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Entries Tagged as compassion

A Community Inspired: Ashley Mengoni

by Rochelle · 04.23.2014

I believe that one of the most important things to learn in life is that you can make a difference in your community, no matter where you live. I have seen so many good deeds – people helped, lives improved – because someone cared. ~Rosalynn Carter

Ashley Mengoni saw a need in her community and decided she wanted to help. Ashley is the manager of The Essential Baking Company in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood, nestled five minutes north of downtown and three blocks from our Compendium office. 

Inspired by the caffe sospeso (“suspended coffee” in Italian) concept of a “pending” coffee paid for by one customer as an advance donation toward another needy customer, Ashley wanted to implement something similar at the café. She recruited her fiancé Jimmy, and together they went to the hardware store and bought some wooden rods. Jimmy sawed the rods into small rounds, creating 75 tokens that the couple then glazed and painted with hearts and coffee cups. The concept was simple: a charitable customer could purchase a $2.75 token and it would remain in a glass jar near the cash register for anyone in need to inconspicuously use as payment for a cup of coffee. 

Tokens at the Essential Baking Company

The 75 tokens sold out at the café in three days. The suspended coffee concept was so warmly received by the community that Ashley and her team decided to expand it to include bread. One token bought a cup of coffee and two tokens purchased a suspended loaf of freshly baked bread. 

Ashley and Jimmy have made hundreds more tokens in recent months. Impressed by the success of the tokens, The Essential Baking Company expanded the program to their other three cafés in the Seattle area. Ashley also regularly delivers tokens to Mary’s Place and Homeless in Seattle, neighborhood charities that work directly with the homeless.

It never ceases to amaze us the power that one individual has to affect the lives of others. Even if it’s a simple cup of hot coffee and slice of fresh bread, the kindness in the gesture is priceless.  

Ashley Mengoni

Image copyright Rex Hohlbein, Homeless in Seattle.

 

 


» 4 Comment s   Tags: compassion · community · inspirational products

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Inspiration When it's Needed Most

by Carrie · 03.12.2013

Today's blog post comes to us from Carrie Schmitt, an artist and friend of Compendium, who has such a wonderful story to share about her experience with the She book that we wanted her to tell you all about it herself. Visit Carrie's site at carrieschmittdesign.com to find out more about her art. Here's Carrie with her story:

When I first read the She book, I was struck by how powerful the words were. I felt that every woman should read them over and over until these thoughts became the way she lived her life.

Perhaps single mothers need to hear these words more than anyone else. The challenges they face can be overwhelming. I know because I was one.

Today, I am no longer a single mother struggling with all the demands--financial and otherwise--that raising children brings. Not a day goes by that I don't sit in my art studio and think of that time in my life when I had no hope, when my future seemed so daunting.

Every flower I paint represents hope for another woman struggling--hope that one day she will find her way. That compassion and a helping hand will reach out to her.

Ever since I read the She book, I've wanted to incorporate these words into my artwork. One day, I tore out some pages and wove the words into mixed media collages.

When I learned about the Vision House, a local organization that provides transitional housing for women and children, I knew it was where these pieces were meant to be.

There is a (free) store where the families can pick out items to decorate and personalize their new home at the shelter.

I hope that the She book will remind them not to give up their dreams. That it will remind them to take one day at a time. That they matter. That they are doing the hardest and most important job in the world. That it will show them how truly amazing they are.

How do you spread messages of positivity and love? Feel free to post your comment here or to leave us a message on Facebook at facebook.com/liveinspiredeveryday.

» Comments   Tags: compassion · the she book · gift books · encouragement

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Introducing a feel-good experiment!

by Meredith · 01.20.2012

By now you probably know that we're fanatics about spreading inspiration to people through kind words, uplifting statements, and thought-provoking questions. And we love to hear from our worldwide community when they write to us and say that we made a difference in their day, their life, or the lives of people they know.

We're always on the lookout for other people who are inspiring the world through kind actions, no matter how large or small. And as we head into the weekend, we thought you might like to hear about other people creating a web of kindness by giving small amounts of money to perfect strangers. Just a few dollars here and there can create some wonderful momentum.

Here's a beautiful article from the writers of good.is:

http://www.good.is/post/creative-microphilanthropy-good-staff-edition-30daysofgood

and here's a blog from a small-time philanthropist who's paying it forward every day:

http://ifoundmoneytoday.wordpress.com

(Image courtesy of ifoundmoneytoday.wordpress.com)

Have you ever done anything like this? Would you ever? If you have a few extra dollars to spare, this weekend might be a good time to start! Share your stories with us right here, or leave us a comment on our Facebook wall.

» Comments   Tags: compassion · encouragement

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Reverse Trick-or-Treating

by Meredith · 11.08.2011

Most of us think of Halloween as a holiday for little ones--a day for kids to be enchanted with costumes and flickering candlelight and the prospect of free candy. But here at Compendium, we like to think of it a little differently. We think adults can get in on the fun. And since we're always on the lookout for ways to make each day more festive, we showed up to work last Monday looking like this:

After a morning of work and a potluck lunch, we set out to spread a little seasonal cheer by reverse trick-or-treating--giving away our books and journals to local businesses, pedestrians, neighbors, and passersby. We split up into four groups and headed out with baskets full of bright and inspiring treats to give away. We visited doctors' offices and cafes, retail stores, and banks...

and passed out goodies to cyclists, bus drivers, and people in their cars, waiting for the light to change.

We even tracked down a parking enforcement officer to share a little holiday joy.

Some people giggled and gave us high-fives. Lots of people needed to be convinced that we weren't selling anything. "No," we said, "we're reverse trick-or-treating. These surprises are for you." We got hugs from a stranger who was delighted to be given a gift with no strings attached. One woman from a dentist's office came out to thank us a second time and to tell us how much we'd touched her heart. Two women who had just spent their morning volunteering told us this was proof that the good you give to the world really does come back to you.

We returned to the office with empty baskets and stories to share. And in the spirit of sharing, we're passing this story on to you, along with a challenge to add a little unexpected joy to the world today. Your gesture can be a small one or something more extravagant. We'd love it if you'd share your ideas here. How will you add some joy and unexpected delight to someone's day? What can you do to pass it on?

 

» 2 Comment s   Tags: compassion · gift books · inspirational products · encouragement · friendship · friends and family

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To the Best Friends We've Never Met

by Dan Zadra · 05.14.2010

 

Who can explain the magical sets of circumstances that conspire to create a lasting friendship or bond between people?

 

Here at Compendium some of our most cherished relationships are with people we’ve never even seen face-to-face. Sure, we may have talked with each other by telephone, communicated online, or even collaborated from a distance on mutually important projects. But we’ve never actually sat down and looked each other in the eye, or shared a handshake or a hug.

 

And yet, we know in our heart of hearts that these people who we’ve only known from afar have come into our lives for some important reason, large or small. We count them among our friends and kindred spirits. Over the years I’ve adopted a special name for them—a term of endearment that you are welcome to use if you, too, are lucky enough to have similar people in your life. I call these people “the best friends I’ve never met.”

 

Let me introduce you to one. Back in the 1990’s Compendium received a phone call from an elderly woman who lived on a small pension in a trailer park in Lacy, Washington. Her name was Betty Kieler, and though she spoke in a gentle, wavering, grandmotherly voice, we quickly discovered that she could be very tough and determined when it came to fighting for her causes.

 

Betty proudly informed us that she was the newly-elected President of the Northwest Senior chapter of Random Acts of Kindness. Their goal was to somehow feed and clothe hundreds of disadvantaged children in the Pacific Northwest, and also teach them to read. Betty wanted Compendium to help by donating our Gift of Inspiration books and our window cards to their causes.

 

 

 

 

Over the next decade, Betty became one of the very best friends we never met, staying connected across the miles by phone or email. We marveled as she overcame recurring heart attacks and cancer on the way to recruiting dozens of senior citizens to her organization. Over time, Betty and her elderly volunteers fed and clothed thousands of students, and created a wonderful student reading program that became a national model.

 

We didn’t have to meet her face-to-face to know who she was, or what she stood for. It was clear. To all of us at Compendium, Betty Kieler was a kindred spirit, a familiar and reassuring soul, a beautiful example of what we like to call the “inspired community”—and one of the best friends we never met.

 

There have been lots of others along the way—people of all ages and walks of life with whom we share something special, hopeful and affirming. And now, thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and other far-flung ways of connecting across the miles, there are more of us getting connected than ever before. Here's to the inspired community, and to the best friends we never met. People like Betty. People like you.

 

» 3 Comment s   Tags: love · relationships · volunteers · compassion · window cards · inspirational products · friendship

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Thank a Nurse or Doctor Today

by Dan Zadra · 04.29.2010

  

No one goes through life without being touched by angels. We all have stories of a nurse, doctor or caregiver who made a difference.

 

I remember when my son was born. My wife was in labor for 26 grueling hours. Our nurse worked tirelessly side-by-side with us all night long; it was so exhausting but so beautiful for everyone. Somehow she made us feel as if she cared about our baby as much as we did.

 

I remember when my daughter had ear surgery. She was just five years old and looked too tiny to have an operation. The nurse knew how nervous I was, so she invited me to push my daughter’s gurney to the O.R. Somehow she made me feel as if my daughter was her daughter too, and that nothing bad could possibly happen.

 

I remember when my Dad was in his eighties. He fell in the rain outside his church and couldn’t get up. He was sad, scared and embarrassed---but then the EMT ambulance from the local fire station arrived. Those big strong guys were so tender and empathetic. They understood Dad’s feelings, got him back on his feet, and then led the onlookers in a round of applause for him!

 

I remember when Dad was 96 and had come home from the hospital to spend his last Christmas with us. We all knew that he only had a few days to live. But somehow his hospice nurses and caregivers made those final days feel full and rich. Because of them, some of my family’s Christmas gifts that year were strength, courage, wisdom, faith, forgiveness, healing, peace, joy, laughter and love.

 

 

National Nurse’s Week is May 6-12, but healthcare recognition will continue all month long. If there has ever been a special nurse, doctor or caregiver in your life, now is a great time to let them know how much you appreciate them. Send them a Because You Care book, or a Gratitude book, or a Hero book with a personal note from you written on the inside flyleaf. If possible, drop by the hospital or clinic and give them a hug. The work they do is heroic. It often goes unheralded, but it should never go unappreciated.

 

Note: If you have a personal memory or story about a special caregiver, please share it in our comments section below. 

 

» 1 Comment   Tags: compassion · nurses · caregivers · gift books · encouragement

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Hope for Haiti

by Dan Zadra · 01.18.2010

I watched the latest newscasts from Haiti this past weekend. I shed tears of joy when the Icelandic rescue team pulled a dust-caked couple from the rubble—still alive five days after the quake. I shed tears of a different kind, however, when the same team raced off to a flattened school where 46 children were said to be trapped. Sadly, there was no one left to save.

Haiti rescue worker with infant

Image courtesy of the Associated Press

It’s not fair. I have two wonderful children who are safe and sound. There I sat in my cozy Seattle apartment, savoring a fresh blueberry bagel and a premium cup of coffee, wondering how I got so lucky, and wishing I could somehow bring 46 Haitian children back to life. Obviously I can’t, and neither can you. So, what can you and I do? The answer is simple: We must do what we can.

You may have already read the following excerpt from our new “ONE” book. But it’s a powerful reminder that, even before the earthquake struck, many Haitians survived on less than $2 per day. In comparison, you and I would seem to be living a life of royalty to them:

  • If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep…you are richer than 75% of the world’s population.

  •  If you have a little money in the bank or spare change in a dish someplace…you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

  • If you can drink from your kitchen faucet whenever you want…you are more fortunate by far than 1.5 billion people who have no access to clean water at all.

  •  If you can attend a church or a political rally without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death…you have the kind of freedom denied to more than three billion people in the world.

  • If you can read this message, you are more blessed than two billion people who cannot read at all.

  • If your everyday problems are weighing you down, there are millions of people on earth who would gladly trade places with you right now—problems and all—and feel they have been blessed.

Remember: “From those to whom much is given, much is expected.” The people of Haiti need our help. Right now, we are their hope. Please, look into your heart today, and then do what you can.

» 1 Comment   Tags: compassion · gift books

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