Pearl of Wisdom Blog #70: “Practice Random Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty.” Anne Herbert

December 13, 2019

Lesson learned:  Joy to the World!  All is calm – all is bright!  Yes, the festive Christmas season is upon us!  But for some individuals, this isn’t the season to be jolly. Health concerns, medical procedures, loss, unemployment, relationship issues and the strains of everyday life can drain the enthusiasm and positive energy from many people during the holidays.

That’s why “practicing random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” is especially important.  A friendly smile, a tender touch, a kind gesture, a word of encouragement, a prayer or an anonymous gift could be the perfect present for the person who is struggling.  It could just make a world of difference.

As we light our candles throughout December, let us be mindful of those who would benefit from that random kindness and senseless act of beauty and provide them with a beacon of light and hope!

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and Happy Kwanzaa!


Pearl of Wisdom Blog #69: “If you show up – you win!” Bob M.

March 1, 2019

Lesson LearnedWhile Bob’s quote sounds quite similar to the marketing slogan of The Pennsylvania Lottery – you have to play to win – I suspect Bob’s mantra has less to do with cash winnings than offering a valuable life lesson.

For some, “showing up” may require enormous amounts of physical and emotional energy.  I’m thinking about individuals for whom simply getting out of bed in the morning is a major accomplishment because of a crippling illness.  Or those who have emotionally strenuous jobs, like first responders, who need all of their strength to consistently “show up” because they serve people who need them during times of emergencies.

The essence of “showing up” can also play out in a more personal and nurturing way that provides the opportunity to participate, contribute, comfort and reinforce.  By simply being present with a genuine smile, a gentle touch or a kind word, you can score a big win, not just for yourself, but for others as well.

After all, one reaps what one sows.

Pearl of Wisdom Blog #68: “A Smile: The Ultimate Gift!”

November 27, 2018

Lesson Learned A Smile. Yes, we are all aware of the definition of the word when it is used as a noun.  “A pleased, kind, or amused facial expression, typically with the corners of the mouth turned up and the front teeth exposed.” We all know people with genuine, winning smiles that can light up a darkened room. These smiles are often transforming, uplifting, liberating and sometimes even contagious. Smiles can be very powerful.

I recently experienced “the power of a smile” when I visited Southampton Estates.  There, on a cold and gloomy morning, I encountered two smiles that truly inspired me.  The first occurred when the security guard, Mr. M., stationed in the guard house at the entrance of the community, flashed a huge smile when he welcomed me back to the campus.  There was a natural enthusiasm in his voice and laughter in his eyes as he waved me past the raised gate, as though he was welcoming home his very best friend. I felt my own mood, which mirrored the weather, change immediately. This brief encounter with Mr. M. left me feeling unexpectedly happy and upbeat.  What a gift, I thought!

The second “power of a smile” occurred within the community when I met my prospective client, Betty S., a charming and gracious lady.  With a broad and genuine smile, she eagerly volunteered that she was 102 years old.  I was mesmerized by Betty’s grace, composure, wit and most of all, her radiant smile.  She glowed as she spoke about her family and her faith, enthusiastically pointing to the numerous family portraits and religious artwork that decorated the walls of her apartment.  I felt blessed to share that short period of time with her.

As I left the community, I reflected on the wonderful gift that had been given to me – first by Mr. M. and then by Betty.  The smiles they easily shared were simple, yet so very powerful.  The lesson I learned was when you receive a smile, share it.  This gift can truly make all the difference in the world to someone else.  It did for me.

Pearl of Wisdom Blog #67: “Life will become more pleasant and comfortable if we get rid of some of the abundance!” Margareta Magnusson

August 24, 2018

Lesson Learned: I first became acquainted with the Swedish term döstädning this summer when friends from Sweden mentioned it to me.  Literally translated, it means death cleaning.  This term generated quite a lively conversation when my friends described what the term meant. I quickly realized that the act of death cleaning was actually quite similar to our concept of downsizing.

Two days after our conversation about death cleaning, I learned, to my surprise and amazement, that Margareta Magnusson documented her own history with döstädning by writing a book entitled “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning.”  Thanks to another friend, who obtained a copy of the book while on vacation, I now have my own copy.  Regardless of what you call the concept, the thoughtful removal of stuff that one doesn’t like, want or need yields many positive dividends.  Margareta’s book, which is now a New York Times Bestseller, outlines her process, which is almost identical of the one Senior Transition Services uses.

Pearl of Wisdom #66 – “Thanking me is the best thing anyone can say to me!” Keith T.

July 3, 2018

Lesson LearnedOn Memorial Day, I attended a ceremony commemorating the military personnel who had fallen in service to our country at the William Boulton Dixon American Legion Post 10 in Fort Washington, PA.  It was a patriotic, yet solemn observance attended by many who had proudly served their country during wartime.  Keith T., a 97-year-old World War II veteran and post commander in 1951, was present and received special commendation.  After the program, I offered him my personal thanks for his service to our country.  He beamed and without skipping a beat replied with a strong and steady voice, “thanking me is the best thing anyone can say to me!”

At that moment, I recalled the tears that appeared in my father’s eyes many years ago when a stranger approached him on the Ocean City boardwalk, shook his hand and thanked him for his military service.  He was stunned.  How did this man even know that he had served, my father asked.  My father had forgotten that he was wearing his favorite Korean War Veteran baseball hat.  He was so touched by the recognition and the appreciation expressed by someone he didn’t know that he glowed for hours.

This random act of kindness taught me a valuable life lesson and one which I try to give back to every veteran I meet.  It’s easy and doesn’t cost anything, but to the recipient, it’s priceless!

Pearl of Wisdom #65 – “Trust but Verify”. Shirley M.

November 27, 2017

Lesson Learned:  Shirley’s second Pearl of Wisdom “Trust but Verify” resonated with me as much as her “you have to help other people” blog post #64.  Shirley is a cautious and highly disciplined person, who in her professional career worked as an operating room nurse.  She told me how important it was to her and the rest of the medical team to know that the needed surgical instruments and supplies had been properly replaced before each surgery.  And while she had confidence in the ability of her team to accurately replenish the items, she always verified before the next surgery took place.  In the OR, Shirley couldn’t afford to take any chances.  She needed to verify.

“You gotta believe” and “Keep the faith” are popular imperatives used in everyday speech. It’s a good thing to trust.  “Trust your instincts” is an equally valid command.  In many cases the instincts are correct and valid.  But before making important decisions, it can’t hurt to double check before continuing.  That confirmation could make a huge difference in the outcome.  It did for Shirley.

Pearl of Wisdom #64 – “You have to help other people”. Shirley M.

September 26, 2017

Lesson Learned:  In the aftermath of the devastating hurricanes that recently caused widespread destruction in the Caribbean, Texas, Louisiana and Florida, Shirley’s sentiment may seem so very obvious or matter-of-fact, given the tremendous need people in those areas are experiencing.

Shirley actually made this comment to me weeks before the hurricane season became the topic of concern of weather forecasters and residents alike. When tragedy strikes, people typically respond quickly and generously by donating time and money to assist those in need. It’s simply the right thing to do.

But for Shirley, helping others is a daily creed; a mantra she lives by.  Help can come in many forms.  She explained how powerful a genuine smile, gentle touch or kind word of encouragement can be for someone who is depressed, lonely or ill.  Sometimes it’s the little things that help the most, she said with a confident nod. For Shirley, it’s not the size of the gift that matters. It’s all about making a positive difference in the lives of others that counts.