Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Simplify Your Life

Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough. -- Charles Dudley Warner

Inspiration of the Day:
She had so much. A two-bedroom apartment. Two cars. Enough wedding china to serve two dozen people. Yet Tammy Strobel wasn't happy. Working as a project manager with an investment management firm in Davis, California, and making about 40K a year, she was, as she put it, caught in the "work-spend treadmill." So one day she stepped off. Inspired by books and blogs about living simply, Strobel and her husband began downsizing and donating their things. Clothing, a television, and even cars disappeared. Now, three years later, the two live happily, modestly, and debt-free on Strobel's 24K annual salary. Working less, she has time to be outdoors and volunteer.

Be The Change:
Brainstorm 5 ways to simplify your life.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Rainy Day Kindness

Here's another inspiring idea to spread kindness and love like Jesus would want. This was in my email over the weekend from an unknown author. Enjoy ~ Kat

Today it is 39 degrees and supposed to be raining. It would have been the perfect day for me to act upon my Kindness Idea.
I was the lucky winner of the December Kindness Idea's Contest on Helpothers.org - where they give you $100 to carry out your kindness idea. My idea was to purchase umbrellas for shelter on a rainy day and small towels to wife your face and hopefully bring a little smile into your day and hand them out to folks who find themselves caught out in the weather unprepared.
Once I received the check for $100 I ran right out and purchased umbrellas and towels. I laundered the towels and wrapped them around the umbrellas and banded them with a smile card. I placed them them in plastic bags to protect them from moisture, dirt and grime! Then I waited on the rain!!! Lately we’ve had plenty snow…but no rain. Yesterday the rains came! Where were the umbrellas? At my office. Where was I? At home…more than 20 miles from the office. I don’t remember ever wishing for rain before…at least not unless we were experiencing a drought! But lately I have - I'm yearning to start my kindness activity :)! Yesterday we received an inch of rain at our house. It rained all day long!
Today…the forecast was for a mix of rain/flurries. What have we? Partly cloudy skies. Not one drop or flurry. No one in need of shelter today! Still I smile…and eagerly wait for an opportunity.
I recently left four umbrellas at the front desk with the receptionist so that she could hand them out readily to customers in need. I loved letting her share in the fun! They skies held the promise of showers; so I stuck several in my bag on the way to lunch just in case I should find someone in need…but no luck. Oh how I wanted someone to be unprepared! LOL!
But I am ready! It may take me several rainy days before I exhaust my supply…but I’m up for the kindness challenge!
Thank you HelpOthers.org for helping me spread a little sunshine on a cold, rainy day! I know that my day will arrive!!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Kindness by Mail

"If we make our goal to live a life of compassion and unconditional love, then the world will indeed become a garden where all kinds of flowers can bloom and grow." -- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Idea of the Week

"My aunt, who is a very young 70, was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The diagnosis has been shattering for her and it's probably reasonable to say she's been going through a bit of depression. She tells me she cries herself to sleep at night. I wanted to try and cheer her up a little bit. She's out of state, so I went shopping and bought a ton of funny cards and, every three days, I mail a card out to her. I write little funny notes inside each card, sometimes on the envelope, too. The other day she called me and said with a smile, "I want to know, did you recently buy stock in a card company?" Maybe if you have a relative who needs a 'pick-up', or a sick neighbor, or you know a new mother, you could (anonymously) shower them with cards. I get a kick each time I send one to her. I know she's enjoying them, too. I don't want her to forget that I love her."

Today's Tip: Send someone a handwritten card today to brighten their day!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Miracle of Silence

Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods. -- Henry David Thoreau

Inspiration of the Day:
When all is silent, what do you hear? The first widely observed national moment of silence occurred in Britain in 1919. For two minutes, switchboard operators declined to connect telephone calls, subway cars and factory wheels ground to a halt, and ordinary citizens held their tongues. Within 10 years, the somber annual tradition had grown so popular that the BBC began to air the sound of the silence. Authors George Prochnik and Garrett Keizer unravel surprisingly poignant perspectives on silence, from the red-eyed tree frog's ability to discern vibrations to theories on why iPods are so ubiquitous. In a world of noise, silence easily slips through the cracks. Prochnik and Keizer remind us of its unassuming yet powerful presence. "When we ourselves are in silence, we are speaking the language of the soul," Prochnik remarks.

Be The Change:
Throughout the day, listen to the sounds that surround you, and make an effort to spend time in silence.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ripples of Kindness

Here's another great way to share kindness in the smallest of ways but impacts people in the biggest ones. I got this in my email from a random person. Enjoy ~ Kat

I went into a local cafe for breakfast one quiet morning with a friend of mine. I grabbed a smile card as I left my car, not knowing quite what I was going to do with it.

During the meal, I noticed a woman sat by herself, absorbed in a book, at the table next to us. I walked over to the waitress, asked how much the woman's check was, and handed her the money and a smile card with the instructions to give the woman the card, with the paid check, but to make sure not to tell her who had done this.

When the woman left, the waitress came to the table and told me that the woman was shocked and very happy, said she really needed someone to do this for her, and couldn't wait to pass it on.

But what really touched me was that the waitress said the owner of the cafe had witnessed all of this, and was getting online to order smile cards herself so that she could continue the blessings to others! Her spontaneous generosity made me realize that this form of giving/gifting really touches a chord deep within all of us, that chord that tells us that generosity and kindness is our true nature, and that we all want to be a part of it when we see it in action. I can't wait to see where the smile cards will begin showing up in our little community.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Kindness in Goodwill

Here is a heartwarming story shared by a special someone that I got in my email. I hope it brings a cheerful smile to your face today ~ Kat

Last week, my friend was leafing through a bunch of clothes when he found a crumpled up note. Right then, he turns to me and says, "I don't know what amount this is, but it's yours. Pay it forward, leave 'em a smile card and lots to smile about." That bills ends up being a ten-dollar bill.

All week I've been wondering what to do. Saturday morning rolled around and I had to drop off a couple of bags of clothes at Goodwill. I had been to this particular Goodwill store before and as I'm driving, my mind wandered to the people working at the store. There is a large room at the back of the store for dropping off items and there are always people in the room sorting through the dozens of bags left for donations. I thought to myself, that's not the most glamorous job, but those people are making a difference. Bingo! There it was! Those people needed some type of recognition.

I turned the car around, stopped by a local grocery store, picked up a couple of thank-you cards and some candy. I placed the candy in two bags, since I had two bags of clothes. I wrote a note of appreciation in the thank-you cards, slipped a smile card inside each thank-you card, stapled the cards to the bags of candy, and slipped the bags in between my clothes.

I had a couple of dollars left over so I gave them to a homeless woman sitting outside the grocery store. $10 well spent :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Crossing Bridges of Celebration

Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing. -- Oliver Wendell Holmes

Inspiration of the Day:
As I was nearing my 75th birthday I was wondering, what can I do to celebrate this? I heard about this woman who tap-danced across a bridge, and I thought, this is what I'll do! So I pursued getting a permit. That was a very complicated process. You wouldn't think you'd have to have a permit to dance across the Golden Gate Bridge. There was a lot of bureaucracy involved, an insurance policy, a permit, [laughs] but that didn't prevent me from doing it. Not to make a big thing about the physicality of it. It's only a little over a mile. It's not that big a deal. Well, it might be for some seventy-five-year-olds. But with the Brooklyn Bridge I said, forget about the permits. I'm just doing it. If I get arrested, I'll just get a lot more publicity. But basically, there are bridges to cross, bridges to burn, bridges to build, bridges over troubled waters, bridges to nowhere-our whole life is based on kinds of bridges isn't it?

Be The Change:
Challenge yourself: try stepping out of the routine to do something physical that's fun.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chocolate Marathon

I've learned that finishing a marathon isn't just an athletic achievement. It's a state of mind; a state of mind that says anything is possible. -- John Hanc

Inspiration of the Day:
For a serious distance runner, 7 hours, 48 minutes is not a great marathon time. But for Brian Fugere, it's a miracle. He'd been diagnosed with synovial sarcoma -- a rare soft-tissue cancer -- in his lung. Yet during his fourth cycle of chemotherapy, he still managed to drag an IV pole for all 26.2 miles. Oh, and this marathon took place in a hospital hallway. Inspired by Lance Armstrong's book that stresses how important it is to "keep moving," Fugere started doing laps around the cancer ward. Realizing it would take 144 laps to do a marathon, he wanted "to show other chemo patients that you don't have to accept the notion of lying in bed all day getting liquid Drano pumped into you." Those 144 laps raised $42,000 for the Sarcoma Foundation of America. And since then, Fugere has kept moving.

Be The Change:
Encourage others to attempt a feat they never thought possible.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Saying Thank You

Here is a great email I received this weekend. Enjoy ~ Kat

"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy." -- Thich Nhat Hahn

Idea of the Week

"I work in a pharmacy, and I always tell everyone who I serve to "have a great day" as they leave, and I always add a smile. A few weeks ago a lady was in the pharmacy. She walked by me looking concentrated, but calm. I told her to "have a great day", and as usual, smiled at her. To my surprise, she broke down in tears. I don't know why she was crying, but it was pretty obvious that she must have been having a horrible day. She quickly said, "Thank you, that means more right now then you can imagine." And managed a smile, even though she was still crying. She was gone before I could reach out to her. But it really just goes to show how a couple words and a smile can really make someone's day."

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Learning Lessons From Starfish

Today's Act: Call someone and tell them you were thinking about them today. You never know the phone call you make could be the difference in their day.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Beginning a New Life

Bread for myself is a material question. Bread for my neighbor is a spiritual one. -- Nikolai Berdyaev

Inspiration of the Day:
When one woman runs into a childhood neighbor, she falls to tears after learning the hardships that have cast a shadow over his life. After his parents died, he lost two older siblings. He had become a husband and a father, but found himself lost for meaning. "Fighting back tears, I asked him if he needed some help getting back on his feet. He said he wanted to start a small business of his own. And so, I then gave him some money which I must say, he has wisely used. Last week he came to see me... He said from the amount that I had given him, he had made a significant profit which he has reinvested in his business. The young man is now happy, able to take his son to school and pay for his rent." And the happiness came full circle as the woman beamed at the opportunity to serve, and the possibilities of transformation.

Be The Change:
Strike up a conversation with a neighbor today. Ask them how they are doing and let them know you care.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Guest Blogger Contributes Her A.R.K.

I wanted to pass along a great email I received this morning from Joan at God's Little People. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did receiving it.

Hi Kat, so good to catch up with all the brilliant stories you've posted. There's always stuff to inspire - love it.

I recently had to use a tumbledryer in a laundromat, where the dryer had stopped but was still full of laundry and no person in sight. So I picked up the baton from one of your recent stories (about a person finding their laundry nicely folded together), emptied the dryer and folded the laundry nicely in a pile for the owner to collect. I quietly smiled at the thought that the owner might get caught by the "kindness bug" :-))

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Living Life As An Experiment

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. -- John A. Shedd

Tip of the Day:
It was an experiment. Peter Bregman was returning an item to a store. The item was well within the return period, but there would be a 20 percent restocking fee. Having recently decided to live life as an experiment, Bregman decided to see if he could tap into the store manager's compassion to waive the fee. In the grand scheme of things, it was a small act. Yet in the process of experimenting, the most powerful lessons emerged. "What I learned is the power of framing... Because when we live life as an experiment, we are far more willing to take risks, to acknowledge failure, to learn and develop," he sums up. "If it's an experiment, then taking a risk is the win - whether it pans out or not."

Be The Change:
Take a risk today. In the spirit of experimenting, step out of your comfort zone!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Improbable Dance

In a Chinese modern dance competition on TV one very unique couple won one of the top prizes. The lady, in her 30's, was a dancer who had trained since she was a little girl. Later in life, she lost her entire left arm in an accident and fell into a state of depression for a few years.

Someone then asked her to coach a children's dancing group. From that point on, she realized that she could not forget dancing. She still loved to dance and wanted to dance again. So, she started to do some of her old routines, but, having lost her arm, she had also lost her balance.

It took a while before she could even make simple turns and spins without falling. Then she heard of a man in his 20s who had lost a leg in an accident. He had also fallen into the usual denial, depression and anger type of emotional roller coaster. But, she was determined to find him and persuade him to dance with her ... He had never danced, and to dance with one leg ... are you joking with me?? "No way!"

But, she didn't give up, and he reluctantly agreed thinking, "I have nothing else to do anyway." She started to teach him dancing. The two broke up a few times because he had no concept of using muscle, how to control his body, and knew none of the basic things about dancing. When she became frustrated and lost patience with him, he would walk out. Eventually, they came back together and started training seriously.

They hired a choreographer to design routines for them. She would fly high (held by him) with both arms (a sleeve for an arm) flying in the air. He could bend horizontally supported by one leg with her leaning on him, etc.

In the competition, as you will see, they dance beautifully and they legitimately won the competition.

When I watched this I didn't even realize that she was missing an arm because I was focusing on the guy with only one leg. Really quite amazing!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kindness Enought To Quit Smoking

The giving of love is an education in itself. -- Eleanor Roosevelt

Inspiration of the Day:
On the dusty streets of Pushkar, India, a few men stop for a smoke. When an old woman asks for a rupee to buy lunch, they promptly refuse and walk away. Eyes on their backs, the woman observes, "These young men will burn more than a rupee for their bad habit, but will never give a rupee to a hungry person." With her words echoing in his ears, one man returns to offer her two rupees. An hour later, he finds the same beggar under a tree feeding a young girl in torn dress. "Amma, who is that girl?" he asks. "She couldn't arrange a rupee today, so I have brought lunch for her out of the money you gave for dinner. Don't worry, God will arrange for my dinner." Astonished at her generosity, he reflects, "I got the strength to quit the [smoking] habit in that moment. No 'statuary warning' on the packet could teach me the lesson that the beggar woman did that day," he remarks.

Be The Change:
Give love in a small way today.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cool Ways to A.R.K.

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable. -- Joseph Addison

Good News of the Day:
Ice cream: the sweet taste of summer. It's the cool reward of a job well done, a game well-played, or a tasty excuse to prolong a classic first date. While the song of the ice cream truck has the power to bring forth a lot of smiles, one company has taken this to a whole new level with their latest invention: the world's first smile-activated ice cream vending machine. Using cutting-edge technology, the creators are on a mission to encourage people everywhere to share life's small moments of happiness. Through the power of facial recognition, 3G and Facebook, the vending machine gifts each grinning user with a tasty ice cream treat. All you need to bring is a smile!

Be The Change:
Smile. It makes the world a better place.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Kindness at the Airport

In about the same degree as you are helpful, you will be happy." -- Karl Reiland

Idea of the Week

"I travel for business all the time and I know that airports are places in urgent need of random kindness. Lately, I've had opportunities to make a tiny dent in the airport frenzy - at the cart line. I remember when we could rent a cart to haul our bags for $1.25, but over the last few months, airports have raised fees as high as $5 and often travelers stand at the cart line, stymied by a lack correct change or credit card to pay the fee. At first, impatience (the currency of airport life) was my reaction to people 'holding up the line'. Then I realized this was an opportunity to help. Now when I see someone clearly frustrated by a need for help with their bags, unable to liberate a cart for lack of cash or a card, I simply step up and put my credit card in the machine so they can get the cart. Typically they think I am just stepping in front of them - but when I tell them to take the cart, you can fee tension slip away. To make sure they aren't embarrassed, I always leave them with encouragement to pay their 'airport karma' forward."

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Little Red Wagon

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. -- Anne Frank

Inspiration of the Day:
"Some boys like to play baseball, some boys like to play football. He likes to do charity work," explains Zach Bonner's mom, chuckling. In 2004, six-year-old Zach went door to door with his little red wagon to collect water for the victims of Hurricane Charlie. Inspired by helping others, he started his own charity, aptly named, The Little Red Wagon Foundation. Since then, Bonner has raised thousands of dollars to purchase school supplies, food, and support services for homeless children in Florida and Louisiana. Today, the twelve-year-old is walking across the country to raise even more funds for the homeless. "It takes a lot of hard work, but it's a lot of fun," he remarks. Wise beyond his years.

Today's Tip: Use the photography of someone you love or a particular favorite place as a bookmark in your books or Bible. Each time you open your book, you will definitely smile!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Life Without Worry

How much pain they have cost us, the evils which have never happened. -- Thomas Jefferson

Tip of the Day:
It keeps us up at night. Weighs our shoulders down. Hangs over us in clouds of doubt and furrowed eyebrows. Worry. There's nothing appealing about it, yet many of us find our minds entangled in self-doubt, uncertainty, and grappling with unknowns. But for Akaya Windwood, worry is a thing of the past. A few years ago, after her sister was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Windwood made the decision to stop worrying. "I began to understand that it was a habit of my mind... But it wasn't enough to just not worry; I needed to replace the habit of worry with something else, and I chose trust." Looking back, her decision not to worry has freed her to be an increasingly creative, inspired, and effective leader. With a clearer head, challenges become opportunities, and fear falls off the wayside.

Be The Change:
Embrace life's unknowns: Make a note of each worry as it arises, and replace it with an alternative emotion or act.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Never Give Up in Life

Think life has you down today? Watch this video and see if you don't have just a little bit more to give to finish the race. ~ Love and Hugs ~Kat

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Empty Gift Box

The story goes that some time ago, a man punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree.

Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, “This is for you, Daddy.”

He was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found the box was empty.

He yelled at her, “Don’t you know that when you give someone a present, there’s supposed to be something inside it?”

The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said, “Oh, Daddy, it is not empty. I blew kisses into the box. All for you, Daddy.”

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged for her forgiveness.

It is told that the man kept that gold box by his bed for years and whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each of us as humans have been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, friends, family or God.

There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.

Today's Tip: Give someone an unexpected surprise today. It could be a cut flower, a candy bar, a homemade cookie or just a handwritten note.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Secret Agent of Kindness

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. -- Leo F. Buscaglia

Inspiration of the Day:
For the past year, Laura Miller has been living a double life of sorts: administrative assistant by day, secret agent of kindness by night. The 32-year-old only recently revealed herself as the woman behind "Secret Agent L," a giver of random acts of kindness that has been brightening the days of unsuspecting Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania residents since July 2009. What started with a friend's request to do a random act of kindness in honor of her birthday has rippled happiness across the city, in the form of flowers on windshields, a roll of quarters at a laundromat, chocolate bars on desks, the list goes on... Her project even attracted 80 "Secret Agent Affiliates" who are spreading kind anonymous acts around the world. "I think people are so hungry to not feel alone," she remarks. "There's so much hurt out there and my project is an attempt to heal some of that."

Today's Tip: I challenge you to start what Laura has begun and becoming your own secret agent of kindness and see what smiles you can share.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Feeling Generous?

Our very lives depend on the ethics of strangers, and most of us are always strangers to other people. -- Bill Moyers

Inspiration of the Day:
Sally Anderson had 500 dollars to give away. How and where to give it? As she writes, "My husband suggested Goodwill. He said, 'Why not give some money to a family? It should be easy.' So we stopped at Goodwill. I saw a young man buying T-shirts and said, 'I'm part of a generosity project. I'd like to give you $20.' He said, 'Wow, thanks, that's great! Are there more people like you out there?' I was feeling very successful, so as I passed by a man, woman and child with a cart looking like they were going to do some serious shopping, I offered again, much as I had with the young man. this man looked horrified, said, 'No!' and walked away. There I was again with that awful feeling of embarrassment and awkwardness. I went over to where my husband was looking for jeans and said, 'Why do I feel like crying?' He shook his head and shrugged, 'Look, I'm not even gutsy enough to try it. Don't ask me.'"

Be The Change:
Try giving a stranger a few dollars. It's a real-life adventure and you don't even need a plane ticket.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Kindness at Work

"Duty makes us do things well, but love makes us do them beautifully." -- Phillips Brooks

Idea of the Week

"Wednesday was my day of scheduled kindness this week and I decided to do something at my work. We are going through a lot of change in the office and many people are nervous and anxious about all of the changes. I thought this would be a great opportunity to bring a little kindness where it could spread some smiles to people who needed that. I decided to bring in a bunch of heart shaped cookies that I had seen in the shop and I made a little card that said: "Help yourself and don't forget to smile!" I put the sign next to the goodies, along with a stack of Smile Cards. I had to sneak them in, so as to not be seen, as it's more fun if they have to try to figure out where they came from!" --

Today's Tip: How about making this idea a reality and bake some homemade goodies for the people at work to enjoy!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Kindness in the Workplace

One day, while I was walking to work, I decided to bring some flowers that I had picked from my garden that morning. I came across a random stranger, and was inspired to give the bunch to him with a smile card.

Struck by the sense of joy I felt from giving flowers to another person, and maybe brightening his day, I wanted to do it again.

When I got to my office, I had the idea of anonymously leaving flowers around the workplace. Sometimes, the impersonal atmosphere of the building where I work numbs my spirits a little. It's a nice building, with great light, but it just feels a little sterile sometimes. I figured lots of people might feel the same way, so why not put a little beauty there, and throw in an inspirational quote while I'm at it? After all, who doesn't like flowers?

So, for the past month, I've been putting flowers in a little cup on the sink in the bathroom. Each week, I change the flowers and the quote. It always feels refreshing for me to read quotes like Henry David Thoreau's "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours" and Gandhi's "The fragrance always remains on the hand that gives the rose." If anything, I figured, it at least makes me smile each time I visit the bathroom.

Then today, when I walked in, I noticed new flowers in the cup, and a quote that someone else had written!! It said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world" -Gandhi.

For me, seeing this little act was a reminder that, at the end of the day, we're all just people with hearts. Regardless of the various roles and different hats we may wear in the workplace.

I did a little dance and am smiling wide for the rest of the day! :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Soldier's Service

I had just entered the elevator on the third floor of the medical center after a simple check up. As I entered I noticed an old gentleman in a wheelchair with a little old lady behind him. I noticed his baseball cap with WWII on the front. Most likely, a veteran of World War Two, I assumed.

Just making small talk, I said, "so, you were in the big one." His answer stunned me. He said, "Yes, I went overseas a strapping young newlywed and I came back in this thing," slapping each side of the wheelchair with his hands.

I stared at him, looked at his wife, and the magnitude of what he said to me hit me like a ton of bricks. He married this woman, went to serve his country, was wounded and paralyzed and then returned to his wife and she stayed with him for all these years. Overcome with a combination of sadness and awe for the magnitude of his statement, I looked at him and said: "I know you probably don't hear this nearly enough, but I want to thank you for your sacrifice for me and our Country." I then looked at his wife and thanked her for her faithfulness to her husband. Then, even though I had never been in the military, I straightened myself and gave them both the best salute I could muster.

At that moment the elevator door opened, and I walked off on cloud nine and teary eyed, the woman pushed her husband out into the lobby, both of them were crying too. That 30 second encounter will stay with me the rest of my life and I hope they will recall my sincere gratitude.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Course In Miracles

You can move through life seeing nothing as a miracle, or seeing everything as a miracle. -- Albert Einstein

Inspiration of the Day:
Arriving in a new city, I broke my leg shortly after starting graduate school. Feeling lonely and homesick, so many blessings I never expected came my way. Many small acts of kindness stayed with me. There were the bus shuttle drivers who gave me the luxury of being picked up from any place and made sure I got connections to wherever I was going. And the many people who held doors for me - small things that were incredibly hard with crutches. I tried to repay the universe for its blessings however I could. Sometimes the worst situations are also blessings: chances to witness great kindness from the universe. My first week of grad school, I was made to attend a class that I never signed up for: A Course in Miracles.

Today's Tip: Buy a rubber duck for someone you love!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Courage Under Fire

This is truly a heartwarming story of courage under fire. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Love Is A Verb

Here's a great short story from a fellow blogger that she sent me this morning. It comes from Danae at Love Is A Verb and I hope you enjoy it. If you have a story, please send it to me and I'd be more than happy to post it here. Life is about sharing and this is the perfect way to share love with people. Enjoy ~ Kat

I wanted to tell you about this story. It's a short one!

My husband and I were on the subway on our way home. I was reading and all of a sudden, I saw my husband get up out of the corner of my eye. When I looked up, there was a VERY pregnant woman being helped onto the train by her husband. The thing that got me was the look of surprise on their faces that my husband had given her his seat. There were two police officers standing in the car and they were saying things like, 'Nice to see that there are still good men in the world.' We were a little shocked ourselves - we hadn't expected that sort of reaction.

I hope you've enjoyed your weekend!

With Love,

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ocean Kindness

"Great acts are made up of small deeds." -- Laozi

Idea of the Week

"Here is a little something that I like to do and I thought I would share it as my kind act for today... I love swimming in the ocean, and when I do, if I see any plastic floating in the water, I make a point of removing it. Then, when I'm done swimming, I pick up as many plastic bottles as I can carry and dump them in the garbage. While this is not random kindness to human beings, it is kind to the precious ocean that I love so much. I look forward to plastic-free days somewhere in the future..."

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Adventure in Paying It Forward

Here's a great story I wanted to share with all of you ~ Kat

I want to say thanks to all of you for your special notes and ideas, after I sent my request for 'gifting acts of kindness ideas' for my nephew's birthday last month. I was excited to hear from some of you with suggestions. Pancho suggested that I give him my attention -- as the greatest gift one human being can give another -- yes! Nipun helped out by sharing his own story, and got me thinking further about how I could do a kindness tag, Idaho style. I gave that kid some super-duper hugs, not to mention every bit of attention I could muster, and a good dose of kindness stories, to boot.

There is a long story with great sidenotes that goes with the birthday adventure story, but the short story is as follows: I gave my nephew twenty bucks for his birthday, with the condition that he use it to do something kind for someone -- anonymously. There was a lot of hemming and hawing about that (does anyone use that expression anywhere except in Idaho? :) among my family members, and sidelong glances and statements about how Shannon has gone crazy, but we already knew that, etc., etc.

But we ended up, after much deliberation and storytelling, going to the local hamburger joint, which is the hoppin-est place in our-town Idaho on a Tuesday night, and anonymously tagging the people in the burger line. The server that helped us with the tag was so excited about it, she said to my nephew, "That is so cool! And you are an awesome kid. Gimme five!" You should have seen him blush.

The couple who finally got the tag were so surprised, they looked at each other and didn't know what to do upon hearing the news that their meal had already been paid for, anonymously. They were told that they didn't owe anything, but could respond by paying it forward if they wished. The guy just smiled, shrugged his shoulders, and looked at his female companion, presumably for guidance. The girl looked back at him, took the $20 she was going to use to pay for the burgers, and put it in the tip jar for the employees. Then she reached into her purse, grabbed out another wad of bills, and put them in the tip jar, too. Then she shrugged back at him and smiled. Well, that was totally off the cuff! I guess paying it forward is natural.

When the cashier came out later to give us the change from the burger sale (around two dollars), my nephew didn't want to take it. He said, "Why don't you keep it, or maybe you could forward it to someone else?" Of course, she loved the idea. Who knows...maybe that two dollars bought someone a hot dog :)

After our tagging outing, my nephew and I went around town doing some random acts of kindness for various family members. At one point, he turned to me and said, "Shannon, you know what we did with tagging those people? I want to do that again." Of course, I couldn't resist telling him the story of the child in Mexico who said the same thing after he was forced to give up his favorite toy. He wasn't surprised. He said, "I understand! But usually people don't do that kind of stuff in Idaho." I said, "They do now!"

So there's my little story...
The cool thing is that not only does this story include a tag and some little transformations (including that of my brother, who went from being a total skeptic in this project to a still-somewhat-confused supporter); but it also brought my nephew and I a lot closer in ways that I didn't expect. Doing kind things for others -- together -- creates an energy and a bond that is very special.

Thanks to all of you for being the supreme taggers and storytellers that you are, and for inspiring change in all the little corners of the world!