Charm Magazine Article

Charm Mag Oct-Nov 2013 (bigger pic)The Lauren Alston Foundation is featured in this month’s October/November issue of Charm magazine, in the Get Involved section.  We are very pleased to be a part of this wonderful magazine and to be given the opportunity for more people to learn about  LAF and our out reach and goals of the Foundation.

Thank you Melissa Heard for your article.  You can pick up a copy of the Charm around town or you can read the whole magazine online.

Below is a link to the magazine and we are on Pages 28 & 29:

Paying it forward…In action

  • We received several notes and messages from friends and family who performed Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) in memory of Lauren…they made us laugh… smile… and they warmed our heart.  Every single act, be it big or small, can have a huge impact on someone’s day or even life…and maybe even yours too.        

    Shelby Portwood and Lauren

    Shelby and Lauren

    A sweet note I received from a good friend of Lauren’s…Shelby Portwood.

    * I have to tell you about how special and wonderful your daughter is.  Yesterday, I was trying to think of an awesome random act of kindness, and all day I just couldn’t decide what to do.  I had a massage scheduled and just decided that I would leave the masseuse a nice tip.  A few hours later I was sitting at the bar, in the restaurant that I work at, when out of the blue the masseuse and his wife came in and had dinner.  My friend/co-worker waited on them; she’s a single mom of two who works two jobs.  She came over later to tell me about this nice couple who left her an awesome tip, just when she needed it.  Paying it forward, in action.  I know a lot of sadness comes from not having her physically here, but I believe, wholeheartedly, that her spirit and her kindness can still touch even those who didn’t get the chance to meet her.*

    Some of the posts I received on RAK’s done in Lauren’s memory are:

    Roy A.  ~ I sent cards to cheer some suffering folks!!! Love u Suz!! and Bryan

    Ben O.  ~ I’m taking my class on a charity walk today to benefit victims of the earthquake in China…and the sun is shining!

    *Ben is a 1st cousin to Lauren, who is a teacher living in Hong Kong, and he also participated in Outward Bound Adventure Race…a test of brains and brawn, where the participants ran, swam, kayaked and answered quick-fired questions…on the 15-19 km race around Hong Kong Island.  Monies raised are used to help underprivileged groups take part in outdoor and adventure programs.  Ben said…”I ran faster…for Lauren”.                          

    Ben Owens in Outward Bound Adventure Race 2013

     Ben is on the far right… “006B”

    John J.  ~ Giving Heaven booklet to several recent grieving family members.

    Andrea W.  ~ Left pennies last night at the horse, sent a surprise to Georgia for Chase, and working on another one right now.
    *Andrea is a 2nd cousin to Lauren, who lives in Colorado, and for several years now she and her sweet daughter, Lianna, randomly leave pennies at the supermarket “horse ride” so other children can ride for free…imagine those kiddos squeals at finding pennies for a free ride on the horse…makes me smile…what a fun RAK….wish we had penny horses in Texas.

    Andrea, Kevin & Lianna
    Please send me a message when you perform a RAK in Lauren’s memory…we would love to hear the “who, where and why” of your act.  Thank you for continuing Lauren’s legacy of reaching out to others.

Random Acts of Kindness

Yesterday was the 3 year anniversary of her physical death…and I chose to celebrate her life…I chose to not let the sadness of the day suck me under…to the dark waters…I chose not to spend my day mourning and crying…I do that enough already.  I wanted it to be a day of smiles…laughter… and Random Acts of Kindness….aka: RAK’s…I wanted to make others smile…and laugh…so I could…and hopefully Lauren would too.

I started my day by thinking of Lauren and what she loved…what made her happy…made her smile.  Lauren enjoyed older folks…she was good with them…listening to their stories…playing games with them.  Some people have a gift for that…the patience…the understanding…the knowledge of when to listen and when to make them laugh.  So my first RAK was to buy some single, long stem roses…I wanted to share the beauty of the roses…the beauty of my rose.  I took a dozen yellow…a dozen pink and white…to a local nursing home.  As I went through the front door…right there…waiting…was a little, gray-haired woman in a wheelchair.  She said “Oh what beautiful roses you have”…and I said “Yes ma’am they sure are”…I pulled 1 yellow rose from the bunch and handed it to her saying…”This is for you…have a beautiful day…from Lauren”…her face lite up…she smelled it… and she thanked me profusely.  That was enough for me…that face…that smile.  I took the rest to the nurses station and asked them to please pass them out to anyone who needed their spirits lifted today…she said they would be happy to.  I didn’t explain why…I didn’t tell…I didn’t want it to be about my sadness…  my loss…but about Lauren’s smile and beauty…I also didn’t want the recipient to feel sadness for my loss…only the happiness and joy of getting a beautiful flower.  I didn’t have to see the end results…of the 23 others who received a rose…it lifted my heart…made me smile…to see that one and know it was multiplied.

Lauren loved animals…and we have always had a pet…usually a dog…usually two at a time…lol.  While she was at college…living on her own…she missed have a pet…someone to snuggle and play with.  One house she lived in with 2 other girls…one of them had a cat.  Now Lauren was allergic to cats…but she wasn’t gonna let that stop her from moving in…she said she would just keep her bedroom door shut and the cat out.  Well…that didn’t last long…she couldnt take it and the cat couldn’t either…he snuck in or forced his way in…to her room and her heart.  It was a kinky- haired cat that was supposed to be non-allergenic…and soon he was sleeping in her room…on her bed…on her clothes on the floor.  She loved it…she had a furry pet friend again.  Lauren had just moved out of that house the week before she died…she moved in with her grandparents to save some money before graduating…and Cosmo…yes, that was is name…Cosmo missed her terribly…keep looking for her…going in her room…meowing.   So my second RAK was to take a huge bag of dog food and cat food to the local animal shelter.

My third RAK…I took an apple pie to the front office of the RV park we stay in while we spend our 6 months a year in Fredericksburg.  They had been so kind to us…sending a beautiful plant..when they heard the news of her death…even though we had only just started staying there…and they didn’t know her.  I’m sure they didn’t know what the day was…but I wanted to make them smile…with a piece of apple pie…so I left it in the break room for all to enjoy.

My last RAK is still in progress…it’s a roll of pennies.  I plan to leave them in places…when I “feel the need”…maybe on the pavement…on a counter…on the floor.  You see I hope it will be the “penny from Heaven” that someone needs that day…whether it ends up being the “one” they needed when checking out at the store…or the “one” that is a sign from their loved one who has gone on before them…that they are loved.  I remember one day talking with my friend…who is also my nail tech and was giving me a manicure…about Lauren and her life…because she knew her too.  I was telling her about the “God winks” I had been getting and told her they were kinda like “pennies from Heaven”.  I can’t remember for sure if she had heard of that phrase before…but I told her the meaning behind the words.  We continued to laugh…and cry… talking about Lauren…and when I left and got to my car…there were 2 pennies on the running board of my car.  There was no “reason” for them to be there…and no one, who had been in hearing distance of us…had left the salon.  I started crying again…and had to go back in and show Kristal what I had found…”pennies from Heaven”…one for her…one for me.

RAK’s don’t have to cost you any money….just a little time….it’s the thought of others that counts.  It could be a smile for someone…a head nodded  in acknowledgment…holding a door open…letting someone go ahead of you in a checkout line…a phone call to check on a friend…a handwritten thank you note to a teacher…it can only cost us just a little time…to make someone smile…laugh…or feel better.  A little kindness goes a long way…it’s healing…it’s heartwarming…it’s happiness… for them…and it sure was for me…I was able to laugh…to smile…to have a happier heart.