celebrate kindness

Archive for November 2014

Ahhhh… another year of Black Friday has officially come and gone. Like years past, I spent the day doing random acts of kindness in the midst of my shopping, looking for opportunities to bless others with kindness. Here’s a list of what I did!

1.  I taped a dollar bill to a Matchbox car at Five Below so a child could purchase the car for free.

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Shopping at 5:00 in the morning – still dark outside!

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2.  I blessed a stranger at Shoe Carnival with a $5 off coupon for the boots she was preparing to buy. She was thrilled with the unexpected surprise!

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My #RAKFriday card

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3.  My cousin, Becky, works at our local JCPenney store, so I wanted to bless her with a random act of kindness, too (God bless ALL the retail workers on Black Friday!) I went to the store to find out when she was working, only to discover that her shift was almost over. Luckily, her awesome brother, Anthony, blessed her at midnight with a Frappuccino. He RAK’d her with a Frap! So funny!

Me with my fabulous cousin, Becky

Me with my fabulous cousin, Becky

JCPenney stores were doing their own random acts of kindness, tweeting out good deeds with the hashtag #JustGotJingled. They think I have a pretty amazing family, too!

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4.  While shopping at Target, I taped a Free Compliments sign to the inside of a restroom door. I also let someone go ahead of me in line.

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5.  While shopping at Claire’s, I saw this adorable little girl getting her ears pierced. What a milestone moment! I asked her mom if I could buy her a pair of earrings to celebrate the occasion. (Then I went and bought her two!)

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When I paid for the earrings, I also donated $1 to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

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6.  As I drove to a different mall and searched for a parking space, I passed up the close spot to bless someone else with a shorter walk.

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7.  After picking up one last gift, I left the mall to head home. Traffic was crowded, but I made sure to leave space and waved a truck through so they could enter the line. May not seem like much, but the people in the truck were all smiles!

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8.  I wrapped up my day by stopping by Starbucks and buying snowmen cookies for my kids and a latte for my husband.  I then gave up my table so an older couple could have a place to sit.

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#RAKFriday 2014 was a great success! If you did anything kind for someone today, comment below or tweet it to me @HCPSTinyTech. Be sure to include the tag #RAKFriday so we can have all the RAKs in one place.

I wish you a blessed holiday season! RAK on!

 

 

daycare

I love my kids’ childcare center.  From the first moment I stepped foot in their building 7 years ago, I knew it would be the perfect place for my children to learn and grow.  The staff are always smiling, the facility is beautifully decorated with framed artwork of students lining the front walls.  They even have a free coffee bar for parents in the morning.

One of the reasons this place is amazing is because of the director, Marcie.  She always has a smile on her face and greets every parent and child by name.  Her joyfulness can warm your heart even on the coldest of days.

This week as I arrived to pick up my children, Marcie and I started talking about wallets and purses.  I rarely carry a purse (unless I need something to carry my digital devices); instead, I have all my money and credit cards in a small Vera Bradley wallet attached to my car keys.  Marcie gasped with shock when I showed her all I had in my hands.  “The bigger, the better for me – I need a HUGE purse!” she shared, laughing at the comparison.

She then paused and tilted her head slightly to the left.  “Do you want a new wallet?  I have two at home just like yours – one for winter and one for spring.  I can bring them tomorrow if you like.”  My eyes opened wide with surprise at her generosity.  “Really?  Are you sure? How sweet of you!”  Unbeknownst to her, my wallet was old and ripped. I desperately needed a new one, just had been putting off buying one, too busy with the daily tasks of life.

The next afternoon when I came to pick up my children, Mandy at the front desk smiled and said, “I have a present for you!”  There, sitting on the counter, were the two wallets Marcie had described the day before.  What a wonderful surprise!  I was giddy with joy!  Several of the parents and workers laughed as I had Mandy snap a photo to share on this blog.

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As we enter this season of Thanksgiving, think of something you have that you can give to someone else.  It doesn’t have to be something tangible; sharing gifts of service are just as delightful.  Bring a smile to someone else’s day as you radiate kindness in your spirit.  Together we can remind people there really is good in this world!

Have you been the recipient of a Mystery RAK? That’s when you were blessed by a random act of kindness anonymously, with no clues to who provided the RAK. For me, Mystery RAKs are amazing, but a little frustrating, too. When someone blesses me with kindness, I want to say thank you! I want the person to know how amazing their act was and how it brightened my day. Hence, one of the many purposes of this blog.

Why am I compelled to share my RAK stories with others? Is it a thread of narcissism woven into my soul, always seeking attention for things I do? Hardly. Just typing those words makes me laugh and roll my eyes. I share my stories because sharing inspires others. I like being connected! I also enjoy hearing back from those who’ve found my RAKs or have their own stories to tell.

About a month ago, a teacher approached me in the middle of the day, so overcome with emotion she could hardly speak. She reached out to hug me simply saying, “Thank you.  Thank you!” I had no clue what was going on. Before I could respond, she continued. “You saw my Facebook post, didn’t you… you knew I needed this!” I looked down and saw a $50 Macy’s gift card in her hands:

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Oh my goodness! WOW! What an amazing Mystery RAK! I grinned in response as I quickly clarified that I was not the one who blessed her with this random act of kindness. It wasn’t me! Her eyes grew wide as she covered her mouth with her hand, her face a mixture of shock and bewilderment. “But… who? What? You mean…?” I started to laugh with delight as we both enjoyed the moment of a secret Santa in our midst.

Mystery RAKs are AMAZING!

Last week I arrived at school to see this in my box:

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A mystery RAK for me! How exciting! The bag was filled with white chocolate truffles… and everyone knows that chocolate makes EVERYTHING better! I didn’t know who blessed me with the treat, but it made me smile. All day long I walked around campus, looking at teachers, parents, even students, trying to figure out who went out of their way to be so kind to me. The not knowing just about drove me crazy because I wanted to personally thank the person who brightened my day!

Which brings me back to this blog. In addition to being a way to inspire others with kindness, I also use this blog to say “Thank you” again and again to those who bless me with such joy. I am a better person because of you all! Each day I am delighted by the little surprises I experience and the moments of caring I see around me. My cup is always overflowing because I recognize the goodness in YOU. I like to recognize those moments that might otherwise go unseen, undocumented. Every act of kindness matters. You matter! The world is a better place because you are here.

As we enter this season of thankfulness, please know that I am thankful for YOU. Maybe in the next few days you might be inspired to do a Mystery RAK… if so, comment on this post and tell us what you did!  One good deed inspires another.  🙂

The end of my work week was filled with simple surprises, as small acts of kindness were shown left and right. My Thursday started with a shriek of shocked glee, as I saw this beside my box:

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For those family and friends who are connected to me on FB, you may remember me commenting about my slight disappointment in not receiving an “I Voted” sticker on Election Day. Well, someone RAK’d me with a sticker all my own! I laughed so hard, I just had to have someone take a picture to document my joy in such a sweet surprise:

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Later in the day, I decided to pay it forward with a suggestion I saw on Twitter by @RippleKindness:

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I wrote positive notes on post-it notes, then hid them inside books in our school library:

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None of these RAKs cost money, just simple surprises to make someone else smile. What can you do today to bring a smile to someone’s face? Be inspired! The small things do make a difference!

Today’s random acts of kindness began with the sweetest surprise – a teacher brought me this card and said, “As soon as I saw this, I thought of you!” It totally made my day!

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Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling. I really like that. 🙂 Later in the day, I received an email from a teacher needing to borrow an iPhone charger. I gladly offered mine. (Kate and Fay – this is a pay-it-forward for the days I borrowed yours!)

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As the day was winding down, a teacher passed by my desk and asked if she could have a piece of chocolate from my candy jar. “Sure,” I replied with a smile, “As long as you do a random act of kindness in return.” How exciting to think of all the acts of kindness that have been completed in exchange for some sweet treats. Looks like I will need to fill my candy jar in the morning!

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At our faculty meeting, our principal announced a kindness initiative for November where we will write kind words on red hearts then tape them to a hallway wall in the shape of a HUGE heart. The only problem is… we have no red hearts. I approached her after the meeting and volunteered to copy and cut the hearts for others to use.

This evening, I posted a shout-out on Facebook about my fitness instructor at the Y. She is so dedicated to her “second job” and has such a vibrant personality; she’s one of the few people I know who can make me smile as I’m sweating and struggling to lift a weight bar.

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You know what? I bet you don’t even realize just how many awesome random acts of kindness you do throughout one complete day. I would challenge you to make a list, even if no one else ever sees it, and record all the times you either said something nice to someone else or completed a kind action without expectation of anything in return. It makes me smile right in this moment to think that your list may be longer than mine.  🙂

Thank you, dear readers, for allowing me a small bit of your day to share my RAK stories in honor of World Kindness Week. It’s been a joy to blog them every day! Check back again tomorrow – I have a few planned RAKs up my sleeve for the coming days!

Be blessed and feel free to share this post with your friends and social media sites. The more we share, the more we inspire!  🙂

 

Today is a special day for all Americans as we honor those individuals who have served, or are currently serving, to protect the many freedoms and rights our country enjoys. I thought of my husband, who served seven years in the Air Force; I was reminded of his father who served in the same branch two decades before him. I reflected on the service of my grandfather, whose smiling face greets me as I hold the tattered black and white photo of him in his sailor’s uniform.

Today is a day of respect.

For me, today is a triple whammy of sorts. 11/11 is a date that swings the pendulum of deepest sorrow to greatest joy. It’s the day my grandmother passed away. It’s the day my sister got married.

For me, today is a day of memories.

I wanted to do an extra special RAK and I brainstormed quite a bit for a way to somehow unite all three occasions in a monumental random act of kindness. Alas, my work day ended with no great stories to share.

Unless… I shared with you the simple moments of kindness I experienced today. I often hear people describe their kind actions as “no big deal,” but I think there is value in all RAKs performed. Here are a few examples of mine.

I had a teacher ask to use some printer paper. I gave her a entire ream.

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I had a teacher smile and chat with me in the teacher’s lounge as I heated my frozen meal for lunch. I had another teacher hold open the door as I walked near, my hands overflowing with things to carry. I had a student run up to me saying, “Mrs. Letter! I picked this for you!”

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I had a friend describe her stressful day, which inspired me to stop on the way home to surprise her with cupcakes (because everyone knows chocolate fixes everything!)

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I enjoyed a spectacular sunset, reminding me of the beauty in each day.

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See, this is my journey, these random acts of kindness. While I will never have the valor of a veteran, nor the nobility of royals, this is my way of giving back to the people, to the country, I love. Yes, I know I don’t risk my life to complete this mission (unless you count driving in heavy traffic, because that could come a close second, lol) but I understand the purpose clearly: Serve. Honor. Make a difference.

Today is not about me; it’s a day to honor those who readily sacrificed everything to protect our country and it’s people. But since I wasn’t able to bless a veteran, I thought sharing simple moments of kindness in my day might inspire others to do the same.

I know my Grandpa would be proud. 🙂

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Did you know that today begins World Kindness Week? I’m always a bit amused when we have to declare a week or a day to remind us to be extra kind or considerate, something that should be innate in our souls. However, I am thankful for the designation because it reminds me that today there are hundreds, even thousands, of people across the world making a conscious decision to be kind.

That, my friends, is awesome. 🙂

This week my goal is to share some of my stories of kindness given and received, so that you may be inspired to share kindness with others as well.

As an American culture, we sometimes get caught up in the expense of kindness. “If I had a million dollars, I would…” “I wish I had enough money to…”Yes, I will admit that having extra money to pass along to others with free meals or surprises makes a lovely random act of kindness indeed. (That’s half the reason I tutor on the side, to fund my RAK habit, lol.)

But some of the most meaningful RAKs happen for free. You give of your time to help out another. You listen to a distraught friend. You compliment someone. You hold open a door. You smile. 🙂

These random acts of kindness are just as powerful, especially when unexpected. Today I complimented another teacher on the color of her sweater, how it brought out the blue in her eyes. Those same eyes sparkled with surprise as she told me the sweater was “nothing special.”

I would have to disagree. Perception is reality. That sweater transformed her eyes to the clearest sky on a beautiful summer day. It was, in fact, the first thing I noticed about her as we passed each other in the hallway. Her eyes reflected the beauty I could see in her spirit, and I felt compelled to let her know.

When was the last time you gave someone a compliment? Sure, it’s harder to compliment a stranger versus a friend, but your compliment may be the only positive interaction a person will have all day. Make the effort to share your kind thoughts!

Feel free to tweet your World Kindness Week RAKs and tag me at @HCPSTinyTech. You can also comment below or leave me a FB post. Let’s brighten this world with kindness and joy! 🙂


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The cards I made as random acts of kindness to bless others through iServe #iservecsbc #rak
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