Kindness Challenge|Week 4: Kindness Role Model

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Dear Grandma,

When it was suggested, in the 2017 Kindness Challenge, to write a letter to a role model, I immediately thought of you. Your 4 ft. 8 in. frame belied the giant that you truly were. For the 36 years that we spent together, your spirit of generosity and sacrifice never ceased to amaze me. 

As far back as I can remember, you were the happiest when giving to others. Whether it was financial assistance or help of some other kind, you were the first to step up and offer. Your Christian faith and love for God motivated your charitable nature.

I also remember what a hard worker you were. With only a sixth-grade education you had to leave school and go to work as domestic help for more well-to-do households. The money you earned was turned over to your parents to help with expenses for a large, but poor German family.


“In everything, I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Acts 20:35


Elderly HandsREVYou cleaned, scrubbed, and provided childcare for others and then came home and did some more. You ran errands that involved walking long distances in all kinds of weather. You had to grow up before your time and missed out on the joys of being a kid.

This kind of menial labor continued until you retired at 65. 

Your hands were the reflection of this lifetime of hard work. No smooth, soft skin or manicured nails. No jewelry. Just rough-hewn palms and translucent skin, mottled with age spots and a lacework of veins.  

I recall these hands clearly. Smallish, yet capable of so much. From kneading floured dough to fixing my broken toys to pointing out the Bible verses as I followed along.


“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

You didn’t earn much money but managed to save most of it. You lived very simply and wasted nothing, repurposing long before it became fashionable. Clothes and cars were second-hand, but your treatment of others was first-rate. You had very little in the way of material possessions, yet you wanted for nothing.

Despite the many hardships you never became bitter. It’s easy to show kindness and generosity when life has been good. But, it’s not as simple when life has been harsh. We tend to look at others and wonder why we don’t have the same opportunities. 

I never heard you complain about any aspect of your life. Your attitude of gratitude was nothing short of amazing, which is why I consider you a true role model.

I’ve learned to appreciate the basic necessities of life without always wanting something more. You taught me this. I feel sorry for those who define themselves by their material possessions. You explained that they’re trying to fill up the emptiness inside.

You always took pride in your work and reminded me that no matter what the job is we should always do our best. 

Your advice was to try to help others whenever possible and always with a smile. I may not be able to give in large ways, but I try to give in a lot of small ways.


“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”  2 Corinthians 9: 6-7


The lessons in kindness, generosity, and humility that you always taught by example shaped the very best parts of me and I’ll be forever grateful. Thankful for your love and all that you gave with such a caring heart.

I miss you a lot and hope that you’re proud of my efforts as a daughter, mother, partner, and friend. I try to give my best to all the people in my life, just as you did in yours.

With much love & gratitude…xoxoxo


 

10,384 Words

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I’ve written just 10,384 words for NaNoWriMo and the goal is to write 50,000 in the month of November. That leaves 39,616 more to write and only six days to finish. Now, that may sound like bad news, but it’s not. Because I’m that much closer to writing a story that I’ve been thinking about for years.

The good news is that I’ve embarked on a career as a freelance writer and I’ve been busy working with my first client! I’m extremely excited for this opportunity and hope to find success doing something that I truly enjoy. 

I’ve considered doing this for a while now, particularly since there’s been no luck with the job search. I went back to school as a non-traditional student to better myself. I invested a tremendous amount of time and energy considering that I was working full-time. Did I do this to take a job that only required a high school diploma? Um…no.

I’ve always done well in English and writing classes. As a Public Relations major, my coursework was writing-intensive, so I’ve had a lot of practice. But, I wasn’t required to write much in my job. 

When I went home to Pennsylvania in August, I met up with a classmate from high school. She had recently been laid off from a job of twenty years working at a non-profit. Rather than looking for another company to work at, she decided to start her own consulting business and suggested that I consider doing the same.

“Well, I’ve never been paid to write, so I’m technically not a writer,” was my response.

She furrowed her brow and reminded me that I was never paid to go to school, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t a student. 

Our conversation lasted a couple of hours and several times I repeated the same phrase: “But, I’m not a writer, because I didn’t do much writing in my job.”

Finally, she got exasperated and said, “Yes, you are a writer. You were known as a writer in high school. You’ve done various types of writing in college. You’ve been writing a blog for almost a year. Do you know how many people out there with no formal education are writing as a career?”


Other people have complimented and encouraged me, as well. They have all inspired me to take the crucial next step and give it a shot. 

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I approached a small business, owned by some friends, and offered to write blog posts for their website. They’ve been wanting to do more with their online presence, but simply don’t have time. Unfortunately, their website is bare-bones-basic and I’m currently building a new WordPress site for them. Once I get it finished I can begin writing. They also asked me to give a little love to their Facebook page. Needless to say, I’ve been very busy and grateful to be building a portfolio!


 

I would love to work from home, be my own boss, and set my own schedule. However, all of this means I had to let NaNoWriMo go for now. But, I don’t see it as a failure at all. Writing even 10,000 words has gotten the creative juices flowing! I had a basic storyline formulated and getting started has helped expand upon that original outline. I’ve come up with new characters and better plot ideas.

I won’t make 50,000 words by the end of the month, but I have 10,384 that I can continue to build on.

I’m not an established freelance writer, because I only have one client. But, I mustered the courage and took the first step. And now I can build on that, too! 🙂