Wednesday, December 26, 2012

reflection of 12 days of kindness

our 12 days of kindness have brought on a whirlwind of emotions, Joy, thankfulness, and Love just to name a few. last year when I heard about this idea (and gentry was too young) I knew 2012 would be the start of this new tradition in our family. However, I didn't know how God would use it to transform my heart for people... all people, not just the ones you already love, but the ones you don't even know anything about either. I cannot exactly put into words the magnitude of what the Lord has done through this or is still doing, but I can tell you I am more happy then I have ever been! Maybe it's the joy I have gotten from giving to people, or maybe its the joy through watching my child love fully and witnessing her grasp the idea of what this season is truly about. either way I am changed! let me rephrase that, we are changed... this has been the most fun tradition yet, and I know that in years to come as we continue to do this, my girls will look back on these moments and understand the concept of what it truly means to give generously, at least I can hope this much :) so now what... do we put our kindness back on the shelf and save it for next year? or do we take this time to approach the upcoming year with a heart of thankfulness and continue to bless and love all people? for us the answer is simple, we are going to keep it up :) we are going to focus this year on others, not just how we can bless them, or what material object we can give them, but how we can love them, pray for them, encourage them, lead them to Him, all of it..this year instead of pulling out "that phrase", you know the one "i'm too busy, I don't have time" we are going to make time for what is really important and put away all the excuses! we are going to approach 2013 with endless opportunity... leaving God to be the illustrator of how we can bless and love his people that we come in contact with daily. imagine how awesome life would be if we all left time in our lives for him to use us. I can't help but think that the person you just rushed to bag your grocery's and had no time for is more important to him then what time your dinner arrives on the table. I know we've all done it me included, its reality, its life, I get it... but lets leave some wiggle room in our daily lives for God to transform the world around us.

2013 is looking marvelous! I am eager to see the Lord's work through my family and how he will teach us even more then he has in the last 12 days! Stay Tuned for 2013, the year of loving all people, with wiggle room, attitude adjustments, and no excuses! :)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

day 12 of 12 days of kindness

Today we decided to bless our neighbor again. let me start with a little story behind today's activities...

last week my neighbor Louise came over to thank Gentry for the for the cookies and picture she delivered and while she was over here talking to me she asked if I had any VHS tapes she could borrow  because she only had 4 and was sick of watching them (yes I said VHS) i grabbed the 3 I had and handed them to her and said... "girl you don't have a dvd player?" she said "no" and I said "oh man you need to tell your sons thats what you want for christmas" and here's the clincher... she said "they don't get me gifts for christmas, no one does" that broke my heart. how sad! how would you feel if every christmas you gave the people you loved gifts and you never got ANYTHING from them. now I know the phrase its better to give then receive (and yes after doing these 12 days of kindness I would agree with it) ,but man sometimes its also nice to be blessed with something for yourself too. so this made me start thinking... how wonderful would it be if we could bless her with a dvd player and some dvds this christmas, so I talked to a few friends about it and they came thru! I mean really came thru :) ( I have some great friends did I mention that, and they have great hearts too) one friend gave a dvd player, and 2 more friends gave movies...not to mention the 2 that offered to mail me stuff to give her. I too got some movies and we had a nice TV that we weren't using anymore that was collecting dust in our attic so we got it all together wrapped it up and decided to go surprise her.... when we got there and I had wrapped gifts she looked at me in shock! genuine shock! and I said here we have some goodies for you and proceeded to hand her the box with the dvd player in it. she opened it and started to tear up (which means I did too if you know me) and then when I handed her the big stack of dvds we had wrapped and told her this wasn't just from me that I had some friends that helped pitch in too... she started to tear up even more. It meant so much to her that someone thought of her, people who didn't even know her thought of her! Phil then went back to the house and brought over the TV and she was speechless, and thanked us over and over. we set everything up, showed her how to use it all and even wrote down directions. she said to me a few times "you have just made my christmas" I am so glad that we were able to love on her and bless her with these things. I know it means alot to her especially considering the TV she had looked to be about 30 years old.. wow how does it still even work?

what I learned today:
I have friends that have great hearts! I mean really how many people would want to give to someone they don't even know? not many, thats why I consider my friends true treasures! I also learned that people still use not only VCRs but that they also have 30 +year old TVs too... thats older then me! I also learned that a TV sitting in your attic collecting dust, that you never use anymore can bless someone more then you ever thought, same with that old dvd player and all those old movies you never watch anymore. things that are old to you can still be appreciated and a huge blessing to someone that otherwise would have gotten NOTHING for Christmas. Now I realize christmas isn't about presents, trust me I know this and I agree fully, but I do think that christmas should be a time to celebrate! celebrate the birth of our savior, celebrate family, celebrate friends, celebrate the joy that you have been given another year on this earth, and to celebrate and appreciate all people even ones you don't know and today that was accomplished! :)

special thanks to Sarah and Kyle Hunter, Mariah Utz, and Kristi and Eric Cobb! thank you so much for having a heart big enough to love on someone you don't even know and for helping me make a 70 year old Lady feel loved and appreciated this Christmas. your gesture of love not only affected Louise but me too! I adore each of you :) also thanks to everyone that offered to buy things and mail them to me! I appreciate you too ;)

So there you have it folks! 12 days of kindness complete and my heart is full :)

stay tuned for 12 days of kindness reflection coming soon!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Day 11 of 12 days of Kindness

Today we made some cookies for one of my favorite people! She has been a great friend to me since I moved here and Lucky for us our kids adore each other and she has 2 boys just about the same age as my 2 girls (um hello do I hear 2 arranged marriages in our future?? I hope so!) Anyways back to her :) she basically is the best! I enjoy her friendship and I have loved getting to know her better and better over the past year. She has been a huge blessing to me and has made this move to Nashville a lot easier! she moved here around the same time that I did and I am pretty sure we were destined to be great friends when we met in the partnership class at church with our matching preggo bellies (although hers was much cuter then mine). I just wanted her to know how special she was, so I wrote her a note baked her some cookies and dropped them off in her mailbox :)

What I learned today:
I have been blessed with some great friends here and I am so thankful for them, all of them! I think its important to make sure your friends know how much your adore them and are thankful for can never tell someone enough that you appreciate them!  Communicate your thankfulness to those you love :) I am gonna start doing this more not just at christmas, but all year :)

STAY TUNED FOR DAY 12... its gonna be a huge day of blessing :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Day 10 of 12 days of kindness

Today I decided 2 of my workin friends needed some lovin :) so Gentry and I made some peanut butter cookies and we dropped them off at their work for them. One has been saying how much she wanted to do some blessing of her own and knowing shes a busy, caring lady, I made her an extra goodie bag to pass on to someone of her own so she could get in on the action of blessing someone! My other friend is a working mom and just went back to work after having her little one about a month ago. she is amazing! and I love her dearly and I am so proud of her for the long days and nights and everything she does to make sure her hubby and little girl are taken care of. I know getting back in the grove of work has been a challenge and I thought she just needed a little note of encouragement and to let her know how awesome I think she is :)

What I learned today:
your friends need some lovin too, especially friends that do so much for everyone else as both of these girls! I get it, life is busy and this is all the more reason to show your friends some kindness and encouragement, just think how much brighter everyones day would be if they knew how much you thought of them! it doesn't take much, heck you can even send an email and I am sure it will brighten there day just as much! Love your friends and show them what they mean to you :)


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Day 9 of 12 days of Kindness

Today we decided to tackle the mall. lets be honest, working retail is a hard job, but when you throw Christmas into the mix it is even harder! So today I wanted to bless some hard working mall employees... Since I have started the 12 days of kindness I have had others say they wanted to get involved and help, so today I assembled a team of 8 of us (all girls) and we attacked that mall with smiles, tutus and holiday cheer. we passed out flowers with specail notes of thankfulness to workers of Victoria Secret, Bath and Body works, Kiosk Booths and more! For santa and his helpers we even had something special we prepared, cold drinks and treats :) It was a happy sight to see smiles form on faces of stress and exhaustion as we passed out Joy to people who often deal with grumpy irritated customers. I even saw some tears too, in one case specifically a elf in santas area started crying when we gave her something, and told us how today was a hard day and how much she needed this. her mom had passed away a year ago on this day and her husband was currently in the hospital for internal bleeding. She Cried and thanked us repeatedly ( and if you know me I cried too). I am happy that we could Love on her and many others...after we spread some love around the mall we all decided to grab some lunch... My sweet friend Mariah even blessed me with some kindness of her own by buying my lunch :) to which I was ever so thankful and encouraged by. today was a good day GREAT day. I am happy people have been encouraged to participate in this tradition and I am even more happy that I could sit back and watch them experience joy themselves by blessing others too :)

What I learned today:
I AM A SYMPATHY CRIER.. If you cry, I will join you. I don't even need to know what you are crying about, it doesn't matter I will choose to participate, thats just how I am :) a VS worker started to tear up, I joined her... as I stood back behind a counter watching my little group of kindness ambassadors waiting to bless santa and his workers, I teared up some more, and when I heard about that sweet lady I LOST IT! I pulled myself back together for a short lunch break and then when we got in the car to head home, I cried some more, and as I am sitting here typing this I am still crying. I can't begin to tell you how this 12 days of kindness has changed my heart for spreading kindness and loving on people. If we can help make each day a little brighter for people, if we can help them feel a little less lonely, and if we can help them feel needed and appreciated, this my friends is exactly Why my family is doing this! I can definately see where it has changed Gentry too... today I would hand her something and she would immediately try to give it away. I am happy this is not only affecting my heart but hers too. She is truly learning what it is to give to others, whether its, flowers, cold drinks, cookies, or hugs, she gets it!
Today I am even more encouraged then I was yesterday by the ripple effect of kindness going on here :) and I am blessed to have great friends who are eager to join this movement as well! Mariah and Ashley, Thank you! thank you for not only your friendship, but your kind and tender hearts that have a desire to help bless others!

ready to go!

flowers and hugs to VS's hard workers

Gentry and Sierra ready to pass our cold drinks and treats
Gracelynn Lee blessing a shopper
Teilea Rayne and Gracelynn Lee waiting to bless Santa and friends
this is the lady I was telling you about :)
Teilea Rayne and Gracelynn Lee Loving on Nathan

about to light up santa and his workers with some goodies... look at the joy on those faces :) I am so Proud!!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day 8 of 12 days of Kindness

Today I wanted to surprise some of my friends that don't have family around here with some FREE babysitting! So I made some little vouchers stuffed them in a envelope with some candy canes and we made our rounds around town to 3 of my friends mailboxes to pop them in there.... Having lived in Charleston with no family around I know how precious and few those date nights become when you throw kids into the mix. thankfully we had friends that loved us enough to watch Gentry so we could get away for a refresher every once in awhile.... its now my turn to pass along the goodness of FREE babysitting since we live by family now. I cherish each of these friends greatly and love their kiddos too so it makes for a fabulous combination for me ;)

What I learned today:
kindness doesn't have to come with a price! just be willing to give some of your time to love others around you... pay it forward and give your mama and daddy friends a break, I am pretty sure we could all use a refresher every once in awhile, it doesn't hurt that you get to love on their sweet kiddos along with it ;)

hopefully they don't read this blog before they check their mailbox ;)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Day 7 of 12 days of Kindness

Today I had something differnt planned but I saw the UPS guys pull up so instead we loved on our UPS guys! I was so upset they came during naptime cause they usually come as soon as Gentry gets up :( but either way we still got to bless them with some Cold Drinks and a cherry candy cane... I saw them park in front of my house to disperse their package drop offs around us so I ran outside to hand them some goodies and tell them just how much we appreciate them! They were thrilled and said "thank you so much, we are really behind today and didn't have time to grab lunch so this is perfect" ... today must have been extra busy because usually we only have 1 UPS guy and today there was 2 so I had to think fast since I only had prepared for I quickly pulled together another water and candy cane!

What I learned today:
a candy cane and water is a fabulous lunch and I am not the only one that thinks that ;) haha ok, but all kidding aside, even if you aren't prepared with a over the top plan you can still bless someone on a whim :) kindness doesn't have to have preparation, it can certainly be done without it! so time and busyness is no longer an excuse! I pulled this one off in a matter of 30 seconds and I am glad I did, these guys work way too hard not to have a lunch, even if it is only a candy cane ;)

I snapped this photo of them enjoying their treats and a short little break ;)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Day 6 of 12 days of kindness

Today we decided to love on the 2 people that live right next door to us, Mr George and Ms Louise. Both are older single people and Gentry loves them! we started by baking some chocolate chip cookies, then Gentry wanted to draw them some original artwork, shes no Picasso, but I am sure they will love it anyways ;)

she was so excited to go deliver it that she was pulling me out the door. sadly, neither one of them were home so we left the goodies on the doorstep and came back home to enjoy some cookies of our own ;)

What I learned today: 
I wish I was as eager as my 2 year old to love on my neighbors, friends, family, and even strangers. If only we all operated with that same love that children have to those they meet then I am confident this would would be a better place.... so today I will begin to strive to love like a child, pure, gracious, and fully. while also keeping the maturity of an adult ;)

Stay tuned for day 7

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Day 5 of 12 days of kindness

in light of the tragedy that happened on Friday, today we decided to bless our "teachers" at church. Gentry was excited to bring them goodies and even helped herself to eating one on the way in (oops). We love our teachers at church and she always lights up when she see's Mr bill who always greets her with a big ole bear hug and I love that! its great to have people like that who genuinely love your kids fully and he certainly does that. as you know our "teachers" at church don't get paid for what they do... its all volunteer. they bless our family on a weekly basis and we are grateful they are fully invested in helping to disciple and mold our children with us :)

what I learned today: We are blessed everyday by someone and we don't even realize it. I am starting to be more aware of people I come in contact with on a daily basis and how they add to the blessings in my life, some simply by a smile they add to my day, others by great friendships and love for my children. regardless how big or how small they bless my life and I am thankful :)


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Day 4 of 12 days of kindness

today Phil and I had the pleasure of serving shoppers at cool springs mall with some FREE gift wrapping at our churches wrapping station... because I'm not much of a gift wrapper (lets be honest you would probably rather have your 2 year old wrap a gift then me) I got to be the greater/ gift distributor to help keep things rolling and people happy. Our church does this wrapping station every year as a way to love on shoppers during this hectic season of christmas hustle and bustle. It was such a joy to encounter shoppers of all types who were shocked to find out we were just there to bless them no strings attached! I had some great conversations and enjoyed serving along side some of our great friends! Sadly things were so busy I had no time for a break or pictures, but just visualize loads of gift wrap, smiling faces and boxes of all shapes and sizes and you pretty much got the drift.

What I learned today: this season provides so much stress and busyness to people, that I can't help but think we have all somewhat missed the point of Christmas. Christmas isn't about presents, its about a baby that changed our world, and while yes presents are nice, Giving is nicer, especially when you expect nothing in return... bless others freely!!!


Friday, December 14, 2012

Day 3 of 12 days of kindness

Day 3 is all about loving on our mailman! today is a really busy day we are leaving right after I post this to drop the kiddos off with gigi and bubba and I won't be back home till late late tonight! so what better day to love on our mailman simply by popping some goodies in our mailbox for him :)

gentry was excited to draw scribble him a nice picture and we made him a goody bag with Chocolate cookies and cherry candy cane along with a bottle of water. Minnie of course came along to drop these goodies off in our mailbox with us ;)

What I learned today: even when you are busy busy and life is chaos if you have enough time to check your mailbox you have enough time to appreciate others! busyness is no longer allowed to be an excuse in our house after today... it took all of 1 minute to walk these things to our mailbox.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Day 2 of 12 days of christmas kindness

Well let me start by saying today didn't turn out quite as I expected! Gentry has been a pistol today and insisted on pairing her cute christmas outfit with a ridiculous tutu. I decided this was not the battle to choose so we left the house tutu and all. we had all intentions of going to target one of our favorite stores and blessing the poor guy that has to round up all the carts in the parking lot, but when we got there to my surprise there were no carts in the parking lot and he was no where to be found. So we headed inside to do a little shopping and hope that by the time we got back out there we would find him.....

now entering the main part of our story... we did our shopping and when we headed to checkout they of course only had 2 open (why they even waste the time building the rest I'll never know because it seems there are always only 2 open) so we hopped in line and waited.... and waited... and waited some more! today was a busy day at target and I can tell you it was also full of some grumpy customers too, that I had the pleasure of waiting in line with, but back to our story... the poor lady at the cash register was frazzled, looked exhausted, and appeared to be in a bad mood herself. Thats when it hit me, THIS IS OUR PERSON TODAY!!! I sat there thinking what we could do to bless her while also trying to keep my kids from having a meltdown due to our wait... Gentry kept grabbing snickers bars and bringing them to me so I figured this was a sign, I popped a snickers bar on the counter with the rest of our stuff and tried to talk to the Lady while she rang me up... she was not having it, not one bit she was too focued on getting thru the line of grumpy folks behind me! she handed the snickers back to me thinking it was probably for me cause I look like I love snickers ;) I had some tape in my diaper bag and a tag too that read

"Our family is on a fun mission to keep the focus on others this Christmas. We hope this gesture lit up your heart in a speacial way today. it sure did make us smile thinking of you"

... I taped it on the snickers bar handed it to gentry and told her to go give it to the old lady and give her a hug... So she did :) (proud mom moment) the little old lady said "oh thats your mommys"(haha I guess its time to lay off the sweets) to which I said "nope we got that for you":... she was in shock and I did not expect this, but she started crying and said "why thank you, this just made my day sweetheart" and knealt down to give Gentry a hug... not only was the lady beaming but so was my 2 year old.... I turned around to the long line that she still had ahead of her and could sense that there had already been an attitude adjustment by the smiles I now saw ;)  we headed back to the parking lot to see if we could locate the cart wrangler, but he wasn't anywhere to be found so instead we found a few carts and taped a cherry candycane to them along with a note saying

" Surprise! this isn't a promotion or a trick. we are just one family trying to focus on others this season. so enjoy your special treat today. we hope it made you smile" 

what I learned today:  sometimes a ridiculous tutu or a simple gesture of love can change the attitudes of the strangers you come in contact with on a daily basis. instead of being impatient this holiday season and focused on a to do list. take some time to love on the simple people around you. It won't only change their attitude but yours too ;) my impatient attitude has now been adjusted and hopefully forever changed (fingers crossed) simply by watching my child In a ridiculous tutu bless a little old lady that we otherwise would have just gone off and left never once thinking twice about...

this is the ridiculous ensemble I was talking about

Sadly I didn't snap a photo of the lady and Gentry.. 

stay tuned for Day 3!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

day 1 of 12 days of christmas kindness

just wanted to share this with you guys ,we have decided to start a new tradition we are calling 12 days of kindness. I feel this will help keep into perspective that Christmas is about so much more then getting presents. 

today we decided to bless our "garbage dudes"and Gentry was too excited. she literally waited by the window from the moment we set out the goodies till the moment they came at 12:15 (we set them out there at 9)... last night she helped me bake them double chocolate chunk cookies and we attached a note to each gift bag that said 

"We are grateful! Thank you for how hard you work all year long. You never get the proper recognition. Our family just wanted to stop and say that we appreciate you. We wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas!"

when they finally pulled up she was so excited and was blowing them kisses at the window. It was clear to see they were glad to see someone thought of them and by the kisses they were blessed with too ;)

what I have learned today: I have been blessed with a precious cheerful giver! I am thankful I get to experience the love of giving to others through the excitement of my eager 2 year old. I already have a new perspective and its only day 1, I can't wait to see what we will learn over the next 12 days and the joy I will experience in watching Gentry learn to give to others :)

stay tuned for tomorrow :)

I can't take the credit myself, I was inspired by lillightomine and her amazingness... also you can find the lables for your own light em up givings here lightemup lables