Monday, December 22, 2008
So today, I share My Magic Christmas story with her. She had started to read it once before and got distracted and never got much past the first bit. This time, she read the whole thing. And she cried and felt some spirit moving within her.
And then I stepped a bit out of my comfort zone and preached a little. And shared with her my perspective on Christmas and Jesus and angels and the "reason for the season" and shared some thing form recent sermon at church and... I also shared with her that I prayed for her this past Sunday during church. Prayed for her heart to open up, for her to experience joy.
I felt like I hadn't done a good deed today. But then I though back on my day with this friend and realized that I did the greatest deed I could do. I prayed for my friend and I shared my faith with her. I reminded her of God's love.
I know that kind of talk can make some folks uncomfortable. And I apologize for that. While I am very strong in my faith and my spirituality, I am a firm believer that how I live my life will show my beliefs more than the words I say. I do not believe that preaching to others is how anyone will find God or return to God.
But in this situation, with this person, it was important and it was the right thing to do. It was the good and kind thing to do.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
I wrote about it yesterday.
But 3 or more time in the course of 24 hours, she has reminded me to do good things, to help other people, to treat friends like strangers.
Simple things that show her heart and mind are in the right place.
Trying on a pair of pants and, realizing they are too small, announcing that we need to give them to someone who needs them.
Seeing someone loading their vehicle and demanding that Mommy offer to help put all those bags in that car.
And the coins in the Salvation Army kettle.
I am blessed.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
I hope I can stay in tune with her desire to help other. I hope I can keep this spark alive.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
They provide shelter, meals, and medical care for the homeless and struggling. They also run the Hebron Center- a residential recovery program for men struggling with alcohol and drug addiction.
It doesn't feel like much, but I gave $5 today. They made it easy and convenient by having collection containers at the check out lanes at a local grocery store.
But that $5 provides almost 3 Christmas meals at the Mission. So, in essence, I fed 3 people today.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
A company just sent me a Heavenly Ham.
I appreciate the gesture. But I don't feel right keeping it for my family and it would odd to share it in the office.
So I will be taking it to the food pantry this evening.
I also had some unexpected time at home this morning so I went through my pantry to see what excess I had for the food pantry.
This food pantry is at a local church. They've been operating for about a year, I think. Over the summer, they were feeding 50 families each week. They are open one day each week. Over the past month, they have been feeding 70 families each week. The need is rising. So the help has to pick up, too.
So extra pasta, rice and sauce, peanut butter, canned chicken, and a canister of Stove Top went into my bag from my pantry. That, along with the items Teagan selected at the grocery store, and the Heavenly Ham will all go to the church's food pantry this evening.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
So to make up for it, I think I'll buy some of those favorite books and donate them somewhere. I'll do some research to see where they may be most needed.
Today's good deed... cleaning off other people's cars in my work parking lot. Snow and ice this afternoon... Nothing terribly difficult to clean off. But my friend and I cleaned off 2 cars of folks we knew would appreciate it!
I would read books over and over and over and over. I read Black Beauty 20-something times. I was obsessed. I would pretend I was Black Beauty. I would cry every time I read the part about Ginger... don't want to give anything away if you haven't read it. My imagination was very vivid and I pictured the well-described details so clearly...
I was reading Lilly's Life today and she wrote about books and reading and books she read as a child and how she selects books based on how the cover looks and gives a great guide to selecting a book by its cover. So go check it out!
I started to comment... and realized it was going to get long. So I brought my thoughts back home.
I have some memories of books that I don't remember the names of. For example...
A book about this popular teenage girl who tries to call this boy she likes but dials the wrong number and ends up talking to this other guy. Lon story short, they become friends on the phone and start to really like each other. Then she finds out who he is... short guy, big nose. And she has to decide if she still likes him or not.
Another book was about a girl who would dream things and then they came true. And she would see bad things like a bridge blowing up and stuff.
When I was younger, I was obsessed with a picture book that was also informational... The Album of Horses. I would play stable in the hallway of our apartment complex and I named every horse in the book and took care of them... and Black Beauty and Ginger were in that book for me...
The funny thing is that I don't remember when I started reading... but I do remember the books I read and loved. The books that offered me an escape from feeling hungry or ashamed. That showed me that there was a better world than the one I lived in that was overwhelmed by chaos and wickedness.
When I read, I became part of the world that was offered in those pages.
I even created a little cozy reading cubby in my bedroom closest... which was also the scene of the crime that got me kicked out of the Brownies... but I digress.
Charlotte's Web... anything by Judy Blume... Bridge to Terabithia... From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler... Harriet the Spy... A Wrinkle in Time... The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe...The Secret Garden... A Tree Grows in Brooklyn... Sweet Valley High... The Against Taffy Sinclair Club... The Girls of Canby Hall...
I don't know that I could ever possibly capture all of the books that saved me as a child. From the serious to the silly. Each one holds a special place in my soul.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Today, I took him out to lunch.
I don't think I should need to say more about what the gesture means and how it was appreciated!
And I had an almost good deed and it served as a reminder to keep my eyes, ears, and heart open to when the need may arise for good deeds.
I was in line at the grocery store and the older man in front of me looked out of place. He had 3 items on the belt. He looked a little dirty, grungy. He shuffled and looked around like he was a little paranoid. I was watching because I was concerned he didn't have money or maybe he needed more than he had and I was running scenarios in my head of how I could pay for his items or see if he needed more.
The cashier finished with the man in front of him and started to ring his items through. Asked if he had his store card (the savings tracker thingee). He didn't respond. The other man is still gathering his things so she asks if she can swipe his card for this guy. No problem. She tells him the total and he just stares at her.
I was about to tell her to just ring my things through and I would pay his $4.10. But then the first man turned around- they were there together. So he paid for the items. The man I'd been watching is under the care of the first man in the line. So someone was there to take care of him.
But it reminded me of how important it is to stay aware of the needs around us.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
A local radio station is doing a huge fundraiser for the weekend. Another website I am involved with has partnered with the Salvation Army and were collecting all day on the circle (downtown).
I only volunteered for an hour. There were 2-3 of us for that hour. 1 mom had brought her kids to help as well. We stood on the street and collected from passing cars (thankfully, really slow traffic made that easy). We stood on the sidewalk and took donations from passers-by.
Teagan and I collected up spare change and single bills we found around the house and I donated that when I got there.
It was an interesting experience. Beat up and run down cars would stop and give. Families that looked like they "couldn't afford" to spare the change were most frequently the ones donating.
What really struck me were the people who couldn't even look at us. Who went out of their way to get busy with something in their vehicle so they wouldn't have to look at us. Not a smile or a greeting... it left me feeling like there was something wrong with me.
I am committing myself to making certain I have some spare change at all times this holiday season. Every kettle I encounter will receive some change and the person ringing the bell will receive a smile and a greeting.
Friday, December 12, 2008
These group together- just click on one and there are tabs for all the others across the top.
Give free rice and test your vocabulary at Free Rice.
Need to Google something? Use Search Kindly and you can select the group you want your online searching to benefit.
There are lots more options out there- this is just the tip of the iceberg. So get to clicking!! I've done my clicking and searching through each link given here... I hope you do the same!
EDITED to add: Thanks to my friend Christy for discovering that Free Rice isn't just for vocabulary buffs... there are many other subjects! Check it out!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I have to admit that I rarely use them. But what is the point in wasting them?
I gathered up a bunch of restaurant coupons that have lately made their way to my mailbox and brought them in to the office. They are on the back counter, for anyone who enjoys those eateries to enjoy.
Sharing coupons may not seem like much... but it could save someone a few bucks, so why not?
More to come today, I'm sure. But just wanted to share this small gesture that others could really appreciate!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
One end has a company provided coffee service. The other has a coffee club where the coffee drinkers chip in to pay for coffee, creamer, filters, and any other needed supplies.
I work on the production end. And I am the Coffee Chairperson. I make the monthly purchases of needed supplies.
There is a small plastic cup that sits by the pot and a little sign that explains that our coffee isn't free and isn't company provided... so if you take a cup, please leave some change.
Today's good deed...
I took a tin I had in my office and covered it with white paper... and wrote on it...
"All coffee club donations made in Dec will go to the Salvation Army Red Kettles."
I'm going to take the money gathered each this week, next week, and the week after, and deposit it in the closest kettle I can find (a grocery store near work). Hopefully the coffee club donations pick up a little!!
I happened upon an ad on Cake Wrecks today. It was an Ad Council ad encouraging people to do good deeds, to get involved, to volunteer, to donate.
If you are looking for futher inspiration to do good deeds this holiday season... to make a habit of it well into the new year... check out the site!
And for those who blog... feel free to share that link and the link to this blog. Christmas will soon be upon us and I would love to help spread a little movement of "paying it forward" cheer.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I stopped to pick up a healthy and nutritious dinner to nourish the bodies of my family.
But that restaurant doesn't exist so I went to Taco Bell.
I went in because I knew it would take a bit to order since I had no clue what to get for the kids (we hardly ever eat at Taco Bell so I had to actually read the menu so I could order for them).
I did the $1 to benefit a local charitable organization for teens.
And I asked the manager to please run my card to pay for the next person in the drive through.
She hopped to it and all was good.
The restaurant is empty... I'm filling my drinks as I wait for my order to come up.
Then there is this attractive blond woman at my side... "Did you pay for my dinner?" Yes. "You didn't have to do that!" I know... but...
And then she tried to hand me money! She tried to pay me back!
I explained that it was just a good deed, a brightening of her day or holiday season... pay it forward... etc.
The manager and I spoke more and I explained to her that I had challenged myself to this Daily Good Deed mission. To do purposefully good deeds, to go beyond nice and pleasant and be intentionally kind and giving.
So I guess it was tri-deed. The dollar to the charity group. Buying some one's dinner. And maybe inspiring the manager to be more aware of her opportunities to do good deeds!
I'd like to encourage folks to head over to my friend Amy's 4th Frog Blog and enter her fantastic giveaway.
The reason I am posting about it here is because Amy did a good deed with the fortune that was given to her and I think it is awesome!! Go read about it by clicking on that link up there!
Monday, December 8, 2008
A co-worker's birthday. He has been very stressed out lately.
Our office isn't one to do birthdays. We don't pass around a card or take folks out to lunch or bring in a cake or anything. We hit milestone birthdays. We participate as long as someone else does the work. But generally, the philosophy seems to be to leave it alone. If we do nothing, no one gets their feelings hurt.
Screw 'em. I bought my co-worker a cake (his favorite- German Chocolate).
It has brought me not only much thanks (he put it out to share) but I've actually gotten 3 hugs from this good deed! So the returns are the best!
Sunday, December 7, 2008
World hunger has always and will always exist.
But it is currently at a crisis point. The globe is in an economic crisis and that means food shortages.
I don't know of a global food pantry. I don't think I can FedEx bags of rice or boxes of spagetti.
But there are organizations that help.
Saturday, I selected The World Food Program after hearing a story on NPR about the global food crisis.
With this group, you can even specify where you want your money to go.
Darfur was my choice.
Haiti, Myanmar, School Meals, Mother and Child nutrition... or just the greatest need and allowing the program to determine where the donation goes.
$10, $25, $100... if I had more, I would give more. But every little bit helps.
So take a little bit and help!!
Friday, December 5, 2008
Sometimes I catch a daytime talk show and the subject matter is a "what would you do" type of thing. Some of the prime time news magazines have done this sort of thing, too, but far more dramatically. What would you do if you witnessed a domestic violence situation in public? If you saw a child being bullied? A homeless person being teased?
Oprah has one into more day to day situations... how much are you willing to get involved?
I pulled into a parking lot of a busy grocery store today. The minivan in front of me had a wide open side door. And I noticed no one around or in the vehicle. I got out, went over- nothing. Car seats and toys. No people. I look around. Nobody is paying any attention.
Should I shut the door? Or was it left open on purpose? But who would leave a minivan door wide open in December with toys and bags and car seats and whatever else?
So... in what I hope was a good deed and not something that ended up causing problems, I shut the van door.
And nothing happened. No lightning. No camera crews. No interviews asking why I did what I did.
And I went on my way, knowing that I would want someone to have done the same for me.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Nothing helps brighten a day like donuts and bagels, right?
I brought in 18 donuts, a dozen bagels, and cream cheese this morning. I've also kept the coffee pots full (I'm never the one to make coffee).
Cost... under $20.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I had bagged up last year's coats and jackets (from the kids) and, while cleaning out a bedroom, found an unopened pack of diapers. In addition, I manage our cell phones at work and we recently switched carriers so I had a handful of old phones and equipment that can no longer be used.
I am an active member of a local moms' online community and there is a mom on that site who is part of a domestic violence rescue program. She literally picks up women and children when they are escaping abusive situations.
I contacted her and she was more than happy for the items I had. So a good donation made to a very good cause!
Food Runners is an organization in San Francisco that takes unwanted food and gets it to people who want and need it. I heard about it on NPR this morning.
From the website:
Food Runners picks up excess perishable and prepared food from businesses such as restaurants, caterers, bakeries, hospitals, event planners, corporate cafeterias, and hotels and delivers it directly to shelters and neighborhood programs that feed the hungry.
My first job was at a McDonald's. This was back when food sat in a heated bin until it was ordered. Massive amounts of product was tossed every hour. It always bothered me but I was 16 and didn't know what to do about it.
A friend shared a story with me about restaurants in Detroit that were so concerned about being sued by the homeless people who were dumpster diving for their tossed food that they began pouring bleach on the food before throwing it away.
Food Runners is brilliant!! Reduce waste and get food to hungry people. According to NPR, even people with leftovers at home participate and get hooked up with groups in their area who are signed up to receive.
So if you are in San Francisco, you can donate time by picking up from a business and delivering to a shelter or program. If you aren't in San Francisco, you can donate money to the program. You can donate $10 (this is what I did). If you donate $50 or more, you get a gift! A Food Runners apron or t-shirt. You can donate on their website or by check.
Another worthy cause that could be your good deed today!!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
So I make a commitment. I am going to be a nice driver.
I went out of my way to watch for people who needed to get into my lane. Who needed to pull out of a parking lot.
I helped out at least 4 cars.
Oddly, this was one of the hardest things I've done. Like everyone else, I am very eager to get home, get to my family, get away from all things work. I don't want to give up my spot in the line of traffic.
But it did feel good, although at times frustrating, to help someone else get an inch closer to home.
Monday, December 1, 2008
I hadn't until I read about it on some blog- I honestly forget which one now.
Kiva works with groups in lower economic countries. Specifically, Kiva works with individuals who have their own business and who need some financial assistance to get things up and running or to make improvements.
I read the story of a Tanzanian woman who makes cereal and needs money to buy more raw materials. Since her country doesn't view her as an equal citizen, she can't get a loan. So she works with Kiva and a financial lending partner. People can log in and sponsor her by loaning $25 (or more).
The individual pays back the money. And the lender can then loan that money to someone else.
The lending partners that are in these communities not only pass the money on to the entrepreneur, they also provide education, support, business advice, etc.
So it is money, education, empowerment.
Check it out!
And you can read more about Kiva here.
I'm in the process of reading through the loan applicants and will be selecting someone. $25 is manageable in my holiday budget.
Back on track today- back to posting daily updates of good deeds!!
I also need to focus more on daily gratitudes.