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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

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

 

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E is for early Easter goodies

E

photo 5As near as I can tell, anyone who joins the security force that mans the front gate of our neighborhood and patrols its streets has agreed to become a community punching bag. It must be in the employment contract that each officer agrees to take the blame (via the neighborhood facebook page):

  • any time a resident forgets to call the gate ahead of time to pre-authorize guest access
  • any time said resident cannot be reached to give authorization for a guest waiting at the gate
  • any time said waiting guest’s car creates a traffic jam at the gate

In addition, every officer apparently also agrees that the following items are his/her fault:

  • children wandering the streets unsupervised
  • items not turned in to Lost & Found
  • children venturing out onto frozen ponds
  • dogs barking
  • cars speeding and/or running stop signs
  • the missing tennis court keys
  • noisy neighborhood parties

I’m not saying these folks never make mistakes. We all do. But there are way more things they do right than wrong, and it’s unfair that the focus is only on their rare goof-ups. Why should they want to lift a finger to protect our safety when all they get is a raft of crap for their efforts?

Maybe a thank-you note and a basket of Easter goodies will let them know that their hard work is not unnoticed in the community.

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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 2237 participants at the time of this posting (the numbers are going down as the challenge moderators weed out duplicate blogs, non-participants, and broken links from the list). 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 5, 2014 in Challenges, True Life

 

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D is for dayglo daisies

DI wasn’t brave enough to wander through a parking lot, tucking flowers under the wiper blades on strangers’ windshields. I figured there was a pretty good chance someone would think I was vandalizing the cars or fixin’ to steal them and would call the cops.

So I opted to leave a bright, happy daisy on all 15 mailboxes on my street. I did not open any mailboxes, merely lashed the flower to the door handle with a rubber band, so hopefully I won’t be arrested for tampering with the mail. I don’t need a new home, new friends, or a new job! 🙂

mail

__________________________________________________________________

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 2227 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 4, 2014 in Challenges, True Life

 

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C is for compassion

 

C

Got-Compassion-150x150I hate that I feel like a simple act of compassion is now considered a random act of kindness in our society rather than a typical response upon seeing someone in distress. But that notion was reinforced just this afternoon while I was at work.

I man the front desk of the tutoring center at the local community college. This afternoon, a student came in and sat down in front of me. The way he sank into the chair was my first clue that something was wrong. Then he looked at me with reddened eyes and fought to control the trembling in his lip as he apologetically canceled his appointment for later in the day because “stuff” was going on at home that he needed to take care of. Watching his struggle to keep his composure was torture for me, because I adhere strictly to a no one cries alone policy. Being separated by the desk, I was unable to act on my first instinct to lay a hand on his shoulder (or *gasp* give him a hug). So, blinking furiously and hoping that my voice wouldn’t crack, I did the second thing that came to mind–I asked, “Is there anything we can do?” Of all the things I could have said, this was obviously the last thing he expected to hear; the shock in his eyes was unmistakable.

compassionWhy? Why is an offer of compassionate assistance, even from a virtual stranger, so unexpected? What happened to “walk a mile in someone’s shoes” and “do unto others as you would have done unto you”? When did a simple act of human decency become the exception rather than the rule?

I didn’t really expect for the student to answer yes to my question. If he had, I would have certainly done everything in my power to meet his request. But even being 99.9 percent sure he’d say no, it would have been cold and inconsiderate and totally beyond me not to offer aid.

I don’t know if hearing that someone cared helped the student at all. I only know that I wouldn’t have been able to sleep tonight if I hadn’t reached out. I’ll still be worried whether he’s okay as I drift off later, but at least I won’t lie awake regretting that I missed an opportunity to show a little kindness.

__________________________________________________________________

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 2266 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 3, 2014 in Challenges, True Life

 

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