Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Kindness Challenge, Week 2

     Last week’s kindness challenge was all about strangers, doing little random acts of kindness for others who would have no way to know who you were, just someone who brightened their day a bit. That was pretty easy, smile, wave, give a little hello and pay for lunch for a grandma and her grand kids (this would be my best guess anyway – I just paid for the car behind me in the drive through line). This week’s challenge was all about showing kindness to your friends. It started out easy enough, early on in the week our air conditioning went out in the entire building. Monday was warm, Tuesday I left early with a heat migraine and Wednesday I just didn’t work at all. By Wednesday afternoon, the problem was remedied and we were back to the normal semi-Arctic temperatures. One of our instructors had brought up an aquarium for his office and when he came in on Tuesday is was evident that the heater for the aquarium had to be unplugged before he had boiled fish (not a great thing to have hanging out in your office, I’m sure). Well on Thursday morning I went into his office and put his mail away to be greeted with a blast of air that Mr. Freeze would be all to approving of. Those poor fish were about to go from the danger of being boiled to the danger of turning into frozen fish sticks. So, I sent him a text and asked if he would like me to plug the heater back in. I don’t like doing anything in an instructor’s office without their okay, it makes me uber nervous.

     On Friday I took the day off (yeah, I know it sounds like I never work, but I've got reduced hours for the summer so I can’t work too much) and met a friend who has been really down lately for lunch and to hang out and ended up sending him home with a kitten… not just any kitten by my Sirius. He needed a buddy and, even though I didn't want to, I really needed to re-home as many of the kittens as I could. I knew he would give Sirius a good home and I also knew that Sirius was the most loving out of all of the kittens we had.

     While I was on my way back home on Friday another friend called asking if I had or knew anyone who had a truck. After a bit of talking I realized he needed to move back to the dorms so, even though I don’t have a truck, I spent my Saturday moving stuff from several storage areas around town back into the dorms. I never realized a single college student needed so much stuff for a shared dorm room (and oh-my-goodness those rooms are so tiny!). I also never realized just how funky those dorm rooms smell. Now, maybe it’s the fact that there are a lot of baseball players all housed in tight quarters and no Momma to tell them when to take a shower or do their laundry but OH, that smell! But, now I've officially had another “college” experience – I've seen the inside of the boys (gasp) dorm and even been in a room alone with a boy (double gasp). After we had everything moved (except his fridge, there was no way that was fitting into my car) I took him out for breakfast. Because we’d been moving he had missed breakfast in the caf and he had been up since 4 am (he went to work before we moved his stuff) so I knew he had to be starving. In all I spent most of my Saturday with this kid (who is part of my theatre family, not just some random college kid) and I think it went fairly well.

I’m excited to see what this week’s kindness challenge will focus on…I just hope it doesn't involve moving anyone else again. lol

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Kindness Challenge - Week One Update

Ultimately I believe I'm a kind person already, I thought I really tried to be kind to people in general, but this week has opened my eyes that I could be doing so much more. This week's challenge was to do acts of kindness for strangers. Some of the post comments were about people being extra courteous to wait staff and smiling at strangers. One wonderful soul posted about buying lunch for a homeless man (and his dog!) that she routinely sees. I absolutely love that her kindness overflowed not only for this man but for his companion too.

This week month summer has been pretty tight financially so I didn't really have a lot of extra money for this challenge, but I wanted to make an honest try. So. Friday was my day to go shopping for the Sisters (which is a whole different post in kindness, but we'll see where the challenge takes us, I may talk about it this month) and it just happened to fall on the first of the month (which if you work in retail you know is it's own breed of crazy) as well as our local tax free weekend so everyone in the county (well almost everyone) was at Walmart (which is where the Sisters have now requested that I do their shopping). When I shop for the Sisters I have two separate lists, two separate orders and two separate payments. Occasionally one of the Sisters has a list with no perishables and when that's the case I do her shopping, take it to the car and then go back and do the other Sister's list (it sounds like more of a hassle, but it keeps me from mixing up their orders in the cart). That was the case this week so I went to the short line (20 items or less) for the first order. I was behind an elderly woman who had WAY more than 20 items (as in a whole cart full) and this really irks me (I'm OCD enough that I count my items and if I have 21 I go to a regular line). BUT, I was determined not to let this upset me today and to continue on with the kindness. So, after the cashier has rung up her entire total, the woman tries to pay with a debit card that won't go through, pulls out a different card and uses it for $40 and then uses the original debit card and goes through. At this point I've been in line for more than 20 minutes (and there is a huge line behind me) and I know that once I get these few items out to the car I'll be back in the store to fill the long list for the other Sister. Once the woman is finally done and gone, the poor cashier tries to do her usual greeting asking about coupons and ad matches and is obviously very frustrated. A smile and few kind and patient words were all she needed to have that heavy spirit change. I can't say that I would have been mean to her without the challenge, I'm not really a mean person (unless you mess with my kids, but hey, that's normal, right?) but I do know that because of the challenge I tried extra hard to be nice to her at a time when she needed it.

There have been other examples of little kindnesses this week, but I listing them kind of feels like bragging so I'll stick with the story that impacted me.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Hello August!

Welcome, August, my old friend! Typically I am not a huge fan of summer weather (give me a nice fall rainstorm any day) but August has a very special place in my heart because for it's lack of traditional holidays (but hey, did you know the first Sunday in August is National Friendship Day?) it's full of excitement and wonderment. First of all, at least in my neck of the woods, August means BACK TO SCHOOL SEASON (yes, I do realize I'm shouting, but it makes me so darn happy I can't help it) which means oodles of awesome office supplies on the cheap. Now, I personally don't need a reason to stock up but it just makes my heart an extra sort of happy to walk down the isles filled with lovely bits of pens and pencils and sticky notes and notebooks (okay, so maybe I have an addiction, but we'll save that for another day). August also brings with it the county fair and living in the heart of aggie country it's kind of a big deal around here. I'm not one to raise farm animals, but it is fun to go pet the bunnies and talk to the calves and it gives me a sort of Charlotte's Web feeling visiting the fair.

So you see, August has some magic all it's own. This August however, I want to try and make it even more meaningful. I stumbled upon a great idea this week and decided to incorporate it into the month of August - a Kindness Challenge. I've seen people doing a lot of "challenges" lately, most of them centered around diet and exercise and while I see the personal benefit in those, I prefer a challenge that makes the world around you just a bit better of a place. So, when I found this over at Cupcakes and Cauldrons I thought I was just perfect.

Week One is all about kindness to strangers and what a perfect place to start. So, I'll post more about ways that I have found to share kindness and I encourage you to take a look and try this challenge yourself.