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!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 31: Helping Delbert

Today I was going about my busy day; going to work, going to class, going to the recycling center, and then going to volunteer at Boys and Girls Club.  While I was at the recycling center, I went about my normal business sorting my plastics, cardboard, paper, glass, tin cans, and other recyclables into the different compartments.  I got done rather quickly.  As I exited Howie's, I glanced over to see an elderly gentlemen unloading his recyclables onto a cart.  I quickly put my recycling bins back in my trunk and sat down in my car to start it.  I glanced over to see the elderly man continuing to unload his recyclables.  I started my car and put my car in reverse and then I reached for my phone and looked at the time.  It was 3:45 and I had to be at Boys and Girls Club at 4:00.  Thoughts raced through my mind.  What if he gets mad and doesn't want my help?  What if I leave and don't help him?  What if I do help him?  Then I thought of this, my blog, my inspiration, my want to really be the change we want to see in the world and how each day we are presented with these situations in which we choose to help someone or to ignore them.  I put my car back in park and turned the ignition off.  I walked over to the elderly gentlemen and told him I had some time to spare and asked him if he needed some help.  He kindly said that it would be fine.  I soon began emptying boxes of cardboard, bags of plastic, and bags of heavy papers.  It took about five to seven minutes to help this kind man out.  He kept saying "It is so kind of you to help".  I just knew I was supposed to stop and help him.  It's such a gift to offer help and have another receive it.  He was so kind and introduced himself as Del, short for Delbert.  He was so friendly and said it would have taken him much longer to unload all of his recyclables.  We all can be those helpful, friendly, and giving people in our communities.  Each day we are presented with situations that we have to make a choice about.  I hope this story opens your eyes to helping someone in need or just helping someone out to brighten their day. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 30: After 29 Days of Giving...

So I think after 29 days of giving, my life really is changed.  I feel so thankful, so inspired, and just so HAPPY!!  Most days it seemed opportunities to give just fell into my hands.  I don't know if this normally happened each day, or if I was just paying more attention to the opportunities to give in front of me.  I feel each day was such a blessing.  I got to give a gift each day, and each day I feel like I received so much back from giving that gift.  It seemed some days things were just going my way and nothing could affect my mood and happiness.  It was just such a great, inspiring journey.  I am sad it's over, and I guess I have already decided it's NOT over.  I am going to change my blog to "Giving Back:  29 Gifts and Counting..".  I am excited for the challenge, the new experiences, and just to continue to do what I love.  I hope you enjoy reading about my experiences with giving, and I hope you will continue to read.  God Bless.

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“Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more”

 Anthony Robbins quotes

Day 29: Thank Yous to Former Teachers

Today my gift was sending thank yous to one of my former high school teachers and one of my former college professors.  Both have impacted me and my learning.  I feel like a better writer because of my high school English teacher.  She always challenged me to do my best.  My college professor had a different way of teaching and was more of a constructivist teacher.  He inspired me to create my own questions, explore the world, and to be curious about the world.  It was very empowering.  I had always wanted to send both of them thank yous and I thought this would be the perfect time to do it with school starting. Teachers are such inspiring people!  Thanks to all those teachers out there, and I hope I can make an impact as my teachers did on me. 

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell, where his influence stops.”
Henry Brooks Adams

Day 28: Celebrating August Birthdays

Today my gift was going out with the girls to celebrate the August birthdays in our group.  I love spending time with my friends.  It's always such a great time to go out to supper and just talk about whatever is on our minds.  I think spending time with the ones we care about is such a gift, and sometimes we do not take the time to do it.  We get busy with the craziness of life, opt out, tell ourselves we don't have time, and we seclude ourselves.  Sometimes spending time with our friends or family is just what we need when we are overstressed or overworked. 

Day 27: Recruiting for 5K

Today my gift was helping recruit runners/walkers for the Benefit Run for CJ in Junction City, KS on September 11th at 8am.  It is a 5K/10K to raise money for CJ, an eight-year old with disabilities, who is in need of a service dog.  I took advantage of Facebook, and Twitter to spread the word.  Also, I hung up posters at work and around KSU campus.  I hope that my recruiting will help get more people involved.  It's a great reason to run to help a child, and a great opportunity to be active!  I am passionate about helping others, running, and kids, and I am so happy I have the chance to run in this race.  We can all be instrumental in helping spread a message we believe in. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Day 26: Helping Michelle

Today my gift was helping my friend Michelle move her classroom supplies and resources into her mobile unit.  Michelle's elementary school here in Manhattan has been under construction this summer, so she had to move out all her stuff at the end of the school year in May.  Michelle needed someone to help her move the supplies and resources back in, and my roommate, her boyfriend, and I were up for the challenge.  It's amazing how quick we moved the stuff from our basement, into three cars, over to her school, and into her mobile unit that will be her temporary classroom.  What four people completed in one hour would have taken her probably four hours or longer.  We all have the opportunity to help others each day.  Today take that opportunity to help another person.  Show them what you have to give.

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
Theodore Roosevelt

Day 25: Back to School Gift

Today my gift was sending my Little Sister from Big Brothers & Big Sisters a Back to School gift.  I sent her a new book to read, some pencils, and erasers.  I thought the gift might get her excited for school since last time I talked to her she wasn't too enthused for school to start.  I know as a child getting new school supplies was always such a joy.  I hope my gift will inspire, excite her, and bring her joy for the beginning of her 5th grade school year. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Day 24: Donation and Birthday present

Today my gift was donating to a raffle to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness and giving my friend Sara a sweet running watch for her birthday.  I went home with my friend Sara and I got the chance to experience Old Settlers Days in Mulvane, KS.  It was quite the small-town experience equipped with fair rides, an awesome parade, lots of friends and family, and a rodeo to top off the evening.  My favorite part was probably riding the Tilt-a-Whirl with Sara, Kendra, and her little cousin Cara (aka Carebear...yeah she calls me Sherbear).  I was nervous at first.  I'm not a big fan of spinning rides, stemming from a bad experience at my own hometown Ellis Riverfest.  Cara insisted that we all needed to ride it together.  We stepped up, and we all gave the worker our tickets.  We picked out a cab towards the front and sandwiched all four of us in.  Once we started around the first curve, I felt the rush of the first tilt and whirl, and at that moment I knew it was going to be fine.  I screamed like a small child and laughed uncontrollably.  I felt so free and childlike.  What a great experience.  Sometimes the greatest of our experiences make us nervous or anxious, but I think that's the beauty in any experience.  We never know how things will turn out, but we have to take risks to truly experience life to the fullest.

Day 23: Birthday card

Today my gift was sending my Aunt Rhonda a birthday card in the mail.  I love sending and receiving snail mail.  In this fast-paced world, I love sending cards in the mail that make others feel your love and caringness from miles away.  Send someone you care about a card the old fashioned way through the mail, it'll brighten their day guaranteed! 

"In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love."  Mother Teresa

Day 22: Phone Calls

Today my gift was two phone calls to two friends.  The first I called to talk about a previous conversation we had.  I wasn't satisfied how we left things and wanted to fully understand why she was upset.  I wanted to show her I cared and wanted her to understand my point of view as well.  The second I just called to tell her how much I appreciated her friendship.  Simple acts of kindness and forgiveness...can make a difference in your life and in the lives of others around you.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Day 21: Thank yous

Today my gift was giving Thank You cards to three of my professors and one of my former supervisors.  I was writing to thank them for writing me letters of recommendation for Grad School.  Each of them were so willing to write me a letter of recommendation.  They didn't have to write the letters and could have easily said no.  I appreciate their help in helping me pursue my Masters degree in Special Education.  It's nice to know there are people that are willing to help me out with my future endeavors.  Today send a thank you to someone that has helped you with something big whether it was last week or 10 years ago.  I'm sure they will be glad to hear from you, and your thank you will be appreciated.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Day 20: Helping out a Neighbor

Today my gift was helping out two elderly ladies here in Manhattan, KS.  Both of their apartments were flooded after large amounts of rainfall in early June.  One of the ladies needed help moving her furniture around in her apartment and setting stuff up.  The other needed extra help unpacking her dishes.  They both were so grateful for my help and another volunteer's help in organizing, moving, and unpacking.  One of the ladies offered me a juicy peach after I was done helping her move.  I was so happy I could help her out.  What I and the other volunteer did in an hour wouldn't even have been possible for either of the ladies to do.  I feel thankful that I am capable of helping people out and making a small difference in my community.  If you see someone in need today, take the extra time to help them out.  You will benefit and so will they. 

Day 19: Listening

Today my gift was being a good listener.  Sometimes people need someone they can turn to.  Someone that will listen, someone that won't judge, someone that won't give advice, and someone that really cares, really listens.  Sometimes we get consumed in our own lives, in our own worries.  We need to open the blinds and realize that we aren't the only ones with problems, heartaches, and the only ones fighting battles.  We can all be good listeners for someone in our lives whether it is a stranger, a loved one, a co-worker, a neighbor, or a child in your life.  We all know the feeling of getting something big off our chests.  Give that gift today by providing a listening ear for someone in need.

"Be kinder than necessary,
for everyone you meet is fighting
some kind of battle."
— T.H. Thompson and John Watson

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 18: Birthday card, Pictures, and Organizing Binder

Today my gift was sending my friend Becca a birthday card.  I found it at Orschelns and thought it was simply perfect for her.  We have had such a ball this summer spending time together, and I feel lucky to have her as a friend.  I remember when I first moved to Manhattan; I remember thinking Becca is so kind to others.  I remember wanting to be like her and being inspired by her kindness.  Thanks Becca for being my friend and inspiring me to be the kind of person I am.

Another gift today was sending my friend Brandi some cute pictures of her and her boyfriend.  I kept joking when I was taking pictures of them that I was going to send her some  4 X 6's.  And that is just want I did.  Photographs are so special and can bring us back to the exact moment the photographs are taken.  Cherish the special moments in your life by looking through your old photographs. 
My last gift today was buying my friend Michelle a binder.  She is a newly engaged woman that has a wedding to plan.  I thought that she might need a binder to help her organize all the ideas, dreams, and plans she has for her wedding.  I'm really excited for her and her fiancee because they are simply great together!  So happy for them!

Day 17: Grandma's 80th Birthday present

 Today my gift was giving my Grandma The Book of Awesome for her 80th birthday.  It's filled with small blurbs about the simply AWESOME things that we experience in life.  The book can make anyone smile; I'm fairly confident.  I think my Grandma should be in The Book of Awesome and below is my blurb about my Grandma. 

Grandma Gladys
The woman that always makes me feel special with a hug, a smile, a simple look, a card, a letter, a present, or simply the words, "I'm so proud of you honey".  The woman that can make anything taste excellent including JELLO with walnuts, carrots, or anything else she throws in it.  I'm pretty sure there's always a little love that makes each dish delicious!  The woman that is kind, sweet, generous, beautiful, and simply AWESOME!

I feel lucky to have a Grandma like her, and I wrote that in her birthday card.  I tell her often how much she means to me.  Never take people for granted.  Share your feelings with them, and show them how much you care
Grandma and I at her birthday party

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Day 16: Spending time with Family & Helping Prepare for the Party

My Aunt Rhonda and Aunt Lauree mixing the potato salad
 Today my gift was spending time with my family and helping prepare for my Grandma's 80th birthday party.  The morning started out with a 7:30am morning walk, which was a little early.  It was well worth it to spend time with my Aunt Rhonda though.  After the walk, we ate breakfast at my Grandma's and started getting pictures organized for the collage we were going to make.  It was an adventure looking through all my Grandma's old pictures.  There were lots of pictures of us grandchildren and plenty that showcased my unique sense of style. ;)  Thank you Mom and Dad for letting me express that unique sense of style.  After gathering all the pictures, my Aunt Rhonda and I headed up to my Aunt Lauree's house to make the potato salad.  I was in charge of peeling the eggs, which was quite the task since the eggs were fresh.  It was fun to cook with my two aunts and to see how each of them operated in the kitchen.  After the potato salad adventure, my Aunt Rhonda and I went to Hays to get some more supplies for the collages and some flowers for my Grandma.  We got balloons too!  Boy was that an adventure!  We went to the PaperMart in Hays, and we picked out an 80th balloon with three regular balloons.  After leaving  the store, one of the balloons popped before we got out of the door, so we went back to get it replaced.  Then we headed out to the car again.  My aunt was putting them in the car door, but right before she closed the car door all four balloons flew out.  There was one chance when the balloons came down to tease my aunt right before they started ascending into the sky.  I could not even move I was laughing so hard.  Right when the balloons went up into the air; this guy in a Jimmy Johns delivery car was driving by saying "ahhh...dude..I'm soooo sorry!"  It was a hilarious experience!  So we went back into PaperMart, and we purchased some more.  I was in charge of the balloons this time, and we made it back to Ellis with all four in tact. :)  We hoped maybe the other ones would magically end up in my Grandma's yard, but we weren't too hopeful.   Then I went to work on the collages, and I really enjoyed looking through my Grandma's pictures.  In 80 years, it looks like you can have a lot of love, laughter, adventure, friendship, and joy.  I really hope I get to live to be 80 years old.  You get to see so much, experience so much, and love so much.  Live each day because we are truly lucky to be alive.  When I asked my Grandma how she felt about being 80, she replied, "I only get to be this once, I'm going to live it!"  Heed my Grandma's advice,  we only get one chance to be the age we are now, so start living your life to the fullest! And truly appreciate the beautiful moments along the way.

The Birthday Girl!
Collage of Grandma's Pictures

 Other two Photo Collages

Second set of balloons and beautiful flowers for Grandma

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day 15: Surprising my Mom with Lunch

Sternberg Museum, where my Mom works
Today, my gift was surprising my wonderful Mom with lunch at work.  I was headed back to Ellis for my Grandma's 80th birthday party this weekend.  I left Assaria after getting ready for the day, and along I-70 I ran into a lot of construction.  It took me longer than expected to reach the thresholds of Ellis county.  I was about 10 miles out of Hays, and my gas light went on.  It was 11:40, and my mom's lunch break is at noon.  I went into a slight panic, but I figured it might be an adventure to run out of gas.  I hoped and prayed that I would have enough gas to reach Hays.  Soon enough, I arrived in Hays at 11:45, and I stopped at the first gas station I came to called Quest Gas Station.  They were charging $3.99 a gallon for gas, when I drove down the street to see every other gas station was charging $3.42 a gallon.  I was a little frustrated, but I made my way down the road to Jimmy Johns.  Super Freaky Fast is there slogan, and that was what I needed to make it to the Sternberg Museum, where my mom works, before noon.  At the drive-thru line, I handed my debit card to the worker, then she handed me my drink and had my debit card still in her hand.  I assumed she ran it, and she was giving it back to me.  I tugged on it, but it wasn't coming out of her hand.  I tugged again, and she gave me a look and said she hadn't ran the card yet.  I let go, and then I giggled to myself thinking..AWKWARD moment.  After my Jimmy Johns adventure, I looked at my phone reading the time as 11:52.  I drove out of the parking lot and headed in the direction of Sternberg Museum, but I took a wrong turn.  I turned around and got back on the main road.  I drove a little ways down the road, and finally, I saw the entrance sign to the museum.  I drove in the entrance, and I parked my car in the first parking spot I saw.  I reached down and grabbed the bag of food and two drinks (a task in itself).  I walked into the museum and asked the front desk lady if she knew where my mom was.  Luckily, my mom was talking to her co-worker on the stairs leading to the exhibits, and she hadn't gone to lunch yet.  Yes, I had made it!!  She was totally surprised to see me since I sneakily had called earlier and told her I was eating lunch with my friend, Dani.  Ha ha...little did she know I had been scheming my lunch surprise plan.  It was SUPER awesome to surprise my Mom for lunch, and it was an enjoyable experience just to hang out with her and catch up.  After lunch, she showed me this old snapping turtle on exhibit at the museum, which was another cool surprise.  Today make life a little more exciting and try surprising someone with something special.  You might just experience some surprises of your own.

Snapping Turtle, he's so cute! :)

Another picture of Mr. Snapping Turtle

Day 14: Visiting Dani

Today my gift was visiting my friend Dani, her husband, and baby Caden in Assaria, KS on my drive back home.   I was very excited to see Dani and her family since I hadn't seen them since Memorial Day weekend.  Caden has grown up so much since I last saw him at 1 month.  He was a little grouchy from no sleep, but you wouldn't be able to tell from these photos.  He's a happy little guy, and Dani says he never wants to miss out on anything.
Caden smiling at me :)

Caden laughing at Dani, his Mama :)
After Caden went to sleep, I got to spend some good quality time with Dani.  We went for a walk around Assaria, and it was just such a beautiful evening to spend time outside walking with a good friend.  After walking, I got the honor of doing Zumba for the first time with Dani.  It was my first experience with Zumba, so I was a little intimidated.  Dani loves dancing, as do I, but I'm more of a freestyle dancer.  If I got off beat or step, I would start laughing, yelling at the video instructor, or overemphasizing certain dance moves.  Needless to say, Dani and I laughed a lot, and I ended up enjoying the Zumba experience.  There is nothing better than just being your dorky self in front of your friends or family.  Ahh....nothing better.

 "There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them."  ~Vicki Baum

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day 13: The Book of Even More Awesome

Today my gift was letting my friend Shawn open his birthday present early.  He said he was feeling like a kid on Christmas and that his Mom always gave in and let him open one present.  I decided I would let him open the present early because I could hear the excitement in his voice over the phone.  I sent him The Book of 'Even More' Awesome because I knew my friend would enjoy reading about the little awesome things in life.  Also, Shawn is one of those AWESOME people that make you smile ear to ear and giggle til your belly hurts.  He spreads joy wherever he goes kind of like Santa Claus or the CandyMan. ;)  I made Shawn read me the first entry about coming home from a trip and sleeping in your bed.  The feeling of your own bed is AWESOME!  Appreciate the awesomeness in each day and share it with the others around you!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Day 12: Kung Fu Panda Book and The Smurfs movie

 Today my gift was giving my little sister, Shea, from Big Brothers & Big Sisters a Kung Fu Panda book and taking her to the movies. She was so excited, and she said it was only her third time at the movie theaters.  Shea is one of those kiddos that really appreciates the small things in life.  It was delightful to watch her laughing at the movie and to be spending time with her.  After the movie, Shea was so polite and let several others exit in front of us.  I instantly complimented her on her kindness and polite attitude towards others.  We know kids can learn a lot from adults, but I think a lot of times we can learn so much from kids.  We can learn to be kind to strangers, to appreciate time with others, to appreciate the small things in life, and to just laugh at anything.  "Enjoy the little things in life..for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things." 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day 11: Hanging Out with Friends

Today my gift was spending time with some A-mazing friends.  I went over to Junction City to help my friends stain their deck, but we realized we needed to let it dry at least a day after power washing it.  So we spent the day picking vegetables out of their A-mazing garden to make some canned salsa and pickles. We all worked together to get the tomatoes canned and pickles pickled. :)  The day was spent with lots of laughs, a small dance party in the kitchen to the song "Copperhead Road", and a couple random adventures to a garage sale and Orschlens, where I bought some sweet gifts for future days.  Each day is such a gift.  Truly a gift.  My heart felt so full today.  We need to realize the potential in each day for beauty, laughter, friendship, love, and gratitude.  I feel so grateful for my life, friends, loving family, job, education, inspiration, and experiences.  Appreciate the beauty, friendship, and love in your life today and each day
Beautiful Sunflower growing in my friends' garden

Double Rainbow I saw on the way back to Manhattan

Another photo of the double rainbow

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Day 10: Volunteering at White Memorial Camp

Today my gift was organizing my first volunteer trip with ECM and volunteering at White Memorial Camp .  We had six great volunteers who gave up their Saturday to come volunteer at the camp.  The camp needed help restoring some old picnic tables, and my group was up for the challenge.  We spent the day scraping off old paint, replacing rotted boards, and putting two new coats of white paint on the restored picnic tables.  The maintenance person was so grateful for our help.  He was so surprised when he found out we came to volunteer out of the goodness of our hearts.  We weren't in any way required to come volunteer, but personally, I feel called to volunteer and help others.  Giving to others gives me so much back in return.  I feel this great sense of peacefulness swept over me when I am volunteering and giving back to my community.  I felt so grateful and joyous that three of my personal friends came out to volunteer today.  It made me so happy to share the volunteering experience with friends.  Thanks again to my group of volunteers! If you have never volunteered before, try it just once.  I guarantee you will be hooked for life.  I challenge you all to use the gifts and talents God has given you to help and serve others in your community and world. 

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."  Margaret Mead

Day 9: Cooking for Friends Again

Today my gift was cooking supper for two of my friends.  I cooked BLTs and used fresh produce from my garden for the BLTs and salad.  Each day this summer, I took care of my vegetable plants, and I had to give them tons of water with the hot summer we have had.  At times, I didn't feel like taking the time to water and take care of the plants, but I always keep thinking about how great it would be when I finally had some homegrown vegetables.  It is so rewarding seeing and tasting the fruits of your labor, and all the hard work is worth it when you take the first bite of a homegrown tomato or cucumber.  Work hard, share the fruits of your labor with others, and live a Better Life Today.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day 8: Spending time with a GREAT friend

Today my gift was making time and making an effort to spend time with my friend Lacy.  My path and hers crossed many years ago walking home from school back in the 6th grade.  Since then we have shared many memories together over the years and still remain great friends.  But sometimes the busy-ness of everything gets in the way, and we don't spend as much time together as we would like.  Today we went to supper together and just hung out.  You know those friends you can do absolutely anything with and have a great time, Lacy is one of those friends! I believe God put us here to make the world a better place, and God put friends into our world to make it a better place.  Cherish the friendships in your life because it's the people not things that bring true joy to your life!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Day 7: Compromise with my Boss

My gift today was compromising with my boss.  I work at GTM Sportswear in Manhattan, KS in the Screenprint Department.  It's not flashy or a high-paying job, but it is a place I enjoy working while I finish my teaching degree.  Lately, the Screenprint Department that I work in has been very busy, and we have been required to work the dreaded Saturday shift.  To tell you the truth, I don't mind working Saturdays, but it seems lately I have had prior engagements each Saturday we are asked to work.  With the three upcoming Saturdays busy, I decided to talk to my boss about a different plan.  I proposed I work six 10-hour days instead of coming in for two six-hour weekend shifts to make up the hours.  Needless to say, my boss is a kind, understanding soul, and he agreed very quickly to my proposed plan.  The thing is that he didn't have to agree, and I didn't have to even make up the hours.  But I decided my gift today would be working with my boss to do my part and put in my time for the weekend shifts I would be missing.  Compromise is a key essential in any relationship.  We have to be willing to see each other's point of view, and we have to be willing to do things that we particularly don't want to do to make things work.  Cherish those people in your life that are willing to compromise and see your point of view, and be willing to do the same for them!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 6: Spending Time with the Kiddos at Boys and Girls Club

Today my gift was spending time with the youth in our community at Boys and Girls Club in Manhattan.  I have been volunteering there this summer, and it has been a great experience.  Today was an extra great day volunteering.  I volunteer for two hours each Tuesday, so I get to meet lots of kiddos eager for attention and fun.  Today I met a young girl that I will call J.  She was sitting out and not participating in the activity planned.  I sat down next to her and introduced myself.  She said she just wanted to go home.  I started asking her about herself, and we started talking about our favorites (food, color, etc.)  She then started telling me about school and how she was going to be in 2nd grade.  J thinks she is going to like her new teacher because she kinda looks like her old teacher and that's a good thing.  I love little kid logic :)  Anyways, she instantly brightened up when I asked her if she liked to read.  She went to the library and picked out two books for us to read together.  The first I read to her, and the second we took turns reading.  J struggled reading basic words, but she tried her hardest to sound them out.  She didn't get frustrated and enjoyed the story as we took turns reading.  When it was time for her group to move stations, she didn't want to leave my side.  I told her I needed to stay in my assigned area, and how I enjoyed our time together.  She gave me the biggest grin, and I could see I had made her day.  The thing was that her smile had made mine.  Find someone from your work, school, home, or neighborhood that is sitting on the sidelines as my little friend was.  Give them some of your time, and show them that they are noticed and you care.  Who knows, you might just make their day and yours a little brighter! 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Day 5: Cooking Supper for Friends

Today my gift was cooking supper for some friends.  I've always really enjoyed cooking because it reminds me of my family.  When I was little, I loved to watch my Dad cook.  He didn't ever follow a recipe and just cooked with such spontaneity and love.  Like my Dad, I love the creativity of cooking, and I love not to follow the rules when I cook.  As a cook, you can do whatever you want, add whatever you want, and it's always a surprise when you take the first bite.  I feel like life is a little like cooking, sometimes you follow the directions and things work out okay.  Sometimes you take risks and things turn out great!  Don't be afraid to show the world the best you, and don't forget to take risks along the way!