Your mom was right…

Let’s face it, we hardly ever want to admit that our mom was right about some advice she dolled out when we were 18 and so wrapped up in ourselves and we were sure we knew, EVERYTHING already!

Fast forward to your 40’s and you’re looking in the mirror and find yourself talking to your tired, drawn, ruddy reflection…”Mom was right, I should have listened to her when she told me to take care of my skin”

For me, I never had to deal with teen acne breakouts, oily skin, dry skin, or any other skin issues. I actually was always told I had great skin. Little did I realize, the older I got, that great skin was going to need extra nourishment from me. I needed to feed my skin, either by my diet, and by my skin care regime. I hate drinking water and am always dehydrated,  I am addicted to coffee, and tea, and I hardly ever took care of my skin. If you have a good thing, you better keep nourishing it.

When I began using my Max & Madeleine products, I didn’t think I had bad skin. Sure I was 42, had some fine lines, some deeper lines, redness (undiagnosed rosacea) dry, rough skin on my face and decolete. But I didn’t think I had bad skin. People would still comment how nice my skin looked, but nowhere near as much as when I was younger.

I slowly began incorporating more of our Anti-Aging skin care products into my abysmal skincare routine.  Who am I kidding, I never had a routine. First it was the Rose Hibiscus skin toner, then the Anti Aging face serum, followed by the eye elixir, and then our Facial Cleansing Powder, and finally adding to my arsenal our Detox Clay Mask. I couldn’t commit myself to everything at once, so I added items I thought could help me see a change, and I took photos to actually see it for myself.

Was I systematically keeping a routine, nope. Still couldn’t and can’t get myself to be consistent with my skin care. But let me tell you, even without being consistent, I am seeing results. Actually the results had to be pointed out to me. Sure I see some improvement when I look back at my reflection now, but not until it’s been brought to my attention how more dewy and refreshed my skin looks did I actually NOTICE it myself. I think that unnoticing factor is something we all struggle with. Wether it’s not seeing the weight we are gaining in our reflection, yet knowing our clothes fit differently. We feel and see our skin changing, but don’t actually notice until we are told, or see it in a photo.

This week I met up with some phenomenal women for a gathering of like minds. I’m truly thankful for my tribe! They helped me see a change in myself that I wasn’t truly aware of. When I first arrived for our meeting, I was rushing from the gym, freshly showered but without a stitch of make up or moisturizer on, because I was afraid I’d be late.

“Ugh how can I meet them with no make up on? I look like I just woke up” all those thoughts running through my head as I drove to meet them. When I walked in I was greeted by Melissa and she immediately mentioned how great my skin looked. “Me, my skin?” that’s what I replied, instead of saying, thank you! That goes to show you how we perceive ourselves and our mindset. Here I was assuming my skin looked bad because I hadn’t put a stitch of makeup on, and she is complimenting me on it. Go figure.

 

When everyone finally arrived, we all got to talking about our plans, and when there was a lull in the conversation, I pulled out my Max & Madeleine “before & in progress” picture that I had taken. They all agreed that there was definitely changes in my skin tone, texture, the redness, etc.  from September 2017 to October 2017, and then to April 2018. They all encouraged me to take an updated in progress picture comparing my skin from September to April. When I went home I started looking over photos from the last few months and I could actually see a difference. It’s not phenomenal but it is significant in my eyes.

img_4867The following morning I took their advice. I’m not a selfie fan, and I’m not a fan of posting pictures of myself without any kind of makeup. Although my makeup consists of tinted moisturizer and maybe a swipe of lip tint. Still the vulnerability of just being fresh faced was daunting, but I did it. I snapped that picture and did a side by side. I’m most impressed with the reduced redness, improved texture & tone, reduced puffiness & dark circles under my eyes, my fine lines look finer, and the best part of the transformation… I am able to achieve these results with out the use of harsh chemicals, or spending a fortune on my skin care. Who can really say their skincare can do that? The minimal investment I’m putting towards my skincare, is yielding some pretty impressive results. Then I think “just imagine if I did this every day”

I always say, what you put on your skin is absorbed into your body, just as what you put into your body is reflected on your skin. Hydrate yourself, take care of your body, take care of your skin, listen to your moms advice even if you think you know everything already.

If you’d like to learn how you can achieve significant results, without the use of toxic chemicals, and without spending a fortune on your skin care routine, reach out to me. If you already know that making the switch to organic, non toxic personal care products has benefits far beyond the physical appearance of your skin, then please follow my link to my website and browse all the fantastic products we offer. And if you are ready to take the plunge into offering these amazing products to your tribe, then please join me on this journey. You can follow me on Instagram, join my Facebook page to keep updated on all things Max & Madeleine!

 

**My results are based on my own personal experience using, Max & Madeleine personal care products. I am also an Independent Advisor with the company. This post has not been paid for.

 

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Wordless Wednesday

Clean, Pure, Organic Ingredients to Nourish your skin? I’m In!!

Clean, Pure, Organic Ingredients to nourish your skin! When I saw that, I was intrigued. I wasn’t hooked instantaneously, I’m not gonna lie to you. Why? Because I like to do my research and make sure all my I’s are dotted, and T’s are crossed.

I began my search for skin care products that were, gluten-free, chemical free, had transparent ingredient lists, sensitive to the environment, made in the USA, vegan, and no animal testing. It was a big list of wants, well my needs, to be exact.

If you remember anything about what I’ve blogged about over the years you know that Gluten Free living is my lifestyle. It’s been that way since 2012. It has not only gone from foods that I eat, but it also encompasses the products I use in my daily life. Shampoo, toothpaste, soap, lotions, skin creams & potions. You get it. Pretty much everything.

We as a society are aware of what we put IN our bodies. Why aren’t we aware of what we put ON our bodies?

img_0936Chemicals get absorbed through the skin into our bodies and wreak havoc upon us. Some it’s quite apparent in the form of symptoms, and for others it slowly shows up in various ways. We are all created differently, and react differently, I tend to react quickly when something is not right for me. Either in hives, patches, dry spots, you name it I get it.

So it was crucial for me to find something that I could trust to be sensitive to my skin, yet deliver results that I was looking for. And I’m looking for results.

I’m 42 (gasp) middle age (whatever) !! I’m just Paula, and Paula wants to take care of her skin like she did when she was in her teens and 20’s. You know, before life took over and time for self-care went out the window with dinner dishes, and life crisis.

I’m on my journey of reclaiming “self-care” I don’t know if that’s an actual thing or not, but I guess because I’m calling it that, it is now. I’ve lost myself in the mixture of life events, and at some point we need to be our own life-preserver. Ok will skin care be my life preserver? Probably not. BUT Max & Madeleine is helping me reclaim a little bit of myself slowly, and I like slowly, because too much too soon burns you out. I like this little journey I decided to give myself, and if in the midst of my journey of self-care, I can help someone else out that’s amazing to me.

I’m very frank in this blog, so lets keep that realness here for a moment so forgive me if I offend anyone. But. I’m not one of those pushy bitchy sales people. That’s not me, never has been, never will be. I’m not going to try to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge, I want to show you what these products have done for me. I will be real with you, and you can be real with me. If you don’t particularly like or care for Organic, Clean, Non-Toxic ingredients, then so be it. Keep on keeping on with your current product line I have no problem with that. But if you are interested in cleaner, more purposeful products, ask me a question. If I have the answer I’ll let you know, if I don’t then I’ll get it for you somehow.

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Clean, Pure, Organic Ingredients with a purpose. For babies to grandparents there is a product for everyone. A Boo Boo stick, Healing balm, hair detaingeler, deodorant, acne prone teen/adult skin, and even anti aging serums & elixirs (woohoo my crow’s-feet are doing a scaredy pants dance) 😉 After 13 days of using the Rose Hibiscus Toner Water, my skin feels tighter, and more refreshed. I’ve also just started using the Skin Rescue Anti-Aging Serum & Skin Rescue Intensive Repair Eye Elixir (today) and I’m looking forward to the results. And as for that bomb Healing Balm, it’s been doing wonders for Davids skin & mine as well. Keep an eye out for some before and after photos, although I’m not sure David will want me posting his picture around the world just yet, close friends have commented how good his skin has been looking the last 2 weeks. So it’s definitely working it’s magic.

Are these miracle workers? Nope, but they sure come close.

What do you have to lose?

∞A moment of time to ask a question.

∞A 30 day money back guarantee if you’re not completely satisfied with a product.

∞Phalates, Parabens, Toxic Chemicals, Gluten, just to name a few.

Not to shabby if you ask me.

You can follow my Max & Madeleine Journey at Facebook.com/blissfullyorganicliving

and shop my catalog at-  shop.maxandmadeleine.com/pauladonnolo

**Disclaimer. This is not a paid advertisement, but I am an Independent Advisor for Max & Madeleine products. I not only sell the products but I also use them. These views are solely my own and have not been paid for by the company I independently sell for. 

 

I am that friend.

img_0480Do you have a friend who seems distant, not themselves?

Do you feel neglected, like you don’t know them anymore?

Well, there’s something I wish people understood. Maybe that friend who seems to have fallen off the face of the earth isn’t ignoring you, purposely. Maybe they are trying to deal with their own shit, and by becoming quiet, reclusive, distant, etc. is their way of dealing.

Even if it seems not to be their “normal” reaction, maybe their new normal is qute taxing. It seems easy enough to reach out and ask, “How have you been, I haven’t heard from you in a while, is everythig ok?”

Instead of reacting “Oh *insert name here* doesn’t want to be bothered with me anymore because life must be grand!”

Don’t make it about you, until you ask and find out.

Sometimes people retreat because they really don’t know what to do, and they’re just going through the motions of life as best they can.

Moral of the story…ask, don’t assume, you might be surprised, and you just might be offering a saving hand.

 

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I woke up this morning and realized, I am that friend.

Through no intentional fault of my own, I have become that person.

Life gets in the way. Life is not always rainbows and unicorns, I say this constantly. Life is an ever evolving work in progress, and sometimes, our progress stalls, crashes down around us, and… we retreat.

Why do we do this?

I’ve no clue.

But it happens. Then one day you finally realize it, and you find yourself saying WTF! How did I let this happen? What was the turning point?

And then you see it, maybe there was no one specific thing, it was all the little things in life taking space, taking precedence. Life as you knew it had changed, and a new world order took over. Head first into the abyss, and you either sink, or swim, or hold on to the edge of the pool…and hope your bathing suit doesn’t fall off.

This is not a WOE is me tale, this is a WHOA is me tale.

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Big difference. It has a mixture of woe’s and whoa’s. But what a more compassionate world this would be if more people took the time to ask “How are you doing?” instead of being on the defensive. I know this isn’t always the case, and some people are downright rude and obnoxious, only thinking about themselves, and truly couldn’t give a rats ass about you and your problems, so they ignore you. Yet a lot of people walk this earth daily, putting on a brave face so no one is the wiser to their turmoil. It takes a lot of work to put on that brave face, and sometimes that brave face takes all the effort some people can muster.

But remember, not everyone is the same. Not everyone deals with trials like you do. So ask, ask the next time you feel slighted.

What do you have to lose? The friendship that is no longer serving your well being? So be it if that is the case, because then You will benefit in the end by freeing yourself of a toxic relationship. Isn’t that refreshing? Isn’t that glorious, to free yourself of what weighs you down?

BUT if by you reaching out for a few moments of a conversation to a friend who seems distant, helps them from teetering on the edge of the abyss, then aren’t both of you better off in the end?

I think the answer is quite simple, don’t you?

 

You have become the bully you so valiantly admonish!

Living in America, we are afforded certain inalienable rights. Freedom of speech is one of them. But in that freedom comes responsibility. Responsibility not to spew forth, hate, vitriol, falsehoods, or “Alternative Facts” as Facts. What I’m getting at is…what do you do to a child who outright lies to you, over and over again? Do you not correct their wrongdoings with some sort of consequence? Is there not a punishment for lying to a parent, guardian, or any other human being? If in fact the lie was outright egregious, then it should be handled as a lie, if however it was just misinformation or poor knowledge, it should also be handled accordingly as to rectify the wrongdoings.

Or am I wrong? Would you just continue to let your child lie to you and countless others, because it’s “Their Truth” ?

I doubt any good parent would knowingly allow their child to lie, without reprimanding them and teaching them the lessons of right and wrong. I’m reminded of the little story “The boy who cried wolf.” keep lying and no one will believe you when you’re really telling the truth. Eventually it happens, and when it does, I’m sure the circumstances are not idyllic.

I’ve seen much in the ways of propaganda, lies, and just outlandish juvenile behavior from people who I both admire, and associate with as friends, acquaintances, etc. I understand the right to have opposing opinions on various subjects, and I get a good meme from time to time is a quick way to show how you’re really feeling at the moment about a particular situation at hand, but come on people show a little decorum. Show a little respect. For yourselves.

When you are bashing the Woman’s March on DC, and posting a meme that says, “Get back in the kitchen where you belong, and make me a sandwich.”  “Trump got more than a million woman out exercising in one day than, Michelle Obama did in eight years” You are what’s wrong with this world. You are portraying nothing less than childish behavior at the expense at another human being. You are showing your children how to behave and act in this world, you are grooming our boys into men, and showing our girls where their place is in this world as well. Ultimatley you’re doing nothing to promote your cause.

You have become the Bully you so valiantly admonish! 

Think about that for a moment, and let it sink in.

By showing, or saying certain things, attacking groups of people, you are no better than the gum on the bottom of my shoe. And trust me I’m being kind by suggesting that.

You don’t need to be a feminist, to have compassion, dignity, and acceptance of others/things that are different from you. You have to be a human. Plain and simple it doesn’t get easier than that.

I have witnessed on my Facebook feed countless meme’s of hate and anger towards feminists, women in general, LGBTQ, African-Americans, etc and each and almost every one of those people who are posting, always have a savvy meme or copy and paste diatribe of words that they have scooped up from someone who is on a warpath. Hardly any of them have put into their own words what they really feel. Again I get the quick wit of just copying and sharing something that aligns with your thoughts and feelings, I’ve done it myself on occasion.

The most recent one I’ve seen circulating Facebook is one of  a particular status that expresses the reason why women did not support the marches.

First let me say, you don’t have to support the march, you should respect those that feel the need to march, however. You must realize that not everyone has the same advantages as you or I for that matter. We are afforded the right to peaceful protest under the US Constitution, we should take advantage of it. I’m not saying violence is acceptable, there is a distinct line between violent protests, and those that are peaceful. I support peaceful protests, even if I don’t participate with them, or feel they align with my values. Everyone is entitled to opinions, as you are entitled to not agree with the protests that have taken place, but to bash another person for feeling the need to stand up for what they believe is, is like telling you not to hold your beliefs true. Isn’t it?

I’m not sitting behind this monitor telling you your ideals are wrong. I don’t agree with you, but I’m not telling you you’re wrong, unless your promoting a lie.

Most of the women who are protesting are doing so because they have at one time or another felt disrespected, held down, belittled, abused, treated as second class citizens, etc. They feel at this point this is how to get their voices heard. And although we were heard in the election, our countries election process does not believe in popular vote. If you still believe that Hillary only won the popular vote because of illegal immigrant votes, I have a bridge to sell you.

You don’t have to agree with those that chose to march, you do however need to stop living a life of “I” and instead of stating…

I’m not disrespected

I’ve never felt that way before

I’ve never been abused

I don’t believe in their cause…

How about remove yourself from the equation, and think about THEM. Why are they doing what they are doing. I’m thrilled that You haven’t endured the atrocities that many of these women have faced, and are trying to prevent. I’m saddened by their experiences and the fact that this election has elicited such emotion from them that they are scared. Scared of what could happen, scared of what is happening slowly to our future. I’ve had my own share of problems in life, some that no one will ever know of, but when I hear and see things that so many people are saying it shakes me to my soul, because I know of what possiblilites stand on the other side of that door.

I don’t mind a world with varying opinions, I actually encourage thought-provoking, intelligent ones, but what I do mind is hate! Hate from people I call, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, family… it’s sickening, sad, and angers me.

Instead of bashing one another, or dismissing someones cause, how about you ask them why they are doing what they are doing. Ask them if you can help, even if in another way. You don’t need to stand with them in solidarity marching through the streets, but you should however offer a shoulder or a listening ear for their cause. If at the end of the conversation, you still can’t accept their ideas, wish them well… and walk away.

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Walking away isn’t bad, actually it’s quite acceptable, but be respectful. I understand that there is hate and negativity on both sides.  I remember the days of seeing memes referencing monkeys, and posts of violence against, President Obama, but of course many people tend to forget what has happened in the past. People who felt those posts were horrible are constantly told to “Buckle up butter cup. Stop being a snowflake. Go away and color. Find a safe place”  Those same people who were telling you were to go back then are at it now, but with a sense of power and authority behind them because “our guy won and your bitch lost” But remember this one thing, the past predicts the future, and our past is dark, we must do all we can to change the future, and the only way to change that is to change ourselves. Keep standing up for the truth.

If we constantly bash one another, even in a joking manner, it is still negative energy being let out into this glorious world we inhabit. Let us be better than our past, better than our worse selves, and better than someone who can not see past themselves.

Hold up, wait a minute! Where did the time go?

There are times in life when you just have to say, “Hold up, wait a minute! Where did the time go?”

I’ve found myself saying that at least once a week over the last few months. I’ve wanted to write. I’ve needed to write. BUT, I could not bring myself to do it. Why? I haven’t a clue. I mean I do have somewhat of a clue, like the simple fact that by the time the end of the day hit, dinner was made, the house was cleaned, errands were run, people were visited, and life was in full swing…I was exhausted. Completely drained. And in some cases, in a lot of pain. I can put on a brave face, and try to look fine, and in most cases I succeed. Then there are days I just want to sit in my leggings and scroll the newsfeeds, get caught in the sickness of politics, life in the outside world, and forget what it is that’s bothering me at the moment. Hey at least I got out of my pajamas, and changed clothes, amiright?

Then there are the moments I have an idea, a spark of something to write about, and then I self censor. The critic inside my head has much to say.

“No one wants to read this or that. It’s not interesting. It’s not relevant. It’s not good enough. It’s boring. It’s not funny enough. It’s not thought provoking. It’s not timely. People don’t even see your posts. It just sucks.

That’s when I cave. I give in to the negativity, I give in to the inner critic. The critic that really sucks in it self.

Then there are the moments when I run into people and they ask me,

“How come I haven’t seen your blog posts? Am I not looking in the right place? Am I missing it in my newsfeed? Have you stopped writing? I haven’t seen you at the coffee shop, where you normally write from. Where have you been?

I’ve hit a wall I’ve often said. I feel there isn’t much to write about right now. Life has drained my energy level and I don’t have it in me to write anymore. But that’s not always true. I have it in me, but I feel it’s not good enough. I should just say screw it, put it to page, and let it happen. I’ve wanted to write about our vacations this summer and fall, the places we’ve seen, the food we’ve eaten, and yet when I go to write, I’m stopping myself.

That’s when it hit me. New Year’s Eve.

The ball had dropped, Mariah Carey had a meltdown of sorts ( I actually was enjoying our company and didn’t pay much attention to the Dick Clark Rockin Eve celebration until the last 30 seconds or so) and it occurred to me…

What the fuck am I waiting for? Nike slogan ran through my head…Just do it! Who cares who reads it. Who cares if it’s good to someone else. Who cares if it’s funny, interesting, relevant, thought provoking. It may not be today, but it may be in a few months, or weeks or even years. And then even if it never is any of the above, Who the fuck cares. It’s good enough for me, it’s good for my soul, it gives me lightness, it gives me peace and it’s good enough for me.

Now here we are on the brink of a new year. No resolutions, just go with the flow and enjoy the moment.

Happy New Year. Happy days of writing whatever the heck I want to write about, if I want to write about it. If you read it, I appreciate it and thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you don’t read it, I appreciate that as well, and thank you from the bottom of my heart. image

A little tug at the heartstrings

I’ve been MIA from the blog for a few weeks. Not because I want to but because life is just all over the place in good ways. David and I were away a few times, once with the boys and once alone. So my time to blog has been a little constrained for good reason. But I needed to share a little something near and dear to my heart.

logo_of_the_united_states_marine_corpsMost people close to me know that, David is a former Marine…let me add Once a Marine, Always a Marine, and he’s my Marine.

A few weeks ago he had an appointment and we ran into each other at the food store before he went to it, and would later meet up at home. While I was there, buying manzanella olives, and some pickles, I saw this older gentleman who seemed to have a little trouble reaching the canned vegetables. Now I’m a shorty, but I did offer my assistance to see if I could help him get what he needed. He was so thankful, and told me he was looking for the canned corn but couldn’t find it. It so happened to be on a lower shelf and I picked it up for him and he thanked me so much. I told him to have a good day and enjoy his dinner.

I finished up my shopping and checked out. When I got home, I made a little something to eat and cleaned up a little bit. David arrived soon after, and he had this look on his face. Something was off, but it wasn’t bad, it was just that he had a little sadness in his eyes.

What’s the matter? I asked

He then tells me before his appointment he went to the pizza shop to get a slice of pizza, and about 10 min later an older gentleman walked into the shop.

As David relayed the encounter he spoke as if he was the gentleman.

He walks in and asks the waitress “Am I allowed to eat there?” When she said yes, he then asks “Can I have chicken Parmigiano and do you have hot Italian bread?”. She said yes to both and she seemed a little shocked. He then asks “Can I sit here and eat it at a table? She tells him to go and pick any one he’d like and his food will be right out.

“I noticed right away he was wearing a hat, he was a WWII Vet. A Marine. I tried to get the waitresses attention, but she kept ignoring me. Finally I walked up to her and told her to add his meal to mine. And if he asked, Thank him for his service, from one Marine to another Marine”

 

David brought me to tears, and I’m sure he’s not to happy I’m writing about this, it’s personal, it’s at a level I didn’t understand, Marine to Marine, that is. But I do understand.

“He looked so alone, and as he asked if he could eat there, it just hit me.”

I asked if the gentleman was wearing grey sweatpants, and he said yes. I then told him my little story, it was the same man in the food store I had helped with his canned corn. We took a moment just thinking about it. I told him in his own way he made that mans night and I’m sure that he’d be grateful for the gesture.

 

Fast forward to yesterday, I’ve been having a few rough days, dealing with some stressful situations and finally got myself back to my chiropractor for a long overdue visit. It put me in a better mood, physically and emotionally. I had tried to meet up with my girlfriend for breakfast afterwards but being a new mom her little man was calling the shots. So instead I went to breakfast solo, and a little diner I haven’t been to in years. After my chiropractic session, I couldn’t imagine sitting at the counter on a stool with no back, so I asked the waitress if she minded if I sat at her 4 top table since there were 2 others available. She didn’t mind and I took the one closest to the door. image

I ordered my food, and table by table the place filled up. As I was finishing up my coffee and eggs, an older gentleman walked in, and he had a cane. I could see there were no tables left for him to sit at and so I took another sip of coffee and tried to get his attention. The waitress saw this and motioned to him, he turned around and I told him that if he would like he could have my table as I was finished with my breakfast.

“Thank you so much, it’s hard for me to sit on the stools with no back to them. These old bones don’t move that easily anymore. But I don’t want you to move or stop eating on account of me” he said

“Not a problem, I understand. And it’s not a bother, I’m finished and even if I wasn’t I’d just offer for you to sit with me at this big table. I always welcome company.”

He thanked me again and I moved my plate and cup to the counter. The waitress mouthed “Thank you” to me and I nodded. As I waited for her to take his order, it hit me.

Why not.

I caught her attention as she started to walk back around the counter, and whispered, “Add his bill to mine” She smiled and walked away to put his order in. When she got back around the other side of the counter she asked me are you sure. I said yes, add his to mine. When I paid her I told her if he asked to tell him, I wanted to brighten his day with a smile.

As I turned around to leave I saw him sitting in my chair and noticed his hat. A WWII Vet. A Marine. I touched his arm, fighting back tears, and said

“Thank you for your service, have a wonderful day, and enjoy your breakfast”

“Thank you, and thank you for the table. Have a good day” he said

I walked out the door, with tears welling up. I don’t really know why, except that I did. I’m an emotional person, always have been. Heck as I’m typing this whole thing I’m fighting back tears.

I don’t write this post to brag about, David (he’s probably not going to like this at first because he doesn’t like to talk about himself or what he does) or myself for that matter. I write it because what a small gesture as these may be, can possibly make someones day a little brighter, a little less lonely. It is ironic that both men, completely different, yet so similar.

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What I do hope you take from this post is the next time you see someone, pay it forward, just for the heck of it. Buy a coffee, buy a donut, buy a meal. I did it because he was an older gentleman and he kinda tugged at my heartstrings, I had no idea he was a Veteran.