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Category Archives: Challenges

L is for lucky lotto tickets?

LI just left $1 scratch-off lottery tickets on five windshields. This is one Random Act of Kindness where I truly wish I could witness the outcome. The overall odds for this particular game are 1 in 4.71. So technically, one of my recipients should win something, even if it is just a $1 break-even prize. But what if one of those five people wins the $2000 top prize? What would his/her reaction be? Oh, to be a fly on the wall…

lotto

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In an attempt to overwrite all the negative feelings I have about April, I have made a pledge to complete 26 random acts of kindness this month. Reporting on these acts is the theme of my participation in this year’s April A to Z Challenge. If what you read here inspires you to commit your own RAoKs this month, please share what you’ve done in the comments. Together, we can rewrite April’s legacy!

If you’d like to check out how some other bloggers are responding to the A to Z Challenge, click here. Beware, there are 2083 participants at the time of this posting…I accept no responsibility for the hours you are likely to lose once you start browsing! 🙂

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Challenges, True Life

 

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K is for keeping the cobwebs at bay

KThere is nothing more depressing than going to the mailbox daily, absolutely convinced that today is going to be the day there will be some kind of envelope, any kind of envelope, addressed to you, only to find…nothing. Nothing but cobwebs. Again.

I first became acquainted with that daily letdown when I was in college, trooping to the mailroom from the dining hall after lunch each day, watching with envy as my roommates pulled piles of mail from their boxes and turned in little yellow slips at the window to collect care packages from home. At that stage of my life, I didn’t even have monthly bills or random junk mail to sweep away the cobwebs.

Now there are plenty of bills and piles of unsolicited junk mail waiting most days in the box at the end of the driveway. But there’s always a thrill when hidden among them is an envelope with a real stamp in the corner and a handwritten address across the front. Real mail. Real mail brings joy. Real mail shows that someone cares enough to take the time to drag out pen and paper to share their thoughts when they could have just as easily been banging away at a keyboard instead. Real mail shows that someone cares enough to spend…what is it now?…49 cents?…to reach out across the miles rather than hitting the SEND button for free. I love real mail.

mailboxSo did my grandma. After she moved from her own house into a retirement complex, she relished stopping at the mailbox in the front lobby after lunch each day. If she only pulled the latest Macy’s flyer from her box, her shoulders would sag ever so slightly in disappointment. To her, real mail meant that she hadn’t been stuffed away in a corner and forgotten by her friends and family. Real mail was her connection to the outside world when she was no longer independent enough to go out into it on her own. Real mail was love.

Grandma is gone now, but I think of the hundreds of elderly folks, just in my area, who are living in the same type of retirement complexes as she did. Folks who might not be able to go out much any more. Folks who might be far away from their loved ones. Folks who might have outlived most, if not all, of their friends. Folks who might be craving some real mail to show that they are not forgotten.

I got in contact with a friend who works in just such a community, and through some collaboration with the center’s director, she got me a list of residents who could use some real mail to clear out the cobwebs in their mailboxes. I am in the process of hand-writing notes to 18 residents, just so they can open their mailboxes later this month and pull out some real mail. It’ll be mail from a stranger, but I hope that the stamp in the corner and the handwritten address across the front will still bring a moment of joy.

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In an attempt to overwrite all the negative feelings I have about April, I have made a pledge to complete 26 random acts of kindness this month. Reporting on these acts is the theme of my participation in this year’s April A to Z Challenge. If what you read here inspires you to commit your own RAoKs this month, please share what you’ve done in the comments. Together, we can rewrite April’s legacy!

If you’d like to check out how some other bloggers are responding to the A to Z Challenge, click here. Beware, there are 2107 participants at the time of this posting…I accept no responsibility for the hours you are likely to lose once you start browsing! 🙂

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2014 in Challenges, True Life

 

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J is for just keep your mouth shut

JSometimes, the kindest words you can say are none at all.

I met a man at the poker table tonight who possessed nearly every negative personality trait I could name (and I won’t, because I’m still trying to be kind). I was offended several times during the half hour I spent in his company. I could have called him out on his bad behavior. I could have engaged in a verbal battle. I could have tried to make him feel as little as he’d made me feel.

I bit my tongue. (Note: This would have gone very differently had there been young children or older ladies present.)

I don’t know this guy’s story (although he dropped enough hints for me to know it’s not entirely a shiny, happy one). I don’t believe that some hard knocks in life give a person the right to be ugly to others. But I also don’t believe I have the right to judge that person. I may not have agreed with his words, his tone of voice, or his behavior, but it was not my place try to change him, especially since no one was getting hurt. I didn’t see how an attempt to smooth my ruffled feathers by opening my mouth was worth the risk of adding more to whatever burden he was already carrying.

I’m not sure how many people would consider my non-action tonight an act of kindness. However, I truly believe that if more of us kept our mouths shut more often, as a whole we’d eventually become less defensive, less argumentative, less confrontational, possibly even less physically violent. Kindness would ultimately fill the void. I’m willing to do my part toward that end goal…are you?

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In an attempt to overwrite all the negative feelings I have about April, I have made a pledge to complete 26 random acts of kindness this month. Reporting on these acts is the theme of my participation in this year’s April A to Z Challenge. If what you read here inspires you to commit your own RAoKs this month, please share what you’ve done in the comments. Together, we can rewrite April’s legacy!

If you’d like to check out how some other bloggers are responding to the A to Z Challenge, click here. Beware, there are 2127 participants at the time of this posting…I accept no responsibility for the hours you are likely to lose once you start browsing! 🙂

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2014 in Challenges, True Life

 

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I is for “I’ll get this one”

ITwo things you need to know about me before I start this tale. 1) I HATE running, and 2) six months ago, I eliminated almost all of the wheat from my diet (as in, I’ll still occasionally eat a chicken nugget from Chick-fil-A, but now consistently avoid pasta and order burgers in a lettuce wrap).

The hubby and I ran our first 5K on Sunday. Weeks ago, long before I had even worked up to two full miles of non-stop running, I was already plotting how we would celebrate if I managed to run the entire distance on race day. Being highly motivated by food rewards, especially “forbidden” ones, I decided that nothing less than a full French toast breakfast from Cracker Barrel (Warning: wheat, wheat, wheat) would appropriately mark such a momentous accomplishment.

Lying in bed Saturday night, picturing myself panting across the finish line the next morning, then immediately visualizing a fork guiding a bite of buttery, syrupy French toast to my mouth, I got to thinking about what random act of kindness I could perpetrate while we were out on Sunday. I came upon the idea of anonymously buying breakfast for a cute older couple, perhaps sending their waiter/waitress over with a note wishing them a happy Sunday in place of their check.

photoWell, Sunday came, the race was run (run, not walked…yay, me!), and French toast ensued. Cracker Barrel was filled to bursting, but nowhere in the entire restaurant could I find the cute older couple I had envisioned. So then I switched gears and began looking around for someone(s) who might be voted “least likely to have a stranger buy his (their) breakfast.” Bypassing the lovely family of eight at the big round table in the corner (I did set myself a budget for this month-long project), I spied a 30-something guy dining alone. Judging the book solely by its cover, I didn’t figure many people would voluntarily step up to do something kind for him..in fact, I rather felt like most would have crossed to the other side of the street if he’d been approaching on the sidewalk. I suspected that his build, choice of clothing, and number of visible tattoos would have immediately roused in the average Joe unease, distrust, and judgmental speculation about his personality and/or behavior. Unless some sixth sense is screaming at me, I tend to believe that everyone around me is inherently good, and I work under that assumption until they prove otherwise. No warning bells went off as I surreptitiously observed this guy’s interaction with his waiter, and I was convinced he was the one I wanted to treat to breakfast.

Happily stuffed to the gills with Momma’s French toast breakfast, I asked the waiter to bring me the lone guy’s bill along with our own. He was momentarily confused as I whispered that I did not want him to tell the man who in the dining room had paid for his breakfast. Trying to appear not the least bit interested while straining to hear the conversation, I peeked from the corner of my eye as the waiter told our fellow diner that his bill had already been taken care of and he was free to go enjoy his day, a message that had to be delivered more than once before it was believed. I hope he walked out into the bright Sunday morning feeling happy, and perhaps even considering how he might pay the RAoK forward.

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In an attempt to overwrite all the negative feelings I have about April, I have made a pledge to complete 26 random acts of kindness this month. Reporting on these acts is the theme of my participation in this year’s April A to Z Challenge. If what you read here inspires you to commit your own RAoKs this month, please share what you’ve done in the comments. Together, we can rewrite April’s legacy!

If you’d like to check out how some other bloggers are responding to the A to Z Challenge, click here. Beware, there are 2165 participants at the time of this posting…I accept no responsibility for the hours you are likely to lose once you start browsing! 🙂

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2014 in Challenges, True Life

 

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H is for helping a dinosaur’s dream come true

 

H

I have good intentions. Many more good intentions than hours in the day. So of all the blogs I’ve chosen to follow over the last year and a half, there are only one or two that I read daily (I binge-read the rest on the weekends, if I have time). One of those I keep up with is Rarasaurwho also happens to be participating in this year’s A to Z Challenge. (If you haven’t been to check out her blog, you really, really must. She epitomizes positivity, something I cling to desperately this time of year!)

For her “D” post last Friday, Rara posted her delicate dinosaur dream…for her 30th birthday, 140 days from now, she would like to have assembled a collection of images, taken around the world, that proclaim #rawrLove. 

Shoot, I thought. That’s simple enough! No reason I can’t help her dream come true

I wanted an image that was unmistakably Fredericksburg. There’s a pretty cool Welcome to Fredericksburg sign in town, but as I was out and about during the evening rush hour and it is not in a location conducive to stopping for a photo, I needed a back-up plan. I could have gone to a Civil War battlefield…Fredericksburg runneth over with them, but I’m not sure that particular setting would be in keeping with #rawrLove.

photo 2

So I opted for our famous ice cream/custard stand, Carl’s. Opened in 1947, Carl’s has been tempting residents and visitors with its three flavors (chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry) for nearly seven decades.  It is most definitely an iconic landmark around these parts, with lines in the summertime stretching completely around the perimeter of the building. Featured regularly in national publications and spotlighted on several TV shows, Carl’s was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005, and has a loyal following of out-of-towners as well. Everybody loves ice cream, so I thought it’d be the perfect local spot to catch some #rawrLove!

So, Rara, I’ll be emailing Grayson Queen some #rawrLove as requested, and I hope you have a fabulous birthday in 140 days!

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Well, April’s gone and done it again. This time with a mass stabbing at a school outside of Pittsburgh. I’m trying really hard to dwell on the darkness. I hate April, I hate April. There, I’ve said it. Moving on.

In an attempt to overwrite all the negative feelings I have about April, I have made a pledge to complete 26 random acts of kindness this month. Reporting on these acts is the theme of my participation in this year’s April A to Z Challenge. If what you read here inspires you to commit your own RAoKs this month, please share what you’ve done in the comments. Together, we can rewrite April’s legacy!

If you’d like to check out how some other bloggers are responding to the A to Z Challenge, click here. Beware, there are 2165 participants at the time of this posting…I accept no responsibility for the hours you are likely to lose once you start browsing! 🙂

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2014 in Challenges, True Life

 

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G is for gym snacks

GSometimes when I’ve finished a workout at the gym, I am so weak and shaky by the time I get back to the locker room that I hope to open my locker and find a snack in there instead of just my towel and shower shoes. I got to thinking that I may not be the only one who’s had that experience, so this morning I left a few goodies for someone to find.

photo 2

 

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In an attempt to overwrite all the negative feelings I have about April, I have made a pledge to complete 26 random acts of kindness this month. Reporting on these acts is the theme of my participation in this year’s April A to Z Challenge. If what you read here inspires you to commit your own RAoKs this month, please share what you’ve done in the comments. Together, we can rewrite April’s legacy!

If you’d like to check out how some other bloggers are responding to the A to Z Challenge, click here. Beware, there are 2181 participants at the time of this posting…I accept no responsibility for the hours you are likely to lose once you start browsing! 🙂

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2014 in Challenges, True Life

 

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F is for fifty cents

F

I’m that person. The one who comes home after shopping or dining out and goes to the website specified on my receipt to complete the brief survey for a chance to win a $XXXX shopping spree. I’ve never won. Not one red cent.

But I recently found a way to ensure that someone wins when I do a survey. Every time I complete a brief questionnaire at SurveyMonkeyContribute, fifty cents goes to the charity of my choice.

surveymonkey

surveymonkeydonationsIn the week that I’ve been a member, I’ve completed four surveys. My email inbox is not flooded with survey requests (appropriate surveys are selected for me based on a few basic questions I answered during the registration process) so I don’t feel hassled and harassed. I haven’t done a survey that cost me more than two minutes of my time.

So far, I’ve earned $2.00 for Special Olympics. It’s not a ton of money. But it is $2.00 more than they would have had if I hadn’t done the surveys. It’s a project that I can easily continue for the foreseeable future. It’s a project you could undertake if you have internet access, a few spare minutes a few times a week, and a desire to help others. If your $2.00 and his $2.00 and her $2.00 joined my $2.00, we could really begin to make a difference.

In the words of Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

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In an attempt to overwrite all the negative feelings I have about April, I have made a pledge to complete 26 random acts of kindness this month. Reporting on these acts is the theme of my participation in this year’s April A to Z Challenge. If what you read here inspires you to commit your own RAoKs this month, please share what you’ve done in the comments. Together, we can rewrite April’s legacy!

If you’d like to check out how some other bloggers are responding to the A to Z Challenge, click here. Beware, there are 2187 participants at the time of this posting…I accept no responsibility for the hours you are likely to lose once you start browsing! 🙂

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 7, 2014 in Challenges, True Life

 

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