TAKE THE KINDNESS TREE CHALLENGE TODAY! COMMIT TO ONE EVERY WEEK!
1. COOKIES WITH KINDNESS: Bake any kind of homemade cookies. Something you enjoy will allow you to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Give 6 cookies to a neighbor, co-worker, or friend. When they ask, "What's this for?" Reply, "Just something kind. Maybe you can pass it on." If you're not a baker, store bought treats are just as sweet.
2. THANK OUR HEROS: In honor of my father, who retired from the Baltimore City Police Department several years ago and has since passed AND every other GOOD cop, please write a THANK CARD to your local department. You don't need to say much in addition to THANK YOU!
3. SUPPER FOR SUPERHEROES: Honoring some of the most courageous people I know. Our firefighters! Consider one of the following:Deliver some treats to your local fire station. I hear they love food. :)Consider having some pizzas delivered on an evening they run drills. Stop by and personally present a homemade lasagna or special something. Store bought treats are great too.(You may want to contact the fire house if you're planning a large dinner, they'd appreciate a heads up and they won't cook that evening. At least that's what my fire station told me.)If you aren't sure which fire station serves you, look it up. Stop by! Tell them thank you! Let them know we appreciate all they do. Feel free to take some photos and share on our Facebook page! If you have a great idea for a challenge we welcome your ideas and thank you for contributing.
4. VALENTINES FOR VETERANS: Thank our veterans for their service and sacrifices. Make some homemade Valentine's Day cards and send them to your local VA hospital. You can find one near you by searching here: http://www.va.gov/landing2_locations.htm.
5. THANK OUR TEACHERS: Their impact is often forgotten but their impression is often unforgettable. Most of us remember that one teacher. That teacher that made us look at ourselves a little differently. That teacher that pushed us beyond our limits. Well, it's time to thank them. Look one up. Find them. Send them a thank you note. Tell them how they made a difference. If you have children, maybe it's time to tell that one teacher how, because of them, your son is now interested in art, math, or reading. They are out there and they deserve to know their hard work and the personal time put in is noticed and pays off. Thank a teacher this week! If a card isn't your thing, check out this link for creative ideas: http://teaching.about.com/od/ParentalInvolvement/fl/Twenty-Five-Ways-to-Say-Thank-You-to-Teachers.htm
6. MEANINGFUL MESSAGES MATTER: This week, focus on messaging those you haven't be in touch with in awhile. Our favorite is a handwritten note but if that doesn't float your boat, commit to a text a day! Send a positive message to someone every day. Tell them you are thinking of them. Tell them you miss their smile. Reminisce about a good time. Thank them for being there. Whether you choose a card, a text, a tweet, or a Post It, your message is needed.
7. COINS THAT COUNT: Drop a few quarters on your way to work. Tape an envelope on a vending machine with a few extra coins inside. Write on the outside, "take what you need or leave a little something for someone else". A tiny envelope can provide so many to feel like they are doing something good, while others enjoy a treat when they otherwise couldn't. Did you ever need just one more nickel? Little things have a long impact. The quarter you dropped on the street might just make a child jump for joy! If you are feeling really generous, leave a dollar bill on a playground. Kids love finding pennies. Heads up and shiny! Leave a few.
8. BILLS IN BOOKS: Found this great idea on the internet and just added a few twists. It just might be my new favorite! Visit the library and hide some dollar bills in a few children's books or any books for that matter. You can also do this when your child brings home a book from their school library. Tuck a dollar in the book and leave the reader a nice treasure. I'd love to hear about this one, so please send us your stories!
9. HELP THE HUNGRY: There are food banks in every state in need of food to feed the hungry all year long. Google your local food bank and make a donation today. Many food banks are now connected to the internet and allow you to purchase food online. It's simple. You don't even need to leave your house. I'm a strong supporter of our food bank here in Maryland. If you'd like to support one or two of the 530,000 Marylanders that are currently living below the poverty line and experiencing hunger, here's a place to start:
10. SHOWER A LIFE WITH TREATS: Whether flowers, chocolates, or a nice wine, consider giving someone special something special to brighten their day. It is often the little things that add such joy and let someone know you thought about them. If your budget doesn't allow for a purchase, pay someone a compliment. You just might improve their day.
11. LEND A HELPING HAND: Assisting an elderly woman to cross the street, helping a woman with her groceries, helping an elderly man struggling up the curb. These are all examples of kindness I've observed and/or performed. It's very easy to think about others when you open your mind to the world around you. Focus a day or a week on others. We often get very busy with ourselves that we don't take in where we are needed. Be aware of those around you. Lend a hand whenever you can. Don't ask, just DO! Be exhausted from kindness.
12. HELP THE HOMELESS: Some call them Blessing Bags others Care Packages. Whatever name you choose, they are needed. First heard of this idea through a friend who located it on the internet several years ago. Sorry I can't credit the person who came up with the idea but it's great! If you're not comfortable with offering money to the homeless, consider a bag with some essential body products and treats. Grab a large Ziploc bag and place things like a bar of soap, granola bars, toothpaste, toothbrush, band aids, deodorant, bottle water, packages of crackers. and other snacks. Get creative. Get kind. Make a difference. Travel size products are great and affordable.
13. SEASONS GREETINGS: This challenge comes from my then 7 year old son. He came up with the name too. Pretty clever and thoughtful. He makes me proud. He would like everyone to say either Hi or Hello to everyone you see for one entire day. I like it! Can we do it? Let's try. Get it, Seasons Greetings? First day of Spring. :) He is a sparkle in my eye for sure.
14. KINDNESS WITH KISSES: To honor one of my all time favorite treats and to spread kindness, your mission is to purchase a bag of Hershey kisses and leave one in random places until they are all gone. Leave them places in your home for loved ones to find. Leave them on the desks of co-workers. Visiting a friend or relative? Leave one for them to discover later. Give one to the grocery store clerk. Get creative and imagine the impact a little piece of chocolate wrapped in foil! We would love to see and share pictures of the places you leave them. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
15. UMBRELLAS WITH A PURPOSE: Spring on the east coast brings showers. Consider purchasing an extra umbrella to lend to a co-worker. If you're feeling really generous, consider purchasing a few and give them away when you notice someone in need.
16. SPRING CLEANING PROVIDES KIND OPPORTUNITY: It's a great time of year to clear our minds by clearing out our stuff. Consider donating household items and clothing to your local charity. This is great any time of year. We love https://sneakerimpact.com/ to keep your sneakers out of landfills.
17. HONORING MOTHERS: Some think there are a few 'Hallmark' holidays that should be celebrated more than once a year. Many believe Mother's Day to be one of the those. I happen to agree. I also believe that celebrating motherhood or impressive parenting should always be recognized. With that said, honor 'A' mother sometime this month. Send her a note, send her a personalized gift, a photo you have of her and her kids, a gift card for a massage or cleaning service or just a card to say you recognize her strength. Flowers are always an amazing gift. Consider having some delivered to the lucky mom's home or work. The goal with this challenge is to make it count! If your mother has passed, I'm sure you know another who you could honor in her memory.
18. VIGOROUS VOLUNTEER: There is no better time in our country to show unity and assist with a good cause. Many states have their own volunteer connection website. Check yours and sign up for something. Get a group together or just go solo. Share your pictures on social media to inspire others. Send us your photos. We will gladly display them. Here is a helpful site: https://www.marylandnonprofits.org/volunteer/ What are you waiting for? Set an example.
19. YOU MATTER MOST: The kindness you put into the world is worthless if you aren't treating yourself the same. You really can't take care of others without first tending to yourself. Like the emergency lecture you receive on an airplane, "Please place the mask on yourself before tending to others". Well, this life is your oxygen mask. It's time to treat yourself to something you desire. Maybe it's as simple as a quiet hour. A concert or sporting event. There must be something you want to do but have made 50 excuses since the beginning of the year. Now is the time to make it happen. Because you matter most. Kindness to yourself will naturally spread to those around you. Do it. You deserve it.
20. CARE FOR A CAUSE: Most of us have been impacted in some way by a devastating disease. Whether we have been touched by some sort of cancer or something else, we have given our time and or money. Your challenge this week is to learn about a new cause. Maybe something that touched someone else that you haven't taken the time to learn about or even donate a few dollars. In honor of a friend who lost her sister to Lupus, I dedicate this challenge to you. Your loss and story taught me about a disease I had never heard of. It is fitting that it's Lupus Awareness month, so if you can't think of another disease to research check out www.lupus.org to learn more or even donate a few dollars. As human beings, we know we don't need to experience something first hand to care about it. We just need to learn about it to care. We welcome any stories of compassion along your journey. Send them to email@example.com
21. PAY IT FORWARD: An oldie but a goodie. Consider the next time you are in line for food, purchasing the meal or beverage of the person behind you. There's always the option of purchasing a gift card for that establishment and handing it to someone walking in as you're walking out. A simple message of "Pay it forward" with the hand off is an effective way to start a wave of kindness!
22. GIVE A GUEST A GIFT: Forget about hostess gifts. The next party you host provide your guests with a small takeaway. Consider for female guests a small potted flower, herb or succulent. Most home improvement stores have ideas for reasonable prices. You can also purchase several nail polishes or lip glosses and allow them to pick from a bag. For guests that enjoy a unique bottle of beer or wine is always appreciated. Something practical for a fella is a nice choice. Consider a drink coozie or beer glass or coffee mug filled with pretzels or chocolates. Pick up a few ideas on your next shopping venture and you'll be prepared for the next gathering. Most of all, enjoy giving.
23. KINDNESS CONTINUED: Becoming an organ donor gives you the chance to make a difference for many families. Learn about it before you dismiss the possibility. If you're interested in learning more, this is a great resource: http://www.organdonor.gov I'm proud that my driver's license reminds me of the good I might pass on. How about you?
24. HONORING FATHERS: Men are tough. Some may have you think they don't want to be thanked or recognized for their role as a Dad. Hogwash! Any man can father a child but it takes someone special to be a Daddy. I believe that celebrating fatherhood or impressive parenting should always be recognized. With that said, honor a father sometime this month. If you are a son, honor your father by being better than he was/is. No matter how great.
If your father has passed, I'm sure you know another whom you could honor in his memory. If your father is living and you haven't reached out lately, regardless of the reason, just pick up the phone. Often we don't realize the role our Daddy plays until it's too late. Take it from me. I know.
25. BE THE CHANGE: Get inspired. Do something. Remember that words spoken cannot be taken back. Make an effort to find the good. I found several stories that might help get you started: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/14/people-fight-against-hate_n_4571211.html . Bad things happen and bad people will always exist but WE out number them by a landslide. Continue to spread love and happiness. You CAN make a difference. What are you waiting for?
26. TOP TIPPER: This one seems to be a favorite of many. When you can, over tip. I mean REALLY over tip. If you have a server that really made your service fantastic, give them a $50 tip for a $20 check. If you can, give more, try it. Do it just once this year, if you can. I realize this one requires a budget that many of us may not have but the impact it can have is magical. Wait for just the right server. Consider writing a message "Pay It Forward" on the bottom of the receipt. Leave a Kindness Tree Card too! We love the idea of getting a group of people together who all agree to leave extra. Together we are mighty.
27. INHALE GOODNESS: It takes effort. When you feel overwhelmed, consider reading a story of kindness to lift you. Please visit: https://www.rd.com/article/kindness-strangers/ and enjoy.
28. SUMMER FUN: After visiting the community pool an idea came to me. Purchase a few extra pool toys and leave them for others.
29. 9 NANAS INSPIRE OTHERS: If you haven't heard the story of the 9 Nanas, now is the time to get inspired by the power of kindness and its domino effect. Check out the story here: https://littlethings.com/lifestyle/the-9-nanas-bake-secret-good-deeds After you finish reading, think about what YOU can do. Think about a gift you could send. Think about an amazing message you could leave. Everyone knows someone that needs a little something. Be that something. So, here's the challenge. Instead of a girls night or a guys night or even a family game night, pick a night of the month to deliver something special to someone or a family you don't know. Leave your care package on a doorstep or a car windshield. Do it as a group and keep your secret in your group. Isn't this exciting?
30. 30 HUGS: Not everyone will be up for this one but those that are, enjoy! Your challenge is to give 30 hugs in 30 days to 30 different people. No cheating. GO!
31. SUPPLIES FOR SMILES: In August or throughout the year, consider back to school time and many students don't arrive with their needed supplies due to hardship. Well, you can help! Many stores like Target host supply lists for local schools, others you can obtain directly from their website. Consider purchasing enough supplies for one student and deliver them to the school. Many schools will be open soon. Consider delivering some school supplies that will surely bring smiles.
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32. SHARE A SMILE: See how many smiles are returned when you give one first. A smile is free and very powerful. Read more about the power of a smile and pass them on: https://blog.bufferapp.com/the-science-of-smiling-a-guide-to-humans-most-powerful-gesture
33. LEAVE NOTHING BEHIND: Inspired by my family vacation. Wherever life takes you, whether in the mountains, on trails, or in the sand, by the sea, be sure to leave the earth as you found it and just let it BE. Consider taking an empty bag with you during your travels and pick up what others rudely left behind. Each of us can make a huge impact on our environment. Consider supporting organizations like 4Ocean
34. Special Delivery: With the COVID19 pandemic, many people chose to spread kindness by leaving care packages on porches for friends and strangers to lift others. Keep it going.
35. Flowers for Friends: I can't think of a spot that doesn't look more beautiful with a bouquet. Give some to a friend, neighbor or better yet, pick up some for yourself. Kindness is best when served with a flower. :) Plant some seeds!
36. CHALK THAT TALKS: Inspired by a photograph a teacher posted after the first day of school. Decorate sidewalks in front of libraries, schools and other public places with sidewalk chalk delivering messages of kindness. Here a few message ideas: "SMILE", "YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL", "YOU MATTER", "TODAY IS A GREAT DAY", "BELIEVE IN YOURSELF", I BELIEVE IN YOU &"HAVE A GREAT DAY". We would love you to take a few photos and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share on our site. If you would like to remain anonymous we will honor that. Of course this idea is ideal for nice weather so check the forecast to ensure your messages are enjoyed for days. An evening during the week or a Sunday afternoon are perfect times to spread some joy. Let's see if we can get this to go around the world during the month of September!
37: LOOK FOR AND THANK THE HELPERS: Mr. Rogers tells a story about his mother telling him to focus on the helpers whenever there is a tragedy. What a wonderful thing to remember and teach our children in this world full of negative media. This challenge, like most, is easy, thank a helper today. Stop into a fire station and say thank you. Stop in a police station and tell them thank you. Tell your nurse friends you appreciate their caring gift to others. Do you know a First Responder volunteer? Thank them. This is really easy, focus on the good. There is a lot out there.
View the video of Mr. Rogers here: https://youtu.be/-LGHtc_D328
"If you look for the helpers, you'll know there is hope." ~Mr. Fred Rogers
38. 10 Messages in 10 DAYS!: Thanks to a suggestion from a Facebook follower, please consider sending kind messages to 10 people in 10 days. Post it on their Facebook wall if you have an account or text them a thank you or thoughtful message if not. Do it now and create a smile.
39. SIGNALS FOR SANITY: This challenge, while the title may make you chuckle, there is a lot to be said for common courtesy in the car. When driving or biking, follow the rules of the road. Use your signals to notify other drivers of your intentions, not the middle finger ;) Common courtesy on the road goes a very long way. Many people spend more time commuting than they do with their family. Think about letting another driver merge in front of you. Think about moving to the left of the merge lane to let those entering an interstate a safe transition. Think about using your blinker when changing lanes or turning. I'm pretty sure that is their intention. Think about using the left lane to pass only, not to travel in. Being courteous to others might make your day a little less stressful too.
40. GIVE IT UP: Ever wonder how different the world would be if everyone gave up that prime parking spot for the one a little further from the door? Okay, maybe it wouldn't be that different but we don't know until we try. ;) Next time, let the person behind you have it. On a crowded subway or bus? Let someone else have your seat! Little things can make a huge impact.
41. SUPPORT A CLUB: To honor Mr. Chester Jackson, who was featured on many news threads because he builds bicycles for needy kids in his spare time. Unfortunately, thieves broke in and stole bikes that were ready to be given away. Mr. Jackson's community came together and donated a lot of bikes to keep his good deeds moving. Watch the feature on TODAY here. Consider learning more about and donating to the local Boys and Girls Club in your area. Click here to learn more: http://www.bgca.org
42. REACH OUT AND CALL SOMEONE: Alexander Graham Bell might be disappointed or thrilled by the changes made to his invention. To honor him, call instead of text. That's right. Use the phone for how it was intended. Call someone you haven't spoken to in awhile. You just might feel good about it. :) Did you know that while we give credit to Mr. Bell, Antonio Meucci, an Italian immigrant, began developing the design of a talking telegraph or telephone in 1849?
43. THANK OUR EVERYDAY HEROS: Do you know a nurse? How about an EMT? Do you know anyone who puts themselves before others on a daily basis? I'm sure you do, so tell them they're appreciated! Tell them what they do matters. Feeling extra kind? Write them a note. :)
44. Support A Kickstarter: Find something unique you believe in and put your money into making it come alive. Search the KICKSTARTER website and find a cause to support.
45. BREATHE DEEPLY: This may seem trivial to some or even silly, but I think we, including myself often take the power of breath for granted. I've found myself needing to breathe deeply lately. As my one-of-a-kind t-shirt design reads 'inhale goodness, exhale kindness, that's a reminder for me. I'm a work in progress. I hope you breathe deeply and focus on the goodness around you and in your life! ♥
46. OFFER TO HELP: Everyone has something that someone could use. Whether a skill, a tool, or time. You have something to offer someone else that will make a difference. We all need to make a living but imagine a world where we worked for good deeds rather than cash. I know. It isn't realistic but maybe you know someone who needs your help. Maybe it's moving day, could help with packing boxes or moving furniture? Maybe you know a single parent that could use a night out. Could you watch their kids? There is always something we can. We just need to be creative.
47. COMFORT CREATES PEACE: Sometimes a hug, a listening ear, or a little empathy can ease a soul. Let's be sure to give what we can and create a little peace in our world.
48. PASSION INTO ACTION: Recent events have caused many of us to feel helpless. Maybe you feel strongly about a particular situation or want to help a certain group. Well, there is no better time than today to start doing something and turn your words into action. Take up a cause. Be kind in your actions. Be open to those different than you. Make. Teach. Help. If you don't think enough is being done, be that 'enough'!
49. MEMORY MADNESS: Two people often hold different memories of their time together. Consider sending a text, a note, a letter, or even a social media post to share a nice memory you have of a friend of loved one. Your smile will be sure to create another. :)
50. SECRET NOTES = SEVERAL SMILES: Have you ever left a note on someone's car? A nice message? To a stranger even? Write a few messages on paper or post its before you leave your home for the day. During your travels, have fun spreading some joy. Send us your pictures.
51. WAVES OF PETUNIAS: Consider a wave of kindness striking an apartment complex, court or block of homes. You can often pick up packs of single potted flowers for under $10, split them up into singles and deliver to your neighbors. Add a notecard that reads, "You've been hit by a wave of kindness."
52. SCHOOL MEALS MATTER: The public school near you may have a list of children who have a tab for meals. Consider contacting the school and asking to donate to zero a balance for a few children and their families.
Pick one of the challenges from above and do it! Commit to being more compassionate and courteous. Once we focus on the acts, it becomes easy and requires less effort.
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In 2022, we collected money from friends and family and handed out gift cards to strangers. We did the same in 2023, I just didn't make a video. I'll try to add that to my TO DO list for this year.
Delivering wave petunias to unexpecting neighbors.
Often I get requests from customers and many times I honor them. Here I am doing just that.
The group of women I'm a part of raised enough to fill 40 duffel bags for children in foster care.
It's with great sadness that I post my friend passed 4/21/2018 after a very difficult few months. I was able to design the shirt she requested and get the foundation she chose lined up before she passed. My heart aches. Cancer sucks.
In 2017, I wrote:
I'm not sure where to begin and I'd like to keep this short but I'm not sure short will do justice to the human-being pictured left. Sherri was my professional mentor. She probably didn't know that but I think she was the best of the best in our training profession. I say "was" only because we have both changed paths. She coached me, helped mold me and made me a better trainer. She is strong, incredibly intelligent, articulate, wise, deep feeling and just down right an amazing human-being. She is fighting the toughest battle of her existence and your energy, prayers and thoughts would be greatly appreciated today.
She contacted me to design a shirt for an amazing doctor of hers. Not for herself but for someone else. She wants to make a difference. I'm working on that now but I wanted you to get to know Sherri a little and you'll know why I nominated her for a free hoodie. ♥ Goodness is all around her.
In March 2017:
"I am a healthy person; I just have cancer. In the midst of me turning 50 and monitoring what was a benign cyst in my uterus, I literally went from hula hooping on the beach in Nokimos, Florida to one morning during yoga I felt a something that seemed like a moving object, like a water bed in my abdomen. That later would be defined as Jelly Belly, which is very common and indicative of what has turned out to be PMP, or otherwise known as Psuedomyxoma Peritonei https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/7488/pseudomyxoma-peritonei. In my case, it is diagnosed as well as appendix cancer. What is really odd about the Jelly Belly is that it was massive, laying underneath my flat ab surface, undetected during normal GI screenings for a 50 year old; meaning colonoscopy, and endoscopy. I had had some weight gain and acid reflux, which I associated with what I was eating. I was worried perhaps my fibroid had changed. That Jelly Belly then gave way to some telling symptoms. I had pain at the base of my stomach, I had low grade fevers, and all of a sudden I was losing abdomen mobility. Very strange for a fit person, to not be able to roll over in bed comfortably. It was during my annual fibroid/uterin check up within 1-2 months time span from this and what went from a Jelly Belly symptom to having the answer after my ultrasound as to why I was uncomfortable. I was told I had a cyst. Likely not cancerous since there was no blood flow, though I was told I'd have to have it surgically removed. This was no ordinary cyst. This cyst was the size of a football on my left ovary. Yes, a football somehow attached to my ovary, and just one year + a few months before there was nothing visible. I had been monitoring the fibroid initially every 3 months, then 6, then a year. I had surgery to do a full hysterectomy and opherectomy. My surgeon, Dr. Horowitz, the head of OBGYN oncology took out the cyst and told me that I had this apple jelly like substance all over my abdomen. They did a full wash. He felt he got it all. He also removed my appendix, because he felt it did not look quite right. When I awoke from surgery I was given the good news that I did not have cancer, at initial testing, though they send the biopsy out for further review to be cross-sectioned and examined.
Though I was told I'd have results in a week or so, this turned into almost two weeks. I grew worried. The day Dr. Horowitz called back, my life forever changed. So did my family's life. I sat in my home office, looking at my school diplomas, while he talked and I scribbled notes. He said I had Musinous Adnecocarcinoma.http://www.mucinousadenocarcinoma.com/category/mucinous-adenocarcinomaI realize this is yet another name for what I have, but it has several; though since then the most common term is the abbreviated PMP. My oncologist encouraged me to get a 2nd opinion and also referred me to a GI oncologist at Dana Farber. When I did I was told that if I researched this, I would find the term PMP. I was given harsh news that I'd have to be on chemo therapy, and I was told that there is a procedure called HIPEC that is out there, and that it had grave risks that Dana Farber did not believe where worth the risk. I had a second opinion at Umass with Dr. Laura Lambert. My best friend in the world, Jeannie Weir found her, while I was off looking for help in NY's hospitals. She is the HIPEC surgeon I want to dedicate this shirt to, who did her best to save my life. I was and am a HIPEC survivor, and my cells apparently did too. As the doctor's call it MOAS or the Mother of All Surgeries. At the time of the 2nd opinion, I was terrified of this procedure, and still healing from the incision along my belly button vertically to my pubic bone. We agreed we would continue to see each other between chemo rounds, which we did. I can still hear the doctor telling me that " at the end of your life, you will look back and have to determine if you did everything you could do to save yourself"."
I appreciate you reading about Sherri. She was a very passionate person. I'm only glad she is no longer suffering. ~Connie
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