JOY TO THE WORLD

I haven’t been this excited in a long time. My new project – Joy to the World! – starts today. My December self-care is performing as many acts of kindness as I can!

Acts of Kindness are miraculous. They can turn your day around, and give you such a surge of love that your heart grows from two sizes too small to three sizes bigger:

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The first panel? The one where you are barely hanging on to all the parties, obligations, present-buying, meal preparation, expectations, exacerbations, and all the other stuff that gets added on to holidays but really isn’t that important? That’s when you need to drop everything and take a few minutes to yourself, then look to the world to find some kindness. And create some yourself. Perform an act of kindness, and you’ll be holding the sleigh on the mountaintop.

Last Christmas was a bit overwhelming for me. It went a bit like this:keep calm and SANTA home-alone-aftershave son of a nutcracker

This range of emotions lead to eating habits like this:

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And some weight gain over the past year that has been a real struggle. Leading me to wear clothes that made me feel like this:

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But this year I’ve chosen to focus on something completely different, rather than my own struggles or perceived problems and all that jazz.

JOY TO THE WORLD

Some of the best days of my life have been spent doing acts of kindness – from getting stuck in O’Hare airport for a day to my quarter century celebration. And this year I want to make it even bigger and better. Which is where I need you!

For the next 25 days I’ll be performing at least one act of kindness every day and sharing them with you on facebook. I’d love it if you would join me and share your acts of kindness with the hashtag #joytotheworld

If you don’t really know where to start, check out the website www.kindspring.org. They have kindness ideas, stories from around the globe, and free cards that you can hand out while you are doing your acts of kindness.

Here’s what I do:

Kindness ideas I do so frequently I don’t count them as specific acts of kindness anymore:

1. Leaving change in vending machines so the next person can buy a drink

2. Picking up any trash I see in the street and recycling it at home

3. Smiling at every one I see

4. Bringing treats to the office and school

5. Adding money to expired parking meters

6. Mailing care packages and cards

7. Contributing 10% of my finances to causes I believe in every month

Kindness ideas that have made me feel on top of the world:

- Secretly paying for the person behind me

- Leaving anonymous thank you notes for cleaning men & women

- Thanking police officers, firefighters, volunteers, and other hard workers for their service

- Donating my time to a children’s hospital or orphanage Christmas party

- Handing chocolate bars to flight attendants during busy holiday travel

- Helping travelers who looked lost, couldn’t find their hotel, and didn’t speak Japanese

- Leaving encouraging notes in the women’s bathroom

- Sharing my umbrella, and having a lovely conversation with a woman from London as a result

- Sending letters

- Shopping local! Supporting local business people, green businesses, and fair trade goods, plus enjoying all the present-buying to boot!

Kindness ideas I haven’t tried yet but I am going to make happen this December!

- Leave 5 random notes of encouragement in a cafe

- Leave a tip that is more that the cost of my meal

- Donate copies of my favorite books to my local library

- Hide quarters in a sandbox

- Compliment a public service employee

- Shovel snow for a neighbor

- Knock on ten doors and offer them a snack (chocolate bark!)

- Give free hugs to 5 people (who charges for hugs?!) My dream is to hold a “Free Hugs” sign in the middle of Tokyo.

This year, my family and I are also creating a new tradition. We are going to be caroling at the nursing home where my grandmother and great-grandmother lived for the past few years of their lives. My aunt has always wanted to go caroling, and I’ve wanted to include more service around Christmastime and do it with my family. I’m also going to inquire at the Emergency Shelter near my home if they need any help to make Christmas special for women & children who are having a tough time.

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I’m happy to join several other fabulous ladies in our December Sanity Retreat. Check out the kickoff post by Cheryl of Gluten Free Goodness for details on keeping your sanity in December and winning prizes in the process! And don’t miss posts by our other hosts:

So what about it? Are you ready to bring #JoytotheWorld? You’d be doing me a great act of love and kindness if you feel moved to do so and share it here in the comments.

Today I’ll be dedicating my acts of kindness in memory of Pearl Harbor day. My heart aches for all the servicemen & women and their families who never came home or are still serving our country with deep sacrifice and cost. May these acts of kindness bring a little more love to the world in order to end so much loss, hate, and unnecessary suffering.

Ok, who needs a hug?!

does somebody need a hug?