Posts Tagged ‘Sandy Hook Elementary’


26 Tuesdays…the Finale!


If you have been following the 26 Tuesdays series on MIP, you may feel, as I do, that it sure took a long time to honor the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. The sad thing to realize is that many more have lost their lives in service to their country, through disease, and through other acts of violence while we were working on our own acts of kindness in this series.

Each and every day there are many, many people who deserve to be honored and remembered by each of us doing an act of kindness for them. That saying, “Kill them with kindness,” is ringing in my ears today and perhaps that was what was behind Ann Curry’s campaign for 26 Acts of Kindness. If we truly want to turn our world around, each of us needs to be intentional about getting out of our self-absorbed “cocoons” and doing something kind for someone else. Do some resort to “acts of meanness” because the world has not taken enough notice of their suffering? Of course. That is the cost of us being self-absorbed about our own pain. But, each and every day people rise above that very real pain, choose to be victorious survivors and turn their real horror stories into stories of triumph. If we can use them as our role models and meet evil with good as often as we can, perhaps a better world will result. And even if it doesn’t, perhaps we caused a few people to stop and think and maybe change a behavior or two here and there.

The movie, Pay It Forward, depicts how 3 acts of kindness by 1 young boy resulted in a massive movement across the U.S. All he requested from the recipients of his acts was for them to do the same. He didn’t even request 26 acts as I have asked of you and me. So, my dear readers, I hope you will make acts of kindness your new habit and simply look for opportunities to do things for others as often as you can. Who knows? We may change a country if we do, and maybe given enough time, change a world.

I am not going to spend today’s post by telling you all about my acts (yes, plural) of kindness for this week, but suffice it to say, the final MIP count now stands at 103! Not bad, gang! You deserve a pat on the back! Thanks for participating in this little campaign and keep going!

Thursday’s Post: The Weirdest Diet in the World?

You might also like: 26 Tuesdays: Allison N. Wyatt; 26 Tuesdays: Benjamin Wheeler; 26 Tuesdays: Victoria Soto; and 26 Tuesdays: Mary Sherlach


26 Tuesdays: Benjamin Wheeler

Penny Lane

Last week we honored teacher Victoria Soto, the brave woman who tried to shield her students from the gunman. This week I have to give partial credit for my act of kindness to my youngest. He cleaned out his dresser and closet in preparation for beginning college and left a bag of clothing for me to donate to our local version of “Goodwill.” All I had to do was take the bag there on his behalf when I was out running the errands–so easy!

On Sunday our minister encouraged us to do “Organized Acts of Kindness” (OAK). This is particularly interesting because our church’s name is “Oakdale.” 🙂 I hope our church will, one day, be known for our acts of kindness! That’s what a church should be all about anyway.

So this brings our MIP “organized” acts of kindness total to 95! What OAKs did you do this week? Let us know in a comment below.

This week we honor Benjamin Wheeler. Here is what CNN said about Benjamin:

Benjamin Wheeler, 6

Ben loved The Beatles, lighthouses and the No. 7 train to Sunnyside, Queens, his family said in a statement. He and his older brother Nate “filled the house with the noise of four children.” “Ben Wheeler was an irrepressibly bright and spirited boy whose love of fun and excitement at the wonders of life and the world could rarely be contained. His rush to experience life was headlong, creative and immediate,” his family said. Ben loved soccer and swimming. Recently, he performed at a piano recital — a major feat for a little boy who rarely sat still. Friday morning before school, he told him mom: “I still want to be an architect, but I also want to be a paleontologist, because that’s what Nate is going to be and I want to do everything Nate does.” The family moved to Newtown in 2007. Francine Wheeler, Ben’s mother, is a music teacher and performer. Francine Wheeler’s band posted the following message on its Facebook page: “Francine Wheeler, a founding member of The Dream Jam Band, has lost her precious 6-year old son, Ben, to the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Our prayers and love go out to Francine, David and Ben’s big brother, Nate.”

Thursday’s Post: 100 Things on my New To-Do List…

You might also like: 26 Tuesdays: Victoria Soto; 26 Tuesdays: Mary Sherlach; 26 Tuesdays: Lauren Rousseau; and 26 Tuesdays: Avielle Richman


26 Tuesdays: Lauren Rousseau

smiling teacher

Last week we honored Avielle Richman, who had a loose tooth and loved horses. Since we had had a horse lover the week before, I didn’t want to repeat what I had done for Jessica Rekos, but I found it a little difficult to find an act of kindness that had to do with loose teeth! Somehow I think I might get arrested if I were to volunteer to help a kid yank out their loose tooth!

Fortunately, two media concerns helped me discover other ways to help others from my very own home. When I was in the hospital, I was given a magazine to read (because I was getting totally bored!) and it’s one I grew up with: Woman’s Day. My mother religiously read that magazine every month and I occasionally indulge in the same avocation. Believe it or not, this issue spoke about Help from Home has a pile of ways people can help others without ever getting out of their P.J.’s. So, this week I clicked on some links that edged “click tallies” closer to a target goal. Once met, corporations will donate money to worthy causes, such as providing more trees in areas where they are sparse and feeding impoverished children in Peru.

I also grew up with 60 Minutes in my living room every Sunday evening and this week they discussed this past Sunday evening. sends ships to African countries where people still believe that tumors are spiritual curses. They believe this so vehemently that people with tumors can be cast out of their homes and communities. People in these countries are also often blinded by cataracts. Thus, the nurses and doctors on a mercy ship provide much needed surgeries to remove tumors and cataracts and deliver basic medical care to those who need it most. They are a Christian concern, regularly praying before and after surgeries for their patients, but will help anyone in need (regardless of religious belief) for free. In fact the doctors and nurses there actually pay for the privilege of working on these ships–they raise their own support. The ships have their own fire departments, schools and other needed services. Because of this, romances often bloom and marriages and families ensue!  Some children are raised entirely on the ship to the point that they don’t even recognize mailboxes when they are on vacation in the U.S.! Many plan to live and work on these ships for the rest of their lives.

If you haven’t yet done your act of kindness this week, may I suggest you go to these web sites and see what you can do to help these organizations? And then, please take a moment to let me know how you helped! So, this brings our MIP act of kindness to 68!

This week we honor Lauren Rousseau, a permanent substitute teacher at Sandy Hook. Here’s what CNN said about her:

Lauren Rousseau, 30

Rousseau, a permanent substitute teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary, “wanted to be a teacher from before she even went to kindergarten,” her mother said in a written statement Saturday. “We will miss her terribly and will take comfort knowing that she had achieved that dream,” Teresa Rousseau said. She grew up in Danbury, Connecticut, and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Bridgeport. Rousseau “worked as a substitute teacher in Danbury, New Milford and Newtown before she was hired in November as a permanent substitute teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown,” her mother’s statement said.

Thursday’s Post: A surprise for one of my readers…

You might also like: 26 Tuesdays: Avielle Richman, 26 Tuesdays: Jessica Rekos, 26 Tuesdays: Caroline Previdi, and 26 Tuesdays: Noah Pozner


26 Tuesdays: Avielle Richman


They often run the program on a shoe-string budget, relying heavily on the public for donations of horses, feed, and equipment. Volunteer students often act as the “guides” for the horses and riders. Thus, this week I decided my favorite equine therapy program deserved a small infusion of cash from our household. Hope it helps provide therapy for someone like my son very soon.

This puts our 26 Tuesdays Acts of Kindness Count at 66! This week we honor Avielle Richman. I have to confess that I’ve never heard of the name Avielle and it may have to find its way into a novel of mine some day, since I like how it just rolls off the tongue! It sounds French and since I adore all things “Francais,” it just appeals to me. Here’s what CNN said about the young lady with the pretty name:

Avielle Richman, 6

Avielle was happiest when she was on a horse. Her trainer, Annette Sullivan, told the Connecticut Post that Avielle would “giggle when she trotted.” Like kids her age, her first wobbly tooth was a sign she was growing up. “She showed me her wiggly tooth, she was so excited,” Sullivan told the newspaper. “She was the most delightful little girl you ever met in your life.”

Hmmm….sounds like I might need to increase the aforementioned donation, hunh? What did you do to honor Jessica?

Thursday’s Post: Some excavations just shouldn’t take place…

You might also like: 26 Tuesdays: Jessica Rekos; 26 Tuesdays: Caroline Previdi; 26 Tuesdays: Noah Pozner; 26 Tuesdays: Jack Pinto; and 26 Tuesdays: Emilie Parker


26 Tuesdays: Noah Pozner

heart leaves

Jack Pinto was our 26 Tuesdays honoree last week and Jack was into all kinds of sports. Oddly enough, this last week at our house was a time to clean out our garages. Yes, plural. But, don’t get the misconception that we have 4 Audis at our house. We own 2 cars: my 3 year old car, the company car and a rust bucket that our teen drives. The last bay is occupied by a 20 year old Wave Runner and a 10 year old riding lawn mower. And thus, we need some actual space in those garages to house all of that. Since the last teen is about to enter college, we felt safe in eradicating our garage of a lot of old sports equipment from the active child-rearing years.

A good friend of ours gathers people’s junk and sells it semi-monthly. And trust me this old sports equipment is junk! So, he came to our rescue and hauled it all away for us and actually made a little money off of it. I’m not sure who actually did the act of kindness here–him or us! Perhaps it was mutually kind? As a result our MIP Acts of Kindness count stands at 57. Or maybe 58, if we count him hauling our stuff away for free??? Let’s leave it at 57.

So, what did you do in honor of Jack? I hope, one day, we can let the Connecticut folks know that we did a great deal of nice things to honor the folks lost by one terrible act.

Today’s honoree is Noah Pozner. Here is what CNN had to say about Noah:

“He had a huge heart and he was so much fun, a little bit rambunctious, lots of spirit,” Noah’s aunt told CNN. “He was really the light of the room.” Victoria Haller said her nephew loved playing with his cousins and siblings, especially his twin sister. “He was a gorgeous, gorgeous boy and he could really get what he wanted just by batting those long eyelashes and looking at you with those big blue eyes. You really couldn’t say no to him,” she said. His siblings don’t know yet the exact way in which Noah passed away, Haller said. “How do you tell them that’s how their brother died?” she asked. “It’s the unthinkable really.”

Tomorrow’s Post: A MaryAnn in a Martha World…

You might also like: 26 Tuesdays: Jack Pinto, 26 Tuesdays: Emilie Parker, 26 Tuesdays: Anne Marie Murphy, 26 Tuesdays: Grace McDonnell, 26 Tuesdays: James Mattioli




26 Tuesday: Emilie Parker


Last Tuesday we honored Anne-Marie Murphy, one of the teachers at Sandy Hook, who unselfishly covered some of the children with her body to attempt to save their lives. How do you honor a hero? I certainly don’t consider myself a hero, so this was a tricky one for me. But, fortunately, a child and a teen came to my rescue. Ms. Murphy was described as artistic and hard-working and I can think of two young ladies in our church (among many others there) who are extremely artistic, talented and hard-working. One began working hard before she even entered school full-time, singing her way into my heart with her ginger locks and pretty blue eyes. She is now about to graduate high school and also plays a mean piano. While doing 9000 things at once well, she is also the piano and voice teacher for 6 young, aspiring young ladies who pretty much idolize her (They’ve picked an awesome role model!).

One of her young students is just audacious and equally as talented as her mentor when she was the same age. In fact her piano teacher would say she’s even more talented than she was at that age, which is really saying something. This past Sunday the PH and I decided to go and listen to this young lady’s first piano recital and hear her young teacher present her students in concert. Both were awe-inspiring, as well as her other 5 students. We hugged that audacious little lady afterwards and she beamed as we told her how much we loved her performance.

While it may have been a very small act of kindness, I think the point is that all of our youngest citizens need to be praised for all of their positive efforts, even if they are at the beginning stages of the learning curve. And I think Anne-Marie Murphy would have liked that we supported some young artists in this small way.

This puts our MIP Acts of Kindness at 35 to date.

Today we honor Miss Emilie Parker. Here is what CNN said about Emilie:

Emilie “was the type of person who could light up a room,” her father told reporters Saturday. His oldest daughter was “bright, creative and very loving,” and “always willing to try new things other than food,” Robbie Parker said. “Emilie Alice Parker was the sweetest little girl I’ve ever known,” her aunt, Jill Cottle Garrett, said. The family is devastated that “someone so beautiful and perfect is no longer going to be in our lives and for no reason,” Garrett said. “My daughter, Emilie, would be one of the first ones to be standing up and giving her love and support to all of those victims, because that is the type of person she is,” her father said. Emilie’s “laughter was infectious,” he said. “This world is a better place because she has been in it.” Emilie was a mentor to her two younger sisters — ages 3 and 4 — and “they looked to her when they needed comfort,” her father said.

What did you do to honor Ms. Murphy? Please let me know if you participated by submitting a comment below. Thanks!

Tomorrow’s Post: You 3.0: MIP Exercise Plan

You might also like: 26 Tuesday: Anne-Marie Murphy, 26 Tuesday: Grace McDonnell, 26 Tuesday: James Mattioli, 26 Tuesday: Ana Marquez-Greene


26 Tuesdays: Anne Marie Murphy

smiling teacher

Last week’s honoree was Grace McDonnell. Grace loved cupcakes and thus, today I delivered some surprise cupcakes to some friends of mine that I haven’t seen in a long time. This makes our Acts of Kindness MIP count 34.

This week we honor one of Sandy Hook’s teachers. Here’s what CNN said about her:

Anne Marie Murphy, 52
A hero. That’s how a first responder reportedly described Murphy to her father. He told Newsday that authorities told him her body was found in a classroom, covering young children killed in the shooting in an apparent attempt to shield them. “She died doing what she loved. She was serving children and serving God,” Murphy’s mother, Alice McGowan, told the newspaper. A married mother of four, Murphy was artistic and hardworking, her parents said. “She was a happy soul,” her mother told Newsday. “She was a very good daughter, a good mother, a good wife.
What did you do for your Act of Kindness this past week?


Tomorrow’s Post: You 3.0: Mindset, Part III

You might also like: 26 Tuesdays: Grace McDonnell, 26 Tuesdays: James Mattioli, 26 Tuesdays: Nancy Lanza, 26 Tuesdays: Daniel Barden, 26 Tuesdays: Rachel D’Avino


26 Tuesdays: Grace McDonnell


polka dotsAs a reminder, I only share what I’ve been doing as acts of kindness to a) keep myself accountable and b) to encourage my readers to think in creative ways about how they can do acts of kindness for others. Honestly, it’s awkward to write about what I’m doing–I feel like I’m calling attention to what I’m doing and that’s not what an act of kindness is all about, really. But, I hope my awkwardness about it does somehow inspire you to do these acts just because all of us could use some kindness from time to time. And maybe the act of kindness we do will be enough to stop another tragedy sometime in the future.

James Mattioli, last week’s honoree, loved to eat. So, this week I used a gift card I had for a local restaurant to pay for the next person’s order (the person behind me). I left before I could see the reaction on the person’s face, but the person taking my payment smiled, so that made my day!

So, that leaves our total at 33 for right now. What did you do to honor James?

This week’s honoree is Grace McDonnell. Here is what CNN had to say about Grace:

Grace McDonnell, 7
Grace was the “light and love of our family,” her mother told CNN. She loved her brother, school, the beach and wanted to be a painter. For her 7th birthday in November, Grace requested a purple cake with a turquoise peace sign and polka dots. And that’s exactly what she got. “She was all about peace and gentleness and kindness,” Lynn McDonnell told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “Grace didn’t have an ounce of hate in her, and so we have to live through Grace and realize that hate is not how our family is.”

The family drew cupcakes, ice creams cones, lighthouses and seagulls — all things Grace loved — on her tiny white casket.

Tomorrow’s Post: Being a healthy weight is actually patriotic???

You might also like: 26 Tuesdays; James Mattioli, 26 Tuesdays: Ana Marquez-Greene, 26 Tuesdays: Jesse Lewis, 26 Tuesdays: Nancy Lanza, 26 Tuesdays: Chase Kowalski


26 Tuesdays: James Mattioli


Note: It is sad that, as we celebrate the lives of those lost at Sandy Hook Elementary, there are many more lives lost because of the tragedies in Boston and West. As we do acts of kindness for these victims, let us also do good in memory of those lost through these more recent events. And most of all, let us reach out to those who may be feeling left out or victimized by our society so that future tragedies like these stop happening. We must encourage better thinking!

Last week’s 26 Tuesdays honoree was Ana Marquez-Greene. Ana had a great voice and her brother played piano and her dad was a jazz musician. Music is a big part of our family life as well. So, this week I decided to make a contribution to one of my favorite schools and their jazz education program.

So, that puts our count at 30 so far. What did you do for your act of kindness this week? I hope to take our tally and submit it to the 26 acts FB page when we have featured all 26 victims here, so be sure to let me know that you participated.

Today’s honoree is James Mattioli. Here is what CNN had to say about James:

James Mattioli, 6
As he was quick to remind everyone, James was 6 and 3/4. “He loved to wear shorts and T-shirts in any weather and grab the gel to spike his hair,” his family said in a loving obituary. “He would often sing at the top of his lungs, and once asked, ‘How old do I have to be to sing on a stage?'” Indoors, he spent his time playing games on the iPad — especially the lawn mowing one. Outdoors, he loved to dive off the diving board, “swim like a fish” in his grandfather’s pool and ride his bike — without training wheels, mind you. “I need to go outside, Mom. I need fresh air,” he would often say. He was born 4 weeks early — because he was hungry, his family joked. James had a voracious appetite. His favorites? His dad’s egg omelets with bacon, and his mom’s French toast. He looked up to his older sister, wanting to do everything she could. “They were the best of friends, going to school together, playing games together, and making endless drawings and crafts together.” The boy, whose his family fondly called “J,” will be incredibly missed, they said.Tomorrow’s Post: Absolutely…


26 Tuesdays: Ana Marquez-Greene


Last week’s 26 Tuesdays honoree was Jesse Lewis who loved math and horses. My niece also loves math. So much so that she is majoring in math in college. She also has a tremendous heart and has already ventured to Russia to help at the plethora of orphanages in that country. This year she is venturing to the Middle East in the  hopes of making connections between her culture and the Muslim student culture there. Honestly, it scares me some. Things are rather volatile in the Middle East on a good day! But, since she’s my niece and since she’s trying to bring some “love” to a culture that often doesn’t love us, I have to be a supportive aunt. Yes, a check went towards her travel expenses to make this trip possible in memory of Jesse.

That puts our count at 27 acts of kindness to date. What did you do to honor Jesse?

This week we honor Ana Marquez-Greene. Here is what CNN had to say about her:

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
“One, two, three, ready and go,” Ana counts down in a homemade video provided to CNN affiliate WTIC.The girl in pigtails stands in front of a piano as her brother plays. Her voice is clear, bigger than her size. Ana smiles and waves.Her father, Jimmy Greene, is a jazz musician. His representative released a statement on Ana’s death, describing the little girl as “beautiful and vibrant.” 
Let me know if you participated this week. You can submit a comment below or send me an email. Thanks!