Monday, December 14, 2009

Now THAT'S holiday spirit - Part II

I'm sure you've probably seen the ad for Liberty Mutual: one person witnesses a gesture of kindness and then does something kind for the next person they meet, which is witnessed by someone else, who in turn does a favor for another stranger, and so on until the circle of "favors" returns to the person who started it. It's an amazing commercial - probably my favorite (that doesn't involve Clydesdales anyway).

At a restaurant in Philadelphia this past Saturday, a couple finished their meal and paid - not only their tab but also that of the table next to them. They asked the waitress not to tell the people until after the couple had departed the restaurant...simply say "Merry Christmas!" This simple gesture started an amazing chain reaction ("Mystery Pair at Diner Spark Cascade of Giving,"

The giving lasted for five hours - one party paying the bill (plus tip) for the next party and though the amount of the bill varied, not one person quibbled about the amount.

A sense of expectation typically accompanies the spirit of Christmas. We expect that we will get gifts. If we've provided others with a "wish list," we expect that we will receive something from that list. And that's not horrible, or greedy, or evil, or even missing the true point of Christmas even.

But it's the unexpected that brightens a day, that makes you smile, that creates in you an atmosphere of true generosity and kindness. And it's as simple a concept as "pay it forward" and it doesn't have to happen just this time of year either...

...but isn't it wonderful when it does?

~later, tw

Now THAT'S holiday spirit - Part I

My husband calls my Christmas Wish List "pathetic." On my list I put the little things I would like...most of them utilitarian trinkets having to do with my time spent in the kitchen, which I really enjoy (this year I'm hoping Santa leaves me a 4-cup pyrex measuring cup under the tree - because I'm already wondering how I've lasted this long without one!)

But everything on my wish list is truly insignifiant compared to those hoping for a gift of time - more time to spend with family and friends, more time to celebrate holidays and milestones, more time to just be.

Thirteen such people got their Christmas wish a little early this year in what I consider to be a true miracle of science and generosity - they each received a kidney in what is (currently) the longest "chain" of kidney transplants: "Massive transplant effort pairs 13 kidneys to 13 patients" (

In this paired transplant, someone wants to donate a kidney to a recipient (a husband perhaps to his wife) but find they aren't compatible. No problem! A 2nd party recipient is found and someone donates a kidney on his or her behalf to a 3rd party and so on and so on and so on until (in this case) 13 recipients were matched with 13 donors. The end result is that 13 people were given a second chance at life and the 13 donors each wound up saving not one, but two lives: they gave to save their loved one, enabling them to become a member of the circle, and they gave new life to the recipient.

A pretty wonderful Christmas present if you ask me!

~later, tw

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Simone Weiler (1926-2009)

Yesterday we lost Gerry's mom, Simone Weiler. The doctor had rediscovered cancer (after five years of being cancer-free) only two months ago. Gerry and I were able to take Jenny and little Jax to visit her in October and she was doing quite well then but recently her health began to fail her and she passed away quite suddenly (and rather unexpectedly...surprising even her doctor) on Tuesday afternoon.

My thoughts and prayers are with each of her kids and their families...and especially with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Jenny and Sarah were especially close to their grandma and always managed to visit her in Montana. Here are the girls "4 Generation" photos taken just this year.

~later, tw