Wednesday, October 28, 2015

One week until 47 Acts of Kindness #dammkind

It's one week until 47 Acts of Kindness -- one of the best days of the year! If you're looking for ideas on how to celebrate, here's a small list, based on previous years.

  • Donate gently used toys and clothing to a family shelter
  • Bake brownies for a neighbor
  • Bake breakfast treats for co-workers
  • Clean up your neighborhood playground
  • Make a donation to your favorite nonprofit
  • Deliver flowers to a nursing home
  • Tape coins or dollar bills to vending machines
  • Buy lunch for a stranger
  • Leave a generous tip for a hard-working waiter
  • Run errands for someone who needs a little help
  • Deliver treats to your fire station or police station
  • Treat your crossing guard with a cup of coffee

If you choose, please share your act of kindness with me via email ( or on our Facebook page. 

Thanks so much for making November 4 such a special day!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

On this day in 2008 ...

Facebook occasionally reminds me of "Your Memories on Facebook."

Treasures from today include:

  • A photo of Cooper and Katie practicing music together last year. (I miss those days. Katie had to give up violin this spring because of severe tendonitis.)
  • Photos from art night at Bledsoe in 2013. (I miss Bledsoe, too, but I am devoted to our new elementary school.)
  • A fundraising note for Bledsoe PTA in 2012. (I often miss my volunteering activities. I expect I'll be able to donate more time to nonprofits again some day -- just not in the middle of this season of our lives.)
  • A photo of first-grade Katie accepting a chess trophy in 2011. (I'm not sure that I really miss attending chess tournaments.)
  • Links to a couple of Briefing columns -- in 2010 and 2009. (I am thankful that I still have the opportunity to write my column. I've been sharing our family's life with Dallas Morning News readers for more than seven years.)

And at the bottom of the memories timeline: A blog post about an excellent MRI scan for Steve.

A portion: To keep attacking the cancer, Steve will continue taking chemotherapy. We're hoping for at least six more cycles -- seven days on, seven days off. He'll start cycle seven on Monday. As we expected after last week's drop in counts, the Temodar dose will be lower. He'll be back to 200 mg instead of 240 mg.

It seems like a lifetime ago that I was well-versed on doses of Temodar and Decadron. That we counted our lives by cycles of chemotherapy. That I was in the same room as Steve Damm, holding his hand, celebrating an easy needle stick, praying for a smaller tumor.

Reading old blog posts can be dangerous. I don't linger long. Too much time is sure to mean a whole bucket of tears. Sometimes when I read the old posts, I marvel -- was that what our lives were really like? How did we function at all? How did Steve continue to work full time? How did we keep the household running? How did we have the strength to get out of bed every day? How did we manage to raise two tiny children in the middle of so much crisis -- and how on earth are they functioning so well today?

The answer is complicated and simple all at once. We were surrounded by love. We were lifted in prayer more times than we will ever know. We had access to excellent health care. Our community took care of us every single day. We believed in the power of miracles -- tempered by a healthy dose of realism.

We were bathed in kindness.

One of the best days of the year is soon -- November 4, Steve's birthday. Cooper, Katie and I can't wait to celebrate his birthday with 47 Acts of Kindness. For the fifth year in a row, we're inviting loved ones and friends and even strangers to perform an act of kindness for someone to celebrate Steve.

You can buy lunch for someone. Donate clothes to a shelter. Bake brownies for firefighters. Deliver flowers to a nursing home. Clean your neighborhood park. Buy subway tickets for strangers. Tape dollar bills to vending machines. The list of possibilities is endless.

Click here for at the note to leave behind on the big day. 

And thank you, loved ones and friends and strangers, for building a whole bank of precious memories for our family and for thousands of people who have been recipients of your kindness.