Thursday, May 14, 2015

Be Kind!

Here's my assignment for you today -- 
Do one random act of kindness!
Here is an excerpt from my book, Living La Vida Lymphoma 
that may provide you with some ideas...some of which do not
cost a thing! You can do this!
Doing something good for others helps to 
lift your Spirit as well as theirs!

Spread the Love
“Thousands of candles can be lit from one single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.  Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
     This quote comes down to one basic truth - the purpose in life is to share this journey and to spread your joy and your light with others.
     Our current financial times are filled with high unemployment rates, sky-rocketing medical costs, a housing crisis, the pressures of the up-coming holidays swirling all around us, making it hard for people to see a light at the end of the tunnel while we are dealing with medical issues on top of everything else.
     I am the eternal optimist. I have pissed off some of my friends and family members over the years. I try to turn my thinking from one of lack to one of abundance. Last year, I went through a period of worrying about my financial future as a single woman for the first time in my life. I realized that my angst was counter-productive to what I wanted to achieve financially. When I had to re-order checks from my bank, I chose a smiley face as my logo. Now, whenever I sit down to pay my bills, I take a moment to bless each check. In the memo section, I write, “Have a Good Month!” I even make googly eyes in the letter O’s. Then I draw a smiling mouth underneath. It may sound hokey, but it makes me smile. Rather than worry that I may not have enough money until the next paycheck, I release my money with the undying faith that there will be enough. And there always is.
     Another practice that I do from time to time is to perform random acts of kindness. Not only does it give you the opportunity to help others, it is an act that reverberates through your soul and spreads out far beyond the person’s life that you have touched.
     My assignment for you is to make it your mission to spread a little love and cheer by doing a random act of kindness or two. The glorious thing is, you do not have to spend any money if you choose not to. I encourage you to get creative with this assignment, and to please report back to me by posting your experiences on my blog or send me an email.
Here are some of the ways that I have contributed random acts of kindness:
     Use the drive-thru window of an eating establishment, pull up to the window and tell the cashier that you would like to pay for the car behind you. Instruct them to tell that person that their meal has already been paid for by someone who thought they were special, and, if they want, they could also pay it forward to someone during the day. Believe me, the first time I attempted this, it was like a comedy of errors. The gentleman at the Dunkin’ Donuts window looked at me as if I were crazy and said, “You want me to do what?” This concept takes a while for others to catch on to at times so I explained, “Please tell the gentleman in the car behind me, that his breakfast is on me, that he is special, and to have a nice day!“ After trying to explain the theory behind it, he finally had his light bulb moment and got it. Whether he managed to squeak out the pay-it-forward part to the poor guy who had been waiting patiently for his latte` and doughnut is unbeknownst to me, but it did brighten my day.
     Go through your closet and box up any old clothing, shoes, business suits, purses and accessories that you no longer need and donate them to a local shelter for abused women who may need nice clothing to go for job interviews. I also donate old issues of women’s magazines such as Oprah, MORE, and inspirational books that I have read.
     The next time you do your grocery shopping, as you wheel your cart back into the store, make sure no one is looking and then toss some money into the cart. It doesn’t have to be much. As you leave the store, envision the look of surprise on someone’s face when they find it. Who knows? The recipient could be a single mom who had been deciding if she could pay her electric bill, let alone put food on the table. It may be a senior who can’t afford their prescriptions. Think of the unexpected joy you have felt in the past when you found money.
     Make a donation to your local animal shelters. Newspapers, pet dishes, toys, blankets, and food. If you are crafty, why not make some bandanas out of holiday fabric so that the shelter staff can dress up the animals in time for holiday adoptions?
     Have your children get in on the action. Each December, have them go through their toys and clothes and pack up boxes to take to a charity thrift store or a shelter for abused children. It will teach them the importance of donating things that no longer serve their purpose, yet will help others who are less fortunate.
     Buy a loaf of bread, some peanut butter and jelly. Make as many sandwiches as you can. Wrap them up and then hand them out to the homeless. You will help to feed them body and soul. Are you worried about being alone for the holidays? Why not volunteer your services at a church soup kitchen or homeless shelter? Your feelings of loneliness will quickly disappear.
     Set a small vase of hand-picked flowers on a co-worker’s desk that may be experiencing some rough times.
     Purchase bulk snack items from a wholesale club store and donate them to a charitable after-school program.
     Clean out your pantry and donate the food to a church or food bank.
     Give a surprise gift to your child’s teacher.
     Sneak an afternoon treat on a co-worker’s desk to tide them over until 5p.m. - a candy bar, piece of fruit, microwave popcorn, granola bar, herbal tea are some ideas.
     If you can afford it, why not adopt a family for the holidays? Provide gifts and food to help make their day extra special. If you can’t afford to lay out the extra cash, try to think of other ways to help out. 
     I taught pre-K for many years in the public school system. I loved the holiday season with my kids. One morning, I was working with a group of children who were writing in their journals. A little boy drew a picture. He glanced at it pensively and then passed it across the table to me. He had doodled a squiggly line across the page with little colorful balls attached to it. I asked him to tell me what he wanted me to write. He was a precocious child, wise beyond his years. He said, “We are not going to have Christmas this year. My daddy lost his job and Santa won’t be coming to our house. My mommy hung Christmas lights on the wall and that’s all we have.” Here was this four year old, who should be all excited about the things we take for granted during the holidays, and he had nothing. It broke my heart, but it put a spark in me and I set out on a mission.
     That afternoon, I made a call to one of the nation’s largest discount retail chains to see if they would be willing to make a donation.  I was told that I’d have to submit a letter in writing to the corporate office, and it could take two to three weeks to get a reply. Christmas was only two weeks away so I kindly thanked them and proceeded to call my favorite retail chain. I presented my case. Without hesitation, the store manager told me that I could pick up their donation the following afternoon. At this point, I had no idea what the donation would be since he told me was going to meet with his sales team.  Once I put the ball in motion, everything began to manifest beyond my expectations. I called the boy’s mother to see if I could drop by for a home visit the next day while the children were having naptime at school and she agreed. I didn’t tell her the real reason for my visit.
     As scheduled, I arrived at the store and was warmly greeted by the store manager as well as several sales associates. They donated a six-foot pre-lit Christmas tree that had been a display model, complete with decorations, ornaments and lights. I was overwhelmed, and so were they for knowing that their generosity was going to have such a huge impact on this family in need. One of the associates helped me load everything into my station wagon.
     When I arrived at the apartment, I knocked on the door and was led inside to a clean, but sparsely decorated home. There, tacked to the living room wall, were the Christmas lights that her son’s illustration had depicted. I told her about his journal entry and her eyes filled with tears. I hugged her and told her that I had a something for them in the car. She stood in the open doorway as I managed to pull out the tree and bring it inside. We set it up, decorated it and I made her promise not to tell her son where it came from. I wanted him to be surprised when he came home from school that day.
     The next morning, he came running into the classroom yelling, “Miss Jodi! You are never going to believe this! Santa came to my house yesterday and gave me the most beautiful Christmas tree in the whole wide world!” He wrapped his arms around me and hugged me tight. I glanced over to see his mother winking at me as she was leaving. The moral of the story? Use the community resources you may have out there to help you reach your goals. You won’t regret the outcome. Paying it forward means a lot to me. Now you have some simple ideas to get you started. Go forth and spread your light
Affirmation:  I experience the law of good in every area of my life.  As I give, so do I receive.  

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