The Life-Changing Power of Kindness and a Smile

Last Thursday my 79-year-old mother finally agreed to conquer her iPad fear. She’s had an iPhone for almost two years. An iPad would mean a larger screen. More user-friendly.

But she was eaten up by what-ifs. 

I’ve wrestled with what-ifs a bazillion times. Mother’s always been the one to encourage me.

On the way to Best Buy, we stopped for lunch. I said a quick blessing. “Thank You for our food. Please help us shop.”

And give Mother courage. 

“And Lord,” she added. “Will You please send us a nice salesperson? Someone who’s kind and smiles a lot.”

After I said “amen” she started backpedaling.

“Really, Julie. We don’t have to do this today. I know you’re busy.”

“You’re going to have an iPad. Today.”

“What if I can’t do it? What if I’m not smart enough? What if–”

“Baby steps.” I patted her hand. “Take a deep breath. You can do this.”

Inside Best Buy, a friendly-looking salesman approached us. “Hi. My name is Jeremy. How can I help you?”

I have a brother named Jeremy. Mother and I looked at each other. 

See. It’s gonna be fine. His name is Jeremy. And he’s smiling.

Jeremy helped us choose a gold iPad with a cute little stand. He didn’t act like Mother was a bother. Or stupid. He answered all her questions.

“Well, you ’bout ready?” I said. “Time to check out.”

She looked at me, big-eyed.

“What if I can’t–?”

“What if you can?”

“Mother, you’ve come this far by faith. No turning back.”

Jeremy, bless his sweet heart. 

He acted like it was perfectly normal for customers to talk about fear and faith at the check-out counter. 

He surprised her and downloaded three free apps — Kindle, YouVersion Bible, and AccuWeather.

Aren’t people like Jeremy at Best Buy THE BEST!

On the way home, we stopped by Starbucks for a quick lesson.”Look at you! Sitting in Starbucks with your iPad!”

“I’m faking it. I have no idea what I’m doing.”

“Pretty soon, it’ll make sense.”

Her dark brown eyes met mine. “Okay. I think I can do this.”

She called the next day. “Guess what? I’m listening to Patsy Cline, The Plattersand Jim Reeves. They’re singing whatever songs I ask them to.”

Mother wants you to hear her favorite song, “Only You” by the Platters. Click “The Platters” above if you can’t see the video.

So many people have helped me do scary stuff–including YOU! 🙂 

What have you been afraid of? Was there a kind person like Jeremy who led the way? 

Fear shrinks our worlds. Faith does the opposite. Click to Tweet. 

Speak the words, “I can do this.” Faith soars and fear flees. Click to Tweet



A Morning with Mother in the 21st Century

I was thrilled. Mother was finally getting a new cell phone and she’d acted a tiny bit interested in a computer. Maybe even an iPad. But there was one problem.

I’d be teaching her.

A few weeks ago…

“I’m not sure if you need wireless–”

“Wallace? I don’t know anyone named Wallace,” she said.

Wire-less, Mother. You may need a router.”

“What kind of rider?”

I took a long, deep breath.

Yesterday I made a house call.

“This is how I write. See my thesaurus?”

(We write for Daily Guideposts and edit each other’s devotionals.)

I moved her Easter centerpiece and set up my workspace. Neat. Tidy. Efficient.

“Doesn’t this look simpler?”

She didn’t respond.

She handed me one of her marked-up devotionals to read.

I felt tired just looking at it.

I typed a few sentences on my laptop. “If you got a computer, look, no more Whiteout. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”

“I love the smell of Whiteout. This is how I edit.”

I tried my best to keep a straight face.

To keep her on task.

I was there for a purpose.

To give iPhone lessons.

She’d already mastered phone calls.  I took a selfie and showed her how to send a picture.

Next we sent a practice text.

“This sure is a lot of work. Why not just call someone?”

“Texting saves times. Write short texts. Like shorthand.”

“I don’t see the benefits.”

I felt like I was shoving a load of bricks, but she was smiling, so proud of her red cell phone. “At least I’ve gotten started,” she said.

“True. I think that’s enough work for today.”

She fixed us a Pepsi. Laughing with her, an old truth came to me.

You can’t change someone.

And you can wear yourself out trying.

I hugged her and replaced her Easter centerpiece.

Can you relate?