Try a Little Kindness (30 Days of Gratitude: Day 29)

Driving along a rural highway in northern Minnesota shortly after the sun rose, I noticed a beautiful dog standing on the shoulder, looking somewhat confused. He did not seem in distress, but he was nowhere near a driveway or somewhere that one would consider his home.

Helping a lost guy find his way home

Despite a scheduled meeting, I could not just drive by. I promised myself, as I slowed down and pulled on to the shoulder of the 2-lane highway, that if the dog ran or appeared scared when I got out of the car, I would not risk having him run into traffic and would get back in the car and continue on my way. But, as I stopped the car, the dog looked hopeful and his ears perked up. I exited the car and stood on the side closest to the ditch, about 20 feet away from the dog, and softly spoke to him: “Are you lost, boy? Do you want some help?” He started trotting toward me and I slowly opened the passenger door.

I was grateful that he required no significant encouragement to hop on in, where the seat cover was already in place for the four-legged companions I often travel with! I recalled a diner in the small town about a half-mile back, and drove there, as the husky quietly settled into the back seat.

I showed his photo to the waitress and table of guests at the diner. They did not recognize him, but the waitress (or perhaps owner, as well) was kind and generous, and did not skip a beat when I asked if there was any way the dog could possibly stay at the diner while I continued on to my meeting.  She called her son who lived nearby, and he found a tie-out for the dog, to secure him behind the diner. I posted a “found dog” message with the photo to a Facebook page for missing pets in the region, one of many such sites that are tireless in reuniting lost pets with their families.

I arrived a little late for my lunch meeting, after a morning of driving, and periodically checked the Facebook page for updates. Mid-afternoon, as I was ready to hit the road again, I saw the news I was hoping to see — “HOME SAFE!!”  Mutual friends saw the photo and let his owner know — they had been searching for him after his battery died on his electric fence collar, and he safely made it home again!

Gratitude for strangers who help others in need. The world would be a much better place if we all took a moment to be kind to each other, and to extend that reach of kindness to all living creatures who cross our paths.

~ Kat

Neighborhood Connections (30 Days of Gratitude: Day 25)

In a world where personal relationships often are interrupted by fences and computer screens, finding a neighborhood connection is especially meaningful.  Catsby was one of those connectors.

Catsby was a neighborhood fixture — and when he was hit by a car, the neighborhood mourned. [You can read about his story here.] The neighborhood also connected. We were reminded of all the places where our lives intersect … where our kids cross paths … where we all have that same spot in our hearts for kindness and compassion.

~ Kat

10 Lessons Learned From My President

Each President of the United States leaves a legacy. As President Barack Obama enters the last week of his tenure in the White House, his legacy is only just beginning to show itself. But I can say with confidence that these 10 lessons are takeaways that will endure:

10. Never lose hope.

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9. Reading is essential for opening your mind, expanding your worldview, and giving you the depth and breadth to handle an infinite number of situations.

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8. The umbrella is big enough to fit everyone under it.

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7. Grit and resilience are keys to success, whatever you do.

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6. Kindness and respect never go out of style.

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5. Do not be afraid to show your emotions … even if it means crying sometimes.

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4. There are different perspectives to most issues … work hard to understand each one.

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3. Maintain your sense of humor, even under the most trying of times.

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2. Raising your children is one of the most important jobs you will ever have in life. Never lose sight of that.

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And since, as the saying goes, behind every great man there is a great woman … and better yet in this case, beside every great man there is a great woman ….

  1. When they go low, you must go high.

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Thank you, Mr. President and Mrs. Obama.  You have honored the White House and our country with your grace and vision these past eight years.  You will be missed.  Let us return the favor by continuing to stand up for what is right, and doing it with respect and an openness to truly trying to understand all sides of the issues.  We have more in common than not; it is in our best interests to continue and try to move forward together, no matter how difficult and arduous it may be … while at the same time not letting our guard down and failing to speak out against injustice, inequity, and matters that harm the greater good.

Yes, we can. Yes, we did. And, yes, we will again.

~ Kat