The Kindness Train Continues

It’s week two of my Crowdrise birthday fundraiser for Random Acts and to celebrate, I’ve been expanding on the recent presentation I was privileged to give for my local Pecha Kucha community a few weeks ago.

GISH-wha…?

One of the craziest things I’ve participated in–which just happens to benefit Random Acts–is G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S., otherwise known as the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen. Teams of fifteen people all around the world spend a week creating weird art, doing random acts of kindness, and just generally making the world a little nicer. One of my favorite things about G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S. is that I get some great ideas for creative acts of kindness. Some past scavenger hunt items have involved lost-long relatives or childhood role models; others have been opportunities to collect massive donations of needed supplies for strangers. The item above, created by Team Odd Little Ducks, fulfilled such an item. Could you imagine being the recipient of something so lovely? And in the actual mail, no less?

Pictures like this serve as a reminder that beauty can be found in seemingly humble things. Simple things. Things sent with love. Kindnesses like these are easier than you might think. We just need to stop and think of them.

Random Acts provides funding and support for acts of kindness, large and small, all over the world. I would so appreciate it if you would consider donating to my birthday campaign, in order to help spread a little more kindness in the world. Thank you.

Taking Another Shot…Sort Of

I’m going to donate blood today.

That may not sound like a big deal to some, but I’ve never been able to do it. I’ve tried numerous times over the years, but something always happens. Usually it’s my veins collapsing. I have the same problem taking an IV if I’m in the hospital. And after trying for a few years–a LONG time ago–I just gave up.

I’m not really sure what possessed me to try again. Admittedly, I’m really nervous. But I’m going to try anyway.

Think happy thoughts for me, friends.

My Birthday Wish: Day Five – Everyday Kindness

Before I jump into today’s post, I just want to thank Brittany Badami for being the first to donate to my birthday campaign for Random Acts. Thank you, Brittany!

If you’ve been following my recent posts, you’ll remember that I’ve spent a little time each day taking apart a little piece of my recent Pecha Kucha talk about Random Acts and why kindness matters in the world. My goal is to talk a little bit about each of the 20 slides in that presentation (which you can watch right here). Today’s slide is about everyday acts of kindness.

What would we do without our cell phones? They’re so small and yet so powerful. They keep us organized, they entertain us, they give us directions when we get lost–oh, and you can even communicate person-to-person with them! It’s so, so tempting to let this post devolve into one of those “call your mother” kinds of posts, but I’m going to resist the temptation. I will, however, remind you of a little thing called texting.

I used to be really neurotic about texting. Like, if I texted someone and they didn’t text me right back, I got anxious. Why didn’t they answer? Did I write something that they misunderstood? Do they not want to talk to me? But most of my friends and family use read receipts now, so that anxiety is gone for the most part. And you have to admit, texting can be pretty fantastic overall.

For a long while, a friend of mine was in the habit of texting me almost daily. We didn’t live near each other at the time, and we were trying as hard as we could to stay close in spite of the distance. Every day, at almost the same time each day, I’d get some random text. It might have been a joke, or a grumble about a bad driver on the commute, or just something silly. But those texts made me feel good. Special. Valued. And while my friend may have put serious effort or intent into texting me daily, he made it look and feel effortless. Which it totally can be! Think about it: you find yourself thinking about someone, you take a minute or two to fire off a text message, and you’re done. Even a quick “hi, how are you?” can go a long way. The trick is that you might not always be aware that the recipient truly appreciates your message. But as they say, it’s the thought that counts.

There’s never a bad time to let someone know you’re thinking about them. That they matter to you. That you thought of them and it made you smile. Take a moment today and tell that person. Chances are, you’ll make them smile, too.

My Birthday Wish: Day Four – Talk About Random!

Remember my friend Jean? I introduced you to her in yesterday’s post about Random Acts’ Annual Melee of Kindness. Well, I told you I’d share a little more about her, and so today, that’s the plan.

When I presented at my local Pecha Kucha Night a few weeks ago, I talked about reasons to choose kindness in everyday life. One of the reasons was because being kind is easier than you might think. I talked about making lunches for my kids, which is something I’ve done many times over the years. It’s simple. Basic. Everyday. Except for people who are homeless, or food insecure. So sharing kindness sometimes simply means doing a little more of the things you do all the time anyway, and then sharing what you have with others.

Another way to share kindness is to pool resources with friends (and soon-to-be friends!) to make something bigger happen. You can be a part of that by contributing to my Crowdrise birthday campaign for Random Acts. Any amount is welcome (minimum of $10 online, or absolutely any amount offline), and will go to support the construction of a new school in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. And you might even get a little gift from me in return!

Not one to leave well enough alone, my dear friend Jean also took kindness to the next level. Inspired by GISHWHES (a global scavenger hunt led by Misha Collins), she dressed her minivan in multicolored fringe and drove around Chicagoland in costume collecting donations for a local pet shelter. She definitely makes kindness look good, in a big way!

My Birthday Wish: Day Three – What’s “AMOK”?

My birthday wish this year is to gather as much support for one of my favorite organizations, Random Acts. So from now until my birthday, I’m running a Crowdrise fundraiser to collect donations to help fund their mission of conquering the world one random act of kindness at a time.

The Annual Melee of Kindness

One of Random Acts’ biggest events is the Annual Melee of Kindness (AMOK), where friends and supporters spend the day–or even the entire weekend!–spreading kindness in all kinds of wonderful ways. (Pictured here is my friend Jean; more on her tomorrow!) I’ve participated in AMOK twice now, and have enjoyed two very different experiences.

The first year I was very stealthy and snuck handwritten cards with positive messages on them into books at a local bookstore. It was really a pretty simple idea, but I have to admit I had a moment or two when I was holding a book about parenting in my hands and slipping in a card that read, “I believe in you”. Or holding a book about learning a new language, with a card that read, “you’re smart enough” in my other hand. What was really happening, I think, was that I was still pretty new to the whole being kind thing, and preferred to stay anonymous rather than have people look at me funny. Because honestly? Intentional acts of kindness still provoke a kind of confused reaction, which to me says we just need more of them. We need kindness to become commonplace.

During AMOK this past year, I was provided the opportunity to join forces with my church and a local nonprofit to spend a day gathering food and supplies and delivering them to needy families in my community. Thankfully, I wasn’t going alone, but it was still a great chance to raise the stakes so to speak, and put myself in front of people in those acts of intentional kindness. Sharing kind acts with friends really does change the experience a lot, and I’m very thankful for that.

What are some things you’ve done to show kindness to other people? Were they friends? Family? Strangers? I’d love to know. Leave a comment here or tweet me at @lisa_cerezo.