Chatter for charity

This is the 500th post on Land of Abe. To celebrate, I would like to do something good. And I would like your help. I have quite a few lurkers on this blog. For those of you who don’t know blog lingo, lurkers aren’t as ominous as they sound. They’re people who read the blog but don’t leave comments. I like getting comments because they spark discussion and foster a sense of community. (And they reassure me that I’m not just talking to myself.)

Let’s use our little community to help others. Please leave a comment answering this question: What is the nicest thing that someone has done for you? It doesn’t have to be giving-a-free-car nice, just something meaningful to you. For every comment that you leave, Greg and I will give $1 to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. Greg’s awesome employer will match our donation, so that’s $2 per comment.

I could write a book about all of the people who walked into the darkness of our lives last year and offered a little light. One of those people was a photographer from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep who came to our hospital room at 11 p.m. on a Friday to take photos after Genevieve died. Those photos are my most cherished possession. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep has a network of professional photographers across the country who volunteer their time and resources to photograph infants who have died or are near death. I’m very sorry that this organization needs to exist, but I’m so grateful that we have it.

One comment per person. Please leave it here, not on Facebook. And share this link with your friends because I’m going to feel very sad if I have to write a $3 check. How about 100 comments? Or 500?

You have until 5 p.m. (CDT) Thursday. Let’s do this!

46 thoughts on “Chatter for charity

  1. I can’t think of a specific, life changing nice moment right now, but I do try to stop and appreciate the kindness I’m shown daily; simple things like a friendly, “we’ve all been there” smile from another mother as my child throws a fit, the little old man in the mall who stopped me to tell me I have a beautiful baby, the friends who text me just to say hello or check in when they know I’ve had a rough day…little things like that that make me feel like there are still good, caring people in the world.

  2. This is a lovely idea, and it’s a great thing to sit and ponder as I get going this morning. I had an English teacher in high school who used to reassure me through all of my teenage angst. My husband and mom do nice things for me. Somehow it’s easier to think of nice things I’ve done for others that make me feel good… Throwing parties for other people, helping others. Better to give than receive?

  3. I am shown small graces every day of my life. The most recent? Friends who are so willing to help out watching my son in the last couple of weeks before I’m due with #2. Our regular babysitter found a full-time job, and I’ve been stressed about finding someone to watch our son until I’m on maternity leave. God has shown us that He will provide even for the smallest worries. : )

  4. What a great cause! I actually witnessed this charity in person. My friends baby died 5 hours after birth. I was there when he took his last breath. All the family had to remember him by was the amazing photos taken by this charity. Thank you for shedding light on this! Also, you may know my sister in law Austin blogger, Tolly Moesely, with Austin Eavesdropper!

  5. Followed the link from the AFBA facebook page to say welcome to the Alliance, read your post and I am so moved! What an incredible charity. I have seen so many acts of kindness performed by my fellow Austinites in the two years that we’ve lived here it’s hard to nail down one. I’ll just pay it forward a little by saying I wish you well and hope you see 100s if not 1000s of comments on today’s post.

  6. I was hospitalized two weeks after the birth of my son. I also had a two year old daughter at the time. I had pancreatitis and was extremely ill. I had to stay in the hospital for nearly a month. The kindest thing in my life and a debt I feel I can never repay is how my family (cousins, aunts, mom) stepped in to take care of my daughter and new baby. My husband didn’t have to feel alone and he was able to go to continue to go to work. I was able to concentrate on getting well knowing my kids were being loved and taken care of.

  7. when i first moved to austin, i was very lonely and having a hard time being away from the place i’d called home for 28 years (and all the family and friends i’d had as a support system). i was having a hard night at work, just wanting to go home and cry. a coworker asked if i was ok, if she could do anything for me. i took a deep breath and said “i know you don’t really know me, but could i have a hug?” bless her for saying “of course!” and embracing me like we were old friends. i told her years later that it felt as though her hug had put all my scattered pieces back together.

  8. We lost a baby at 23 weeks last year and everyone we know was incredibly supportive. B’s aunt brought us soup, my best friend immediately flew here from California, and my nursing school friends sent me flowers. I think the kindest thing was that my OB instructor (when I took OB this summer – about 8 months post-loss at the same hospital) really kept things calm and safe for me. She didn’t put me with 23-week-old babies in the NICU, she didn’t put me with moms experiencing the same thing I’d had, and she always asked how I was doing. It was not a huge thing, but it meant so much. :)

  9. When Genevieve died, I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t know how to act. After she was delivered and Sarah was recovering, a nurse asked if I wanted to hold Genevieve. Was that right? Should I? What would that be like? I was hesitant which the nurse noticed. She then told me, “She’s beautiful.” And that is when it clicked for me. Genevieve is still my daughter and I can hold her just as I held Eleanor when she was born. I can love her just as I loved Eleanor. It was a taste of normalcy in an upset world. She was right too, Genevieve is beautiful.

  10. It’s so easy to leave a comment here… thanks for letting me know you’re out there writing, too. And that you miss your daughter like I miss my son. And also that we share a special spark of thankfulness for those volunteer photographers at NILMDTS. I truly am so thankful for the photos we have of Andrew. Most prized possession indeed.

  11. Years back, on a trip to Japan, a friend and I were traveling by train to Tokyo. We had left our Japanese speaking friend and were traveling on without knowing the language at all. When we stopped to transfer to another train in a very large and busy station (as most are in Japan), we could not figure out where our next train was. The first person we tried to ask, spoke no English, and could have easily walked on. Instead, he read our ticket and rather than just pointing the way, he walked us across the station to our train. Kindness should have no boundaries and should never be rationed or selective.

  12. Yep, I’m a lurker. I’ve been through a lot of professional change in the past year and have been repeatedly amazed by the selfless help and advice given by brand new acquaintances. Sure there are plenty of curmudgeons out there, but if you pay it forward, good will comes back to you.

  13. It is hard to prioritize, so I’m going to take the route that Andrea took. This morning, as I struggled to get my bike into the front door, a stranger got out of the elevator to help me. My sister texted me to wish me luck on my first panel moderation. My colleague took time out of her busy day to help me practice my remarks. My friend made my favorite cookie and dropped it off at work. All these small gestures make the world go round :)

  14. When I think about the kindness of others in my life- I feel very blessed. Over the years so many friends and family have shown amazing acts of kindness whether it expressed for a “congratulations” event or even a condolence. So many people have been so generous with their gifts, time, and thoughts during so many events in my life.

  15. I’m new here, just introduced to the blog by Greg, and wanted to support this wonderful cause. I’m going to take a similar approach to others with something that brightened my day today. This morning I woke up too early and couldn’t sleep, and my husband who was getting up super early for work, took a few minutes to rub my back. It was greatly appreciated and helped start the day off on the right foot :)

  16. I can think of so many small kindnesses in my life, it’s hard to think of just one. From my partner making dinner for me, telling me I am beautiful… to the guy at the rental car company knocking a few bucks off for me, just because he could… To my dad loaning me some money to get started in my business that I have been in for 10 years now and showing that he believed in me and the nurses that snuck all 12 of us in my family into the ICU just before my mom passed away so that we could all say goodbye together (even though there were only 2 people allowed at a time). All these little things add up over a lifetime, and while sometimes we get lost in all that is going wrong around us, there is so much good around us…

  17. People are kind every day; sometimes we just don’t pay attention at the time. I try to get better at watching for the grace every day!

  18. Thanks to Greg for the invitation to join in the conversation. Having lost two children, having pics of any kind is ….

    That is where I go with it. You look at them and smile. Then you look at them and want to cry. Even 20 years later. Cherishing any moments had and at the same time wondering what kind of person they would’ve grown to become. This is a great and noble cause.

    As for gestures of kindness, I agree with Jodi that paying attention to these gifts is important. This morning I took the time to thank my wife to taking the time in her busy day to make me yet another fruit smoothie for breakfast – she is very selfless.

  19. The nicest things a person as done for me is my wife accepted my proposal for marriage. This has led to 14+ years of the best time of my life. She is my best friend and not sure what I would do without her.

  20. I’m trying to think of the kindest thing someone has ever done for me, while sitting here at my desk on a slow day at work. My eyes wander to my bulletin board that has various charts and cheat sheets on drug dosagestave come schedules and important phone numbers, along with many many cards from pet owners telling me that I have made a difference in their lives. Those cards are what keep me going.

  21. My wife has been the kindest person in my world. Her actions are always sincere and her heart dedicated to our happiness. She continues to make her choices with kindness and sincerity and always supports me. 5 years of school, great movie nights, car rides, road trips all accompanied by her kindness and happiness. She has brought peace and deep contentment to my life. It is the kindness thing that anyone has ever done for me.

  22. Great idea, Sarah and Greg! I don’t know about the kindest thing ever, but these days I appreciate it when Lance does the dishes or squashes the spiders in our basement for me.

  23. My son was about to be born and my elderly aunt gave me a table runner to put on his dresser. This table runner was embroidered by my grandma who passed away long before I was born. It meant so much to me to have something she touched with her own hands nearby my son. Being given this special gift was one of the nicest, sweetest memories and I’m reminded of it every time I see it.

  24. I feel so much gratitude for the many kindnesses offered to me during my life. The one, though, for which I am perhaps the most grateful is the gift of unconditional love, particularly that demonstrated by my mother, Marilyn. She has always been a source of inspiration and support, through both the happiest and seemingly most desperate moments of my life. Thank you, Mom.

  25. I can’t say what the kindest thing anyone has done for me is. But I can say that my friend and co-worker makes me smile every day and sets my worries at bay. I never thought I could meet someone so spectacular as her, and I think that’s worth mentioning.

  26. One of the most basic acts of kindness I experienced today was being smiled at by a stranger in the crosswalk. I was stopped at a red light waiting for an older gentlemen to cross before making a right turn, and he turned and smiled at me, making eye contact and waving his appreciation. I couldn’t help but smile back – such a simple and brief interaction, but how nice it was to experience that quick human-to-human acknowledgment in a typical hustle-and-bustle day. I feel I’m carrying the spirit of that smile with me hours later and it has shaped my attitude all day. What an amazing act of kindness from a total stranger.

  27. Today I have received an email form an old friend after a long time. She has told me about her life, her family, her recent difficulties, and I felt like I still belong to the community of friends I had when I was in Italy. Being alone in New York this helps a lot and makes life look warm.

  28. I find it too daunting to try to identify the nicest thing someone has done for me, so I hope you don’t mind if I answer the question with today in mind. I read your blog post first thing this morning, shortly after you posted it. It is a wonderful idea, but when I tried to think of what I might say, I was stumped. So, I went on with my day trying to be attune to something nice done for me today.

    Near the end of my lecture today, a student began a slow clap — clap… clap… clap. There was a pause and others did not join in. They, like me, perhaps, wondered what she was doing. I asked, “Is that… applause?” And she said, “Yes. You’re very good today.” I was very touched by the compliment — certainly the nicest thing done for me today.

  29. I’m having a hard time thinking of a specific event, too much pressure! Here is one though. Josh and I lived apart for two years, I was in CA and he was in WI. I came back to Wisconsin to visit for a weekend and I got stranded in Chicago overnight. They cancel your return ticket if you don’t complete the outbound trip, so I was stuck and very upset about the lost time from an already short visit. About 2am I got a call in the hotel room, he was in the lobby. Josh had driven from Milwaukee to Chicago, figured out which hotel I was staying in from my comments on the phone (he went to three before finding mine), all just to spend a few more hours with me. Best weekend.

  30. Thanks for sharing. Your blog brings such enjoyment to my very hectic and busy life. I am honored to be a part of this wonderful cause. I have to admit that I am a true “Land of Abe” lurker. I absolutely love reading your blogs but fail to comment because I am not a very good writer. Anyway, on to the subject at hand, nice things happen to me daily but one that really stands out, was when my car broke down. Did I mention that it broke down on Mopac at 5pm in the 105 degree heat? I was in the middle lane of traffic and it felt as though everyone that drove around me honked their horns and yelled obcinities my way, as if I could do anything. The nicest gentlemen pulled up in front of me, got out of his car and asked if I was ok. I replied with a simple yes but explained that my car was dead. He quickly got a rope, hooked our cars together and pulled me to the side of the highway. Not only did he help to keep me safe but helped resolve all of the angry drivers in Austin from shouting obcinities at me. He was so generous with his time, I will never look at a broken down car on the side of the road the same again.

  31. I have to admit… I do lurk. I love reading your blogs and this is such a great thing y’all re doing. I have been thinking about one event that I would like to share and it’s so hard to think of just one. I see so many random acts of kindness each day. Simple ones, such as a kind smile or opening the door for somebody (some people aren’t so nice. I have actually had someone step over my stroller wheel to get into a store faster).

    One of the kindest things a complete stranger did for us was last year. My husband and I bought a piece of exercise equipment from a second hand store and they were going to charge us $100 to deliver it to us. A complete stranger who lived down south in like Kyle or Buda drove this piece of equipment all the way to our house (way north) for us. He didn’t want anything in return, actually refused to take any money and ran out of the house. Only form of payment he would take was a cold soda.

    I hope you get a lot of comments and earn a bunch of money. Kudos for you guys for doing this!

  32. This is a wonderful way to mark the occasion, Sarah. I enjoy your blog and think of your family often. As for the nicest thing, I’m not sure, but it’s refreshing to see all the comments here. It makes me very grateful for what God has given me and to know that there is still good out there in the world.

  33. I find it difficult to mark any such single instance in my life with a superlative. I cherish and appreciate every instance that someone has stepped in to offer me support, compassion, or, just the simple joy of friendship when I needed it the most. I am blessed to have so many such special people in my life.

  34. The nicest thing that anyone has done for me? I think my husband David wins that title…. I have many examples, the gifts he has surprised me with, the sweet little details that he has, he listens, he cares, he loves me very much.

    Thanks for doing this, Sarah.

  35. I ditto everyone who found it difficult to single out such incident. I tried to go through every single moment in my head, and I couldn’t come up with one event that really stands out. Nevertheless, there were moments that defined me; I said goodbye to my grandma before I was on my way to US for my graduate study, not knowing that it would be the last time I had a chance to hug and kiss her. I kissed my cat before leaving him with the vet, not knowing that we wouldn’t have chance to spend another day together. These are the moments that changed my life. My grandma and Ani, my cat, taught me to cherish every single moment I have… every kiss, every hug, every touch …everything.

    Thank you for giving me a chance to contemplate.

  36. I, too, had a hard time coming up with a single thing. But one day while out running errands, I came to a red light and saw a car stopped with its hazard lights on two lanes over. The driver was standing on the sidewalk and talking on his phone — calling for help, I presumed — while his car was in the middle of the street. It was a busy road, and I was worried that someone was going to see the hazard lights too late and slam into his car. While I sat at the red light fretting about what to do, a stranger ran up out of nowhere and helped push the car around the corner and out of harm’s way while the driver steered. Witnessing that moment just made my day.

  37. I, too, find it hard to choose the nicest thing that someone has done for me probably because it all depends on the day. Sometimes I’ll be having such a bad day that just seeing my nephews blow me kisses means the world but I would have to say that my parents giving me any tool available to fight epilepsy means the most to me. Plus, they are always there to make my life as normal as possible. That is the nicest thing.

  38. When my dad was dying of cancer, my CCD decided to let us put on a play instead of normal Sunday school lessons. For the whole year.

    I love what you are doing, and I hope you get many more comments.

  39. When our beloved cat and my after-work snuggle buddy Harry had to get teeth pulled before anything hit his bloodstream, we were over a barrel. We’d be able to save the money in a month, but not in the days that we had. I staged an emergency jewelry sale in the breezeway at work and told everyone why I was raising the money, and to just pay what they felt the jewelry was worth since I was desperate. I got two checks for over a hundred dollars, and some people gave me money even though they didn’t find any jewelry. We had enough for Harry’s surgery AND his after-care expenses, and I felt so grateful that curmudgeonly journalists could look in my eyes and know what this little furball means to me. I tear up now just thinking about it.

  40. I am guilty of being a long time lurker and I must say it has always been a pleasure following your blog. I am going to cheat and not pick out a single instance. I guess the nicest thing that happens to me on a daily basis is the unconditional love I receive from family and friends. I wonder if I am deserving of it and I wonder if I give back enough, but it feels great to get it.

  41. When Liam was about 3 or 4, he and I were out running errands. He had chosen his outfit for the day, which if I recall correctly included frog-themed rain boots, the jacket from a policeman costume, and possibly a tie. He was capering about whatever store we were in, and I was harried. An older woman touched my arm and told me I was a really great mom to let my child express himself and enjoy life like that.

  42. This one time, someone gave me a car when I really needed one. They just gave it to me. A cute little red car with great pick up. And this other time, someone forgave me a monstrous trespass. They just forgave me, no strings attached. These are so far down the spectrums of generosity and mercy that it is hard to comprehend them.

  43. The kindest thing someone did for me today was let me barrel down the sidewalk, sweaty and red-faced, in the double jogger with a big smile on his face!! It seems small but I get so many dirty looks as I try to get out with the kids when it’s nice out and it makes a difference when someone is kind like that!!

  44. The nicest thing I get is the “I’ve been there smiles” when people see me out with the kids. A simple holding the door open when pushing a stroller always makes a difference in my day.

  45. Another nicest thing is when almost all my friends from Austin traveled to Monterrey for our wedding… ;-)

    That was very nice….

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