Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2014 - A Year of Kindness & Challenge Week One

Hello all my blog friends!  As you know, I've already spilled the beans that my One Little Word for 2014 is "Kind" (or "kindness" depending on the circumstance).  I chose this word because, honestly, it is one that kept coming up on my short list the last two years, but I kept avoiding... not quite ready to take on the everyday moment to moment awareness that I knew it would entail. In fact, when I look back over my "one little words" over the years, in four out of five years, my intentions for the word included adding more kindness in my life.

My words in the past have included:

2009 - enrich  In included an intention "to enrich the lives of others by practicing kindness"
2010 - wholehearted  My 10 for 2010 included "practice kindness"
2011 - happy
2012 - focus  I was going to document random acts of kindness during the month of October.
2013 - dare  One of my daring intentions was "Dare to make a difference"

Unfortunately, in each of these years I feel like I fell short, like I disappointed myself in this particular area, like there is so much more I could have done or should have done.  So for 2014, Kindness is my MAIN focus. And in this way I'm sure to make it happen!

1. I intend to be KIND to myself by pampering myself and taking care of my body (healthy eating and exercise), and by making and allowing myself time to be creative and time to participate fully in online classes which means that sometimes I will have to say "no" to other demands on my time, in order to protect that time for me.

2. I intend to be KIND to my family by being present in the moment when I am with them, by listening intently, by meeting their needs as much as I am able without violating my first intention by putting my own needs last.

3. I intend to be KIND to others by being aware and in the moment when I am out and about, by finding opportunities to offer a smile, a compliment, a helping hand, or to be of service in some way.

To make the KIND to others a reality, I am undertaking two projects this year.

First - The Year of the Card - paper cards (mostly handmade) through snail mail to everyone I know for birthdays, anniversaries, thinking of you, get well, whatever the occasion may be. To realize what an undertaking this is for me, understand that I have a subscription to Blue Mountain, and I usually send e-cards or just post good wishes on Facebook. I haven't sent a birthday card in the mail in.... well, years.  But in 2014 I want to fill mailboxes around the world with happy mail!

I need YOUR help to make this outreach project work.  For some of you I have your address, but not your birthday. For some of you I know your birthday, but not your address. And for some of you I don't have any information at all! Would you like a birthday card in the mail from me this year?  If so, email me at scrapdreams @ verizon.net with your birthday and address. I'll get you added to my file! :)

To make sure that this project would be successful, I spent the week between Christmas and New Years setting up. I used a large index file box (holds 5"x8' index cards) and using a divider for each month, made up a calendar of sorts on the front of each card with dates and names of each person who had an occasion that required a card for the year. Then I added envelopes and addressed each one to the recipients. So I have a year of addressed envelopes!  Next I went through the stash of cards I already have made and added cards to the envelopes for January and February. Each week I just have to pull out the cards that need to be mailed that week and pop them in the post! I even bought stamps and put in the front of the file box. And I'll be working throughout the year to make new cards to fill the rest of those envelopes!  Wouldn't you like one???

Second - A Weekly Kindness Challenge. I'm really excited about this one, but also a bit scared. I almost don't want to post it because I'm too afraid that others won't be as enthusiastic as I am and it'll be one big flop. But hey, even if I am the only one playing along, it will still be a good way to keep myself accountable for my word and to keep it out there. So here's the deal. Every week on Monday (except this week since it took me too long to get my thoughts together), I will make a Kindness Post to my blog. I'll include things like an inspiring quote, a link to a story about a kind act, or something similar, something uplifting. And finally a challenge. The challenges will be simple things that will require very little investment of time, and, as much as possible, little or no cost. You will have one week to complete the challenge. You can participate every week or just once in a while when the spirit moves you. You can come back to my post and comment about your results and/or leave a link to where you blogged about it, or you can keep your involvement totally private - your level of participation is entirely up to you!  I just hope some of you will be as excited about this idea as I am and will want to play along with me!

Kindness Challenge Week One - pay someone a sincere compliment. This can be in person, via a comment on someone's blog or facebook post, over the phone, via email - however you communicate. Sometimes a sincere compliment can really make someone's day! And it costs you nothing. I had a sales clerk at JCPenney compliment me on my new hair style and I was still smiling about that later in the day. Sometimes it is just nice when someone notices!

Will you play along?  Tell me YES!, then come back again and share how it went!


Melissa said...

I like how you've set some goals for your word & already have some action plans to begin the year!

YES - I want a card! You know where to find me & my birthday is July 25. :>)

I'm hoping you'll be able to show me some KINDness and FUN the first weekend of May (almost have our plans together!).

And I love the challenge idea & will try to participate each week.

Anonymous said...

YES, YES, YES -I want to be a part of this as I truly believe that acts of kindness have a domino effect - by being kind to someone makes them more inclined to be kind to another and so on. I would love a birthday card from you please and have emailed you details but in return you must let me know when your birthday is and your address - see one act of kindness creating another x

Missus Wookie said...

Oh what a lovely idea and I'm with Karen I'm happy to send you my details and hope you'll share yours in return. I LOVE sending people home made cards - although I have a subscription to an online card place and post on FB too ;)

Giving people a sincere compliment is something I started doing several years ago and it almost always means they smile.

helena said...

excited about your weekly challenge and hope to participate regularly as you are doing the hard part of thinking of a kind act for the week.

I'd love a card - I think you have my address from Ginger's list. My birthday is 26 May. I agree with Melissa, we need to know when your birthday is too so we can reciprocate

scrappyjacky said...

What great ideas you already have for your word. I'd love a card....nothing nicer than receiving a handmade card.
I'll try and join in the Monday challenge as well.

Barbara Eads said...

I plan to put your kindness challenge in to effect today as I meet my friends. I'm going to give each one of them a sincere compliment over lunch and toast our new year together. Thanks for a great idea!

Karen said...

I'd love to participate as well. I know you have my address because I was the lucky recipient of one of your beautiful mixed media canvases. My birthday is May 14th. I'll be participating in your challenges as well whenever I can.

Sian said...

A wonderful word! Today is a very dark, dull kind of a day here - and I can honestly say that this post has cheered up my afternoon. Your resolution is working already..

Maria Ontiveros said...

First off, what a wonderful post and congratulations on your ambitious plans for the year. I think being kind to ourselves is something we overlook far too often.
Second, I adore the badge you created with the butterfly and your intention!
Third, I would love a birthday card (March 2). I think you have my address.

Unknown said...

Kindness - Inspiring idea to have a weekly challenge. I am in.

alexa said...

What a wonderful word to hold in kind - it has clearly made its way to the front of your consciousness this year :). I like the idea of your challenge, and I am in awe of how organised you are already with your cards!

Karen said...

It wasn't until I saw this week's post that I remembered my kindness challenge from week 1. We were walking along the beach behind a woman with an adorable straw hat. They stopped to take photos, and as we passed, I looked over, smiled, and said, "I just love your hat!" I got a radiant smile in return. Wish now I'd asked to take her photo. She was adorable all the way around.

Miriam said...

How did I miss this? I'm so sorry I would love to join your wonderful idea Cheri. I am doing something similar. I have had some of my pictures made into postcards and intend to send one (maybe two) out every week this year. Starting with the addresses I have from my festive swap.
My birthday is soon...17th February. I understand if I'm too late to receive a card from you but I'll be joining in with your meme from today!

Amy Putkonen said...

I've done this birthday card thing for several years now. My reminders are electronic - I set each one up in my calendar app with a two week reminder and it pops up on my phone to remind me to get a card in the mail to them. It works great. For years, I had been the person who NEVER sent cards. Ever. Not even Christmas cards. I am thinking of changing it from cards to a phone call this year. (More personal, but a little more of a stretch for me.) I love your kindness challenge and how you are embracing it. Bravo.