By Mitzi Sequoia

Basket Lady hopes everyone in the River Valley had a joy-filled holiday season. And now, we’re free to turn our attention to the adventures and lessons of life that awaits each of us in the New Year. Isn’t it wonderful to know that we can begin our New Year with a clean slate or with a continued slate of giving to others without conditions?
An email from my good friend Jonathan Berkleigh brought gladness to my heart and appreciation for those earthly angels who, through their good deeds and kindness remind us of the heavenly presence and I’m glad to share a portion of his good news.
Slowly but surely, the list of recipients receiving a “Kindness Counts” award is growing and the most recent people to receive this recognition for their good hearts and kindness toward others are Anna Justard, Arita Zitoli and Peggy Blouin, all of Rumford. Also, Charlie Day, now of Brunswick, MD. and Sheila MacPhee Stachura. These present or former residents of Rumford are torchbearers who keep the light of kindness burning. If these people are known to you, please join me in saying “Thanks for having a great heart” and improving the lives of many by your everyday example of love and compassion.
Mr. Rich Surprenant, a resident of Florida, “gets the kindness message” and routinely inspires others to pay-it-forward. Mr. Surprenant never met dear Dot Sanchas; however, they’re kindred spirits in that they “walk their talk” and to Riches’ surprise, he was awarded a coveted Canadian meat pie (Tourtiere) at Christmastime.”
For the very first Basket Lady “Kindness Counts” award, I’d like to nominate both John and Ann Kezal,  dedicated Rumford residents who’ve voluntarily served their community for decades with a strong commitment toward “helping others” and  for them it fits into their theme of, “It’s the right thing to do.” John and Ann are the epitome of kindness and they knew Dot Sanchas very well.
Friend, before we were born, the law of circulation was already active in us. All of our cells were multiplying and our organs were forming, our physical being was in motion.
At birth, we drew our first breath- our first giving and receiving experience. We breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide and as we do so, we contribute to our own great circulatory system. In a similar fashion, when we “go” with the experience (or flow) of giving…our receiving only increases and this is especially true with acts of kindness.
In this New Year, let us resolve to be kind to ourselves, to one another and to God’s creatures. May we dedicate ourselves to living fully in the present and living our lives without fear.
We miss your kindness every day, Dot Sanchas!
Until then, smile, live in the present and know that “Kindness Counts.”

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