August 2011-
I am starting a 29-Day Challenge to give one gift each day and see how it affects my life. I have always considered myself a giver, but I feel this challenge will challenge and focus me on giving more. I was inspired by the book 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving can Change your Life. I ran across it 2 years ago in a bookstore in Springfield, MO, and I titled a piece of paper 29 Gifts. I found that same piece of paper the other day, and I saw it as a sign to start the challenge. You can learn more about the book and challenge at

After 1 month of giving, I have continued this challenge in giving and sharing the stories with others. Hope you enjoy reading about my adventures with giving!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 4: Sweet Tea for a Sweet (Awesome) friend

Today my gift was a nice, cold  McAlister's sweet tea for my friend.  I decided I would bring her a sweet tea today while she was organizing her books for the upcoming school year.  Sweet tea has been our treat to help motivate us to study these past two semesters.  Small acts of thoughtfulness make life a little sweeter! :)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day 3: Gift to a friend

Today I got the chance to run in the Warrior Dash with two of my best running buddies.  One is my former roommate who just moved in with her bf two months earlier.  I decided I would surprise her with a sweet "I Miss Manhattan" tee because I know Manhattan and everyone misses her too!  A big smile flashed across her face when she saw it, and she said "I've been secretly wanting one of these".  We need to cherish the friendships in our life and show our friends how much they mean to us.  I believe God brings us together to enhance and bring joy to each others lives. 

Also, the Warrior Dash was a great success and a challenging event.  It was a dream come true, an awesome obstacle course and running event!  I loved that I got to share it with my running buddies.  Running in these events always inspires me because so many people come together for a common goal:  to compete, have fun, and be healthy!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 2: Donation to Nelson-Atkins Musuem of Art

 My gift today was a donation to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.  I decided this morning to go the the museum when my friend in KC wasn't going to be home until later in the evening.  I'm so happy I decided to go visit the museum; the experience was absolutely wonderful.  It was my first time to the museum, and it is filled with some interesting/beautiful pieces of artwork.  I especially enjoyed the photographs and contemporary pieces of artwork.  Also, I had the chance to meet Zach Houston, who creates poems on the spot about any subject.  I had Zach create a poem about running for me since I will be running in the Warrior Dash this weekend.  It was really interesting to watch Zach type on his typewriter to create a one-of-a-kind poem.  The museum experience made me feel very at peace, and I'm glad I had the chance to make a donation to the museum.   After leaving the museum, I started following my mapquest directions to my friend's house.  Needless to say I got a little mixed up and ended up a little out of the way in Liberty, MO. I was trying to navigate with my giant atlas and decided to stop and get some supper since it was approaching nine o' clock.  I planned to stop at Chick-fil-A, but I spotted Jimmy Johns and just had to go there.  I'm sure glad I did because I met this nice gentleman who helped me find the exact directions to my friends house.  He was so patient, kind, and helpful.  It just made my day!  I walked out of Jimmy Johns with a skip in my step.  Small acts of kindness and giving make a big difference!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 1: Giving Blood

Today my gift was blood.  I went to the local Manhattan Community Blood Drive to donate blood to the American Red Cross.  I have been giving blood for about seven years now.  My best friend Becca gave blood in high school, and I thought it was really cool.  She inspired me to give blood, and I have been doing it ever since.  Today the Blood Drive's theme was the "Battle of the Badges" where the local Police Department, Fire Department, and EMS were battling for the most votes.  They were giving away free ice cream and even had a BBQ for donors. 

I always enjoy giving blood because I know I am potentially helping three people with each donation I give.   Also, I enjoy the people.  Everyone is always so upbeat and friendly.  Today the American Red Cross workers were dealing with a new computer system, so things weren't going exactly as smooth as usual.  I was able to give my patience when I had to wait longer than usual during the screening process.   I could see my calm demeanor was rubbing off on the workers, and they worked together to solve the problem.  

Another positive to my blood donation experience is that I got to talk to this really nice volunteer today.  I don't really like needles so when they poke me I always look away.  One of the volunteers, an older lady, came to talk to me to distract me from the poke of the needle.  She was wearing this sweet sweatshirt with the ties and beads hanging off of it; I love grandma sweatshirts!  It was really delightful to get a chance to talk to her and hear about her experiences with the American Red Cross.  She said that they used to have blood drives on the bottom floor of the dorms on K-state campus.  She got involved with the American Red Cross in the late 60s, but after being exposed to Hepatitis C she is no longer eligible to give.  She said her goal was to give 10 gallons of blood after seeing another donor wearing a 10 gallon pin at a local blood drive.  She only had the chance to give 8 gallons of blood before her exposure to Hepatitis C.  Well my new goal is to give 10 gallons, and if I get the change I want to give that lady my 10 gallon pin.  She deserves it.  I recognize her every time I go to give blood.  She is a friendly face and a reliable American Red Cross volunteer in the community.  Giving blood not only makes you feel great but you get to meet a lot great people too!  Also, you get free food/drinks, sometimes sweet t-shirts, and the knowledge that you are helping others!  The next Community Blood Drive in Manhattan is September 29th and 30th!  Hope to see you there!