What a Year!

The Kindness Daily challenge was really eye-opening for me.  Even though I didn’t end up actually posting every single day for the year, I did think about it every day.  It made me much more aware of my thoughts and well, gee, a generally nicer person.  😉

I did post 156 times in the year, which, quite frankly, was significantly more than I figured I’d ever do.  I wasn’t sure I could post consistently, but I discovered that when I have a system, I can.  That’s why I posted consistently the first four months, then summer came and everyone knows where systems go then (outside!)  In the fall, I was slightly more consistent until I listened to the voice in my head that said, “You need to go to bed earlier, you can’t post at night anymore.”   I never did find a new system, but it’s mainly because I felt like I’d learned what I was supposed to so I didn’t have the motivation to!

Anyway, I’m moving on from this challenge.  I’m now creating a new site called MentorMom, which is all about self-improvement and mentoring your kids!

Come on over and visit me there.  And if you haven’t tried the Kindness Daily challenge yet, do it!  You won’t regret it.

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9/22/13 Service: Gifts

 

In church today, we heard from a returned missionary who had been home for about 10 months.  But he was still happy and full of power.  He talked about how his mission was the best two years like everyone always says, but he also explained why.  It was because he knew he was doing exactly what the Lord wanted him to be doing.  He listened and obeyed.  Simple, but not easy!

We can have that power and joy without being on a mission, if we can just choose to listen and obey.  That’s what Kindness Daily has been doing for me – helping me learn to listen and to obey.

I had planned to bring a wedding gift and a missionary card over to friends today with my husband, but unfortunately by the time he got home from his meeting, I’d forgotten all about it.  And unlike washing car windows, you can’t exactly go delivering gifts at 10pm. But I did get cards and a gift so that I can follow up on that kindness!  My soul has great desires, but that human element just sometimes forgets, which is why it’s important to act right away if possible.

Are you listening and obeying?

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Wanna join the kindness challenge of doing 1 kindness a day?  No need to post daily if you don’t want to.  Just like the facebook page, or subscribe to the emails (at the right) for daily updates/reminders and you’re in!

9/21/13 Service: Door

My 12 year old son had a soccer game about an hour and a half away today, so my husband took him AND the 2 year old there. They were gone for about 5 hours.  As much as I like that little girl, I was amazed at how much simpler life is when she’s not here getting into everything! :)  My husband took her with them so that I could take the other three kids to a musical that their cousin and some of my friends were performing in.

We arrived to the play early so we sat outside and the kids ran around.  Which is a good thing to do before you go sit down for a play!  A man carrying a large, heavy cooler was walking to the door.  There was a handicap door-opening button, and for a split second I rationalized that he could get in himself.  But I also realized that those doors open so slowly and I could open it way faster so he could keep his momentum going.  I hopped up and opened both sets of the doors for him anyway.  A few minutes later he went out and then returned with another large cooler.  This time I was really prepared!  He was very appreciative, but it was really no big deal.   After that, my 4 year old son discovered the handicap button.  He was thrilled to find that I let him push it multiple times so he could open the door for people entering the building!

Later as we went in to attend the show, this man came up and said he wanted to meet us.  Turns out he was the writer and producer of the play.  We enjoyed the show, it was fun and entertaining.  The whole cast was incredibly talented!

A few sidenotes:  On our way home, I decided to stop and get some apples at the fruit stand.  I was hoping for some seconds but they were out.  They did have a bunch of peaches that were seconds so I bought 1.5 bushels.  When I got home, I realized why they hadn’t sold out.  Hello!  Peaches that are totally ripe, you can’t just leave them there until Monday to do something about them!  So the girls helped me freeze 22 quarts of peaches in about 2-1/2 hours. And we also ate peach crisp for dinner.   Can’t beat that!

As we were putting the bags in the freezer, we heard a lot of yelling and screaming.  Turns out the four year old tried to play “Charlie bit my finger” with the 2 year old, and it didn’t turn out as funny as he though it would.  He forgot to consider the fact that his sister is two with a full set of teeth that can bite really hard.  And neither of them have English accents.

Later, I heard him say to her, “Next time, don’t bite it so hard.  Just a little bit!”  Ummm… maybe, just maybe there shouldn’t be a next time?

How quick are you to act on your kindness promptings?

 

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9/20/13 Service: Vinegar

This morning was very early.  5:30 to be exact!  I took my husband and our 12 year old son up into the mountains so they could spend the day hiking a large mountain.   My husband tries to do it at least every other year and take any older kid who wants to do it.  While they were hiking down, they met a 71 year old man who has hiked the mountain 610 times!!   On my way home from dropping them off, the sun was coming up and the inside of the windshield (of the car my husband drives) was so streaky/filmy that it was hard to see through it.  I thought to myself that I should really clean that windshield as a kindness.  But of course when I got home, I went inside and completely forgot.

I bought a new carpet cleaner at Costco because well, we have really dirty carpets (I guess that explains it.)  I had been saving up for a new vacuum, but discovered the one I wanted had terrible reviews, so I ended up getting the cheaper model and had some left over so I could get the carpet cleaner.  I wasn’t sure if it would actually work that well, but I figured Costco’s liberal return policy would allow me to try it out.

In the afternoon, we went into the mountains to pick the hikers up.  When we returned, I tested out the new carpet cleaner while the exhausted hikers showered and took a nap.  The carpet cleaner actually did a lovely job of getting a lot of dirt out of our carpets.  They look significantly better, and I was pleasantly surprised that it did such a good job. Obviously a home carpet cleaner won’t do the job as nicely as the pros.  But it does have some advantages – (1) way cheaper of course and (2) you don’t have to do the entire house at once so you don’t have to not step on any carpet.  Meaning you can do just one room at a time, or even half of the room if you like.  I can keep the kids off the carpet in one room, but not the entire house!

We had dinner and movie night.   As I began to get the kids ready for bed, I was thinking about what I would post for my kindness daily blog.  Guess what popped into my head?  Yup, the windshield.  Even though the kid were running around (I think the two year old didn’t even have underwear on…)  I knew I had to just get up and do it.  Ugh. So I did.  I got the white vinegar out and wiped down the windshield.  It only took a few minutes.  I could’ve spent more time rationalizing why I shouldn’t!  I’m pretty sure you can see through the windshield a lot better now, although the real test will be in the morning when it’s not dark outside!

Have you ever felt like you should do something and forgotten?  Then did you get a second chance and do it then?

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9/19/13 Service: Smooth

My younger daughters love Thursdays because we get to read a girl book for read aloud because the 12 year old boy is at a class.  So we’ve begun to read Elsie Dinsmore and they just love her.  Elsie is only 8 years old, but she sure understands Christianity.  I wondered if they would enjoy the book because it does have archaic language and it can get quite preachy, but they adore it!

We didn’t get to finish the chapter, though, because our friends came over before we finished.  That was our own fault, because we dawdled quite a bit in the morning.   And then the 12 year old got home too.  Every Thursday, my friend drops off her five youngest to play with mine while she teaches at our teenage school.  And then she comes to my house while I go teach there later in the afternoon and she teaches our 10-12 year olds a writing class while the littles keep on playing.  It works out quite nicely as a win-win situation.

The kids always bring their lunch.  This time, however, my son decided to make a smoothie for our family’s lunch.  Our visitors were very polite, but I could see that they very much wanted smoothies too.  They didn’t say a word.  I had already put everything away when I noticed this.  And I knew I could do a kindness by making them a smoothie too.  (It was triple berries, banana, orange juice concentrate, homemade vanilla yogurt and spinach!)  Of course it would’ve been easy to not say a word.  But instead I offered to make them some, and they enjoyed it and were grateful!

Have you let a little inconvenience stop you from being kind?

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9/18/13 Service: Smell

My husband really likes having air fresheners in our house because he says there’s sometimes a funny smell.  I usually don’t use air fresheners because (1) many of them give me a headache (2) they can get pricey and (3) I just plain don’t think of it because I don’t smell anything in our house (possibly because I am home all day and I’m used to it.)  Occasionally I will diffuse essential oils or burn candles, but mostly I don’t remember to do it.

So today I decided I would move the candle warmer that I haven’t turned on in about two years to a more accessible location to burn the candle scent simply because my husband enjoys good smells.  I am not sure if it even worked because I’ve got a cold and I can’t smell anything right now.  The three youngest thought it was so cool because it has a neat glow.  I realize now why it’s always in an inconvenient place – the cord is too short to put it out of reach of little fingers!  Guess I’ll have to finish the task and get an extension cord tomorrow and hope I can find a convenient location.

Do you do things for others that they like?

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9/17/13 Service: Pink Moldy Stuff

Kids have been doing service like crazy today.  Love it when they get that kindness bug!

I took the kids to piano lessons today at my friend’s home.  This friend passed away a few months ago, but the piano teacher comes each week continue to teach my friend’s children as well as the rest of us.  The basement had been beautifully remodeled about 2 years ago and was set up for piano lessons.

Anyway, I took my 2 year old to the bathroom in the basement.  It appeared very clean, but the toilet bowl was exhibiting signs of needing a quick scrub.  It had that pink moldy around the water line.  I had the thought to scrub it out.  It is kind of weird to scrub random toilets, but it seemed like a good idea.  I checked under the bathroom sink, and there was the ajax.  Bingo!  Easy chore to do (once I sent my two year old out, anyway.)

I don’t really know why God wanted me to do that.  And I don’t really know if anyone will notice, either.  But that’s OK.  I followed the kindness thought and so it was good for me!

What random acts of kindness have you done?

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9/16/13 Service: The Kindness Board

My 10 year old daughter LOVES to teach about kindness at our Family Home Evenings.  It was has been her turn to teach for about the last three weeks, but she wasn’t able to teach until tonight because of visitors and other things that took the place of a formal lesson.

We discussed what kindness meant and then my daughter told us what we’d be doing.  She had everyone writing down 3-5 things that they enjoyed as service to them.  I wrote that I like chores getting done without complaining, people cleaning up things that aren’t theirs, and smiles and hugs.  Some of the kids wrote that they liked back rubs, getting their beds made and people doing their chores for them.

Then she hung the papers on the fridge and challenged us to do these kindnesses (and any others we think of) for the next week.   Kind of like a “Kindness Board” for us to view regularly.  I love it when the kids choose to do things like this, it always works better when it’s their idea, rather than mine!

I remembered I hadn’t done my kindness for the day, so I made sure I did one later one.  It was easy with the notes she put up!

How can your family better show kindness to each other?

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9/15/13 Service: Apple Crisp

My husband really likes homemade desserts.  And he really likes them on Sunday nights.  However, often I don’t feel like making desserts after spending half the day cooking and cleaning breakfast, lunch and dinner and I’d rather spend my sabbath day doing restful and renewing activities.

He hinted at dessert at dinner time, and he did suggest he might even make it.  He’s not that comfortable in the kitchen and he doesn’t like making things either.  Then the thought popped in my head that my mother had given me some apples that weren’t quite sweet enough for eating, but good for baking, I offered to make apple crisp. Even though I really didn’t want to.  My husband was amenable to that idea. :)

It sounds so selfish when I say I don’t feel like making a treat!  And it probably is.  I guess God wanted me to do it rather than a different activity, and so instead it needed to be my renewing activity of the Sabbath day.

How often do you not doing a kindness just because you don’t feel like it?

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9/14/13 Service: Coldstone

Some days you just feel grumpier than other days.  And that’s what my son was feeling.  He had been bugging his siblings and when I sent him to his room, he just said, “I don’t care.”  He was closing down his heart.  I asked him if he could remember something that he’d learned earlier in the week.  I knew he knew what he was talking about, but he did not want to admit it.

Normally I would think “You stubborn kid!  Just be nice to your siblings.  You’d better care or else I’ll make you care by giving you extra chores!”   But this time, I could see the battle that was going on in his heart.  Rather than lecture him, I told him that he did care.  And that I knew he did because I know he has a good heart.  I have evidence for that because there are plenty of times that he shows that good heart by being kind to others.  I asked him to stay in his room until he could remember that thing that he had learned.

My husband and I were heading out on a date, and we left him there.  Later we called home and he had come out of his room.  I asked him if he had remembered, and he had softened his heart enough to tell me what it was and he was interacting with the other kids and being happy again.

We headed off to Coldstone and got ice cream.  I got the idea that I should save some for my son.  Not only was it wise for me to not eat all that rich ice cream, but it was a kindness that he really needed.  When we got home, I put it in the freezer door.  I told him discreetly “Hey, I’ve got something in the freezer door that I need you to take care of for me.”  He was happy to do so.  It did wonders for his attitude, too, as he knew that I thought highly enough of him to remember him.

Do you remember to look at other’s hearts rather than their current behavior?

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Wanna join the kindness challenge of doing 1 kindness a day?  No need to post daily if you don’t want to.  Just like the facebook page, or subscribe to the emails (at the right) for daily updates/reminders and you’re in!

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