Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Blogger Making A Difference

Please click the link to view this very special angel called Tabitha!

I wanted to take this time to let you all know about a great personal hero right here in the blog world that I have recently discovered. Her name is Tabitha from I Choose Bliss and A Five Oh 4 Lifting Up, and she is definitely a jewel in God's kingdom, when you view the video above and see how she is helping others. She has a need that I want to see if we can all help to meet.

She recently had the privilege to be interviewed by her local news station about the difference she is making in the world today. Tabitha encouraged me to tears quite literally when I saw her story and felt compelled that it should be showcased here since this is the purpose to showcase those stories of individuals making a difference each and every day to really count. Tabitha does this with flying colors.

And if you are like me and finished wiping away your tears with a big old box of tissues and want to help her in her ministry? Please click here to link to here page and click on the upper left side bar on donations. Let's make a difference for one of our own here in blog land. While your there, tell Tabitha I sent you there and follow her so you can encourage and love her through her posts as well.

Today's Tip: Tabitha's blog is now part of this one and is linked on the right side bar below the list of followers, please spread the word on helping her!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Love Endures

When one of my colleagues was diagnosed with cancer, he decided to take a leave of absence. He decided to take leave not only because he was undergoing treatment, but also because his wife was going through treatment for a brain tumor. Given that they were both in bad shape, he decided to take the leave so that they could enjoy each other's company while they still had the chance.

Before he went on his leave, he purposely came to his office after hours to gather his personal belongings - just in case. At the office, we all felt very bad but didn't know how to keep in touch with him and his family without bothering them.

So here is what I did: I bought cards with envelopes and distributed them to all the people in our group. Then I sent an email to everyone encouraging my colleagues to write something, anything, for our friend. I then collected all the closed envelopes and put them in a beautiful box with a beautiful inscription that read: "Love endures all" ... and mailed it to his house.

He was very touched by the gesture and sent us all an email telling us that they were doing relatively well and were having a great time reading each card over and over.

Today's Tip: Take some time and send a friend or loved one a handwritten card. You will never know the smile that comes from getting something wonderful in the mail that shows you care!

Monday, March 29, 2010

How Far Would You Go To Help?

Would you?

Most of us would dig deep in our pockets to donate to a good cause, but how many of us would sacrifice everything? Wealthy businessman Jon Pedley is about to do just that. The 41 year-old is selling his comfortable home, successful consulting business, and top-of-the-line car to kick-off a service-immersion program in rural Uganda. The hope is to improve the community's health, water, and education facilities while giving troubled teens and young adults the opportunity to serve. Read on to learn about the transformation and dreams of a recovering alcoholic who previously described his life as "totally and utterly self-centered". [ more ]

Today's Tip: Try your hand at volunteering this month and see what a life changing difference it can make to your life as well!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The New Stimulus Package!

Here is just another way we should all be looking at life now a days! When life doesn't seem to be heading in the right direction, don't you think, we should be the ones to begin to turn things around? I hope you enjoy this bit of encouragement!

Are you just plain sick of being bombarded by the media with the untold horrors and predictions of our impending doom? I've heard the words "Stimulus Package" so many times it doesn't even mean anything anymore.

I want to introduce a new kind of stimulus package that doesn't have a thing to do with the government: Kindness. What do you think would happen if everyone practiced being kind for just one day? I sure as heck know. The world as we know it would be transformed.

Impossible? Consider this: I organized a Kindness Challenge at a local arts and jazz festival in April. My goal was to remind people what happens when we practice being kind. It's a feeling most of us have forgotten. The challenge was to entice 100 people attending the festival to do 100 kind acts within 100 minutes. The result amazed everyone involved because when all was said and done, more than 130 people did over 400 kind acts in an hour! When we truly give kindness from the heart, BINGO, a new kind of stimulus package is born.

Kindness is contagious. It starts a ripple effect that has no limits. Each act of kindness is like dropping a stone into the water. First, the receiver of the kind act benefits. That person then gives back a smile, a hug, laughter, or some other positive response. So the giver also receives.

Then something truly amazing happens. Any person who simply witnessed the kind act also benefits. In Meaning & Medicine, author Dr Larry Dossey states helping others "can stimulate healthy responses in persons at a distance who may view it only obliquely." This witness may then be inspired to do a kind deed too, and the ripple effect could never end.

How can you start a stimulus package in your own world? 3 steps. First, feel gratitude for all the fine things in your life. Defy the media and change your perspective. Choose to see the good, and more of what's good will start to reveal itself to you. Second, spend as much time as you can doing the things you love. If you enjoy sitting on the porch and listening to the wind, spend more time doing it. If you love to listen to your favorite music, do that more often. Doesn't cost a thing! Third, practice being kind to yourself and others every single day. Model kindness and inspire others to do the same.

Change your mind; change the world.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Splitting Wood

Here's a great story to quite literally warm your heart and your home! I hope you enjoy! Remember if any of you would like to submit a story for me to share here, please email me and I'd be so glad to post it!

"Up here in Thunder Bay, Canada a lot of us heat our house with wood in the winter. I had just finished a month of hard hard work getting all of my wood cut, bucked, split and piled. The owner of the country store up the road had recently lost his leg, but just two days after getting back from the hospital he was cutting his lawn. I noticed a big pile of wood that needed to be sorted. Although he's a tough man, I arranged for a few of us to show up unexpected and unasked to tackle the wood for him and get it piled! The last thing I wanted to do was handle more wood...but then I think how lucky I am that I can."

Today's Tip: We all have neighbors, today look around you and find something you can do to help one of them out. Bring in their trash cans, help water their yard, pull some weeds, even run an errand to the store for them. Jesus did ask us to love our neighbor as ourselves!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Local Parents

Here's a wonderful story that ties into today's tip! Enjoy!

"We were new to the area and I had just met an elderly couple at a gathering. The wife and I talked for a long time and she confessed how worried she was about her husband, who was waiting for a heart transplant. At the time I was working as a researcher at the same hospital, so I told her to take down my phone number and call me when he was there. She called a few weeks later to let me know he was admitted to the hospital and still waiting.

So, I made it a point to go check on him and visit with them every day while I was at work. I thought that if it was my Dad, I would do the same, and I just wanted to give them some company. Weeks turned into months and it just became part of my routine to see them and keep track of how things were going before, during and after the heart transplant.

Sometimes I'd bring food or a book for him to read, sometimes she would share a snack that she'd brought. Somehow ove time, it was like I became part of the family. Now, over ten years later, this couple is our son's "local" grandparents! Since our parents don't live close by, we feel truly blessed to have this wonderful couple as our "local" parents. Sometimes, family comes from the most unexpected places."

Today's Tip: Consider volunteering at a Senior Center or adopt a grandparent. These make the time rewarding on both sides!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lunch Break

I got this is my email and had to pass it along. Please enjoy it!

"I was on my lunch break in the city, enjoying a salad at an outdoor cafe, when a disheveled homeless lady came walking towards me. She was yelling and begging everyone who walked past her for spare change and she looked like a mess. My instant reaction was fear... to close off and hope she didn't come near me, but she did. I was on the phone and when she came over yelling, I said, 'I'm on the phone,' in the nicest way I could, assuring myself what she needed was a lesson in manners. After all, that is rude to interrupt someone and I have very little money as it is, if she only knew and on and on... She walked away, mumbling, 'I'm annoying you. I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I'll leave.' And she turned the corner." [ more ]

Today's Tip: Try to push beyond your comfort zone to make a difference for someone else today.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Cab from Congo

Good News of the Day:
We often get so absorbed in the minutiae of our daily lives that we do not stay open to learning experiences. In her article, Jacqueline Novogratz writes about how a late cab ride home from dinner could have just been another opportunity to check her email or stare out the window. Instead, after a strange request from her cab driver, she had the opportunity to do small acts of kindness, and grow closer to one of her fellow humans. [ more ]

Today's Tip: Take the time to interact with someone you often see, but don't pay much attention to. The bus driver, the security guard, or the cashier you see each day are all people just like you, and you can both help each other grow.

Friday, March 12, 2010

10 Day Challenge ...Are you in?

Do a unique acts of kindness everyday for the next 10 days.

Stop Negative Comments: Create change one conversation at a time. Stand up for a woman who is the target of a sexist remark. Teach your children the value of using kind and gentle language. Thank a friend or colleague who stood for someone who was the target of a derogatory comment.

Send an e-mail of appreciation to someone in the media who has challenged sexist remarks. Support your local schools in developing policies that prevent sexist language in the classroom. Organize a group at your college or university. Help to educate a friend about how negative comments diminish all of us.

I absolutely love this challenge and have vowed to God and myself only to try this for the next 10 days to see what kinds of changes in makes in my life and in the lives of those around me.

Today's Tip: Try sprinkling some baby powder on you before going to sleep at night!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

An Old Way To Bring New Smiles

Here is another really great story I had to share!

I recently got a new version of an old camera that I used to adore... Polaroid instant film! This one is a Fuji, which takes credit card sized instant photos. I named my camera "J5", (after Johnny #5 the Robot, from the '80's films "Short Circuit", mainly because it looks like him :) In J5's short career (this past month), he has blasted off about 80 photographs, and 60+ have been given away to complete strangers. Each photograph is unique, simple, imperfect and beautiful, as those captured within the photos had a story to tell. So far, one story stands out above them all.

Last Wednesday, I was in the play area of the Harrisburg Mall. I sat next to a woman who was there with her son. She was very classy, seemed to have it all together. I would have assumed that she had a sweet, upper-middle class life. As it turned out, her husband left her after 22 years, her entire family disowned her, even though it wasn't what she wanted. She had lived in New England and was forced to take a job in Pennsylvania, her ex-husband got custody of the kids, etc. Wow. Can you even imagine? She was soft-spoken and kind, very sad, and apparently the son was here visiting her. She just found a job in New England, so she is moving back, thankfully, to be closer to him.

Could you even imagine what it must be like to one day have no one there to help you? As I walked away, I turned, and saw her lovingly cuddle her boy. I get choked up just thinking about it. I went back and asked him if I could take his picture, and if it was ok with Mom. I took the photo and handed her the film and wished her all the best as she tearfully watched it develop.

You never quite know what someone's going through, and we're all going through stuff, aren't we? Someone is having a tougher time than you, and a smile goes a long way.

I got this camera for fun, and never intended for it to be for more than my own personal fun, for my own friends and family. It immediately became something magical, and has become a very cool tool to spread a little joy. I LOVE it! Thanks for reading! Off to order some more film :)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Checkbook of Kindness

Here is a great idea to incorporate and pass along. This readers idea was super inspirational and really easy to make work.

Since I work at a Bank getting the supplies for my idea was easy: a plastic checkbook cover and a transaction register (normally for a checking account). Next I wrote a message on the inside cover:

"Congratulations! You are currently the bearer of the Smile Transaction Register. This kindness checkbook began its journey with $20. Your only job is to keep it going. Don't keep it long. Look over the entries in the register to get some ideas of how to spread small acts of kindness. You can either make a deposit if the funds are low (as your act of kindness) and make that your entry in the register as such. Or you can make a withdrawal from the funds inside to make someone's day and then log that withdrawal in the register. Please include: the date, the description of the transaction, and the amount. Finish the entry by writing in the ending balance. Before you pass it share your stor in an email to and it's your choice whom you pass it on to. Pass it on to someone who enjoys spreading smiles as much as you do!"

The next step was a little sacrificial leap of faith but I dove right in and put $20 in the back of the cover inside the plastic that would normally hold the book of checks. I used a $5 bill and the rest $1 bills. I also attached something I got from helpothers index of kindness ideas "Five bucks and Under".

Only one final step remained. Who to give it to??? This one took a couple of days. I thought and thought. Yesterday the answer came -- the lady at the bird store! She is very sweet and she is just a few steps away in our strip center. So today on my lunch break I went in, enjoyed her peaceful music, (very tranquil) bought a clearance item ( a common practice of mine ), pet the kitty cat (I LOVE THAT!), paid for my purchase and then asked her to help me by taking the register and using some of the money to do a small act of kindness to make someone smile and then pass the register on to someone else so that they may do an act of kindness and on and on...

She took it and jokingly said "Me? Do something nice for someone?" and then seriously asked "Me personally do this?" I said, "Yes," and I gave her a couple of examples, "buy a card for a friend, or if you're in line at the store and hear someone is short you can cover it for them, just something to make someone smile." She seemed a bit confused by the idea but said she would do it. I also told her about the email address to email the story to (that way I can share it with all of you). I believe she will carry it out and I believe it will catch on and I will soon have lots of Smile transaction register stories to share with you all here as soon as they start rolling in.

Can't wait! = )

Monday, March 1, 2010

Take About Volunteering on A New Level

Some of us get our best ideas in the shower, but they don't usually change the course of a year of our lives. Not so for Idaho resident Drew Johnson who "had an epiphany one morning in the shower." The epiphany? To travel around the country volunteering -- one state per week for 48 weeks. Since his journey began in South Dakota, he's done everything from building houses for Habitat for Humanity to working with hospice caretakers to supporting environmental initiatives. But on his trip, which is supported by gifts from strangers, Drew is also promoting a lifestyle that focuses on "STO" -- service to others. [ more ]

Today's Tip: If your a house guest in someone's home, make sure that you don't use all the hot water!