April is Autism Awareness Month!

April is Autism Awareness Month!

Autism, as defined by Google, is:
1. A mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships, and in…
2. A mental condition in which fantasy dominates over reality, as a symptom of schizophrenia and other disorders.

This mental condition affects 1 in 88 children and it is truly a struggle for these children and their families. I have been so fortunate to meet some of the most amazing kids with autism and they are so incredible! Many of them see the world in such a way that we, as “normal” people, do not!

Today is World Autism Day, so I’m wearing blue to support the children & families of those with autism. I also am wearing blue in honor of the educators, teachers aids, school staff, nurses and doctors who work hard everyday to help find a cure! Lastly, I’m wearing blue in honor of the following children who have touched my life and made me want to know more about this mental condition: Joel, Toby, Claudia and Seline!

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It’s bitter outside!

It's bitter outside!

I woke up today feeling extremely lucky. I rolled over in my warm bed, walked downstairs to a warm living room, and when it was time to go to work, ran outside to warm up my car before it was time for me to leave. It feels like it’s -8*F outside…. it’s so bitter outside today! A 2-hr delay wasn’t enough!!

Everyday, I try to remember how lucky/fortunate/blessed I am to have everything I have. I may not thank God for it (which I should!), but I acknowledge that there are many others who don’t have what I do. My parents always taught me, “if you have it, share it” and as a child, that was difficult. I am the only girl in my family and never wanted to share with my younger brothers. As an adult, I understand the phrase to mean something deeper… I am blessed by God and because of that, I should share my blessings with others.

On my way to work today, I had a few extra minutes after dropping my brother off at school, so I stopped at Target. There wasn’t anything specific I was looking for, but as I walked down the main aisle, I saw that gloves, hats, and a few scarves were between 30-70% off. I can’t resist a sale, so I turned and made my way to the display. None of the items on sale tickled my [personal] fancy, but I thought, “man, this is a good deal!” I ended up buying 8 hats and 4 2-packs of gloves. It totaled around $15, but that’s not bad at all! I plan to pass 4 out to any homeless men/women I meet today and donate the other 4 to the school where I work.

I also stopped at the Lowe’s down the street and picked up some hand-warmers they had on sale in a value-pack. The employee at the self-checkout had to come help me put in all my singles, so we started to chat for a bit. She was telling me that she buys the hand-warmers and puts them in her shoes. I politely told her that I don’t work outside or spend much time outside so I wasn’t buying them for myself, but for the homeless. She was so surprised and said “Oh my goodness. That’s an amazing thing you’re doing!” — I always feel ashamed when I tell people about what I do or when I get caught doing something, or when I’m taking a quick picture because I don’t do it to get the recognition or praise. Then I think about it and if I mention it to someone, maybe they’ll do their own random act of kindness. My mission is to pay it forward, not only in my life, but to inspire others to do the same. If others are inspired to brighten someone else’s day, how many days could be turned around? Think about it…. then do something good!

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” – Matthew 5:8

13 Cookies to Celebrate 2013

13 Cookies to Celebrate 2013

Many of my RAKs have been done anonymously… and I was thinking last night (while baking cookies), I should start spreading kindness face-to-face. Today, I recruited my baby (not so small) brother to come with me…. mainly, because I wanted to show him how fun it is to brighten someone’s day and plus, I needed someone to help document my RAKs. After a long morning of unsuccessful attempts, we “scored big” on this one. I baked cookies last night and put 13 aside, in honor of the new year, to give to someone today. I wanted to drop them off at the post office, but because it’s New Years, it wasn’t open.  I drove around trying to find someone to give them to….no one was walking outside, until we found this man! He was minding his own business, pushing a trash can outside in the cold weather. Who has to push a trash can outside on the first day of 2013? Well, I pulled over and had my brother get out, wish him a Happy New Year, and give him my fabulous cookies. I was so jealous I didn’t get out myself and give him the cookies because you would have thought my brother handed him a thousand dollars the way his face lit up.

It’s nice to be an anonymous RAK-er, but this man’s face is what doing random acts of kindness is all about! Amazing feeling!!

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Fresh Start

Fresh Start

I’m not one for making new years resolutions, but I’ve always felt like “why wait until December 31st to realize you want to make a change?” — when I started this movement (for a lack of a better word) to spread kindness and inspire/encourage others to do the same, it was close to the end of this year. It could be easily mistaken for a new years resolution, but I didn’t want to wait to start.

Nevertheless, it’s never too late…or too early…to make a change to better your life. But in the spirit of NYE 2012, here’s to 2013 and your fresh start. If you’re going to make a change, let it positively affect others.

– The Kindness Rule

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Cookie House Night

Cookie House Night

The school I work at held a fundraiser for the PTO called “Cookie House Night.” It costs somewhere in the ballpark of $10-$15 for students to come (with parents) to the school and decorate Gingerbread Houses. Almost all of my students received free or reduced lunches and while many might say they could afford the fundraiser, many of their parents could not afford to take off work and come to the school so that their children could participate. One of my staff members shared this story with her daughter and she was so moved. She and her friends went out and purchased 10 “Gingerbread Mini Village Kits” for our students so that they would be able to have the same opportunity to share in the holiday joy as many of their peers. I couldn’t believe how generous they were!

There is nothing I could do, but say thank you and have my students make cards to thank our generous donors! This is truly inspiring!

I hope you can share kindness during this season… and really all the time!

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People Who Inspire… #1

Here is the first post (of many) in a series called “People Who Inspire.” I will share other inspiring people’s stories of how they spread kindness wherever they are. Also as originally promised, I am posting pictures of people who inspire me and who are also engaging in random acts of kindness in honor of the lives lost in the Sandy Hook School Shooting.

This greeted me this morning on my mini-feed and I was so excited to see someone else joining in on this amazing movement! I asked her if I could use her post, and because she’s so awesome, she agreed! Thanks 🙂

If that doesn’t encourage you, I don’t know what will…. but I’ll keep trying!  My awesome

chocolate for mailman

Facebook friend even sent me this picture of her 2nd act: chocolate for the mailman.

Coincidentally, I also did something for my mailman today. I bought him a Panera gift card and wrote a note to him, thanking him for always neatly delivering my mail. Our mail always comes in a gumband and never just thrown in the mail slot. He takes the time for us and that deserves recognition and thanks! (No picture because right as I was going to tape it to my door, he was there delivering mail. His face was priceless and full of gratitude. It was great!!)

This woman inspires because she 1)  literally works for a non-profit that coordinates volunteering and community service efforts,  2) has gone out of her way and busy days to try to inspire others to be kind to one another, and 3) is ALWAYS so bright and cheerful! It takes a great person to always be happy and see the good in things and she’s that kind of person. Thanks ***** for being the person you are, spending your life helping others, and allowing me to share your posts/pictures!

RAK Movie Night

RAK Movie Night

I went around my part of town, with my NEW “RAK’ed” cards that just came in the mail, and attached them to packages of popcorn. I taped them to outdoor RedBox machines…. let me just say, this was a little difficult and took 3 days to tape 6 packages of popcorn because someone was ALWAYS either standing or parked (and sitting in their car) outside the RedBox machines. Some acts I’d like to perform anonymously and this is one of them! I think it’s better to just leave them and imagine the recipients’ faces. Anyway, I hope 6 individuals, couples, or families enjoy their movies!!

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