Paying it forward

pay it forward

Years back there was a movie called Pay it Forward. The concept was simple, do something nice for someone and instead of having them return the favor, tell them to pay it forward by doing something nice for others. The movie was good and except for a couple of overly sentimental scenes very enjoyable. It certainly delivered its message. Make the world a better place by passing on kindness.

Can you make the world a better place just by being nice?

I think you can. I think that people do it every day. Passing on small kindnesses of all types – from giving directions to giving a few bucks to somebody who’s hungry. In fact, without the small random acts of kindness that we give and receive every day, I think the world would be a much darker place.

Make no mistake, it won’t have the immediate impact that the release of the new iPhone has (although you’d think it should) but if we all did one more nice thing a day it would certainly improve our outlook – on ourselves and the world around us. What’s not to love in that idea?

How do I pay it forward?

I try to be nice to everybody. That doesn’t always work out. But I try. But my go-to way of paying it forward is with food. I love to cook. I love to cook too much. So I am constantly giving away food. Make a big pot of soup, I keep some, then give the rest to friends, co-workers and favorite merchants. Around the holidays I bake cookies and deliver them to the local post office, fire station, food banks, my mechanic, my co-workers, and friends. It’s not much but it brightens their day and mine.

A couple of weeks ago I went grocery shopping and I was stopped by a man who asked for a couple of dollars so he could buy a sandwich at Subway. He was middle-aged, dressed in clean but old clothes and had a nervous, flitting glance. In under two minutes he told me his life story – had a drug and alcohol problem, been clean for two years, living on disability but looking for work – most of his check went to rent. I gave him a few bucks. He thanked me profusely. I told him to pay it forward. That when he was on his feet, to help somebody else out. I don’t know why but I’ve thought about that guy every day since. I’ve wondered how he’s doing. I’ve wondered if he got his sandwich. I’ve wondered if he did something nice for somebody else lately. I wish him well and hope things are looking up for him.

A couple of months ago, a friend asked me to read his manuscript and give him feedback. He agreed to read my manuscript and give me feedback as well. I’ve done a lot of critiques, so to me it wasn’t that big a deal. I stayed up that night and read the whole thing – taking notes as I went. The next day I wrote up my critique and sent it off. Then I didn’t hear from him. It worried me. I feared I’d offended him. Then I just didn’t know. Finally, I let it go. I’d done what I could, sent it out in the world and I realized I didn’t need to know the fate of my action. Recently, I heard back from my friend (knock me over with a feather) and it was good news. He was pleased with the feedback and thanked me – also had some nice things to say about my work. I felt good. He felt good. Somewhere in the universe things were being paid forward or sideways or some way. It was a feel-good thing. And I thought that we should all do this more often.

How do you pay it forward?

So I’m wondering – how do you pay it forward? Or do you believe in such things? I know things have been rough for all of us in the last few years. The economy, the job situation, everything seems to get more and more expensive. Often, we’re working a lot harder for a lot less. It’s easy to feel cynical under those conditions. Easy to feel like people are trying to exploit what few resources you have by asking for a favor or some free advice.

But I believe that one of the biggest joys in life lies in helping other people. In big and small ways. Often the cost of brightening someone else’s day is very small and really can make a difference.

And isn’t that what we all want in our heart of hearts? To make a difference? Does it have to be a huge difference for it to count? Or can we just be happy in the knowledge that because of us, somebody had dinner today? Or because of us, a little girl laughed, or an elderly couple didn’t have to stand so long in line because you let them cut ahead of you?

My offer to pay it forward

So, in the spirit of this post I’d like to make an offer to pay it forward to you, out there, reading this post. I can’t offer you soup because it just doesn’t travel well in the virtual world but I can offer to do a manuscript critique. Short story, script, poem, or novel – doesn’t matter what type. I’d be happy to help anybody out there who’d like some honest feedback on their manuscript. Since I’m not a superhero I can make this offer to three people. So, if you’re interested in taking me up on it, leave a comment and let me know.

In the meantime, thanks for reading and may we all make the world a better place, one little random act of kindness at a time.

Writer Chick

Copyright 2014

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In Honor of Christmas

I’ve always loved Christmas. I collect Christmas movies, ornaments, decorations, jewelry, clothing, toys – just can’t seem to get enough of that stuff.

When I was a little girl I had a mission to prove that Santa was real. Every year I’d sit in the window seat determined to stay there until I saw Santa.  I never did see him, and I always fell asleep, often waking up with my cheek stuck to the freezing window pane and shivering.

But no matter what anyone told me I still believed in Santa because it was somehow right that there was a person who existed in the world to just make people happy. Whose purpose was the joy of others. That had to be real, didn’t it?

And I think that purpose to make others happy in in all of us but really blossoms around Christmas time.  Sure, we love to receive gifts and attention but isn’t the real joy in doing that for others? Aren’t we more excited about how happy our child or spouse or friend is going to be when they open our gift, or eat the cookies we baked or see the tree we decorated?

For me, that was always the pure joy of Christmas – to make others happy.  Nothing makes me happier than to make others happy.

And I think the reason I write is to make others happy too.  I want to give them the joy of reading a story they will love, that will make them feel, or believe, or laugh or cry – or all of it.

So, in honor of Christmas this year I’ve published two Christmas stories to Amazon:

big nick        big sally and gem

I hope you enjoy them and I hope more than anything, they make you happy.

Writer Chick

Copyright 2013

Please Pray for my Friend

This morning I woke up to find an email in my inbox that sent me reeling. A very close friend of mine, Kelly, was in a very bad car accident yesterday afternoon. She is currently in the ICU and has brain damage. Some of you may know her as KellyToo, as she visited some of your blogs in the past.

She has two young children who really need her and a great husband and family.

She’s a wonderful mom, friend and person. She has a great laugh and is someone so full of life it is hard to imagine her not running around filling the air with laughter and fun.

The details of what happened to her are still a bit sketchy, but it doesn’t sound good. I will likely being going up there, possibly today. I am waiting to hear back from her husband.

I may not be around for a bit. But I ask you to please pray for my friend and her family. They need every prayer they can get.

Annie

A Moment of Thanks

Hi guys,

As most of you know the last few months have been a bit whacky for me and I wanted to take a moment and acknowledge some very nice things that I have received from many of you.

I want to thank Teeni for all the many awards she has bestowed upon me. I was touched by all of them even though, I didn’t post them on the blog – they meant a lot. Not to mention the lovely gift of the teddy bear and beautiful notepad carrier. Teens, you are simply one of the sweetest people I have ever encountered.

Cowgal for my funky award – and the endless stream of hysterical pictures and jokes she sends me.

Lolly for the wonderful books and just her sweet gentle voice in the blogosphere.

Free for all the whacky emails and wonderful advice.

Jess (her link is down right now) for her friendship, humor support – and again, how lucky am I that our paths have crossed?

Christine – for her wonderful words, unique perspective – that has shown me so many new ways to look at life and writing and her friendship.

Gracie for her reading, her friendship, passion and unrelenting grip on what matters.

If I’ve forgotten anyone, it wasn’t intentional – I appreciate all of you. Really, you all mean so much to me. I just wanted you to know.

And thank you.

WC

P.S. And Evyl, if you’re out there reading, be well – you’re in my prayers.

Lessons Learned

During these last few weeks, my mind has decluttered, my jaw has unclenched and I’ve been able to see a few things – or maybe realize a few things. And possibly understand what people mean when they talk about lessons that life presents for one to learn. It’s been nice to get to know myself again and this few weeks has been more than getting some much needed rest.

I’ve learned that

  • I’m not a morning person. Even though I tend to wake up early, I’m only good for coffee and reading until about ten o’clock. No wonder I always groaned when the alarm went off.
  • I don’t like being the boss, which is not to say I don’t like being in charge. But being the boss is that horrible crappy job of being between the workers and the owners and it’s terrible. No one likes you, everyone protests what you want them to do and in the end you can’t save people from themselves, despite the fact that that is what you were hired to do.
  • I don’t like stress. While this seems obvious, no likes stress, right? Well, I used to think that I did. In fact, I believed that I thrived on it – controversy, being on the edge, pushing the envelope, all that exciting stuff really got my blood and adrenaline pumping. What I didn’t realize is that it was eating me up too. It isn’t actually exciting to live a life filled with conflict and opposition, it’s debilitating.
  • A long walk cures just about anything. Put a pair of sneakers on my feet and leash up the doggie and we’re ready. I’ve been forcing myself to walk everyday since I started my ‘vacation’. And despite my grumpy voice protesting its head off and trying to keep me sitting on my fat arse, I somehow manage to get out there each morning. After about 10 minutes, my muscles stop protesting, my breathing regulates and my mind declutters. I start to see what’s all around me, feel the fresh air on my face, in my lungs and the sunshine dancing along my shoulders and it feels good to be alive. Just to be alive.
  • Life is too short to be unhappy. Period. It’s a waste of time and energy to live an unhappy life and there is no good reason to do it. Not for friends, family or anyone. No one is served by being a martyr. If you’re in a bad situation, get out of it – it won’t get any better and no one will appreciate your sticking it out and suffering in their behalf.
  • Money doesn’t matter all that much to me. I only need it for the things that I need, which isn’t much. It’s better to make less money and be happy in your work, with a heart and mind at peace than it is to have to practically kill yourself to have lots of money so you can have lots of things. Who needs things?
  • I have my own pace and rhthym. I don’t like to hurry or to hit the ground running. I like to wake up the way a flower opens to the sun, slowly and deliberately. I want to see the day that is unfolding in front of me, not rush past it in my race to get to somewhere that I can see nothing but the next task to be done.
  • I like myself. I really didn’t know that and maybe I didn’t believe that. But I know it now.
  • I am truly loved. Again something I didn’t know or believe- but now I do

I suppose I could go on and on, as things like this tend to do so but I’ll leave it here. How about you, what have you learned lately?

Annie

A Heartfelt Thanks

I just wanted to take a minute and thank everybody who exchanged cards with me this year. As you can see, I got a delightful mix of some of the cutest cards you ever saw.

I really enjoyed this tiny little foray out of the virtual world and into the ‘real’ world, into your real worlds. The little notes written inside, seeing what your handwriting looks like, the type of card you sent – all these things told me a little bit more about who you are.

There is nothing lovlier than getting a card in the mail from a friend and with each arrival I felt a little pang of excitement and joy.

I love you guys and I’m so glad we did this.

Thanks Nikki, Marie, Jennifer, Kimmie, Moe, Di, Simonne, Christine, Gracie, Carrie, Marie, Daisies, and everybody whose card is yet to land in my mailbox.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

Love,

Annie

A Small Request

(My buddy Reggie, sent this to me in an email and I wanted to pass it on. WC )

As I reflect on this photograph, I see once again that not all the brave leave the “home of the brave” to enter battle; some are required now to be the brave of the home

It is said a picture is worth a thousand words but it leaves me speechless and tears in my eyes.

We have a long list of good friends whose husbands are deploying to Iraq next month. One of the wives sent me this. We feel compelled to send it on. Your prayers are deeply appreciated. These guys deserve our love, our hugs and most powerfully, our prayers.

I understand that life in Iraq is very difficult to bear right now. Our troops need our prayers for strength, endurance and safety.

“Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need… Amen.”

Please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our troops around the world.

Of all the gifts you could give a US Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine deployed in harm’s way, prayer is the very best!!!

I’m Blessed

 

Hi Everybody,

I just wanted to take a moment to say thanks to all of you for all the care and concern you showed in your comments on the Peaking post. My intent was never to alarm or upset anyone – just to work out the problems I’m having right now.

I have not made any decision to close the blog or stop blogging but I realize that I will have to make changes. If I knew what they were going to be I would tell you, but I don’t yet. I’m still looking at what I can do to make everything work. Anyway, that’s not really important right now.

Mostly, I just wanted to say that I love you guys and I am truly blessed to have encountered each and every one of you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 Much love,

Annie (aka Writer Chick)

To All the Telemarketers…

 (I’m pretty sure this ain’t what Willie & Julio had in mind. Ooops)

To all the telemarketers I’ve loved before
Who speed-dialed in and tricked the poor
I loathe they came along
I dedicate this song
To all the telemarketers I’ve loved before

To all the morons who once obsessed
And endeavored to harrass the best
For helping me to blow
I owe a lot, I know
To all the telemarketers I’ve loved before

The auto-dialers are always going
And every time I try to dodge or sway
The auto-dialers continue flowing
And they just blow me away

To all the telemarketers who’ve tried my life
Please go and bother someone else’s wife
I’ll never go along
I dedicate this song
To all the telemarketers I’ve loved before

To all the phone jerks who’ve taunted me
Who filled my nights with agony
They have no fucking heart
They’ll always be a part
Of all the telemarketers I’ve loved before

The auto-dialers are always going
And every time I try to stray
The dialers keep on blowing
And they just ruin my day

(come on, everybody, join in!)

To all the telemarketers we’ve loved before
Who rung us up a thousand times or more
We loathe they came along
We dedicate this song
To all the telemarketers we’ve loved before

Who suck wet mops and should lick the floor
Just get the fuck along
We dedicate this song
To all the telemarketers we’ve loved before.

tada!

Happy Father’s Day, Pop

It’s Father’s Day and it’s been a while since I’ve really celebrated it because my Pop passed away several years ago. An earlier post I did, will tell you about my dad. My first true hero. To say I loved him with all my heart puts it mildly. He meant the world to me. And he still does. I suppose in a way I try to ignore Father’s Day, so I don’t have to miss him even more than I already do. His funny little giggle, and crusty voice, his clear blue eyes and big belly – his everything.

But I don’t want to get all sad and lonely in this post. I want to tell you about him. Just a little. It’s just a small little story but one that I love.

Long after I’d grown up and moved out to California, with my own place and my own life – I used to talk to him on the phone. Probably once a month or so. Not about anything in particular. We just talked about whatever was going on or on our minds. We ‘got’ each other very well, and there always was a real easiness between us. So, this one night we were gabbing on the  phone and he hit all the usual dad bases, who was I dating? were they good to me? how was the job? what kind of car was I driving? when was I leaving the land of terrible earthquakes? stuff like that.

Then the topic rolled around to him. “So, what’s new with you?” I asked. A pause. Eh? Dad never paused when you asked him something. “What?”

“Aw…never mind,” he said. I could swear I almost heard him blushing.

Too curious to let it pass, I said, “What? What is it?”

“Oh, you’ll just make fun of me,” he stalled.

“I will not,” I insisted. “What is it?” I was starting to get a little worried – no one was more of an open book than my Pop and he was a straight from the hip kind of guy, so I knew something was up. “Oh for cripes sake, would you just tell me?”

“Okay,” he said, none too pleased. “Well, I started taking night classes at the local high school.” Pop had never finished high school, something he always regretted.

“Well, that’s great, Dad. What are you taking? Photography? Writing?”

“No, I’m getting my diploma.”

“In what?” I asked, apparently to dense to get what he meant.

“My high school diploma. I went back to school and got my diploma,” he said as though relieved to confess his deep dark secret.

I was so happy for him. I knew what it meant to him and I could tell he was happy about it too. “That’s great! That’s really great, Pop. When are  you going to finish?”

He laughed. “I already did. Mickey (my little sister) and I are having a joint graduation party next week.”

Now, this may seem a bit small to some of you – and I’ll admit that in the greater scheme it probably is. But I swelled with pride when he told me. That at age 60, he would go back to school and right something he thought he’d done wrong 40 years before, really knocked me out. He didn’t do it for any reason, or anyone, just himself. Just because it was important to him – a goal he’d never reached but wanted to. And then to have his graduation party with the youngest of his five children was like the cherry on the ice cream sundae.

And that was my dad. The guy who just followed his heart and never stopped trying to grow or learn throughout his life. I don’t think I was ever prouder of him than I was in that moment.

So, Pop…wherever you are, whether up in Heaven looking down on me, or reincarnated as an American Bald Eagle soaring through the sky – you still are and always will my hero. Happy Father’s Day, Pop.

Love,

Annie