Sunday, December 1, 2013

Paint fairies

Paint Fairies
It was a lovely day and well it was painting time. I love painting and was excited to start my new project. I got out the paint and paper. I fetched the clean water. Sprayed the paint palette. I was ready to begin.
 I drew the outlines and chose the brush. The time had come and I dipped the brush into the water and then came the fun part, choosing the paint. Watercolor painting is like a dance you take some color or paint if you will and add some water. Then you pick up your brush, dip it in the water, and dive right into your chosen color. You lift it out and carefully (or not as the case may be) place that brush on the paper and watch the magic begin to work. You add a little different color or some water and lo and behold, the paint starts to dance. The more water you have the further it goes, slipping and sliding, swirling and whirling and suddenly it stops. You have reached the end of the water flow. You can go back and add other colors but be careful, too much of a good thing, is never a good thing as we all know and too many colors and oops you have mud. Well I danced and worked and it was one of those days. A day when the paint doesn’t just flow off the brush and go where I had hoped. It was more of a push me pull me type dance today. Maybe even a fight at times. Now fighting is not nice and usually it spoils things. You know what I mean. The game you are playing, or the job you are doing or worse still the friendship. Definitely not good.
Well there I was painting and muttering to myself as usual. I painted then stopped and frowned. This was not looking right. I hmphed and tried again. Still not looking good. Finally my friend Glenda who was sitting watching me said. Leave it alone now and let the paint fairies do their work. Lets have some tea. Well I looked at her like she had lost it. I mean paint fairies?  Not knowing where else to go with it I lefct it and we went and had some tea. It was peaceful and fun and we talked way longer than we probably should have, but that was fine too.  Glenda was ready to leave and she said lets go see if the fairies have done their work. I looked at her and squinted my eyes as I thought hmmm this is Glenda one of my oldest friends, in all the years I have known her she has not lied to me, so why would she start now. I decided she must know something I didn’t and off we went to check. Well looking at the painting, somehow it didn’t look quite so bad anymore. Maybe she had something here, maybe there were paint fairies after all and I had just never seen them so didn’t know.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The alarm fiasco

The new joke of the week
Being ADHD has it’s up sides and it’s down sides hee hee
 This week I was trying to get back up to speed after being away.
 So I vacuumed one afternoon while Mark was out. Nothing unusual there and as usual Jet (the robot vacuum) ran out of juice and went back to recharge before continuing.
 Later that evening we decided we needed a few staples like ice cream and went off shopping. Marks phone rang on the way down there and when we arrived he checked and it was a junk call trying to sell us something. So we shopped happily and as we were checking out he again got an 800 number and said boy they are persistent tonight I don’t need to talk to them twice. Right after that I got one from the same number. It often happens that way so I too chose to ignore it.
 We came on home and came inside and Mark is trying to turn off the alarm and says “hey this thing is acting funny” I reply “just hit it again” Which he does and it stops. Right then my phone rings and it is Barb saying, um there is a problem with your alarm and John is on his way over as the alarm company couldn’t get you. How weird right? Oops then we check and no those 800 numbers were the alarm company. SO Mark is on the phone and I say oops well we are here can you stop John. She checks and he is on his way. No he doesn’t have the cell phone with him as she has a doctors appointment and needs it for tomorrow early. SO I am at the window watching for John and to arrive and Mark is on the phone trying to talk to the alarm company and please explain and figure out why it went off in the first place. I have gone all around the house and put on lights outside and checked through the windows for anything. I come back and hear a strange beeping. Oops I suddenly realize it is Jet he has decided he has enough juice to go and try again and is now stuck on the table leg where he has gotten himself balanced. I realize he is the culprit of the alarm and house him again, while telling Mark.
 Then I go back to the window to watch for John. I look up and down the street and the cops have a car outside the neighbors hmm. Wonder why they didn’t come to the door. SO out we go to find them. They come around the house and  I brightly say, Hi so so sorry about this and get a stony look. Are you the key holder asks the lady. Um yes we are, our names are and we tell her. Do you have ID? Um yes, would you like to come inside while I get it out my purse? SO the very nice ladies come in and check then explain that they saw people walking around so were being cautious. Lightbolt moment They thought I was the lookout for the thieves oops. They did not laugh at us for ignoring the calls, they did not lecture us, They were in fact very professional and very kind. Thank you to them.
 Well all ends well and John arrived and got hugged and off he went again.
 Moral of the story make sure your toys are put away properly before going out and about

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Tomato Jam

Tomato Jam

6 pounds of tomatoes Skin and chop
6 lemons squeeze and grate rind
6 pounds of sugar
1t salt
1Tablespoon ground ginger

 Cook tomatoes in lemon juice gently till pulp

Remove from heat and add  Sugar, salt and ginger

Boil till setting point is reached on a thermometer

Pour into prepared jars and seal

Friday, August 2, 2013

Painting supplies from recyclables

Painting supplies from recyclables
I often repurpose things for my painting supplies.
 These are a collection of bottles I use. All are small and so are great water containers some are better as they have bigger mouths.
You can find these in most grocery stores but some are from my travels and are from the toiletries in hotels. You can often buy these in the grocery store aisle where they sell travel stuff.
 The second one from the left is a small bottle that came in a kit one had salad dressing and one had a marinade. They are slim and yet hold quite a bit and fit in tiny places

The next shot is of my painting palettes for travel.
 One is an eyeshadow box where you can trade out shades but has lovely spaces for  4 colours or even 5 if you use the slot for the brush as well. The one problem is it doesn’t open flat so the mirror does not become a good mixing place. There are others out there this is just an example and check out the dollar stores they have then there too. Then the small yellow and white one is a pill box from Targets $1 spot. The white lifts out so is wonderful as it will go in a pencil box actually 2 will fit and leave space for 4 small ½ pans and a brush or three.

The altoids tins are the mini ones as you can see and I put sculpey clay in them and pressed out holes for the paints. Then I baked it and then painted the lid with appliance touch up paint to make it less likely to rust and also to give a nice mixing palette.
The last one is a Johnson and Johnson first aid kit that I places 2 pill containers (they came 7 to a box in a larger box that would work well for other supplies as well, each one is for one day) I pulled the lids off to save weight. Then I added a few extra ½ pans down the side and some of that expanding sponge which is great for holding everything in place and for cleaning your brush off when you have too much water or paint.
 In case you didn’t notice they are lying on a thin chopping mat that I was given after a function a friend did and it is great for placing your paper on to paint. Great for when you wet both sides to hold it and stop buckling and also to catch paint that escapes

The next picture is  odds and ends. A bug spray (from the dollar store) makes a great mini mister when it is empty
The second bottle is a tiny shampoo bottle but when it opens the lid can become a very small water container. The pink lidded one was from sprinkles. The next one is a button container from Hobby Lobby and is a great way to carry pencils pens and all those fun things or short brushes.

The top box is a photo box and I will show you how it became a small travel lit all on it’s own that fits perfectly in a pocket of my travel jacket. Great for painting on planes as well.
The last one I found in my pantry. It had had those stick things you mix into bottled water in it and will be a very cute container for a micro kit. I am still working out what I want in it.

These are my plastic containers Ok some of them the flat thing works as a great palette and comes from my dishwasher blocks I use. It keeps them apart so the gel cover doesn’t stick to each other but is flat with small sections just great. Could also be used for paint and cut to size and stacked in a gift tin
Next is the insert that held either the snack sized crab cakes or mini Quiches I like and as you see makes a great palette. Can also be cut up to make small bowls for mixing pours.
The next one is a pringles small snack container and makes a great water container.
The last is my favorite water container made from the new styled Yogurt containers, the ones with the stuff you add to the yogurt. You can have two sides one with dirty water and still have a bit of clean to add to colours

The next picture is my gift card tin. I have a set of Donna Dewberry’s brush that has exchangeable heads so you only need one handle and a travel brush. In it fits the micro altoids tin of paints and a mini mister. I use a lid from a spice bottle as a water container and a small piece of sponge. The lid is also painted white for easier mixing and rust control

The next one is my “photo” container from Hobby Lobby and in it I can get a small altoids tin, some aqua brushes, a mini mister. My small doodad that holds the micro paint kit attached to the pad, wax crayon for resist and a small piece of sponge. A pencil and sometimes a sharpie or Pilot pen too. Then all I have to add is the pad.

I also have a really tiny set that is just my thin moleskin with a tiny piece of paper tucked into the back with some paint dots on it and in my purse I carry an aqua brush that is like a fountain pen style so doesn’t mess.

I have found these cute little clear envelopes for carrying business cards that stick inside things so have my paper palette in one of those in the book without the flap. It can also hold a few small pieces of paper to paint on in the kits.
 Well thanks for bearing with me and hope this helps the other addicts out there
This is the setup I often take in a ziploc baggie works wonderfully

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Funnies from the European trip part one

Funnies from the European trip

Well it’s time to confess some of the weird and wonderful happenings.
I live in Texas where there is no public transport soooo I only take public transport overseas. I did grow up with it and it doesn’t intimidate me, although being in another country and not speaking the language can get a bit tricky at times. Still I was going with my hubby on a trip of a lifetime to Europe to have fun and fulfill a few dreams. He poor guy was going to work.
We often use the Metro, or subway or bus or whatever when overseas and off we went. But this time I was alone part of the time and well a girl can’t be too careful. I mean I did grow up in South Africa on the lesser side of town half my life and well careful is good. My Aunt lived in Zimbabwi and they weren’t allowed to use or carry guns and so she taught us to carry hairspray. It burns when sprayed in the eyes and will give you the few seconds advantage. So off I went with my very small can in my pocket. The added advantage is they don’t know what the can is off should you have to pull it out.
 I travelled many a day into and around foreign metros, around the town walking on my own and felt fine about it. Then came the day we went to Giverny. A huge dream of mine. Yes I am a painter as you all know and what could be more amazing than going to where Claude Monet lived and painted. We caught the train from Paris and went to Rouen for the morning and had a wonderful time seeing where they kept Joan of Arc and all the wonderful old buildings, the museum and it’s impressionist collection and passing display as well. We also saw the hotel Astrid yes you read right I was very excited to see it.
 Then back on the train to Vernon and off to catch the bus to Giverny. Being the good child that I am I saw the signs for wearing your seat belt so decided to comply. I whipped it up and over my lap and click.
I froze then yelped. Mark says I, I have something cold and wet and smelly running down my leg. He just laughed and was no help at all. Do you know how hard it is to undo a seat belt when you are trying to be quick and squirming and laughing. Yep you guessed it. I had managed to jam the can of hairspray between the belt and my leg spewing hairspray all down the leg. Did I mention it was cold and rainy that day. Luckily it did not smell tooo much and I didn’t have an asthma attack or chase off the rest of the bus.   Will tell you the inside pocket and section of my rain jacket was stiff as a board. Also as Mark remarked I did have a small section of my leg rewaxed, when I tried to unglue it from my leg later.
Moral of the story keep the can of hairspray in your pocket but make sure it is not trapped when putting on your seat belt.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Invisible ones

Invisible ones

Invisible ones,   Wallflowers,
Untouchables,   Foreigners,
Outcasts,   Aliens,
Odd folks
Weird ones
These are words we use for people. People who aren’t in “our Group”.   What does Jesus call them?
  MY Child, (Psa 2:7)  "I will announce," says the king, "what the LORD has declared. He said to me: 'You are my son; today I have become your father.

(Psa 8:4)  what are human beings, that you think of them; mere mortals, that you care for them?

Heb 12:5  Have you forgotten the encouraging words which God speaks to you as his children? "My child, pay attention when the Lord corrects you, and do not be discouraged when he rebukes you.

 My  beloved,      Rom 9:25  This is what he says in the book of Hosea: "The people who were not mine I will call 'My People.' The nation that I did not love I will call 'My Beloved.'

My chosen,  Exo 19:5  Now, if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own people. The whole earth is mine, but you will be my chosen people,

Deu 10:15  But the LORD's love for your ancestors was so strong that he chose you instead of any other people, and you are still his chosen people.

Deu 14:2  You belong to the LORD your God; he has chosen you to be his own people from among all the peoples who live on earth.

My Bride,  Son 4:10  Your love delights me, my sweetheart and bride. Your love is better than wine; your perfume more fragrant than any spice.

 my brother, My sister, Mat 12:50  Whoever does what my Father in heaven wants is my brother, my sister, and my mother."
Mar 3:35  Whoever does what God wants is my brother, my sister, my mother."

 my sheep,  Joh 10:27  My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
Psalm 23

Luke 10
Luk 10:30  And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
Luk 10:31  And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
Luk 10:32  And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
Luk 10:33  But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
Luk 10:34  And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
Luk 10:35  And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
Luk 10:36  Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
Luk 10:37  And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

 We have all heard this parable many times but think about it for a minute
 The Samaritan was not of this ‘mans’ crowd, not of his church, in fact he was of the untouchables group of that time.
He was the one they would “never” associate with. He was the sinner, evil, wrong,    pick any word you like. He was the wrong side of the tracks, the “nothing”. In fact he was anything you would consider not right.
 Whichever group or groups of folks you would least like to spend time with or are afraid to spend time with, this is the Samaritan to you.

 Who's your neighbor? Anyone who's not you!

 An example would be, we were down in Galveston and had my mom with in a wheelchair. We were trying to negotiate one of the side roads near the cruise terminal. You know the ones with stairs that are odd heights and slopes to them. When suddenly a group of young men arrived. Probably skaters I would say and about 4 of them. They had the usual baggy pants and chains and odd hairstyles, tattoos, piercings. You know pretty much the opposite of these old fuddy duddie folks with the mom in a wheelchair. Well they quickly surrounded us and said, “here let us help you” and as we were still gathering our whit’s, they gently lifted moms chair and took it down the few steps and set it down carefully and were almost gone before we could say thank you. We never even had time to be nervous, afraid, horrified at their dress, or any of the “usual” reactions we so often could  give.
Jesus wants each of us to pray  “Lord let me see everyone through your eyes” Everyone is someone special to God.
 Many years ago I invited someone to church and they said “oh no I don’t have anything to wear” God immediately nudged me to say “hey it’s fine to come in jeans, and I will wear jeans too” I was immediately sad to think folks would feel they couldn’t come to church because they didn’t have “church clothes”. From then on I made a point of going in casual clothes, mostly jeans. That way any of my neighbors whom I might invite would know I usually went in jeans and not feel odd or singled out. I  don’t think it is wrong to wear smart clothes, or pretty clothes. I just think we need to think why we wear the clothes we do. I know many do it from respect for God. This is a lovely thing to do, but as long as we are not then judging others by our standards and saying they are disrespecting God by not wearing smart clothes. WE do not know their story even when we think we do. Only God knows the heart.

God sees hearts and souls not clothes and hair and anything about the outside of the body. In fact God gave me an idea and I am trying to paint it of what His view of a church looks like on any given worship day.

In His view there are not separate bodies all dressed beautifully or not as the case may be. Each person is but merely a glow with a heart inside it, a dimmed room full of lovely spots of colour.
Some are bright, some are soft, some are intense and some mellow

Each heart may be healthy and pink or dark and almost dead. Some are sort of half and half, some are surrounded by thorns, or wire like barbed wire, some are completely free.
The dark ones were the ones who were only in church because it was what you should do. Not because they loved God or wanted to be there, but who were just there out of duty or habit. The bright ones were the ones who had accepted Christ as their savior. The ones who were half and half were the ones struggling and fighting with themselves and God would show them a taste of His love and it would linger.

 The brightest clearest ones are I believe the ones who really, really trust God every day for everything. You know the ones I mean, the little old lady who smiles, not because she has everything like big houses or cars, but because she actually has peace. Real peace, peace to know that nothing she does today will change her Lord’s love for her and even if she doesn’t have food or shelter God does love her. She doesn’t gauge His love by her health and happiness but by just Knowing Him. Or the young person who just loves God and doesn’t even think about next year or maybe the year after, they just know that right now they need to be doing this job for the Lord right here whether it is in the civilized world or the boondocks. They realize there are just as many lost folks in our big cities as there are in the jungles. All they want to do is serve the Lord and they are doing just that.

Who is our neighbor?  Interesting Question from Jesus to us.            Physically, right now, on my street, For me, that includes Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asian, Indian, Arabian/Middle eastern. Those are some of the folks I know on my street and no I don’t know them all yet. Let’s go a bit further. Their beliefs are, Baptist, Full Gospel, Methodist, Hindu, Buddhist, atheist, Presbyterian and those again, are just the ones I know of. By the way I counted the other night and feel very blessed. I counted at least 7 houses or families I would feel comfortable going and knocking on their door at 2am in the morning if I was actually in trouble or need, just on my street.
The Samaritan was the example Jesus used.  The man from another country, not any country but The other country, another  belief system. The man who looked “strange, weird, odd, different”.  Kind of like me. The man they would see as the one who didn’t belong, who was “wrong”.
  Also the man known as being unclean. Perhaps in this day and age it might be,  the person with the dirty clothes  from coming from the gym, work, or living on the street. Perhaps they are the person who dresses differently to you, Perhaps the one with the odd ornamentations like striped hair, pierced ears, pierced whatever, tattoos, painted nails, make-up.  Yes you laugh, yet to some folks the things we see as normal, are as offensive as whatever you would consider weird or odd or ugly. The sinner, evil,   like me?
 We all think we are normal. Let that sink in for a minute. Yes each of us sees our way, our culture, our likes, or dislikes as Normal. Let me explain
I think painted nails are fun in fact painted nails make doing yucky jobs like dishes way more fun. My best friend ‘s Brother Thomas Tapping used this example in his sermon at her wedding, but used the engagement ring as his example. I mean here you are washing these yucky pots and pans and suddenly there is this little sparkle of colour. Suddenly you think you know there is always a sparkle even in the depth of yuck, a splash of colour, a bling of light. Maybe that’s it just a flash of colour to keep you from going crazy while doing the dishes, a small reminder of the love and the gratefulness of having dishes to wash.
 Well to my friends mom the painted nails meant I was a loose or painted woman and oh my,  the  colours ( I liked denim blue to match my evil denims, yes Denims were considered evil then too).  Obviously I was just trying to get a man’s attention. Well I was 14 and had not any idea of getting a man’s attention. I had fun things to do with my friend and was going back to school in a few days and wasn’t allowed such frivolous stuff as nail polish.  Back then  we wore uniforms with no adornments like make up or jewelry. So it was just plain fun.
You see it was paint and nails but there were two very different view points. Both of us thought we were the normal one. Well folks it is, at the basest form, just nails and paint. Nothing evil in and of themselves,  just nails and paint. How we use them is what makes the difference. Where our heart is. That is what really counts.
 Hence we cannot judge, we don’t have all the facts, God on the other hand does have all the facts, He alone can judge the heart. We look through our glasses (an in our viewpoint)and see what we see. God looks through His eyes and sees a whole different world.

The point is we judge people.  We shouldn’t but we do.
I wonder ,
We don’t judge like God does though do we? We judge by what we can see and God judges by what He can see. Big difference. We see what sits outside and a bit of what we are shown of the inside. Sort of like looking at a box with a cracked open lid. God sees from inside the box.
 Therefore we mess up big time every time. Why do we judge people.
Usually to see if we measure up. Am I as good, hopefully better, perhaps?
I mean if I am better that’s good, but if I am the best well.
 What do we all want in life? To be valued accepted and loved.
 After that we substitute stuff.
Take a small child all they want is to know you think they are special and important and loved.
 Then we learn if we can get them to spend time on us we must be important, if we can get them to spend money on us we must be important. Right? So we watch and see, wait they spent time/money on ….. so I need to be like that right the  ….. to be important, or special. In fact, if I can be better than ….. that is even better. I might get more time or money. I mean time and money are the two things that seem to equate to value.  Rich people are obviously more important people than poor people, right? Funny when you say it out loud we all go NO but that is how we act. We also think famous people are more important, Not sure why but we do. We even try be like them.
AM I good enough, nice enough, cool enough whatever. The answer is actually yes no matter what anyone else thinks
I am important
Not because of what I have done, seen, been etc
 But because God loves me. Not because I am a Christian, no God loved me before that. He loved me before I was born.

 Jer 1:5  Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

You see we have worth from before conception and yet we push others down and pull on some to try and grow to the top of the heap.

Who are the invisible ones
Waiters who fill your water glass.
Person in the deli who sells you cheese or cold cuts each week
Person who fills the shelves in the grocery store
Lady/guy  at the checkout anywhere.
 Person fetching carts in the parking lot
Homeless people
Person walking around your block
Trash man
Recycle guy
Yard guy
Guy sweeping the floor of the store you are in
Lady in your bible study class who hasn’t said anything and you don’t quite know her name
Lady who sits in that same seat in church each week with the same sweater.
The lady who only came to the bible study that once.
The teachers helper
The kid in your Sunday school class who never said a word
The person playing the piano in the middle of……the mall, hospital etc
The person sitting in the corner of the office just doing the job
The volunteer who just does and never says much
The nurse who weighs you at the doctors office or checks you out on the way out.

 The untouchables
 Usually the people who makes us afraid.

The homeless guy at the traffic light or in the parking lot.
The woman sitting on the side of the road just sitting

The gay folks
Those folks with the Tattoos and weird clothing and things.
Kids with those baggy pants and chains hanging from their pocket
Women who dresses a lot too revealing
The weird folks from other countries who still wear their traditional dress or customs

 The “different folks”
Downs folks
Disabled as in wheel chairs
Disabled as in having mental disabilities like so many diseases we know Bi-Polar, Epilepsy etc.
Yes they are disabilities My friend with epilepsy could not drive for many years and another young man I knew never got to drive ever.
Folks who never mature completely in the usual sense of the word.
Folks who have bodies that did not grow as we expect when in the womb so who look very different.

 Why do we treat these folks differently often we are afraid.
 Fearful they might need our help or they might rub off on us.
WE might be seen to be like them or endorsing their views.
 Afraid they might hurt us.

“ The best way to destroy an enemy is to make them your friend” is what Abraham Lincoln said and it is very true. Usually we are angry or afraid because we don’t know enough about the other person. Maybe they are angry and grouchy or fierce or mean. But what if that is because they were abused, neglected, or hurt in some other way. Maybe they are carrying a burden too heavy for them?
Perhaps they are sick you know one of those, not bleeding all over, so no one knows, type of sicknesses.  Once you get to know them you may find they are just like you, a human who wants what you want. You know love, attention, health, happiness for their children?

How do we respond to this. What are we going to do with this knowledge. If nothing it is worth nothing.
If we want to grow closer to God surely we need to internalize it and do something with it.
 Maybe break out of our comfort zone in some way.
 Perhaps we should start small.

 A good story is about way back in the day when I was a nurse. We had this really grumpy argumentative guy in our ward.  We had 20 bed wards and had ten beds each side so no real privacy. He was the rude crude etc. type. Well one day the nurses decided to pretty much ignore him and were just speaking to each other and the nurse aide asked the nurse how it was going with her boyfriend. Well she just burst into tears as he had just broken up with her and was already going out with some other young lady. They were making beds all the way down the ward and were doing the beds around his bed at that point. The nurse aide tried to cheer her up and off they went.

Well I noticed he was just really quiet after that and finally started being really nice to all of us. So being nosy I said um what’s up? Suddenly you are mr. Nice guy. Well he stopped and said I heard her telling about the jerk and suddenly realized you folks are just humans too. You see he had seen us as the enemy who were poking and prodding not as humans who hurt and had feelings.

So as I say lets start small and find the human in the other person.

 Pick someone whom you would not normally involve in conversation and ask them how they are doing? But not in those words as we are mostly trained to throw out a fine or great to that query.
How about How is your day going? Or maybe to the person checking you out in a store, saying something like, has it been a long day or is it nearly time to go home? Yes they will be amazed but try it. You will find they are amazed at being treated like a human instead of a robot.  How about just making a point of looking at your wait staff and saying thanks like you really mean it. Try asking to speak to the manager and then compliment the server preferably in their hearing and say something nice about the food. Yes you will be amazed at the sudden look of relief on their faces. Both of their faces. You see that was not so hard. You might find you have actually brightened their whole day. How about the person who walks around your block. Imagine their face if you were out watering your yard and said hi how are you. No the nod doesn’t count.
 Then we can move onto the next step the really scary one.
If you shop at the same place all the time perhaps you could take the time to learn the name of one or two of the checkers especially if you shop there often and see them a lot. Perhaps you could take cookies or Chocolates or even a soda or two to the folks in the Pharmacy, or coffee shop (bet they are sick of their stuff  they sell), or doctors office.
 If you are really feeling brave how about volunteering to help with special Olympics, or to help at a school in the special education area, ( you will have to be screened so don’t freak out this is normal) or at an Alzheimer’s unit, or teaching folks how to read at the library. Maybe doing a free math class at the community center or YMCA. But remember please do it with an open heart.