celebrate kindness

Posts Tagged ‘thanks

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:

Photo Oct 03, 2 07 12 PM

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:

Photo Nov 18, 7 50 48 AM

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.  🙂

This week as I was running errands around town, I stopped by a local Starbucks to pick up a few gift cards for a Random Act of Kindness I planned to do later this week.  There were two baristas in the shop, Angie and Hunter, and both chatted pleasantly with me while I made my purchases.  (For those of you dedicated readers, you might remember Hunter from my 41st birthday RAK where in the process of giving a RAK to a stranger, he went and RAK’d me back!  For those who missed the story, click here and here.)

As I was leaving the store, a small pamphlet caught my eye titled, “Share your thoughts with us.”  Now I’m sure you’ve seen similar comment cards in businesses you frequent, but for whatever reason, it occurred to me that I rarely take the time to share my thoughts with a business.  Good experience or bad, I tend to continue about my way without a second thought.

Today was different.  🙂  What better way to show my appreciation for great customer service than letting their boss know?  So I took the pamphlet and wrote an email to the District Manager.  I also left a few extra dollars in their tip jar, too!

Starbucks Thank You Email

Starbucks Thank You Email

My next stop was OfficeMax and I had to laugh at the sign outside their door:  “Now Hiring.  Friendly.  Happy.  People.”  It made me chuckle at the placement of the periods, emphasizing each word individually.  My visit there was quick, I only had one item to buy, and as I made my way to the checkout, there was no one in sight.  Obviously there’s not a mad rush of people buying office supplies at 4:30 in the afternoon, lol.  I walked towards Customer Service and the lady working there caught my eye.

“Do you need to checkout?” she asked with a smile.  I said I did and she immediately stopped what she was doing to walk towards me.  “I can take you on this register over here.”  She continued to chat pleasantly as she rang up my purchase, then when the receipt printed, she circled the back and wrote her name.  “Here’s a survey you can complete if you like to let us know how we’re doing.”

A survey to complete.  How many times have I heard THAT phrase?  Seems like everywhere you go, someone wants information from you.  How do you like this, how do you like that.  If I was a pessimistic person, I might have crumpled the receipt in my pocket, refusing to share any information at all.  But thankfully, I’m a Pollyanna.  🙂  Despite never having completed a survey before, I took the time to complete it today.  I was thrilled to have an open text box where I could compliment Ms. Rae on her great customer service, too!

OfficeMax Survey

OfficeMax Survey

Was this random act of kindness difficult to complete?  Nah, not a bit.  Did it cost any money?  None at all! (Excluding the money I already spent on my purchases, lol.)  Did it take time?  Yes, but less than five minutes.  I spend more time trying to shut down my computer and place it in my laptop bag than I did completing both of these RAKs.  So in that regards, it really didn’t take much time at all!

I hope you will look around you as you complete your errands this week/weekend and take the time to say “thanks” to those in the retail industry who work tirelessly to make our transactions a pleasant experience.  It may not seem like a big deal to many, but those employees have been smiling ALL day long… it’s the least we can do to give them a reason to keep on smiling!

Be blessed my friends and pay it forward!

Today, December 14, 2013, marks the one year anniversary of the terrible tragedy that took the lives of 26 students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  Like so many people in our nation, my heart grieved with a heaviness I could hardly bear.  I felt compelled to do something, anything, to overcome the shock and sadness of that day.

That began my journey of completing 26 Acts of Kindness, one act for each life lost.  Below are my stories.  For those that followed me every step of the way – thank you.  Your support for my passion of kindness is overwhelming and humbling.  Today in memory of that day, please consider doing one simple act of kindness for someone else… and let me know what you did!  🙂

26 Acts of Kindness

Act 1 – In Memory of Noah Pozner, age 6


Photo Jan 06, 12 23 56 PM


Act 2 – In Memory of James Mattioli, age 6




Act 3 – In Memory of Lauren Rousseau, age 6




Act 4 – In Memory of Caroline Previdi, age 6




Act 5 – In Memory of Charlotte Bacon, age 6




Act 6 – In Memory of Dawn Hocksprung, age 47


coffee collage


Act 7 – In Memory of Emilie Parker, age 6




Act 8 – In Memory of Dylan Hockley, age 6




Act 9 – In Memory of Mary Sherlach, age 56




Act 10 – In Memory of Victoria Soto, age 27


coffee money


Act 11 – In Memory of Anne Marie Murphy, age 52




Act 12 – In Memory of Madeleine Hsu, age 6




Act 13 – In Memory of Allison Wyatt, age 6




Act 14 – In Memory of Jessica Rekos, age 6




Act 15 – In Memory of Daniel Barden, age 7




Act 16 – In Memory of Rachel D’Avino, age 29




Act 17 – In Memory of Jesse Lewis, age 6




Act 18 – In Memory of Jack Pinto, age 6


RAK-Adoption Logo


Act 19 – In Memory of Benjamin Wheeler, age 6




Act 20 – In Memory of Olivia Engel, age 6


RAK tix


Act 21 – In Memory of Grace McDonnell, age 7




Act 22 – In Memory of Catherine Hubbard, age 6




Act 23 – In Memory of Avielle Richman, age 6




Act 24 – In Memory of Ana Marquez-Greene, age 6




Act 25 – In Memory of Josephine Gay, age 7


photo 5


Act 26 – In Memory of Chase Kowalski, age 7


photo 4


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!

One of the immense joys of approaching your 40th birthday is receiving the mailed notification from the Department of Motor Vehicles that you need a new driver’s license.  With a new photo.  New paperwork.  The works.  Wait… am I using my sarcasm font for this post?  Joyous?  Definitely not.  I haven’t updated my license in years – 9 years to be exact.  For once, I actually LIKED the photo they took (despite being pregnant with my second child – maybe it was that maternal glow?) and I was determined to keep that photo permanently affixed to my license for all eternity.  But alas, the choice was not mine to make.  DMV… here I come.

The paperwork was simple.  Name.  Check.  Address.  Check.  Organ Donation.  Check.  I sat holding a numbered ticket waiting to be called, staring at the clock slowly ticking my life away.   Forty minutes later, the dreaded photo had been taken, and I was out the door free to go about my merry way.  There was nothing monumental or exciting about the task, just another line item checked off my to-do list.

Until today.  Scanning through Facebook posts of my friends, one post stopped me in my tracks.  A friend of mine was writing a thank you note to the family whose organ donation extended her father’s life.  Because of one person’s choice to put a check beside “Organ Donation” on their driver’s license, my friend had another 870 days of life, love and laughter with her dad.  One check.  One choice.  870 days.  WOW.  That is what I call an unselfish act of kindness right there!

Which brings me to my Random Act of Kindness for the day.  I am an organ donor.  When my time here on earth is done, I have no need whatsoever for this earthly body God gave me.  Take it.  Use it.  Bless others.  Give someone else the joy of 870 days.  How exciting to know that even after I am gone, I will STILL perform a random act of kindness!

If you are already an organ donor, celebrate your kindness!  If you are not an organ donor, consider the possibility.  You truly can change someone’s life.

If you would like to read my friend’s thank you note click here.  If you would like more information on becoming an organ donor, visit http://www.organdonor.gov.  Be blessed, my friends!

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