Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Day 50

Today is my last day for this year's project.

Today is about words. Words can be used almost like magic. They can be very powerful. Think about it: These little lines and curves and dots, combined in just the right way, have the ability to make us laugh, or cry, to make their heart beat faster, to make our minds open up to an idea we never had before, or to transport us to a world we've never seen (and may not even exist!)

Words can make people's lives better or worse. They can start wars or end them. They can elicit love or hate. Words can take an experience or a memory and make it a little more tangible. We can revisit old ideas or share new ones. I can take something from my mind and transfer it to yours, without either of us being in the same room, or even on the same continent. In fact, we can even take in ideas and stories from someone who has been dead for thousands of years and incorporate them into our own lives today.

How is that not magic?

So today I'm going for a tiny bit of magic. I've gone to More Love Letters and picked out a handful of strangers to write to. It's taking me just five or ten minutes each to write notes of support and encouragement for these people. Once I'm done with these, I'm going to move on to Operation Gratitude, and then Smiles for Siblings and Love for the Elderly. I might even do some more tomorrow. I'm not sure how many I'll do, and I'm not sure how many will make a difference, but seriously, who doesn't love getting a letter?

I've posted a couple stories from people who were inspired to do things based on my words here, and I know a number of other people who have done little things that they haven't shared in such a public way. Let me know if you've been influenced by this project, and what you've done. Remember, I said at the beginning that my inspiration to keep doing this came from your words. So if you'd like to inspire me, let me know what you've been up to. And if you want to inspire more than just me, post a comment, or drop me a line and let me know I can share it here.

NOTE: In a fun coincidence, as I was typing this, I got an note from my friend Helen from college, who has been following along and said:

Thank you for your 44 good days. I helped an older man near "my corner of the world" (I'm a crossing guard for the littles) shovel snow. He's not as steady on his feet as he was 8 years ago. It certainly brightened my day and his wife's day as well. It feels good to give, I've forgotten that.

Thanks Helen!

In any case, thank you thank you thank you all for following along and keeping me going. Even if you've never commented or contacted me, I can tell from the visitor stats that you're out there. That means a lot.

People have told me how great it is that I'm doing this. But wouldn't it be great if there were nothing remarkable about this? What kind of place would the world be if this was all considered normal human behavior?

I say let's all try to head in that direction. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Day 49

Today turned out to be one of the most satisfying of all my days doing this project.

I did several things, all revolving around food security and feeding those in need in my local community.

First, I donated a bunch of canned goods to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, via a food drive by my son's Cub Scout Pack. That was going to be my thing for the day.

But I saw an opportunity to help sort and weigh the food items everyone brought, so I jumped at it. (The den that brings the most donations by weight gets to hit our Cubmaster in the face with pies, so naturally, weighing everything was critical.) In total, our Pack raised over 200 lbs of food in one night. And we've got four more chances to bring food. At this rate we may hit half a ton. That would be fantastic.

There's a bit more to the story though. There was another man who was helping with organizing and packing up all the donated food. I didn't recognize him, but he was helping out so I wasn't going to argue. After everything was taken care of and all the food was loaded into the coordinator's car, I asked this man if he had a son or a grandson in the Pack. (He was an older man.) He said no, he just came in to get warm.

It turned out he was homeless. So while everyone was occupied with the Scout meeting, I snuck out and helped him across the street (he had a bit of a limp due to some foot surgery) to get him some food, drink, and a little cash. He thanked me, and then admitted he hadn't eaten anything in two days.

It must have been so hard for him to see all that food, and even help with organizing it and everything, and just pack it up to go into somebody's car. I'm sure if we'd realized we could have given him some of it. But he didn't say a word. He just helped like it was no big deal.

I hope he finds a warm place to stay tonight.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Day 48

Today I granted a simple wish for a child in foster care, via One Simple Wish.

An Olaf Pillow Pet for Megan who loves to sing the soundtrack to Frozen and is very artistic!

Wish Details:
Megan doodles Olaf all the time. She watches the video over and over again. Whenever she is in a bad mood, she says hugging an Olaf would bring a smile to her face. Megan loves stuffed animals and sleeps with a bunch of them even though she is a "tween".

About Wish Recipient:
FemaleMegan, Child 6-12, Charlotte, NC
Megan has been in and out of foster care since she was 4 years old. She is struggling a bit to find her way in middle school but is making all A's and B's. She loves Olaf the most from all the characters in Frozen. She loves to sing the soundtrack to the pets in her foster home and has true artisitc ability. She is resilient and bouncy, a joy to be around.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Day 47

Today I put some quarters in and around gumball machines. This was the last one from the "inspiration box" and I wanted to make sure I used them all before the end of this project. It was actually harder than I expected to find gumball machines around here, but mission accomplished. And one more public "thank you" to the person who sent it. A thousand coolness points to you.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Day 46

Today I bought ice cream for the next person who comes up to this machine:
(Sorry, the lighting wasn't great...)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Day 45

Today we move into Bonus Days. I'll be continuing to Day 50 based on your donations.

Speaking of donations, today I sent some money to Peacehaven Community Farm. Peacehaven is meant to allow adults with special needs to live and work in a meaningful way.

From their web site:

Peacehaven Community Farm is a sustainable farm located on 89 beautiful acres of organic gardens, rolling pastures, and lush woodlands that connects people with special needs to their community…

Dedicated to establishing an affordable housing community that provides a permanent home for adults with special needs in a supportive and family-like environment

Committed to environmental stewardship and sustainability on our working, community supported farm

Embraced by the support of a diverse and dedicated community engaged in growing both vegetables and relationships

Blessed by people who choose to live in community with people with special needs where the values of service, sharing, and the recognition of every individual’s gifts and contributions offer a model of renewal for our world

Celebrated by all who experience the peace and wonder of the land and the farm’s community

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Day 44

Today is World Kindness Day. So it's a great day to do something extra nice for somebody. And if you want to share what you did and inspire others to do the same, let me know and I'll highlight it here.

Today is also my 44th day of this project. It's been a great 44 days, but I'm going to keep going as promised, because of donations by a number of you. Thank you again.

And speaking of thank you's, today I'm sending out a handful of Thank You notes to people who have made a big difference in my life in one way or another. Because who doesn't love a handwritten thank you, right?