The other day, I went out into my back yard and there, going up the step in the mix of some boring weeds, I saw the most brilliantly colored flower. Nothing has ever grown there before and I wondered what it was doing there now! It was so simple and beautiful and thought surely is was sent to grow there to give me a message.
So, I wondered what kind of message it could be? Let me give you some back-story... I feel closest to God when I am out amongst nature. I feel He is near me and I am more open to hearing his messages. The breeze suddenly feels like a caress. The birds sound like a choir. The colors seem so intense that I feel like I disappear. I don't feel this way every time I go outside, but I know that if I am troubled, that's where I meet Him. And he will comfort me. He will ease my pain. He will scold me. He will give me direction. Not that He whispers to me or anything... I've asked repeatedly for Him to send me a text message, but He must not like that option for me... Any-hoo.... So I feel this random flower was "sent" to tell me something.
Maybe, to look for the rose among the thorns? That would be the obvious choice. And sometimes I do need to be reminded of that. I can get pretty crabby some days and only see things that just irritate the tar out of me and only witness the annoying things about people, but sometimes, hidden underneath the perceived "annoying" there is something truly beautiful there just waiting to be noticed. It was there all along. I just needed an attitude adjustment to see it.
Or maybe, it was stop and smell the roses? Again with the roses? The point being that sometimes I get so busy and forget to notice the small things that make me happy. The little things that remind me why I work so hard. A sunset. The smile from one of my kids or grandkids. An ice-cream sandwich. I am pretty busy... I do work a lot and forget to watch the sun set...
How about, God has it under control? He took the time to create this beautiful, perfectly made flower and bring it to my attention. He's got the whole world in His hands. My troubles are nothing compared to his power and compassion. No problem is too big or too small to take to Him.
But no... none (or all) of those. Because as I was working all day, the next chance I got to go outside and check on my pretty little surprise, it was gone. Orange petals had fallen to the concrete and the center hung low. My conclusion was that the lesson must be: Nothing is promised. You don't know how long you have to appreciate the things and the people around you. Your world could change in an instant.
Yes, that must be it. The flower was here, and when I thought I could appreciate it another day, it was gone. So I pass this lesson on to you. Love those around you. Never let them doubt for one minute that they are important to you. Stop and smell the roses. Enjoy the sunsets. Kiss the babies. Take nothing for granted. The very breath you breathe is not promised. Make sure you use every one as if it was your last. Let no words of ill-will be said to those you love. Always be the best person you can be from one minute to the next. Life is short. Too short.
Forgive. Be thankful. Be kind. Show love. You don't know what you've got till it's gone. Don't live a life of regret. Live every day to the fullest. And even if your day consists of having to go to work, or another day of boring mundane activities, do your best to find the joy in every day. There's a reason you are, where you are doing what you're doing. So when you go to bed at night, before you drift off to sleep, take a moment to be thankful for all the good things in your life. :)
The 30 Kindness Challenge is officially under way as of the 15th of June! And while your verbal support is greatly appreciated, what we need now is action!! Some people may think that this is a silly endeavor and can't really understand why I would want to do something like this. What can one person do, kind of thing... So, this blog is to get you to see things with a new perspective.
Today, as you are out and about, just take a moment to take notice of how people treat one another. Look for kindness, and you will see it. Look for anger, and you will find it. It is the goal of the 30 Day Kindness Challenge to be able to see kindness every time you turn around. It's my hope that it can replace a lot of the anger. I know that it can't replace all of it, because we all have angry days, but if we made a conscious effort to make a difference, what kind of world could it be?
So what do you see when you take a moment to get outside of yourself and see others? Notice how kindness can change an interaction. See how kindness can alter attitudes. Notice how kindness can bring a smile to a face no matter how young or old. When kindness becomes a part of our daily routine, we won't need to stop and think about it.
So do me a favor, while you are on your way to work, or the store, or out in a public place, take a look at those around you. Try and guess which ones are participating in the 30 Day Challenge! Look for ways you can show kindness and tell us all about it.
Be the kindness you hope to see in others...
Join Us for the 30 Day Kindness Challenge
Put A Little Love In Your Heart- And Share It
30 Day Kindness Challenge- An Invitation
A Change of Attitude
As a society we have fallen into the pattern of "if he is nice to me, I'll be nice to him". We need to change that attitude. What if the other person is thinking the exact same thing? You could have passed up a new friend, a possible sale, a potential relationship or just that warm fuzzy feeling of sharing smiles.
What would happen if you decided to be nice first? What if you smiled at everyone you came across? How do you think you would be perceived? And do you think this would help or hinder your first impressions?
We only have a short time on this earth and personally, I'd like to be remembered as a kind, caring and loving person. When my name or image comes up in conversation or perhaps on a web search, it is my hope that the way I lived my life will have people thinking fondly of me. And in order to achieve this, I try to be kind every day, to everyone I meet. Most days, I think I am successful. I'll be the first to admit that I have my "off- days" where I would rather not have to speak to anyone... but luckily those days are few and far between. Lol. (I bet you have felt the same!)
Loving behaviors and just being kind should be an automatic thing regardless of how you are treated, or who says "hello" first. The meaning of kindness is seeing the value of every person we meet. Sure, sometimes we have to look a little deeper, but it's there. We just have to take the time to see it. And I promise you, more times than not, you'll see it the moment you show kindness. And even with those tough ones that you can't seem to get to crack a smile, I'd be willing to bet that they'll think about your kindness again at some point in the day. Sure, they might think you're crazy, but... you may have been the only person to love on them in who knows how long.
Sometimes we don't get to see the impact of the kindness we bestow on others, but it is never wasted.
I had a man come up to me one afternoon in a grocery store. I unfortunately had no recollection of who he was but he told me that I had taught his daughter in my Broadway camp one summer. He said that she had the best time and felt so welcomed that she still talks about it to this day. (It was well over five years ago!) She was considered a "social outcast" and had no friends so even signing up for the camp was a huge step for her. After jogging my memory, I knew who is daughter was. She started out very shy and and tried to stay off to the side, but she was welcomed in and she was part of the family in no time! At the time, I had no idea of the impact she took with her, I was just "doin my thing", but how happy it made my heart to hear about it several years later.
But think of what your acts of kindness could mean to strangers. We have no idea what other people are going through in their lives, but we are all going through something. What if your simple smile meant the world to someone else? What if you purchased the coffee for the person that was just having the WORST morning? What if you gave a compliment to someone who was absolutely filled with self-doubt that day?
Starting today, be the one who smiles first. Take the initiative, be the ambassador for kindness. Let's go for that change of attitude. Bring kindness to others, don't wait
It's true. I don't know what came over me, or why I decided to stop for THIS particular transient, but I did. He was just sitting on the side of the on-ramp holding a sigh saying I-70 West. I pulled over and sat while he opened the back door. And for someone without a home, he was not lacking in supplies! He launched a backpack in that was at least the same size he was and then his black lab pup bounded her way into the back seat. He went back to his spot and grabbed another bag and an energy drink.
He stuck his hand out and said, "Hi. My name's Travis. Thanks."
And thus was my introduction to the hitch-hiking world!
I was only able to take him a few dozen miles, but he seemed grateful to save his sneakers a few steps. He was bright and energetic and yes, he needed a bath in a bad way. Nothing that a little fresh air couldn't fix.
He told me how he has traveled from California to New York all through the generosity of people he's met along the way. He told me stories of the beautiful countryside and pleasant people. He explained places that he finds shelter and how he still keeps in contact with his family along the way. Sometimes he'll travel alone. Sometimes he travels with people who happen to be heading his way. Friends come and go and new ones replace the old. He is currently heading back "home" to California to spend time with family.
I'm sure you're thinking, what has happened to this poor man that has left him homeless? Nothing. It was a choice. His friend asked if he'd like to go along on this grand adventure, and apparently nothing else was going on in his life that was important enough to stay for. So, he packed his things, grabbed his dog and off they went.
And it's not that he "can't" do anything else, either. He has proudly served his country in the military, he has formal education in business and sales marketing and is a Jack-of-all-trades as well.
I can't help but admire his no-fear attitude. I am jealous of the up-close and personal relationship that he has found with this beautiful, amazing country. And while I am not ready to give up all the cushy comforts of home, you all know how much I love to travel, (and talk about a different perspective!!), I am happy that I was able to join him on an itty-bitty potion of living out his dreams. Our trip was over too soon and if I could have, I would have been happy to take him even further.
I dropped him off at the McDonalds so he could use their wi-fi and unfortunately, I had no money to give him, so I gave him my intended dinner and sent him and his pup on their way.
Not once was a afraid for my life. Not once did he behave inappropriately. And I enjoyed our conversation immensely. If I had more time, I would have been happy to take him further down the highway. In just our short acquaintance I have learned to look at the side of the highways in a different light, and to not judge another's idea of what "living a dream" should be.
I got so much response from my Put A Little Love In Your Heart & Share It blog, that I've decided to put some things into action! Thank you for your feed back (and compliments on the picture, lol, that was very kind of you!) but for a minute there, I thought I was the only one who felt this way or saw the lack of human connection!
I've decided to create a 30 Day Kindness Challenge and I'm inviting you to participate with me!
- We all need to feel loved and valued but sometimes it takes giving love to receive it. So this is a great opportunity to give love to others and feel the benefit of just... giving.
- It feels good.
- In our high-tech world, it has become apparent that we are slipping further and further away from our relationships with other humans. The challenge takes us away from the computer and cell phones, and puts us in play with others.
- If the response is anything like what I'm thinking, this could become a worldwide event! How awesome would it be to say you were a part of a Love Challenge that went WORLDWIDE!! I've already gotten commitments from FOUR other countries!!
- Love is contagious. Maybe it takes YOU to start the trend and it will take off from there...
But why now? Sure, it makes sense to start on the first day of the new month, but I got so excited from the response that one thing just led to another... and you know, bam, a challenge was created! I just felt the need to get started right away while the iron was hot.
So- the 30 Day Kindness Challenge will begin
June 15th through July 14th.
They say that a new habit can take hold by repeating the action for at least two weeks. BUT, it is 80% MORE likely to stick if it is practiced for thirty days! It is also proven that kindness isn't necessarily a trait that we are born with, but it IS an action that can be learned if taught and practiced. It's true, apparently, there are those out there in the world that don't know how to give or receive kindness. SO- I'm hoping to change the world for the next thirty days, and I'd like for you to come along!
I know that there are tons of excuses running through your head right now as to why you can't (or won't) participate... "I'm really busy right now." "I don't like to talk to people." "I don't have any money." I'd really like to impress on you that it's ONLY 30 days and that it won't take up too much of your time. You control how much time you devote to it!!
- It's COMPLETELY FREE to participate
- There's NO signing up (or sneaky marketing ploys)
- There's NO cost (unless you choose)
- It's be FUN!!! And I promise you, it WILL be rewarding.
All you have to do is commit to 30 days of simple acts of kindness and agree to share your results with the rest of us! Tell us what you did and what the reaction was (if you were able to see one!) If you are uncomfortable telling us the specifics (Matthew 6:1) then just share "I did an act of kindness today and the reaction was ______________" That way we can still share in your joy!
Invite others to participate! (Hebrews 10:24) Let it be contagious! I am anxious to see how many we can get to join with us and how far across the globe we can reach!
I'll be right there with you and I'll be encouraging you on this blog as well.
AND~ to keep you inspired and motivated, I've got some prizes to give away at the end of our 30 days!
So without further adieu, let's begin the 30 Day Kindness Challenge!!
If you want to join- leave a comment below this blog or follow me on Facebook and leave your commitment statement there! Let the world know (and me!) that you are stepping up to meet the 30 Day Kindness Challenge!!
Spread the word!! It's always more fun doing stuff with friends! And think of all the new things you could think of when you have someone else plotting with you!
Get Out There and Do Your Thing! Show some love! Spread a little kindness! Need some ideas to get you started? Check this blog (the one that got this whole thing started!) for a few ideas! Need more ideas? Follow me on Facebook and read the comments that others are leaving! This is one time I give you permission to steal ideas and put them to your use!! Lol!
Remember, it doesn't begin until June 15th so that gives you a few days to think of some ideas and maybe set back a few dollars if you're planning to do some monetary kindness. There are SO many opportunities to show kindness! I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!
Share your progress with the rest of us! Follow me on Facebook and add your results along with others! Read what everyone else is doing and pass it along! Be sure to tell everyone that you're participating in the 30 Day Kindness Challenge and maybe they want to do it too!!
I can't wait to see where this leads!! It's going to be SO awesome!! Please share the posts you see on Facebook so we can determine how far and wide we can really get this thing to go!! Can't wait to read your name below!!
And let me be the first to offer these words of kindness. You are valued and loved and by participating in the 30 Day Kindness Challenge, you will be helping others feel loved too. Thank you so much for joining with me!!
Let's go make a difference!!
The subject for today: Kindness. Does anyone even know what that means anymore? Is it such a difficult thing to do?
I was people watching the other day, (something I LOVE to do... usually) and I have to say that it was a sad turn of events. It seemed like every single person was having a bad day. I was outside sitting on a bench watching people of all age groups, shapes, sizes and colors, meander about. It was a beautiful day, not too hot, not too cold and the sun was shining. That's enough right there for me to be grinning like an idiot at everyone that passes... hmm, maybe I was. That's why I wasn't getting responses!
I digress. As I am watching the folks I couldn't help but notice the extreme LACK of kindness. Just in general. The workers at the food truck did not smile at their customers. The parents were short with their children. Passersby lacked common manners when accidentally bumping into one another. Family units separated by technology and passing up this amazing time to interact. No one held open the door for ANYONE! How have we come so far from common decency toward our fellow man? Are we all so busy that we can't stop for a moment and recognize the person standing next to us, sitting across from us, or smile back at me!!!
What is kindness? Maybe we have skipped a generation where that was taught? Is kindness a characteristic or is it something that can be learned? Are we born to naturally be kind and then lose it along the way as we shift our thinking to the "me first" mentality? Or is it something that we don't even notice until it is brought to our attention?
Well... here I am. Bringing it to your attention.
Kindness means seeing the value in every person we meet. Every person. Some might take a little bit of searching, but there is value there. And not just seeing the value, but acting on it.
We as humans were made for relationships. We were born to be integrated into tribes. We need each other to survive. Yes, yes, I know, there's an exception to every rule, but for the most part, we need to be loved and appreciated by others. Kindness is just a form of that love. A smile, a nod, a kind gesture... all ways of expressing that a person is valued. It's that simple people.
"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."
What are you doing to show kindness to others? It doesn't take a whole production, it could be something simple as:
- letting someone with fewer items go ahead of you in the grocery line
- buy the person's coffee behind you in the drive-thru lane
- opening the door for someone
- letting another driver over during traffic
- smiling at the teller at the bank
- adding coins to the charity bucket of your choice
- putting down your cell phone when a loved one comes in the room to talk to you
- watching what your kids want to watch instead of your choice
- slipping a note into your husband's lunch.
- complimenting a stranger
- leaving a gift for someone anonymously
- offering to do a chore around the house
- helping out a co-worker or classmate with an assignment
- offering a smile...
What kind things have you done today? How are you making those around you feel loved and valued? What kinds of things can you add to your weekly routine to increase the acts of kindness? And most importantly, how does it make you feel when you see the results of you tiny acts of love?
Let's make a difference in the world. Let's take care of our tribe. Let's learn (again) how to love and value one another with every kind of kindness!
Go ahead, think about it... You know you have one. The super powers I'm referring to today have nothing to do with melting walls with laser vision or soaring through the skies or even lifting automobiles and using them as batting practice... although, if you can do any of those things, that's pretty cool!
Dig a little deeper. What is your go-to move? Do you have the power to put others at ease in a tense situation? Are you the "glue" of the family or a circle of friends? Can you make people laugh and forget their troubles for even just a little while? Do you have the power of medicine? The power of negotiation? Does your super power require a paint brush, hammer or chisel? Does your super power come to life when you lift the hood of a vehicle, smile at a child, or sit around the board room table?
I know what you're thinking. "That's not a super power, it's just what I do."
I beg to differ. Any one can have a job, or skill, or talent, or characteristic, but it becomes a super power when it becomes such a part of you that you do things without thinking. Sometimes to reach this point, it requires hours and hours of practice, study or research. Other times it's just a part of who you are and how you react toward others and is a benefit to you or the rest of the world. Or... you might have been bitten by a toxic bug or been part of a scientific experiment gone wrong... there's that option too...
And not every talent can be classified as a super power. I CAN draw. I CAN sing. I CAN play instruments... but none of these are my super power.
I woke up thinking about it this morning. There are people in my life that I just have to stand back in awe when their super power is in action. It's amazing seeing people shine and the amount of self-confidence that comes off them is a beautiful sight to behold. At that moment, I am so proud to be a part of their circle. And watching someone figure out their super power? That's another "wow" moment. I love watching people, (usually kids) realize that one "thing" that sets them a part from everyone else.
And just for fun, let's take this one step further. Think about your super power... what other minor powers go along with it? (Example, if singing is your super power, can you also dance? write music? harmonize? sing in other languages? teach others to sing?)
How do you use your super power to benefit others? (with the singing example: Do you: give concerts? Sing for those in nursing homes or hospitals? write for new up and coming talent? teach your skills to others?)
How does your super power make you happy? (you make others smile? You earn an income? It never gets boring? It makes you smile?)
What is your Kryptonite? (smoking. alcohol. screaming. cold air.)
Who might you have in your circle? (other singers? a new style of singer? Super heroes who play instruments? Agent? Trainer?)
And who would your nemesis be? (Smokers, Another singer? Unsupportive boss?)
Now do you know what yours is? If you can't think of what it might be, ask someone close to you. I'm sure they can tell you! So I want you to take this one quick moment and acknowledge your super power- put on the cape or the tights, whatever you have to do- but take a moment to see yourself as a super hero; doing your part to keep the world running smoothly.
Share your super hero work-up with the rest of us below! Have fun with it!! Don't be shy... You are amazing and you should share your gifts with the world!
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