Let's change the world one act of kindness at a time...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Taylor Making a Difference

It always warms my heart when I hear about children finding ways to spread kindness...

A little girl named Taylor Marie Crabtree (age seven) decided to start a business called TayBear Company. She made and sold hand painted hair clips at local stores to buy teddy bears for children with cancer.

She felt that these kids probably have a lot of sadness in their lives and she wanted them to have something special to hug and to hug them back. Taylor wanted them to know that even strangers care about them.

She initially set her goal at 500 teddy bears, which seemed like too high of a goal to her mother who thought that her her seven year old daughter didn't really understand. Her mother learned that she was actually the one that didn't understand.

The media picked up on Taylor's project and our community embraced her efforts. Help ultimately came from far beyond their little community. Taylor received donations from strangers that lived thousands of miles away, just from word of mouth. It became a chain letter from the heart. With her scribbly second grade handwriting, she wrote each person with her appreciation and an update on her project.

She expanded her project to include over 100 other children (including special needs kids) as helpers. Taylor wanted other kids to feel that they too were capable of helping others in their own way. Along the way she also raised her goal to 700 teddy bears!

What is truly amazing is that she has sold over 1,000 hair clips. The local supermarket even stuffs grocery bags with her flyers and has donation cans at their registers. But she has been very clear that none of this is about her but about helping the kids with cancer.

Taylor has been touched by so many people on her journey. While selling hair clips, one woman began questioning her about the project. She was very suspicious about just where the collected money was going. Taylor gladly talked on and on about all the little steps she had taken to that point and about children and cancer. Looking on, her mother noticed that the woman's suspicions had turned to sadness. She became teary eyed and stopped Taylor in mid sentence. She then leaned down and hugged Taylor from a place deep in her heart. She then told Taylor that her eight year old son had died just five months before from cancer and that he would have been very proud to have had one of her teddy bears.

Each day after selling, Taylor and her helpers talk about the people who had touched their hearts. Maybe it was the homeless man that had donated 11 cents and was surprised when he was told that was plenty of money to buy a hair clip. He and Taylor stood together choosing just the right hair clip for his lady friend. Or maybe it was the young woman who was flying back home the next day to say goodbye for the last time to her father, who was dying from cancer. Perhaps it was the man that drove all the way to his bank and back in order to buy a hair clip for his Mom. He said that his Dad had recently died from cancer. He wanted a child to have a teddy bear in his Dad's memory.

With each hair clip or donation has come so many memories and a realization that when working toward a goal from your heart, the journey too is part of the experience. Taylor once told her mother "how could people not see Angels, they're everywhere."

On a recent trip to the Cancer Center, Taylor was giving an art class on making hair clips. She met so many very sick kids. On the drive home she talked of Breanne, a three year old girl who had one eye removed in order to reach a cancerous tumor in her brain. Taylor enjoyed meeting her and talked about Breanne's beautiful smile and personality. Taylor stopped talking for a moment and then said "I really hope she likes my bear."

Taylor continues her work to reach even more children with cancer that could use a hug from a teddy bear.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Teaching Our Children

Recently we were at a petting zoo at a local fair where Ashley was feeding the baby animals. As she raced back from the 25-cent grain dispenser with another handfull of grain, she noticed a little girl that didn't have any grain to feed the animals. The little girl pleaded to her mother, "Please Mommy, why can't I have some grain to feed the animals". "Honey, we have no money to buy grain", the mother explained to the dissapointed child.

Without hesitation, Ashley walked up to the mother and asked if it would be okay if she shared some of her grain with the little girl. Touched by her jesture, the mother agreed. The little girl beemed with excitement as Ashley gave the entire handfull of grain to the little girl.

The mother was so touched. She turned to me and told me what Ashley had just done. Of course, I had already seen the act of kindness that my daughter had just demonstrated. I walked over to her and hugged her and told her that she made me very proud.

This wonderful demonstration of kindness inspired me to teach a special lesson at Sunday School on how we treat other people and the amazing difference paying it forward can make. I asked each of the children to draw a picture of something kind that they have done for another person. I also challenged them to look for opportunities this week to spread kindness.

We created a display on the wall for everyone to see entitled, "Spreading Kindness - Our Kids Are Making a Difference too". Each week we will continue to put the pictures up on the wall for everyone to see.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Two Choices ~ Which One Would You Make?

As you read this special story, ask yourself: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of thestudents delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: 'When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as otherchildren do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?'

The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued. 'I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.'

Then he told the following story:

Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?' I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by othersinspite of his handicaps.

I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked aroundfor guidance and said, 'We're losing by sixruns and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.'

Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with asmall tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game andon the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him fromthestands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. E veryone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay'slife, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ballsoftly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit as low ground ball right back to the pitcher. The game would now be over.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been theend of the game. Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, 'Shay, run to first! Run to first!' Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled, 'Run to second, run tosecond!' Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towardssecond, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.

By the time Shay rounded towards secondbase, the right fielder had the ball . the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-basemanfor the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far overthe third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home. All were screaming, 'Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay' Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of thirdbase, and shouted, 'Run to third! Shay, run to third!'

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, 'Shay, run home! Run home!' Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team

'That day', said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, 'the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world'.

Shay didn't make it to another summer. He diedt hat winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

So, I ask you again, Would you have made the same choice? After reading this story, might you make different choices when given the opportunity? I hope so.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Spiritual Social Action

Social action from a spiritual perspective is an intentional action in support of bringing about change for the better in some aspect of life connected with human society in general. Its intention is to afford fair treatment and benefits to all.

True spiritual social action moves us out of the role of "doing charity work for unfortunate others". Instead, we recognize it as a mutually beneficial exchange that empowers rather then invites dependency. We honor all aspects of our world, knowing that all have something of value to give, and that all benefit in that exchange.

For the next several weeks we will be involved with a group that will be considering the relevance of social action in our lives and how we can become peacemakers while enhancing the experience of giving in our lives.

Stay tuned for more information about our wonderful journey...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Make a Difference on Grandparents Day

On Grandparents Day, we should not forget shut-ins and those in nursing homes who are unable to be with their families or have no families. Try to make a extra effort include these special people with cards, community projects or a special visit.

There are many, many elderly who are not fortunate encough to have family nearby. The need is increarsing every day to fill the void of their loneliness. In every neighborhood, there are elderly who would love an opportunity to be a Foster Grandparent. Parents, churches, schools, and senior organizations can help children to adopt a grandparent!

Grandparents Day is on Sunday, September 13th. Let's make a difference!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Old Chinese Proverb

This old Chinese proverb,
If practiced each day,
Would change the whole world
In a wonderful way.

Its truth is so simple,
It's so easy to do,
And it works every time
And successfully, too.

For you can't do a kindness
Without a reward,
Not in silver nor gold
But in joy from the Lord.

You can't light a candle
To show others the way
Without feeling the warmth
Of that bright little ray.

And you can't pluck a rose,
All fragrant with dew,
Without part of its fragrance
Remaining with you.

~ Helen Steiner Rice ~

Monday, July 20, 2009

Make the World a Better Place

Go ahead, try it! Make the world a better place. It's easier than you think!

As you go through your day, look for opportunities to do something nice for someone. Be random. Be kind to someone you know. Be kind to a total stranger. Let yourself go. Then watch what happens. A Random Kind Act will have an impact on that someone. Just as amazing, a Random Kind Act will have an impact on YOU.

Here are some ideas...
  • Put a quarter in a parking meter that has expired

  • Give a lottery ticket to a stranger

  • Compliment a stranger sincerely

  • Cut coupons out and leave them at the register for others

  • Drop a few coins in an area where children play, where they can easily find them

  • Write a note of appreciation to your mailman

  • Write a note to someone who has treated you nice while doing their job (waiter, clerk, sales person, etc.)

  • Cut an article out of the newspaper that would interest a friend and mail it to them

  • Leave "Have a nice day" stickers at a front desk

  • Start a conversation up with a co-worker that you don't know

  • Leave something cheery or nice for your co-workers (fun post-its, fun office supplies, candy, etc.)

  • Put change in a row of vending machines

  • Put something you no longer need on Craig's for free

  • Put a comment on someone's webpage that you really like... let them know you enjoy it"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Priceless Things in Life

It's not the things that can be bought
That are life's richest treasure,
It's just the little heart gifts
That money cannot measure.

A cheerful smile, a friendly word,
A sympathetic nod
Are priceless little treasures
From the storehouse of our God.

They are the things that can't be bought
With silver or with gold,
For thoughtfulness and kindness
And love are never sold.

They are the priceless things in life
For which no one can pay,
And the giver finds rich recompense
In giving them away.

~ Helen Steiner Rice

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Make a Difference While You Can

When my life has reached its very end,
And I take that final breath;
I want to know I've left behind,
Some "good" before my death.

I hope that in my final hour,
In all honesty I can say:
That somewhere in my lifetime,
I have brightened someone's day.

That maybe I have brought a smile
To someone else's face,
And made one moment a little sweeter
While they dwelled here in this place.

Lord, please be my reminder
And whisper softly in my ear...
To be a "giver," not a "taker,"
In the years I have left here.

Give to me the strength I need,
Open up my mind and my soul...
That I might show sincere compassion,
And love to others before I go.

For if not a heart be touched by me,
And not a smile was left behind...
Then the life that I am blessed with,
Will have been a waste of time.

With all my heart, I truly hope
To leave something here on earth...
That touched another, made them smile
And gave to my life... worth.

~ Author Unknown ~

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Each Life Effects Another

We may not always realize
That every thing we do,
Affects not only our lives
But touches others, too!

For a little bit of thoughtfulness
That shows someone you care,
Creates a ray of sunshine
For both of you to share.

Yes, every time you offer
Someone a helping hand...
Every time you show a friend
You care and understand...

Every time you have
A kind and gentle word to give...
You help someone find beauty
In this precious life we live.

For happiness brings happiness
And loving ways bring love;
And Giving is the treasure
That contentment is made of.

~ Amanda Bradley ~

Monday, May 18, 2009

Everything We Do

We may not always realize
That every thing we do,
Affects not only our lives
But touches others, too!

For a little bit of thoughtfulness
That shows someone you care,
Creates a ray of sunshine
For both of you to share.

Yes, every time you offer
Someone a helping hand...
Every time you show a friend
You care and understand...
Every time you have
A kind and gentle word to give...
You help someone find beauty
In this precious life we live.

For happiness brings happiness
And loving ways bring love;
And Giving is the treasure
That contentment is made of.

~ Amanda Bradley ~

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Encourage Kindness With Children

Our children are the key to making a difference in our world tomorrow.

It is easy to get children excited about kindness. Here are some great ideas:

~ Have a child deliver a hand-made card to your neighbor

~ Gather up kids in your neighborhood and take them to a local orphanage or shelter to deliver some balloons and cookies

~ Ask a child to share or give one of his/her toys

~ Bake brownies with a youngster and have them pass it on to the mail-man or janitor, with a thank-you note

Suggest some of these kindness ideas to a school teacher to help spread the word!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Kindness Begins With Me

Is anybody happier because you passed this way?
Does anyone remember that you spoke to them today?
The day is almost over, and its toiling time is through.
Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of you?

Can you say tonight in parting with the day that's slipping fast,
That you helped a single person of the many that you passed?
Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said?
Does the one whose hopes were fading now with courage look ahead?

Did you waste the day or use it? Was it well or sorely spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness, or a scar of discontent?
As you close your eyes in slumber, do you think that God will say:
"You have earned one more tomorrow by what you did today?"

~ Author Unknown

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Heart-Warming Experience

A little over a week ago I met a family that was facing the possibility of being homeless. They had experienced some difficult times and couldn't seem to get "a break". The father is currently out of work and the mother is disabled. The children are 18 months and 10 years old.

I knew that I could help them. And this is where my most recent "act of kindness" begins...

First, I helped them find an affordable place to live. Then the next Sunday, I stood up in church and asked for help. The family had next to nothing. They had no furniture, no beds to sleep on, no table to eat at, no couch to sit on and no television to watch. So, I asked my congregation friends for "any household items that you are no longer using".

I received an overwhelming response! Some people went shopping for the family and bought them some basic household items. Some people chipped in money. Some people brought in household items that they were no longer using.

I had people calling me that weren't even from my church. They had heard about the family from members of my church. I had one person contact me and invite me to walk through an estate that they needed to empty and simply told me to "take whatever they need".

When my husband and I brought over the first truck load of items, the 10 year old girl was so excited! She went running into the apartment to get her mother.

When I walked into the empty apartment, it didn't even look like they had moved in yet (and yet they had). By the time we left, the apartment looked a little more like home. We were able to provide them with dressers and beds, a couch, a television, linens, dishes, kitchen appliances, books, pots and pans and much, much more.

It was truly one of the most heart-warming experiences I have had in a long time. It is amazing what a difference we can make in someone's life when everybody just chips in a little.

It truly is a good life!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sharing Extra Coupons

I love to share my extra coupons with fellow shoppers. It always comes as a big surprise to them and yet it is such a simple thing to do.

When I am at a store and I have an extra coupon (which I always try to have), I simply turn to someone that is getting ready to check out and I ask them if they would like to have a coupon. They are always thrilled!

Coupons that are a standard percentage off are the easiest to give someone. Whenever I go to Michaels, AC Moore or JoAnns, I always print extra coupons. (You can visit my other blog for some of these if you need some). Sometimes, if I see that I have a specific coupon for one of the items in someone else's cart, I will offer it to them as well.

It is a wonderful way to spread some kindness!

Some Easy Ways You Can Make a Difference

  • Smile and say "thank you" to a bus driver or toll collector

  • Compliment someone at least once a day

  • Give a lottery ticket to a stranger

  • Let the person behind you at the grocery store go ahead of you in line

  • Give up your seat to someone on the bus, train or subway

  • Pay the toll for the person behind you

  • Pick up trash when you see it

  • Give another driver your parking spot

  • Open the door or hold the elevator for someone

How You Can Make a Difference

Be Kind to Yourself

Excercise. Eat right. Give your self credit for the things you do right. Think kind thoughts about yourself. Choose a career that you enjoy. Don't forget to laugh. Love like there is no tomorrow!

Be Kind to Others

Look for opportunities do something nice. Compliment someone. Be sincere. Listen! Care! Smile!

Be Kind to The Earth

Recycle. Pick up trash. Use environmentally friendly products. Be compassionate toward animals.

What Inspired Me?

I have always been involved in organizing activities focussed on helping others in need. I always pick a name from the tree for needy children At Christmas time. I always drop money into the kettle. I have brought my daughter up to always thank the people who "ring the bell". For years I organized the "Adopt a Family" efforts at work (through the Salvation Army).

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Michael Chase "The Kindness Guy" from The Kindness Center. He has inspired me to a whole new level! His philosophy of performing spontaneous acts of kindness makes so much sense! If you don't believe me, try it some time. It is one of the most rewarding feelings you may ever experience.

I hope you will join me on making the world a better place by spreading kindness one "act of kindness at a time".