Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected

i should not have been surprised by the sight overhead as we enjoyed yet another postcard view of the mountains, while skiing along the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park.

yellowstone river 6 11_27_13

But, my friends and I still gasped in delight as we recognized the majestic bird soaring overhead.

yellowstone river eagle 2 11_27_13

And, we were doubly surprised by the unexpected sight of yet another bald eagle flying by while the first was still in view.

yellowstone river eagle 11_27_13

With no other skiers in sight, we shared that magic moment of unexpected wonder.

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  ”Unexpected” was this week’s theme.  Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.

Random Acts of Kindness: The Travel Edition

Traveling during the holidays is not always smooth sailing. Everyone else is traveling, too. Lines are long, days can be longer. Family relations may be stretched to their limit. And the people who work for the travel businesses and services during this often-stressful time of year may receive the brunt of travelers’ short tempers.

late summer flowers (2)

Something about flowers brings a smile to people’s faces, even when times are tough. Flowers are used to celebrate, to comfort, to court, to console.

wild rose

Random acts of kindness (RAK) are wonderful actions extended with no expectation of anything in return, perhaps done quietly and anonymously. RAK need not wait for a holiday but when lives are extra-stressed (say, a parent trying to manage a small toddler after hours on a plane?) a RAK may be even more welcome. Why not the gift of flowers as the RAK?

villa flowers

We have done some of our family traveling over Christmas, and twice we helped the boys perform a little holiday RAK. I purchased a dozen inexpensive but lovely roses, wrapping each individually in a wet paper towel, small plastic bag, and foil over wrap, tied with a ribbon.

As we arrived at the airport, talked to flight attendants, picked up a rental car, checked in at the hotel, chatted with our waiter at dinner, the boys randomly gave away one of the roses. My favorite holiday RAK memory, though, was at the baggage claim.

A mother with a look on her face I have seen on my own more often than I can count over the years was trying to wrangle her child late in the evening. I told my son to bring her one of the roses, and he wanted to know, why her? I told him it was because she really needed one right now. He returned to us, leaving her gazing at her flower and then after him, with a huge smile on her face.

The simplest things can bring much joy, and the real joy is in giving.

Ciao! ~ Kat