Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Guest Post: Small Favors December 1, 2011

Filed under: Family and Friends,Guest Bloggers — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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By Jill B.

After a particular tedious day looking at spreadsheets and attending a longer-than-expected internal meeting, I was having a much-needed night in, staring mindlessly at the TV with a glass of wine in my hand (please don’t judge me!).

I was expecting to watch some complete nonsense (that’s normally what happens when I actively sit down to watch TV) but I happened upon a gem that left me with a message I didn’t expect.

It was a property programme following the trials and tribulations of a couple in the south of England converting a charming, stone-built former industrial building into a family home.  It had no roof, the walls were non-existent in places, there was an open mine shaft nearby and the land was overgrown with fifty years of weeds.

The couple were challenged with a limited budget of only £100,000 (about $160,000) when any sane person would have said that a more realistic figure of £250,000 was needed to get the job done.

But this was the bit I really liked.  The man was a stonemason with 25 years experience in the building trade and lots of great contacts.  He was a pragmatic guy who’d been a kind-hearted friend to people over the years and had shared his skills and done a good deed where people couldn’t pay the going-rate.

Good-naturedly everyone generously returned his acts of kindness, ten-fold in many cases.  Pointing the stonework, a few hours plumbing or electrical work, a day or two decorating, supplying some hardwood for the window and door frames; everyone did a little bit of whatever they could to help out.  It took a little longer than originally anticipated but the home is now complete.

It seems indeed that a generous heart renews humanity*.

This was a generous heart on a grander scale than perhaps we’re capable of every day, but there are simpler ways to share.  There have been stories on the UK news in the last few years about how people in rural communities are starting to barter their wares on a more formal and organised basis.  But I guess we all recognise the opportunities we have to “return the favour” or perform an act of kindness.

My neighbour recently cut the hedge that sits between our gardens and he left me a small bag of potatoes that he’d grown in his garden.  A great but simple kindness that I know I’ll be repaying sometime over the winter when the driveway needs clearing of snow or he wants a pint of milk from the shop.

But perhaps we should be doing these things more often for our “neighbours” and in these financially tough times doesn’t it make all our lives much easier and much richer when we do?


*thanks to Buddha


Jill B. lives in Scotland, where her neighbors are few but appreciated.


Pay it forward for Annabelle August 3, 2011

I know it’s Whiny Wednesday today, but sometimes something crosses your radar that puts your life into perspective.

Rebecca Abreu is celebrating what would have been the 1st birthday of her daughter today. Annabelle Angel was stillborn at 31 weeks on August 3rd last year.

Rebecca has created the Pay it Forward Project in honor of Annabelle and asks that today you help celebrate by committing a random act of kindness.

Rebecca says: “Something that I have learned this year is the enthusiasm and optimism felt when paying it forward. I have sent out care packages to many bereaved parents and with each care package sent out, each word of support shared through our pages, a beautiful light erupts in my soul and for that brief moment I feel unbroken. I feel like each of us truly have the power to change someone’s life for the better.”

Here are some “random act of kindness” suggestions:

  • Pay for the person behind you in the drive-through
  • Buy a meal for the homeless
  • Clean up graffiti
  • Pick up trash
  • Play music for the elderly
  • Water dry plants at a cemetery
  • Let someone cut in line in front of you
  • Smile to everyone on the street
  • Return a shopping cart
  • Write and mail a letter to someone who made a difference in your life!

Rebecca is collecting a scrapbook of acts. For more information, visit the Pay It Forward Project website or Facebook page.