Kindness Matters Monday: We Remember

In a few days, the United States remembers one of the most tragic days in our history. This is a day that is very pensive for me, as I’m sure it is for you. And so today, our Kindness Matters Monday story is a little different than most.

Kindness Matters Monday

Today, we remember heroes who ran up burning staircases.

photo 5

We remember everyday citizens who charged their own airplane into a field, knowing they were saving countless lives by doing so.photo 2We remember the volunteer firefighter who, as a teenager, once held up traffic because a mother goose had been run over by a car and he had to get her babies to safety. Even as a young man, he had the instinct to rescue and to save. On 9/11, after the first tower was struck, he was one of the firemen called to help rescue.

When traffic was so congested that his truck couldn’t get any closer, he headed on foot to the first tower.

This week, I choose to remember the heroes.

Will you remember with me?

“31 Gives” Giveaway

Edit: The giveaway has ended and the winner announced here. Thank you so much for entering, and for your thoughtful comments!

 

This week, I was thrilled to get a message on Facebook from a great friend, offering to personally sponsor a giveaway for us. I have had several people offering to sell here at Let’s Do Some Good Today, but just giving away something to one of you? Something that promotes an excellent cause? I was thrilled, and I hope you will be, too. I’ll let her explain it to you in her own words. Thank you SO much, Amber!

My name is Amber.  I have been a friend of Kimbers for many years.  More recently I have become a follower of her blog.  Even more recently than that I became an independent consultant with Thirty-OneWith Thirty-One we have a mission is to celebrate, encourage, and reward. Thirty-One has a charity called 31 Gives . We work with Girl Talk and Ronald McDonald House. We have special products that a portion goes directly to help and encourage others. I would like to reward a reader with one such product. 

-31 Gives- Giveaway
The U R U Collection is synonymous with the Gives mission to celebrate others for who they are, giving them the support and self-esteem needed to lead a purposeful, thriving life. Each product is personalized with an inspiring message on the inside, symbolizing internal beauty – U R Strong, U R Bold, U R True, U R U – encouraging all of us to be strong enough to be bold and bold enough to be our True Selves.

In February 2012, Thirty-One Gives launched to help Thirty-One Gifts to pay back the many blessings we’ve received as a company. We are dedicated to three key pieces of our heart – girls, women and families. Since 2012, Gives has donated $36 million in cash and product and touched 8.5 million lives.

Our Mission

We have a passion for serving and supporting girls, women and families. We believe strong, confident girls will grow up to become strong, compassionate women, who will be the driving force behind strong, healthy families and communities. Our mission is to celebrate others for who they are, giving them the support and self-esteem needed to lead purposeful, thriving lives. When we all work together and give a little piece of our heart, we can make a huge difference.

Did You Know?

  • A girl’s self-esteem peaks at age 9
  • Only 2% of women describe themselves as beautiful
  • 62% of girls are insecure about themselves
  • Less than 7% of national philanthropic dollars are for women and girls

3 Pieces of Our Heart

Girls, women and families make up the three pieces of our heart. We primarily focus our national giving on one national mission partner for each piece of our heart.

Girls: Girl Talk, Inc. is our mission partner aligned with our mission to build, strong confident girls.

 

Women: The Gives Care Council is working hard to identify a national mission partner who shares our mission to build strong, compassionate women.

Families: Ronald McDonald House Charities® is our national mission partner aligned with our mission to build strong, healthy families.

 

We are excited for you to learn more about who we support and ways to give!

Amber, Thirty-One Consultant

Mission of 31 Gives

Thank you, Amber! And now, the giveaway!

If you’d like to enter to win this fantastic URU Uptown Mini Pouch for yourself or for a loved one (hint, hint – Christmas is coming), you have three ways to enter. Please leave a separate comment for each entry. Giveaway closes Tuesday, September 8th at midnight CST, and the winner will be announced on Wednesday, September 9th at 2 pm CST.

  1. Leave a comment letting us know what you like, or what you learned from, the facts Amber shared with us today (or about this specific product).
  2. Share this giveaway on the social media platform of your choice.
  3. Let us know … if you have $1000 to give to any charity, where would you donate it?

Thanks for participating! Good luck!

 

Edited: The original post stated that a girl’s self esteem peaks at 91. The correct age is actually 9. Sorry about the confusion!!!

Take a Clean-Up Walk

Several weeks ago, reader Julie submitted an idea for our weekly service challenge: “The take-a-bag-and-go-on-a-walk challenge! Pick up any garbage/trash you see and throw the bag away at the park/home/wherever!”

And because she is so smart and wise and beautiful (plus also, my mom), I loved the idea. So that is this week’s service challenge. It’s simple, it’s fast, and it’s free!

If you have children, this is an awesome opportunity to have a discussion about being a good neighbor, about taking care of our community, and about why we don’t litter (it doesn’t just disappear). So this week, walk around your neighborhood, walk by the ocean, walk in the mountains, walk through a playground … just take a walk, pick up some trash, and leave a place you love looking a bit better than you found it.

For more ideas, see our Clean your Community challenge.

Make the world a nicer place to live

 

P.S. If you have any ideas for upcoming service challenges, please feel free to let me know! You can simply give me your idea, or you can write it up and submit a guest post. I’d love to hear from you!

Kindness Matters Monday: A Birthday Heart Attack

“My mom turned 70, so we gave her a heart attack.”

Doesn’t sound much like a Kindness Matters Monday post, does it?

Kindness Matters Monday

But I love this story, and so will you. One Creative Mommy shared this awesome story on her website today about her mom who, when asked, said she didn’t want anything for her birthday:

” … When asked again, she replied, “I don’t really need anything. Why don’t you all just do something nice for someone else?” LIGHTBULB! Operation Service was born. With only a few weeks until her birthday, I divided the number 70 among my extended family (3 each), and asked each person to perform 3 acts of service for someone else before Grandma’s birthday.”

To read the story (and to see her cute pictures), click here to read her wonderful blog post. I love this story; what an amazing gift to give to someone who really doesn’t need (or even want) any more “stuff”. And what a wonderful teaching opportunity this was for the children in her family!

 

Giveaway Winner!

And the winner of our Blog-iversary giveaway is …

It's our BLOG-IVERSARY

Nancy! 

“I think my favorite challenges are the homeless challenges. The needs are great and I love being reminded that little things can help.”

Thank you so much, Nancy, for taking part in our service challenges with us! Please leave a message here, or e-mail me at [email protected], and I’ll send the Mercy House gift certificate your way!

It’s Our 1st Anniversary! Time To Celebrate!

A year ago, a sweet friend asked me if I’d ever thought about starting a website.

My answer was … Well, I didn’t have time to answer. Because before I could tell her the reasons why I didn’t think I could do that, she started telling me why she thought I should give it a try. So I spent a few days thinking about it, pondering website names, wondering if I had anything to share that anyone might want to read.

And tomorrow marks one year from the day I first clicked the “Publish” button and opened my heart to you.

I am so, so glad I began this journey.

The Quarter Challenge

And I am unspeakably grateful for those of you who have joined me along the way.

So today, instead of our normal Service Thursday post, we’re going to celebrate. And since fun party favors are pretty much my love language (no joke – ask my friends), I have a little giveaway for you.

Several years ago, I discovered a website written by Kristen Welch, a “regular mom” from Texas who had the opportunity to go to Kenya with Compassion International to see the work they do and to blog about it. Hours later, my husband came into our office to find me sobbing over my computer. I read her words, and I just couldn’t shake them. She opened my eyes. She broke my heart. And suddenly, I wanted to do more.

Through her influence, my family decided to sponsor two boys through Compassion International. If you haven’t read this post from my husband, I’d love for you to take a moment to read his story. He had the opportunity to travel to Colombia to meet our boys, and his words make me cry every time I read them.

Meeting the boys

I have followed Kristen’s journey as she began a remarkable new ministry. She realized that there were countless young Kenyan girls who were pregnant and living in absolutely desperate situations. These girls all had a different story, but they shared a common thread – heartcrushing poverty, despair, and hopelessness. She realized that these girls had nowhere to go and no one to turn to. Their fate seemed determined. They would give birth, and assuming they survived, they would raise their children in the same desperate poverty.

That’s not okay with me.

That’s not okay with you, I know.

And it was not okay with her.

So she began one of my very favorite programs – The Mercy House. They do so many amazing things (you can check out their website here to learn more). But basically, they take in pregnant teenagers for several years. They give them not just shelter, but a home. They LOVE these girls. They teach them how to take care of themselves and how to care for their babies. They teach them to cook nourishing food. They give them an education. They provide desperately needed therapy. They give these girls a safe place to grow stronger. They teach them life skills and prepare them for higher education, for employment … for success. And by the time the girls leave, they are transformed.

One girl in particular, Violet, had a heartbreaking story. I sobbed as I learned about her and the heartbreaking “childhood” she had experienced. I cried when The Mercy House had to raise $10,000 to pay for reconstructive surgery on her feet, which had been severely burned by her “employers” – and I wept as the money poured in within 24 hours by people all over who stood together for mercy. And then last year, as they announced their new sponsorship program, I joyfully selected the young Kenyan mother that I wanted to sponsor through college.

Sweet Violet.

This is one of the most stunningly beautiful programs I’ve ever seen.

It’s faith in action.

It’s redemption.

It’s hope.

Months ago, I had the opportunity to give away Kristen’s fabulous new book. This was truly one of the most life-changing books I’ve ever read. From the very beginning, I was hooked. Kristen has encouraged me to figure out what my “yes” is.

Rhinestone Jesus - Just Do Something

One of the biggest “yes”-es of my life was starting this website.

So it is only fitting that today, as I prepare to celebrate one year of writing and serving with all of you, I share a bit of The Mercy House with you.

The girls who live in The Mercy House, as I mentioned, are taught life skills. They’re also given the opportunity to learn to earn money. For girls who were formerly on the streets, the opportunity for honest employment is priceless. So they make necklaces and bracelets and other beautiful crafts, and they sell them at The Mercy Shop. The girls get to keep a portion of the proceeds so that when they graduate from the program several years later, they have a bank account.

That bank account doesn’t just mean money.

It means security. It means confidence. It means hope.

So this weekend, I am giving away a $20 gift certificate to The Mercy Shop to one of you. This is not sponsored or affiliated with The Mercy House in any way. I just love, with my whole heart, the work that they do. And I want to share it with you.

It's our BLOG-IVERSARY

Here’s how you can enter our giveaway! You can earn up to three entries. Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

  1. Leave a comment here letting me know what your favorite Service Thursday challenge this year has been! It can be something you’ve participated in, something that has touched you, or something you’d like to do in the future. If you’re new to Let’s Do Some Good Today, you can browse through our weekly service challenge posts here.
  2. Visit The Mercy Shop’s website and let me know what your favorite item is.
  3. Share this giveaway on the social media platform of your choice, and come leave me a comment letting me know you did so. I’ll be putting a post on Facebook and you can just click “share” on that, or you can share in whatever way you prefer.

This giveaway will close on Saturday, August 29th at midnight (central time), and announced by Sunday, August 30th at 2:00 pm. The winner will receive a $20 Mercy Shop gift certificate, which will be delivered via e-mail.

Thank a Police Officer

Thank you for doing good with me this year.

And thank you for loving mercy.

Kindness Matters Monday: They’re Listening

I have two kids. And of the many things that they need to be taught (and kids need to be taught EVERYTHING), at the top of my list right now: kindness, compassion, manners. I try to teach these lessons at home, away from home, with family, with friends … I try to be vigilant in reminding my kids to look people in the eye when we say thank you, to hold doors for strangers, to always find something to compliment, to choose to use good manners even when we’re tired.

And y’all. It’s exhausting.

Sometimes I stop and wonder if they’re learning anything, and if these years of training will pay off. Because sometimes, when they’re squirting all of the moms in the swimming pool or fighting over who had more cookies or basically acting like two wet cats tied up in a sack … it’s easy to think I’m not getting anywhere.

(Can I get an Amen?)

But the other day, as my kids and I were walking into the YMCA, a family was leaving. A mom and her kids were walking towards their car. And then suddenly, her teenage son noticed us. Without hesitation, he hurried back to the door. He held it for us. He smiled at my kids. And he walked away.

And I stood there, a little bit speechless.

I looked at my son, who I am diligently trying to teach to be a gentleman. I looked at this young man whose mother had clearly been teaching him the same things. And I smiled.

Because parents … it does pay off.

I am no parenting expert. I am seven years into this journey. I haven’t seen the “end result” of my work yet.

But I can see the result of other people’s work. And I love what I see.

I love seeing teenage boys who run out of their way to open a door for a woman and her children. I love seeing teenage girls holding the elevator door at the mall for a lady with a baby in her stroller.I love seeing big brothers helping little brothers on the playground, and I love seeing big sisters helping little sisters walk to the bathroom at Church. I love seeing it because it reminds me, “Keep going, Mom. It will pay off.”

So to you parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers of children … keep going. Keep teaching these little ones to be kind.

They’re listening.

Kindness Matters Monday

 

CVS Clearance – Bargain Shopper Alert!

If you have a CVS nearby – today is a great time to stop in, if you want to serve on a budget!

At both of the CVS stores near my house, many of their summer-ish dollar items are on clearance for 75% off. And neither store had any kind of signs up, so there was a ton of stuff on the shelves! Everything pictured here was just 25 cents. If you see these items at your store, check them out at the red “price check” machine. (And make sure to scan your CVS card at that machine, too. It prints coupons!!)

25 cent deals at CVS

* The sunglasses, hair accessories, and stickers are all great for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. That’s probably what I’ll use them for. But they are also a great donation item for a local shelter!
* The sandwich sized Ziploc bags are also great for shoeboxes – I always double-bag my candy and my soap, in the hopes of (somewhat) preventing the candy from tasting soapy. The quart-sized bags are perfect for making blessing bags!
* I had a few minutes, so I scanned a lot of the summer items and found about half of them were on clearance. I bought a jump rope for 74 cents, and my son got a fishing game for $1.49. It kept him busy for half an hour. Priceless. 🙂
* If you’re ready to really put on your bargain-shopping brain on, there’s another great deal at CVS this week. If you spend $10 on CVS toothbrushes or toothpaste, you get back $8 in Extra Bucks (which can be turned around and used immediately). So if you are planning on spending some money at CVS anyway, buy some toothbrushes (I stocked up for shoeboxes and blessing bags), get your $8, and then turn around and use that $8 coupon to buy your clearance items! The deal has a limit of 2, so I bought $20 of toothbrushes and got $16 back.

Please feel free to leave any questions for me!

Back-to-School Teacher Appreciation Challenge

One upon a time (okay, seven years ago), before I became a Mom, I was a full-time teacher. I have loved being a stay-at-home-mom, but as my babies are growing up and heading to school, I have decided to dip my toes back into the teaching field again. This year, I will be teaching music at my son’s preschool. (Very exciting!!)

This week we began our teacher training. As I sat in meetings, looking around from face to face and seeing a room full of professionals who are compassionate, dedicated, and very committed to taking care of children, I was inspired. And as I walked through the halls on the way to my new-to-me classroom, I watched them bustle around, trying their hardest to create a wonderful environment for their future students to create in, to feel safe in, to learn in.

These teachers are not being paid for their overtime. Often, they are not even being reimbursed for many of the items that they buy for their classrooms. They go above and beyond for one simple reason: they care about their students (even those who they have not yet met), and they want them to succeed. And as a mother, I am humbled and grateful.

So this week, as many kids are back in school (or preparing to head back to school), it’s time to repeat the Teacher Appreciation Challenge.

Just a reminder – this challenge is NOT just for those who have young children at home. If you’ve had a great teacher at school … if anyone is teaching you in another facility (work, church, etc.), if you or your kids are involved in a sports league … even if you even KNOW a teacher who is putting in a lot of effort this time of year, this challenge is for you!

Teacher Appreciation Challenge

One more idea I’d love to add to the original challenge … I found this awesome post on Pinterest: “The Best Teacher Appreciation Gifts, Told By Teachers“. (This link will send you to a roundup of ideas. If you see a printable you like, just click on the “source” button right under the picture.) While you might not be thinking about teacher gifts right now, I love the idea given in this post to send your child to school the first day with a “Getting To Know You” paper for the teacher, asking questions like “Where is your favorite restaurant?” and “What is your favorite drink?” Both of my kids are going to be headed to back-to-school night with one of these forms! They will only take a moment or two for the teacher to complete, and they will allow me the opportunity to make sure that I’m able to give their teachers meaningful gifts throughout the year. (Once again, these don’t have to be fancy or expensive, but something as simple as knowing your teacher’s favorite candy bar can go a LONG way toward letting that teacher know you truly appreciate the work he or she does.) And make sure not to forget classroom aides! They work hard and love to be remembered and appreciated.

So happy back-to-school time, everyone! Let’s let teachers know how much we appreciate them this week. Please remember to check out the original Teacher Appreciation Challenge here for lots of ideas – including things you can do on a $0 budget.

Kindness Matters Monday: The Crayon Initiative

Today for our Kindness Matters Monday story, I am excited to share a new-to-me website with you: The Crayon Initiative.

You’ve likely been to restaurants that provide crayons for children to use while they wait for their food. Have you ever wondered what happens to these crayons?

Some are taken home. Most are just thrown away.

Enter Bryan Ware.

If you’d like to hear a cool story about people taking an ordinary object – what some would consider to be just trash – and making an awesome product for hospitalized kids – read this story. And check them out on Facebook if you like reading cool stories about people making a difference.

Which, I’m guessing, you do. 🙂

I’m so grateful for a world full of so many wonderful people!

Kindness Matters Monday