celebrate kindness

Posts Tagged ‘meal

Today we celebrated the “dog days of summer” with a visit to our local amusement park, Busch Gardens.  It’s always a little tricky to find a summer fun activity that appeals to the vast ages of all my kiddos (ages 14, 9, and 3 respectively).  Busch Gardens is the one place where everyone has fun, even if it means we separate into pairs.

After several hours riding rides and seeing the sights, we were famished.  Add to that 90+ degree weather, we were desperate to find a shaded area to sit and eat lunch.  We decided to enjoy a meal and a show in the Ristorante della Piazza, an outdoor Italian themed restaurant in the heart of the park.  As I was purchasing our meals, I received this coupon from the cashier:

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This was a first!  I’ve never received a coupon at checkout before!  Of course, it had to be used the same day, for another meal later in the evening, but 50% off a meal at the park is quite a savings indeed!

The kids and I settled in to watch the show and munch on breadsticks and homemade macaroni and cheese.  The performance was delightfully loud and entertaining.  The musicians’ talent and comedy routines reminded me of the days when I used to work at Kings Dominion as a guardette and hang out with the Kings Dominion Clown Band (KDCBOK).  Which, of course, has nothing to do with this Random Act of Kindness, just a memory moment that made me smile.  🙂

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As the show came to a close, we cleaned up our table and gathered our belongings.  I noticed the coupon sitting on my tray and suddenly realized I could use it to bless someone else!  I quickly returned to the cashier and asked to borrow a pen.  Hastily, I scribbled a note on my receipt and decided that I would pass along my coupon to someone entering the park as we left.  Oh, just the thought of such a surprise made me happy!

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I chose this RAK dedication for Jesse Lewis, age 6, whose parents have set up the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation in his memory.  As you know I am a passionate believer that a little bit of love and kindness goes a long, long way to making this world a better place.  No act of kindness is ever too small to make a difference!

We made our way to the front of the park and I spotted a family of five walking in.  I noticed the dad had a season pass hanging from a black lanyard around his neck, but arriving so late in the afternoon maybe they would be staying until the park close and needed a discount on a meal?  I approached the dad with a smile and asked if they would be eating dinner in the park.  “No, sorry, we’re just here to ride a few rides,” he replied, not missing a beat in his brisk walk towards the main entrance. “Oh, Ok.  Thanks!  I just had a coupon for a discounted meal.  I’ll find someone else.”

Before I could turn my gaze away, I was approached by a lady with a huge smile and bright, friendly eyes.  “I’d be interested!  I love coupons!”  Returning her smile, I handed her the coupon and my note and explained the purpose of this RAK.  She was very appreciative for the kind gesture and gave me a hug as I described the dedication to Jesse.  Our exchange was short and sweet, a perfect way to end the day.

May your weekend be filled with peace, happiness, and hugs!   Be blessed, my friends!

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Today I had the immeasurable joy of celebrating Mother’s Day by passing along a Random Act of Kindness given to me.  If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I completed 40 random acts in celebration of my 40th birthday, then began a renewed purpose of blessing others in honor of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.  My first act of kindness in this section was leaving smiley faced balloons in a local park, one of which was chosen by an autistic child and his dad.  After visiting my blog and reading my story, the boy’s mom was so touched by this mission that she emailed me and donated a $25 gift card so I could in turn bless someone else.

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Ironically, and unbeknownst to us at the time, her son and my son attend the same daycare center.  Occasionally I pass her as we are picking up our boys and I am always greeted with a radiating smile.  A few weeks ago I told her I was saving her gift card for a special day – Mother’s Day – and she told me that was one of her MOST favorite holidays of all.  How perfect!

Today after visiting my own mother, I headed out to T.G.I.Friday’s.  I wasn’t planning to stay and eat, I simply wanted to walk in and bless another mom.

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The waitress was inquisitive, so I explained my purpose and asked if she knew of any patrons who might benefit from a free dinner in celebration of Mother’s Day.  She pointed to a corner table to my right which included a mom and her young daughter, finishing their meal.

I walked to the table, introduced myself, and briefly explained my purpose as I slid the gift card across the table.

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She seemed surprised, but very appreciative of the unexpected gift.  What a joy it was to bless a complete stranger in such a huge way on Mother’s Day!

There was a moment, however, on my way back home where my joy turned a bit melancholy as I realized there are 26 moms out there whose hearts are breaking today, the first Mother’s Day without their treasured child.  I simply cannot imagine the pain they are reliving today.  This random act of kindness may not ease the ache in their souls, but it’s the least I can do to keep alive the memories of those lost.

Today’s random act of kindness is dedicated to Anne Marie Murphey, age 52.  Anne Marie was a special education teacher at Sandy Hook and was found that fateful day with her body wrapped around her student, trying everything in her power to shield him from the inevitable.  Friends and family described her as very motherly, always showing her students love and kindness.   I can close my eyes and almost imagine her wrapping her arms around all the tiny children who made their way into heaven that morning.

Be blessed my friends.  Take a moment to thank your mom.  If you have children of your own, give them an extra squeeze tonight and cherish the small moments you share with them.  We are not guaranteed a single day more here on this earth; treasure the time you have with those you love.

Happy Mother’s Day!

How do you let people know you appreciate their kindness? Do you send a card with the sentiments penned inside? Maybe you pick up the phone and call to say, “Thanks so much!” Well, I’ll be honest with you – I’m bad at both. It’s not that I’m unappreciative. Quite the opposite! I just show my thankfulness in different ways.

My favorite way to say “Thank You” is to cook. Yes, cook! Those of you who know me well are probably laughing right now because you either knew me when I was a newlywed who had never cracked an egg, or you’ve seen how far I have come by the pictures of my meals I post on Facebook. In fact, some of you even stop me along my travels to comment about my meals. “How do you find the time?” Well, that’s an easy one to answer. I make time. Cooking is my way of sharing appreciation and love.

My 40th birthday was no exception. My friend, Michele, had opened her home to me so that I might spend a weekend of fun in Las Vegas.  After a whirlwind 30 hours in Vegas, visiting the Strip, sharing brunch with teaching buddies, revisiting my former home and photographing enough memories to last another 12 years, I pulled out the pots and pans and started cooking. “But it’s your BIRTHDAY! Are you SURE you want to spend the night COOKING?”  Michele was in shock.  Who spends their 40th birthday cooking in someone else’s home?  “You don’t have to do this!  It’s your birthday!  We could go out to a restaurant and relax!”   I simply smiled and asked, “Where are your measuring cups?”

So now you know the REAL story of my wild Vegas weekend.  I spent my 40th birthday cooking for my dear friend, Michele and her family to show my appreciation for her kindness.  And you know what?  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you’d like to see my online recipes, click here.  I made Bang-Bang shrimp in the photos above, but I will post Michele’s delicious salad recipe soon!


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