Month: May 2015

The Clean Your Community Challenge

Well y’all … this week is going to be a busy one for me. What about you? Are you ready for a simple weekly service challenge?

Great!

This challenge costs nothing, and it can be done in 5 minutes. Are you in?

This week, all you have to do is to make your community a little bit cleaner.

Clean Your Community

When I take my children to the park, it’s always discouraging to me to see litter … particularly things like alcohol bottles (and, ahem, worse) on the ground where children play. So when I think of it, I bring a plastic bag with me to the park and pick up a few pieces of trash. As I do so, it creates a simple and nearly effortless teaching opportunity for my kids: we show gratitude for our community by leaving our parks a little bit cleaner than we found them.

So this week, find¬†a local area that could use a bit of tidying up. We usually choose a park, but you could also hit up a schoolyard, a hiking trail … even an area by the side of the road that tends to collect litter. Show up with a garbage bag and gloves. Pick up a bit of trash. Throw it away. And you’re done! One of our fastest weekly service projects to date. (You’re welcome!) ūüôā

If you’d like to read an inspiring story, check out Shelia from Pennies of Time. She and her boys have had a lot of success cleaning a creek in their local community – you can read their original post here, a few additional tips¬†here,¬†and a sweet update here. I love seeing what other people are doing to serve with their families! This cute picture¬†warms my heart. What was, three years ago, a smelly, trash-filled creek is now healthy enough that they’re discovering wildlife. What a difference one family can make!

Where are you going to clean this week? A park? A hiking trail? A playground?

Memorial Day Challenge: Thank a Soldier

Thank you so much, everyone, for your support for last week’s challenge! If you want to check out the wonderful things the Let’s Do Some Good Today community did yesterday, click here.¬†And if you participated and didn’t get back to me yet, it’s not too late. I’d love to add you to the list!

To those who live in the USA, this weekend is Memorial Day.

This holiday can mean all kinds of different things. It could mean swimming or boating or camping. It could mean BBQs and s’mores, potato salad and watermelon. It could mean a day off of work or school, a day to sleep in, a day to be with family. No matter what you do this Monday, I hope it’s a wonderful day.

But do we get so busy on Memorial Day that we might forget … to remember?

Are we remembering the people who fought and died for our freedom? Are we remembering those who come home injured? Are we remembering those who came home “safe and sound”, but will bear emotional wounds for the rest of their lives? Are we remembering the families who have to say goodbye?

This week, amidst the fun and the celebration … we are going to say thank you.

Thank a Soldier Challenge

 

We’re going to be repeating a past challenge – we’re going to be thanking a soldier. If you have completed this challenge before, that’s awesome! This time, perhaps you can try something new.

As for me, tomorrow I will be going to volunteer with a group of disabled adults. We are going to sing patriotic songs, and we are going to make cards to send to soldiers who are from our area and are currently stationed overseas. I’m using AnySoldier.com to choose the troops we’re going to support, as well as to find out what items they most need right now.

Please join me! You can click here¬†to get details on the Thank a Soldier Challenge. I have lots of ideas for you – hopefully you can learn something new! And please let us know if you have any more ideas or suggestions! I’d love to hear how you’re saying thank you.

100 Acts of Kindness Day

It’s here! 100 Acts of Kindness Day¬†is¬†finally here! ūüôā

100 Acts of Kindness Day

Today, as you complete your act (or acts) of kindness, please leave a comment here or on our Facebook page. I’d love a brief summary of what you did, as well as your location. I’ll keep updating this post throughout the day.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for participating with us!

1. Allowed a young mother to go to the front of the line at a department store – Manteca, CA
2. Donated to Confident Children out of Conflict’s¬†trampoline fundraiser¬†– Grand Prairie, TX (to benefit¬†Juba, South Sudan)
3. Left money inside a Redbox DVD for the next person who rents it (to buy a snack)
4. Surprised 3rd grade daughter with lunch at school – Duncanville, TX
5. Gave out cookies to people eating lunch at Chick Fil A – Grand Prairie, TX
6. Gave a Target gift card to a young mother – Grand Prairie, TX
7. Donated blood. (Did you know that one blood donation can save up to 3 lives? Click here or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to get started!)
8. Shopped for Operation Christmas Child (this challenge was chosen by a 4-year-old) РGrand Prairie, Texas
9. Hid dollars in the aisles of the dollar store (this challenge was chosen by a 6-year-old) – Duncanville, Texas
10. Pre-loaded the carts at Aldi with quarters – Duncanville, Texas
11. Pre-loaded candy machines with quarters – Duncanville, Texas
12. Made a micro-loan to a fruit and vegetable seller through Kiva РGrand Prairie, TX (to benefit Sincelejo, Colombia)
13. Made a giant card for a friend who broke his leg
14. Invited new friends to celebrate the Creek Cleanup with cake and watermelon
15. Helped an elderly woman clean up the dog poop in her backyard
16. Delivered 66 blankets to babies in need – Las Vegas, Nevada
17. Helped a schoolmate study for final exams – Las Vegas, Nevada
18. Took cookies to the fire department – Sterling, VA
19. Taped quarters on a soda machine – Sterling, VA
20. Left a thank-you card and a bag of candy for the mailman – Sterling, VA
21. Sent a care package to daughter in college – Sterling, VA
22. Taped a $5 bill on the sidewalk – Sterling, VA
23. Made treats and dinner for a family in need – Las Vegas, Nevada
24. Organized teacher appreciation gift for daughter’s teacher – Grand Prairie, TX
25. Baked over 70 cupcakes for Boy Scouts Arrow of Light celebration – Grand Prairie, TX
26. Left some cookies at the door of a mother who is having a hard time
27. Kids sent a big box of old markers their school had collected to be recycled at Crayola
28. Visited The Hunger Site and clicked to give a cup of food to people in need
29. Visited The Animal Rescue Site and clicked to give food to a hungry animal
30. Donated to Save The Children’s earthquake relief fund – Grand Prairie, TX (to benefit Nepal)
31. Donated to charity: water (to benefit Nepal)
32. Bought a candy bar for a cashier
33. Gave quarters to kids in the arcade area at Walmart
34. Bought a pizza to give to a homeless couple
35. Asked a cashier what her favorite treat was, then bought it for her – Phoenix, AZ
36. Listened to, and helped, a friend going through a relationship problem – Provo, UT
37. Delivered dinner and snacks to an elderly man who was sitting alone in his car, under a tree
38. Let a rude and angry driver pull ahead into the lane – Dallas, TX
39. Babysat for a parent who is going through a separation – Salt Lake City, Utah
40. Took a surprise birthday gift to a child’s teacher – Salt Lake City, Utah
41. Donated money to Primary Children’s Hospital while checking out at Walmart – Salt Lake City, Utah
42. Wrote thank-you notes to a child’s teachers (including specialists) – Grand Prairie, TX
43. Donated to Fallen Heroes Fund
44. Threw a last-minute baby shower for a soon-to-be mother who doesn’t have any family in the country – Duncanville, TX
45. Took groceries to a family in desperate need – Denver, PA
46. Gave outgrown toys to someone whose grandson needed them, rather than selling them as planned
47. Helped a kindergardener find a tooth that had been (literally) lost on the playground
48. Made teacher appreciation gifts for my son’s preschool
49. Cooked brownies for the piano teacher
50. Gave a gift card to a family that needed to a boost – Manteca, CA
51. Clicked to donate at The Literacy Site
52. Clicked to donate at The Autism Site
53. Clicked to donate at The Breast Cancer Site
54. Clicked to donate at The Rainforest Site
55. Shared a “Go Fund Me” account on Facebook
56. Made a donation to help a child with kidney failure
57. Ran errands for his busy wife
58. Made dinner for his wife
59. Bought a gift card for a teacher
60. Sent a friend an uplifting note
61. Made a donation to help spend special needs kids to surf camp
62. Made a donation to Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary
63. Left a sizeable tip for a hotel maid
64. Gave the gas attendant a Million Dollar Bill chocolate bar in honor of “Be A Millionaire Day”
65. Spread information about Autoimmune Arthritis Awareness Day

Tomorrow is the Big Day!

Tomorrow is THE BIG DAY!

(If you don’t know what THE BIG DAY is, you can catch up¬†here.)

100 Acts of Kindness Day

So here’s how it’s going to work …

* We’re all going to go around and do something (or lots of somethings) nice tomorrow.

* We’re going to come back here and share our ideas with each other.

* It is going to be AMAZING!

So here’s how we’re going to keep this organized. Tomorrow, after you complete your act of kindness, you can either comment on the post that I’ll put up, or you can comment on our Facebook page. When I’ve received your comment, I’ll add it to the list. Just a brief summary would be great – and I’d love to hear your city/state (or country, if outside the US). So our post will look like this:

1. Handed out flowers in a nursing home. – Fairport, NY

2. Paid for a stranger’s groceries. – Dallas, TX

3. Wrote a thank-you card to a teacher. – Manteca, CA

4. Left a treat for my mailman. –¬†Provo, UT

… And so on. As I get your comment, I’ll update the list. We’ll see if we can get to 100 acts of kindness! WOOHOO, I am SO excited!

Remember, if you’d like to print off a little note explaining what we’re doing, click here. (It’s totally free, of course.)

A few¬†more things I want to mention. First of all, there’s really only one “rule” for tomorrow … your act of kindness needs to be something you wouldn’t normally do. Our goal tomorrow is to stretch ourselves a little bit and to serve someone that we normally wouldn’t. We’re teaching ourselves to look for opportunities to spread sunshine.¬†I really believe that kindness is a skill; like any other skill, the more we practice it, the more naturally it will come to us.

And the last thing … you might be wondering why we’re coming back and reporting to each other. Usually I don’t ask you to do that (although I LOVE it when you do). There are two reasons I’d like to do that tomorrow. The first is that it’s always exciting to serve in a group. Since we’re spread all over, this website is our group, and this is the best way I could come up with to serve “together”. ūüėČ The other reason is that I have found many, many wonderful service ideas by reading other people’s stories online. Some of my very favorite ideas have come from other blogs. And I’m hoping that as our list grows tomorrow, we’ll see a few things that will make us think, “Oh, what a great idea! I’m going to do that next time!”

If you have any questions or need suggestions, please feel free to comment here. Otherwise … I’ll “see” you tomorrow!!

Kindness Matters Monday – LoveLoud

I am so thankful to Linda, who shared this heartwarming¬†story with us on our Facebook page, and who gave me permission to share it with all of you as today’s Kindness Matters Monday¬†post!

Kindness Matters Monday

“Every October, our church takes a weekend to help the community. We call it LoveLoud (Action speaks louder than words). Anyone, anything, anywhere help is needed. They give haircuts, small dental work, car washes, oil changes, clean yards, treat local firefighters, police, other community professionals to a meal, go to nursing homes, hospitals, many more things I can’t even remember. You know the bible verse about helping widows and orphans. Well, I don’t fit either category, but I am unmarried with no children. In 2013, a mess of men came to my house and worked from sunup to sundown for 2 days cleaning my yard, laying new mulch, trimming trees, cutting grass and other lawn care tasks. They replaced all my gutters, did inside small carpentry jobs and left me feeling like a queen!”

Thanks, Linda, for the wonderful story, and for the positive comments you often leave on our Facebook page – you truly make our online community a better place, and I am thankful for you! And¬†thank you for¬†getting us motivated for this week’s 100 Acts of Kindness Challenge!

The 100 Acts of Kindness Challenge

* Update: if you are participating in this challenge, please pop over to this page to let us know what you did! *

Friends, I’m reaching out of my comfort zone a little bit with this week’s service challenge. But I am really, really excited …

There are two things you need to know. First of all, when I began this website last year, I was hoping to be able to use it to find an online community of people who, like me, truly want to make a difference in the world. And in less than a year … I’ve FOUND you! And I truly do feel like we have a little community here on the website, and on our Facebook page.

The second thing important fact … a few years ago, I began a family tradition. May 20th is our family’s Random Acts of Kindness Day. We go around the community and do nice things for strangers. It is SO fun!

In case you haven’t guessed …

May 20th is coming up. It’s time to party. And you’re invited.

RAKs

Yes, friends. I’d like for our little community to join together and have a Random Acts of Kindness Day. And I’d like us to do it “together”. Since we are all over the U.S. (and some of us are in other countries), we obviously can’t get together for a service party (although that would be SO AMAZING). But next Wednesday, we’re going to reach out in our own communities. We’re going to serve “together”. And it’s going to be remarkable.

Now here’s where it gets a little bit “out of my comfort zone”. I’m actually not a very number-oriented person. When I prepare our weekly service challenges, I never really know how many people are actually doing them, and that’s okay. But this time, I’d like to set a goal for us.

A big goal.

I want us, the Let’s Do Some Good Today community, to perform 100 acts of kindness on May 20th.

(That’s a lot of kindness. Which is why I need you.)

There’s really only one “rule” for our Acts of Kindness Challenge: do something you wouldn’t normally do. If you normally pick up trash in your local park every Wednesday, that is FANTASTIC. But this Wednesday, I’d like to encourage you to do something above and beyond what you’d normally do. I want us to start a flood of kindness this week! Can you imagine if we did 100 acts of kindness … and if some of the recipients of kindness decided to pay it forward?

I can imagine. And it gives me chills.

Maybe you already have something in mind to do. But if not (or if you’d like to do a few different things – THANK YOU), here are some ideas for you:

* Clean up garbage at a local park

* Anonymously leave flowers¬†or a treat on a neighbor’s doorstep

* Pay someone’s toll

* Invite someone over to your home who might be lonely

* Buy a meal for the person behind you in line

* Leave quarters where kids can find them

* Bring flowers to a hospital or nursing home

* Write a soldier or a missionary

* Babysit for free for a friend with young children

* Bring dinner to someone who is having health challenges

* Call someone who might need a listening ear

* Leave quarters in the Laundromat

* Reach out to someone who has cancer

* Do a chore for a family member that you know he or she dreads

* Post a kind note on someone’s Facebook page

* Make a donation to your local animal shelter (they often need simple things, like newspapers)

* Go through your closets and donate clothes that you don’t wear anymore to a homeless shelter

* Leave a generous tip and an encouraging note (or leave money in a tip jar)

* Get together with friends and do a service project (like a baby shower for charity or a blessing bag party)

* Give a blessing bag, a water bottle, or a gift card to a homeless person

* Hide dollars in the aisles of a dollar store

* Share coupons you don’t need (give them to someone who can use them, or leave them on store shelves)

For more ideas, feel free to check out Pennies of Time, The Birthday Project, and The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

100 Acts of Kindness Day

I made this¬†100 Acts of Kindness Printable¬†for you (6 per page) if you’d like to have little notes to explain what you’re doing. You can hand them out on May 20th as you perform your acts of kindness … or if you can think of a way to share them before that day, that would be GREAT! Stick them up on a bulletin board, pass them out at church, give them to your friends … let’s spread the word!

This morning, as I was brainstorming this challenge, I was trying to decide why I am so passionate about random acts of kindness. And this is what it boils down to: you never, ever know what challenges someone is facing. Most people, in fact, are walking around with at least one trial weighing heavily on them. Your small act of kindness can be what that person desperately needs. It can be enough.

And if together we do 100 acts of kindness, and 99 of them are brushed off … but just one was desperately needed, and was the answer to someone’s prayers …

Well then, friends, May 20th will be a success.

So please, join me. Leave a comment here letting me know what you’ll be doing – your idea might inspire others! And on May 20th, I’ll have a new post up, and I’ll update it as the day goes by. Every act of kindness counts – if you’d like to do several to help push us to our goal of 100, that would be fantastic!

And may I ask one more favor? If you have a friend who might be interested in participating, would you please share this post? I would appreciate it SO much! I would love your help in reaching this big goal of 100 acts of kindness!

It’s time to start planning, friends. I can’t WAIT to hear your ideas!

Kindness Matters Monday – Giving Away Prom

Kindness Matters MondayIt’s Kindness Matters Monday! Today, I’d like you to check out a fabulous story from “A Mighty Girl”. Ashley Young, a 17-year-old in Chicago, was saving up to pay for a magical prom night … but ended up deciding to give all of her hard-earned money to help the needy in¬†her community. Instead of buying a dress, she bought basic toiletry items. Rather than sitting in beauty salons getting pampered, she went out and handed out gifts to people in need.¬†Her sweet, inspirational story can be found here.

This story truly inspired me. What can I do to give more generously? What about you?

It’s Shoebox Time!

It’s¬†Service Thursday! And today, we’re going to be starting one of my FAVORITE challenges over again. It’s time to start thinking about Christmas!

(Um, Kimber? It’s May.)

I know.

But May or not … take a look at this.

Joyful, isn’t it?

And you and I? We’re going to make that happen.

Candy

Operation Christmas Child is one of my favorite programs. I’ve written about it in the past, but if you’re new to Let’s Do Some Good Today (welcome!), here’s a summary. Samaritan’s Purse¬†collects gift-filled shoeboxes in November and ships them all over the world to children in poverty as part of their Christmas ministry. If you’d like to participate, you just need to pack a shoebox with small gifts, label the age group (2-4, 5-9, or 10-14) and the gender that it’s been packed for, and drop it off at a collection center. They ask for a $7 per box donation to cover the cost of shipping. And if you pay that donation online, you can print off a unique barcode. When your shoebox arrives at its destinaton, you’ll get an e-mail telling you where it went. Last year, my boxes ended up in Mexico, Ghana, Indonesia, and the Ukraine. It was SO exciting to get those e-mails!

In case you’re not positive you want to participate …

If¬†you can’t tell, I LOVE PACKING SHOEBOXES. And I’d love to have you join me this year.

Shoebox pile

Of course, you could just wait until November to pack your shoebox. But I’d like you to start collecting items now. This will make it SO much easier – and hopefully cheaper! As you have OCC on your mind through the next six months, you’ll catch little items on sale and pick them up. If you plan it right, you’ll never have to pay full price for anything.

006

As an example, in my closet right now, I have Christmas cups and Pez dispenser that I found on clearance at Winco, toy trains and stuffed animals that I found on clearance at Walgreens, toothpaste that I got for free with coupons at CVS, toothbrushes that were donated to me by the dentist, board books and puzzles I got on clearance at Target, needles and thread that I found on clearance at Walmart … and many, many boxes full of other treasures. I pick up these items at rock-bottom prices, tuck them away in my closet, and then in November, I don’t have to buy very much. I can just get together with my friends and have a packing party!

Candy in the water bottles

So this week, your assignment is simple: get a shoebox. (Or a shoebox-sized plastic bin.) That’s it. Just get your box. And then every few weeks, if you pick up one small item, you’ll have a wonderful shoebox ready to ship in November! If you need some ideas, you can see the original challenge here, or you can check out our¬†Operation Christmas Child category. I’ll also be sharing more tips with you as the time gets closer.

So that’s this week’s service challenge. Are you in?

Please let me know if you have ANY questions! I would truly love to help.

Kindness Matters Monday – A Tiny Gesture That Makes A Difference

Welcome back to Kindness Matters Monday! Last week, I shared a story from my friend Julianne. I am so grateful that she shared two more with me! Here’s the next one:

Kindness Matters Monday

“We have the style of bathroom with a giant tub and a separate stall shower. Since the shower space isn’t very big, my husband and I both hang our luffas on the handle, the lone hook-like option available for such a use. Every morning, my thoughtful husband removes mine and replaces it so it is always on the top. I never have to take his off the handle in order to access mine. Not only is it a nice gesture, but it means that every time he soaps himself up, he thinks of me and how to make my life just that little bit easier.”

After I read this story, I spent a while trying to figure out why I love it so much. And here’s what I decided: it’s because it’s such a tiny thing. It takes mere seconds to do. But when this man pauses and takes a moment to make his wife’s life a tiny bit easier, it shows her that she matters to him, that he’s thinking of her, and that he loves her.

It makes a difference in her day.

It matters enough for her to notice, and it matters enough for her to share it with me.

Kindness matters, y’all.

Let’s go be kind today.