Monday, March 30, 2015

xxooo

Last night we all went to bed early.

1. It was the night before the first day of the two-day fourth-grade writing STAAR.
2. Katie is a fourth-grader.
3. Katie gets a little anxious about testing.
4. I am a fourth-grade teacher.
5. Administering the STAAR test requires stamina.
6. I get a tiny bit anxious myself before testing.
7. Cooper is a teenager and is therefore constantly running a sleep deficit.
8. Cooper takes the eighth-grade reading STAAR test on Tuesday.

Before bed, I was looking for a specific book. I couldn't find it in the usual spot, so I searched the drawers of my bedside table. I rifled through and couldn't locate the book.

A bit of familiar handwriting caught my eye, though.


I don't remember this note, possibly because Steve and I often left each other notes. (Blub was our silly code word for "I love you, and I'm thinking of you, and you make me happy, and thank you," all rolled in to one.) I'm not even sure why I saved this particular one. Its rediscovery was perfect timing, though.

I feel asleep in no time, completely at peace.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Acts of Kindness in good company

The best day of the year is November 4. It's the day that hundreds of people help us celebrate Steve's birthday by performing acts of kindness.

(You can read more about it here and here and here and here.)

My friend Kari is a director of supply chain operations at Frito-Lay and the president of that company's Women's Inclusion Network. Each March, in celebration of Women's History Month, Frito-Lay devotes a gallery at its North American headquarters to honor women, as chosen by the Women's Inclusion Network. The gallery includes inspiring pioneers, Frito-Lay leaders, modern women and young women.


This year Kari nominated me to be included, in recognition of our family's tradition of remembering Steve.


So, in a twist that I never expected, my photo and a brief description of our Acts of Kindness movement is posted in a display case with larger-than-life women such as J.K. Rowling (author of the Harry Potter series, of course) and Ursula Burns (the first African-American CEO of a Fortune 500 company).


This afternoon, Cooper, Katie and I visited Kari at Frito-Lay. We received a tour of the lovely campus and admired the women's history gallery.

Thank you, Kari, for including our family in gallery!


And thank you, friends across the world, for helping us celebrate Steve's memory and for sharing love and kindness!


(The Women's Inclusion Network partners with Attitudes & Attire, a Dallas nonprofit that supports women seeking self-sufficiency.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Water works


At last, we've had plenty of rain around here.

North Texas has been in a drought, and though recent rains aren't enough to pull us out completely (read here if you're interested), we are thankful for every drop.

Saturday I noticed some standing water in the grass between our sidewalk and street. I sought advice, and the consensus was all the rain has made drainage difficult. Wait a little. 

Monday afternoon, the rest of the neighborhood was dry. My little strip of grass, not so much.

So, I called the city, who dispatched a guy, who arrived in the dark to dig and discover a leak, not on the city side but on my side. Of course, this means the city guy can't fix it. Meanwhile, I'm donating water (so much water!) to our street. 

I asked the city guy about my next steps. He replied the way almost every repairman has answered in the past few years: Ask your husband.

Sigh.

(This, in and of itself, speaks volumes about all kinds of assumptions, but that's not my point today.)

The city guy left. Katie was already bathed and asleep. Cooper showered. The night's dishes were almost washed. The most recent load of laundry was in the dryer.

I had two jobs: Find a plumber to arrive early Tuesday. And turn off the water for nighttime.

I pulled in some referrals, made calls, left messages where I could.

Then I knocked on Ron's door across the street. Ron is one of our many unsung heroes, ready to help whenever we ask. He has one of those long metal key things (technically a water meter key) that can turn off the water at the city line, and I asked him to teach me how.

At this point, it's very dark. There's no way we can see the knob underground, as it's surrounded by water. And all that water is surrounded by globby mud. Nevertheless, Ron patiently teaches me and Cooper how to find it with the water meter key. We successfully shut off the water.

I showered at Andy and Julie's house (across the alley from us), finished some schoolwork, then slept for a few hours. 

At 5:30 a.m., I returned with the key and turned the water back on so that the kids and I could get ready. An hour later, I turned it off again. (Thank goodness for rain boots for slogging in and out of the mud pit.)

Those calls I made the night before yield no results. Plumbers are booked up for days. I called a highly recommended company, and the receptionist told me the first opening is Friday.

I tried so hard to keep my composure. I failed. I was crying as I asked for another recommendation. I couldn't bear to think of more trips out to the mud, turning water on and off, wasting water and money, while waiting for service.

The receptionist paused. She asked for my name and phone number. She said she would try to find a way to move schedules around. 

Somehow Amber made some magic happen, and a repairman was booked for an afternoon window. I visited with my assistant principal, who gave me permission to leave a smidge early if necessary, and then I visited with a teammate, who agreed to take on my students should I need to leave early.

Now I am home, and a friendly plumber is in the front yard, repairing a T-joint, which divides water between the house and our sprinkler system. In a few hours, we'll have water again -- in the house and not running down the street.

Four big takeaways from this experience:

1. I feel confident in my ability to take care of the most important tasks of the day. I provide food and shelter for our little family. I make sure we get where we need to go on time. I give 100 percent of myself to my students when I'm teaching. My goal is for my own children and my students to know that they are secure and loved. 

2. More than five years into this single mom life, I still struggle with hiccups. I know that the best routine allows room for getting lost, for leaving something behind, for making mistakes. But there are some moments that aren't easily absorbed. A dead car battery, a broken air conditioner, a water leak -- these create more havoc in a single-parent home (at least this single-parent home) than a dual-parent home.

3. I continue to rely on the kindness of the people around us. I needed Ron to help me with the water meter key. The Morgan and Smith and Sanders families to offer advice. Andy and Julie to provide running water at 11 p.m. Jim and Betty on call, ready to come up to meet the plumber at any time. Loryn, a compassionate leader to allow me to leave a little early. Erin, a teammate who took on extra students. Amber, a receptionist I've never met, to move appointments.

4. Despite the challenges of being a single mom, our blessings are abundant. I live in a safe neighborhood. We have excellent schools. Some of our dearest friends live less than a mile away. Family is nearby. I have a (hard-earned) savings account that will allow me to write a check for today's repair, rather than borrowing money at a high interest rate. I know that my own challenges are small in comparison to single moms who live in poverty, who have zero flexibility in their jobs, who send their children to unsafe or inadequate schools.

I am incredibly thankful for the people who love on us, who answer my phone calls, who send supportive notes, who step in when we need a little (or a lot) of extra help. This life I lead now is in no way what I prayed for long ago -- but it's without a doubt easier because of the people who surround us.

Monday, March 2, 2015

So much more than a photo

Steve and Tyra, days before official diagnosis
Katie, Tyra, Steve and Cooper, three months before Steve passed away
Katie and I hosted a meeting at the house yesterday. One of the girls noticed two photos -- one in the dining room and another near the stairs. She walked from one to the other, back and forth, perplexed.

 "Which one of them is Katie's dad?" I heard her murmur matter-of-factly.

"Both of them are," I told her. "Both pictures are of Katie's dad, one before he was really sick and one while he was sick. The medicine made his face and hair look different."

The answer satisfied her curiosity, and she leaped to a different topic.

I see both photos -- and other Steve photos -- every day. I no longer see "pre-cancer" and "post-cancer" Steve. I no longer see the effects of Decadron and chemotherapy in the photos.

I see only Steve.

I see laugh until you can't breathe, sing loudly, dance proudly, work your heart out Steve. I see doting, adoring, proud, mischievous Steve. I see brilliant, creative, analytical, sly Steve. I see Fletch and ZZ Top. George Gershwin and Aaron Copland. Wassily Kandinsky and Alexander Calder. I see Excel spreadsheets and all-caps printed letters. I see the Texas Rangers and the Detroit Tigers. I see the Big House and a block M. I see Siesta Key and the Eiffel Tower, the National Mall and the Santa Monica Pier. I see Harry Potter and Legos, Sandra Boynton and fuzzy baby blankets.

We are exponentially more than our weight or current hairstyle.

We are the words we cultivate, the feelings we share, the memories we store, the light we reflect.

We are the love we receive and the love we lavish on others.

We are not reflections in a mirror or images saved on screen or paper.

We are souls.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

No dance, but lots of love


When Katie was 3 and a half, Steve was starting to decline. The tumor was growing, and he was getting weaker. 

We made the decision that winter that he and Katie should go to the Frisco Daddy-Daughter Dance, even though she was not yet 4, the minimum age suggested for the dance. Her best friend Noe and our dear friend Layne were partners in crime, ignoring the age suggestion and dressing up for an afternoon of music, dancing and lots of sugar.

It was, in fact, Steve's final February. I will always be thankful that we made the decision to bend the rules. 

Every year since, Katie has asked to attend the dance. Each year she asks her Uncle Greg or her Papa or her Uncle Jim to take her. We buy a dress. We fix her hair. She wears a corsage. She's treated to a lovely afternoon.

And as much as she loves spending time with the special men in her life, she struggles. Watching all those girls with their daddies makes her too sad.

This year Katie decided that she would skip the dance altogether. When we talked about it in December, she told me she would prefer a special family day instead.

Today is the Frisco Daddy-Daughter Dance. I'm pretty certain Katie doesn't even remember. I'm not reminding her, and she's never on Facebook to see the flood of photos from our friends who are attending. (I love, by the way, seeing all the photos!)
Katie and Cooper at the Perot this morning
Katie, studying cells in the Bio Lab at the Perot
Lunch in Trinity Groves
We have had a special family day. First a haircut for handsome Cooper. Then a few hours at the Perot Museum for the new Sherlock Holmes exhibit. (Cooper and Katie are writing an article about the exhibit for the Briefing edition of The Dallas Morning News.) After the science fun, we ventured across the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge for lunch at Kitchen LTO at Trinity Groves. Then we headed north for a little shopping -- new scarf for Katie, new shoes for Cooper, new (used) books for my classroom.

Now we're home, and Katie is working on an art project. We're going to read a chapter or two from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. We'll probably watch a movie before bed.

I know that Katie knows she's loved. She feels confident and secure. She's the most spiritual, faithful, poetic soul I know. I am proud of her mature decision to sidestep sorrow, and I am thankful that I get to love on her her, spend time with her and learn from her. 

Can you imagine how proud Steve Damm is of Katie? How proud he is of Cooper? My tears today are for Steve, who has missed so much of their precious lives, and for Cooper and Katie, who didn't get near enough time with him. 

We were blessed with plenty of love, though.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
-- 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Confidence

From the summer of 1992 to the summer of 2009, I could count on this: Steve Damm would tell me all the time that I was beautiful.

I didn't always believe it, but even when I was doubtful, his words made me confident. This dreamy, smart, creative, hilarious man thought that I -- all freckled, bespectacled and curly-haired -- was beautiful.

It's been five and a half years since Steve could say those words to me, and there are some days that, good gracious, I wish I could hear them from him again. Like today, when the effects of whatever upper respiratory virus I have, combined with the aftereffects of my nighttime so-you-can-sleep medicine, make me look, well, less-than-close-to-beautiful.

But what I really know, what I can still count on in 2015 is this: Steve Damm wasn't always talking about my outward appearance. And, more importantly, we are all beautiful.

We are intricate, complex creatures capable of amazing work. We care for one another. We create music and art and poetry. We laugh and dance, sing and run. We've launched rockets and satellites into space. We question minutiae and the meaning of life.

We think so much of this world that we continue to create children, then we work to make life better for those children.

For a while, I was worried that without Steve Damm telling me, "You're beautiful," I would eventually start to forget. Maybe he had told me so many times that my bucket was full, but over the years, without him adding to the bucket, it would run empty.

I've since discovered that my confidence isn't rooted solely in Steve's words. My confidence comes from knowing that we are all beautiful. We are all blessed with another day on earth. Each one of us has a purpose and someone who needs us.

"I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 
Wonderful are your works; that I know very well."
  (Psalm 139:14)

Steve and Tyra, New Year's Eve, at the dawn of 1993

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Hands of God

Cooper and Katie this morning on Steve's bench at Holy Covenant UMC
(Temperature: 25 degrees!)

Katie set a goal four weeks ago to raise enough money to purchase one water buffalo for a family in need.

She designed a bookmark -- a drawing of animals on one side and poem on the other -- and sold them for $1 each. In three weeks, she sold almost 600 bookmarks and earned $921 from generous friends. As she says, that's enough to buy three water buffalo, three flocks of chicks and three sets of honeybees.

Today she was recognized in front of our church congregation for her efforts in raising money for Heifer International. Her total represents more than 10% of the total funds raised by our church during Advent.

A Heifer representative attended both services today to thank Holy Covenant for the donations and to thank Katie in person. Our new missions committee chair, Joy Lasley, also thanked Katie and gave her a pair of gloves -- "to protect the hands of God." Joy reminded us that we are ALL the hands of God and challenged us to help others in 2015.

Joy asked Katie why she wanted to raise money. Her answer: "A lot of people have all of what they need and most of what they want. And some people don't even half of what they need. I want to help people get what they need."

During both services, my big-hearted 9-year-old child received a standing ovation. 

Katie, who served as acolyte at the 8:30 service, wore the gloves this morning as she lit candles on the altar. 

And what song did our pianist play as she lit the candles? "Creation Will Be at Peace," one of Steve's favorite anthems. (You can listen to the version from his memorial service here.)

All my tears this morning represented a full heart.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas: Plenty of joy and a side of sorrow

Steve was particular about Christmas music. We were constantly in search of a CD of acceptable music. I'm not sure that he ever found one he liked. (You didn't want to get him started on Mannheim Steamroller. He was staunchly anti-Mannheim Steamroller.)

Katie seems to have inherited his musical taste. She's a constant critic while we listen to the Holly station on Sirius-XM.

"This song is about a greedy child. I don't like it."

"There aren't enough songs about Christ."

"I don't like it when someone new sings an old song."

"When are they going to play a CLASSIC Christmas song?"

Mary Blige started singing "My Favorite Things" as we pulled into the driveway today. "I like this song, but I have no idea why they think it's a Christmas song. This singer is OK, but I like The Sound of Music lady much better."

Steve would be proud.

***

We visited Santa on Monday. He's been our Santa since Cooper was six months old. We've followed him from Frisco to Allen to Fairview. (And we'll always go, no matter how any particular child feels about the realness of Santa.)

This time was particularly poignant for me. There was no crowd, and Santa had time to chat.

From his chair he craned his neck up at Cooper. "Oh, my! You've gotten so tall!" Then he looked at me. "Momma, what do you think? At least six inches since last year?" (He's close. Cooper just doesn't stop growing.)

He visited with each child. (Cooper wants two DVDs for Christmas. Katie wants Disney Tsum Tsum stuffed animals and a live animal for another family through Heifer International.) He was as kind and gentle as he's been every year since 2001.

In that moment I thought of the constants in our lives since 2001. Our family. Our church. Our Santa.

And I thought of how much I miss Steve and how much he would have loved to see 6-foot Cooper perched on the chair next to Santa -- such a contrast to the tubby little six-month-old balanced in Santa's arms 13 years ago.

Santa and six-month-old Cooper, December 2001
Santa and six-month-old Katie, December 2005
13-year-old Cooper, Santa and 9-year-old Katie, December 2014
***

It was a rainy, cold, dreary night. We were exhausted from a day of driving, worry and questions with no answers.

Steve and I gathered in a dark and sterile room at Baylor Frisco, staring at an image of his brain. There was a spot that shouldn't be there. It was the first obvious, tangible answer to the question: Why was Steve having slurred speech and awful headaches and frequent hiccups and difficulty swallowing liquids?

Dec. 11, 2007.

I hate that Steve's building diagnosis was during Christmas.

There's been a heaviness to the season ever since. Some of my writerly qualities are a curse. I remember vivid details -- songs, scents, sermons, conversations. I can replay those moments and feel like I'm there, in the middle of Steve's great suffering.

I love that Steve's building diagnosis was during Christmas.

All of that suffering was buffered by an outpouring of love. Gifts were purchased and wrapped for our babies. Meals were delivered. We were wrapped in warm hugs and sincere prayers.

God's promise of peace was realized over and over again right here in our tiny corner of Frisco, Texas.

God's promise is realized over and over again in everyday moments all over the world -- because people choose kindness, because they choose generosity, because they choose forgiveness, because they choose love.

For every moment that my mind drifts back to MRIs and emergency room visits, to fear and anxiety, I try to remember hugs and laughter, kindness and peace.

For every moment of sorrow, there's overwhelming joy.

Steve, 2-year-old Katie, Tyra, a very young Santa, 6-year-old Cooper, days before Steve's first MRI 
Tyra, Cooper and Katie, Dec. 7, 2014

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

46 Acts of Kindness (13)

From Dean in Sulphur Springs:

This morning I went to Coffee Off the Square here in Sulphur Springs to remember my friend Steve on his birthday. I ordered my Americano and laid the flyer for today's event and $60 cash on the counter. I told the barista that it was Steve's birthday, a little of his story, and how we were going to celebrate his memory today. She started to tear up and promised to share his story with everyone who came in as the money was applied to their bill in his memory.
Thanks again, Tyra, for allowing me to honor Steve and his life and legacy. Blessings to you, Cooper, and Katie.

***

From Melissa in Helotes:

Carys and I went to Target and picked out PJs, craft supplies, small toys, snacks, party favors, etc. to fill Birthday Bags in Steve's honor for the Fairweather Family Lodge.  

"FFL is a home that assists homeless women suffering with mental illness and their children. It serves as a place that nurtures development and provides a safe environment for these families to stabilize, grow, and remain together." 

Each month, FFL hosts a birthday party honoring any child with a birthday. Every child receives a goody bag at the party and the birthday child is given a few small presents. This is the 2nd year we've done this as our RAK, and this year Carys decided that every gift bag should be uniquely decorated, no two are alike!  We have enough goodies for about a dozen and a half bags that will be delivered tomorrow. 


Steve's face in Heaven must be sore from smiling all day today. :)




***

From Nicole in Frisco:

Tonight we went out to eat and bought dinner for a sweet elderly couple. We had the waitress bring the card over to them. They came to our table and thanked and hugged us. The woman was teary and said no one has ever done anything like that for them before. Made our night. Then I bought 2 guys beers at the Stars game. They were thrilled.

***

From Angela in Frisco:

Today I gave a special note and gift to my sons preschool teachers that work so hard with my feisty little guy, and do it with such a kind heart!! I am so grateful for Ms Dawna and Ms Joanna at Apple Creek and for the most amazing director, Karen! Thank you for everything!

***

From Christina in Frisco:

We purchased food gift bags at Kroger in Steve's honor and stapled the flyer to the bags. Thinking of you, neighbors! ❤️



***

From Nancy:

I spent yesterday remembering Steve just a little more than usual. His smile and kindness sparkled me through the day as I smiled and greeted the many boat workers here at LMC who get ignored by so many. Their faces told me they were surprised that I spoke but they quickly smiled and responded with hello. For the overworked clerks at Winn Dixie I gave special thank yous for their help. So easy to be kind. Thank you Steve.

***

From Liz in Frisco:

Liam was excited to bless his sweet bus driver Miss Catherine in honor of Steve. We thanked her for bringing all of the students from Hosp, Pioneer and Frisco High to and from school safely each day. Happy birthday Steve!



***

From Ron in Chicago:

7 sport coats, 4 suits, 12 dress shirts, 6 pairs of shoes hauled down to the neighborhood food pantry. They have a room where folks picking up food can also get an item or two of clothing. Donations that can be worn to a job interview make everyone especially giddy :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

46 Acts of Kindness (12)

Some kind folks gave our family gifts -- totally unexpected and totally appreciated.

Gaya painted this lovely sign for our home.


An anonymous friend from Hosp left roses on my desk.


Tim and cutie-pie son Drew gave all three of us gift cards.

Plus the front office at Hosp turned into a breakfast buffet, with pastries and coffee.


***

Cyndi in Frisco made a donation in Steve's memory to Operation Once in a Lifetime.



***

From Theresa in Carrollton:

Remembered Steve today and shared an act of kindness with my co-workers - lunch for all from Jimmy Johns.

***

From Brad in Missouri City:

Just dropped off a couple dozen donuts and kolaches to the Missouri City Police Department, and a couple dozen to the Missouri City Fire Department. Miss you Steve!

***

From the traveling Garrett:

Picked up the tab tonight at dinner.


***

From Jennifer in Plano:

Paying it forward at Chick fil A this morning. (And my order was wrong and I smiled anyway.)

***

From Tamarah in Frisco:

I purchased two of these shirts in honor of my former boot camp friend, Kara, who is fighting Ovarian cancer. One of the shirts will go to another friend who is an Ovarian cancer survivor.

***
From Parul in Carrollton:

Coffee for my coworkers for Steve's birthday!


***

From a friend in Frisco:

Today I drove to Plano to give a dress/costume to friend's daughter, which she needed for a performance on Saturday. I donated a book and gave chew toys to my neighbor/friend who recently rescued a dog from a shelter. I got Starbucks cards for my special husband, and also for a cross guard at our school, which I'm going to give him tomorrow morning.
My daughter gave some friendship bracelets to some of her friends.

***

From Amy in Dallas:

I voted for myself, and my muppers. But the do(ugh)nuts were for the volunteers, in celebration of Steve's 46th.


***

From Traci in Frisco:

I love this day! 46 Acts of Kindness!! Banana bread for all of Ashlee's teachers.


***

From Patty:

Donated a 2 year subscription of Zoobooks to Vogel Alcove Children's Center in Dallas. They teach and take care of homeless children. 

***

From Shubha in Frisco:

I just made another donation to one of my childhood friend's organization that helps underprivileged kids by buying them school supplies in India.

46 Acts of Kindness (11)

Some of today's Acts of Kindness from Cooper, Katie and Tyra:

Cooper labeled and packaged cookies for the 25 students in his GT language arts class, plus his amazing teacher, Vikki Bowling.


Katie wrote and illustrated notes for every student in our class, plus lots of teachers and administrators.


She gave pencils to everyone in her GT class, plus an extra three to Mrs. Starnes "because she was running low."

I gave energy bars to fellow teachers. We always need a little extra energy. =)


Cooper and Katie walked through our Kroger and gave Sonic gift cards to six strangers.


Drove through Starbucks without ordering -- just paid for the car behind us. (Always feels slightly mischievous in a good way.)


***

From Kerri in Chicago:

A very unsuspecting man at Starbucks got a pay it forward in honor of Steve. I think he was a bit confused, but the barista very happily explained.

Also, Randy, my 'friend' who lives on the streets near my train stop and has been trying really hard to get things in order this year had a burrito dinner in honor of Steve. Randy had the same burrito dinner last year on this day, and like fate I bumped into him on my way home tonight. He asked me to pray for him for the first time tonight since I met him 1.7 years ago. I will pray that next year on this day, he won't need an act of kindness to get a meal, but will have gotten back on his feet.



***

From Janet in Frisco:

Katie and I paid for the car behind us at McDonald's. :)


***

From Julie in Sanger:

I made a donation to MD Anderson to honor Steve - in the area of patient assistance. Acts of Kindness is such a wonderful legacy. What a blessing for so many people! :)

***

From Aunt Marilyn in Charlottesville, Va.:

In memory of my nephew Steve Damm, I took a neighbor who doesn't drive to the polls to vote, and later I took over cleaning the office bathroom for my office mate who needs a hip replacement and is having a lot of trouble moving. Happy Birthday Steve - we love and miss you!

***

From Laura in Edmond, Okla.:

Made a donation via donorschoose.org to an elementary class in Oklahoma that is raising funds to purchase much-needed sports equipment. Shoutout to Hogan Thomas, whose own act of kindness kickstarted this effort. Kids need to play!

***

From Ann in Frisco:

Made a donation to MD Anderson in honor of Steve.

***

From Melissa in Cupertino, Calif.:

Let my friend have my car for 3 days while his is getting fixed.

Paid for an Uber to get an injured man to medical care.

***

From Raechel in Frisco:

Paid for the people behind us in line at Starbucks and left them a "Steve Card". I'm sure they appreciated it on this cold and rainy night. Happy Birthday Steve!

***

From Nicole in White Rock, B.C.

Gracie pushed the recycle bin up the driveway of our elderly neighbors. We put the note poking out of it.

46 Acts of Kindness (10)

From Denise in Colorado Springs:

Today we honored an amazing woman whom volunteers endless hours to her community and never wants recognizing. She struggles financially and will now get some pampering for herself at a local spa! Spreading some Damm love in Colorado!!!

***

From Anna in Frisco/Lewisville:

I paid for a family's meal at Pie Five in honor of Steve :)


***

From Laura in Frisco:

Will just gave his OT a cupcake. He loves his best friend Coop!


***

From John in Richardson:

This one goes out to all the kits and pups at Take Me Home Pet Rescue. The volunteers there do great work to give some of the saddest cases a shot at happy new lives. http://www.takemehomepetrescue.com/ We're glad to help out in Steve's honor.


***

From Rae in Carrollton:

I just wanted to tell you I called and set up a lunch date today with Senior from church for next week!  Been wanting  to get together with Pearl forever and Acts of Kindness motivated me on this rainy day!!! 


***

From Tisha in Frisco:

Bought Starbucks on this cold day for car in line in Oklahoma today!

***

From Rachel in Frisco:

Today my daughter's school was collecting money to donate to a school they have adopted. We donated extra money in honor of Steve.

***

From Aunt Melane in Anna:

I made "Emergency" Goodie Bags for the administration office staff. I filled them with ibuprofen,Tide pens, nail files. Altoids, bandaids, lotion and KAZOOS. Maybe one day, all of the administrators will get together and play some kazoo music (Steve would approve).  


And from her Facebook page:


***

From Swati in Houston:

I donated to Community Connections for their Christmas gift drive, in honor of Steve who I feel so lucky to have known. 

***

From Melinda in Frisco:

I was in Wal-Mart, and this elderly couple was going crazy looking for wax paper. They finally found an employee who told them they didn't have any. I found that odd, and sure enough, I found it, far away from where it should be. I (finally) found the couple and showed them where it was. It was such a little thing, but they were so happy.

Baked cookies for cup-de-sac peeps thanking them for being such great neighbors.




Got hand sanitizer to place at some of the dog walking stations (postponed due to rain, but hopefully will be out tomorrow:)


***

From Kristy in Frisco:

Hanna-Mary surprised her awesome swim coach, Katy, with a Smoothie King gift card. This is one of my favorite days of the year. Thank you Katie, Cooper and Tyra for modeling how to always "make lemonade out of lemons." Happy Birthday Steve!



***

From Stacey in Charlotte, N.C.:

Meg and I made donations to the Autism Society and Austin Pets Alive!, respectively, in celebration of Steve's life.