celebrate kindness

Archive for the ‘Kind Words’ Category

How many of you dread the word “Monday”?

One click of a Google search for “Monday quotes” and you can see the struggle is real:

Monday Quotes

What if it was possible to actually look forward to Monday? Say what? Yes! I’m serious! What if you could start your week with anticipation of something good instead of something bad.

Impossible? I think not.

For those of you on Twitter, you already know a few hashtags people follow for inspiration. You can now add #celebratemonday to your list. No, I didn’t create the hashtag (even though some of you thought I did!) Those kudos belong to principal Sean Gaillard, a motivating force behind the Monday positivity movement. Check out this article by ISTE, explaining how it all began!

This Monday morning, I woke to find a tweet from Sean giving me a shout-out on Twitter:

Sean Gaillard Tweet

When was the last time you had someone give you a shout-out to others? On social media? On a MONDAY MORNING?

My day was made and I hadn’t even left my house.

I was tagged in another tweet from Ashley Hurley, a gal in my virtual PLN:

Ashley's Tweet

 

So inspiring! Already my brain was spinning, thinking of a random act of kindness I could do to #celebratemonday. How fun!

I had to leave school early today to take my middle child to get braces on his bottom teeth (definitely not a RAK in his eyes!) and while I waited in the office for him to gather his belongings from class, I gazed at the beautiful tree painted on the office wall.

Not just any tree. A Giving Tree.

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There were only a few leaves left on the tree, but surely I had something I could give. I reached up and removed a leaf to bless a teacher at my son’s school.

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While I waited in the orthodontics office for the dental technicians to add brackets and wires to my child’s teeth, I thought about the leaf I pulled. I don’t know Ms. Owens, but I could imagine her purpose for those stress balls. Maybe she’s a SPED teacher and knows how some students need to keep their hands active to refocus their attention. Maybe she’s a P.E. teacher and wants to use the balls as part of a class activity. Perhaps she’s a science teacher and wants to use the balls in an experiment. No matter the reason, she needed the balls and I couldn’t wait to fulfill her wish.

Guess who’s getting 12 new stress balls soon! 🙂

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Later today, I had another friend, Kitty Tripp, tag me in her post about a random act of kindness she completed for a stranger:

Kitty Tweet

So awesome!

If you are looking to be inspired on a Monday morning, check out the hashtag #celebratemonday on Twitter. You might be amazed how good it will make you feel! Share your joys as well – celebrating Mondays inspires everyone!

Have a wonderful week ahead! Feel free to comment below with something good that happened to you today and share with a friend!

 

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Love Letters to Ketchikan header

When was the last time you received a love letter?

No, not a text message. Not a Valentine’s Day card. An actual love letter. Handwritten. Folded. Filled with words of endearment and appreciation for YOU. Can you remember such a time?

Last summer while on vacation, I was waiting in the wee hours of the morning to see the sun peek across the horizon of the Pacific Ocean. The morning was cold and wet, the Alaskan breeze blowing across my blanket-covered lap as I sat in a beach chair on the top deck of a cruise ship, listening to the ocean waves rise and fall.

The sun’s rays started to shimmer across the midnight blue water and I caught myself holding my breath with anticipation. Slowly the sky brightened, the mountains illuminated against the cloud-covered sky. Each moment was more spectacular than the one before and my heart overflowed with one simple word:

Love.

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I was struck by an insatiable need to share this feeling with someone, right in this moment. I recalled a novel I had read by Hannah Brencher which described her journey in sharing joy with strangers through letters. Love letters. Yes, I know it sounds romantically saccharine and a bit bizarre, to share such sweetness with a stranger, but in that moment, it felt right. I waited for the sun to finish illuminating the sky, then quietly returned to my stateroom, grabbing paper and pen.

I walked around the ship, searching for a place of solitude which was rather easy to find so early in the morning. As soon as my pen touched the paper, the ink flowed from beginning to end, shaping a letter of love for a stranger I had never met.

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I wrote two letters, my ultra-fine Sharpie capturing my sentiments with indelible ink. Thoughts of kindness. Hope. Joy. But most importantly, love.

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For you,

While it may seem a bit odd that a perfect stranger is taking time out of their day to write you a love letter, please know that this no accident. For whatever reason, this letter was meant for YOU. Right here, right now, and with perfect timing.

You see, there is a very important message you need to hear. You, my friend, are loved.

Yes. It’s that simple. You are loved. You are important. Your life has purpose and you are meant to move mountains just by being YOU.

I know this life had hardships. Boy, do I ever. But I’m here to tell you that no amount of rain or darkness can dim the beauty and brightness of your spirit.

You. Are Worthy.

There will be mountains along your journey, and the sheer height and scope will make you want to turn completely around, go another way. This letter is to bind you. Grab you. Pull you to the base and lift you up and over that insurmountable hurdle. There may be sweat. There may be tears. But in the end, you will look back and see it was more than a rolling hill,  a piece of a perfect landscape that now showcases part of your spirit.

With love and joy,

A girl from Virginia.”

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“For you,

I’m writing this letter today because you are wonderful. Yes – YOU. For whatever reason, I felt that you needed to be reminded of all the specialness wrapped inside of you. Oh, the beauty that shines from your spirit! If you could only see the depth and breadth of joy and kindness that encompass your every being and how that touches those around you!

Maybe you are looking around, searching for a hidden camera, convinced this is a joke, a ploy, a hidden card trick at a small venue magic show. Rest assured, this letter was meant for you. Your life has such grand purpose, which may seem impossible to believe, but it is true.

You. Are. Special.

And… you are loved.

Yes, I know some days you may not feel worthy or deserving of such enormous proclamations, but life is like that. The waves rise, then crash, then pull back and start again. But even in the midst of that repetition, there will be a ray of light from a sunrise that will change the landscape into a radiant sea of sparkle and everything is transformed into beauty and hope and all things good. You, dear friend, are that light. Now go out and shine!

With love and joy,

A girl from Virginia”

 

Later that morning, we docked in Ketchikan, Alaska a city that receives more than 160 inches of rainfall a year. True to form, a light drizzle of rain coated the streets as we made our way into town. Suddenly the dark clouds shifted, replaced by the warmth of the sun I had greeted mere hours before.IMG_2705

We walked from shop to shop, learning about the culture of this salmon canning town, and I waited patiently, two folded pieces of paper hidden in the pocket of my rain jacket. Who would receive my letters of love?

I saw a stack of t-shirts in an open bin and felt the nudge to leave one there, hidden in the folds of cotton, so I did.

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As we walked deeper into the town, I saw a quaint table and chairs outside of a sandwich shop and knew my second letter belonged there.

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We were only in Ketchikan for a few hours, long enough to walk around town, buy a few souvenirs, and sprinkle some love on the other side of the world. I may never know who read my my letters, but I know that my words were meant for them.

And maybe my words are meant for you as well.

You. Are. Loved.

Immensely.

Be blessed, my dear friends, and share this story with someone who may also need to feel a little love today!

 

 

If you haven’t gotten your milk and bread yet, you are running out of time. With an enormous snowstorm barreling across the East Cost today and tomorrow, a State of Emergency already in place, you can rest assured there will be lots to talk about in the coming days.

Bread. Milk. Water. Check.

My social media feeds have been filled with reminders all week:

“Bring in your pets!”

“Stock up on supplies!”

“Make sure you have plenty of water if the power goes out!”

What about those who never had power to begin with?

For the past month I’ve been purchasing basic supplies in preparation for the storm. But unlike many, my supplies are not for me, but for strangers who might need them. Several friends noticed and made donations of their own and together we were able to assemble eight fully-stocked blessing bags for the homeless.

My friend, Cindy, came over this week and we sorted all the items, making sure to equally divide what we had collected into separate bags. My cousin Michele had bought thick, warm gloves and hats to go with the blankets Stacie and Suzi donated. I added spoons to the peanut butter Cindy bought (perfect for scooping out and spreading across the crackers.) Even my son got inspired, donating his own school bag and offering to help us organize. It was exciting to think that eight people would receive our surprise of blankets, hats, gloves, water, peanut butter, crackers, hand warmers and more.

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I decided to add playing cards to help them pass away the boredom (thanks Deb for the idea!) and some conversation hearts to make them smile. I even threw in a few dollars and some mints that a coworker had left in my RAK jar at school (thanks Krista!)

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I also added a hand written note to each bag. Everyone needs a reminder they are loved.

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After packing up the bags on Monday, Cindy and I hit the streets on Wednesday to give away our surprises.

We drove towards the city, our eyes looking for people sitting on the streets or anyone looking cold or hungry. The first gentleman who caught our eye was sitting on a plastic crate near an intersection. He carried a sign describing his plight, upper-case letters scrawled across to catch our attention. Even though he was wearing a coat, hat, and gloves, something nudged us to roll down our window and hand him a bag.

So we did.

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I don’t know this man and I don’t know his story. And sadly, since I was now approaching a green light at the intersection, I didn’t have time to say much more than “Stay warm for the storm. God bless.”

We drove on.

When was the last time you drove into a city and really saw how the surroundings changed before your eyes? Large two-story homes surrounded by manicured lawns gave way to ramshackle row houses with tiny front porches of rotting wood. Windows with bars. Alleys. Sidewalk cracks. Graffiti. Welcome to the city.

Homeless people often gather in Monroe Park, so we decided to head there. We parked and put all our bags in a cart, pulling across the sidewalks looking for anyone who we could bless with basic necessities.

We walked. And walked. And walked.

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Unbelievably, we didn’t see a single homeless person in the park.

Maybe it was the police car cruising nearby that forced them away. Maybe it was the throngs of college kids leaving their classes at VCU that kept them hidden from sight. Perhaps, just perhaps, they had found somewhere warm to stay in this bitter cold.

Perhaps.

We walked towards Broad Street, still searching for someone to bless. Cindy and I chatted about the irony of always seeing homeless people down this way, but not on a day when we have something to give. That’s when it stuck me – every day I have something to give, even if it’s just a smile of kindness.

I made a silent promise to do better.

At some point Cindy and I realized our attempts were futile. We had to change our game plan. Our faces and ears were already numb from the cold and we needed to head back to our car before the sky shifted to darkness. We decided to leave the bags in places that might be discovered by someone who needed it. Did it really matter who received our kindness? Maybe it wasn’t really up to us to choose the recipient. Maybe our purpose was simply to pack the bags and go.

I had my notepad of RAK cards and safety pins with us, so we attached one to each bag. In this day and age you can’t just leave a closed bag on a sidewalk without everything thinking you are a terrorist. I wanted a passerby to know that our package was safe. No terrorist leaves their website URL and Twitter handle on their packages.

We sprinkled the city with kindness as we walked back to our car.

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Even though our mission didn’t go as planned, we still enjoyed our RAKs, knowing someone out there would be blessed with kindness. When the last bag was placed, we took a quick selfie then made our way back to our car to head home, a little more thankful for all that we have.

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As I left the city and drove down the winding paths of my hometown, I had to laugh when I saw this church sign. As if I need confirmation that today was, indeed, a planned event.

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I really do enjoy God’s little whispers on my heart. 🙂

A special thanks to the following people who also followed the whisper on their hearts to donate to this special RAK. We will do this again, so if you would like to donate to the cause, please let me know!

Stacie Taylor – blankets

Suzi Tapper – blankets

Lori Cross – bags

Amie Boothe – bags

Emily Cleaton – bags

Daniel Letter – bag

Krista Miller – mints

Michele Payne – hats and gloves

Cindy Ashburn – peanut butter, crackers, Oreos and hand warmers

For those interested in making their own blessing bags, here’s a list of additional items we added: spoons, water, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash, soap, candy, playing cards, money, and handwritten notes. Next time I hope to add socks, tissues, and small wet wipes.

Be blessed, my friends, and stay safe in the storm!

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reunion quote

Last night I attended my high school’s 25th class reunion. While social media has made the art of maintaining friendships almost seamless (even if only in a virtual world of sharing photos and birthday greetings), there’s no comparison to actually visiting with friends in person! The four-hour event was held at a local brewery with threats of hurricanes and floods forecasted a few days prior. While the severe weather hampered many travel plans to attend, those who came out in the cold, dreary rain enjoyed a night filled with reminiscing and reconnecting.

There are 7 truths about 25th class reunions I discovered last night, in the midst of chatting with my friends. While I’m sure some of these may shift a bit for generational references, I’m pretty sure most are vividly accurate:

1. Nobody cares who you’re dating, what you’re wearing, or how much you weigh.

All the teenage stress and angst about appearance and social status simply fade into the background as you age. Sure, you may struggle with your own inadequacies (don’t we all?), but attending your 25th class reunion is a bit like entering Cheers, where everyone knows your name (well, at least when you’re wearing your name tag). You are not judged by how high your bangs are nor the amount of Sun-In soaked in your hair. There’s no one waiting at the door to see what vehicle you’re driving. We are bigger, smaller, taller, wider. Some peaked in high school and some are just now coming into their own. It’s all OK!

You are not classified by your social or financial worth. Nobody is walking around reminding you of your high school GPA and cross-referencing it with the accomplishments of your adult years. And unless you are wearing raw meat around your neck like Lady Gaga, few people will remember what outfit you decided to wear to the reunion. At a casual event like ours, there was a wonderful mix of jeans, dress slacks, sparkled tops, t-shirts, and button-downs (although I will admit that I was a bit disappointed John wasn’t wearing his brilliant blue cape from our last gathering, lol.)

2. Name tags are essential.

Let’s face it – 25 years is a long time. We have now spent more years in our lives outside of school than in. And we are 25 years older, which means our memory may not be as sharp as it once was (speaking for myself, of course!) Name tags make introductions SO much easier, especially when you are trying to place a face to a name from a class of 460 students. Unless, of course, your name is Steve and you spend most of the evening stealing other people’s name tags to wear as your own.

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The running joke last night was, “Is this a classmate or someone’s spouse?”

3. Perfect strangers will smile at you, if you smile first.

I know this will be shocking to some, but not everyone marries their high school sweetheart. (Gasp!) Most people find their spouses or significant others later in life, often from other hometowns or states (even across the globe!) For those +1 attendees caught in the mire of fabled stories from yesteryear, a class reunion can be a long, drawn-out event of awkwardness and people watching. I tried to make a point to smile at everyone I could, whether I knew them or not. It was an easy random act of kindness that anyone can do (class reunion or not!)

4. Break dancing and mosh pits are out, but the Electric Slide and Cupid Shuffle still draw a crowd.

You must, I repeat, you MUST have a DJ at your indoor class reunion. The music that’s played can make or break a crowd and sets the tone for fun and festivity. While dancing was not the focus of our reunion (I mentioned that we are 25 years older, right?), it was enjoyable to find a crew of classmates who didn’t mind making fools of themselves as they tried to remember steps for a line dance popular years ago. Who knows… it might even be a spotlight moment for a classmate to showcase their talent, as we saw with Chris and Lori stealing the show.

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I think that ended our line dancing for the night. They were simply amazing! A special thanks to Luke Gipson, who was an awesome DJ for this reunion and the last one we held – hire him quick!

5. There are always new things to learn about people you’ve known forever.

The topics of conversation at 25th class reunions are generally the same: How have you been? What are you doing now? Do you have any children? Where should we go after this? If you find yourself in a conversation for more than 5 minutes (which is actually harder than it sounds), you will inevitably start walking down Memory Lane. Shared memories are great, especially when several people chime in with their versions of the same story.

Last night I learned that Jennifer spent more money on her prom dress than I spent on my wedding dress and that Stephanie saved for years to have her dress custom-made. While these tidbits may not impact one’s life on a grand scale, they open the door even wider to a shared communal experience that can only come from being in high school together. (And just for the record, Jennifer looked FANTASTIC in that green sparkled dress she wore in high school!)

6. Social media allows the party to continue long after you’ve left the building.

All day my news feed has been flooded with photos and posts from last night. There have been countless comments of positive praise, shared sentiments, and plans to get together soon. We’ve even gone so far as to suggest having a yearly reunion, offering suggestions of how, when, and where.

As a high school student 25 years ago, I’m not sure that I would say our class was close. There were just too many students, in tight, cramped, outdoor hallways filled with asbestos signs and construction hazards. We found our tribe and stayed tight with that group until the road to Beach Week stretched before us. And yet… here we are. We’ve found our tribe once again, but the barriers of acceptance have long since washed away with time. I feel like I’ve attended your children’s birthday parties, mourned the loss of your family members, and celebrated all the milestones you’ve chosen to share.  A class reunion simply allows me to hear the stories in person.

7. Hugs from old friends are the best random acts of kindness to receive.

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you came from; if you approach me at a class reunion, you’re going to get hugged. I could write an entire post on the benefits of hugging, (or not – it’s already been done by someone else here), but it’s suffice to say that a 25th class reunion is a room filled with people hugging at one time or another. Whether it’s the non-committal side hug of a stranger, or the enveloping bear hug of a friend, this is the one universal sign of welcome at a class reunion. If you are one who really doesn’t like physical touch, let me warn you now. A reunion can sometimes be viewed as a hug-fest. But hugs also count as random acts of kindness, letting others know they are welcomed, accepted, and missed.

For those who were unable to attend our 25th class reunion, I hope we can bring you out to our next social gathering. For those from our class who took the lead on organizing this event and assisting with details (Amie, Laurie, Michele, Donna, Debra, Diane, Kevin and countless others who chimed in on our group page) – a HUGE thank you for providing us an opportunity and space to come together for a few hours, set aside the woes of adulthood, and remember again how blessed we are to have friends that last a lifetime.

Until we meet again!

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Recently, I found myself in a heated discussion with someone else about the role “random” plays in the phrase “random acts of kindness” (also known as a RAK or RAOK.)

“You can’t call it a RAK if it’s not random. The fact that you are pre-planning the event takes away from the novelty of it being a true random act of kindness.”

My first instinct was to fight. To argue. To defend my position on RAKs: my purpose, my mission, my style. I was caught in the whirlwind of surprise and disbelief.

And then I laughed.

Yes, it’s true, I have been known to laugh at the most inappropriate times. Humor is probably my strongest defense mechanism and I use it without thinking. What a wonderful world we live in that we can have such petty disagreements as to whether or not a RAK could be random or pre-planned!

So I bring to you my last set of RAKs from the ISTE 2015 Conference – a set of TRULY random acts of kindness that made my heart happy:

Portable Battery Charger

As many of you know, Twitter is the social media of choice for technology conferences. Even if you’re not physically able to attend the conference, you can easily glean resources and make connections using the conference hashtag. To get an idea of the power of a PLN, search the hashtags #ISTE2015, #ISTE15, #notatiste15 and #notatiste. There’s a wealth of resources right at your fingertips!

When you physically attend a conference, the worst thing that could happen is your device shutting down from low battery. I hate when this happens, so I always come prepared. While waiting for the first Ignite session, I sent out a tweet referencing my portable battery chargers (I had three in my purse, ready to go at a moment’s notice) and the power strip peeking out of my purse. Several people read my tweet and commented back, then the conversation was lost in a sea of retweets, mentions, and hashtags.

A few hours later as we made our way back to the conference center to listen to the first Keynote speaker, I saw this tweet in my newsfeed:

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Oh how funny! The tweet made me laugh, that someone actually remembered my previous comment. I tweeted out a photo of my charger case in response with the comment, “Hope you like pink!”

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Suddenly it hit me. This guy really did need a charger! Going into a Keynote session with only 23% battery life? He wouldn’t even MAKE it to the main speaker in time. It was then that the joking over Twitter transformed into a true RAK as I set out to find him, tweeting my location and searching the crowd to find his group.

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Yeah… 21,000 registered attendees and I was trying to find a guy I had never met. What were the chances?

Well, with a bit of perseverance, half a dozen tweets, and a great big dash of luck, we were able to connect and I gave him my portable charger to use. I walked away, thrilled! It was AWESOME to help someone else in their time of need, even if only for an extended battery life! I told him we had to take a selfie as proof (and no worries… we met up the next day when he not only gave me my charger back, but also gave me another I could add to my collection! A pay-it-forward RAK back!)

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The best irony of all? The person in this photo is Jason Markey (@JasonMMarkey), principal of East Leyden High School in Franklin Park, IL. After I snapped the selfie with my phone, he said, “I loved your Ignite session on Random Acts of Kindness last year.” His comment left me literally speechless! Little did he know, I started following his #leydenpride hashtag shortly after last year’s ISTE Conference, blown away by his school’s commitment to sharing kindness through Twitter. What a small world!

Rain Jacket

When we arrived in Philly on Saturday night, the weather was nasty: cold, wet, rainy. The umbrella I brought was little protection from the wind and driving rain that pounded sideways against my skin. My coworker, Heather, offered up her rain jacket and I accepted with glee! What a perfectly timed, completely random RAK!

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Speaking of rain, a huge shout-out to Heather (@hcausey) and Stacie (@sctaylorITRT) who shared the driving responsibilities there and back in the midst of crazy traffic and endless rainstorms. These gals are AWESOME and you should definitely follow them on Twitter!

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Happy Birthday Flash Mob

As we were traveling to dinner one evening in the city, we spotted our dear friend, Chris O’Neal (@onealchris), who now lives states away from our district. We immediately ran up and did a “Celebrity Selfie Flash Mob” (where we quickly gathered around him and snapped a photo). As we finished, he made the comment that it was an awesome birthday present (“What? Today is your BIRTHDAY?!?!”) so we immediately serenaded him with the Happy Birthday song right there on the streets of Philly. Totally random and so much fun!

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The Liberty Bell

My oldest son is fascinated by coins. He has spent countless hours researching the images and words shown on coins and at a moment’s notice can give you a “Fun Fact of the Day” related to the history of any coin you find. When I told him I was traveling to Philadelphia, PA for the ISTE Conference, he said with amazement, “You mean where the Liberty Bell is? Did you know the half dollar has the Liberty Bell on it? And you get to see it for REAL?” To say he was excited for me to experience this little part of history was a grand understatement.

Due to the rain and our packed schedule (as well as hotel accommodations outside the city limits), it didn’t look like we would have time to visit the historical site. I tried to prep him the best I could when I called home the second day of the conference, but his disappointment was tangible, even states away.

And then… my amazing coworkers assembled one afternoon in the midst of rain storms and sun, grabbed me and said, “Let’s go!” We had no idea where we were walking; we took a turn right, then backtracked left, but eventually made it to the location of the famed symbol for independence. We made sure to take a photo to send back home to my son.

I have the best team EVER!

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May I Take Your Photo?

It may seem like such a small RAK, offering to take someone else’s photo, but what a wonderful way to help someone else capture a memory forever. I caught my coworker, Casey (@cnugentITRT), offering such kindness to a group of strangers as we were leaving a restaurant and made sure to capture the moment for my own Smile File.

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Expo Hall

One of the busiest places at the ISTE Conference is the Expo Hall. Hundreds of vendors, all vying for your attention, hoping to reel you in with the latest and greatest tool or “must have” addition to your school or district. Many times vendors come prepared to entice with freebies, small trinkets to give away to say “Thanks” or promote their business.

While I know the end result for vendors is to walk away with sales and commissions, I am repeatedly impressed by their generosity. One vendor had these cute little bee shaped figures decorating their space. When I stopped to admire one, the sales rep said I could have one. I thanked her, but declined; my three kids would fight over who got to keep the toy. She simply smiled and gave me three of them, then handed me three foam airplane kits, too. Wow! How thoughtful!

I stopped at another vendor station, enticed by their PLN buttons I had seen other people wearing. When I explained that I was doing a PD presentation focused on expanding your PLN through socia media, she reached under the table and handed me an entire bag of buttons. Not one. Not two. Not even five. AN ENTIRE BAG! I was so giddy, I could barely contain my glee!

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So much generosity. Sheets of stickers. Pointers. Keychains. If you’ve ever had a conversation with an elementary teacher, you know they are desperate for any toy or knick-knack to stock their prize box or classroom store. These trinkets were treasures indeed!

I even had Billy Krakower (@wkrakower), the amazing co-moderator of #satchat and #njed messaging me to give me a ribbon for my badge, a Tomorrow’s Classrooms Today shirt, and some travel bags. He was so kind to go out of his way to connect with me in the midst of this enormous group of people just to pass along his kindness.


As you can see from the stories above, the truly random acts of kindness are just as meaningful as the ones that are pre-planned. Many of you do these types of RAKs on a regular basis and never give a thought to just how wonderful your actions are for the receiver. For me, conferences are a fantastic venue to notice unique opportunities to bless others.

And to round out all the RAKs, I even had another gal compliment me on my favorite skirt. 🙂

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In addition to preparing Blessing Bags for the ISTE Conference, I packed some extra goodies to surprise conference presenters and attendees. There were three separate random acts of kindness, but each asked the recipients to tweet out the RAK using the hashtag #ISTERAK if they found them. The photos shared on Twitter were priceless and brought a smile to my face each day! Maybe these will give you some inspiration for easy-to-share RAKs with others!

Free Compliments

I printed a few sheets of paper titled “Free Compliments” with tear-off tabs at the bottom. Some of the compliments included sayings like “You’re Beautiful!” and “I wish I could pin you on Pinterest.” I taped the compliment sheets to the back of restroom doors, thinking they would be seen by many. Here are a few of the photos shared of this RAK:

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“You are tech savvy!”

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“You are tweet worthy”

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“I like your style!”

The biggest thrill came at the end of the conference when ISTE (@isteconnects) tweeted out a photo of my compliment sheet, all tabs taken, with this message for all their participants:

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“#ISTERAK spreading kindness at #ISTE2015. Attendees, you are all amazing!!”

Nerds

If you are looking for some “nerds”, a technology conference with 21,000 registered participants is the place to be! I left these boxes in random places inside the convention center to be discovered by whomever. Here are a few of the lucky “nerds”… how awesome that all four boxes were tweeted out!

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Here is one box I left on a seat. Below are the photos posted by others to Twitter.

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You Are Worth 100 Grand

I am a strong believer that you should compliment someone when they do something well. For this reason, I like to bring along 100 Grand chocolates with a little note saying “You are worth 100 Grand.” Here are a few people that received some sweet treats for their awesomeness:

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Right after Adam Bellow (@adambellow) and Dean Shareski’s (@shareski) session on “Hacking Keynote”, I ran up on the stage and handed them both 100 Grand. Their presentation was funny and informative with lots of opportunities for learning and sharing.

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I had so much fun touring the poster sessions, especially those where students shared their work. The Tech Ninja Squad was a technology club for 4th and 5th graders and these gals were very eager to share all the cool projects they made!

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Another poster session I loved had students sharing the projects they created with green screen technology.

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They definitely earned their rewards as they patiently walked me through each step of the process. Twice.

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I had my first “celebrity selfie” moment where their teacher (Pam Craig – @Pcraig911) looked at my name tag and said, “I follow you on Twitter!” What a fun moment – I’m not used to being on the receiving line of that statement! (And yes, I’m wearing a cape. You didn’t know I was a superhero? Ha!)

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After using my cell phone and iPad all day, it was time for me to find an outlet and charge my devices. As another random act of kindness, I carry a power strip in my purse a conferences so I can share my multiple outlets with others. It’s a great way to meet new people, too!

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One person I sat beside had THE most amazing accessory holder for all his chargers and cables. I was so impressed, I left him 100 Grand, too.

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Speaking of chargers… there were all these little lock boxes at the convention center and in Reading Terminal Market where people could charge their devices for FREE. Talk about a random act of kindness – that was AWESOME! Each box contained a key where you could lock your device and leave it. I predict we will see a LOT more of these around town – in classrooms, too!

These random acts of kindness were fun to share throughout the conference and cost me about $6 in all. If you want to see who posted what, search the hashtag #ISTERAK on Twitter!

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!  🙂

 


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