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P is for praise in unexpected places

PpraiseI’m kind of stuck on the theme of recognizing those who work hard in thankless jobs this week. I thanked my mailman on Wednesday. I’ve also thanked a few people whose names I don’t know, but without whose hard work, life would be a lot less pleasant.

I put a little thank you sticky note on the janitor’s checksheet in the bathroom at work. Another between empty trays stacked on top of the trash can at a local fast food restaurant. One more on the handle of a broom propped in the corner at the Costco.

Would you like a little unexpected recognition for your hard work? Who could you thank today?

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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 2051 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 18, 2014 in Challenges, True Life

 

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O is for “One for you, one for me…”

OSimple RAoK today, but so fun to see the reaction of the recipient!

All I did was purchase one extra Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg than I needed (okay, I didn’t technically NEED any of them) and hand it to the cashier as she gave me my change.

Her facial expressions changed like a slide show: confusion, hesitation, more confusion, tentative happiness, full-on joy.

So much fun! 🙂

eggs

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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 2051 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 17, 2014 in Challenges, True Life

 

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N is for noting a job well done

NIn my opinion, there are a lot of jobs in this world where you only get feedback if you’ve screwed something up. You never hear about all the things you’ve done well.

quiI think mail carriers fall into this category. They can deliver hundreds of letters, bills, catalogs, magazines, and packages in pristine condition, and no one ever thinks to say thanks. But let one magazine arrive with a torn cover or one piece of the neighbor’s mail find its way into the wrong box, and suddenly the USPS complaint line lights up with a fury. Gosh, that’s got to be horrible for workplace morale–I bet reprimanded carriers drive their routes fuming and seething. Not that legitimate concerns shouldn’t be voiced, but honestly, is a torn magazine cover really worth a formal complaint? Do you really want to antagonize the person who is delivering your biweekly paychecks?

I happen to have an awesome mail carrier, so this morning, a random Wednesday in April, I let him know how much the hubby and I appreciate his hard work with a note and a blueberry muffin in the mailbox. I followed that up with a formal compliment via the USPS website. I don’t know if praise filters down through the system to individual employees (I probably should have gone to the local post office instead), but I wanted to be sure someone higher up knew what a great job he was doing. Everyone deserves a pat on the back once in a while, don’t you think?

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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 16, 2014 in Challenges, True Life

 

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M is for making eye contact

MWe’re all busy. We’ve got things to do, places to go, people to see.

A lot of times we’re so busy we forget to see the people we meet while we’re doing things and going places. The cashier handing back our change at Starbucks. The guy sweeping up the trash around the pumps at the gas station. The elderly woman and her little dog slowly approaching us on the sidewalk. The little kid blocking up every single aisle in the grocery store. So many times we cast our eyes right past the folks who are moving in our circles but who aren’t IN our circles. As a result, many people in our society are given the impression that they are somehow inferior. They are demoralized each time someone looks through them or past them as if their existence does not matter. Eventually, they begin to believe what they live.

eyeballIn general, I am a big fan of making eye contact and do so fairly consistently, but I’ve made a concerted effort this month to make sure that every single person I encounter knows that I see him or her. Old or young, medical professional or busboy, clean and polished or dirty and ragged, I’ve acknowledged them all with at least a direct look and a smile, and when the circumstances warrant, a friendly comment or short conversation. I’ve noticed several people become more animated right before my eyes…their posture straightens, their eyes brighten, their faces relax. And suddenly they are the ones initiating eye contact and making conversation with strangers. It spreads like ripples on a pond.

Random acts of kindness don’t have to take a lot of planning. They needn’t require substantial financial resources. They can be as simple and as meaningful as looking someone straight in the eye and sending the message: “You matter.”

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In an attempt to overwrite all the negative feelings I have about April, especially today, on the 8th anniversary of my dad’s unexpected death, 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 15, 2014 in Challenges, True Life

 

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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

 
4 Comments

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

 

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