Thursday, October 27, 2016

Coming next Friday: 48 Acts of Kindness

My favorite day is a week away!

A quick reminder:
1. Perform an act of kindness in memory of Steve on Nov. 4.
2. Leave the note, explaining the special day. (Click here for the note.) (Click here for a page with four copies.)
3. Take a photo if you can/like and send me your story. (Email me at Text me at 972-489-4344. Or post on the Facebook page.)
4. I'll share your story and photo (with your permission) on the blog.

Need some inspiration? Read about previous years:

Buy subway cards for tourists
Donate to the Red Cross
Make soup for a neighbor
Give food to a family in need
Say thank you to your garbage collectors
Help a colleague
Take breakfast to the office
Say thank you to a nurse
Leave a generous tip

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

48 Acts of Kindness

On Nov. 4 this year, we will celebrate 48 Act of Kindness -- our family's way to honor Steve's birthday. Cooper, Katie and I look forward to sharing Steve's joyful, slightly mischievous spirit with friends and strangers, and we hope you will join us!

One list can't possibly do justice to the thousands of acts of kindness performed each year in Steve's memory. A small sampling:

Leave treats/drinks for lifeguards at your pool
Pay for coffee for the person behind you
Make a donation to your favorite nonprofit
Deliver breakfast to coworkers
Surprise your local firehouse or police station with treats
Make care packages for the homeless
Yield to drivers on a busy street
Open doors for dozens of strangers
Buy groceries for a stranger
Leave a generous tip

Check back each week until Nov. 4 for more ideas and a card you can leave behind when you perform your act of kindness!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A whole lot of a prayer and a big change

Steve and I started attending Holy Covenant United Methodist Church in Carrollton in early 2000.

It was about two miles from our first home. The people were incredibly friendly. We loved the messages and the music and programs.

It was the perfect fit for us.

When we moved to Frisco in 2002, we briefly -- and I mean for about 30 seconds -- considered finding a church home closer to home. But we were at home at Holy Covenant. Our roots were already deep.

Holy Covenant is where both children were baptized. Where they attended preschool. Where I taught Sunday school to third-graders and middle-school kids and teenagers and adults. Where Steve sang in the choir and played trumpet. Where he was chair of trustees. Where I served for more committees and VBS summers than I can count. Where I served as preschool board chair and lay leader. Where Cooper performed in musicals and piano recitals and was confirmed.

It's the home where almost every single adult knows Cooper and Katie -- not just their names but their life story. Holy Covenant is filled with people who knew and loved Steve and who loved on us while he was ill and took care of us when he died and who hugged me when I needed it most.

It's a family that doesn't just talk about social justice -- they live it. It's the family that encourages Katie each year to share her talents and raise money for the causes she believes in.

It's where Steve's memorial bench sits, engraved with his name and birth year and death year and Micah 6:8, our family verse.

I've never "lived" in one place so long in my whole life. Never.

Yet ...

I've been a single mom for seven years now. I work full time, I freelance write and edit, and I tutor students on the side. I drive Cooper and Katie all over town. I volunteer when I can (which isn't much).

All this time, we've been able to faithfully attend Sunday morning worship services and Sunday school. I've been able to attend some evening meetings. But I simply couldn't fit in roundtrip drives for choir practices and youth group activities.

Cooper and Katie desperately wanted to participate, and I desperately wanted to make it happen, but there's only one of me and 24 hours in a day. And they already have their own full schedules.

They also wanted to have friends at church who they might see during the week at school. That wasn't happening with our Carrollton church friends.

After months and months of prayer and many tears, we decided as a family in May to start visiting the Methodist church that's about two miles from our Frisco home.

We've tried almost every worship service (except Saturday nights -- just haven't embraced that yet). We each have a favorite. Cooper and Katie are attending youth on Sunday afternoons and sometimes during the week. Katie has started confirmation classes. I'm attending the parent confirmation class. (As a bonus, Grandma and Papa are visiting and singing in the choir, too!)

The mission and message of Grace Avenue fit our family.

We know a few members already because they've been our neighbors and friends for years. We're slowly meeting new people.

Not a single person there knows us like our Holy Covenant family. They don't remember toddler Katie yelling, "Hi, Daddy!" from the pews as he stood in the choir loft. They don't know to ask Cooper about his path to Eagle Scout. They don't know why certain hymns make me tear up or smile.

There's not a Steve bench on which the children sit every Sunday morning for a photo.

Change is tough. But we are tough, too.

Youth choir of Grace Avenue United Methodist Church

This morning, on World Communion Sunday, Cooper and I sat near our dear friends Katrina and Jay while Katie stood in the choir loft for the first time. She lifted her voice with the youth choir to sing "In Remembrance of Me."

I like to think of Steve saying, "Hi, KT!" as he spots her in the choir loft. I know that he'd totally support the choice we've made to change our church home. I know that we can always visit Holy Covenant. I know that Holy Covenant will always live in our hearts, even as we build new relationships.

Katie, first row, second from right

Monday, September 5, 2016

Continuing the narrative

I'm a storyteller. It's one of the reasons I became a writer and editor. It's one of the reasons I'm passionate about reading. It's one of the reasons I love teaching.

The stories we read or watch usually have a beginning, middle and end. And then we move on.

Our life story -- that's a whole different story. There are multiple plot lines developing at once. Some end, never to be visited again. Others pick back up days, weeks, years later. Some are a continuous thread with unpredictable peaks, plateaus and valleys.

Our family's story drastically changed in the early morning of Labor Day seven years ago. Steve, who had exceeded expectations his whole life, survived brain cancer longer than expected. He took his final breath on Sept. 7, 2009.

I know myself. I could have let Labor Day become a burden. I could have been stuck playing that Labor Day narrative in my head my whole life.

And, to be honest, every year about this time, the whole story comes back to me. I think of how much pain he was in at the end, how gentle Cooper and Katie were with him, how we had adapted to people in and out of our home. Still, today, it takes my breath away to recall our story and think of how much we all miss him.

I didn't want our family to be burdened forever by Labor Day weekend, so we've continued the narrative.

Since 2010, we have on Labor Day weekend ...

visited friends in Michigan and attended a game at the Big House,

visited friends in Southern California,

attended the 2012 Michigan-Alabama game in Arlington,

toured Washington, D.C., with Uncle Jim,

relaxed in Oklahoma,

explored Harpers Ferry, W.V., and 

cheered for the Baltimore Orioles (they beat the Yankees on Saturday night).

We have surrounded ourselves with love, and we have enjoyed some of Steve's favorite pastimes and places. We have forged our own new adventures -- ones that Steve, too, would have loved.

I am praying for peace for our little family this week, especially on Wednesday, the seven-year anniversary, and I am thankful for those who continue to love and support us. Our story continues.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

From Katie's 2nd-grade journal (rediscovered today)

Translated: I had a problem about my Dad. He had a tumor. When he went to the hospital, the doctors tried to take it out. They could not. So he got special care. One day my cousins and my aunt were at my house and my Dad died. 

Though the topic is tragic, I am so thankful for this record of what Katie remembers about Steve, three years after his death. Her abbreviated version reveals what mattered most to her at he time: her dad, the people who cared for him and the love that surrounded him and all of us when he died. 

This is always a rough season for me. August 2009 was when Steve felt the very worst. He was in pain, he had lost all mobility, his independence was gone.

But he was loved beyond measure. And he was approaching peace about his waning days. 

The rest of Katie's second-grade journal offers joyful memories -- parasailing in Florida, seeing The Lion King on Broadway, riding a train on the Sharkarosa field trip, reading at the library. Steve didn't get to experience these moments with his KT, but it's the life he wanted for her and for Coop and for me. 

Monday, August 8, 2016


Something I miss about Steve right now: 1993.

Well, I miss talking to him about 1993.

I graduated from the University of North Texas in May that year. I was barely 21, barely 100 pounds. I somehow graduated in four years, while working two or three jobs each semester. I had no debt (save a balance on the Discover Card that I signed up for freshman year and used to help pay for books and gas and food when I came up short some weeks). Life at home for me was strained at best.

I was a very tired 21-year-old.

My first "real" job was at the Bryan-College Station Eagle. I was first a copy editor and then the food editor on the lifestyles desk. I started at $7.25 an hour and eventually moved up to $7.50 an hour.

I lived with Steve, who was renting a duplex in Brenham, where he worked as an assistant practice manager at a medical office.

He worked days, and I worked nights on the copy desk. I worked weekends. He worked Monday through Friday. 

On the weekends, he would often drive to Bryan to have dinner with me. During the week, he would often come home for lunch.

He tried to teach me how to drive a standard transmission on his little blue Pontiac Sunbird. (I never could get the hang of it.) 

We learned to grocery shop together. (I remember Karo syrup was difficult to find, and a sweet older woman helped us locate the aisle.) We learned to cook together. (We burned a chocolate pecan pie, for which we had procured that elusive Karo.)

During the day, after Steve had gone to work and before I left for the 45-minute drive to Bryan, I would read (memorably my first reading of East of Eden), listen to music (Joe Jackson, 10,000 Maniacs, Elvis Costello), write long letters to friends. And I would nap. I had four years of sleep to catch up on.

I don't know what I would have done without Steve in the last half of 1993 -- and all the years following. 

It's been almost seven years without him. Cooper, Katie and I find joy every day. We've adapted. We've learned how to operate as a family with only one adult at home. All three of us make sacrifices for one another. It's been a long, long time since all three of us were feeling lowly at the same time.

I don't dwell on our loss.

But there are moments -- when I see that copy of East of Eden on my desk, when I hear "These Are Days," when I notice bottles of Karo on a grocery shelf -- when I think of 1993. And I wish that the two of us could reminisce and that I could thank him one more time for his strength, stability and generosity.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

"We carry you in our hearts."

We took dinner to friends today who recently suffered the devastating loss of their patriarch.

I asked Katie to make a sympathy card to leave with the soup and salad (and Klondike bars, because after salad you need some ice cream). I gave her no other direction. Making cards is kind of her thing.

Inside the card she wrote, "We carry you in our hearts."

I blinked back tears as I asked her how she decided on those words.

"I thought and thought about it for a long time," she answered quietly.

This is one of the many legacies of living in crisis while surrounded by love. Katie's memories of Steve's illness and the weeks after his death are fuzzy at best, but she holds tight to the comfort she felt while being loved on and doted on by our friends and family members.

She knows what it feels like to be carried in someone's heart -- a hundred times over.

Cooper, Katie and I know well the comfort of a meal delivered just in time for dinner, of a warm hug, of a note that includes a funny story or inspiring Scripture. Food, an embrace, a few words -- they certainly don't fix anything or take away the pain. But those gestures of compassion ease the burden a tiny bit and make the heartache a little more bearable.

We can't defeat death here on earth, but we can sit with those who are suffering. We can hold hands with those who are grieving. We can carry people in our hearts and make the dark days a tiny bit lighter.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The journey is different than expected, but I'm thankful

From my Briefing column last Saturday:

I am mom to two children, but I claim an additional 146. Those extra represent three years’ worth of teaching, which isn’t exactly the same as parenting but includes similar guiding and worrying, nurturing and redirecting.
I can’t imagine my life without those 146 and the families, stories, challenges and success stories they represent.
It’s the same with a group of volunteers I’ve become attached to over the years. They coordinate the North Texas Head for the Cure 5K, an annual event that raises money for brain cancer research.
I teach because I am passionate about literacy and quality education, because my heart swells every time I read a story aloud or conference with a young writer. I also teach because I need a job that affords a schedule that allows me to care for my own two children as a single mom.
I participate in Head for the Cure because I look forward to a day when a brain cancer diagnosis doesn’t include the words “inoperable” or “incurable.” It’s too late to save my Steve — and a whole host of angels, like Melinda and Maureen and Madison. But there’s a whole army of folks out there — my volunteer-turned-friends included — who haven’t given up hope for future patients and their families.
Early in the grieving process for Steve, while he was still alive and undergoing brutal treatment, I learned to let go of “what if” scenarios, the fantasy world in which cancer hadn’t invaded our lives. No amount of hoping, crying or pleading would change his diagnosis.
Instead, he and I learned to celebrate silver linings. We would have traded almost anything to get rid of that tumor, but that wasn’t an option. So we relished easier- than-expected appointments. We embraced new relationships. We marveled at help received from friends and strangers.
All that was good training for life without a husband and dad at home — a life I never wanted but happened anyway. I’m constantly reminded that our reactions and attitudes define us more than our circumstances.
Last weekend, more than 2,000 people gathered at a park in Plano to walk or run for Head for the Cure. My family has participated the past six years, and it’s a privilege to stand beside volunteers like Shari and Leslie and Gerryl. They are women who make my life richer by modeling selflessness and purpose, and our paths may have not crossed without a shared, albeit tragic, connection.
I prefer to focus on the blessings of our friendships.
It’s the same with those 146 children.
The path that led me to the classroom was bumpy. It’s not the route I asked for or would wish on anyone else, but I’m thankful for the destination.
I have stories about each of those 146 — sometimes dozens of stories about just one child. I’ve listened to tales from the football field and volleyball court. I’ve entertained memories from the Galapagos, from Hawaii, from multiple Disney getaways.
I’ve watched some children endure separation or divorce and others welcome new siblings or kittens.
These children have taught me how to be more patient, how to listen better, how to pay closer attention to details. They have gathered on the carpet to listen to some of my favorite stories, and together we have discovered new favorites.
The past three years have been layered with hugs and high-fives, tearful confessions and jubilant celebrations. I never expected to be here, to be counting 146 kids and looking forward to a few dozen more come August.
This isn’t exactly the journey I anticipated, but I am thankful for every gift — and every single relationship — along the way.
Tyra Damm is a Briefing columnist. Email her at

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Taking flight

Our Easter celebration started early today.

Cooper, Katie and Tyra on Steve's bench at Holy Covenant UMC, after the sunrise service
Cooper played the part of Jesus in our youth-led sunrise service in Carrollton. We shared a potluck breakfast at church. We rested at home for about an hour. Then we drove to North Dallas to celebrate with Jim and Betty.

It was a bittersweet Easter service at Schreiber Memorial United Methodist Church. Easter is the most joyous of Sundays for Christians. The very day and the belief in the Resurrection define our faith. And yet this Sunday was the final worship service for the Schreiber congregation. After years of declining membership, the church was forced to make the difficult decision to close.

Highland Park UMC is taking over the campus and will eventually reopen the church as a satellite ministry.

Schreiber Memorial is the church that Jim, Betty, Jimmy and Steve attended during the 1980s. When Jim and Betty returned to the Dallas area in the early '90s (after a few years in Miami), they rejoined the church.

Steve and I were married in the sanctuary there in July 1994.

It was tough to say goodbye today.

At the end of the service, congregants were invited to join the choir to sing the Hallelujah Chorus. Cooper left the pew and sang next to Grandma -- a bass and soprano, side by side.

Cooper is the tall guy in the front.
As we left the sanctuary, we were given the opportunity to take a small paper package. Inside each package was a monarch butterfly. When we stepped into the sunshine, we were asked to gently open the package and to allow the butterfly to acclimate to the outdoors. Each beautiful insect would spread its wings and take flight.
Katie and her monarch 
Cooper and Betty (in her choir robe) coax their butterflies to freedom.
We all gingerly opened our packages and peeked inside, hoping that our butterflies would still be alive and eager to fly.

My package contained not one but two butterflies.

They each warmed in the sunlight. They each began to flutter their wings. One took flight about two minutes before the other. And I thanked God for transformation and comfort in times of distress and tiny miracles.

Tyra and two butterflies
Later we enjoyed an egg hunt at Jim and Betty's house. We ate a delicious lunch. And Jim allowed Katie to dress him up in her handmade rabbit ears.

Katie and her patient Papa
Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 20, 2016


Cooper in Corral 1 at the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in Dallas this morning
Cooper completed his first half-marathon today. He ran 13.1 miles in 1:50:47, placing ninth in his age group (out of 36 runners).

Watching him cross the finish line this morning was one of the most joyful moments in my 14-plus years as his momma.

It was also bittersweet, as is every milestone around here. What if Steve could have been racing with him? (Though, to be honest, Steve never ran races as fast as his long-legged son.) What if Steve could have been standing on tiptoe on the grassy hill next to me, craning his neck to spy Cooper turning the corner and sprinting toward the end?

The first 5K that Cooper ever ran was the Resolution Run in Addison in January 2009. He was part of a group of friends running in support of Steve, who was there at the finish line despite a host of cancer-related struggles.

Steve, Sharon, Allison, Katie, Holly, Kris, Liz, me and Cooper in January 2009
Stuart welcomes Cooper across the finish line at his first-ever race.
Cooper today, moments after finishing 13.1 miles
I've lost track of the races in the seven years since. 5Ks. Triathlons. Cross country meets. Track meets. He gets a little better each time. He never gives up. He's always smiling when he's done.

This 6-foot-3, 14-year-old son of mine is determined and hard-working, kind and funny. I am incredibly proud of his character and heart and the joy he finds in all circumstances. He, no doubt, has a whole lot of his daddy in him.

Uncle Jim, Katie, me and Cooper, in the very cold hour before the race began
You can always count on Katie to (1) make a sign and (2) shout the loudest of any fan if her brother's competing. 
Uncle Jim came in from D.C. to cheer for his nephew.
I love this gentle giant.

Monday, March 14, 2016

God is here

Katie was reading a novel (Under Wildwood) upstairs yesterday. 

She was sitting next to Steve's trumpet case. She decided to open the case and have a peek. As she was looking, she realized that something smelled good. She investigated a little more.

She discovered an old Tic Tac case, mostly full.

"They're cinnamon!" she exclaimed. "I've never had cinnamon!"

Katie loves Tic Tacs. Her favorite is orange. She discovered her fondness for the tiny mint sometime in elementary school.

Steve loved Tic Tacs. He would carry them in his suit pockets. They were often in his car. And, appearantly, in his trumpet case.

Until yesterday, Steve never shared a Tic Tac with his daughter. He died when she was 4 -- too young for such a treat. 

I like to think of how tickled Steve would be to know that more than six years after his death, he did get to share Tic Tacs with his Katie.

Also in his trumpet case? Sheet music for a song he must have played with our church choir: "God is Here."

Katie, Steve's trumpet, cinnamon Tic Tacs and "God is Here"

Sunday, February 14, 2016

"Why us?"

One of the challenges of grief in children is that, as they mature, they understand loss in new ways.

During church today, Katie experienced a new grief moment.

She began to cry during a prayer. She didn't tell me what was wrong at the time, and she eventually composed herself.

As we walked to the car, she spit out her sadness and frustration.

"You shouldn't be sitting there without Daddy!" she said. "He should be here with you. Why did this happen to us? Why did God let this happen? Why us?"

Oh, sweet child.

It was the first time she's ever asked aloud the "Why us?" question.

I struggled with the same question often, in the early days of Steve's diagnosis. Eventually, though, you realize that there's no answer and that asking the question offers no solutions.

God didn't choose Steve to get cancer. God doesn't hand-select anyone to get cancer or any other disease. God does offer comfort in the midst of crisis -- and angels on earth who make life a little easier.

That's the simplest answer I could offer Katie in the middle of her 10-year-old wonderings. Truly, I don't think she really wanted an answer at all. She just wanted to ask the question.

Cooper and Katie, before church this morning

Thursday, January 28, 2016

"Plans for your welfare"

The work of a teacher requires an amalgamation of skills, including but not limited to:

Deep breath-taking

In the middle of all the (fill-in-the-blank from above), there are multiple moments each day when I help children with perspective. One of my go-to phrases:

Is this a big problem or a little problem?

What most children want to know, whether they've left an overdue library book at home or broken a pencil or missed a few questions on an assessment is this:

Am I going to be OK?

Of course, those aren't the exact words they use. Some get weepy. Some wring their hands. Some speak with an angry tone. Some wilt. Some mentally check out for the rest of the day.

What most seem to be seeking is reassurance that everything is going to be OK. And, of course, it is. Problems are rarely as horrible as we imagine them, though we often don't understand or acknowledge that until long after the problem is solved.

Turn the library books in tomorrow. Borrow a pencil. Learn from your mistakes and try again next time.

After a tiny little bitty "crisis" at school today, after I had assured a student that everything would be OK, I thought of how much I miss Steve during my own tiny little bitty "crises." Even though it's been more than six years since we could speak to each other, I still have moments when I want to spill out my troubles, talk through solutions and hear, "Everything is going to be OK."

And then, Jeremiah 29:11 popped into my head. (Not word for word, as written below. More of a paraphrasing.)

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.

One of the countless lessons from this reluctant widowhood is the importance of relying on strength from a source greater than myself, greater than could possibly come from any human. No doubt, it's comforting -- and often necessary -- to have another person, especially a person you trust and love, tell you that the crisis will pass. 

For me, it's even more critical to rely on God's promises of a future with hope. That's the kind of comfort that propels me through the day -- with my own two children or the 61 fourth-graders I lovingly call "mine" this year.
Cooper and Katie, before church Sunday morning, on Steve's bench

Thursday, January 21, 2016

There are moments when

There are moments when,
after I've worked 10 hours
and rushed to the vet to pick up
our sweet aging dog
and I'm driving home
with Katie in the backseat
chatting about her day,
and I'm eager to see Cooper,
who still needs to tell me about his,
that my throat tightens
and my eyes water
and I wonder

Did I think that life was tough before Steve was ill?
What would today be like if Steve had lived?
Who is going to take care of me when I'm old and gray?

Then I reach the top of the hill,
Spy glimpses of the setting sun,
Allow silent tears to fall,
Take a breath,
Whisper, "Thank you" for this day,
Reel my worries in,
Turn my attention to
Dinner and dishes,
Homework and laundry,
Goodnight hugs and kisses,
And the joy found in reveling in right now.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Heaven on earth

Katie lights the Steve candle before Christmas Day lunch.
Christmas means to me:
  • God's gift to humanity
  • The promise of heaven right here on earth
  • Memories of Steve, who made Christmases magical for me
  • The anniversary of our engagement in 1993
  • Sharing love, peace, hope and joy
  • Creating memories with Cooper and Katie
  • Reminder that light overcomes the darkness, that joy is possible even in the most difficult circumstances, that love is the greatest gift
Glory to God in the highest!

Katie, Cooper, Tyra, Betty, Jim and Uncle Jim on Christmas Eve

Friday, December 11, 2015

MRI day

Today my calendar is marked simply as "MRI Day."

It's been eight years since Steve and I stood in a darkened radiology room and stared, dumbfounded, at an image of Steve's brain marked by a mysterious spot. It would take weeks before we knew that the spot was an inoperable, incurable grade IV glioblastoma -- but in that moment, as we tried to process what we saw and what doctors were telling us, as we held hands and thought of our 6-year-old and 2-year-old at home, we knew that life had totally and completely changed.

I leave MRI Day on my calendar because I don't want to forget that our journeys can change suddenly, without warning, without our consent. 

I don't want to forget that we don't always have time to wait -- to say "I love you" or "I'm sorry," to travel, to discover, to experience, to explore.

I don't want to forget that there is so much in life we can't control -- but we can control our reaction. We can invest in relationships. We can turn over our deepest fears to God. We can find silver linings and unexpected blessings in the most dire circumstances.

It's been eight years since a community rallied and blanketed us with love. It still takes my breath away.
November 2015 photo by Janet Wisner

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Acts of Kindness

Thank you, family and friends and even strangers near and far, for helping us celebrate Steve's 47th birthday.

It's difficult to keep track of how many acts of kindness were performed in his memory on Nov. 4. So many of you offer more than one. So many of you prefer anonymity.

Of course, the number doesn't really matter.

What matters is you're sharing joy and love and kindness.

What matters is you're helping create beautiful memories for Cooper and Katie, who read every single blog post about their daddy's birthday. They don't have the benefit of a lifetime of memories with Steve, but they will never forget that the way he lived his life continues to influence a whole community.

What matters is you're celebrating life and exercising faith even when all around us are symptoms of a broken world.

When Steve was first diagnosed and folks swooped in to help us, I worried about how I would repay everyone for their kindness.

Then I realized that there was no way I could.

Then I realized that no one expected me to.

It was a tough journey. Some days, to be honest, it still is. Gifts are not always easy to receive -- even the ones you need the most.

One of the greatest gifts from you all: I look forward to Steve's birthday more than most any other day of the year.

Of course, I wish beyond rational thought that Steve were still here with us to celebrate, that we would take him out to eat every Nov. 4, that he would open a gift or two, that he would tell stories of birthdays past, that he would blow out candles and make a wish for birthdays to come.

Short of that fantasy world, there's no better way to spend his birthday. Thank you, thank you, thank you for joining the party. 

Katie and Cooper this morning before church, on Steve's memorial bench

Thursday, November 5, 2015

47 Acts of Kindness (16)

From Rebecca in Frisco:

I've had long hair most of my life and I've always been interested in donating my hair, but have always been too afraid to cut it. Yesterday has finally given me the final push! Today, in honor of Steve, I took the plunge and got 9 inches cut off my hair to donate to Pantene.


From Josh in Mesquite:

I was at Eastfield community college getting lunch at subway when a lady behind me paid for my meal and gave me a flyer explains why she did the act of kindness and she told me to check out the blog. After my meal I decided to go to Starbucks off of Campbell and payed for a man's coffee in front of me. I gave him the same flyer I had recieved and told him to check out the blog.


From Shantel in McKinney:

I know it's a day late but I bought it yesterday to give out - final act of kindness in honor of Steve Damm: a $50 Starbucks Gift Card to McClure Elementary Front Office Staff!they need to be on their toes to deal with my gal & the other rowdy bunch!! Thanks for all they do daily!!!
As this event comes to a close, Damm Family - thanks for including me in this event. While I know you'd do anything to have Steve back, this is a wonderful way to honor him & I enjoyed partaking in sharing kindness to all! Bless all of you & those who accepted the invitation plus delivered!‪#‎dammkindnessisthebest‬


From Sarah in Plano:

Brought hot chocolate and donuts to the sweet man at Goodwill who is always in the truck accepting donations - cold of winter, heat of summer. Also made a new friend!


From Patty in Frisco:

We delivered goodies to the wonderful ladies at radiation. Thank you Tyra for inspiring others and reminding us to be kind!


From Lisa in Phoenix:

Today instead of yesterday. Hubby and I at a favorite breakfast place. Bought the next 4 cups o coffee and gave staff a $20 tip explaining the event and gbm. They were touched, and it felt good. Your husband and my daughter remembered in a good way today. Thank you for starting this.


From Janet in Plano:

Just finished my last Wisner Fun Act of Kindness. Paid for the Starbucks order behind me and left Steve's note. Wow, my heart is full and I am just giddy. Tyra, I can't imagine how much joy this must bring you on what has the potential of being SUCH a tough day. Your heart is so encouraging to me.


From Raechel in Frisco:

We also made a donation to The Birthday Project in honor of Steve. Happy Birthday Steve!


From Caroline in Frisco:

I gave our custodian coffee from Starbucks!!  Love that you do this!!


From Laura in Frisco:

My girls took donuts to the fire station. I'm so happy you had a great turn out! I know Steve is smiling:)


From Stacey in Wilmington, N.C.:

A day late because we were traveling yesterday (and today) but Meg and I donated a PetsMart gift card to the local animal shelter and also donated online to the Autism Society of America. Happy Steve Day!


From Laura in Frisco:

For Will's favorite OT


From Sheri in Frisco:

So I completely forgot my cards so I showed it to the Sonic waiter on my phone and explained what 47 acts of kindness is. He thought it was awesome and loved his $20 tip. Thank you to the Damm family for inspiring us all heart emoticon



From Uncle Jim in Arlington, Va.:

I just saw one of the managers from Chick-Fil-A. The owner saw the cards I had left behind - and he's asked for some of the notes, so that he can match what I did for more random customers.  

47 Acts of Kindness (15)

From Shari in Lucas:

Celebrating Steve Damm today by paying it forward with kindness.‪#‎dammkind‬ ‪#‎47actsofkindness‬

Extra tip money at my birthday lunch today in honor of Steve Damm. #dammkind #47actsofkindness


From Rebecca in Kingsland, Ga.:

Treated my teammates to lunch today! :)

Financially helped a teen (and her family) who is facing a kidney transplant.


From Allison in Frisco:

Brought muffins to staff at work.


From Shannon in Frisco:

‪#‎dammkind‬. Post I saw after a friend received a Starbucks gift card in honor of Steve


From Linda in Dallas:

I pledged to donate $47 in Steve's memory to 29 Pieces, Karen Blessen's art-for-peace organization.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

47 Acts of Kindness (14)

Cooper, Katie and I celebrated Steve all day.

I gave small gifts of granola bars and markers to fellow staff members.

Cooper gave Starbucks gift cards to all of his teachers and band directors.

Katie put together treat bags for every child in her homeroom class.

We gave Starbucks cards to strangers at Tom Thumb.

We bought dinner for a kind couple at Subway.

Katie also chose The Birthday Party Project as our big family project for today. TBPP is a nonprofit based in Dallas that hosts birthday parties for children who live in shelters or care agencies. We've been big fans of the nonprofit since its founding more than four years ago.

On Sunday, Katie had great fun shopping for toys, gift wrap and party goods. The only problem: How to get the gifts to TBPP on Steve's birthday. We couldn't make it to Addison after school.

Julianne to the rescue! She volunteered to deliver the gifts and was fortunate enough to meet Paige, TBPP's founder.

Thank you, all, for joining us in celebrating Steve!