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.



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.


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

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.


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.

Diets and Other Distractions

Yesterday Derek and I started a “three day diet”.

This diet consists of eating little, starving much.

Today, we quit the diet.

That’s right, we made it through 5 of 9 meals before throwing in the towel.


Diets suck.

I’m sorry, but I am just not my 20 year old self anymore.

Consuming less than 1,000 calories a day may have been doable when I was only working 4-5 hours a day and doing whatever the hell I wanted the rest, but not anymore.

Trying not to nap at work is hard enough on a full stomach, let alone an empty one.

So after we gorge on Mexican food tonight with my family it is back to eating RIGHT.

Clean. Healthy. Pure Ingredients.

I bring this up because I’m noticing an ongoing trend with myself.


I was pregnant and in a blink of an eye I wasn’t.

Trying to get your life back on track after something like that is difficult.

Do I start drinking caffeine and alcohol again? Do I go back to eating deli meats and sushi? Do we try again? How long should you wait?

So many random thoughts like those that I would never expect to come up, have.

It’s pretty overwhelming.

So me being the queen of distraction, I have been finding anything and everything possible to keep my mind off all of these lingering questions.

First was vacation.

Immediately after everything, I went straight into travel-mode.

Since I wasn’t going to be 8 months pregnant at the time anymore, we could go somewhere for our one year anniversary/my 25th birthday which was our original plan before pregnancy.

So I looked and I looked and I looked.

In fact, I spent almost all of my free time checking out different places around the world to go.

But then Derek and I got more serious about it and decided that we should continue to save that money we have for more important things, like a new house.

So my next obsession [distraction] became house hunting.

Derek and I emailed house after house to one another until again, we got serious and reminded each other that we still have a good year or so before our dream of a new home becomes a reality.

Desperate to find a new distraction I took to this diet idea.

Sure it was only three days long, but that was three less days that I would have to think about the circumstances in front of me.

Three less days that I would have to face my reality.

I was going to start this by saying “naturally”, but I honestly don’t know if this is natural or not.

None the less, all Derek and I can think of is starting a family.

Maybe the loss made the desire greater, maybe it just highlighted it.

The other day I said to Derek:

” I feel like I can’t have a baby so I want to travel. I can’t travel so I want a new house. I can’t have a new house etc etc. Like there is nothing we can do to distract, which is probably God’s point to me”

It was one of those “I’m having this epiphany as I speak” moments where you look at yourself afterwards and say “duh!”.

God doesn’t want me to distract myself from this.

He wants me to face it, dead on, with Him.

Patience has never been a virtue of mine.

I make people tell me the endings to books and movies before I agree to read/see them.

[Seriously, I do]

I’m a sucker for a happy ending, and anything lacking one is not worth my time.

Back to my point, I am impatient and thus I distract myself.

It’s been a day since I realized this.

Today for the first time, I felt peaceful in my nothingness.

No distractions.

No traveling, no house hunting, no stupid fad diets.

Just me.

Broken, but hopeful.

Scarred, but healing.

I think the greatest gift you can give yourself is the allowance to live a full life.

I do truly, wholeheartedly believe that God has great plans for my husband and I.

I believe a healthy, happy baby is in our near future.

I believe that patience will pay off in the end.

I believe in a plan greater than my own.

“If you waste your time worrying about tomorrow you’ll miss out on today.”



Well folks, I did it.

I made it through the toughest month of my life thus far without completely breaking down into nothing.

In fact, it’s been a whole 5 days since I last cried.

I know that may not seem like much, but when crying starts to become a daily routine five days feels like a milestone.

This whole experience has already brought fourth so many unexpected blessings that I can’t help but believe God really does know what he’s doing.

Monday I woke up and I felt like I needed a change.

I decided I wanted to take better care of myself and start eating better/living healthier.

I have done this a BILLION times before.

In fact, I’d say I go through bi-monthly “I’m going to diet” phases.

[Back when I was counting down to my wedding I even had a blog about trying to get fit and healthy. That didn’t last long.]

But something really clicked this time.

You hear it said all the time and yet I never believed it until now.

You have to be fully ready to make the change.

Honestly, I think losing Kinlie really made me rethink everything in my life.

Something changed and I decided that if/when I get pregnant again I want to already be eating and drinking the foods that are best for me and the baby.

It’s so much harder to adapt when it’s sprung on you.

When I was pregnant I felt myself struggle on the daily, licking my chops at every person who walked by me with a starbucks cup or In-N-Out bag.

So basically I’ve just decided to hold myself accountable for what I eat and drink.

I have already starting photo blogging [if you will] what I eat daily and starting next Monday I am going to take it up a notch and cut out caffeine and most booze as well.

I haven’t had fast food in two and a half weeks.

9 out of 10 things I eat during the week and weekend is homemade.

Annnd I’ve even taken it a notch further and started making my own salad dressings, sauces, and seasonings.

I won’t be using my blog as a daily source of accountability for this because let’s face it, I find that boring and I prefer to vent here.

However, I will be updating you about it periodically to [hopefully] show you the positive outcome of the changes.

If you are interested in seeing my brutally honest photos of what I consume everyday, good and bad, you can follow me on Instagram: [username andifranklin]

Here’s to a lifestyle change and a new appreciation for portion control!

**I should prrrrobably mention that tomorrow we are having a pizza cook-off at my house.  [perfect timing, right?]

Here is where portion control will play a MAJOR factor in my life!

Wish me luck.

Beauty of the Bald

It’s been an interesting week in my house.

On Wednesday my brother Chris threw up six times before his stomach pains finally resided.

My mom’s doctors said that because he was vomiting he would not be able to stay at their home [where he lives] because the risk of her catching whatever he had would be too great.

Thus we had to take him in and expose ourselves to his illness.

He felt fine the next day so all was good.


Yes, then my OTHER little brother came down with a severe cough/common cold.

Again, the doctors say he cannot stay.

Hello day two of the sick people slumber party at Casa De Franklin.

It’s funny because I never thought about it, but DUH they wouldn’t be able to stay home if they were sick and DOUBLE DUH, I am the closest relative.

It’s okay though, I don’t mind it at all. I love my brothers and am always more than happy to help.

In other more serious news…

My mom’s hair has started to fall out.

She sent me a text today being her normal, positive self stating:

“Ok so my hair has started to fall out – this is a little weird :-)”

Yes, she included the smiley face and all.

As I have stated several times, my mom is an outrageously strong person, so it is no surprise that when she is dealing with something as difficult as hair loss that she would include the smiley face and only state that it is “a little weird”.

Being my over-analytic self, I immediately began thinking of what must really be going on in her mind and I came up with a million different thoughts.

I imagine she came up with a billion.

We as women put such an emphasis on our appearances.

Perfect hair.

Perfect skin.

Perfect outfit.

Perfect handbag.

Perfect scent.

This is how we define beauty.

So how do we cope when something we consider to be vital to our beauty is stripped away from us?

Today, I challenge myself and my readers to look further.

Look beyond the makeup, colored hair, and trendy outfits.

I’ll start.


My entire life all of my friends have always complimented me on how beautiful my mother was. You have always laughed it off when I told you or thrown out a bashful “thank you”.

You are the type of woman that leaves a lasting impression on people. Not just because of your stunning outward features, but because of the joy you emanate.

This if for you:

Your Beauty is your strength.

Your Beauty is your pure heart.

Your Beauty is your understanding.

Your Beauty is your compassion.

Your Beauty is the sparkle in your eyes.

Your Beauty is your never-changing love for others.

Your Beauty is your laugh.

Your Beauty is your soft spoken tone of voice.

Your Beauty is your freckles.

Your Beauty is your morals.

Your Beauty is your incandescence.

Your Beauty is YOU.

Embrace Your True Beauty

Beauty is not in the appearance; beauty is a light in the heart.