Five Things you Can do This Week to Make the World a Better Place

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Many times, we think we have to do something big to change the world, but really, it starts with small steps to put a smile on someone’s face.  Here are five small things you can do this week to change someone’s outlook.

Monday:  leave a treat in the mailbox for the postman/woman.  We have had so much snow lately, and they have delivered the mail faithfully every single day!  Brighten their day and let then know how much you are thankful for them.

Tuesday:  Write a letter to a family member, friend or colleague letting them know how wonderful they are.  I recently got a letter in the mail “just because”  from my grandmother-in-law.  This made me feel so special and makes me want to do this for someone else!

Wednesday: Have your family round up the carts in the grocery store parking lot.

Thursday:  Hold the door open for people with a smile on your face.

Friday:  Hand out hand warmers to homeless you see on the streets as you drive around.  Remember not every one makes it to a shelter for the night, and it is cold outside.  It is something small, but it is something.

Please post any other ideas that you may have for making a difference in the world.  Its starts with the small, and snowballs into something big!

Love,

Suzy

 

Women Who Make a Difference

Since being married, I have had the honor of getting to know one amazing women. This is my husbands grandmother.  We call her Grandma Schiffer.

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Grandma Schiffer is an inspiration to me on so many levels, but it is her strength that has had a huge impact on my life.  Grandma Schiffer is in her late 80’s, but one would hardly know it.  Her strength shines through in the way she presents herself.  Grandma Schiffer is always put together, has  a way of standing and walking into a room in which one knows she takes pride in herself and all that she does.  She never wants to be the center of attention, or at least that is what I sense from her. Instead she is perfectly happy serving everyone who is around her.  She makes sure that the everyone else has their needs met before she does.  She knows exactly what your favorite dessert or main dish is, and when one is around, she spoils you.  She makes the most amazing quilts, and will help all the people in her family to look and feel their best.  To me this is strength.  Grandma Schiffer is strong in who she is, so you can be raised up to be the person you need to be, and that is special.  When someone goes out of their way to make you feel so loved, that is strength beyond words.

She has watched so many others pass before her, and she still stands strong.  Never complaining, always willing and always beautiful.

Grandma Schiffer, you have been an amazing example in my life of strength, love and courage.

Thank you so much for welcoming me in to your family and for being a part of your life.

Love you!

Love,

Suzy

Sunday Storytelling on a Tuesday: Hospitality

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In 1997, I had the opportunity to go to India for the entire summer.  I was in college, and looking for purpose and adventure.  The group I was placed in had the opportunity to go to a city called Varanasi in Utter Pradesh.  There we would have the chance to work in Mother Teresa’s home for the sick and dying. Varanasi is where many Hindus go to die.  It is said that creation began there, that if one dies on the appropriate side of the Ganges river, you will finally rest with no reincarnating.  It was a beautiful city, and I am sure it still is.  At age 20, I ventured out, to go save the world!  And of course as I quickly found out, India would save me.  Isn’t that what we all learn?  That when we think we will go and do amazing things, others will end up doing amazing things in our lives instead.

Let me tell you how the people of India changed me from the very beginning of my trip.  We arrived when it was early morning, and people were still sleeping.  Not just in their homes, but all lined up on the streets.  The smells were overwhelming, and I can still smell them today.  Mustiness, mixed with gasoline, mixed with every spice you could ever imagine.  The roads and cars were crazy, with no real driving lanes, or rules. I am sure I looked the sight.  A naïve, blonde, American girl. Here to make a difference.  We were escorted to our hosts.  Let me make something clear, we did not stay in fancy hotels, take first class or experience any luxuries.  We were to live as though India was our home even down to the way we dressed, and we were no different than the rest.  Nevertheless, one can be scared to see a place vastly different from the one they are used too.

We arrive at our hosts home, tired, smelly and hungry.  Upon pulling up, we quickly realized that our hosts lived in a poverty we had never seen before.  The house was small, and I know I was thinking about where I was to sleep.  How I was to get clean, and all my comforts were nonexistent.  We walked up to the door, not expecting much in the way of food, showers, cleanliness.  As the door opened, we became so ashamed.  Why?  Because of the way we were greeted.  Laying on the ground in front of us was the word “Welcome” spelled out in lotus flowers.  As we crossed over the flower threshold, we were each greeted with a cold bottle of Coke.  This bottle of Coke may mean nothing to you, and at first it did not to us, until we learned that cold sodas of any sort were considered a luxury and very expensive.  We were each taken to a soft chair and given a wet cloth to wash our face and hands.  As we sat in the soft chairs, our host turned on the overhead fan.  The most magical thing happened at this very moment.  Lotus buds filled with water came flying of the fan and sprinkling us with coolness, and that is when I cried.

I was tired, and overstimulated and I broke down.  I broke down because I was humbled.  Out of poverty, they went out of their way to make us feel welcome.  Out of poverty, they purchased for me an ice cold Coke so I would feel loved.  Out of love, they filled lotus buds full of water, so that I could feel welcome.  My preconceived notions of what I was doing for the world flew out of the window.

Lets be honest, if this happened here in America, it would be amazing, but we would tell the host it was too much.  She should not have gone to all that trouble.  But if I had said that in India, I would have deeply wounded my hosts.  They did it because they wanted to love us, not to make us feel uncomfortable.  We are here to lavishly love others, and yes, that love will make them feel slightly uncomfortable, but it also makes them feel so loved!

Since that trip, I have gone overboard with hospitality, because I have been so lavishly loved.  I do not do it to make others feel as thought they have to, or to make them feel guilty.  I do it because I want to.  I love surprising those who do not expect to be surprised.  I have been told that it is way too much, and you know what I want to say back?  Why not?  Why not make those who need love, feel special.

India changed my life. Everywhere I went, I was surprised and welcomed.  They did much more saving of me, than I could have done.

I hope we all have moments in our lives where we can be surprised and humbled by the love of others.  How amazing this world would be if we could all lavishly welcome others into our home and lives the way I was welcomed that day.

Love,

Suzy