12/2/15

Random Acts of Kindness (RAK)

Update...so, what did I learn from my 23 days of Acts of Kindness?...I realized that being kind is easy and some days I had to create opportunities. Most people responded positively and some people seemed to be surprised that someone was being nice to them. I would like to keep it going in 2016 and expand it into a project/commitment. No ideas yet, but I would like to tie it into my "word" for the year. Stay tuned...

I love the stories posted on Facebook from the book, Humans of New York Stories. They captivate me and leave me wanting more. I saw a posting from Coffee Cups and Crayons on "Kindness is the Best Way to Countdown to Christmas" with a challenge to practice kindness every day during the month of December. Megan Sheakoski is so serious about this activity that she has posted a sample calendar of suggested activities and a blank calendar to post your own acts of kindness.  This idea resonated with me so I challenged my FB friends to do at least one Random Act of Kindness each day and to post their good deed to inspire the rest of us. I am fully committed to be kinder and reach out to others during the days leading up to Christmas. Last week when I was standing in line with an overflowing grocery cart at Giant, I motioned for the gentleman behind me with two or three items to go ahead of me. He was very wary, but appreciative. It bothers me when people respond suspiciously to kindness as if it is an aberration to them. I encountered this phenomenon when I worked in a high school, students wanted to know why if I offered to make up their monetary shortfall in the cafeteria line. I even had a student refuse and give up the food before she would allow me to pay. (Yes, she had issues, but it bothers me years later.)

So in an effort to spread some holiday cheer...I am going to list what my Random Acts of Kindness are each day and if there is any reactions to my kindness. 


So in an effort to spread some holiday cheer...I am going to list what my Random Acts of Kindness are each day and if there is any reactions to my kindness. 

I soon realized that I needed some guidelines so this activity does not consume my time and thoughts. I started a list of possibilities so if I can't find opportunities, I can create some. 
Here are my

Guidelines:


1. The RAK must be a new activity; something I wouldn't usually do in the course of my day. Except the grocery store, I always try to be kind there because everyone always seems so stressed.


2. The activity should be outside my comfort zone. Yes, I am that person who doesn't make eye contact and looks the other way when confronted with people holding signs. I read a life changing commentary (I wish I could find the article, I did find this one) about giving or not giving is not the issue, but do make eye contact and treat the person with respect and kindness.

3. The RAK should not always involve money.


4. I will document each RAK on FB and here on my Blog. This is a tad self-centered and way out of my comfort zone. There is so much violence and hatred in the news and reporting on social media, that I need the "good" and hope that others will accept the challenge and share too.

DECEMBER


23. Shae and I went to see "Alvin and the Chipmunks" (that alone should qualify) the woman who sat next to us had a 4yr old and she fretted that her little girl would be loud and disruptive to us. I reassured her that it would be fine and not to move. The little girl was a delight and danced to the music. It was so much fun!

22. I picked up all of the Disney Princess cups that a woman knocked over in the Dollar Store, then we both laughed when she knocked them over again. God must have decided I needed to do some bending exercises. I was first in line at the checkout and let the next 4 people behind me go ahead of me. Everyone was in good spirits ad wished each other a Merry Christmas.

21. I wrote two thank you emails to publishers thanking them for the advanced reader copies I receive  and the clever ways the books are promoted Now I just have to read the books and write the reviews!

20. Wrote an email to thank an author for the many hours of enjoyment that she provides for her readers. She also sends me advanced copies of her books to review, which have never disappointed. Blessings...

19. Visiting a dear friend puts life in perspective...miss her every day, Maria Fiore McNamee.



18. My Random Act of Kindness is to myself today. I went out to breakfast with friends. I spent the rest of the day wrapping, sorting and just enjoying my alone time. Life happens and sometimes quiet is good!

17. Shae mentioned her class doesn't have any more glue pens and her teacher really likes them. I think I have her covered...placed quarters on and around the candy/gum machines at the mall.



16. I held the door at Panera, let someone go ahead of me in line at Macy's, forwarded an email to my quilting peeps about a fabric sale.

15. I gave away many candy canes... to the Security Guard at Macy's who opened the door for me, to the young man collecting money for toys for kids (yep, gave him some money too), hung them on car door handles and to the sweet lady emptying the mail from the mailbox at the Post Office. She patiently waited for me to pull up and hand her my mail. 



14. A thank you note to a special someone, plus I get to use this cool stationary. 


13. RACK throughout the day...super kind and patient when the cashier could not figure out how to do a return. Shae and I decided to pray for the same person at bedtime to do well on his finals this week.

12. I had an extra 20% off coupon that expired tomorrow at Target, so when shopping I found a woman who had an overflowing cart and three children and gave her the coupon in honor of Alicia. The woman couldn't believe it and was most grateful!

11. Candy canes on cars in the parking lot! (card template from the Countdown to Christmas ) 




10. Delivered food to the Lord's Pantry in Downingtown.

9. Contributed to the Calico Cutters Quilt Guild's collection for the Domestic Violence Center.



8. A friend has asked for cards for her wife. The Birthday gal is a warm-hearted behind the scenes kind of person who makes a new friend in every person she meets. She has an infectious smile and gives great hugs!

7. Food for the Food Bank...Yes, I know the Capt'n Crunch's Christmas Crunch isn't very nutritious, but I believe that it will make a child very happy! There is another bag of "real" food.





6. I started decorating the tree and unpacking the Christmas decorations and was reminded once again how fleeting life is and how grateful I am to all of the people who have contributed to my Christmas memories. I wrote a note on Facebook with a picture of a Santa that Donna Griswold made many years ago and thanked her. She wrote back that she had forgotten that she made those, I love seeing it every Christmas. There was a decoration from Karen Mapes and Maria McNamee, both gone, but not forgotten.

5. I went to Bath and Body Works, crazy busy place, candles were on sale. Within a few minutes I decided there wasn't anything I needed badly enough to stand in that line. I exited the store and held the door for the woman behind me and then decided to stay at the door and hold it for people entering and exiting. I stood there for a few minutes and said "Happy Holiday!" to everyone. It was great fun...I may have a future as a Greeter.

4. Delivered a poinsettia to a friend at work. She cried, I cried. She's the type of person who never asks for anything for herself; she coordinates our sewing mtgs., makes us goodies for our Shop Hops, forwards cute items for us to make and cheers us all on! It must have been kismet because she had been having a really bad time and I made her day which made me happy too!








3. Donating Clothes to Amvets. 






2. I was driving on a busy highway this morning where three lanes are trying to merge into two lanes and construction was also occurring on the right. I noticed a car coming very fast on the right side of me with the driver on his cell phone and I had to decide...let him in or stay the course. I decided to slow down and let him in. It really annoys me when people try to get ahead of the traffic and then merge in, so I probably wasn't as kind as I should be when I was calling him names silently. (very loud sigh) This is not going to be as easy as I thought, not exactly sunshine and roses!

1. Donated to One Brick Philly I donated in memory of my Uncle Jim, James Patrick McCabe. He was one of the kindest people I know. My daughter volunteers her time with this organization, so it seemed a good fit for the first day.

#RandomActofKindness




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