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Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's Back! Operation Beautiful

I am actually sitting right outside of Panera having a writer's high. I come here a few times a week to write and today, I am ecstatic because I just completed my first "Act of Kindness" in Atlanta.

A few days ago, Skirt Magazine brought to my attention a wonderful outreach program that is changing the way women, men and children view their bodies. "Operation Beautiful" was started by a young woman named Caitlin from Charlotte, N.C. who wanted to shift the negative views people have of themselves.

The mission of "Operation Beautiful" was to change these self views by leaving positive annonymous notes all around for people to find in the hopes that they feel better about themselves. It's a post-it note revolution!

So, for my "Act of Kindness," I chose to play a role myself. I made some post-it notes with positive expressions like "You Rock" and "You look beautiful today." From there I walked into Panera, went to the bathroom and stuck them all over the mirror! I was sure to be fast and sneaky so that it would be a big surprise to everyone else. I next ordered a Caramel Latte and snuck to a spot outside in plain view of the bathroom to watch the expressions of the people who came out. The best part is that I have seen atleast five smiles.

So, here I am writing about this act of kindness while still watching it have an effect. This is great fun.

So, All you have to do is take five minutes out of your day to make some notes and then just carry them with you until you find the perfect place to stick them! Easy, Fun and So Inspirational.

This was a fun one that I know you can do too! Let me hear some stories about it and pictures would be great too!

All credit goes to the above link for Operation Beautiful. What a fabulous idea.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thank You for Your Sweet Patience

Brack and I have just relocated to Atlanta, GA and we are settling in and learning the area. I wanted to send a little note to all of you to thank you for your patience. I haven't gotten to participate in a lot of acts of kindness this month because of the move. We have, however, received so much kindness from our friends and family this month and we are so grateful. From the amazing going away parties to the yummy dinners to the couple who actually took out our trash for us, we couldn't be more blessed by your amazing love and friendship. So, thank you for your patience as we get settled into this new place. I do have a little more time to write so I do not want to neglect the blog. So, the next few acts of kindness will be from experiences and interviews with others who are making a huge difference. I do promise that once I know my way around this incredibly new, big city, I will jump right back on the kindness train. Thank you for your patience with this! I love you all!

Friday, June 11, 2010

**Special Update**

Let us take this time to remember that there is still a lot of work to be done in Nashville. Why not make a difference while having a great time!?! In support of the great city of Nashville, TN, let's all go hear some music to make a difference!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Act of Kindness No. 9- Giving to the Gulf

I am just old enough to remember the haunting images from the Exxon Valdez oil spill off the coast of Alaska in 1989. Though I was quite young, I do have a memory of sitting on my mother’s lap, watching the news and I can remember her crying about the wildlife that was lost at that moment and how the environment would continue to be affected. This remains one of the strongest memories that I have of the news as a child. So when I received word about the latest oil spill and the inability to contain the millions of gallons pouring into the gulf, my heart sank.

Very few of us have the ability to drop all current projects and pick up our lives and move to the gulf and jump right into the cleanup effort. Because of these restraints, it can sometimes feel like we are helpless in these situations. We are, however, anything but helpless.

I realized there was something we could do for the Gulf after my close friend, Jennifer made me aware of a very special task that was taking place all over the United States. Hair salons from Florida to California, are taking hair donations and sending them to the gulf to be used to help clean up the oil. You can even donate your pet’s hair! Visit this site “Matter of Trust” to get the low down on how it works

Take a look at the before and after pictures from my friend Jennifer’s trip to the salon:

Who knew you could you make a difference all while looking this glam!?!

Watch more people donate their hair by visiting the accuweather site here:

Please also keep our President, officials, aid-workers and volunteers in your prayers as we continue to come together as a country to help stop the damaging effects of this oil spill. Catch up on the latest attempts here:

Thank you Jennifer for your amazing heart and your amazing hair!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Act of Kindness No. 8- Pillowcase Challenge

I have officially decided to participate in the Better Homes and Gardens "Pillowcase Challenge." The event lasts for one year and looks to receive 1 million homemade pillowcases that will be donated to local charities.

I never really sewed as a child but became increasingly interested in it throughout my high school and college years. I even took a costume design class in college. Needless to say, I was the last girl in the room finishing my project with tears swelling up in my eyes as the professor snarled at my crooked seams. It is definitely not a secret that I am not the best sewer to ever grace the presence of the bobbin and thread. But like all things that are hard at first, the best way to get better is to practice, practice, practice. So, for the last year I have been doing that to the best of my ability and I now feel confident that someone could sleep on my pillow without the worry of a missing hem or unfinished seam.

So when presented with this challenge, I was ready to jump right in.

The American Patchwork and Quilting: 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge calls all sewers and quilters to unite to make 1 million pillowcases for charities across the United States. To get started, you just pick a free pattern from the web site (or use your own creative pattern) and get sewing. You can choose a shop from a list of participating members on the web site where you can donate all finished pillowcases. If there isn't a participating shop in your state, you can simply click on a link to see a list of participating stores in your area or a list of charities that are always taking donations (such as women's shelters and children's hospitals). Then you drop off your donation and make a record of it on the APQ counter on the web site.

That's it! What a great feeling you will have knowing that you made a difference in the community and in someone's life.

I am still in the process of sewing my pillowcases and with my track record, it may be a while before I am completely finished but there was no way I could wait to share this one with you! So here is my call to you sewing friends: Get Started!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Act of Kindness No. 7: LDOC-Finding the Kindness Moment in Each Experience

The Last Day of Classes on Duke’s campus brought a celebration unlike anything I have ever seen. It was an all out party day for the students that included food, drinks and concerts featuring performers such as Jay Sean, Flogging Molly, Rooney and Big D & the Kids Table. The amount of crazy college fun that accumulated on this one day was enough to leave us all exhausted.

As my friend Lindsay and I set out on the walk to our cars, I had only one thing on my mind: Relaxation. I will be the first to admit that on this particular day, I had forgotten to keep kindness in the forefront of my mind. Thankfully, I am blessed with amazing friends who have already incorporated kindness into their normal everyday routines. That brings us to Act of Kindness No. 7, an act that would not have happened if it was not for Lindsay.

As we were walking down the quad on Duke’s campus, surrounded by thousands of excited college kids, we said “Hi” to our co-worker from the Office of Student Affairs (OSAF) as he was trucking by to the quad pushing a dolly that was stacked high with water bottles.

Carrying on with our conversation, Lindsay and I stopped after we heard a huge popping noise. We were sure it was a balloon or a crazy college prank. When we turned around, we saw our OSAF friend bent over with the dolly.

The dolly had popped a tire and hundreds of water bottles fell onto the sidewalk. He was making an awful face. I froze in this moment and I was able to observe every detail of what was happening around me.

As if someone pushed a kindness button, at least 10 students ran over to help the sweet guy with the pitiful face-Lindsay included. I watched as they said “Sorry Dude” and “We will help.”

I smiled at this act of kindness and jumped right in myself. We all carried one set of 12 water bottles into the quad and into the boisterous crowd. I am not even sure if our OSAF guy even had to carry anything besides the broken dolly.

I was floored at the immediate reaction by all of these people. I am still in awe of the fact that in a moment of unplanned chaos, everyone jumped to help and not one of those people thought twice. The college students amazed me the most as their minds should have been on the band or drinks or graduation but instead everyone of them stopped in that moment to do something for someone else. What they each probably thought of as common courtesy has moved me beyond words. I will strive for that kind of kindness reaction time in the future. So in a place where kindness seemed unapparent, I was thrilled to learn it was there all along.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Act of Kindness No. 6-A Variety of Perspectives with the Same Ending

When I started forth on this blog journey, I promised myself I would do a little research on kindness and acts thereof. Not the sit-down-with-your-encyclopedia type of research but an in-depth look at the way people give, receive and accept kindness. Here is a little bit of what I have started to learn:

I was talking with my friend and co-worker Jess Jalufka when she told me a remarkable story about an act of kindness that she will never forget. When Jess was three, she was bitten by a rattlesnake (Jess is from San Antonio, Texas).  Her mother rushed her to the hospital and she underwent hours of surgery.  After recovery, Jess was in the hospital for over two weeks as she learned to walk again.  Her mother, though rejoicing that her child was alive, was in shock at the over $110,000 bill that this mother without insurance now owed.   Little did the family know, that their angel would come in the form of an old man from The Shriners Group.  He, after overhearing Jess's story, paid the bill in full and quietly left.  Jess is left with only a slight memory of the experience but her love for random kindness has continued to grow. Jess left me with these words to dwell on:

"It's so awesome to do the little things.  But every now and again, when people do the big restores your belief in humanity."

Just the other night, I received a facebook post from one of my Tennessee girlfriends, Joy Morrison.  She touched my heart with her story and made me realize that kindness is all around in many parts of the world all at the same time.  People are doing amazing things without the slightest thought of receiving anything in return.  Check this post out:

"The best thing happened tonight... Joshua and I went to Jason's Deli for dinner, as we were waiting in line there were two older boys in front of us that had these bracelets that turn into animal shapes. Joshua was very attentive to the boys and their bracelets, as his good friend has them and now he wants them. After we ordered the Mom and I were waiting for our plates and I asked her where I could get those bracelets, I hadn't seen them in the store yet. We talked about it and I said thanks. As we were eating dinner the Mom came up to our table and gave Joshua a bracelet. It made him so happy!  I made sure we thanked the lady as I choked back tears that WE had just RECEIVED a "random act of kindness". My friend Tracy is promoting random acts of kindness and WE were recipients tonight! That 10 cent bracelet made my night and definately my son's. I need to give forward now."

Here are some inspiring thoughts from some pretty brilliant young minds about how "Acts of Kindness" have been influential in their life:

I was just checking my facebook and noticed that so many of my sweet friends are volunteering for so many wonderful causes.  From Relay for Life to Goodwill to volunteering at Animal Shelters, you are all teaching me so much about kindness.  Keep Rocking it Out! It will be amazing to see what more we learn over the course of the next few months.  I truly love your inspiring hearts!