Friday, April 30, 2010

Life Changes You!

Inspiration of the Day:
Richard Whittaker reflects on art and coffee with a stranger: "One morning I looked up from my cup of tea in a local coffee shop and was surprised to see a man at work on a little painting sitting at a table nearby. I walked over, took a peek, and was surprised again. It was really good. I complimented him on his work. He seemed to welcome the interruption, and I asked him a few questions. He was just passing through town and living from hand to mouth. Before long, having had nothing of the sort in mind, I found myself in a conversation that crossed into territory usually reserved for more intimate friends. All along I halfway expected to be hit up for a little cash, but nothing of the sort happened. The more we talked, the more I was touched by this total stranger and his story..." Click here for the whole story!

Today's Tip: Strike up a conversation with someone you don't know. You just may learn something amazing in the process!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Real Community Day

I got this in my email today and had to share it with you. There are good people in the world today!

Moving can bring out the best and the worst in people, I'm finding. They say that uprooting can really test a relationship, so, if that's the case, I think I'm passing with flying colors. And I've discovered where a very generous spirit lives: Defiance, Ohio.

After suffering through many months of unemployment, my wife and I moved this week from Colorado to Ohio, where she's starting a new job. Not knowing a soul there, we were pretty concerned about all the work involved, not only loading up our entire home and driving two big rental trucks 1,250 miles, but how we'd get all that stuff unloaded without killing ourselves in the process.

We made a connection to hire a couple of college students to help with all the heavy lifting once we got there. But, to our surprise, one neighbor after another stopped by and pitched in to help. What!?!? Have we moved to some other country? Maybe we've died and gone to heaven!

Unloading actually became fun and pure joy as we connected with so many wonderful new friends as we worked. The more people that helped, the easier the work became. We had two 26-foot trucks completely unloaded in a matter of a few hours, a job we were afraid might take days for the two of us alone. Many total strangers would either walk by the sidewalk or drive by in their cars and stop and ask us if we were moving in. Many were delighted that this fine old house that had sat empty for so long was coming to life again.

We were invited to an outdoor meal yesterday by neighbors on the same street as ours who also work at the same college my wife is starting at. They invited other colleagues who live in the neighborhood, and we had a wonderful time eating and talking and laughing the whole evening.

All the while, my brain was churning on this new sense of hope that I'm filled with, that people can be outgoing and decent to strangers. Amid all the conversation were lots of offers to be of help to one another in a variety of ways. It's wonderful to live in such a kind little town. I feel so grateful to be here, and wish the rest of the world could see how an entire community can model what it's like to look out for one another. My new motto is, "I used to be in denial, but now I live in Defiance!" May we all know such kindness...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Giving the Gift of Sight

Good News of the Day:
When William Noriega developed cataracts in both eyes at age 40- and was unable to afford a simple operation to fix them- he never expected an ophthalmologist to restore not only his sight for free but also his faith in humanity. Dr. Bryant Lum gifted his services to Noriega after reading a letter in the newspaper from his father: "My 40-year-old son...can no longer drive or work. He has lost the ability to support his family and pay for insurance. A simple operation would restore his sight and make him a taxpayer again instead of a welfare recipient." As someone who conducts hundreds of cataract surgeries each year, Lum decided one more wouldn't be a big deal to him, but "could change this patient's life." [ more ]

Today's Tip: What special talent or ability do you possess? Use that talent and help someone out today!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Intending to Help

I came across this in an email this morning and wanted to pass it along to all of you. Hope it inspires you!

Last week, I met a friend who suggested that I do an act of kindness every week and then share the story with him through email. Of course, like the most of us, I have my own share of helping people and hence I thought this "simple" suggestion would be an easy weekly task. But I was in for a surprise.

I had made a promise to myself that I wouldn't involve giving a materialistic gift. My friend had said: "It should touch you deeply, it should have a story; otherwise, it's just a material experience". That struck a chord with me, so I decided to step-it up :) and looked forward to "doing" the act of kindness.

I realized in the next 48 hours that "doing" an act of kindness, an intentional act of kindness, might be simple but letting it happen naturally wasn't as simple.

I found myself giving away my precious afternoon tea-bags to a colleague as since I knew he wouldn't go and buy them himself from the speciality store. I gifted a pen set to a friend of mine who got a job in my company after a year long battle. I saw the recipients were touched but I had this inner voice saying, "Haha ... that wasn't all that fulfilling ... it was still a materialistic gift."

At about 6 pm on Saturday evening, I was sitting outside a Starbucks waiting for my wife and other friends to join. The weather was beautiful, slightly cloudy with a gentle breeze; it was kind of refreshing after an unending long hot days in San Diego. Suddenly, the Starbucks door opened and out came a young woman carrying a big trash bin and letting out a big sigh while wiping the sweat on her forehead: "Ohhh my Goddd! Its crazy in there! We are so busy." I just sat there and gave the usual generic smile that we're taught to give. Then I thought this could be my chance to help -- help with the trash, buy her a coffee or a muffin of a frap, or just say, "We appreciate all the hard work you do." But I didn't do anything - I just sat there.

After a few seconds she left, as I lamented my missed opportunity. I then got up and searched for her following the path where she might have gone but couldn't find her.

By that evening, I had decided that perhaps like everyone else, I was yet another cog in the corporate wheel with no natural instinct to help. I knew I had the capacity to help but felt sad that it wasn't a natural instinct.

On Sunday night, I got a call from my friend who needed some sleeping bags etc. from my car. I took the elevator to the parking garage when the door opened a young pregnant woman and her mother were standing there with loads of luggage and bags outside the elevator. Immediately, I asked the lady to hold the elevator door open as I started helping them load their luggage into the elevator. She insisted that it wouldn't be necessary as her husband and father were coming with more stuff and they could do it but I just smiled and asked them to take it easy and within minutes it was all in the elevator. The young woman said she was just back from her baby-shower, so I told her that I wished their family a beautiful baby with a safe delivery. And I casually walked away.
As I was taking the sleeping bags out of the trunk of my car, I realized what had happened. I had been kind and helped someone without actually deciding to do so. It happened at the spur of the moment -- naturally and beautifully. It wasn't dramatic, but it was simple and ordinary and that brought a smile to my face.

When I look back on the Starbucks episode and the elevator incident, I realize that intending to help and helping naturally do go hand in hand. It is because of my intention to help or be kind or just spread goodness over the past few days was becoming stronger, that this act just happened. Had I not held the intention to be of service, I probably would have just smiled at the ladies and walked away.

Holding the intention to help is the first step to become a natural giver. Initially, I was frowning over the first step but now I see the power of a strong thought.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Compassion at the Checkout Line

Here is another very heartwarming story and it happens to us all the time. I hope you enjoy it.

I was in the check-out line at a store with two cases of Ramen noodles, one case of Cup of Noodles, one case of bottled water, one pack of plastic spoons, and one box of large zip bags.

While waiting to put them on the conveyor belt, the man in front of me put his two packs of beer on the counter and looked at the food I had placed on the belt. He asked me if that was all I had to eat and I smiled and shared that it was all for the folks that live in the camp under the freeway and behind the car wash. He nodded, turned away and didn't look back.

However, when the food came up to the register, he said, "I want to pay for this food also." I stretched out my hand to shake his, but he hugged me instead. I wanted to thank him but he hurried off and when he looked back I could see tears in his eyes. I knew that God had done something special in this man's life.

Today's Tip: Take a few extra minutes to greet a stranger in need.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Celebrating Through Tough Times

Inspiration of the Day:
What does Earth Day during the recession mean for Corbyn Hightower's family of five? Fixing, not tossing. Pedaling, not driving. Growing, not buying. Corbyn reflects, "Our needs are modest, our overhead has been lowered, and life has become about simple, sustainable pleasures." Even the four-year-old is turning the soil! [ more ]

Today's Tip: Plant something today and watch it grow!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Challenge to Make a Difference

I found this in my email this morning and challenge all of you who stop by here and read this post, to do one small act of kindness each day. Make it your mission. Just one. Come back here and let us know about it. How did it change your day? How did it change you? Trust me, with one act a day, we can completely change the world. Are you game?

Honoring A Daughter By Paying-It-Forward
April 22, 2010 - Posted by MandysMom

Mandy was the kind of girl I was blessed to have as a daughter, the kind of friend everyone wanted to have, the kind of spirit that radiated joy and happiness when ever she entered a room.

Mandy left this world to go be with her Lord on November 15, 2008 in a tragic car accident.

Since then, I have tried to live each day of my life living up to her expectations. I started the Kindness Revolution on Mother's day 2009 and gave out over 100 flowers to random women throughout the weekend along with a card letting them know to pay the kindness forward.

I have given away jewelry, paid for coffee and tolls, paid for groceries, cleaned off car windows trying to spread the kindness and to do as she instructed.

I know that each time I do a kind act, I get back 100 times more than I gave.

The feeling of doing things just for the pure kindness of the act, never expecting or wanting a thank you or reward is amazing!

Seeing the look of disbelief on peoples faces when you hand them a gift and a card and simply walk away speaks volumes to how much we need more of this in our world!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Kids Making a Difference

Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they're looking for ideas. --Paula Poundstone

The Difference Kids are Making:
9-year-old Neha started off selling handmade greeting cards and wine charms. Now, at 13, her nonprofit has raised $30,000 for orphans in India. 10-year-old Kelly invented the T-Pack (a fanny pack worn on the thigh). Now a millionaire, she teaches entrepreneurship to children, and is an author on the side. Oh, and she's 18. With the internet providing easy access to business innovation websites like and Young Entrepreneur, standing on the shoulders of giants has never been so easy. The result? Kids tapping into their creativity, and making a difference. [ more ]
Today's Tip: Help a child explore his or her own creativity today. Be their biggest cheerleader!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Birthday for the Homeless

I live in a big Scandinavian city that unfortunately has a lot of homeless people. Luckily there are small ways of helping them even though you may not have a lot of money. One way to help is to buy their monthly magazine. By doing this one day, I got to know a young homeless man who was often standing at the train station, selling the magazine.

He was a refugee from another country and I can only imagine what kind of psychological scars he must have had from living in a war-torn country, escaping it and then ending up being homeless. After a while, I discovered that his birthday was close to mine which meant that we were born under the same sign of the Zodiac, something we talked about once in a while.

I met him last year shortly after his birthday, and without thinking, after congratulating him, I asked if he had had a good day. He looked down and said that he hadn't really celebrated. I felt so stupid.

I just couldn't bear the thought of this nice, young man being alone on his 25th birthday with no presents, no cake, no songs, nothing! So I went home and looked in my yarn basket and as luck would have it, I had two yarn cores of pure wool left. I set to work and knitted a scarf for the young man. As the yarn had become somewhat dusty since I don't knit very often anymore, I went out and bought special detergent for the wool so the scarf would be clean when he got it.

I ran into him on my own birthday as I was going shopping. I had hoped to meet him so I had carried the scarf around with me and a piece of my own birthday cake. He was very happy with these gifts and so was I. The light in his eyes and the heartfelt hug he gave me was the best present he could have given me!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Paying It Forward

Idea of the Week

"While attending my 16 year old's high school track meet, I noticed that one of his teammates was the only one wearing regular sneakers. My son told me that the kid couldn't afford 'spikes'. I'm a single mom and being able to afford sports equipment has been tough at times but my son and I are very fortunate to have a very supportive family that pulls together to help us out. It was obvious my son's teammate needed the help of some 'extended' family. So, my son and I devised a plan that would allow us to help the kid without embarrassing him. The next day my son approached his teammate and told him that his uncle had bought him a pair of spikes that were the wrong size for him but coincidentally were the boy's size and that the boy could have the spikes if he wanted them. Surprised, the boy asked my son what he wanted for them, and told him that he was passing up the opportunity to make a little cash b giving the shoes away for free. My son told him not to worry about it. I reminded my son that not eveyone is as fortunate as we are and that when the situation arises and you are able to help someone you should do it. We both felt really good about it and it was also a great lesson in kindness."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Unemployed Man Gives Away Money

Inspiration of the Day:
For many of us, giving away money is last thing we'd do after losing our job. For Reed Sandridge, it's a "journey of altruistic giving". After getting laid off last year as a director of a nonprofit group in Washington D.C, the 36-year-old decided to start an experiment in giving. Every day, Sandridge walks up to a stranger and gives away $10. So far, he's handed out close to $1,200! He also interviews the recipient and posts their story on his blog, "Year of Giving". [ more ]

Today's Tip: Be generous in your giving beyond your church tithes'. Look outside the church and see where your money could benefit someone whether it's through charities, or a homeless person looking for a couple of dollars. Don't judge how someone will use the money, pray over it before you hand it out, that God will use it to glorify Him and leave it at that. Be a cheerful giver!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Carrying a Load with a Big Smile

Here's another great inspirational story to share with all of you I got in my email this morning:

It is a terribly rainy wet winters day here in Tauranga. While I was walking from the library after getting together my University applications for next year at the end of my lunch break, a man was walking towards me with two HUGE boxes of pamphlets.

I thought, "What on earth is that man trying to do? Carry all that stuff?" Then all of a sudden he dropped it all!!!!!! It was a terrible mess with hundreds of brochures all over the path in front of me! "Oh no," I thought. The man sat down and started trying to pick all of the brochures up. I couldn’t believe how many people walked on by without even caring in the least.

I thought, "I’m not going to be one of those people who don’t care about this man. I’m going to help him." So, even though it was the end of my lunch break from work and I would be late if I stopped to help him, I didn’t mind in the least. If I explain what happened I’m sure my boss wouldn’t mind too much. So, I crouched down beside him and helped him pick them all up. Then I asked if he would like a hand in carrying a box to where he was headed. He said yes that would be much appreciated.

So, I carried one of the heavy boxes. I tell you, the box I had to carry was VERY HEAVY (as I’m quite a petite girl) but I didn’t want to let onto him and didn’t complain. I just helped him with a big smile across my face. We got there and he thanked me very much for helping him out. He also gave me one of these lovely brochures about all the walks in and around the Bay of Plenty.

What is a better way to spend my lunchtime then helping someone and I wasn't even that late back to work so nobody minded at all!

Helping others is so much fun!!!!!!!!!

"No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave" - Calvin Coolidge

Today's Tip: Send an unexpected greeting card to someone in need of a thoughtful word or encouraging words.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sharing More Than Just Smiles!

"Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds." -- George Eliot

Here's a great idea that came in from an email today that shares the spirit of growing with others! ENJOY!

"My parents live in a semi-rural area, and are fortunate to have some land to plant a garden. This year, they planted some cucumbers and zucchinis. They grew extremely well so they had an abundance of 'cukes' and 'zukes'. They decided to give the extra produce away. I thought maybe my family could sell the extra food (they certainly could use some extra income themselves), but they wouldn't think of it - sharing the produce is something they've done their whole life. For my parents, giving the food away is part of the fun of growing a garden. My parents took some of the cukes and zukes to some elderly friends they knew in the town, and to a building complex in a really poor part of town, where people rarely can afford to get fresh veggies. Hopefully they made those people's days a little brighter ;)"

Today's Tip: Consider doing the same thing and sharing your produce you are growing with others in your neighborhood or community.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Silent Tree Planter

As a volunteer, Charlie Starbuck has helped to plant trees by the thousands on the streets of San Francisco, a city long on charm but short on leafy green trees. He has volunteered for a citywide tree-planting program since 1981, nearly without interruption. That's almost 30 years of weekly plantings, without pay, come rain or shine. "He's done it in such a modest way. Week after week. He's the Lou Gehrig of tree planting." [ more ]

Today's Tip: Go out and plant a tree. Find a tree-planting organization to volunteer with in your community and let the spirit carry over to everyone involved. Go to the Arbor Day Foundation site to find one in your community!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tandem Acts of Kindness

Here is a wonderful email I got yesterday and had to share of a great idea from a fellow blogger:

"A few weeks ago I went grocery shopping with a wonderful friend. She had a bunch of spare quarters in her handbag so the two of us decided to put them to some "good" use. The grocery store locks the shopping carts together and you have to pay a quarter to use them. We decided to "tag" the other shoppers by anonymously unlocking the shopping carts so that they could use them for free. It was quite tricky trying to sneak the quarters into the slots whilst trying to make sure that nobody saw us but it was so much fun! I am so happy to have been part of this little kindness 'tag' team and to learn of yet another way to spread some smiles! We all learn from each other don't we?"

Today's Tip: Don't return a luggage cart at the airport to get back your quarter but pass it along to someone who could use it to check their luggage in at the terminal instead. It will make your fees that you paid at the airport last more than just getting your luggage to your car!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Five Star Chefs Feeds the Hungry

Inspiration of the Day:
Narayanan Krishnan's day begins at 4 a.m. He and his team cover nearly 125 miles in a donated van, working in temperatures topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Once a five-star chef on his way to an elite job in Switzerland, the 29-year-old now spends his day personally preparing and delivering meals to nearly 400 homeless individuals everyday. "I saw a very old man eating his own human waste for food," Krishnan said. "It really hurt me so much. I was literally shocked for a second. After that, I started feeding that man and decided this is what I should do the rest of my lifetime." [ more ]

Friday, April 2, 2010

Big Tom

I got this in my email this morning and think any of you that have the opportunity to view this should find 6 minutes and watch this video and then let me know how it impacted you.

For me, my response, I was completely moved to tears. Such is the love of one that would lay down his life for another.

Enjoy and then spend some time this weekend reflecting on Jesus' life and all that He did for us. Let us not forget but remember.
Today's Tip: Love one another as I have loved you! ~ Jesus