Darlene Foster's Blog

Life Lessons

Posted on: July 1, 2021

I am please to announce that an anthology I have been involved in has been released. Life Lessons, Guidance for All Ages, complied by Nancy Blodgett Klein contains thirty-four real life stories written by ordinary people, in which a life lesson was learned. I contributed four stories and helped with editing the book.

Life Lessons: Guidance for All Ages

This is an anthology of 34 stories from a variety of authors sharing experiences that happened to them and concluding with what each author learned as a result. Each touching story begins with a quote related to the subject, shares the experience or events, and then concludes with a moral. This collection of stories is especially geared towards younger people who may need some guidance about how to successfully navigate their lives. However, people of all ages would find this book of interest because of the variety of wonderful stories and moral guidance shared. Some stories are happy while others are quite sad. In all cases, these writers share lessons from their own experiences to help others successfully navigate through the ups and downs of life.

Here is one of my contributions:

Try to Find Good in Everyone

By Darlene Foster

“A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.” – Will Rogers

How do we find our friends? Let’s face it, they were all strangers initially. Friends come in all shapes and sizes. It would be very boring if all of our friends were the same. I’ve made friends through work, special interest groups, places of worship, social functions and travelling. Through friends of friends, through my children and even when dog walking. If you think about your good friends, remember how you first met and how the friendship developed. Did you hit it off immediately or did it take time to get to know each other? Maybe you didn’t even care for each other until you found something in common.

My father always said you can find something in common with everyone you meet, and if you look hard enough, you will find something good in everyone. I have found that to be true in many instances. When I first meet someone I don’t find that pleasant or who rubs me the wrong way, instead of walking away, I consider it a challenge. Anyone can befriend a likeable, easy-going person. But, everyone has a story, and if you get to know a person, you can always find something in common or something likeable.

As a child, I would befriend the person sitting in the corner, all alone. Later, as a teenager, I risked being shut out of the in-crowd by chatting to the mixed-race girl everyone else was being mean to.

My first job was working in a gift shop in a small prairie city where one regular customer always came in grouchy and demanding. No one wanted to wait on her. When she entered the store everyone rolled their eyes. As the youngest and newest member of staff, I was sent out to help her. I always smiled at her, even though she didn’t smile back, and was attentive to her needs. I helped her find the perfect gift for an elderly aunt and the right colour candles and placemats for her dining room table. One day I complimented her on a vintage brooch she was wearing. I caught a glimmer of a smile as she told me it had belonged to her mother. I continued to be nice to her whenever she came into the store and always asked about her family and her health. She spent a lot of money in the store and my boss was pleased. This woman started to ask for me whenever she came into the store. When her first grandson was born, she was excited and eagerly shared his picture with me.

During that time period, the local radio station held a contest for best salesclerk in town. People sent in explanations for why they thought a particular salesperson should win the prize. I didn’t win first prize, but I got some votes and one was from this difficult customer. Someone from the radio station dropped off the letters and hers was glowing. I found out later most of her Jewish family had died in Germany during the Holocaust. She probably had trouble trusting anyone. It was a good lesson for me.

Life lesson: You never know the burdens another person is carrying. Give everyone a chance. The first impression is not always the real person. Like all relationships, friendship takes work, understanding and empathy. Treat everyone with respect, they may become a good friend one day. As Maya Angelou once observed, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

The book is availabe in print and digital versions and can be purchased from most Amazon sites

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Amazon Canada

Thanks for sharing and getting the word out about this book!

102 Responses to "Life Lessons"

This sounds like a wonderful collection. I just downloaded my copy from Amazon and can’t wait to read it.

Thanks, Barb. I hope you enjoy it. There are some gems in there and some will have you laughing.

What a wonderful story, Darlene. I, too, have learned that first impressions aren’t always correct. I remember when I was working at Zellers, some of the staff dreaded seniors’ day because the seniors were considered to be an impatient, grouchy lot. But I also learned that many of them had difficult stories. Compassion is probably one of the most important traits anyone in the service industry can have.

I agree and think everyone should work in retail or hospitality at some point to learn patience and tolerance.

Your story is beautiful, and so is your loving spirit.

Thank you, Anne. How kind of you.

What a wonderful life lesson, Darlene. Kudos. I’ll check out the book.

Thanks, Jacqui. We never stop learning from others.

That finding good in everyone–it’s challenging at times. Not for the faint of heart I’ve learned. But your article is spot on.

Darlene what a beautiful story and a lesson for us all ..you have a kind heart 🙂 x

Thanas, Carol. My parents taught me well.

Congrats, Darlene! Hugs on the wing.

Thanks, Teagan. Hugs flying back!!

I was moved by your story. Congratulations on its inclusion in the anthology. Kindness costs us so little, we should give it freely.

Thanks, LIz. The book is mainly about being kind.

Darlene – you had a wisdom far beyond your years. The idea of kindness and empathy is embedded in the stories you write. This is a wonderful idea for a book – Life Lessons.

Thanks, Rebecca. I was pleased to be part of this wonderful project.

What a wonderful collection, Darlene. I have also learned (the hard way) that first impressions are not always accurate!

Thanks, I’m sure we have all learned this lesson the hard way.

This sounds like a wonderful collection Darlene, and I love the contribution you shared. It’s so true, and it’s exactly how I try to look upon and treat people. I’ll definitely be ordering this!

Thanks so much. I’m sure you will enjoy these slices of real-life and the lessons learned.

Great story! Thank goodness every classroom seems to have 2-3 kids who had your kind heart, Darlene. Some children have trouble making or keeping friends. When trying to build a community in one’s classroom, the kids who look out for those children are invaluable. They are the glue that keeps a classroom together.

Thanks, Pete. Sometimes the popular kids could also be very mean. At one point they convinced everyone in the class to pick on one girl. I was having none of it, even though I was the only one who stood up to them.

Oh, I would have stuck up for you big time if you were my student. Shine the light on those knights in shining armor.😊

Back then, the teachers either turned a blind eye or just weren´t aware of what was going on.

What a collection of life lessons here. One stood out: “I risked being shut out of the in-crowd by chatting to the mixed-race girl everyone else was being mean to.” Both Joanna Gaines (mixed race, including Korean, and Erin Napier, huge stars in the HGTV series in American TV were bullied. I bet the mean girls in school wish they had been kinder to thee amazingly accomplished women.

Congratulation on your inclusion in an anthology! A local author read my story about {Right Thing, Too Late) and asked permission to use it in an anthology. I like how you also follow Emily Dickinson’s advice: “Not knowing when the dawn may come, I open every door. Brava, Darlene!

I love that quote by Emily Dickenson! I love being part of an anthology and have been in a few over the years. How wonderful that someone has asked to include one of your stories! I am always impressed by those who overcome bullying and prejudice to become successful in their own right. Bravo to them.

Great post, Darlene. Thanks for helping to spread the word. We have already gotten a few sales.

That is great. You did a great job of putting this together with many wonderful stories.

Thanks Darlene and for your help too. I have put a post on my http://johnedwards-je.blogspot.com/

Very true. The anthology sounds great and I will check it out. It’s good to walk a mile in somebody else’s shoes, so to speak.

That is true. We can learn a lot through other’s experiences as we can’t do everything ourselves.

Congratulations on the new anthology, Darlene. This is such a wonderful story. I am so glad you were nice to this old lady. I have always like elderly people and invested time and attention in them.

Thank you, Robbie. I’m glad you liked the story. I think it is important to be kind to people of all ages as you never know their story. Many years later I worked with youth at risk and found them to be wonderful young people, just had a bad start in life. I always cheer for the underdog. Of course, elderly folks have much to teach us.

Wonderful story, Darlene. From my counseling background, I learned that people’s hardship could contribute to their coldness, distrust, and harshness. Probably not too many people were nice to that Jewish lady. because she might not be approachable. What you did to her broke the ice and made her open up to you. Congratulations to your participation of the anthology.

Thank you, Miriam. We never know what others have been through before we met them. Glad you liked the story.

Exactly, Darlene. I liked your story.

What a beautiful story, Darlene! You never know what people may be dealing with. Congrats on the anthology!

Thanks, Teri! So true.

Beautiful story, Darlene, and a real life lesson! Being friendly and helpful to a pleasant person is easy but bringing a smile to the face of a “grouchy” one is a true gift for both. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks, Christa! Glad you like the story.

We learn so much from sharing our stories and listening to others. I personally love reading real life stories, especially those with both observations and universal lessons. I will add this to my “to read” list. A worthwhile endeavor, Darlene!

Thank you so much, Dorothy. I agree, we can learn so much from each other if we are open to it.

The book sounds beautiful, Darlene. Congrats on having 4 stories in there. And thanks for sharing the wisdom of giving everyone a chance. Lovely.

Thanks, Diana. We can’t get this far in life without having learned a few lessons along the way!

You are very busy. Congratulations to you, Darlene, and your team.

It sounds like an inspiring book, especially for younger people and how they can learn from other’s experiences. Congratulations on being part of the book.

Thanks so much, Karen. It was a great project to be part of. I even learned a few things while reading and editing the stories!

Your kindness shines through Darlene. A lovely sounding book and I enjoyed your contribution very much. Sharing. ❤ x

Thanks, Marje. There are some great stories in this book.

That’s lovely. I will look forward to reading. x

Thanks for sharing, Darlene. I loved the contribution you shared. The book sounds awesome and I now need to check it out!! Thanks!!

Thanks, Kirt. There are some gems in this little book.

I can’t wait to read them!! Thanks again!!

Darlene your story gave me shivers. It is so true that we never know what a person has endured. Good for you to persevere with kindness. Clearly you impacted her immensely. So interesting to know her history. Like finding the missing piece of a puzzle.

Thanks, Sue. It was a good lesson to learn when so young.

Reblogged this on Nel Wil Jil.

How kind of you to reblog. Thanks!

Congratulations! I’m sharing on Twitter!

Thanks so much, Wanda!!

Beautiful story and congrats on the book Darlene. What a kind and loving spirit you are.

Thanks, Diane. I´m pleased you liked the story. It´s just one of many in the book. xo

Congrats on the new anthology, Darlene, it sounds wonderful! I enjoyed your short story; it’s true, you never know what another person has been through until you walk a mile in their shoes.

Thanks, Jacquie. It’s so easy to jump to conclusions. xo

Thank you very much.

Thanks for the visit.

This sounds wonderful, Darlene, and such an inspiration – congratulations! Toni x

Thanks so much, Toni!!

We went to my friend’s surprise party for her husband and knew no one there. Everyone asked us if we were church or Liberal Party. I told them I met the friend walking the dog! Another friend I met walking the dog well over forty years ago has been a great support during all that’s happened in the past eighteen months.

I know. You meet the nicest folks walking the dog!! It’s how we made friends when we moved to Spain. Thanks for the comment. Hope you are doing OK.

Thanks, yes, getting on well.

Great story. How touching to discover you had been kind to a woman who had suffered so much loss in her life.

Thanks, Rebecca. My parents taught me to be kind to everyone.xo

Seemed like an excellent example of why it is important to do so. You brought happiness into her difficult life.

This collection is such a great idea – and your story is sweet and a great reminder that we never know what’s really going on inside a person, so give them the benefit of the doubt and practice kindness. Wonderful share, Darlene. And good luck with the collection!!

Thank you so much, Pam. I´m glad I learned that lesson when I was quite young.

Great story, good to use ones own brain instead of following others.

So true! Thanks for visiting my blog.

Well done Darlene! Great story! ❤

Thanks, Carol Anne!

Congrats dear Darlene. At any given time these lessons are important to grow internally and outside. Thanks for sharing

Thanks! Many life lessons can be learned while travelling too.

Most of it rather. Thanks again

Nara x

many congrats! wishing you the best, Darlene 🙂

Thank you so much!!

I’d love this book. It reminds me of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books.
I enjoyed your story here Darlene. I’ll be honest…I do need reminding of this sometimes. Often, I say to myself, ‘You don’t know their story Gloria.’ And those few words make me more aware and patient.
I think trust is huge with a lot of people. For me, I’ve lost trust in people down through the years. But maybe they let me down because of their own issues, not because I deserved it. But sadly I let them slip out of my life. I don’t hold grudges…I prefer to keep my distance and let them find me again if they want to.
I don’t know if it’s the right or wrong thing to do!
Yes…I need the anthology!
Best of luck with it by the way.
I think I’ll write a post about it on my holistic blog.

Thank you, Gloria for your comments. I think we all lose trust in some people over the years. It´s best not to hold grudges though. I hope you enjoy these wonderful stories.

You are right, Gloria. Life Lessons is like Chicken Soup for the Soul. Thank you for your honesty, too.

Yes we all have our own life stories, and it may not be visible to others, but deep down we all with to be accepted and received a smile and a helping hand from others.

Exactly. Thanks for commenting, Esme.

Darlene, this is just wonderful! The book sounds terrific, and I absolutely love your story!

Thanks so much, Jennie! It is a great collection of real-life stories.

You are welcome, Darlene!

Your father was a wise man.

He was for sure! Thanks, Bernadette.

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