in time for me to watch them all pop open a bottle of wine (Friday night in Nantes was, of course, noontime in Seattle and the middle of a workday for me).

The photos I’m using to illustrate this post are from the few sent me while Melinda was gone. I might add a few more, depending on what she brings home.

11 February 2017 : “My goal is to have the children be relaxed and happy”

Linda Taylor signed up to participate in one of my online kindness classes back in 2009, soon after a Seattle Times article about them was picked up and published in newspapers all over North America. She’s been the most consistent participant since. I daresay she has been involved in pretty much every online kindness offering I’ve presented since 2009.

tommySo, of course, Linda is participating in the current kindness initiative I’m promoting via the Kind Living website and eNewsletter. She recently wrote to me privately about how the ongoing class is providing her some things to consider as she and her husband pursue their retirement. A couple of weeks ago, I suggested participants consider an online article about how to apply the Golden Rule to their lives.

Linda was taken by the suggestion that people “Be a Child.” Quoting the article, “The urge to control and criticize is especially strong when we are adults dealing with children. In some cases, it’s necessary, of course: you don’t want the child to hurt himself, for example. But in most cases, it’s not. Put yourself in the shoes of that child. Remember what it was like to be a child, and to be criticized and controlled. You probably didn’t like it. How would you want to be treated if you were that child?”

lindaIn response, Linda sent this message to me, along with the photos I’m using to illustrate this post, “​For the last two and a half years I have watched two of our neighbor children, age 7 and 5 now, who have a heavy, busy schedule as both parents work full time. Their mother once threatened they could not come see me, IF something or other was not done. I asked her not to do that as I felt the children really enjoy coming to us, who treat them like our great grandchildren, which we have yet to have! They do not have grandparents here and they give us great joy, but when they come I completely focus on them and always give them options of what we could do during their visit. Sometimes it is something familiar, other times it is an old game we have not played or a book we have not read for a long time. My goal is to have the children be relaxed and happy, partially because they have such a hectic schedule always!​ They do not have much down time!”

What a wonderful thing it is to connect elders in a community to youth. I greatly appreciate what Linda has to say here, and hope her wisdom can inspire others. She wrapped up her email to me by saying this, “I feel blessed to have them in my life and sometimes when one cannot come, the other gets upset if they do not get a special visit alone with me and Tommy. Our lives are greatly enriched by their visits and we get to be kids again too – just doing what our little neighbors want to do!”

That’s what I call a win-win situation!

15 January 2017 : “i am impatient to drink with you”

poireOn Friday night, I sent this message to Frédérique and Laurent, “A little Poire William for me after a hectic week at PSCS. This made me think of Laurent and wishing we all were together. I am missing you and Nantes, –Andy” Attached was the photo I’ve included here.

A few minutes ago, I received this reply from Laurent, “Hi Andy, thank you for this photo, another bottle like this one wait your coming next summer in Nantes… and i am impatient to drink with you. See you soon. Laurent.”

I would like a T-shirt that says, “i am impatient to drink with you.”

30 December 2016 : Angels on Earth

On Wednesday this week, a book promoting connections made between people because of kindness was featured on the Today show on NBC. screen-shot-2016-12-30-at-5-32-37-pmWhat makes this extremely relevant is because one of the stories in the book is about my connection to one of my longtime students, Johnny Spangler. Johnny was a student of mine back in 1993, the year before Melinda and I started PSCS. In fact, Johnny came along and was one of our founding students at PSCS! The chapter about us explains how Johnny helped inspire my first kindness class. To this day, he helps me promote kindness.

The author of this new book, “Angels on Earth,” is named Laura Schroff. While researching the book, Laura came across the Kind Living website and gave me a call. Once I told her the story of how Johnny had inspired that first class, she knew she wanted to include it in her book.

“Angels on Earth” has been getting some pretty significant publicity. Not only was Laura interviewed on the Today show this week, the book was recently promoted on the side of a building in Times Square. This may be because Laura’s previous book was a New York Times bestseller translated into 13 different languages.

Speaking of kindness activities, I’m about to start something I’m calling “Anonymous Kindness” via a special eNewsletter. The first message will go out on Sunday and will include new illustrations from Fish Astronaut. You want to participate? Sign up here to be part of it.