They Are Changing Me……Not The Other Way Around

I have had a wake up call…..again! Apparently I am in need of every one of them that I am getting, so I’m ok with this. I started on this quest to complete 30 acts of kindness in 30 days. I assumed that I would find a greater connection with myself along the way and brightening someone else’s day could always brighten mine. You know, it is said, if you want to smile, make someone else smile.

A friend of mine posted a comment on Facebook when I posted my day 2 act. She said, that I truly did two acts of kindness if I thought about it. Huh? I asked my husband to come comfort me when my day wasnt going so good. So, why would that qualify as a kind act?

My husband an I were so close to divorce, I mean almost to the point of no return. The divorce is still filed in the courts, a judge is assigned and its awaiting a court date. A month ago, I would have told you I couldn’t wait until the divorce was final so I could be free. To go from pending divorce to asking him to comfort me – that’s a big change.

I actually asked my husband to comfort me which let him in to a very open part of me. Somewhere I had written him out of. Amazing. At least to me it is.

So, day 3….what did I do? I went on a field trip with my daughter. This same friend pointed out that this could very well be a kind act. I have never been the parent that joins the PTA, works every event, helps whenever I can. I have never been on a single field trip. It’s not that my children haven’t asked me, they absolutely have. It has always been my choice to not take part in their activities in that way.

Even this field trip, I wasn’t sure that I was even going to go. In my mind I was battling my addiction to work, feeling that I needed to be present at work and how was I going to ask my boss for time off? My boss had never had a problem with me taking time off but I was assuming that it would be a problem, because I had the issue. So, for me to take the day off and be able to enjoy time with my daughter – it was a BIG deal.

You know what? I did it, I threw my hands up and said, if I am going to change my life I have to start somewhere and a lot of it is going to be hard. This was hard. I am happy to say that I had the best day with my daughter, worry free. And you know what? I wasn’t fired when I got back to work, the world hadn’t ended, nothing was on fire, everything was absolutely ok. Shocker! The world doesn’t revolve around me?! Nope. And, I’m glad!!

The next day came around and people had asked me what I had done for day 3 and my response was “nothing”. Why? Because I didn’t feel like I had done anything at that point. I was still praying, asking God to show me what to do. That afternoon a girl showed up on my doorstep asking if we wanted to buy candy bars to support her going to church camp.

I let my children each get a candy bar, and I even gave her extra money. Thanks God. I needed that. If I wasn’t out looking thank you for bringing the opportunity to my doorstep. The next day, yesterday, is when I had the talk with my friend. I realized that everyone was changing me. It didn’t matter if I simply had a heart to heart with my son or daughter, or I started talking to an old friend again, or if I gave supplies to the disaster relief.

Every one of those acts has an impact on me. I need to spend more time reflecting on the impacts happening to me than what acts I am going to do to impact someone else. At first I thought this seemed very selfish but then I realized that I am on a quest to find myself, to listen to my heart and learn more and more about myself. So, I may not post every day about the act that I did but rather about the impact it is having in my life.

Day 2 of 30 Kind Acts

Today was a difficult day. I woke up at 4am tossing and turning and I had a migraine to top it all off. Wonderful! Ugghh. I came downstairs and laid on the couch and really avoided getting up until the absolute last possible minute. I ran my daughter to school and came right back home. I made a cup of coffee and sat down to work.How was I supposed to find someone today?! I felt like dog poop that had been trampled on by a horse. I had to work today because tomorrow I am going on my daughters fifth grade field trip. At lunch I didn’t want to go anywhere. I had my husband just come and hold me for an hour and had chinese food delivered.

I suppose I could have tried to work with the chinese delivery person…… yeah but supposing to do something was really heartfelt right?! Jeez!! So, I finished working then I had to get myself ready because at 5pm I still had not dressed for the day. See? I’m telling you, it was a bad day. I had movies to return because I was already being charged an arm and a leg, I had to put gas in the car, I needed to find a bathing suit because part of tomorrow’s trip is the water park. So much to do and so little time.

I was doing all of these things, in an hour because the kids had to be at church at 630 I had an appointment at 645 in the next town over and I had to pick the kids back up by 8pm. Yup – normal mom stuff right? It was, is….whatever. I was doing. I was going through the motions, what else was I supposed to do?

So, I called my mom to say hi and see what she was doing and she happened to ask me if I had done my kind act for the day. Nope I hadn’t. Still had no idea what I would be doing. I was on the phone with my mom, driving, and she said she had been thinking of the other side of the coin, what would someone do for her?

It hit me.

My mom was a waitress when I was growing up. She worked hard doing all she could for us sometimes even working multiple jobs – waitressing – at the same time. I remember her getting pennies as a tip, which if you are a waitress or waiter, you know it’s a slap in the face. I have a friend or two that is currently working at a restaurant because they are in school.

The Waitress

The Waitress (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, I let my mom keep talking and finally told her I had my idea and I had to go. She insisted on being on the phone while I did this, ok mom, sure. So, I pulled into the parking lot. The hostess looked at me to seat me and I refused seating. I said I was just going to sit at the bar for a little bit. So I did. I figured whenever I saw who I was looking for, I would know. After all, I trust God to lead me to the right person.

Aha! There she is!! I walked up to her and said “Do you have a minute?”

“Sure” she says with a half-hearted smile

“I don’t have a table here. But I want you to have this” as I hold out my hand. I have wrapped in my fingers a five dollar bill and five ones. She looks down, looking a bit taken aback but not shocked and reaches to take what is in my hand.

“I hope your day is going well and that it only gets better” I say with a smile. I turn and walk out of the restaurant and resume my hurried schedule. But I’m not the same.

I can’t explain to you the feeling of giving something to someone. I don’t know the name of the waitress I gave to today and I don’t need to. I don’t know if she is a mom, a college student, just working to work. I don’t know if she likes her job or hates it. I don’t know a lot of things and most certainly I know nothing about her.

What do I know? I know how it feels to give selflessly. I am not doing this to say “look at me!” I am doing this so I can discover new parts of myself that need to be uncovered. Parts that can share, love, give, be vulnerable and do it all over and over again.

Miraculously, I havent thought of my migraine since I was getting gas today. But when I was thinking about my migraine, I wasnt thinking about what I could do for someone else today. Try it, just once. Give something from your heart, expecting nothing in return, selflessly and anonymously. What would you do for someone else?

Day 1 of 30 Kind Acts for 30 Days

So, I did it. I did one kind act for a stranger today. How did they receive it? I have no idea. I dont know who received my gift. So, whats the deal? Ok, here goes:

I have been wondering for a few days what I could possibly do. I dont exactly have a lot of money and definately dont have money to spare. This is a good cause and I want to do everything in my power, but I have bills to pay at the end of the day and while my job provides a decent income, it doesnt provide for “wants” at the moment. So, ok, most things dont have to cost money…….but still, what was I going to do??

Then, after dropping my kids off at school this morning, getting my morning fix of coffee and driving to the house to start working, I figured it out. I kept going, right past my street, down the road and pulled in to the parking lot. I could see my friend in the store and she came to unlock the door for me since she wasnt actually open. I greeted her with a great big good morning and her curiosity was peaked – I dont just stop in.

Sherri, who I call my friend and like to think she does the same :), is the owner of Tangles Beauty Bar. I told her I needed a git certificate and why – I was helping a stranger and since I like to be pampered I’m sure someone I dont know likes it too. I had been thinking it would be great to give this to a mom. I wasnt sure how I was going to find a mom to give this too but at least I had a base idea.

So, as I was telling Sherri my story, she started to give her input – which I so appreciated. She went through a very similar phase and process at one point in her life. The giving is about knowing she helped someone else. She couldnt take responsibility for what they did with the gift once they received it. I thought “wow! What a great insight!” I definately needed to hear that. She then went on to give me ideas of where I could go to find a mom. Sherri also went a step further and gave me some hair products to put in with the gift. I never expected her to do that but I really appreciated that she did.


So, I came home and worked like usually, mulling over the input I had received from Sherri. When it was time for my lunch hour, I left the house in search of this “mom” to gift. I ended up at the local office for Child Care assistance. I walked in and asked for the manager, who was sitting right in front of me. I told her that I needed her help and I had a little story to share with her.

I began to share a piece of my story, the “why” that brought me to her office today. I ended it with explaining that I wanted to know if she had a person in mind that was trying hard to get on her feet and could use a little cheering up. She said “Yes, but my clients are confidential”. I said “Oh! I completely understand, but if you have someone you have in mind then I’m going to leave this with you and trust that you will get this gift to the right person”.

I walked out of the office shaking. I wasnt sure why and then it dawned on me, I felt exactly the way I did when I was in Tennessee at this program and I just had a big breakthrough – enlighted and fulfilled! What a great feeling.

Later I was reflecting back on this event and realized that before I went, I had prayed. I prayed that God would help me find the right place to go and once it left my hands that God would place this gift in the right hands. I prayed that God would help the receiver of this gift to know it came with love and understanding and encouragement. I also realized, I used Courage.

When I was at my program, I wore a wrist band with “Courage” printed on it. This was to remind me that I didnt need someone to be courage for me, I had it in me. Today was the first time I truly used my courage in me to do something totally outside of my comfort zone and I didnt freeze, stumble, get scared or anything – I just lived the moment.

I can honestly say, I am blessed with all that is in my life and the amazing people that see past my hard shell and the “Angry Maria” to the person I am at my core. I can never thank these people enough for the inspiration, unconditional love, support, honesty – even brutally :), and just time that they all give to me.

For this being day 1 of this event, I am so excited to see what God puts in my path and has for me on the next 29 days. Have you ever done 30 kind acts for 30 days?

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