Girl Power

1/7 – Today, I decided to deliver a compliment to a stranger.  For a woman, a nice comment out of nowhere is like gold.  I was waiting in line for the restroom while other women checked their phones and reflections.  I turned to the woman behind me and told her I loved her shoes and she was beautiful.  The woman was shocked and sputtered out a pleased thank you.  Best of all, the other women also started cooing over her, and soon compliments started flying everywhere.  I love when women support each other instead of tear each other down!

1/8 – Today was quite a simple random act of kindness.  While checking out at Publix, the cashier asked me if I would like to donate to a local children’s hospital.  Of course I said yes, and asked to donate a little more than the typical dollar they tack on to your final amount.  It was great to hear the person behind me make the same request as I was heading out the door.

1/9 – I have a wonderful student who had earned a coveted spot in our school talent show.  She was taking on an Adele song, as aspiring singers do.  The problem was that my student had a crippling fear of performing on stage.  I stayed after school on this day to practice with her and build up her confidence.  We worked on stage presence and showcasing her sassy voice.  She went home so happy that her teacher took the time to help her out on a dream.  By the way, she would have done Adele proud when she finally performed!

1/10 – On this day, I decided to finally stop hoarding my clothes in my closet.  I have a problem with keeping things I haven’t worn in years, thinking that maybe one day I will feel the sudden desire to wear my poor forgotten outfits.  Blasting some music, I tore apart my closet and filled bags upon bags of clothes.  They were cute, but it was time for them to find homes of girls who appreciated them much more than I did.  I drove right past Plato’s Closet and gladly donated my clothes, hopefully making some girls very happy… and stylish!

What do you think of my random acts of kindess from this post?  Have you ever complimented a stranger and what was his or her reaction?  Stay tuned for more random acts of kindness updates!

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Psst.. Look!

1/2 – To kick off 2013, I continued showering my family with love.  I sent my parents a note detailing why I am glad to be their child.  They loved knowing I am grateful, just on any plain given day of the week!  Seriously, if you are ever stuck on a Random Act of Kindness for the day, there’s not much better than sending your family some love.

1/3 – This one may seem silly to you, but if you are a dog lover, you’ll understand.  Usually, when I take my dog for a potty break, I am hurrying her along so I can get back to whatever task at hand I was doing before she so rudely “asked” to use the great outdoors.  This time, however, I took the time to let her stop and smell the flowers – literally.  I let her sniff to her heart’s desire.  It was the longest potty break ever, but I’d like to think she appreciated it.

1/4 – These types are always my favorites.  I brought along a Starbucks gift card to my trip to the library.  On the gift card, I had written, “Psst! Take me! A Random Act of Kindness.” (similar to my previous Barnes and Noble trip).  I didn’t want to leave it at the crowded bookshelves, lest there be an awkward exchange of: “Hey, you dropped this!”  “Actually, no I meant to leave that for a stranger!”  I waited until the self check-out was empty, and then slyly left the gift card in plain sight.  Hopefully, someone out there is enjoying a free coffee and a good book!

1/5 – Need an easy Random Act of Kindness?  Try making an effort to smile and say “How are you?” to the people who pass by you throughout the day (yes, strangers).  It is very interesting to see people’s reactions!  It made me chuckle when people just gave me a strange look.  However, I loved when pleasantly surprised people offered their own brilliant smiles back.  This is one that EVERYONE should do every day, honestly.  More smiles would make our planet a much nicer place to be.

1/6 – As I have mentioned before, my husband tends to be more on the sloppy side.  I am probably even being generous there.  Usually, I stress out on him about the wake of messes he leaves behind.  This time, however, I organized his desk for him.  When he came back home, he was shocked and felt so appreciated.  Now let’s see how long it lasts until he messes it back up to his liking.

January started with quite a mix of random acts.  What do you think?  What acts should I do in the future?  Keep reading for more soon!

Kindness for Family & Strangers

12/28 – It was definitely a random act, but I decided to donate money to a local Cancer Society.  I have no connection to the society, but donating to charity is always a great and simple way to complete a random act of kindness.

12/29 – My husband is a great guy, but not the best at keeping our humble abode clean.  On this day, he did his own random act of kindness by deep cleaning our entire kitchen.  I made sure to dedicate my random act to him, and left him a sweet of note of thanks on his pillow.  Hopefully, this will encourage him to do it again?  Just kidding… Kind of.

12/30 – I decided to devote my kindness to another loved one on this day.  I sent a letter to my 91-year-old great-grandma.  There was no special occasion, just a random note letting her know how much she has meant to me my entire life.  I cannot say it enough: the gratefulness from my great-grandma was unforgettable, and it just took a few minutes out of my time. 

12/31 – Time to celebrate New Year’s Eve!  My husband and I went to our favorite pub, which wasn’t terribly packed, but still had a good amount of people.  We were lucky enough to score two seats at the bar.  As it got closer to midnight, I started to feel bad for all of the lovely ladies in their pinching heels being forced to stand.  We decided to give up our seats to the nearest people, who were incredibly overjoyed.  Besides, it was a good one to force my husband up and dance!

1/1 – Happy 2013!  It was time to send another random act of kindness to a family member.  I sent a small message of love to my aunt.  We are close, but I could tell this random note made her feel special and loved.  Who doesn’t want their loved ones to feel that way?

These were simple acts of kindness dedicated to family and strangers alike.  Each one took just a few minutes, only one involved money, and they were easy to do.  However, they meant so much more to the people on the other end.  Please dedicate your time and do a random act of kindness!  You will be very happy that you did, and more importantly, so will be the receivers!

Holiday Acts

12/23 – People on Facebook are always posting little favors on their stauses.  I usually skim over them, especially when it is for the friend of a friend.  This time, however, I saw that an old college roommate was begging for people to vote for her friend’s wedding picture for a cash prize.  Cha-ching!  After a wedding, I am sure this stranger needed the bank account boost, so I made sure to take the minute to vote.  It was a pretty picture, too!

12/24 – Christmas Eve time!  Is there any better act of kindness than giving gifts?  I love seeing people’s excitement when they see their presents.  I spent a lot of time and effort on making sure each gift had a special meaning.

12/25 – On this day, I saw a bunch of wonderful family members.  However, there was one family there that I have had issues with in the past.  I was incredibly anxious about seeing her, as our time together is usually tense.  On Christmas Day, I figured the best act of kindness was to give her a card of kindness.  This was a big one for me, and the results had a big effect on our hearts.

12/26 – It was time to head back home and say good-bye to the family.  My random act of kindness was to call my mom and simply tell her how grateful I am for her.  Seriously, people, call your parents right now just to tell them you love them.  The joy on the other end of the line is amazingly cool.

12/27 – On this day, I went to Barnes and Noble and bought a gift card.  I wrote a note on the front that said, “Pssst, take me!”  It was addressed to “You!” and it was from “a random act of kindness”.  I left it in clear sight on a shelf, and walked away with a spring in my step.  I still wonder who grabbed it, and what his or her reaction was!

Kids & Kindness

12/18 – As a teacher, I can comfortably say that I do Random Acts of Kindness for my students without even realizing it.  However, my challenge is to do a conscious effort every day, so I decided to dedicate this day’s act to my fourth-graders.  Recess is usually time for me to get a brain break and have some adult conversation with my teammates.  Today, however, I played catch with my students.  The joy on their faces that their teacher was playing with them made it a great day for all of us!

12/19 – I privately tutor three different children for some side money.  After all, teaching is rewarding in every way except in the bank account.  One of the mothers that pays me is also a co-worker.  When she went to pay me for her daughter’s session, I told her to consider it a freebie.  Have I mentioned that it is so cool seeing the joy and gratefulness on someone’s face after an act of kindness? It truly is amazing how something small for me is huge for someone else.

12/20 – Today I had my students help out on a Random Act of Kindness.  I told them to try to do little ones for their classmates throughout the day, and that was going well.  However, it was time for something bigger.  We heard that the Sandy Hook survivors were moving into a new building, and that people were coming together to create snowflakes to hang in their new school.  Our class loved making snowflakes and sending them out as a sign of our love and support.

12/21 – On this night, I was driving to Tampa with my husband to see family.  The holiday traffic was insane, and it was bringing me down hearing everyone blasting on their horns and other such traffic stresses.  I decided I would let every car out of every parking lot/shopping center/lane change.  It was driving my husband a little batty, but it was worth it to get those little thank-you waves.  Hopefully it made those people drive with care, too!

12/22 – Have you ever gone into a casual food joint and seen the tip jar?  I have never put any money in there, not once.  However, I looked around and saw all these college kids working hard to pay through another day.  It didn’t break my bank to tip them, but I hope it helped theirs!

What Random Acts of Kindness have you done lately? Share them in the comments and give me inspiration!  Coming up in the next post: holiday acts! See you then.

Mysterious Night at the Restaurant

12/17 – It was a quiet night at a quiet restaurant.  I was with my husband on a whim and a craving for french fries and other greasy treats.  We took our seats in a hard plastic booth, just after a family of four sat diagonally across from us.  With the tragedy of Sandy Hook still fresh in my mind, I could not stop smiling at the young girl and boy sitting with their parents.  The girl was all done up in her Christmas best, sparkling in red crushed velvet.  The family all prayed before their meal of small burgers and waters.  Instead of the kids immediately pulling out their various electronics and the parents sitting silently, I watched as the family actually did something quite special: they talked.  The four of them enjoyed their time together as a family, asking questions, telling stories, and laughing.  I could not stop thinking about what a beautiful and blessed family I saw before me.  

I pointed them out to my husband and we talked about how families rarely connect anymore.  After telling him how this family really touched my heart for some reason (whether it be the Christmas spirit I was feeling, or relating them to Sandy Hook), we decided to pay for their meal.  Why not let them enjoy a night out without worrying about paying for a bill?  When we told our server, she seemed shocked and then let out a happy laugh.  She gladly stalled them and brought us the bill.  After paying for our meal and the family’s, I simply wrote “Merry Christmas” on the receipt, and my husband and I quickly high-tailed it out of there.  I shared a quick smile with the wife of the family, and I hope she remembers my expression now.  As we left, my server even gave us a hug and wished us happy holidays.  While my husband and I pulled out of the parking lot, we watched through the diner’s window as the server was at the family’s table, pointing at our now-empty booth. My husband and I left there that night with a smile in our hearts.  This was definitely a Random Act of Kindness I will remember for a long time.

Little Acts of Kindness

The next few days of kindness aren’t any big sweeping gestures, but I’d like to think they stand for something. Best of all, most are acts anyone can do anytime.  So what’s stopping you?

12/12 – This was the one of the most simple I have done yet, but the person on the other end was easily the most grateful.  What was the act?  It was a packed house in McDonald’s and there was a family waiting behind me.  You can probably guess what happens next.  I simply turned around and said, “You can go ahead of me.” At first, the mom looked at me like I was crazy, but after I assured her I am quite sane, she gladly ushered her family up the line.  The look of appreciation on her face was unforgettable and honestly really cool for such a small act of kindness.

12/13 – This is a repeat random act of kindness, just with a different person.  I wrote a letter to my dad, telling him how glad I am that he is in my life.  It was particulary good timing since he had a rough day (not that I am happy for that part).  I took this act one step closer by reading the letter aloud to him on the phone.  Yes, I felt slightly dorky but the reaction in return made up for it.

12/14 – This was a particulary rough date with the events of the Sandy Hook tragedy breaking the news throughout the day.  Us teachers were feeling the shockwaves and emotions that words cannot describe.  I could not go without an act of kindness for the victims and survivors, but that blog post comes on a later day.  For this one, even when I wanted to curl up in bed and cry, I put on a brave face and volunteered time at my own school’s winter night-time event.  After all, shouldn’t I be grateful that I can spend every second I can with my own special students?

12/15 – Are you stuck on a random act of kindness that you can do on a busy (and broke) day?  Try what I did on this day, and write an email to a family member that you haven’t talked to in awhile.  The best is when it is for no reason at all except to let someone know you are thinking of him.

12/16 – Here’s another easy and fun one.  I was in desperate need of chocolate, so I high-tailed it to my nearest vending machine for my coveted treat.  After experiencing the joy that only chocolate can give, I decided to share the love.  I put another dollar in the machine and walked away without making a purchase (as tempting as it was to buy round two).  Maybe the person who found it thought it was just an accident, but it is fun imagining someone’s happy reaction when he or she realizes there is a free treat in store.

What do you think of these little acts?  Stay tuned for my favorite one yet in the next post.

When a Random Act of Kindness Gave Me Anxiety

December 11th – When I entered Kohl’s to get some holiday shopping finished, I decided a great Random Act of Kindness would be to buy a gift card for the store, turn around and give it to the person behind me in line.  I know this would make any harried shopper feel good, so I cheerfully bought my gift card along with my other items.  The only problem was… no one got behind me in line.  Well, crap.  Here I had a gift card with no one to give it to, so my only option was to wander around the store and actually approach a shopper with it.

Now, here’s the problem.  I have major anxiety about talking to strangers, to the point where my husband even has to be the one to always call to make reservations.  I was wandering back and forth around Kohl’s, starting to sweat and with my heart pounding.  Every time I was about to approach someone, I quickly whipped around and changed directions.  Everyone must have been wondering what was wrong with the strange blonde girl pacing back and forth in the aisles!

Finally, I knew I just had to pick someone.  I saw a young mother trying to wrangle a shopping cart and her child.  The boy was screaming his head off, and she was catching glares from people around her.  I awkwardly started to follow her and called out “excuse me” about three times before she finally whirled around.  The woman had fire in her eyes, probably ready to hear some sort of criticism of the screaming child.  I meekly held out the card and told her “Happy Holidays”.  She said thank you, took the card, and continued on her way.  I don’t know if she even knew what I gave her, but I hope it gave her a little peace at the end of her shopping day.

Well, it definitely wasn’t the smoothest Random Act of Kindness, and I nearly had a heart attack over it, but hopefully the woman went home happy!  Stay tuned for more stories about my random acts, and if they went over any better than this one.

The Next Days of Kindness

Here are the next few days of my Random Acts of Kindness from the beginning of the month (check out my previous post to read about my first five days):

December 6th – On this day, I simply walked around my apartment complex and picked up trash.  I still did not even tell my husband about this one because he would be totally grossed out.  It was mostly just balled up paper and advertisements, but I am pretty sure he would have to disinfect our entire place as soon as I mentioned the word “trash”.  That’s what I get for marrying a germaphobe.  

December 7th – If you read my previous post, you will know that my friend runs a charity that supplies children diagnosed with cancer with toys for the holidays.  I did another shopping run today with a group of friends.  It was definitely stressful at this time of year, but again, who cares about that when you know you are putting a smile on a child’s face?

December 8th – This one was truly a Random Act of Kindness!  I was picking up groceries when I noticed a group of high school students running a car wash.  They definitely did not have a big crowd, but I am an impatient person by nature and couldn’t imagine just sitting for an extended period of time while my car got a bath.  This is why my car is coated in countless layers of filth and I really should have just gotten a car wash, but I digress.  I rolled down my window and asked the students what they were raising money for.  One girl came up to me and you could tell she was waiting for this moment.  She launched into the background of their club, which I guess I am too dense to understand, but it seemed to have to do something with languages.  Maybe.  Anyway, I figured these types of clubs never get any love and I simply donated to their cause without the bonus of the car wash.  The kids were so surprised and grateful, and I hope it helped them get to the competition that they were raising money for.    

December 9th – I bought a scratch-off lottery ticket and placed it anonymously in a co-worker’s mailbox.  It was someone I never really speak to and she would never guess it was me, unless she is a really good at that sort of thing.  I hope it brightened her day a little and that she even won a little cash!  It sometimes is more fun doing these Random Acts of Kindness when no one will ever know it was you!

December 10th – This time my recipient definitely knew it was me.  I wrote an email to my husband during the workday and just listed some reasons of why I love him.  We’ve known each other 10 years, so it’s easy to forget to tell him how special he really is to me.  Also, everyone needs a pick-me-up during the workday!  He was incredibly touched that this email came on just any other day, instead of a “special occasion”.  Sometimes Random Acts of Kindness are best served to loved ones.

My next post will be the first challenge that I met when doing a Random Act of Kindness, and I can’t wait to get my thoughts figured out from this one.  While you wait (if anybody is out there?), here is a link to a fantastic Random Act of Kindness: 

List of Lost Wishes.

If that doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what else can!

 

The First Days of Kindness

I’m starting this blog a little late (hey, I guess being kind has made me a procrastinator!)  Here’s how I kicked off my month:

December 1st – What better way to start this little adventure than helping children?  My friend and her family have their own charity (yes, I know that totally beats me in the kindness department).  She helps children diagnosed with cancer, and their busy families, have the wonderful holiday they deserve by supplying them with toys.  In fact, the inspiration of this charity is because her own child is a cancer survivor.  I spent my day at Wal-Mart buying toys for  one of these children.  Now, I am not going to lie, I HATE Wal-mart.  Hate probably isn’t even strong enough of a word for the stress that takes over my soul whenever I am there.  Buying toys for a child in need really put that in perspective, though.  Why should I complain about long lines and crowds, when in the grand scheme of it all… big deal.  I hope those toys put a smile on that little girl’s face.  

December 2nd – I have worked in a restaurant before and I KNOW how horrible people can be to servers.  I personally have never actually served because some customers’ rude tendencies would probably make me want to curl into a ball and cry.  Anyway, enough about my issues.  I was out to dinner with my husband, and everything was going wrong for our poor server.  He took our order, then realized the kitchen was out of basically every thing we had requested.  The server also happened to spill water on me.  The poor guy looked like he was about to break into tears whenever he came by our table.  Not only did I give him my best supportive smile whenever he came around, but we left him a pretty hefty tip regardless of what went wrong.  Be kind to your servers, people!

December 3rd – On this night at Publix, I noticed someone who had knocked over a huge holiday display.  Have you ever done that?  It is super embarrassing… not that I ever have done anything like that.  Hm.  Regardless, NO ONE stopped to help.  It absolutely amazed me that not even the employees came to rescue this poor lady.  I could literally feel the heat of her chagrin, and I ran over right away to pick up the pieces (the candy bags and hopefully her dignity, too).  This was one of the simplest ones I have done so far, but I easily received the most gratitude from this act of kindness.  Funny how that works, isn’t it?  It is definitely something to chew on.

December 4th – Remember those presents I picked up on the 1st?  Turns out the family wanted them wrapped.  No problem, me to the rescue!  I guess I should have mentioned that I cannot wrap for my life.  You are probably telling yourself that I at least was able to wrap the straight-up boxes.  Nope!  The corners were puffy, the paper was ripping, and everything just looked like a big blob of Santas and reindeer with mysterious lumps underneath.  Oops.  Hopefully the family didn’t mind too much!

December 5th – Ever have a person that you never quite let know how much you appreciate them?  I took the time to do just that, and wrote my sister a letter just to let her know that I am grateful for her.  Listing her qualities that I adore was easy to do, and I’d like to think it meant a lot to her.  Oh, and by the way, the letter was hand-written.  It’s hard to remember the last time I got a hand-written note from someone!

 

Those were my first 5 days of Random Acts of Kindness.  What do you think of how I started?  I will update soon with the next 5 acts I did on the following days.