Monday, August 18, 2008

GPP Street Team Crusade #22 - Pay It Forward

This month's Crusade at the GPP Street Team is a little different. As you many know, Michelle Ward lost her beautiful sister Shannon last month, and that loss inspired her to create this month's challenge for us Crusaders. The challenge is to think creatively, think about the kindness and care that we are grateful for in our our lives and to come up with some expressions of that gratitude. You got it! Feel the gratititude for a kindness and then pay the kindness forward !

I have been so lucky in my life for my friendships with women. I am truly grateful everyday for the gestures of friendship I receive, big and small, from phone calls, to birthday gifts to shared jokes. I am truly blessed to be loved by such beautiful women as my dear, dear girlfriends (sisters, mom, aunts and nieces included here !!!).

Next door to me lives a beautiful woman, Catherine, who I would have to say I share a neighbourly acquaintance with, more than a close friendship. We don't really see each other socially more often than the occasional chat over the bushes, though we have been promising for three years to get together for drinks and really talk and get to know each other! We have exchanged Christmas cards, Christmas cookies, Valentine treats, all in gratitude for how much we appreciate each other as neighbors. She and her husband Stephen are like David and I. They enjoy a quiet couple life, like to keep their property tidy and pretty and in a neighbourhood where that isn't the case for all the neighbors, the expression of gratitude for that should be celebrated !

Recently, Catherine has been pretty ill, fighting cancer. But man, is she strong ! And beautiful in her fragile physical state. It makes me so sad to know what she and Stephen and her family are going through right now but oh, so very grateful for each precious moment we have on this earth!

So Catherine and I have upped the ante with the "kindness" exchanges these days. We have our own "pay it forward and then it comes back" crusade going on ! I think it makes us both feel good to connect to our neighbor, to truly acknowledge their existance and appreciate their neighborly qualities. What we do is exchange tokens of neighborly love about weekly. One day she will receive a necklace with a hand-painted "hope" charm on it from me. The next day, a gorgeous vase with hydrangeas cut from her garden will appear in my entry porch. A trip to the farmer's market for me means a couple of perfect tomatoes on her doorstep. And guess what ? One day, I actually knocked on her door when she was there and we did go out on her deck and share that drink and get to know each other better !

So my challenge to my Crusader friends is to think about your neighbor. Have you told them lately that you appreciate them ? Do they know you care about them, even if it is just in an over-the-fence way ? What little gesture could you do that would pay the neighborly kindess forward ? Believe me, your heart will feel so very full when you go for it and it sure makes the neighborhood all that much sweeter.


FAQ said...

Weird, about the time I was reading your challenge about getting to know our neighbors better, the doorbell rang and my neigbor friend needed to borrow flour. I love your posts girl. I love your kind comments on my blog too. You are very insightful and loving/kind. Thanks

Sarah said...

You know what? I barely know my neighbours. I have lived here 7 years and I have never said more than a smiley "hi, how are you doing?" to them. That's bad isn't it! But neither of them seem to want to take things further than that...... would they think me odd if I suddenly came on all friendly? hmmmmmm.....will sleep on this one and think it over :)

I'm still thinking of what I can do for this crusade...I've done a couple of little kindnesses this month but nothing more than usual, I feel like I ought to up the ante.

Will think that over overnight also.....

Jill said...

Oh my... this is so lovely. I love the idea and the giving of oneself. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

This is really nice! I made a point to try and get to know my new neighbors at the get-go with this house...and I am so happy I have! What you're doing is really great, Kim!

michelle ward said...

kim - what a terrific post. thanks for sharing your story with the team, and for inspiring us to think about our own neighbors. in this day of electric garage doors we can go a week without seeing someone on our street. we have brand new neighbors who are moving in this minute. i am going to make a plan to splash some neighborly love their way TODAY.

and p.s. loved your pink dyed men's socks. you rock girl!

Anonymous said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful story, Kim! I will have to think about what more I can do to make my corner of the world a little sweeter for those around me. Sometimes it is as simple as a couple of beautiful tomatoes.

You've inspired me!

Thank you.

Ulla said...

thank you for sharing this beautiful story with us. It's a great idea and a real inspiration!

inge said...

hello Kim,

it's a "simple" pay -it -forward action, but if everyone would do it, it could have a huge impact on the neighbourhood !

inge from Belgium

Maj said...

Right up my alley! The little everyday gestures makes life easier, right?!

Marylinn Kelly said...

Thank you for your PIF story, helping me remember our neighbors who helped in so many ways when my son was ill I truly wouldn't have managed without them...might be time for additional appreciation.

Rosie said...

That's wonderful Kim! Isn't it funny? I'm finally getting to know my neighbour now, just when we are looking to move!