The Art of Being Kind: 31 Acts of Deliberate Kindness

At the end of July I committed to making the entire month of August a month of deliberate kindness.

Every single day I made a conscious decision to do something for someone else.

The amazing thing about doing anything day in and day out is that it becomes a habit.

I found myself smiling at everyone, opening doors even with a little one in my arms, and speaking with kindness to everyone I encountered.

The little things sometimes have the most powerful influence and I’m proud to have recharged my love and passion for helping others.

My dear friend Amanda also participated in this challenge with me and she blogged about her experience as well.

I encourage you to read about her journey as she taught her two daughters the power of doing good and helping others.

(You can read it here).

I loved Amanda’s post because she showed that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to go out of your way for others.

She is a beautiful soul and it makes me so happy to see her children growing up to be loving, selfless individuals just like their mother.

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DAY 1:

I left an anonymous card with an encouraging message and gift card inside for our neighbors two doors down.

DAY 2:

We bought buckets and shovels in the dollar section of Target and passed them out to kids at the beach.

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My original plan was to leave them like the photo above but as we were playing in the water I began to notice kids around who looked bored and so I passed them out.

It was so wonderful seeing their faces light up and to watch them build sand castles with their new toys.

DAY 3:

We paid for the guy behind us in the Starbucks Drive-Thru line.

DAY 4:

I made a donation for art supplies to The Sick Kids Foundation.

I really wish we had something like this here in the US, it is such a brilliant concept.

DAY 5:

At one of the parks Declan and I frequent we always see a group of mentally handicapped men and women with helpers.

They walk around the benches to get some exercise in a few times a week.

Since it’s been so hot recently, I decided to buy them some water bottles so that they could stay hydrated.

DAY 6:

I left dollar bills in some sympathy cards at Walgreens.

I figured that someone nice enough to go out of their way to get someone a card like that deserved to have their day brightened too.

DAY 7:

I frequent Target like most women so I found myself there in the dollar section once again.

This time I bought a coloring book and box of crayons.

When I paid for them I asked the cashier to then give them to the next child she came into contact with at her register.

She was very kind until I asked her to do this.

Once I had included her in my good deed she seemed annoyed and coldly said,

“Uhhhh, okay?”

And rolled her eyes.

I thought that was really interesting and also sad.

DAY 8:

You’ll see these pop up now and again.

Derek and I tag teamed on a couple days.

This day, he went and pushed all of the shopping carts into their proper place while I held Declan.

DAY 9:

We went for appetizers at T.G.I. Friday’s and left our waiter a large tip.

DAY 10:

I saw an old friend post a Facebook status about going through a rough time so I decided to reach out to her and send her a $25 Fandango gift card through Facebook to help brighten her day.

DAY 11:

I left flowers on a random car in the Trader Joe’s parking lot.

DAY 12:

We have been sponsoring a young girl named Mariella since the first time I did this challenge in 2012 but they always need more help at World Vision.

So I made an additional donation to be put towards wherever it was most needed.

DAY 13:

I went and got a massage and we gave the employees a box of cookies as a thank you for pampering people all day long.

I tried to take a picture but was in a hurry and it came out all blurred.

DAY 14:

We left mechanical pencils, pens, and a holder for the kids across the street from us who had just started school.

DAY 15:

I met my Beachbody coach for the very first time on this day at the Idea World Convention and she had very briefly mentioned that it was also going to be her birthday.

So I decided to surprise her with a cake pop from Starbucks.

DAY 16:

We made a $100 donation to ALS and also both participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge.

DAY 17:

I wrote out encouraging words on Post-Its and Derek spread them throughout the grocery store for people to stumble upon.

DAY 18:

A neighboring family recently adopted a sweet dog with a hip problem.

I love watching them play with her and wanted to do something kind for them so I left them a box of treats to give to her.

DAY 19:

There is this older man who periodically parks his truck on a busy street by my house and sits there for hours on end.

He’s got wooden crosses on the front and back of his vehicle and he just hangs out there, sharing his message with everyone who passes by.

I saw him on my way to Target (shocker) and decided I wanted to do something nice.

So I bought a thank you card, bottle of water, and bag of chocolate chip cookies.

I wrote in the card and made my way back to the spot only to find him gone.

Turns out God had someone else in mind for me that day.

So instead I gave the cookies and water to our mail person.

The funny thing is, it wasn’t even our same mail person that day.

It’s always a woman but on this particular day it was a man.

Seeing that my note clearly said woman, he rang the doorbell and explained to me that she had the day off.

I told him the only reason I put woman was because I had seen her before and to please take it and he was so incredibly appreciative.

He thanked me, welcomed me to the neighborhood as he knew we just moved last year, and walked away with the biggest smile.

DAY 20:

Declan woke me up super early so I decided to go on a coffee run.

I was making my way down the usual road when I saw the man in his truck again!

Determined not to miss him this time and still having the card I had written him in my passenger seat, I grabbed a cookie for him at Starbucks and hurried back.

When I walked up to his truck with Declan in arms I saw him sitting there reading his bible.

I got his attention and he rolled down his window.

I handed him the card and cookie and he looked at me as though nobody had ever stopped for him before.

We chatted for a few moments until Declan got fussy and then I left.

DAY 21:

I surprised Derek’s office donuts.

It was actually really neat because the woman and the donut shop showed me a random act of kindness as well by giving me three extra donuts for free!

DAY 22:

I made a donation to Whittier First Day Homeless Care.

DAY 23:

ADT salesmen came to our door and it just so happens we were in the market for a security system.

It was about 3:30 pm and they had been out in the field all day.

We had just finished up our fantasy football draft and had a bunch of left over food so we offered it to the ADT men.

They politely declined at first but quickly changed their minds.

Next thing we knew we were in our kitchen laughing and telling stories with them as they chomped on chicken soft tacos.

It was really cool to be able to do something like that, especially for door-to-door salesmen who are used to people being rude to them.

DAY 24:

We still had so much food leftover so I made a care pack of it and we drove around trying to find a homeless person to bless with it.

We drove for over an hour but never saw anyone which was bizarre because we see people daily.

So instead we bought a scratcher at the gas station and taped it to the pump for someone to find and enjoy.

DAY 25:

Derek has an employee who has been going through a rough time recently and told him he only eats one meal a day.

So Derek took that care pack of food I made the day before and brought it to this man at work.

DAY 26:

As I was leaving the grocery store I saw a woman and her young daughter sitting outside in the shade.

I had seen her there once before with her sign and Derek had given her money previously.

But I didn’t have any cash on me so instead I put my groceries in the car and walked over to her.

I offered to bring her and her daughter inside with me and let them pick out something to eat for dinner but she told me she didn’t speak English and unfortunately, I don’t speak Spanish either.

But I worked through the language barrier enough to explain to her where I was going and to make sure chicken would be okay.

I went back into the store and bought her a whole rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, cornbread, and water.

DAY 27:

I had seen a homeless man in the morning the previous day so I decided to go back and see if he was still there.

I went to Walmart to make a kit up for him.

For $35 I got him a towel, washcloth, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush/holder, tissue, bandaids, wet wipes, body wash, q-tips, hand sanitizer, Pringles, fruit bars, peanut butter, jelly, a loaf of bread, a gallon jug of water, and utensils.

When I approached him he was asleep so I put it all next to him and left.

But as I caught a glimpse of his face I noticed a big smile as he slept on the ground with so little to his name and it filled my heart with so much humility.

The sleeping man blessed me that day too.

DAY 28:

A friend had posted on Facebook that her son was doing a fundraiser  and really wanted to reach his goal so I decided to visit the website and support him by purchasing something.

I took the opportunity to make these items a little gift for my mom too as a congrats for starting her new job.

DAY 29:

I sent a “just cause” gift anonymously (I think!)

That was the plan, but it may have included my info anyway so we shall see.

DAY 30:

I made a plegde to Pay It Forward and I started by signing five other petitions on Causes.com.

DAY 31:

We left a $5 bill on our walk for someone else to discover.

We tried to take a picture but the memory on Derek’s phone was full and I accidentally left mine in the house.

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I hope you feel inspired to go out there and do good.

Kindness is contagious and can not only make a big impact in other people’s lives, but in your own.

The heart is a muscle.

So put in the work and watch it grow.

Let’s Start Fires My Friends

In my quest for 30 days of deliberate kindness I have found myself being introduced to several charities that I never knew existed.

I came across quite a few that were started in remembrance of someone.

I’m not referring to ones where the person had an illness, though those are obviously great causes.

I’m talking about one’s where tragedy struck out of nowhere.

Killed in a school shooting.

Hit by a drunk driver.

Or sometimes one’s just as simple as a cold that went from bad to worse until it overcame them.

Many charities in honor of someone who passed suddenly, share a common theme.

They set out to follow the person’s dreams.

Whether it be completing their bucket list or being advocates to a cause the deceased cared the most about.

They read their journals, re-watch home videos, and remember things they had long forgotten.

Anything to remember the person they once were.

To remember them.

To honor them.

To make them proud.

It’s beautiful really.

To see how much one persons life can affect so many others.

I wonder though.

Why do we not aim to do this when they are alive as well?

The Band Perry says it perfectly in their song “If I Die Young” with the line:

Funny when you’re dead how people start listening

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to wait until I’m dead for people to start hearing me.

And I don’t want to not hear my loved ones until they are gone either.

A person with a dream is like a match on a log.

It creates the spark, but you need something to feed the fire in order for it to grow and burn.

We are the fire food.

The newspaper, the propane, the fire starters.

Not to get quote heavy on you, but this line from The Princess Diaries comes to mind:

“Wanting to rock the world but having zip power like me– now that’s a nightmare”

But why do you have to be a princess, or a political leader, or no longer on this earth to “rock the world”?

If you loved me like I was already gone that would be enough to move mountains.

If I supported your bake sale to help end world hunger we could both make a difference right now, today.

And we wouldn’t be looking down on this world after death saying,

“I’m so happy they finally heard me”

What is your match?

How can I help feed your fire?

I pledge to love more softly.

To encourage you as my friends and family.

To listen to you when you post about baby elephants in Africa on Facebook.

Because it matters to you.

And you matter to me.

Let’s start fires my friends.