celebrate kindness

Archive for September 2012

If you are an avid shopper at Kohl’s you know that coupons are a big deal. First of all, they are always sending them in the mail. 15% off. 20% off. When you peel the brown sticker to reveal a 30% off coupon, it doesn’t even matter if you need anything, off to Kohl’s you go simply because you know those added discounts add up on the already reduced prices!

Yes, I do love a good Kohl’s shopping spree. In fact, it’s always my “first stop shop” for Black Friday deals the day after Thanksgiving. Best. Deals. Ever! So you can imagine how excited I was to receive the yearly “Happy Birthday to YOU!” coupon in the mail for a free $10 gift! Yay!


Of course, this year is different. I am celebrating a milestone – the big “4-0”. So when I received my birthday coupon, I knew just what to do… drive straight to Kohl’s and bless someone with kindness!


As I entered the store, I wondered to myself, “Who should I bless?  There are so many people shopping here right now!”  I looked around but no one had a blinking, neon sign over their head shouting, “PICK ME!  PICK ME!” so I simply started walking around the store and figured I would know who to bless when the moment was right.

I rounded the corner of the ladies department and headed towards the maternity section.  I immediately thought of my friend, Michele, who had just given birth to her fifth (yes fifth!) child the day before.  That’s who would get my blessing!  Someone with a small child!  No sooner had the thought crossed my mind, I saw her.  Young.  Pretty. Stroller.  She was the one!

As I approached the young mother, the items she had been collecting on top and around her stroller started to tumble to the ground.  Picking up a bag of socks, I said, “Here you go… ” then launched into my explanation of who I was, what I was doing, and how I wanted to bless her.  I explained that normally I would go shopping for my birthday, but I thought she might want to use my gift to buy something for herself, or her child… and if nothing less, just be blessed with a discount on the items she had already planned to purchase.  She looked at me and said, “You’re going to make me cry!” (Which, of course, almost made ME cry!) and I simply handed her my coupons, gave her a hug, and walked out the store.

Today, September 30, 2012, is the official start to my 40th year.  Please join me in my adventures and celebrate kindness in your own world by blessing someone else.  If you know me on Facebook, I would love for you to post what you did in celebration of my 40th birthday.  If you have a wordpress blog, please leave a comment to this post.  You can email me, too, at celebratekindness@gmail.com.  Come and join in on the fun!  If we all do just one act of kindness today, oh what a party that could be!  🙂

A few days ago a friend of mine was asking for donations for a church project where they were gathering items to share with children entering the foster care system. He listed specific items needed and I knew this would become another Random Act of Kindness. Now I know I have posted before about donating items (see Random Act of Kindness #7), but this request was near and dear to my heart for several reasons:

  • My dear cousin Amy (and her brother David) were foster care kids, adopted with love into our family;
  • My best friend Lisa adopted two of her four children from the foster care system;
  • My sister donated many personal care/beauty products to my Celebrate Kindness project, which I had already planned to use as “blessing bags” for anyone that needed them.

I gathered blankets, made blessing bags, and had the children choose their favorite stuffed animals to donate to the cause.




I passed along our blessings of kindness to James, and gave him my business card so he could pay it forward, too.


Little things we take for granted, such as warm blankets and cuddly stuffed animals, can absolutely make a positive impact in someone’s day. It doesn’t take much to make a child feel loved and important. What can YOU do to bless someone with kindness? Be inspired! 🙂


Tonight is Back-to-School Night at our school. For those of you without school-aged kids, this is the evening when classroom doors open to parents to meet the teacher and discover what their child will be learning about in the upcoming school year. It’s an exciting evening for students and parents, but can make for a really long day for teachers. Many teachers I know end up working 12-13 hours on Back-to-School night (not to mention the countless hours they put in to get everything ready prior to this evening!)

As I was passing through the teacher’s lounge this afternoon, I suddenly became aware of all the activity around me. Teachers were making copies. Sorting folders. Stapling papers. Just another day at the office (in the life of a teacher!)

My gaze extended past the copiers to the tall machine in the corner. Ahhhh… A drink machine! Wow – an ice cold Coca-Cola would taste great right about now!


As I made my way back to the other side of campus, I realized I had yet another opportunity to bless someone with kindness. I could buy someone a drink! That would be a great way to refresh and re-energize a teacher who has been standing on their feet all day long!

I dug through my purse for spare change (yet again!) and found four quarters. I added them to a ziplock bag, my celebrate kindness business card, and a little note. I then ran back to the teacher’s lounge and waited until it was empty, taping my offer to the drink machine.


I’m not sure who will take me up on my offer for a free drink, but I hope it blesses others whether they use it or not. A little bit of kindness goes a long, long way and you just never know how your simple act of goodwill can positively impact someone else!

Be blessed, my friends, and a special thank you to all those teachers out there who go above and beyond sharing kindness to children every single day!

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Today’s Random Act of Kindness was an easy one – pay the toll for the person behind me. I rarely drive on toll roads, so I don’t have the need for an EZ-Pass. I usually just dig through the change in my purse and hope I have enough for the Full Service lane. Seventy cents each way can add up quickly!

Tonight the weather was rainy again. I snapped a photo as I was sitting in line, waiting for my turn at the toll booth.


As I approached the cashier, I rolled down my window and said, “I’d like to pay for my toll and the toll of the person behind me. When they try to pay, can you give them my card?” I then handed her my change and business card.


I may never know who received my act of kindness tonight, but it felt great to add a little bit of happiness to someone else’s day.

Be blessed my friends, and keep paying it forward! 🙂

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Timing is everything. Last weekend, I decided to take my kids to Maymont Park to enjoy the beautiful weather.  We were in no rush to get ready, nor were we on any sort of timeline to leave the house (or arrive at the park.)  We definitely enjoyed the laziness of the day!  Before heading to the park, we stopped at Target and got caught up in the 70% off clearance sale racks by the entrance of the store.  At this point, I was starting to wonder if we would even MAKE it to Maymont!

But make it we did and it was a gorgeous day for exploring the park.  We took our time strolling through the gardens, climbing the hills, and reminiscing about all the other memories we’ve shared here throughout the years.  One of our favorite places to visit is the Japanese Gardens with their unique landscaping.  The kids love to skip over the stepping stones and cross the wooden bridges.  In warmer weather there is an active waterfall, so we were delighted to see it this day.

As were were crossing a bridge to leave the waterfall area, my thoughts were interuppted by a stranger’s voice.  “Would you mind taking our picture?”  “Of course not!  I would love to!” I replied.  As the man put his arm around the woman beside him, they were all smiles, obviously in love.  “Wait!” I said, “You are so cute together!  Let me take another picture from this side to get the waterfall in the background”  They happily posed for me, even asking if I was a professional photographer which only made me laugh even more.  “No, no, no, but I do love taking pictures!”

I then told them about my 40th Birthday Project and how taking their photo was another random act of kindness I was doing to celebrate my 40th bithday.  I asked for their permission to post photos and tell their story and that’s when the woman told me THE. MOST. EXCITING. NEWS!!!!

“We just got engaged!!!!!!”

WHAT?!?!?!  I was estatic!  I was the very first person to take a photo of this couple, a mere 20 minutes after he proposed to her during a picnic lunch on the very same hill my children and I had climbed to get to this exact location!  I couldn’t believe it!  How exciting!  So I gleefully replied, “Well, show me the RING!!!  I want to see the ring!!”  The ring was gorgeous (as all engagement rings are), and I ended up taking more photos of the couple, even a few of the ring, too.

Timing is everything.  Had we rushed out of the house, or not shopped at Target, or spent even 3 minutes longer climbing that hill, I would have missed capturing this sweet moment for this couple.  Sure, someone else would have come along and probably taken their picture.  But would they have taken half a dozen photos?  Or positioned the couple to show the waterfall… from their ENGAGEMENT DAY?!?  Or captured the sparkle from the delicate diamond ring now gracing the fingers of this very happy lady?  I am still smiling thinking about the moment.  How romantic – a park proposal!  And I got to share in the joy simply from being in the right place at the right time.

Sometimes we are blessed by simply being THERE.  In the moment.  Because timing is everything.  🙂

Congratulations to Amy and Alex on their engagement and a special thanks to them for emailing me the pictures I took with their camera so I could add their story to my blog.

Today’s post is dedicated to my favorite photographers, Lisa Zader (www.capturedbythelens.com) and Stephanie Toll/James Lee (www.88lovestories.com) who understand the beauty in being THERE to capture a memory.

You just never know where you will find opportunities for random acts of kindness. The other night as I was heading home, I realized my gas tank was empty and I needed to stop and get it filled. Pulling into the small station, every pump was being used. I noticed a white SUV sitting on the side, but wasn’t sure if this person was waiting for an available pump or simply tending to other tasks. I drove around the station several times when right as I was coming around the corner (for the third time!) a car was leaving! YES! I was ecstatic! I could finally pull in and get some gas! (I mean, how embarrassing would it be to drive around and around on fumes only to run out of gas mere feet away from the gas pump!)

I started to pull into the now available spot when I happened to glance in my rear view mirror. Lo and behold, that same white SUV I had spotted before was now behind me, and the driver did NOT look happy at all. Had she been waiting this entire time? Did she think I was taking her spot? The thoughts crowded my brain in mere seconds and I was tempted to push them away just as fast. Instead, I opened my car door and leaned out facing hers.

“Ma’am? We’re you waiting for this spot?” I asked, using my hands to gesture towards the available pump. She rolled down her window with a sharp, “What?” that perfectly matched the angry expression on her face. “This spot,” I repeated, pointing to the gas pump, “Were you waiting for this?”. With her exasperated reply of “Yes!”, I knew she was indeed waiting for a spot and was a bit irritated that I was now in it. “You can have it. I wasn’t sure if you were waiting or not. You were here before me. Take it!” And with that, I drove out of the spot and continued my search, smiling at my 11th deed.


Now I will interject a bit of brutal honesty here. Had I not committed myself to being a kinder person to others as part of my 40th Birthday Project, I would have probably just pulled into the spot, pumped my gas, and went about my merry way without another thought to the lady whose evening would be soured by some inconsiderate gal who took her spot at the gas station. But this is NOT how my story ends. I made a choice to be kind. I made a choice to put someone else before me (literally!) and it actually made me feel good, too!

As luck would have it, I made one more loop around the station and another spot opened up, so I’m happy to report that my car did not expire on fumes. What did this act of kindness cost me?  Three minutes of patience, a little bit of humility, and a touch of humbleness.  Not once did I have to open my wallet (well, other than to pay for my own gas after I got to a pump, lol!)


The next time you’re headed towards a crowded gas station where the lines are long and patience is thin, look around and see if there’s someone YOU can bless. I’m sure you won’t have to look very far!

Be blessed, dear friends!  Have a wonderful weekend!

**This post dedicated to my sister and my Grandma, because everything 11 makes us smile :-)**

Back to school! If you have a child between the ages of 5 and 18, then you know the energy that bubbles over from going back to school. For teachers, it’s the same! Excitement, anticipation, maybe even some anxiousness, awaiting that moment when classroom doors open and children file through.

We have several new teachers at our school this year. Being a new teacher (or a teacher who transferred to a new school), there’s even more emotions for the first day of school as EVERYTHING is new! To make the first day a little sweeter for these teachers, I placed the following note in their school mailbox:


A little bit of chocolate always makes the day better, right?


I hope this upcoming school year is filled with peace and joy for you and your family. Be blessed and celebrate the little things in life! 🙂

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