“Be Kind to One Another,” She Said.

Tis the Season. Joy and kindness flourish.

It’s notable in Long Beach, just as it is in your hometown, explosions of light by people wanting to share their good tidings with us all.

There’s the big Wowza in Long Beach, the sea of love garden that is popular all year round. It’s the garden I first wrote about here:

Home owner, Lisa Wong-Esposito, in coordination with Tina Pascullo of Limitless Design, have gone all out to give back to the Long Beach community that has shown so much appreciation for their work over the years.

Lisa’s home and garden.Photo, Tina Pascullo

Lisa and Tina tell me they get so much joy from watching the faces, and hearing the thank yous of the passers-by for all their seasonal displays. So, they tell me they dedicate this year’s Christmas presentation to Long Beach.

The corner of Long Beach Rd and Beech St is home for Lisa. For Tina this corner is the canvas on which she paints petals in spring and electric splendor at Christmas. (Photo, Tina Pascullo)

We need these expressions of kindness and joy at least once a year. It helps keep the heart of hope beating within us.

We are beset with unkindness, even cruelty, in our day-to-day lives. The broad spectrum of troubles assaults us from the massacre news on TV to the guy cutting us off on Park Ave. 

Could it be that the guy cutting us off is just in keeping with the tone of the world?  I think he is. I suspect he doesn’t feel he’s an outlier, nor do some of us when we are rude, we just shrug—whatever?

Maybe we need to change the basics, the tone of life, to help create a world in which, barring mental illness, it’s almost unheard of to be rude or worse—cruel.

It’s easy to offer kindness when kindness is provided, and that’s a good thing. But to be kind first, to ignite a kindness fire is to kindle compassion in a world that can often be so cold.

The words that caption this essay, “Be Kind to One Another,” are the words ending a note one of you sent to Cheryl and me.

As you read the message, you can sense that the writer spoke from a place deep within her, a place we go at challenging times. Her challenging time was Christmas 2012. Cheryl and I touched this lovely lady in a simple gesture that Christmas.

Carol wrote:

Dear Lee and Cheryl,

Thank you so much for the photo and the impressionist(?) picture of my house from this past week. I was taken aback, in a good way, from your kindness and appreciation. We surely need a little more gentleness, and kindness of spirit in this  world.

My parents lived next door to me, and last Nov. a few days after the hurricane, my dad passed away at the age of 91. Then my mom passed away, the day after Christmas, at 88. So this is my first Christmas without them. I used to leave my blinds open on the side of my house, so they could see out their windows and see the tree, as in later years, i was the only one who put up a tree. In some way, I feel a connection to your recognizing my decorations and my parents, no longer being here. Just yesterday, I put up a Nativity on my lawn. I always wanted one, and my mom did too.

Thank you for brightening MY day, and making me smile.

I wish you the best of this season, and into the NEW YEAR.

Be kind to one another.


Carol wrote that in response to a simple kindness we showed her in our appreciation for her cozy Christmas home. I wrote about it here:

“A Smile in the Light”:

“Selfishness, It’ Not Just for Christmas”:

I’m about to start my tenth year of posting photo essays to you, dear readers, almost 250 of them now.

The theme that threads my posts is often about mindful meditation and kindness. Those are essential to bear in mind as we ride this whirling planet together.

Mindfulness allows us to be more present and realize we are here but a short time together—with our family—with our friends—but also our fellow beings, who also seek happiness.

Kindness connects us. We touch a place in another with kindness. That touching not only connects us but brings out the kindness in others.

Sure, I know many of you will laugh at my “naiveté.” my talking about kindness to our nearby others as mass shootings rage across America and howitzers blast upon Ukraine. But this is about changing many Americans’ tone, maybe the world’s tone.

It’s often the “little” things that carry the most kindness. You don’t have to do much to impact another’s day, sometimes another’s life. Maybe your own as well.

Yes, the news will still batter us, but if we feel connected through mutual kindness, we’ll make a difference in this world, one tiny gesture at a time. Hundreds of millions of you know this, who do this, who live this. I have received such acts of kindness, and those acts have stayed with me for years.

Cheryl loves taking photos of homes and sharing them with those homeowners. She started it one spring taking photos of the floral swaths before homes, sometimes mounting them on magnetic backing for fridge mounting. Watching her scatter kindness wherever she went was infectious, so I joined her. Cheryl’s an example of setting a good tone to life. If you check out the links to the essays above you’ll see what I mean.

Cheryl’s filter work on another president street photo she gave its owner

I believe there is a chestnut of kindness in each of us. All it takes is another’s kindling to release its aroma into the world.

Before you go please visit this video from Christmas past, it might make you smile:

“New York City, Decked in Tinsel”

Have a fantastic Christmas.

Be kind to one another

and please include our fellow creatures too.


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