Paying It Forward: One Book, Orchid, and Mask at a Time!

Today started out well. A friend was dropping off some orchid plants that she said she was having trouble with and no longer wished to nurse along.  I was surprised because this woman has probably the greenest thumb I’ve ever seen! Anyway, I gladly took the orchids from her to add to my own collection.

Realizing that I was out of my orchid potting mix since I had just repotted some of my own plants a few short weeks ago, I headed out to get some this afternoon. But, on the way out the door, I grabbed a stack of books that have been waiting to be delivered to one of several Little Free Libraries in our town. Today was the day!

The first stop was the elementary school my boys attended – for 13 years I was a parent with a child at this school! I have three boys but their spacing led to a prolonged engagement with our school district, and I became a fixture at the elementary school that was less than a half-mile up the road. They installed a Little Free Library a few years ago and I believe it has been well used. So, today, I stuffed some books inside the already full cabinet. I felt good about it because my books were for upper elementary students, whereas most of the titles I saw were picture books.

I proceeded on to the next stop in town. When we first moved here there was a Little Coffee Shop inside a building that also housed a florist. The coffee shop grew and moved and grew again, and closed.  But, there remain businesses in the building. In front of the spot where now stands a healthy shake shop instead of a coffee shop, there is another Little Free Library.  The larger books I was trying to donate were logic and puzzle books, as well as some storybooks that were oversized.  The contents of this Little Free Library can be seen from the road, so I knew it needed some loving contributions.  I slid the books inside and smiled as I left. It felt good.

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My friend who delivered orchids to be this morning also has a Little Free Library in front of their house. In our effort to quickly catch up in my front hallway, I forgot that I could have given her a stack for their library as well. I won’t worry about this as I have many more books!

While making and donating masks, I have refused remuneration. All I ask is that people pay it forward. I’ve had some great stories of donations to churches and even to work at food banks in lieu of payment for masks. It works out just fine for me to do it this way. We all win – I help to get masks out to people and they, in turn, do something to help in their own way.


As we maneuver through this turbulent time, paying it forward or just doing something nice for a friend as was done for me this morning can make it all more bearable. These actions, I believe, also contribute to a sense of community. And, we need that today, more than ever!


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