Monday, January 27, 2020

Week 23: Spreading Caffeine and Good Cheer

I loved week 23's act of kindness because it was truly random and unintentional.

I arrived a bit early to a morning coffee meeting with a fellow real estate agent mid-last week and as I was waiting in line, a man walked out of the snow, approached me and asked if I'd give him a few dollars for a cup of coffee. 

"Yes, no problem," I said. 

I added his drink onto my bill and then we chatted for a few minutes while we waited for our orders to come up. He told me he was heading back to Milwaukee on the bus. 

He got quiet and eyed the floor. 

I asked if he needed a few more dollars for bus fare, which he sheepishly accepted.

And then he thanked me, we wished each other a great day, and he walked out the door towards the bus stop. 

And that was that. <3

PS - Can you believe this little project of mine is already half over?!?!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Week 22: Friends Life Donation

This weekend, I made a donation to Friends Life Community in memory of my dear cousin Brandon who passed away from brain cancer last week.

Friends Life Community began in  2008 when four families with adult children with developmental disabilities decided to regularly meet in a church basement for an afternoon program. Within a few years, their program grew to meet the needs of over 40 participants and they established a permanent habitation program in Nashville.

Their mission is "to create an opportunity for teenagers and adults with disabilities to develop socially, grow personally, and enjoy community as they experience life together."

And I can tell you from experience, they do just that.

I was able to see the smile on my cousin Brandon's face as he returned home a few times from the day program: he was happy and fulfilled, having spent time with nice people doing new things.

The people at Friends Life Community welcomed my cousin with open arms as his abilities became impaired due to the disease. They treated him as one of their own, provided fun experiences, and showed him grace and acceptance.

I will forever be grateful for the love and care they showed my buddy, my cousin, my newest angel watching over me.

If you'd like to make a donation to this worthy organization, visit today.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Week 21: Closing Cards

I LOVE being a realtor in the Milwaukee area.

I enjoy seeing inside so many houses, I appreciate spending time in different neighborhoods and learning what each community has to offer, and I feel fortunate to help people sell their houses and beyond blessed that I get to help them find the home lifelong memories will be made in!

Because of those feelings, after each close, I take a portion of my payment and give it away.

This time, it was at my local Aldi.

I bought a few gift cards earlier in the week when I was in picking up a few things and had intended to distribute them the next day. But the week got away from me, as it so often does.

Finally, on Friday, after picking my daughter up, we swung by and handed out the gift cards to some very friendly people.

I had walked into the store feeling tense and a little crabby after a stressful week.

But after giving away the cards, hugging strangers (the sweetest mom of 3 with a gorgeous baby girl!), connecting with new people (a quirky elderly man reading the labels of the spice jars with a magnifying glass), I walked out smiling as I told my daughter, "There, now I feel a whole lot better!"

The more you give, the more you get.

Every. Single. Time.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Week 20: Street Corner Care Packages

Although my family lives in a quaint, historic town 30 minutes north of Milwaukee, we are in the city 1-3 times a week...and are fortunate to visit Chicago once a month. 

I love our simple, small town living, but tend to feel claustrophobic if I don't get a change of scenery often enough, so we regularly head south to run errands, meet up with family and friends, for client meetings, to catch a great bite to eat or see a play or concert.

I think it's incredibly important for my children to get out of the bubble of our daily lives, to see how others live, to talk with people from different walks of life, to smile with them, laugh with them, talk to them about music and art and sports learn compassion and empathy and how important it is to take a minute to think things through before judging someone's choices.

And they do. And because of this, they've asked some thoughtful questions about the homeless people they've met over the years. 

I'd be lying if I said answering those questions wasn't on the list of most difficult, meaningful, and thought-provoking conversations we've had. 

But we've had them, and we're better for it.

I am not saying it isn't hard.
I'm not saying it isn't confusing.
I definitely wouldn't say I have all the answers. 

I don't know why some people choose to live this way. I don't understand how some people see these human beings as less than. I cannot comprehend how each of them didn't have someone who loved them step in at some point earlier in the road and lend a hand. And I can't fathom what it would be like to love someone living a life on the streets. 

But I do know that there are some things I can do to help. And this week my children and I did one of them...we assembled care packages to keep on hand to give to the homeless friends we make going forward. 

I plan on making some changes for the packages in the summer, to include sunscreen, a larger water bottle, etc, but since it's winter in Wisconsin, the sets we put together this week include:
  • A winter hat
  • Fleece gloves
  • New socks
  • A comb
  • Water
  • Applesauce
  • Peanut butter crackers
  • Mints
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul book full of hopeful and loving messages
I pray these are a blessing to the recipients and that they encourage my family to think of other ways to help and love more deeply.