“As soon as I saw it, I knew it was meant for you!”
It was a simple gift, given to me by my forever friend, Lisa, to celebrate the one year anniversary of my book being published: a collection of fabric pieces with dandelions scattered about, in shades of turquoise, teal, and blue.
I don’t sew.
Lisa, having known me for more than half my life, realized this, of course. “I couldn’t resist it! It called your name and matched your book! Maybe you will think of some creative way to use them.”
It was a sweet gift indeed, and made me smile that she would think of me. I neatly tucked the fabric squares in my desk drawer and figured inspiration might appear when I least expected it.
Then COVID-19 happened. Just a few weeks after our book celebrations, we were quarantined at home and everything we used to know as normal was turned upside-down and inside-out. Several of my friends lost their jobs and had to reinvent themselves to push forward and make ends meet.
One of my friends, Nikki, a mom of four, was included in that casualty. She had previously started a small side business making crafts for others; now her hobby became her lifeline as she began making fabric face masks to support her family. She even blessed us with some of her first mask prototypes back in March!
Now, as we look towards returning back to school for the fall, I realized we needed more masks. My daughter, a rising college senior, needs them for her tutoring job and in-person classes on campus, so I asked Nikki if I could order several to have them ready for August. She asked for my daughter’s favorite colors/patterns and I placed my order.
She had them made and delivered the very next day.
As I was paying for the items I suddenly remembered the fabric squares Lisa had given me months ago. “I would love to purchase one more mask if I could.” I handed her the fabric, tags still attached. “It doesn’t matter which of these fabric squares you choose for the mask. I know whatever you make will be perfect. Keep the rest of the fabric to bless someone else or do whatever you like!”
Even though the fabric was a gift to me originally, it made my heart happy to have it used for something practical with an added bonus of blessing someone else as a pay-it-forward. I gave Nikki the fabric and went on with my day.
Two days later, Nikki was ready to deliver my mask. What she didn’t tell me is that she had a Kindness Boomerang in store for me when she arrived.
This amazing friend of mine took the fabric I had given her and made not one, not two, but FIVE masks – one for each day of the workweek – and a sunglasses case AND A PERSONALIZED BAG! She even included a handmade card, filled with beautiful flowers crafted from delicate strips of colored paper.
She shared with me all the features of her crafts – the masks were reversible with fabric patterns on the back, soft flex ear coverings that wouldn’t pinch or fray, a nose wire to keep the mask closer to the face and prevent glasses fogging up. The bag included built-in pockets along the outside and inside – some large enough for a water bottle, iPad or journal, some small enough for a cell phone and sunglasses. It’s sturdy enough to stand on its own, but flexible enough to be worn over the shoulder as a purse or held by hands as a bag.
In our conversation, Nikki also revealed the inspiration of her business name “LolaJo_By Nikki Renee” which was named after two influential women in her life: her Grandma Jo and her Mammaw (Lola). Grandma Jo taught her how to sew; Lola believed in her and showed her unconditional love. Her face brightened with joy as she remembered the impact these ladies had on her upbringing.
She created these things for me with no expectation of payment. No request for public acknowledgment. Simply because I gave her some fabric and she wanted to do something kind for me.
A Kindness Boomerang from the heart.
I was overwhelmed by her generosity of time and talent. I’m still in awe, looking at her craftsmanship that sits on my desk as I write this post. I am humbled and thankful to have such caring friends in my midst.
When you give from the heart, you never know when one of those gifts might return to you as a Kindness Boomerang. It’s always a surprise when it happens, but it reminds you again and again of the good in the world!
Do you have people in your community circle who could benefit from some unexpected kindness this week? How might you be able to inspire and uplift those around you? What can you do to make this world a better place?
It’s easy to get sucked into the negativity you find out there – whether through posts on social media, personal conversations, or perspectives submitted to the local newspaper. It’s much more difficult to see the positive – that tends to get hidden from the mainstream sometimes.
Take a pause. Look for the good. See those around you and ask yourself, “What can I do to bring a little light and love to someone else today?”
We may not be able to solve all the world’s problems with the twist of a magic wand, but we sure can turn around someone’s day with kindness.
It’s those little things that matter most.