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Well, it is finally here. The last day of my 28 Days of Kindness. For weeks I’ve been thinking about what I would do and write today.  Should I go out with a bang? What will my final act of kindness be?? And then I realized…this is in no way my last act of kindness. While it has been a lot of work planning out each daily activity (and blogging about it), I feel like this project has really helped me learn that true kindness is simply being aware of others.  

It hit me full circle during a church service two weeks ago. The pastor was speaking about life lessons he would pass down to his daughter. All were good, but one stood out: Act boldly in regards to helping others. He told a story about his elementary school aged daughter who befriended a boy in her class. She was hesitant at first because he was the boy no one liked and she didn’t want to ostracize herself from her peers.  However, she came to the decision that she would take a stand and be nice to him by saying hello to him every morning.  Some time later she invited him to join her group of friends on the playground.  Then, at the end of the year, she asked her dad if he would call this boy’s mother to see if he could come over to their house for a playdate.  The pastor called the boy’s mother who wept because her 10-year-old son had never had a friend before. 

It’s sometimes hard to be kind. I cannot tell you how nervous I was leaving the flowers on my elderly neighbor’s doorstep. I didn’t want him to know it was me partly because I was a) embarrassed and didn’t want to seem “weird” and b) didn’t want him to think I pitied him.  I squatted behind a privacy fence and between two trash cans for at least five minutes scouting the old guy’s house  just to make sure he wasn’t by the window next to the porch (so much for not seeming weird, right?). The same goes for paying for the drive thru order of the car behind me at McDonald’s. After I paid for the order, I snatched my coffee and practically squealed out of the parking lot. Why? I have no idea.  

I think today’s act of kindness is very fitting for a finale. It was not grandiose and required little pre-planning. However, the idea behind it is key — even the most simple act can have a huge impact in brightening someone’s day.  I’m completely addicted to Caitlin’s Healthy Tipping Point blog.  She is also the creator behind the Operation Beautiful website which is essentially a movement of not only self-acceptance and seeing the beauty within, but, also, seeing the beauty in everyone.  One Post-It at a time.

Now, while Carrie Bradshaw may cringe at the Post-It, I happen to love them.  Today, I jotted down a couple of messages and stuck them in random places I found myself. The one below was my favorite. It reads, “Hey Goodlookin’! You matter. You have worth. You are BEAUTIFUL!”  This little baby is now sitting pretty on the bulletin board at Harris Teeter. And? It. Is. So. True.  

Day 27: Trashy Pick Ups

Mother Nature has been quite the tease lately.  Those warm, Carolina blue sky days are becoming more and more frequent and I, for one, LOVE it! In anticipation for a beautiful, record-setting high day today, the boyfriend and I decided to tweak our usual weekend dog park ritual and, instead, take the little Stinker on a full-fledged hike.  We toyed with the idea of going to Crowder’s Mountain, but decided instead to check out the trails at the US National Whitewater Center.

While I have been to the USNWC on several occasions, I have never actually participated in any of the activities (minus drinking beer while watching kayak trials and/or bands). I was excited for our little leisurely stroll out in nature! Plus, as today’s act of kindness, I decided to pick up any litter we passed along the trail (which actually wasn’t a ton…it’s so pretty and clean out there!).  

Leisurely stroll this was not.  As it turns out, trying to stabilize yourself as you are tripping over roots and rocks is quite a workout for both your quads and abs.  It wasn’t until after we had been meandering so long that we found ourselves ascending Goat Hill (a black diamond trail…EEK!), that the boyfriend finally piped up with the possibility that we could be…ahem…lost. As we were doubling back to a fork the bf seemed to remember, I was lamenting on how we are “those” people and should just change our names to Hansel and Gretel.  It was then that it hit me. Gasp…we were city slickers! I had failed my rural Tennessee heritage.

It was then, without warning, I bit the dust. Well, technically, my hip and hand bit the dust.  Luckily, no broken bones, just impending bruises (not excluding my ego).  As we arrived at the fork (which was a wide, lush trail), we discovered that it was the emergency exit trail. After the briefest of pauses, we decided that my spill did warrant an emergency and it was there that we  set off on the trail less traveled.

To say today has been a whirlwind would be an understatement. I was up with the chickens this morning to shoot a very special birthday party for a very special 1-year-old.  The party started at 10am, but I wanted to arrive half an hour early to get shots of all the fabulous party details before the chaos that is 15 toddlers ensued.  This is after I spent half an hour attempting to install a new shower head (afterall, I didn’t want to be the “smelly kid” at the party). 

I am usually pretty handy. I can upholster furniture. I even own a caulk gun (and know how to use it, thankyouverymuch!).  However, the simple task of swapping out a shower head almost led to my demise this weekend. In 24hrs, I have been twice to Home Depot AND twice to Black Hawk Hardware.  I won’t go into the boring details about the history and progression of the shower head, but, trust me, mine must have been one of the firsts. 

At 5pm, as I was leaving Black Hawk Hardware dejected and with my head hung low, I heard the voice of what sounded to be a sweet angel. Her soft, high-pitched voice was music to my crestfallen soul as she cried out, “Ma’am, would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?”  I looked up to see a cute face full of anticipation.  A cute face that I, for one, could not tell no (even though the thought did cross my mind as I really was craving Yoforia instead).  As soon as I uttered the word “Yes” a flock of four girls scurried to help me with my order. Though they offered suggestions and each told me the merits of their favorite, I have eyes for only one type of Girl Scout cookies. Hello, my delicious Samoas.  Come to mama.

 Today’s act of kindness was a definite win/win.  I’m thrilled that the money I spent on these cookies goes back to such an amazing organization.  And, with that first Samoan bite, I was able to spend 30 seconds in bliss (without any  annoying thoughts involving shower heads).

While I have had my fair share of odd jobs (I consider myself to be the original Super Nanny), I am one of those rare people who has never waited tables. Quite frankly, I’ve always been too intimidated by the fast-paced restaurant biz to even give it a try. I know my limitations. For starters, my short-term memory leaves much to be desired.  I have to write down everything. EVERYthing. (Do you wanna know how long my shower drain has been clogged because I keep forgetting to pick up the Draino? Yeah, no.) Secondly, I tend to have very little patience for the general public.  Most importantly, I have seen Hell’s Kitchen.  The chaos of a restaurant would absolutely send me over the edge. Give me a screaming toddler over a screaming adult anyday!

I have a ginormous appreciation for those in the service industry. Especially those who do their jobs well (attentive and friendly, yet not a hoverer). I can’t imagine how difficult that is when you are constantly having to serve a-holes. Today, a co-worker and I went out to lunch at a local, family owned Korean restaurant. The food is good and the service is always great. To show my appreciation, I left an extra-large tip for our server – 50% (which actually wasn’t all that much considering lunch was less than $10 but, hey, it’s still a nice gesture!).

Korean food. It looks like innards, but actually tastes great!


Several years ago (after college, but before my “real” job), I was driving along listening to a story on NPR (yay for public radio!) about a girl who was 26 and homeless. At one point, she had a job and an apartment but, due to a series of unfortunate events, was living out of her car.  Her unfortunate events weren’t even all that uncommon — a job loss, an accident that resulted in an extended (and uninsured) hospital stay,  credit card debt. Everything combined to form the perfect storm which, eventually, led to her eviction and nowhere to turn.

I often joke about being the only person in America who can’t afford to move home.  However, I know that if serious calamity ever struck, my childhood bedroom would be available to me in a heartbeat.  That day, as I was listening, I compared the girl’s situation to mine. Any of the events that happened to her could easily happen to me. Then I had the most peace-inducing thought, “Well, thanks to Mom & Dad, at least I’ll never be homeless.”

I see homeless people all the time and it’s very easy to lump them into a stereotype. However, the truth is, we really have no idea what their story may be.  Today’s act of kindness involves a care package. Do you remember how awesome it was to receive one of those when you were in college? It would instantly turn a horrible day into an amazing one.  The care package I put together for today consists of  Kashi granola bars (DE-lish!), Ritz whole grain cheese crackers, Canyon mix (the yogurt raisins are the best!), a banana, a Cookies N Cream Hershey bar, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, a men’s travel toiletry kit, AND the cutest card ever that reads “Sending a little sunshine your way!” I filled the inside of the card with my favorite inspirational quotes (that Maya Angelou really knows what she’s talking about). I packed all the swag into a conveniently portable lunch bag and plan to give it to the first homeless person I see on my commute home today.

You know those articles of clothing that ALWAYS get compliments? I love those! I have three in my current wardrobe rotation. Although, I can really only take credit for one — a pair of Dune camel flats with leather bows on the toe that I picked up in London two years ago. They were an emergency purchase (for real, Dad!). I was transferring trains from the airport and tripped (I did not Mind The Gap). Somehow, my toe hit the side of the train as I was boarding and knocked off my left shoe. It flew under the train onto the tracks.

So…there I was. Alone. In London. With one friggin’ shoe.  After a brief moment of panic wondering if the Brits would get a joke about a girl from Tennessee showing up barefoot, I thankfully realized that I had a pair of stiletto boots in my suitcase.  I looked ridiculous as I hobbled down the cobblestone streets to my cousin’s flat, but, hey, at least I was fully clothed.

Anyway, back to the lovely Dune flats. Every single time I wear them, someone always makes a comment. The same goes for an Anthropologie white coat  and  a Parisian purple scarf — both gifts from my Mom. And you know what? It makes my day. Every. Single. Time.

So, for today’s act of kindness, I’m doling out the compliments. Well, not doling, I am being sincere after all.  I kicked things off this morning when a co-worker came into my office wearing the cutest brown boots. I know I have complimented them before, but I just had to gush about them again.  They’re that awesome.

Throughout the day, I’ve been extra mindful to notice nice things about people and, subsequently, acknowledge it. What they are wearing (“I just love those boots!”). If they did something nice (“You made a new pot of coffee? Thanks!You are so thoughtful!”).  Interestingly, I have been concentrating so hard at trying to notice all the good about people today, I have found myself being far less irritated. It really is hard to find someone utterly annoying when you are focusing on one of their more redeeming traits.

 

Today was my first day back in the office after a week of working from home. Our office is officially moved into our new building and, I must admit, it’s actually really nice! Like surprisingly nice.  Part of me feels like all of this good deed doing may finally be coming full circle. I feel like I’m putting so much positive energy out into the world, some of it is coming back (in the form of an office not the size of a shoebox and with a lovely park side view!).  On the other hand, perhaps my expectations were just very, very low. Either way, today was a good day.

In honor of the new office building, I decided to bring a little good karma to our new digs. As I was searching for the stairs this morning (oh, yes. My new fitness regimen will be walking up & down four flights of stairs every day. I made two roundtrips today. Do you know how many stairs that is? 240. In hell, oops typo!, heels.), I passed by a small room with some vending machines. First things first, I immediately made sure the vending machines stocked Diet Coke (they do!). Then, I cased out the rest of the goods. M & M cookies? Promising. Twix bars? Good to know. TGI Friday’s Cheddar Skin Chips? Hurry up, Fatass Friday!  

I refrained from any purchase today.  After all, I should probably be a bit kinder to my body if I’m going to be hoofing it up the stairs from now on.  I did, however, leave $.75 in the change slot of one of the vending machines for one fellow junk food lover to discover.  It’s a small thing, I know. I just hope someone like my dad finds the loose change. To him, a person who delights (and tallies) all of the pennies he finds on the street, finding a quarter is like winning the lottery. I can only imagine what would happen if he found three all together. 

Probably retire. 🙂

The new office building. Isn't it nice?!?