celebrate kindness

Posts Tagged ‘music

A few weeks ago a friend of mine posted a message on Facebook that she had piano and ukulele sheet music to give away. Immediately I thought of my co-worker, Paul, who not only plays the ukulele, but had his own collection of ukuleles on display:

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The only catch in this RAK transaction is that my friend with the sheet music, Lea Cale, lives several states away! She offered to bring the sheet music with her the next time she was in town to visit family (since I live in her hometown), and that’s exactly what she did!

Over the holidays, I had the joy of spending time with her and her daughter as we caught up on each other’s lives. It blessed me immensely to have her in my home!

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The first day back to school, I wrote a note to Paul to go with the sheet music, then left the stack with our music teacher, Abby, for the final delivery.

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While it may not seem like much, especially if you aren’t a musician, it brought me joy to play a part in this pay-it-forward RAK. Oh, how I love the generosity of others!

Maybe you have something you no longer need that could bless someone else? If so, offer it up and see how blessed you feel to brighten someone else’s day!

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What inspires you?

Ok, so that might be a pretty loaded question for a Sunday afternoon, but it’s a thought that has been swirling in my brain all day. Where does one get the inspiration to do anything? Sure, we DO lots of things, but are they driven from a place of interest or obligation?

Many of the tasks I complete throughout my day and week are mundane and obligatory. Maybe there’s a way of finding joy in all things, but I have yet to discover it (and that’s coming from a self-proclaimed Pollyanna!) There are times when I have to force myself to be happy about the task I am attending and then there are times… the joy is just… THERE.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Many of my random acts of kindness are inspired by a quiet whisper on my heart. Look. Go. Do. A thought will pop in my brain and I just follow through. There are also times when thoughts flitter so quickly through my brain that they evaporate into thin air before any action is taken. Such is life.

Today, I found my inspiration through a song I heard at church. It has been floating around in my mind all day, to the point where I caught myself singing the chorus a time or two as I was doing laundry, making lunch, and even coloring a Marvel Heroes mask my son placed before me.

The song is about allowing yourself to be a branch that bears the fruit God provides. WOW. This is exactly how I feel about random acts of kindness! So many times I don’t have a real purpose, don’t know the outcome, don’t really plan anything out… I’m just an open vessel of sorts waiting to be used by Him. And sometimes, just sometimes, my RAKs bear fruit and continue to bless others as the RAKs are passed along from one person to the next.

For whatever reason, I really felt led to sing this song (the chorus part at least) and share it with whomever (again, don’t know the plan, lol). Maybe this song will bless you, maybe not. That’s OK. After all, I’m not the best singer out there – not even close (and especially not when I’m singing in my car. Ha!) But it does summarize how I get my inspiration for this journey along the road of kindness. And maybe the words (if not the vocals) will inspire you as well.

Click here to listen to the song, click here to read the words.

Be blessed and continue to inspire others any way you feel led!

One resolution many people make at the start of the year is to get in shape, start exercising, lose some weight.  It’s an admirable goal, especially for those who realize and acknowledge that life changes are good!

Personally, I am not a gym rat (and no offense to those who are!)  I enjoy exercising, but I also enjoy eating, so for me it’s more like a balancing act in staying healthy.  I’ve tried all sorts of gym activities, but the one I love most is Zumba.   Imagine fast paced dancing like salsa and mambo mixed with squats and lunges and you have a small taste of this hour long class.  It is an EXCELLENT form of exercise!  Best of all, if you do the classes consistently, you really can see changes in your tone, strength, and endurance!

There are many Zumba classes offered around town – some classes come to your workplace (seriously!), some are offered at gyms, and some can be shown on a DVD or Wii.  I like to attend classes at my local Y because it allows me to  get out of the house and meet new people while keeping me motivated with my fitness goals.

The Monday before Christmas I was trying to decide if I should go to my Zumba class or stay home and wrap some last minute gifts for the holidays.  If you are a busy mom like me (or just busy in general), you know how precious just an hour of free time can be! Although I was tempted to use the time productively to mark another task off my to-do list, I decided to head down to the Y and use the time on ME instead.

You can imagine my surprise when my Zumba instructor, Toni, opened the door wearing a Santa themed shirt and an obnoxiously huge elf hat made from skinny balloons.  (Where was my camera when I needed it?!) Her huge smile radiated joy as she welcomed us into the class.  What fun!  I almost expected to see a clown in the corner, inflating and twisting balloons into requested shapes.

As we all found our places to stand, Toni grabbed a basket off the shelf and announced, “I have a little something for you!”  You could hear the small gasps of “Awwww!” and “Oh, thank you so much!” as she made her way to each individual person in the class. When Toni made her way to me, I finally saw what made everyone else respond with such appreciation:

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Our amazing Zumba instructor, with her own time and money, had purchased each of us special Zumba jingle bell bracelets and created a CD of all the music we dance to in class.  REALLY?!?  Oh my gosh, it was such a sweet gift (and the first I have ever received from a gym instructor!)  Unbeknownst to Toni, we had a surprise for her, too, as we had chipped in with cards and money to purchase Powerade and gifts cards to show our thanks for all she does to inspire us on a daily basis.

It was a sweet moment of reciprocity, with both givers and receivers sharing in the emotion of surprise and kindness.  Best of all? We spent the next hour laughing, smiling, and sweating as the sounds of jingle bell bracelets danced in the air.

Today may you be inspired!  Try a new class at the gym or call up a friend to walk around your neighborhood.  Sometimes the most needed random act of kindness is the one you give yourself!  🙂

How do you like to celebrate the 4th of July?  Do you go to a cookout?  Plan a day at the pool?  Spend time with friends and family?  We do different things each year to celebrate the national holiday, but one thing we always try to do is watch the fireworks.  I love being out with a crowd of people, listening to patriotic music played by a concert band, waiting for darkness to fall and the first firework to light the sky.

This year as we claimed our spot in the open field of Dogwood Dell, we watched as people spread out blankets, played games and chatted, all sharing the same space for the same purpose, a united group of strangers.  If you’ve ever waited for fireworks, you know it’s best to claim your spot early, so we were there hours before dusk.  As soon as I started to unpack our chairs and bags, I realized we had no games for the kids to play to pass the time.  No cards.  No UNO.  No triominoes.  Nothing.  Cell service wasn’t that great, so the games we had hoped to play on our phones and iPods quickly became obsolete as our batteries dwindled faster than the evening shade.

It was about this time that we saw a single bubble floating in the sky.  One.  Single.  Bubble.  We watched in awe, completely transfixed, as it began its gentle descent across our blanket.  >pop< “What…?”  “Where…?”  “Who…?”  The questions tumbled out as everyone tried to figure out who was blowing bubbles.  It didn’t take us long to see a girl with long brown hair and a red skirt, standing with a lady who was probably her mom, both blowing bubbles from huge wands dipped in liquid tubes.  Before I could answer a single question, the kids were up on their feet, running towards them, as more bubbles came our way.

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Popping Bubbles

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Pure Joy!

Oh, to see the joy on my children’s faces!  I glanced towards the girl and her mom and both had smiles that would brighten even the darkest of days.  Children were laughing, shouting, chasing after bubbles on a warm summer night, oblivious to any cares or worries of this world.  It was perfect!

The mom noticed how engaged we were with the bubbles and offered her wand to my son, Daniel.  “Would you like to blow some bubbles?”  Daniel graciously accepted the mom’s offer and together with the daughter, they blew bubbles for all the children surrounding our blanketed space.

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Daniel passed the wand to his Uncle Barry, who then became the Pied Piper  of Dogwood Dell, showering the children with bubbles galore.

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Not long after the bubble fest, the sun began to set and we were surrounded by twilight.  “The glo sticks!” my daughter shouted, as she dug through her purse to reveal four unopened black canisters.  “Hurry!  It’s getting dark!”  She dumped all four tubes into her lap and together as a family we worked together to bend the sticks, releasing their fluorescent glow.

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As we were creating bracelets and necklaces connected by small plastic tubes, we noticed a young boy watching us from his parent’s nearby chair.  “I wish I had some of those,” we heard him tell his dad.  I looked at my daughter and was met with her smile.  She had heard him, too.  “Would you like to have some?  We have plenty.”  She then carefully selected one of each color and attached connectors so he could create his own glowing accessories.  “Have fun!” she said as she turned back in her chair and continued her task.

Could I possible love my daughter more than in that moment??

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Katrina with her headband and necklace

Our evening ended with an amazing fireworks show and we left Dogwood Dell with happy hearts.  It was a wonderful way to celebrate our country’s independence, surrounded by friends, family, and many strangers.  We were blessed by kindness of others and found a way to keep that blessing going to someone else.  Who knew something as simple as bubbles and glo sticks could make such a lasting impression?

This Random Act of Kindness is dedicated to Benjamin Wheeler, age 6.  According to the Huffington Post, Benjamin was always running, a joyful child, who blew kisses to his family saying, “Catch it and put it in your heart.”  His parents were musicians and would write and perform their own music.  At Ben’s funeral, they played songs from a CD they had released right before he was born, one which was titled, “Stars in the Sky.”  On this night, long after the fireworks show had ended, I looked at the sky as we were walking to our car and thought about all those beautiful stars and all those beautiful children from Sandy Hook Elementary.  A lump filled my throat as I looked at my own three children, healthy, happy, still bouncing from the excitement of the evening.  It made me realize, yet again, how special EVERY moment should be; how I need to be still and treasure the small moments as well as the big.

If we are not guaranteed tomorrow… what can I do to make a difference for someone today?

Be blessed!


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