Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Be the Good Challenge: Details

Who's ready to spread a little love next month? :)

Earlier this month in this post and then again in this one I talked about an idea that I read from another blogger who did 40 acts of kindness in one day to celebrate her 40th birthday.  Her story inspired me so much that I decided to do something similar.   After talking to my Bible study girls and my sister Reagan, I was encouraged to really go for it.  What can I say? Go big, or go home, right?  ;) 


I've talked and written a lot about why we're doing this, but not much about how.  
Here's the how:

The details, or how we are doing this, at least: There are seven of us here locally who are going to work together.  We chose Saturday, Feb. 23 and are going to make a day of it.  Each of our families are responsible for choosing one thing to do for someone in the community, preparing anything needed and funding it.  It DOES NOT have to be an expensive thing....I've said several times that so often it's the little things that make the biggest impact, and I firmly believe that.  But the big things are cool too, so I'm not putting any $$ rules on anything.  That is up to the individual.  My family has chosen to take pizza and brownies to the fire station up the street. Why? Because my boys think firefighters are awesome and helpful, and who doesn't like pizza and brownies? ;) As a group we chose a couple of things to do with all of our kiddos as well~ we're going to make little bird feeders (sliced apples spread with peanut butter and dipped in bird seed) to hang in the trees at our local park and each of them are going to choose a book at the book store to donate to our library. There are LOTS of ideas out there: paying for the person in line behind you at the drive-thru, giving a gift card to a restaurant as someone is walking in, taking bagels and coffee to your co-workers, or your children's teachers, offering to babysit a friend's child so she can get a little alone time....these are just a few.

I can't wait to find out what my friends have decided to do.  And my sister and her friends have put together a group back in TX...this is going to be fun!  Think about it: spending ONE day blessing the socks off of unsuspecting people everywhere.  I love it.  Big things, little things.  People in need, people who aren't (as my sister said, it will be fun surprising people who aren't necessarily in need because hopefully they will see how fun it is, how much it means, and will be encouraged to do the same for someone else). All of us getting out of ourselves (our phones, computers, etc) to do for others.  To show people that yes, there really is just have to pay attention.  Except for these unsuspecting people we're targeting later this month.  They're about to be blindsided.  In a good way. ;)

The graphic above is free for your use.  Our group plans to print copies of it to attach to our acts of kindness, and we encourage you do to the same.  If you click on it and save it, you should be able to reprint it with no problem. If you do have trouble, let me know and I can email it to you.

Big picture (or my big dream): while I love the idea of choosing a date and working together all day, my hope is that this starts creating a different mindset for the everyday.  One where we are always on the lookout for how we can help someone else.  Whether it's picking up something a stranger drops and handing it back to him/her, giving a encouraging word and smile to the new mom who's struggling with a screaming baby at the grocery store, or going to visit a widow who might be lonely....the possibilities are endless.  And they all will make a difference.

We would LOVE for any of you who are interested to join us.  If you're local, you can join us, or form your own group.  If you're not local, you can put together your own group, or work alone, with your family, etc. If February 23 doesn't work for you, pick a day that does.  There really are no "rules" necessarily...these are just guidelines.  All I ask is that if you decide to join us that you let me know in a comment below here, or comment on the FB link to this post.  I'd love to know who is doing this with us and to be able to pray for you.

This is going to be big, people.  Real big. 

"Love is breaking through." -Chris Tomlin (from "Shepherd Boy," Burning Lights)

It is.  Just wait and're going to make a difference.  Be the good.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

just call me polly

"Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious~ the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into His most excellent harmonies."
 Philippians 4:8-9 (The Message)

Ever have those days when you're hit again and again with things you need to be doing differently, or something you missed, or realized that there was something really fantastic that you know you need to do? That was last Sunday for me. Serious revelation. Times 2. Between that and the sermon (that I SO needed to hear) Dr. Stanley preached, it was quite a Sunday. Made my heart full.  And my brain hurt. ;)  

I keep thinking about how bad things have seemed the past few months. It's something that could be blown off, explained away with the excuse that I'm just getting older so I'm more aware, or maybe that because of social media I'm just hearing about a lot more bad.  Those two things might be true....but do you know what else? For all the bad and yuck I've been reading/watching, I'm starting to see just as much happy.  So many people rising up and deciding to do something about the hurt they are seeing.  It's pretty amazing. :)

One of my favorite blogs to read is Enjoying the Small Things. If you haven't discovered the greatness that is this girl, her sweet family, and her perspective on life, then do yourself a favor and hop on over there.  After you're done here, of course. ;)  What I love about Kelle is how positive and happy she is....even if things aren't. She's the poster child for making lemonade out of lemons, and I love it.

Ever since I was little my friends and family have lovingly teased me about my "everything is rainbows and sunshine" ways.  I've been called "Pollyanna" (which was, and still is one of my favorite movies--remember The Glad Game?;) or Polly Sunshine at different times for as long as I can remember.  Usually it gets on my nerves a little, but lately?  Lately I've embraced it. Happy is good.  Happy is fun.  Happy helps make the bad a little less bad.  It changes your perspective. It helps you find the good when there doesn't seem to be any anywhere. It takes the focus off the yuck and forces you to think differently.  Is it always easy? Of course not.  And there are many instances when it is very difficult to find anything good in our circumstances. Please know my heart here: I'm not trying to make light of anybody's troubles.  People are hurting and broken and suffering everywhere. Everywhere. They need help. They need love.  They need to know that things are going to be okay.  That someone cares. That they aren't alone.  At the same time, encouragement doesn't come from adding to the dark comes in the sunshine.

Last week I was inspired by another blogger and something really cool that she did with her friends for her 40th birthday.  I encourage you to read it yourself, but to summarize, she and several friends spent an entire day doing 40 random acts of kindness all over her town.  They got really creative and I loved reading all of their ideas. 

So that got me thinking about my life and what I'm doing with it.  Wondering what kind of difference I'm making, what my kids are learning from me, what else we could be doing....and my brain went into overdrive. It kept me awake the next several nights, which if you know me and how much sleep I require to function, was bad. ;)

But it turned into a great thing.  I'm jumping on the "Kindness Inspires Kindness" bandwagon. Right now it's in the planning stages....I shared the idea with my Bible study girls and they're all in as well.  We're talking through the details, making it our own, and we're going to extend the challenge to anyone who wants to join us.

Because I want these 3 loves that God has so graciously (and undeservedly) blessed me with to know what it's like to actually be the hands and feet of Jesus.  To serve, to love, to help.  To give hope when there seems to be none.  Because it's up to us.  It's what we are here for.

This guy that I get to love and do life with every day has inspired me as well.  He's ministering to people at our church and around the city every day.  I love getting to minister alongside him, and that is incredible.  But I have a heart for the community surrounding where we live (as in our neighborhood/community, which is a little ways from our church) as well.

It was about a year ago that I wrote this post.  Yes, it's about my buddy, SpongeBob. ;) If you didn't read it back then, I ask you to read it now, if for no other reason, so you can confirm that I am indeed not crazy and have a reason for why our family watches this yellow guy on tv. And for why he was the beginning of this Kindness Inspires Kindness challenge that is currently in the works.

While I'm working out the details of our kindness challenge, I want to encourage you to do a couple things.  First, pray about whether or not you should join us. I sincerely hope you will. :) Second, think about what it is that inspires you...that is, what helps motivate you to reach out and encourage others.

What inspires me?

Funky-cool-whimsical art.  This piece is very me, and I wish I could say I made it...but I didn't.  Christy Tomlinson did, and she is AmAzInG.  Truly. 
Love her work.

The beach is another one....really longing to be back there right now.

Even better?  Ice cream with my boys on the beach. ;)

Long conversations with my boys, solving the world's problems. ;) They keep me grounded while at the same time reminding me that we can do anything we set our minds to.

 Getting to know (and love on) my boys' gives a new perspective on life and how others think.  And it helps me learn even more about my littles, and hopefully helps make their friendships grow strong.
 Little things (like this happy face bracelet Hunter made me) that remind me I am loved.  The little things can make a big impact.
Piglet totally gets it. ;)

Think about inspires you...what makes you feel happy and content.  And then decide how you can use that happiness for good.  For others' good.  That's the challenge.

Below is the artwork for our kindness challenge.  We're going to give it our own name, continuing our "Be the Good" theme from a previous post.  This will soon be available to save and print, but I will explain the how and whys in the next post with all the other details.

I'm going to need your help to make this make it great.  And I'm believing that if God has called me (us?) to do this that He is going to show up in a big way.  He will. :) A quote from the service last week, "Obey God and watch Him work" (thanks, Dr. Stanley!) has stuck with me this week.  I've been challenged in new ways to have a faith like never before.  I'm trusting God to do just this, to work....because He will. 

Excited about what's to come...the details post will go out this week.

"Love is breaking through."
                     ~Chris Tomlin