Friday, October 29, 2010

Cookie Kindness

Some of the women at my work had been hit up to buy cookies from some Girl Scouts they knew. We wanted to support the young girls but we were all working on losing weight. We were wondering what to do when we got the idea to send the cookies to the troops overseas.

My daughter was serving in Iraq when this happened. I packaged them up in a care package and sent them out to my daughter's unit. My daughters unit enjoyed them so much and we got lots of appreciative letters and emails from them. It was so lovely to receive all of those and see what an impact a small gesture on our part had had.

They were flying a flag at their unit and told us they were going to bring it home for us to fly here.

What a blessing was brought out by wanting to support one cause by buying cookies and bringing smiles and love to another cause!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mysterious Gift Giver

The manner of giving is worth more than the gift. -- Pierre Corneille

Inspiration of the Day:
What would it be this morning- a warm Blueberry Lemon? Banana Nut? Cranberry Orange? Oatmeal Raisin? There is always a warm muffin or two tucked into a white napkin and placed next to the morning newspaper, waiting for me once I open my front door. Who is the Mystery Muffin Giver? I try to wake up early to see if I can catch him or her in the act. So far, I've been unsuccessful. But no matter what, the muffin-giving has taken on a life of its own...

Be The Change:
Leave an anonymous gift on a neighbor's doorstep.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Living On Less

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone. -- Henry David Thoreau

Inspiration of the Day:
By choice, Mark Boyle basically doesn't have a cent- or, more accurately, a pence- to his name. Boyle lives in rural England in a trailer he spotted on He feeds himself by growing everything from barley to potatoes, foraging wild edibles like berries and nettles, and occasionally dumpster-diving for luxuries like margarine and bread. He brushes his teeth with homemade toothpaste and barters labor for rent, internet service, and whatever else he can't find, grow, or make. Inspired by watching a film on Gandhi in 2008, Boyle decided to spend a year without money. He liked it so much, he's still doing it. And he even released a book about the experience, entitled, "Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomic Living".

Be The Change:
Dedicate one day this week to simplicity.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Drive Thru Smiles

I just got this in my email and had to pass it along. What a nice way to let someone know they are making a difference! Enjoy ~ Kat

Last night my husband and I were on the way to a show. We were both hungry and wanted to grab a quick bite on our way there, so we swung through a Jack-N-the Box drive-thru and placed our order.

When we got up to the window the lady smiled at me (which is sometimes rare) and asked how I was doing while she was collected our money for the food. I replied, "Fine, and how are you?"

She went to get our order ready and I asked my husband to pass me my "Drive-thru Smile" bag. He handed it to me and watched in amazement as I gathered together a "You make a difference" paper, a Smile card, a smiley stamper and a smile button.

She came back to the window almost before I finished putting it all together. Without looking too closely she passed the bag and said, "Thank you. Have a good day."

I said, "Wait! This is for you." As I placed the little smile gifts in her hand a smile spread across her face. As she looked at the items it got a little bigger but when I thanked her for her smile there was no holding back. She gave the biggest smile and she was laughing. It was very heartwarming.

My husband was very impressed by it. It made him smile too. It just takes a little effort to connect in a human way to everyone we have dealings with, even with something as small as a drive-thru transaction.

Remember, We all make a difference!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Truck Stop Kindness

"Never get tired of doing little things for others. Sometimes, those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts." -- Author Unknown

Idea of the Week

"A little bit of kindness can stay with a person for a long time... Five years ago, our family pulled into a truck stop to use the restroom. While we were there, my daughter saw a small toy kitty cat. Oh, she wanted it so badly! I could see the longing in her eyes but we simply couldn't afford to spend $10 on a toy. She was standing there looking at when a trucker walked up and asked if it he might be allowed to buy that kitty for my daughter. My daughter was so happy she started to cry. To this day, the kitty still sits on my daughter's shelf. She still talks about the man at the truck stop. We will never know the man's name. We probably wouldn't recognize him if we saw him again. But, the $10 he spent that day bought years of joy. Probably way more than he ever could have imagined!"

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Kindness Happens Everywhere

I found this online while browsing this morning and wanted to share it with you. Just another easy way to follow Jesus by doing one Act of Random Kindness at a time. ~ Love and Hugs ~ Kat

As I stood in a busy lunch line at Arby's I was becoming increasingly worried I would be late getting back to the office. A grandmother and her grandson were keeping the only available cashier busy. The woman had difficulty with all the choices and, after finally placing the order, became very flustered trying to find her cash or her credit card.

While this was going on, the cashier had the most gentle and benevolent expression on his face, never once making the woman feel under pressure. His mood transformed my own. I caught his eye and quietly indicated I would pay for the order. He understood and took care of it without embarrassing the woman.

Then when I eventually placed my order he paid for my lunch! As I stood aside waiting for my order two other customers spoke to me about what had happened and said they would also "pay it forward" as a result of witnessing the scene.

The experience was transformative for me! I will never forget that young cashier who set such an inspiring example that his spirit of kindness and generosity created a cascading group of random acts of kindness.

Given a little inspiration, people are wonderfully generous!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Kindness To Go

I got this in my email this morning and wanted to share it with all of you. Just another random act of kindness brought about in a most unusual way! Enjoy ~ Kat

As a substitute teacher, my daily routine invoves driving to a new school almost every day so I'm usually unable to anticipate the days events, good or bad!

On one particular day, I was teaching in a very difficult classroom. I was managing behavior all morning and by lunch time, I knew I needed a coffee to even consider surviving the afternoon. So on my lunch break, I drove to a nearby plaza to get a coffee. Upon returning to the car I realized I had locked my keys and my phone inside! I had about 15 minutes to get back to the school which was a good four or five-minute drive away. I contemplated sprinting back, but it being winter, I thought a nasty fall on ice would only make the situation that much worse.

So I ran into a McDonald's which was in the same plaza and asked the man at the counter, who happened to be the manager, to please call me a cab. I briefly explained my situation to him, and I could tell by the look in his eyes, that he empathized. He hurried to the back to use the phone while I paced the restaurant. I had under 10 minutes to get back to my school at this point.

The manager returned only to tell me that the cab company had put him on hold and then the line got disconnected, and that he was now on hold again, but had not yet been able to request the cab yet. My expression, I assume, began to resemble some combination of hopelessness and fear.

Without a thought, he grabbed his coat and offered to drive me to the school. Without hesitation, I followed him into his car and made it back into my classroom with two minutes to spare before the bell!

Upon arriving at the school, I thanked this man endlessly. His calm demeanor and kind nature made me think he is probably a wonderful manager to work for, and also a wonderful human being to have on this earth. This experience made me realize that out of every seemingly hopeless situation, there is the opportunity for acts of kindness to transpire, which can have an unimaginable impact on those who receive them.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Passing an Opportunity for Kindness

I had to share this mornings email post today as it really touched me and I hope it touches you too. May we never be too busy to see the needs of others today. ~ Love Kat

I came across Help Others one afternoon at work and I left my office that day filled with inspiration, wondering how I could make a difference in someone's life, even if only for a moment. I'm in a period of transition moving to a new home as a single parent with three children, finances are tight, my mom is fighting ovarian cancer, my sister has been laid off, my ex-husband is out of work. Life is less than rosy for me right now and I was eager for an opportunity, quite honestly just to feel better about life and make someone else feel better. I was eager to give.

As I left the parking lot, I made my way down the street towards my home. It was an especially hot day even at this late hour of the afternoon. I stopped at an intersection and idly watched a young woman make her way through the heat. I noticed she was limping and that the weight of the sun and the distance that lay ahead were visible on her face.

I realized that I knew her from work and figured out that she must be walking home. I also knew why she was limping she had had a bad car crash with a fatality with much time required for her and her family for recovery. I debated whether to honk and at least say hello, but I didn't want to startle her. Still, I was overwhelmed with the desire to reach out to her. I lightly tapped my horn and she slightly moved her head my way, but then kept walking without looking up. I had just seconds before my light would turn green and I would have to go and she would be gone…so this would be the opportunity. I recalled from some of the stories I read earlier that day that so much can change for the good in just one moment, and when you least expect it, you have a chance to reach out to someone else. So I grabbed it.

I made an unexpected right turn to follow her. Even as I pulled up next to her, I felt strange doing something so completely unplanned and something that was perhaps, by her, unwanted.

She stopped and turned to look as I came near, squinting, unsure, until she recognized me, smiled and said hello. I offered her a ride and she at first declined, it seemed more in an attempt to avoid being a burden. What she didn't know is that I wanted to do this, to take my mind off of what burdened me. I guess I needed to give her a ride as much or more than she actually needed one!

When she accepted, I felt grateful that she did. We chit-chatted on the way to her house, and I offered her rides whenever she needed them in the future, knowing she no longer had use of a car.

She smiled, looking slightly surprised and appreciative of the offer. As I did this, I remember feeling that this shouldn't feel so strange -- reaching out to someone you otherwise don't really see or talk to -- and I was glad to be exercising this kindness "muscle." I realized that it's much easier helping others when directly asked and takes real effort to help unasked, to grab that moment before it passes. It would have been much "easier" to just keep driving that day and go about my business...

I'm glad I didn't.

I wonder if she realized how much she was helping me by letting me be of service. A simple ride home was much more than that for me. She thanked me for the ride when she stepped out of my car and wished me a good day. But in my mind, she was the one who needed to be thanked.

Who knows if I'll ever be in a position to give her a ride again, but how nice it was to simply open that door, literally, and just let someone know that I care. And how very odd that when you set your mind to helping, within minutes...the opportunity "presents" itself. What a gift.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Notes Left Behind

Here is amazing act of kindness that Elena Desserich did for her family while she was still alive living with inoperable brain cancer. What a great message of hope for so many that are hurting and worried about things in their everyday life that more than likely will never happen. There are so many things we worry about and stress over, while moments like this one slip away. Make sure you tell people you love them everyday. Don't live a life of regrets and live for today, not looking back at yesterday or what tomorrow may bring.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Lesson in Generosity

Here's an interesting way to incorporate learning in with acts of random kindness, I hope you enjoy it. ~ Kat

My friend and I had an assignment for one of our classes to do a random act of kindness and write and essay about the experience. We were inspired to take the assignment even farther and turned it in to a kindness project to recognize people who serve our community.

We scoped out a number of places where people serve the community in out town. Then we baked (and baked) for 6 hours: cookies, cakes, cupcakes, pies, and brownies.

When we were done backing, we began dropping them off. We went to two fire-stations, a hospital, the post office, the police department, and we even chased down some bus drivers for three blocks :)

Everyone's reactions were just amazing. The bus drivers hugged us and were on the verge of tears. Everybody was so thankful when it was us thanking them for what they do.

Policemen and women, doctors, nurses, bus drivers, firefighters - these are the people who serve communities and they deserve to get recognized and appreciated!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Miracle Staircase

Dear Friend,

I hope you will enjoy learning about a hidden gem in the Southwestern U.S.

Loretto Chapel was completed in 1878 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Due to a formidable error, it was built with no access to the choir loft twenty-two feet above. A ladder was suggested as a means to access the choir loft but that seemed far too impractical to the nuns. Several expert carpenters were consulted and the verdict was the same "building a staircase would take up too much room in the small church due to the height of the choir loft".

The only two alternatives were to climb to the loft via a ladder or tear the entire balcony down and rebuild it. Legend has it that the Sisters of the Chapel made a novena (a devotion consisting of nine separate days of prayers) to St. Joseph (the father of Jesus), the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work.

Months later, the elegant circular staircase which had two 360 degree turns with no visible means of support was completed, and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. After searching for the man (an ad even ran in the local newspaper) and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself, having come in answer to the sisters' prayers.

To this day questions surround the number of stair risers relative to the height of the choir loft and about the types of wood and other materials used in the stairway's construction.

Over the years many have flocked to the Loretto Chapel to see the Miraculous Staircase. The staircase has been the subject of many articles, TV specials, and movies including "Unsolved Mysteries" and the television movie titled "The Staircase."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Kindness at the Drive Thru

"Sometimes when we are generous in small, barely detectable ways it can change someone else's life forever." -- Margaret Cho

Idea of the Week

"I had a wonderful surprise when I was at the drive-thru today. When I reached up to pay for my lunch, I found out that the person in front of me had already paid for it and left me a SMILE CARD! I made the decision to pass the Smile Card on to someone else and paid for the person behind me in the drive-thru. It turns out that she passed it on as well! That's the way it works - at least three people cheered up by the ripples from a single unexpected act of kindness!"

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Real Birthday Gift

Here's another heartwarming idea to show just how far you can stretch your kindness in a variety of ways. I got this in my email this morning and couldn't wait to share it. Enjoy ~ Kat

I recently went to a meditation session. At the end of the visit our host told us the following Monday was his birthday. He asked if, as a gift to him, we would do something kind for someone else on that day.

I thought that was an awesome birthday idea!

The following Monday, I saw my neighbor, a new mother, in the yard with her baby. I went outside to say 'hello'. In the course of the conversation, she told me, not in a complaining way but just as a matter of circumstance, about the sleeplessness and the challenges to get anything done with a baby in tow.

I remembered my meditation host's request and said, "Hey! Why don't I watch your baby for an hour. I'll just hang out with him here in the back yard and you go in and take an hour to yourself."

She was so surprised she almost cried. "Are you serious? Really? Would you be able to do that?" "Of course!" I said. "I'd be happy to!" (This neighbor knows me so it wasn't like she was leaving her baby with a total stranger.)

An hour later she came outside with a smile on her face. "I got so much done!" I had sang every kid's song I knew and had a good time hanging out with the baby too. And I was so happy to see her smiling like that.

It was one of the best birthday presents I've ever given, and it has inspired me to ask the same from all my friends this year. It's not like I need any more stuff and I know it will make me feel great to know my friends are out there sharing their talents and time with people who can really use it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Kindness One Hug At A Time

Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness. -- Seneca

Fact of the Day:
For two years, University of Miami student Kemy Joseph has been wearing signs around his neck with uplifting messages like "U R Awesome," and "Persevere." He recently celebrated his second anniversary of spreading goodwill by spending 15 hours on campus giving high-fives and hugs. His goal: to make 800 people feel a little bit better in one day. "I tell them they are not alone. We go through the same turbulent times, and the most important thing is that we are all in this together," Joseph remarks. Despite a hectic schedule, the humble grad student still makes time for high-fives, hugs, and handing out chocolates on a Thursday night. His family calls him "Mr. Awesome".

Be The Change:
Go out of your way to make someone's day.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Kindness in the Aisles

I got this in my email and had to share it. Just giving you ideas on the many ways we can make a difference in the lives of people every day. Enjoy!

Last week I was in the store getting my weekly groceries. As I shopped I noticed one couple in particular. Our paths seemed to cross in a few aisles. Once, my cart got in their way and the woman was surprisingly annoyed.

As I walked on through the store I couldn't help but wonder why she had been so upset with me.

That same couple ended up ahead of me in the check-out queue. I could tell they were adding up the price of their groceries very carefully. They kept checking to see if they had gone over their price limit, which was quite low for a couple with a small baby.

Once they had got to their limit and had to return some of the groceries I realized it probably wasn't me the woman was upset with. Buying groceries for her family on such a strict budget was probably stressing her out.

I ran out to the parking lot after them and told them they forgot something. I handed them a grocery gift card and, as tears welled up in the woman's eyes, I was reminded that things aren't always what they seem, and how lucky I am for the things I do have in life.

I will never forget that moment.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cubicle Kindness

The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. -- John Burroughs

Fact of the Day:
There are certain kinds of creative, off beat ideas that are simply obvious when you hear them. Tarak Shah and Sabina Nieto came up with one. With the economic downturn, every office building in the country probably has unrecognized resources: vacant cubicles. No doubt many are utilized as storage spaces for disabled copy machines, extra office supplies and the like, but here's an inspired possibility: how about the vacant cubicle as art gallery? Now after you read that last sentence, didn't you immediately smile?

Be The Change:
Are there resources nearby that you're not seeing? Try looking around again with this question in mind.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hotel Kindness

Here's another great idea that showcases that anyone can find ways to incorporate some kindness in their jobs if they are willing to look and try! This was an email idea I received and I hope you enjoy it~ Kat

About nine years ago I worked at a large downtown hotel. Since we were connected to a mall and a public parking garage, anyone could just pretty much walk into the hotel area.

We started having a big problem with homeless youth living in our stairwells at night. The stairwells went largely unused because of their hidden nature and the fact that once inside, you could only go down and exit to the street, all the doors locked behind you and you could not travel between levels and exit back into the hotel. As night manager, I ended up being the one to evict these youth, night after night after night.

One night there were seven homeless young people and a puppy, in a total of three locations. I hated to do it on rainy nights, but it was my job, and some guests felt threatened when encountering tattooed and pierced youth late at night. They never gave me any trouble though, they always just moved on when asked. One guy in particular stood out. He was over 6 ft. tall and 200 lbs, and a tall mohawk. We'd find him everywhere, asleep sitting on a toilet stall in our banquet floor or sleeping on the stairs up to the roof, for instance.

One early morning on my rounds I opened an emergency exit and found him face down snoring in the little exit cavity by the fire hose. I started to yet again wake him and send him on his way, but for some reason, I couldn't do it that day. Maybe I was tired. I stepped back out, closed the door quietly and left. What I did next I don't know if I will ever understand. I went downstairs and bought a large coffee and a chocolate donut, went back upstairs, opened the emergency door and set the package by his feet. When I closed the door this time I let it slam so he would wake up. I wish I could have been there to see him wake up to hot coffee and a donut, dropped off by magic.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sidewalk Kindness

"Genuine kindness is no ordinary act, but a gift of rare beauty." -- Sylvia Rossetti

Idea of the Week

"I was taking a walk one sunny day near my home in Montreal, when I saw a little old lady, about 70 yrs old, laying by the side of the street. I went over and asked if she was okay. I asked her if she needed me to call 911? She said she wasn't ill but that she just felt weak. "All I need is maybe a cracker and water," she said. For some reason, I decided to take her to my apartment, something I would never normally do. I sat with for a long time until she began to feel much better. She told me her life story and afterwards, I asked if I could take her home. She declined but asked if I could drive her to the metro station. I never did give it much thought after that. Then, one day, a letter was pushed under my front door addressed to, "The Lady In The Little Red Car". She thanked me for my kindness and the time that I spent with her. She said she was fine and that she had really enjoyed my company. I really made my day to get that note."

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Kindness in the Checkout Line

I had received this heartwarming story in an email awhile back and wanted to share some ideas with you on ways to make a difference in the lives of people we see everyday but may not know. Here's another great one and enjoy ~ Love and Hugs ~ Kat

I was at the grocery store one evening. I had finished shopping and was looking for a line to get in to. I chose a line that had one woman who just about through and ready to pay, and another woman behind her who didn’t have very much.

As I was standing there waiting for my turn, I noticed the woman directly in front of me. She looked as if she had just had some kind of medical treatment. She was wearing a bandana along with a hat. Her face looked as if she had known a lot of pain and was tired of everything. She had a back pack to carry her groceries in and she had bought everything that one would need to care for one’s self at home. She kept glancing at her groceries and kept counting the money in her hand. I kept thinking to myself, I wish I had money to pay for her groceries. What can I do to help her out?

To my surprise, as these thoughts were going through my head, the woman ahead of her (in the front of the line) softly whispered to the woman who didn’t look well, "Put your money away, this one is on me."

The woman shook her head a few times and the front woman kept insisting until it happened. There is no way I would have witnessed this if I hadn’t been paying attention myself. I just remember looking up in awe and saying, "Thank You."

As I walked outside the woman who didn’t feel well was right there, putting her groceries in her back pack. I gently approached her, introduced myself, told her the direction I was heading in and asked if she would like a ride. She said it wasn’t necessary. I told her I had plenty of room in my car and she was more than welcome if she wanted to come along.

She introduced herself and accepted. As she got out of my car she said to me, “God Bless you,” and I said the same. I just keep thinking, maybe I put it out there and the thing I couldn’t do someone else did but, in turn, I was presented with some other way to help her out - and that I could do!