Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Random Acts of Kindness - Pay it Forward

Pay it Forward

Have you ever been the recipient of "Random Acts of Kindness" or are you the person who frequently practices helping others anonymously? It's such an awesome experience to give something to someone anonymously, expecting nothing in return. It may be something as small as sending a card to someone who has been ill signing it "someone who cares", or leaving a bag of groceries on the porch of a family in need. These acts of helping others are no small act in the eyes of the person who receives them.

If you have seen the movie Pay It Forward starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment, then you know something about this pay it forward idea.

Synopsis of the movie:

Eleven-year old Trevor McKinney (played by Haley Joel Osment) lives in the working class section of Los Angeles with his mother, Arlene. Arlene (played by Helen Hunt) wants to be a good mother to Trevor, and works two jobs trying to give him a better life.

When Trevor's social studies teacher Eugene Simonet (played by Kevin Spacey) gives him an assignment - think of a way to change our world and put it into action - it stirs something in Trevor. He comes up with "pay it forward" where each person does something for three people that helps them turn their life around. As Trevor struggles with his plan, ripples begin to be felt by others in his life, and unbeknownst to him, "pay it forward" actually begins to work.

There are many ways we can "Pay it Forward" or do a "Random Act of Kindness" for someone. Here are just a few ideas:

1. Mow the yard of an elderly or ill neighbor.
2. Shovel snow for someone.
3. Pay for the coffee of the next person in line.
4. Prepare a nutritious sack lunch to give to a homeless person.
5. If you see someone having a bad day, stop to listen to them - hand them a flower - anything - to make a difference in their day.
6. Run or walk a race, or walk for the cure to help fund research for an incurable disease. An example would be the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk for the Cure held nationwide each year.
7. Volunteer at a hospital, nursing home, hospice, or non-profit agency.
8. Volunteer at your child or grandchild's school.
9. Babysit for free for a mom who needs a day to herself.
10. Offer to drive elderly or disabled people to appointments or the grocery store.
11. Send money anonymously to someone experiencing financial difficulty.
12. Pay a highway toll for the person behind you.
13. Buy a movie pass for two and give it to friends who can use a night out.
14. Leave your newspaper behind for the next person to read.
15. Donate a bag of food to your local community or church food pantry.
16. Crochet or knit baby hats and blankets to donate to a local hospital nursery.
17. Donate to a non-profit organization to help individuals or families in need.
18. Teach your children or grandchildren the act of giving. When you do this, you will have taught another generation the self-less act of helping others or of giving from their heart without expecting a return.

There are so many ways to make someones day, both large and small. These little anonymous acts of kindness can be done on your own or with the help of a few websites who provide smile cards or pre-printed notes to leave behind - in addition to organizations who invite you to give even a small amount to help someone in need.

Here are just a few sites you might wish to visit - which exist to make a difference in lives:

Modest Needs - Read about a unique challenge on Modest Needs Blog written by Dr. Keith Taylor regarding John - a man who searched the Internet with keywords "pay it forward" and came across Modest Needs website. He then wrote a letter to the organization sharing a challenge presented by his pastor. The challenge was made not only to John, but to all members of the church he attended in Osage Beach, Missouri. In addition to reading John's challenge, if you take a few extra minutes to read some of the testimonials from individuals who have been helped by Modest Needs, you will see why I believe John chose "Modest Needs" to accomplish his challenge.

Pay it Forward Foundation - began by Catherine Ryan Hyde, who is the author who wrote the book "Pay It Forward". - Volunteer run website who publishes weekly kindness newsletters and ships "smile cards" all over the world for free. Check their site to find out about "smile cards" and how they are used. Also, please take the time to read a few of the "Kindness Stories" from people who already take part in the "random act of kindness" or "pay it forward" concept.

Random Acts of Kindness Foundation - inspires people to practice kindness and to “pass it on” to others. Provides free educational and community ideas, guidance, and other resources to kindness participants through their website. Picture used on this blog post courtesy of this foundation.

Dream Weaver's Foundation - a non-profit organization that engages in acts of kindness to people in need or to individuals who have a wish, fulfilling those needs or wishes anonymously. - created in response to the events of 9/11. It is a positive expression of energy that is focused on expanding the spirit of giving and kindness in an effort to create stronger, healthier communities.

Make a Difference Day - America's largest day of doing good happens annually the 4th Saturday of October sponsored by USA Weekend. Visit the site for information on getting your family, friends, and community involved.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Have you heard of Product (RED) ?


Product (RED) is a global initiative whose primary objective is to engage the private sector in the fight against AIDS in Africa by channeling funds from the sale of Product (RED) products directly to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Companies whose products take on the Product (RED) mark contribute a portion of profits from the sale of that product to Global Fund-financed programs in Africa. Current partners where you can obtain or purchase Product (RED) items are American Express, Apple (Red) ipod Nano, Apple Product (Red) gift card, Converse Shoes, Gap, Giorgio Armani, and Motorola.

This is the first time that the world's leading companies have made a joint commitment to channel a percentage of profits to assist in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which kills three million people every year.

The Global Fund warmly welcomes this important new initiative from the private sector. Through (Product) RED and other initiatives, The Global Fund hopes to increase the private sector share of Global Fund income from less than one percent currently to ten percent or more in the long term.

If you would like a (BLOG)Red graphic or corner ribbon for your blog or website, go to Word of Blog for the html code and follow directions there.

For more information and links regarding Product (RED) and to read the Frequently Asked Questions concerning this initiative, please visit the Product (RED) website or follow the links to the businesses where Product (RED) is sold.

Friday, February 23, 2007

When I Say "I am a Christian"
by Carol Wimmer, Original Author

I am a Christian

When I say, "I am a Christian,"
I'm not shouting, "I've been saved!"
I'm whispering, "I get lost!
That's why I chose this way".

When I say, "I am a Christian,"
I don't speak with human pride
I'm confessing that I stumble
needing God to be my guide.

When I say, "I am a Christian,"
I'm not trying to be strong
I'm professing that I'm weak
and pray for strength to carry on.

When I say, "I am a Christian,"
I'm not bragging of success
I'm admitting that I've failed
and cannot ever pay the debt.

When I say, "I am a Christian,"
I don't think I know it all
I submit to my confusion asking
humbly to be taught.

When I say, "I am a Christian,"
I'm not claiming to be perfect
My flaws are far too visible but
God believes I'm worth it.

When I say, "I am a Christian,"
I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartache
which is why I seek His name.

When I say, "I am a Christian,"
I do not wish to judge
I have no authority --
I only know I'm loved.
1988 copyright Carol Wimmer

Below you can view information on the poem's history.

Carol Wimmer -- author who originally penned this poem in 1988. Carol shares how she learned of her poem circulating via the Internet having been changed from it's original writing, as well as how some people even thought it was written by Dr. Maya Angelou which is incorrect. -- Snopes is known to find the truth on many subjects. The site proclaims the poem was falsely spread on the Internet to be penned by the beloved poet and author, Dr. Maya Angelou which is incorrect, stating it was indeed written by Carol Wimmer.

Dr. Maya Angelou -- a remarkable woman, best-selling author, poet, educator, activist, playwright, producer, and historian.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Birthday Boy .. uh..sorry.. I mean Man

Happy Birthday Son

On this day 36 years ago, I gave birth to our son "J". His birth was such a proud moment for us. Things were different back then as there were no pre-birth parenting classes to attend, and ... fathers were not permitted to be with their wife during most of the labor or in the operating room. While pregnant, if you couldn't sleep you were given Valium; if you had a headache you were told to take whatever pain reliever med you had available. There were also no ultrasounds during the pregnancy to find out the sex of the baby, therefore, yellow became the color scheme for our nursery and I'm sure many other parents during that period. Some may be surprised to learn that in the 1960's and 1970's mothers in labor were given anesthesia during childbirth. Yes, I was knocked totally out! Mothers were not given an option then; the doctor made all the decisions.

On the morning of our son's birth, my hubby was in the waiting room with other expectant fathers. There was a TV monitor mounted near the ceiling in the waiting room. After nervously pacing and waiting all through the night, he said all of a sudden he heard the words "Mr. B you have a son"! He told me he looked up at the television monitor and saw a nurse holding our son up to the screen so that he could see him. Afterward, he said other fathers in the waiting room gathered around to congratulate him. I believe my husband saw our son before I did through the TV monitor since I was still knocked out from anesthesia.

Many years have now passed and today our son is a career military man, happily married to his high school sweetheart and has two children. They live in another state and we try to see them as much as possible, however, we miss them terribly. We're so very proud of him as a Christian husband, father, son, and leader in his particular branch of military.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Valentine Prayer

Happy Valentine's Day

Wishing you, on Valentine's Day and always,
the beauty of His ways,
the Blessing of His Love!

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is Love. 1 Corinthians 13:3

Send your Valentine a free e-card today!
Visit Day Spring E-Cards to send a card on this or any special day.

God Loves You!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sharing Love with Grandchildren Across the Miles

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

We love our grandchildren dearly, and when you live across the miles as we do, we try to find ways to stay in touch. We enjoy sending them little things ... be it a note, a card, their own special letter, some candy, a little cash at special times even if it is one or two dollars. Yes, e-mails are nice, but don't forget how letters, notes, and cards can be kept as keepsakes by your grandchildren. They can look back on them as they get older and see the dates and also what State it was postmarked from, as well as how postage stamps looked in the time period of your mailing.

For example on Valentine's Day since they live in another state, we sent conversation hearts and gum (always a favorite) - along with a card and a little cash for their fantastic grades in school! We're so proud of each of them and always want to let them know how special and loved they are ... not only in our eyes, but in God's eyes! As grandparents, we don't 'always' need to send cash or something we purchased, as even receiving mail from their grandparents is special. This reminds them we are thinking of them and keep them in our hearts.

Report card time is always a special time to remember your grandchildren. Send them a special letter, a note, or make them a card yourself and let them know just how proud you are of them for working so hard in school. Kids love little drawings on their letters or cards so try that as well! Children will never forget the words "I'm proud of you" - and of course always hearing you tell them how very much they are loved - whether it be by letter or hearing your voice - it is something they will never forget.

When you take time to make a special phone call just to talk to your grandchild and their parent answers, ask if you can speak to each of your grandchildren first, and then you would love to say hello to them when you are finished. Parents won't mind. They will be happy you are keeping in touch - and your grandchildren will know they received a phone call just for them.

Would you like ideas on keeping that special bond with your grandchildren? You may find this article helpful.

Remember to always keep your grandchildren in your prayers!

Loss of our Child - Recommended Grief Books
and other Resources


One of our children as well as our parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles have all passed away which is a sad feeling if we stop and think of all the losses in our life. Our faith and trust in Jesus Christ and serving Him ... as well as knowing without a doubt that we will see our daughter and other family one day in Heaven is what lifts us up and keeps our hearts filled with joy.

We can personally recommend the book entitled "Confessions of a Grieving Christian" by Zig Ziglar. It helped us greatly during our grieving process. It is one of those books you can't put down after beginning to read.

Confessions of a Grieving Christian

Losing a loved one is never easy. Our daughter, Brandi, was in her twenties when she passed due to complications of Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes. She had two young elementary age girls.

To help children through the grief process, we recommend the book "Tear Soup" by Pat Schweibert. You will find more information on the book by clicking the book cover link below.

Tear Soup

In addition to our church and our faith in Christ, we list two places below which helped each of us; adults and children through grief. I pray this information will help you as well if you are experiencing grief and the loss of loved ones in your life. May God bless you and may you feel His comfort, love, and peace.

  • - grief classes available in your local area to help adults and teens dealing with grief. In addition to resources in your local area, they also offer a grief help e-mail which comes to your inbox every single day for one year only. There is no spam involved and no costs, plus they do not contact you otherwise. You will only receive the one short email on dealing with grief. I especially recommend taking this step as I always looked forward to those e-mails. You can always unsubscribe if you do not enjoy them.

  • Camp Good Grief - for children grieving the loss of a parent, grandparent, or other significant person.

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5

Monday, February 5, 2007

Happy Birthday TK

Happy Birthday TK

Dearest T,

Happy Birthday! Please know we love you

and we keep you close in our hearts always!