Three stories that have me thinking about the powerful force of kindness:

1)  The other day I was out running for my bootcamp class.  I hate running.  I was huffing and puffing and everyone was passing me up.  And I was grumpy, thinking of all the things that had to be done that day and how would I keep up and why in the world have I still not trained myself to be a faster runner!?

Half way through my run a lady was crossing the street walking her dog with a smile.  And do you know what that smiling lady said to me?  She said, “you sure look good!”

Little thing, right?

Tiny in the whole scheme of things.

But do you know what that little thing did to my heart?  Made it feel like I could get through that dang run.  My steps became lighter and although it was still hard, that little one-liner of kindness helped me to the finish line.

2)  I had just finished checking out at the grocery store and was gathering my bags as a young mom holding her daughter’s hand asked the cashier if she could by chance just give him her credit card number for the loaf of french bread she was trying to buy since she had accidentally left her wallet in her car.  The cashier told her sorry, she had to run grab it and as she started out I turned her around and told her to let me buy her the bread.  I’ve been there, done that, I explained, (forgotten my wallet with a child attached to my leg, late for dinner, blah blah blah, and the last thing I wanted to do was drag that child with me to go get it!).

At first she said no, she was fine, she couldn’t let me do that for her, but I told her to please let me do my tiny act of service for the day and reminded her the bread was $2.02 for crying out loud!  She gave in and was so grateful, telling her daughter they better go find some service to pay it forward.

I tell this story because you know what?  I’m pretty positive that little minuscule act of service made me even more happy than it made that lady.

Scattering a little light gives endorphins to the giver.

3)  Right before the holidays Claire tried out for the junior high cheer team.

She headed into school all bright and shiny.  She practiced every day.  She had her big cheerleader sister Grace give her all the tips she could muster up.  She learned the routines to perfection.

She was hopeful.

Tumbling is her thing.  She has never seemed to be able to get enough of it.  And her smile and enthusiasm are not on the “normal” spectrum in my opinion (but then, I am her mother, so take that with a grain of salt…).

But she didn’t make it.

And all 85 of her friends who tried out, did.

(At least that’s how it seemed to her.)

She was sad.  No amount of chiding about how great it was that she put herself “in the arena” and “maybe it’s better because man alive that would be hard to manage with soccer too” seemed to do her any good.

But then she got this text from her friend:

And somehow that made everything better.  It was amazing to see how that sweet, kind act from one friend taking the time to text her a little light to break into her darkness made all the difference.

A little kindness goes a long way and I’m so grateful for what it does to the soul.

To the giver and the receiver as well.


  1. I'm so happy about this darling friend but there's still something wrong here. I guess if she can get over it, I can too! She did something better as the co-star of that soccer team! How could she have done both? Somebody upstairs sees the big picture! 🙂 Love you Claire. You ARE the best!

  2. That text from Claire's friend made me tear up! I had a rough time in middle school, including a girl in my home room in 7th grade who told our group of friends lies about me so they wouldn't want to hang out with me anymore. I love seeing kids, especially girls, being kind to each other! It can make such a difference.

  3. Also, I'm completely biased as a lacrosse coach, but I love to see girls playing tough, active sports like soccer or basketball instead of being on a team that's about cheering on the boys. I could ever do all the tumbling but there's something to be said for girl power and team sports.

  4. This post brought some tears and totally brightened my day. Thank you so much for being a source of light in the world with your sweet, hopeful, positive, while also real, words. I'm so grateful!

  5. Just think of all the hassle you removed from that mother's day! I've been in that situation (more times than I'd care to admit, because I can be a bit disorganised!) and just the thought of not having to take the kids back out to the car (usually one that needs carrying in there somewhere) and all the way back in is calming to me and it didn't even happen to me! Not only that, she will have been far more patient with her children afterwards and she used it as a teachable moment for her child. Love it!

  6. I know in the big scheme of things, not making the cheer team isn't the end of the world, but I don't get how Claire didn't make it. From what I can tell on your blog, Claire is cheerful, enthusiastic, a gymnast, smart, pretty, etc… everything a cheerleader should be. I'm baffled. I'm glad she's gotten over it. I have no doubt she'll make it the next time around, if she chooses to try out again. 🙂

  7. Aw, Shawni, your blog adds a ray of sunshine to my day! My daughter was laughing at/with me as I read your blog with the phrase, "Mom, do you actually know those people?" I can't remember what I said, but in my heart I feel like we're kindred spirits and your blog uplifts and inspires me–and in turn my family. Your writing is like a static charge that charges us, your readers and in turn our families.

  8. Fun short act of kindness story:
    In MN a couple weeks ago my husband was pumping gas when it was -24. The gas attendant outside manning the stalls was cheerful but clearly cold. Husband (never done this before) went and got him a nice big hot chocolate, came back, the worker lit up and thanked him much.

    2 days later while we're on maternity leave w/ a newborn, I do that quick 1x leave the house grocery and food run. At the sandwich shop someone behind me bought my to go sandwiches and said she just wanted to bless me 😮 First time **we** ever received a random act of kindness.
    End story: God is good, amen.

  9. Loved this post. For 2 dollars you probably made her day and made her steps lighter. No doubt that mum will pay it forward too…..
    I don't have much to give but will continue to give small amounts where I can xx

  10. Shawni, thanks for this inspiring post. I shared it with my seminary class this morning. I have been encouraging them to "love one another" and your post came to my mind during my lesson. It made an impression.

  11. When I was in elementary school there was a rule you could do only one sport. That left room for others to be able to participate. It also meant that several players didn't have conflicts with practices and games because of their other sport. I do think it odd the first year for a sport would require a tryout. I find it great that among the siblings that each child seems to pick a completely unique sport for the older grades. Max did volleyball, Elle tennis, Grace cheer, they might have tried their siblings sport but eventually found their own talent. This is quite nice that the kids are able to find a way to excel without directly competing by doing their own thing.

  12. Thank you for the wonderful post and reminder of the power of kindness. I love these real life examples of kindness. And your Claire is *Amazing* as her friend said. -Lisa

  13. Love this! A little kindness goes a long way. Many years ago when I was in the awkward junior high stage, my mom introduced me to her co worker. She said to my mom while I was standing there, "my goodness. She's so beautiful!" I had never been called beautiful before, never really considered myself beautiful before, but the way she said it, I knew she meant it,and it really boosted my self esteem. I will never forget the way I felt when she said that.

  14. Thank you so much for this post! I am working on intentionally being more kind and so your experiences truly inspired me. I read your blog all the time and appreciate it, but rarely comment. It is fun to read about your fun and amazing family and life.

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