In Honor and Remembrance: My April RAOK in Honor of Sandy Hook

raok sandy hook

As I’m writing this, it’s actually the 15th and yesterday, on the 14th, I did a Random Act of Kindness in honor of Sandy Hook Elementary.  You can read about my year-long pledge here.

Unlike last month when I did something for a complete stranger this month I did something for someone I see nearly every day… our mailman (or woman).  In truth, I’ve never met the person who delivers our mail but I’ve seen them drive by hundreds of times.

I went to the store and picked up some white chocolate truffles then came home and wrote a little note for them. Monday morning I stuck them in our mailbox and put up the flag.  I know it’s something little – but hopefully it’ll brighten their day.

raok-edited

What about you?  Did you do a Random Act of Kindness this month in honor of Sandy Hook?  I’d love to hear about it if you did.

Note:  I read about an amazing Random Act of Kindness that someone else recently performed for Sandy Hook.  You can check out that story here.

In Honor and Remembrance: My March RAOK in Honor of Sandy Hook

raok sandy hook

As I’m writing this, it’s actually the 18th but the other day, on the 14th, I did a Random Act of Kindness in honor of Sandy Hook Elementary.  You can read about my year-long pledge here

Hi friends. 

I’m so sorry for being a few days late with my RAOK for March.  It was a crazy week last week.  I actually spent the week in Calgary for work.  I flew home on the 14th and was able to squeeze in an RAOK on the way home.

We stopped for dinner at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, Gringo’s.  Right before we paid our tab I scouted the surrounding tables to see if anyone caught my eye.  As luck would have it, there was this absolutely adoreable elderly couple across the room from us.  I asked our waitress to have their waiter come over and when he did, I told them I wanted to pay for their dinner.  He looked at me like I was from Mars, but he brought me their tab.  I paid it in full and then wrote this message for them:

photo-edited

(note: I also marked through the ‘total’ and wrote ‘paid in full’)

I also gave both our waitress and their waiter a 50% tip. 

Then we left. 

Yep, that’s right.  We didn’t stick around to see their reactions.  We just wanted to bless them. 

It felt great to do something small for someone else especially when I was having a crazy day.  Sometimes when we’re really busy, we forget to take a moment to focus on someone other than ourselves. 

What Random Act of Kindness did you perform this month?

In Honor and Remembrance: My February RAOK in Honor of Sandy Hook

Every month on the 14th I’m going to practice a Random Act of Kindness (RAOK) in honor of the 26 victims who lost their lives in the Sandy Hook tragedy on December 14, 2012.  If you didn’t read my original post, you can go here to check it out.

raok sandy hook

Yall!  I just cannot even begin to explain to you what an incredible experience this month’s RAOK was.  It was just so amazing!

If you haven’t figured it out yet, this month’s RAOK fell on Valentines Day which posed an interesting conundrum.  Most people would have plans… so what did that leave me with?  Well, I started thinking about those people that wouldn’t have plans and when I did that, nursing homes popped into my head.  In all likelihood I figured that those persons living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities would be in the back of other people’s minds on Valentines Day.  So, I decided I wanted to bring flowers to some nursing homes to hand out. 

And then a miracle happened.

flower muse

I contacted a bulk florist supplier called Flower Muse and presented them with my idea.  I told them what I wanted to do and why I was doing it and then I asked if they would be interested in sending me some flowers.  Never in a million years did I expect the blessing I received. 

They sent me 250 assorted roses. 

Yep, you read that right… 250. 

Do you have any idea what roses cost?  Especially on Valentines Day?!?!?!

I don’t think I could have purchased 250 roses with an entire paycheck!

You guys should have seen me the day that Flower Muse told me that they were going to make this donation to me.  I was freaking out and bouncing off the wall.  I even sent elated messages to my husband, my mom, and some of my best girlfriends.  God is SO GOOD and he gave me an immense blessing that day using Flower Muse as my angels. 

I should mention that not only were they a blessing but they were amazing to deal with.  Eleanor and I emailed back several times and she was fabulous.  I even received an email from their Customer Service department the day before the roses shipped telling me exactly how to care for them.  What service!

And the roses.  OMG the roses!  They were so fresh and smelled so incredible!  My whole house and my car smell like them now.  It’s fabulous.  And they’ve lasted great!

I received this enormous box on the 12th.

Picture 003 - edited

Then my husband and I set up a flower prep station in our living room on the night of the 12th and 13th and spent our evenings after dinner trimming the bottoms of the roses, taking off all of the thorns (don’t need any sweet old ladies bleeding!) and getting all of these beauties in fresh water. 

Picture 006 - edited Picture 009 - edited

Needless to say one of our new kittens was very curious about what was going on. 

Picture 007 - edited

Here’s what all these lovely roses looked like once they were ready to go…

Picture 017 - edited Picture 016 - edited

We received roses in the following colors: red, deep red, white, yellow, peach, pink, and flame kissed.  Just gorgeous!

Then, on the 14th, I loaded up my car (aka the flower taxi) and headed to the first Nursing Home/Assisted Living Facility. 

Picture 022 - edited Picture 024 - edited

Two of my girlfriends and one sweet little baby joined me for my expedition and we had a blast bring smiles to the faces of so many.  It was just an incredible experience. 

SAM_6761 - edited SAM_6764 - edited

I have to say that the baby may have been more of a hit than the flowers though.  Haha.  He’s pretty stinkin cute though so it’s ok. 

SAM_6760 - edited SAM_6759 - edited

Once everyone had a flower at location one we left and headed to location two for a repeat performance. 

We received so many questions about why we were handing out flowers, were we selling them, or what group were we with.  It was funny to see the expressions on their faces when we told them just because, they’re free, and we’re not with anyone.  They seemed truly surprised.  I just adored hearing stories from these ladies about how their husbands always brought them roses on Valentines Day and each lady had a reason why she picked the color rose she did (the yellow were a HUGE hit).  There’s lots of stories to be heard in these types of facilities. 

Probably the cutest and funniest thing that happened was at the last place we went we handed out flowers in the memory ward.  This is where persons suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia live.  We met this very sweet old lady who, naturally, was repeating herself but she kept telling us how pretty we were and that if we were ugly, she wouldn’t want the flower we were giving her.  It totally cracked us up.  It’s always nice to hear you’re beautiful, especially on Valentines Day!

Once we’d visited those two facilities we still had lots of roses left over so we made a trip to my neighborhood to hand them out by the dozen to several sweet ladies who live nearby.  I live in an older neighborhood so there are lots of widows who I knew most likely wouldn’t be receiving anything on Valentines Day and I wanted to bless them.  One lady cried.  One was so shocked she just kept asking me “why?”  It was very sweet. 

All in all I don’t think my Valentines Day could have been any more special.  My husband blessed me with an amazing gift of service when he helped me to prepare 250 roses, I got to spend it with two of my besties and I got to bring smiles to the faces of nearly a hundred people.  You couldn’t ask for a better day!

What about you?  Did you do an RAOK on Thursday in honor of Sandy Hook?  I would love to hear your story!

Note:  I should mention that I was in no way asked to tell you guys about Flower Muse and how incredible they are… they’re just THAT incredible.  I highly recommend them if you’re looking for a bulk florist supplier for any reason!  I’m not the only one who loves them either.  You can read all about Michelle from 4 Men 1 Lady’s experience with her Flower Muse flowers by clicking here.

In Honor and Remembrance: My January RAOK in Honor of Sandy Hook

Every month on the 14th I’m going to practice a Random Act of Kindness (RAOK) in honor of the 26 victims who lost their lives in the Sandy Hook tragedy on December 14, 2012.  If you didn’t read my original post, you can go here to check it out.

raok sandy hook

I have to be honest with you guys, this first RAOK was a lot more nerve-racking than it should have been.  I had originally planned on the Hubs and I just picking up something for dinner on the 14th and I was going to pay for the order for the person behind us in the drive through.  However, after grocery shopping this weekend our left over grocery budget only came to $9.  That’s hardly enough to pay for dinner for us and the people behind us.  So, I figured I’d have to hold on to that idea for another month and think of something else. 

I decided, in turn, to take that left over $9 and turn it into change… as in literal coins.  Then I taped them ($1.25 per card) to individual cards that said ‘here’s a random act of kindness for you, have a blessed day!’  On Monday, I went to the local emergency rooms not far from my house and taped those cards with the coins on the vending machines in the waiting rooms. 

raok 2-edited

Sorry the photo is blurry.  I was shaking! (lame)

Sorry the photo is blurry. I was shaking! (lame)

In all honesty, I was freaked.  I felt nervous.  My heart was pounding.  It was like the feeling I got when I used to sing in front of people… pure nervous terror. 

Like I said, waaaaaay more nerve-racking than it should have been. 

I got lucky at the first ER.  The vending area was in a little alcove and there was practically no one in the waiting room.  The only way someone was going to see me was if they were actually headed to get a soda or snack from the vending area.  My luck held, and I was able to get everything taped up and get out of there before anyone saw me.  WHEW!

Then my luck totally ran out at the second ER.  It was absolutely PACKED.  I mean people on top of people.  AND the vending area was not in an alcove.  It was pretty out in the open.  It was sort of a mad dash to run up to the vending machines, tape the cards up real quick, keep my head down and get out of there. 

Isn’t that lame? 

I mean, what in the world did I have to be so nervous about?  I didn’t want anyone to see what I was doing.  Why you ask?  Well, I don’t honestly know.  What I do know is that I stressed about this RAOK all day long and at some point I said to myself “Self, you have no idea what fear is.  Can you imagine the way that those students and teachers felt in that school last month?  That is fear.  And they are who you’re doing this in honor of.  Suck it up!”  So I did.  For the most part.  I didn’t chicken out at least. 

Then, as I was headed back to my car after the second ER, I passed a family walking in.  There were 5 or 6 of them, and they were all in tears.  Whatever had happened was obviously a pretty big deal.  My heart sunk.  I honestly just wanted to hug them.  And then I thought to myself “what if they’re the people who find your RAOK on the vending machines?”  That thought made me smile.  What if my one, tiny, relatively insignificant act of kindness made this horrible day even marginally better for those people?  Isn’t that what this whole project is about?  Making the lives of strangers just a little bit brighter? 

no act of kindness

What about you?  Did you do an RAOK on Monday in honor of Sandy Hook?  I would love to hear your story!

I’ve linked up to these great parties:

Alderberry Hill
Beyond the Picket Fence
Chef in Training
Chic on a Shoestring
Classy Clutter
Crafty Confessions
Ginger Snap Crafts
Handy Man, Crafty Woman
Home Stories A to Z
House of Hepworths
I Gotta Create
I Heart Naptime
JAQS Studio
Kammy’s Korner
Lil Luna
Live.Laugh.Rowe
Made in a Day
Mod Vintage Life
My Girlish Whims
One Artsy Mama
Primp
Skip to My Lou
Under the Table and Dreaming

In Honor and Remembrance

 no act of kindness

I haven’t taken much time on my blog to talk about the senseless tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary school on Friday, December 14, 2012.  I posted a poem about the loss, but otherwise, I’ve been relatively silent about it.  This isn’t because I don’t want to talk about it.  In fact, it’s just the opposite.  I think it needs to be talked about.  I think, all too frequently, we forget tragedies like this as well as others such as Columbine and 9/11.  Like a lot of other things, those memories fade with time.  I get that.  Our heart guards itself. 

I don’t believe that we should all walk around in fear of each other or of what the future could hold for us.  Instead, I think we should each make a concerted effort everyday to see the pain in other people, and to make a positive difference in the lives of those we come into contact with.  I’m not saying that these tragedies could have been prevented – sadly, there’s no way to know if that’s the case.  And I’m not sure that any of us would actually feel better if we knew that those tragedies could have been stopped beforehand simply with an act of kindness. 

I do believe, however, that it’s time to focus on ‘paying it forward.’  Have you seen that movie?  Pay It Forward?  It’s an incredibly poignant and touching movie.  If you can watch it and not cry, then I think perhaps you might be broken. 

As I’ve been reflecting on the tragedy at Sandy Hook over the last few days I keep coming back to the fact that in a month, this story will be forgotten by the majority of the populous.  That makes me sad.  I know that the grief of that day will forever live on in the families and loved ones of those 26 souls that went to meet their Savior that day.  Thinking about this tragedy makes me sad.  My heart cries for those families. 

So the question remains: how can I remember this tragedy without being overwhelmed with sadness?  I think, perhaps, I have the answer (at least for myself).  In honor of those 26 souls, I will, over the course of 2013, pay it forward.  On the 14th of every month, I am going to practice a random act of kindness to a complete stranger.  This might be paying for the guy behind me at Starbucks, giving clothing and food to a homeless person, or cooking dinner for a family in need.  There aren’t any specifics or ‘rules’ except the date… the 14th

To my friends, family, and to those complete strangers that read this blog post I ask this of you… would you practice a random act of kindness on a regular basis if you knew that it might have the potential to prevent a tragedy like this?  I heard a story the other day about a lady driving through Starbucks and when she got to the window, the cashier informed her that her order had been paid for by the person in front of her.  She, in turn, decided to pay for the order of the person behind her.  She asked the cashier how long this had been going on, and the cashier said ‘at least the last two and a half hours.’  I realize that it’s coffee, but how profound is this?  That with one simple random act of kindness this started a trend that lasted for hours and brightened the lives of who knows how many others. 

Will you join with me in honor and remembrance of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary by practicing a random act of kindness on the 14th of every month?  I hope you will. 

I would love for you to post ideas for RAOK’s or your own personal experiences with them.  Please feel free to put the button below on your blog. 

raok sandy hook

You can read about my RAOK experience throughout the year by clicking these links:

January

I’m sharing the word about this project here:

bloom

hhpweekendlinkparty22

One Artsy Mama

Creatively Living Blog

UndertheTableandDreaming

logo_Sundae2

cit

alderberry hill

Lil\'Luna

Beyond The Picket Fence

igottacreate_valentine_party_button_400

Made in a Day
HookinupwithHoHnew2
 
livelaughlinky-250x250
 
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
 
It's Overflowing
 
Spotlight Saturday button

Mod Vintage Life

Crafty Confessions

Photobucket

Home Stories A2Z

Skip To My Lou

primpbutton2

friday+fun+party+button2

DIY Show Off

MondayFunday-150by150_zpsafba4c83

More the Merrier Monday

“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.” ~ Mother Teresa

Last week I lost a very wonderful friend to brain cancer.  She was an incredible source of joy in my life and taught me to always always always keep smiling and never stop having fun.  I am so happy to have such great memories of her to keep me going. 

Sadly the truth is that I wasn’t there for her at all during this incredibly difficult time in her life.  We messaged back and forth on facebook a few times, but that’s it.  It shames me to admit that during a time when she needed assistance the most, I was completely engrossed in my own life.  I think she knows though, that I love her, and I don’t think she judges me. 

We’re all guilty of this – getting so wrapped up in our own lives and our own woes that we totally forget what’s going on in the lives of those around us.  If there’s one thing I appreciate about social media sites such as facebook it’s that bad news can travel fast and that means that you can learn quickly where you need to lend a helping hand. 

I have a really good friend who I’ve known for nearly 20 years who lives not too far away from me.  He, his sister, her husband and his sister’s two kids are all currently living at home with their mom and dad.  His mom just had a double mastectomy and has already undergone at least two surgeries and has one more scheduled in the coming weeks.  His dad had surgery for a hernia last week.  As I’m sure you can imagine this is taking a huge toll on this family both emotionally and financially.  This time though, instead of sitting on my duff and doing nothing, I decided to pitch in in a very small way. 

A few nights ago the hubs and I spent a few hours in the kitchen preparing dinner for this family of 7.  We brought the entire thing to their house (main dish, side dish, salad, dessert, fresh baked bread and iced tea).  I realize it’s not much, but it’s one less thing that they had to worry about that day.  It’s one teeny tiny way that I was able to reach out and touch their lives and let them know that we’re there for them during this incredibly difficult time in their lives.  We love them, and if I could hug them each and every day I would. 

So, here’s my question for you:  who do you know who needs a helping hand today?  It can be as small as bringing them a home cooked meal or driving them to pick up their prescriptions or something larger such as paying their electricity bill for the month.  Everyone is going through something.  How can you help to make the world just a little bit brighter for someone?

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. ~ Anne Frank

Do you guys remember when I sewed some kids tote bags for a project called Craft Hope? 

Well, if you’re wondering, here are some of the other amazing projects that people submitted for this same amazing cause. 

Unfortunately I wasn’t paying attention and they’ve had another project come and go since then but their next project is in the works and I am definitely going to be watching to see what the next one is.  If it’s something within my skill set then I’m absolutely going to join in!

Several months ago I also cooked dinner for our local fire department

Since then though, I’ve honestly done absolutely nothing to help my fellow man.  (That sounds sort of corny I know but it’s honestly something that I’ve been wanting to do more often.)

I also have a project coming up which will require 29 RAOKs (random acts of kindness).  I only have 15 that I’ve thought of so far though. 

I need some suggestions.  Not only do I need to get to 29, I also would like to have more ideas so that I can do some before and after my ‘big 29 RAOKs’ (I’ll explain more in detail later about this). 

Here’s the key… I’m poor.  I mean, not really but I truly don’t have much spare change to, well, spare.  So, these have to be things that can be done on the cheap. 

Help me out guys!  What great ideas can you think of?