Make-A-Wish – What could be more kind?

Kindness Recycler - Make-A-WishChildren suffering from life threatening illness can make a wish and have it granted at no expense to them or their family. What could possibly be more kind than this? Make-A-Wish is one of the most thoughtful and beneficial charities imaginable. Giving kindness to those who need it and deserve it most.

Learn more about how Make-A-Wish began and what their mission is. Read more here at their website

“Tens of thousands of volunteers, donors and supporters advance the Make-A-Wish®vision to grant the wish of every child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. In the United States and its territories, on average, a wish is granted every 37 minutes. We believe a wish experience can be a game-changer. This one belief guides us and inspires us to grant wishes that change the lives of the kids we serve.”

Even if you cannot donate money to this worthy cause you can volunteer your time and skills. Contact your local Make-A-Wish chapter to see what you can do to help them spread kindness in a great way.

The Hamburger Man

There is a guy I know. He is a giving soul. Not that most people would know it though. He's kind of quiet about it. He tells a few folks about what he does if he thinks they might be inspired to find a way to help out.

He doesn't give large corporate donations. He doesn't give money to huge structured charities. (He says they waste too much money.) He does volunteer his time to small local charities sometimes. He doesn't really have much money to give being a man of modest means. But, he does like to give something back. He says folks helped him and his family when they needed it most.

burgerHere is what he does. He goes direct to the source, cuts out the middleman he says. He goes to a hamburger place, a fast food place if you will. He buys as many hamburgers as he can on that particular day, and french fries too. He has them special bag it, two burgers per bag and one order of fries. Then he takes the bags of burgers and fries and drives around in his car until he finds some hungry homeless people who could use some food. It's not too hard to find hungry people in his town, or any town or city for that matter.

If he sees one person, he gives them a bag. At least it's one meal he figures, or maybe even two if they save one burger for later. If there are a couple, a family or a group he will give them two or three bags or more. As long as every person has at least one bag.

He says the best thing about it is the thanks and the smiles he gets. He has people ask him how did he know that they needed something to eat. Or, sometimes they are so happy that someone cared enough to hand them a bag bag of burgers that they literally cry tears of joy and shake his hand. They call him the hamburger man. They say man I was hoping I'd see you today hamburger man. Thank you!

There are homeless centers, church groups and others who try to help feed the homeless and that is great news. The hamburger man just likes to do it his own way. He says somebody helped lift him up when he was down, otherwise he wonders where he would be now. Maybe on the streets himself. Most of all he wants to give hope to people. Hope and hamburgers. Hope that someone who needs help will realize people can care for their brothers and sisters. Hope that others will give out hamburgers or do whatever they can, whenever and wherever they can.

Thank you hamburger man!

Resource: The resource here is inspiration from the hamburger man. Please supply your own burgers and fries. You know what to do. Thank you.

You can find links on our Resources page. If you have any links or sites to share, please contact us today and let us know.

Celebrate What’s Right With The World

Kindness Recycler

Photo by: Chris Nielsen - Posted on Celebrate What's Right With the World Facebook page.

Accentuate the positive, celebrate what's right with the world. That's the spirit of kindness recycling. Darkness and turmoil, negativity and despair are all around us. It's easy to wonder where hope and light have disappeared to. Thankfully they have not vanished, sometimes we just need a reminder or bit of guidance to find them. The best news is that they are always present within each one of us.

One of my favorite beacons of hope and light is the website Celebrate What's Right With The World and their corresponding Facebook page of the same name. Founded by world class photographer Dewitt Jones, this excerpt form his website says it all:

"How easy it is to celebrate a birthday, a marriage, a holiday. How hard it is to hold that same perspective in our daily lives. Everyday we are inundated with messages that tell us what’s wrong with our world. It’s not surprising that we lose sight of all the things that are right with it; of all that is truly worth celebrating."

His website and Facebook page have daily offerings of wonderful photos and words that serve as reminders of the beauty in our world. Please join in and submit your photos to his Facebook page to celebrate what is right in your world.

I would like to personally thank Dewitt Jones for being one of my inspirations for this site. Thank you Dewitt!

Resource: Celebrate What's Right With The World - You can also find this link on our Resources page. If you have any links or sites to share, please contact us today and let us know.

Send Emma a Birthday Card

I was inspired to write this bit of verse after learning of this young lady: 800 Cards for Emma's 8th Birthday
Updated: Now Emma's Army on Facebook and added to our Resources page. 

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Wise beyond her very few years

Hopes in birthday cards

Help cast away the fears

She knows something better

Down the road days ahead

Tomorrow never knows what road

Taken maybe forsaken

We travel on in silence

Lifting up burdens

Helping each others cares

Sending out recycled kindness

Light pierces through the dark night

Lost in fortune or fame

Road weary and struggling

Couldn’t we all say the same

So put a stamp on that letter

Make a selfless image

Send a prayer on a wing

Best hopes and wishes

Celebrate everything

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by Chris Nielsen ©2014

Resource: 800 Cards for Emma's 8th Birthday - Facebook page


Widower, or widow. Never liked that word, even before becoming one. It sounds so empty. Like a window minus an important part and without the view.

A dear friend told me I would experience joy again someday. While finding joy from memories of what we had and finding joy now in everyday things wherever possible, doubts persist on the larger future front.

Many have been down this path before, I’m not the first or the last. Somehow that doesn’t make me feel better. I’m not looking for a relationship or a girlfriend. If it happens, it happens. I really don’t know what I’m doing or where I’m going. Haven’t a clue. Being married happily for over thirty years is a rather singular path that mostly prepares you for continuing to be together for many more years. Not for being a widower, or widow. There’s that word again.

There are a multitude of other things to write about or think about, Lord knows I try. It eventually seems to lead back to this. Writing about reality is what works for me and even fiction is typically an altered form of reality. Only the names have been changed, the characters remain the same. But this is reality. For me, and many others.

Not an island or alone, many are there with me and for me. Family and friends are the best and really do care. So many have shown such kindness and still do. Not one to languish or be bitter, but rather stay busy and good feelings happen most when helping others in some way. That is probably the answer to a lot of things. Helping others in ways that would’t have happened otherwise.

Eternally grateful for what we had together, it is love. We were not perfect, nobody is, but we never gave up on each other. It is the love and experiences we had together that cause the simultaneous experience of joy and sorrow that we come to know as grief. If there was no love, there would be no grief. The opposite must then be true. Grief is the love we miss. Knowing we won’t make any new memories together we cling to the old memories and sometimes we cry. Grief itself may not be a good thing, but it means we had a good thing.

Widower. I think I will choose not to be defined by that word. I am choosing to be a guy who is used to living a full life and will continue to do so, even if it is in a different way. We can’t always choose the road we must travel on, but we can choose what attitude and spirit we will carry with us on the journey.

by Chris Nielsen ©2014

It’s Bittersweet

Life. It's sweet and bitter. Bitter and sweet. It's love and grief. Hard to know one without the other. Grief is love we have known.

Kindness and heartlessness. We have seen and felt both. Without heartlessness, apathy and hate would we know what kindness really is? It would be an interesting experiment to find the result, but in real life we are exposed to the whole gamut of human behaviors whether we are ready or not. Many times we are not ready for the bad things that can happen and don't always expect the good things that do happen.

It has been said that forgiveness cannot change the past, only the future. When bad things happen some quickly rush to blame while others look for a way to help those who need it. It is good to know the cause of events and even better to rush to kindness. Sometimes it is difficult to turn the other cheek, sometimes it isn't practical, but we can forgive to set ourselves free. Then, if we cannot give kindness to our enemies, there is nothing stopping us from doing kind things for others.

For two years I was the caregiver for my wife of thirty plus years before she passed away. Some friends and family have kindly told me this was a great thing that I have done taking care of her. While I do think it was a great opportunity to show how much I really love her, it was really just doing the right thing. Sometimes doing the right thing might be a great thing, sometimes it is the only thing we can do if we really care about someone. I know she would have done the same for me.

While we were going through this last phase of our lives together many life lessons presented themselves. I had to abandon nearly every instinct I had for working a regular everyday job and preserving financial security and property. The sole focus became being caregiver, nurse, therapist, patient advocate, nutritionist, husband, friend, prayer partner, cheerleader and every other role to provide for her daily needs, healthcare and comfort. There was no time for anything else.

I'm still thoroughly amazed by the grievous things, and the great things that happened along the way. We were abandoned by some nearly lifelong friends who had a part in my family being three days away from being homeless while my wife was undergoing radiation and chemotherapy for brain cancer. On the other hand we had good friends, family and strangers who helped us avoid homelessness and also helped to put put food on our table. I thank God that it seemed like when we were just about at the end of our rope somebody would call and ask if there was anything we needed.

If there was any single lesson I learned in church as a youngster it was pray as if everything depends on the Lord and work as if everything depends on you. Not perfect and not always the best decision maker in business or in job choices, I still have tried to work hard and provide for my family. I would rather provide for myself than look for handouts. It is strange when you can't just go out and get a job or two to work your way out of things. I needed help and had to learn to accept it. Help came and kept coming in many forms. It was humbling to learn how many people really cared about us and helping us to the point of personal sacrifice. That, is kindness. Kindness that must be recycled.

Sweet and bitter. Bitter and sweet. My wife passed away on February 13th, 2014. The cancer took a toll on her physical body and eventually ended her life. It cannot touch her sweet spirit that is still in my heart and the hearts of anyone who had the pleasure of knowing her. I still miss her. I'm so grateful to have known her and feel blessed that we had so many great years together. Not bitter, sweet.

by Chris Nielsen ©2014