Most of us will not change the world on a grand scale, but we all make a difference in the world around us through our interactions with those we come in contact with on a daily basis. I hope that here you will find inspiration to make that difference one for the better. Kindness is contagious. Let's start an epidemic!


Thursday, September 4, 2014

New Beginnings

So, I haven't posted anything in months and there are several reasons the biggest being we moved from one state to another over the summer and I just got caught up with all that entailed and was just too distracted to write anything. Now we are settling in to our new home, new school for the kids, and new routine I am hoping to get back on the blogging horse.  However I don't think I am going to continue with this particular blog anymore.  I still believe in spreading kindness in small ways and hope I was able to inspire a few people while I was at it, but I found it difficult to find enough to talk about on a regular basis without being too sappy, or preachy.  So, I am starting a new blog about two topics that I know I could talk about unceasingly.  The first is books.  I could talk about books forever. But I don't want to be just one more "book lover's blog" so I'm also going to focus on a relatively new love, and that is birds and bird watching. Our new house has woods behind it and I have found myself spending literally, hours watching birds on my back porch. So I hope you'll stop by my new blog I Am No Bird

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Friday, April 18, 2014

On the Receiving End


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      Earlier this week I was feeling on the glum side. Chalk it up to a trip to DC and being faced with throngs of rude, oblivious, tourists (Yeah, I don't do well with crowds), listening to several horror stories about malicious behavior, and watching part of the most recent Hunger Games movies. I was convinced that everyone on the planet was completely self absorbed. This is not my normal state of mind. I am totally a glass half full kinda gal, and it bothered me. Thankfully the very next day, I was on the receiving end of several acts of kindness from random strangers, a free admission to the indoor playground, a fellow mom who gave my son her Frosty card at Wendy's when they were out of the boy kid's meal toys, and an awesome waitress who made my family's fine dining experience truly special. I like to believe that what happened was an answer to prayer. My prayer to restore my hope for the world. Whether it was or not, it did the trick. So for all of you doing acts of kindness who wonder if they make a difference I will tell you they do! If each small acts in some way can restore someone else's hope it's worth every bit.

Friday, April 11, 2014

More Street Art

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     Yesterday the kids and I were enjoying the beautiful weather outside and still feeling the urge to create some random art, we graffitied the neighbor's sidewalks with sidewalk chalk. I opted for quotes about peace, hope, and love. We only chose neighbor's whom I knew wouldn't mind. There are so many quotes that I love, but I found I couldn't remember too many of them at the time. If given some chalk and a sidewalk what inspirational would you share? Wouldn't it be fun to write them all over?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Random Acts of Art

     Last week my daughter and I installed this random act of art in our neighborhood park. She's been on a painting kick and I had been inspired by other random acts of art I had seen on Pinterest. Since I don't knit, yarn bombing wasn't an option. We used recycled items to make flowers and butterflies. We certainly had fun creating it and I hope that seeing it made someone else smile. That was the point after all. I've noticed it's starting to fall apart now so I will be taking it down soon. It was only meant to be temporary. Maybe if you are feeling glum due to all this rainy weather we've been having you'll be inspired to go create your own random act of art and make someone else's day. For more inspiration check out my kindness board on Pinterest. I've pinned several fun random acts of art. So go ahead. Get artsy and bring a smile to someone's face.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Kindness on the Road

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     Tonight I gave a friend a ride home and after I dropped her off and got back on the road the person behind me got very agitated. They were obviously in a hurry and even flashed their lights at me a couple times. It is easy to get caught up in a pattern of aggression. I often find myself calling another driver a name because they do something that aggravates me. Quite often my back seat drivers will call other drivers jerks, even when unwarranted, and I realize they are simply following my bad example. In order to help me remember to be a better model for my children I placed a sticker of Mother Teresa on my driver's side window. Each time I get behind the wheel I see it, and hopefully remember to treat those I meet on the road with kindness. Simply allowing another car to go first or giving up the right of way can cause a chain reaction and hopefully reverse the pattern of aggression so often found on the roadways.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Jumping on the Bandwagon...almost.

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     Anyone who has seen my minivan can tell you I like to be different. For those of you who haven't, it's painted with a mural of seafaring alligators on both sides. So it shouldn't be surprising that when the movie Frozen exploded onto the scene, instead of jumping onto the bandwagon, I stood staunchly against it. There were many, admittedly, self righteous reasons I took a dislike to a movie I had yet to see. Number one being that it was so drastically different from the Hans Christian Anderson original storyline as to be unrecognizable. I was quite proud of the fact that my four year old daughter had never even heard of Frozen even last week. That all changed the day it came out on DVD and her friend invited her over to watch it. She came home enamored. So I decided to rent it and see what all the hype was about. First off I will say that I am not a Disney fan. There are many reasons why not, and I will not get into them here. But there are still plenty of Disney items in our house, given to my children by loving friends and family and my daughter and I can both name every single Disney Princess. 
     So as I sat down to watch the movie with my daughter ensconced on my lap I was fully prepared to loath the movie. I wanted to hate it. But that's not what happened. It turns out Disney finally got something right. It didn't follow the original plot one iota. The sisters were unrealistically beautiful. But with all the things they got wrong, they got one major, unbelievable thing right. And here it is: True love means sacrificing yourself for another. That's it. It's probably the most important thing anyone can ever learn. So will I go out and buy the movie and the soundtrack? Probably not. But you may just catch me humming "Let it Go".

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Getting Crafty


     Last Sunday my Sunday school class and I made these sacrifice or good deed beads. The idea comes from St. Terese. You can use the beads to keep track of your good deeds or sacrifices through out the day. The kids really seemed to enjoy making them, though it is a project that will work best with older children. I teach 6th through 9th graders. I also recommend beads with large holes, as the cord needs to go through twice. I used peace, faith, and love charms instead of religious medals because that's what I was able to find, but it gave them a more contemporary look the kids liked. You can find the directions to make your own here.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


      I read a lot of middle grade novels. I think it is my favorite genre. There is an innocence to them that is lost in YA and adult books, yet the stories can be quite complex. One I read recently that has stuck with me is called Wonder by R.J. Palacio. It is a book about a fifth grade boy starting school for the first time. He has been home schooled his whole life due to a severe facial deformity. It is a story about bullying, but more over it is a story about kindness. There is a section at the end of the book where a school administrator is addressing the students and parents. In his speech he ushers a challenge for how he wants his middle schoolers to live.  He says:
     "If every single person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary-the world really would be a better place.  And if you do this, if you act just a little kinder than is necessary, someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognize in you, in every single one of you, the face of God."
What a wonderful thought.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lenten Goals

Today Christians around the world receive ashes on their foreheads to remind them of their humanity and to mark the first day of the Lenten Season.  It is a time of preparation and sacrifice but also of giving. There are three pillars of Lent. Fasting is only one of them. Prayer is another obvious one, but let us not forget almsgiving. Each of these helps us prepare for the coming of Easter. We often think about what we will give up or even how we will try to enhance our prayer life during Lent, but do we remember the poor, especially at this time? This year I challenge each of you to be sure to add almsgiving to your Lenten promises. May you all have a fruitful Lent.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

My Battle Cry

      There are a lot of selfish people out there. Sometimes I get fed up and frustrated by the "It's all about me." mentality that seems to be epidemic. It's easy to just get mad and discouraged. But rather than let it turn me into a cynic I've decided to fight back. How do you fight selfishness? With kindness and generosity. We've all heard that we should "Be the Change" we want to see in the world. And when we decide to spread love, instead of our own agenda it catches on. Acts of kindness spread like ripples in a pond. It may sound corny, but it's true. And the effects can be greater than you think, especially if you have children who learn to pattern their behavior after you. That's the reason I am writing this blog. It's one front in the battle against a self-centered society.

Photo credit:
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Getting Burned

     Okay, so I am straying from my positive focus today to go on a slight rant. Please forgive me. Yesterday I spent almost my entire day helping an elderly family member with what I thought was a potentially life threatening problem, only to find out at the end of the day that my kindness had been seriously taken advantage of, and the situation was quite different from what I had been led to believe. I will spare you all the grizzly details, but it has me thinking. What do you do when you feel like all your efforts are unappreciated or worse, wasted? Of course, a truly kind act does not spring from expectations of some form of reward or return. We are usually not even seeking acknowledgement, but to feel taken advantage of, that's another thing. I feel resentful of the time I put in that could definitely have been used to do the myriad other things that need my attention. For one thing, this mission took me away from my children for several hours. Time that I willingly put in, thinking it was sorely needed.
      Will I go to this much effort to help again? Probably. But I hope this is the last time I will play the fool.

Photo Credit:
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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

R.A.K. week

     Most of us living on the East coast have only been hearing about one thing this week, the looming snow storm. Everyone has been attempting to predict how many inches we're going to get hit with and wondering if we'll lose power. Valentine's day almost seems like an afterthought in comparison. But did you know that it's also Random Acts of Kindness Week? And what better timing? There are always people who could use a little kindness around St. Valentine's Day and I'm sure the impending storm will present plenty of opportunity to shovel an elderly neighbor's walk or clean off someone's car. Hopefully there won't be power outages, but if there are that's another chance to kindly offer to help someone. I remember when the other side of our street lost power for days one summer and there were extension cords traveling from one side of the street to the other, neighbor helping neighbor. I would never wish for a disaster but if we get slammed by Pax, a highly ironic name for a storm I might add, then why not view it as an occasion to spread a little kindness and offer a helping hand to those you see in need. If there is anything good about a catastrophe it's that it brings out the best in people. There are always stories of how someone rose to the occasion to come to another's aide. So be on the be on the look out. You may just make someone's day.

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Being Kind When You Don't Want to be.

     Today I am grateful. I am grateful to friends who decided to offer help even though they didn't want to. The help offered may have seemed minimal to those who gave it, but to me, their small act of kindness meant a great deal. We are at the very beginning stages of a big move and I am in desperate need of packing boxes so I can pack things up to place in storage. I put out a plea for boxes on Facebook and received several responses. But not what one would expect. Many of my local friends jokingly threatened anyone who willing to help us with the move. I realize my friends wanting us to stay is well meant and truly I am touched by how many people my family has had an impact on here. However, the friends who expressed distress at our leaving, yet still offered to help touched me more. Theirs was an offer of sacrifice. It said "I care more about your needs more than my own." And many times kindness does take sacrifice. So thank you to all my friends who offered to give me boxes and thank you to those who want us to stay. We're going to miss all of you.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

It Begins in the Home

You may have guessed by the above quote that I am inspired by Mother Teresa. I think it goes beyond that. I love her. In fact I almost went to India to work with her sisters after college, but I ended up getting married instead. That was a difficult decision for me to make. Not because I didn't want to get married, but because I had lofty ideas about life as a missionary that didn't fit in with my idea of what married life was going to be. Boy was I wrong, and Mother Teresa would be the first one to tell me to stay here and do what I'm doing. She was a firm believer that we need to be missionaries in our own homes and neighborhoods. She even said "What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family." This is much easier said than done. It is especially difficult to treat those we live with with kindness, sometimes even though they are the ones we love the most. I find it difficult more often than I would like to admit. It is way too easy to fall into a pattern of brusqueness with those you know will forgive you. But what begins in the home travels out into the world. If we receive harsh words in the morning we are more likely to be cross and short with those we meet throughout the day. And from whom do our children first learn to be kind if not from us? I fail at this frequently. I need to remind myself of it on a daily basis. It does not get easier with time either. If anything it gets harder. But I try to remember the words of Mother Teresa and ask for help from the one who inspired her. That's all any of us can do.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Inspiration and Endorphins

     In my last post I told you I'm a runner. The truth is I'm fairly new to running and am extremely slow, which is probably why people feel the need to cheer me on. I've been running, at a very slow pace, since last March. This is currently the longest I have ever stuck with any form of exercise. I think the reason has a lot to do with the running community. I have never experienced anything like it. The support, encouragement, and positive feeling amongst runners blows my mind. My husband, a swimmer, tells me the swimming community is much the same, and I imagine other groups are as well. I began with a couch to 5K program and was very much on the couch at the start. A neighbor who saw me on the go invited me to join a local Facebook group called The Moms Run This Town. A more inspiring group of women I have yet to meet. Many of the group are experienced runners with myriad races under their belt but there is no feeling of superiority, simply support and kudos given to each members accomplishments on the road, no matter how small they may seem. It is no wonder to me why running and races have become so popular. There is so much goodwill at the events I've been to you can see how people get hooked. And the good feeling doesn't just help other runners. Most races support various charities putting all those endorphins to further good use. I'll admit part of my enjoyment of the sport comes from being able to get out of my house for a short while a few times a week, but I think the real reason I've stuck with it so long is the support and inspiration I've found in the running community, especially through the Moms Run This Town. I hope I am able to inspire others the way they have inspired me. It's just one more way we can each make a difference.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Little Encouragement Goes a Long Way

     Last week I talked about how something as simple as a smile can work wonders. It can brighten some one's day and be quite contagious. A few weeks ago I was out for a run and I tried to make it a point to smile at every person I met.  It ended up being the best run ever. I wasn't fast and I didn't go far but I came back on an amazing high that wasn't just from running. Not only did I get plenty of smiles back but also encouragement for trying to get in shape. It may be one of my favorite things about running. The cheering and support I get from people on the road. Sometimes it's friends and neighbors but just as often I get "Good for you's" from random strangers and I have to admit it feels wonderful. In fact, that day I got so much encouragement on the road I ended up running almost an additional half mile more than I had planned. So what if we all tried to encourage other people who we saw doing a good job? You may not be comfortable saying it to a complete stranger but we all know a friend or family member who could benefit from hearing what a great job you think they are doing. Sometimes it's just what we need to keep going.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

All it Takes is a Smile

     Let's begin by thinking small.  When we think about making the world a better place we can become overwhelmed at the sheer magnitude of what lies before us, but do not be discouraged.  The smallest display of kindness can do more than we could ever imagine.  It may not brighten an entire day, but it will surely brighten the moment.  The simple act of smiling at another person can do wonders, not just for the person receiving the gesture but for you as well.  A smile can sometimes seem difficult to manage but I have found that a forced smile will often become genuine when one is received in return.  My favorite smiles are the unexpected ones though.  When you smile at someone who you are fairly certain will not smile back, but then they blow you away with the most beautiful smile, as if they were just waiting for someone to share with.  A smile will probably not move any mountains but it could be the beginning of something extraordinary.

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