your stories

Ian writes …

I found a bell at my bus stop this morning. I hadn't heard of Ben's Bells before. I read the card and when I got home I looked up Ben's Bells online. I found out about volunteering in Newtown, and I'm looking forward to helping out there tomorrow. I need to volunteer for a school activity, so the timing is perfect. Thank you Ben's Bells. :)
Danbury ct.

Posted on April 22, 2014

Mike Erickson writes …

I found a Ben's Bell on a flagpole in the Darrington Washington cemetery. My employer donated our time and resources to make a memorial for the Oso landslide victims. Our part in the memorial was to make a slate stamp concrete pad around the flagpole. When i noticed the Ben's Bell, i read the note attached to it and it made me smile on the inside. Now it's hanging from a tree in my front yard.

Posted on April 22, 2014

Catherine in Phoenix... writes …

Like the other stories here, I can tell you that it has been a tough year. We've experienced death, random acts of violence, and heartbreak. But we have been recipients of amazing kindness from others through our difficult times. Recently, I saw something bright hanging from a telephone pole in Phoenix. I took a closer look and cried "I FOUND A BEN'S BELL!!" I read the tag and thought I should leave it for someone else, but then I decided to take it home. It has made me giddy with happiness. It's hanging on the front of my house to share with my neighbors. Thank you for this beautiful project!

Posted on April 19, 2014

Deb writes …

I found my Ben's Bell as I was taking my morning walk before work today.
I saw this colorful piece of art hanging from an aspen tree in Broomfield, Colorado.
I thought why would someone hang that there? I wanted to take a picture. I got closer and saw it had a tag. I got closer and read the tag. I looked around ... could this be true? ... so I took it. It made my day a little brighter!
My sister said "It is a blessing. It was meant to be there for me. Keep it in a safe place and never let it go."
To find such a wonderful gift was a blessing. Thank You.

Posted on April 16, 2014

The Bartons writes …

Hello, thank you for the great find on our weekend walk. We hardly get out of the house to take a stroll, but last Saturday we did and happily found the bell hanging on a tree at Everett High School. Now the lovely bell is hanging on our porch.

Thanks again!

Posted on April 15, 2014

Deborah maxi writes …

We was doing a family walk to the park and my brother said hey look it was a cool bell hanging off the fence it was a cool piece we are from high point n.c

Posted on April 13, 2014

Jacqueline from Arlington, WA writes …

My fiance Jeff found a Ben's bell hanging from a tree at the middle school where he is a custodian at. It just so happens to be the school where the Red Cross set-up temporary shelter for the victims of the terrible Oso, WA landslide that occurred here on March 22nd. Needless to say, things have been very heart-wrenching and stressful in our little town. FEMA is here and the clean-up/recovery efforts are ongoing. So many people lost their lives and many survivors lost all their material possessions. On Friday, the Govenor from our state visited our town and the 2 other towns involved, and met with the students at the middle school (which is where my daughter attends). Anyway, the Ben's Bell was a happy surprise for him and really made his day. He sent a text to me about it, but I had no idea what he was talking about! I got to see it this weekend and was so happy to learn of such a beautiful idea and so excited that we were one of the lucky recipients! It just inspires me to continue spreading kindness throughout the world and motivates me knowing there are so many others with the same mission! Is there a way to get a To-Go kit mailed to us? I would really love to be a part of this project! I so admire you for taking such a heart-breaking experience and making something beautiful come from it. Your little boy's spirit is living on by spreading this kindness through the world. Thank you.

Posted on April 13, 2014

pj columbo writes …

Several weeks ago I was hiking in the forest. I got off the trail to enter the street & saw some colorful objects hanging in a pine tree. I got close up & saw they were wind-chimes and had a tag on it. It said to "take me home" & do good - something on that order. I felt that a really good force had intervened that day. I took it off the tree & it came home with me. Something that cute & simple can actually make you feel like a million dollars. I did just as the tag requested. Sometimes we need a little nudge to remind us that we are here to help each other. That was sure fitting for that day, alright. Thank you Ben & thank you for waking us all up. We need that every now and then, for sure.

Posted on April 12, 2014

Marie and Gigi writes …

One day while working in our offices, we notices a woman coming up our pathway towards our office doors. She hung something on the door handle outside. We tried to quickly run to the door to ask her if we could help, but she was gone. We noticed these beautiful bells. We took them into our office and hung them on our door handle. We read the message, and quickly decided to go on the bensbells website. We purchased 7 mini bells (some with children's names inscribed) to put in Easter Baskets this year. What a wonderful way to spread kindness. Thank you so very much for coming to our door.

Posted on April 12, 2014

Pastor Rachel+ writes …

Today is the day before Palm Sunday and the day before the whole Holy Week leading up to Easter. It's an extremely busy time of year for clergy. For my own part, I have six different sermons to write, eleven services to lead throughout the week, six staff to support who are producing bulletins, music and children's programs for our services, and several folks to visit in hospitals and nursing homes. Yesterday I bought 24 bunnies and several pounds of wrapped chocolates to donate towards our Sunday School Easter egg hunt (which is probably as fun for me as for the kids), and there is ongoing coordinating work I need to maintain of several committees this week (since church committees don't stop working, just because it's Holy Week). Mostly, I enjoy all the work I have described, or I wouldn't be in ministry. But some weeks, like the one I had last week, can be very challenging and even heart breaking; there are times when everything I do for the institutional church can suddenly seem pointless and a frustrating waste of hope and time. I arrived at my church this morning and began unloading supplies from my car, even while pondering why I do what I do (my vocation). It was then that I noticed a colorful yellow object hanging from a sapling tree near our staff parking lot. I can't tell you how the discovery of Ben's Bell was like a shaft of sunshine dissolving my dark thoughts into dust motes and restoring a sense of hope. I am deeply touched by this gesture of random kindness - it was exactly what I needed, a token of support and simple human kindness which even clergy need and which can only be bestowed by another. Such is the nature of blessing. Thank you.

Posted on April 12, 2014

Anne Winters writes …

My neighbor and I were walking our dogs today and found a Ben's Bell hanging in a tree. What an emotional boost that I needed. I lost my aunt to leukemia last week and just planted flowers for her. This will be an added bonus to her flower garden. She was a very loving and kind person and will be greatly missed. Some things just happen at the right time. Thank you.

Posted on April 11, 2014

Kim Domon writes …

I noticed the bells hanging in a tree at work. With a school being close, I thought one of the kids had hung it. I smiled, and left it there. That evening my Father in law passed away. After returning to work, three days later, the wind chime were still in the tree. I walked over to the chime, and read the note... it made me smile. I thought about dad. Its amazing how something so sweet and simple, can change your inner feelings. I hung them in my car, I believe I smiled all way home, as they chimmed the whole way home.(I had the windows down)! I couldn't wait to show my mom who is 75, and loves chimes. They were found at Higley Rd, by the Fresh & Easy store in Gilbert Az. They will be going to Mexico. I showed them to my mom, and its really ironic, we had been talking about having things to remember. I just redone the front yard and she wanted me to get a special plant or a rock, something to remember her by. After I showed her the bells, and the web sight, she now wants me to get another strand of bells and hang them for her. She really liked the idea. She would like to go to Tucson, and see the store. I will get a her a strand. Thanks for lifting my heart, and making memories! May Ben's Bells always be special, and bring a smile to whom ever is lucky enough to find one.

Posted on April 9, 2014

Mimi Graves writes …

We visited Tuscon in April 2013 and fell in love with all the mosaic art, especially that which showed statements of kindness. And we did receive kindness from locals. We actually felt it from the entire city as we rode the beautiful and artistic bike trails. When we returned home to Bend, Oregon, I remembered the tagline :Tuscon, be kind, and ordered bumper stickers. I love seeing them on all my friends' cars. Maybe we can spread the tagline....all over.
Saw a sign today: Be kind to those who aren't. They need it the most...verdad!

Posted on April 9, 2014

Ed Cunningham El Mirage Fire Department writes …

This was an article we published on our FB page for El Mirage Firefighter's Association...

Pulling into the station this morning at shift change, we were each greeted by the small sound of a chime that seemed to drift lazily on the breeze as it blew through the Palo Verde's that stand outside of our station. We went on with our morning checking off equipment, getting reports from the off going crew, catching up on family events and missed Birthdays, but eventually the busy work of the shift dies down after a few hours and we have a moment to grab something to eat and catch up on some training. Yet still echoing in the background was the small chime that even amidst the hustle and bustle of the station quietly called out for attention. It was our Assistant Chief who discovered the persistent culprit. Hanging near the front walkway, under a canopy of a Yellow flowering Palo Verde, hung a solitary brass bell suspended with a leather tie and ceramic decorations. It chimed a few more times as we approached as if to happily congratulate us for finally noticing it. Some time throughout the early morning hours an anonymous soul hung what is being seen throughout the valley and are called "Ben's Bells" in one of our trees. Some of us had heard of them but this was the first one that we have seen in person. On the website is the full story behind the significance of these bells and the hope and kindness that they are working to spread. What it reminded us today was that even amongst the business of our lives there often is a small voice that cries out to be listened to and heard and it may very well be the voice that needs our help the most. It was a nice moment to stop and reflect and remember what matters most to us. Over the last few months we have suffered injuries, traumas, loss of family members as well as new additions and triumphs to our Fire Family and all worked around the service that we give to the public. We are grateful for our job and the opportunity we have to do what we love and make a living doing it. Like Ben's Bells we hope that we can be a little bit of relief for someone when their lives seemed to have been suddenly turned upside down. We encourage each person to stop and take a moment to practice a random act of kindness for a stranger over the next week and share it in their status maybe even visit Ben's Bells and spread some kindness that way. We look forward to hearing from each of you. Take care and God Bless

Posted on April 8, 2014

Victoria writes …

Thank You For Your Kindness
On April 2 i found a BensBell hanging in a tree of the Palm Ridge Rec Center
May God Bless You and Keep You Under His Watchful Care

Posted on April 6, 2014

Jennifer Lynn Weston writes …

I noticed a string of colorful ceramic pieces hanging from a bush, whilst walking across the green in Milford, CT (I was in town running an errand.) Though I had not previously heard of the Ben's Bells project, I was happy to take the pretty assembly home, and hang it on my front porch. Surely it shall evoke positive feelings whenever I look at it. :)

Posted on April 5, 2014

Michael Martin & Jenny Sodko writes …

It was a sunny March 30th. I took the ferry across Puget Sound and around 3:PM, I found a parking spot at Swedish Medical Center in Edmonds. This was my second trip to visit my darling, Jenny, at the mental health unit. It had been nine days since she voluntarily admitted herself. This was our fourth extended stay at as many different hospitals since we fell in love nine years ago. The last time was a living nightmare as she went comlpetely psychotic for about a month before she was forced to enter inpatient care. I was living a nightmare and had lost the woman I my life to a problem that was never going to go away. It was manageable, but she would have to work hard and be faithful to her medications. And I would need to become more diligant, more helpful, and more loving than I'd ever known I could be. We had weathered one of the greatest storms and survived it. Usually, we'd have it under control and would live our lives like "normal" people for a few years and then BOOM; it would come on like a thief in the night, stealing our peace and promise. However, this was the first time she asked me for help before it got bad. This gave me so much hope. I was so proud of her. I was ready to be strong for as long as it took, but would come to find that we were ahead of it and dealt with it in a responsible and grown-up way. She was doing a lot better the day I visited. The voices in her head were rarely there anymore; a faint whisper on occasion. We missed each other so much and the trip to see her was costly. But after nine years, we are more in love than ever before and very committed to one another. I pulled into a shady parking spot and was preparnig to head in when I spotted this colorful string of shapes with a note at the top and a bell at the end. I had to see what it was and why it was there. I'd just found a Ben's Bell. I'm a man of forty four who works on old cars, plays and sings in a rock band, and crafts things, usually out of copper. I also wear my heart on my sleeve and can sometimes be seen wiping tears from the corners of my eyes during a sad movie scene (so that people don't see how much of a wuss I can be). This touched my heart. I felt special...that some random act...some kind and thoughtful gesture had graced my stressful day. Jenny was allowed to go out for a walk with me and we stopped by the truck. She saw the bell and I told her how I'd found it. I told her that when she gets home, she gets to hang it wherever she wants. She came home a few days ago and I'm happy to say she is doing quite well. I will always love this woman...even with her affliction, she has been the nicest, sweetest, most selfless person I've ever dated. Today she hung the bell in the Japanese maple beside our back porch. It will help us remember the kindness we felt during one hard period in our lives. Thank you, Jeannette. And thank you Ben...your spirit has had such an impact on our lives...and on this world.

Port Townsend, WA

Posted on April 5, 2014

Jennifer Lynn Weston writes …

I found my Ben's Bell in Milford CT, hanging from a bush on the Green (I happened to be walking there after running an errand.) I had not heard of this project before, but the ceramic components were so pretty I was happy to take it home & hang it on my front porch. Hopefully it'll provide a positive reminder whenever I see it. :)

Posted on April 4, 2014

Alice Klies writes …

I just came back from my mailbox with a package I wasn't expecting. I noticed it was from someone I haven't met officially but have had email and phone conversations with. Recently I spoke to this person who is a fellow writer in Tucson. I agreed to read her manuscript as a "Beta" reader to give her some feedback. We seemed to have an unspoken bond. She kept telling me how "very kind" I was to take the time to read a manuscript from a "stranger." I thought nothing of it...just something I felt anyone might do to help a friend...or stranger. Inside the box I found the sweetest little bell with a ceramic piece. Be Kind is inscribed on its center. Your brochure was enclosed and when I read about your creation of Ben's Bells I cried. What a wonderful, wonderful mission for kindness. God Bless all of you. I will treasure my bell and my new friend in Tucson...and I will make it a must to come to Tucson to meet her. I will also stop by one of your shop locations. Keep up the inspiring work! Blessings, Alice Klies

Posted on April 2, 2014

Crystal writes …

Over the past few years, I've been really struggling with what my "true purpose" is in life and have been trying to adopt a variety of changes to work towards finding and implementing that purpose in my professional life. As part of these changes, I decided to leave my job of nearly 8 years for a new one - one that I felt would be more fulfilling and bring about more good. Unfortunately, I've been really struggling in this new job and questioning if I've made the right decision. Today, after an especially trying interaction that left me feeling frustrated and hurt, I decided to go for a walk to clear my head. My heart was heavy throughout the whole walk and as the tears fell, I continued to question why I felt so emotional over something that was seemingly inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. As I quieted my mind, I realized and acknowledged that I'm not where I want to be and that this job is not my final destination (as I had hoped it might be). At about the moment I was ready to dive into a pool of discouragement and self-pity, I felt a tiny voice whisper to me "you can still bring kindness and inspire beauty wherever you are". Not a moment later, I looked up and caught a glimpse of the brightly-beautiful Ben's Bell hanging in the tree next to me. When I read the tag attached "…remember to spread kindness throughout our world" I knew that the bell was meant to reinforce what I had just learned. It was beautiful and has inspired me to follow that tiny voice. I'd love to help spread the message of Ben's Bell by volunteering at one of our studios, but I'm in Idaho. Aside from donating and buying a bunch of wonderful items from your website (which I will do this evening), is there a way that folks outside of AZ can help to make bells and spread the Ben's Bells message?

Posted on April 2, 2014