celebrate kindness

Posts Tagged ‘chocolate

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.  🙂

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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 was SUCH a fun day to be out and about performing random acts of kindness for strangers!  It was also a beautiful day (no more cold snow!) which helped to brighten our mood as well.

Our first stop was a local girl scout cookie stand.  My friend, Dawn,  posted on Facebook that her daughter’s troop would be selling cookies today outside a local store.   She was so surprised to see us show up to support her daughter!  We bought several boxes of girl scout cookies to use for RAKs, which delighted the girls eager to make a sale.

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As I was chatting with Dawn, the girls had several sales in a row after mine and ended up selling out of Samoas – the boxes of cookies I just bought!  Then Dawn leaned over and said, “You had perfect timing – not only did those cookies sell out, but we were supposed to be packed up and gone 30 minutes ago!  I just got permission to stay longer right when you walked up!”  Talk about blessings!

Dawn and I with one of the Samoas I bought.

Dawn and I with one of the boxes of Samoas I bought today.

Then it was time to put my purchases into action.  My daughter and I drove to a local mall to do a little bit of clothes shopping (great sales on bathing suits at JCPenney, by the way), but before we could even get started on our planned RAKs, I found myself in the midst of a God moment.

For those who are unbelievers, let me explain.  Sometimes I find myself in the right place at the right time to do exactly what I feel God is whispering on my heart.  These “God moments” are never about me – I’m simply a catalyst that God uses to speak to someone else in a crucial moment.

This particular God moment happened as I was pulling into the shopping mall parking lot.  I noticed the car parked in front of me, the driver’s side door open, boots leaning out of the car.  I could see the driver in the car’s rear view mirror and in that exact moment that I happened to see the mirror, I saw her profile.  A dark skinned gal, probably in her 20’s, tears streaming down her face, cell phone held to her ear.  It was a brief moment, mere seconds actually, but wow – it hit me so hard!  It’s so difficult to explain in words the pain I could sense in this woman’s tears.  I could almost feel her anguish, just as I sat in my own car.

Without hesitation, I knew EXACTLY what to do.  A few days ago, I had placed a ziploc bag in my car’s glove compartment with a little note and two chocolates candies:

Photo Mar 08, 3 56 49 PMI didn’t have a particular plan for this treat, other than to use it for a RAK sometime in the future.  (In all honesty, I totally forgot I had done this until this God moment refreshed my memory!)  I reached in, grabbed the baggie, then walked towards the car.   The car door was still open and now I could see that the driver was sobbing, her friend leaning over and comforting her.  I simply gave her the baggie and said “This is for you.  Be blessed.”  I then turned and walked away, not daring to look back.

I will never know what news this gal received to jar such emotion, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that God used me right in that moment to let her know she was not alone.

And that, my friends, is just really cool.  🙂

So back to the actual RAKs I was trying to complete.   Now, I don’t know if you are male or female, young or old, but I think I can make a fair statement that shopping for bathing suits is complete agony for many people (myself included).  It’s almost like a necessary evil, I believe.  Well, in this particular store there are fitting rooms right where the bathing suits are located and I went straight there to do my next RAK.

Knowing there would be gals in the fitting room trying on bathing suits (remember me mentioning misery?), I wanted to brighten someone’s day.  I placed post-it notes with uplifting messages on the mirrors to make people smile when they looked at their reflection.

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Surely someone would appreciate a reminder that they are beautiful!  My next RAK was planned for a different fitting room on the other side of the store.  I knew there was a fitting room near the older woman’s clothing area, and I wanted to bless someone who may have been on a fixed income.  My next RAK was simply to leave a box of new, unopened Samoa girl scout cookies for a stranger with the message “Finders, Keepers!”

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As I walked out of the fitting room, I saw two older ladies walk in and it gave me such a rush to think that maybe one of those ladies would discover my free cookies!

Later, as we were in the checkout line to make our shopping purchases, my daughter went back to the dressing room to see if the cookies were still there.  They were gone!  YAY!  Mission accomplished!

My daughter and I had SUCH fun doing these random acts of kindness today – I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in crime!

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May these small RAKs inspire you to do some RAKs of your own.  As you can see from the post-it notes, it doesn’t cost anything to brighten someone else’s day.  Just think outside of the box… or maybe just leave a box for someone else to enjoy!

Be blessed and thanks for sharing in my adventures!

Did you know this week is Random Act of Kindness Week?  It’s true!  A whole week dedicated to being kind to those around us – what joy!

The best part about doing RAKs is that they don’t have to cost money or even be that “amazing” of tasks.  Here are a few RAKs I did on Monday:

  • Held the door open for a student whose hands were full of books
  • Complimented a coworker
  • Allowed someone to use the faculty restroom before me (don’t laugh – when you are a teacher and can only leave your classroom during designated times of the day – this RAK is HUGE!)
  • Drove past the closest parking space in the parking lot so someone else could be blessed by a shorter walk
  • Smiled and greeted coworkers as I passed them on the sidewalk
  • Sent messages on FB to friends letting them know I was thinking about them
  • Shared my homemade chex mix with a coworker
  • Stopped what was on my “to-do” list to help coworkers right when they needed help

See?  Random acts of kindness can be easy! (Granted, some easier than others, lol.)  Many times we find ourselves overwhelmed or in a rut when we think we have to do something over-the-top amazing to make a difference in the lives of others.  Let me reassure you that EVERY act of kindness is important and has the potential to be life changing!  Seriously!

Today I performed two specific RAKs.  First, I brought chocolate to share at the professional development training I was leading after school.  (Chocolate ALWAYS makes people feel good, right?)

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Second, I bagged my own groceries at Kroger and took them out to my car in the freezing cold to save the bagger an extra trip outside.

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See?  Easy.  Nothing to it!

I would love to know what you are doing to celebrate Random Act of Kindness Week!  Share your experiences through Twitter, Instagram, FB or right here on my WordPress blog… just add the hashtag #RAKweek to your post so we can inspire each other!

Be blessed, dear friends, and RAK on!  🙂

For Random Act of Kindness #3, I honored the memory of Lauren Rousseau, a substitute teacher for Sandy Hook Elementary.  As an educator myself, I can appreciate the valuable service substitutes provide for occasions when the regular classroom teacher has to be absent from class.  Their job is one of the hardest in the educational system, in my opinion.  They have to be flexible, open-minded, quick on their feet, and deal with unexpected circumstances all day long.  With a humble heart, I decided to take the time and say “Thanks” to an unknown substitute teacher!

I decorated a coffee mug with a silver sharpie and filled it with chocolate “Bliss” candies.  I also included a Thank You note with the surprise.

IMG_4608(The mug says “Super Substitute” all the way around the outside.)

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I took my goodies to my son’s elementary school (on a dreary day filled with rain, so I KNEW this would bring a smile) and asked the secretary to deliver it to a substitute.  “ANY substitue?” she asked.  I smiled, explained my purpose, then added, “Yes… ANY substitute.  You get to pick!”   I then walked out of the office with a happy heart.

When was the last time someone thanked you for a job well done?  It’s something we do not hear often enough.  Today I am thankful for substitute teachers.  For Lauren.  For my cousin, Amy.  For my friends Becky, Kelleigh, Amy, Beth, Lea, Stephanie, and all the other amazing teachers who fill the shoes of others every day.  I am inspired by their tenacity and love for children.  I can only hope that the family of Lauren Rousseau will know just how special she was to the students and teachers at her school.

Be blessed my friends and keep paying it forward!


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