year of kindness challenge: week 52

And just like that, we’re into our very final week of this year of kindness challenge. What a magical journey it has been, friends! Thank you to everyone who has participated along with me, suggested ideas for acts of kindness, and sent me encouraging emails and comments on my posts.

year of kindness button

One year ago, I started this year of kindness challenge as a way of trying to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Now, looking back, I believe it made the biggest positive difference in my own life. 2013 has been a rollercoaster of a year for me, with some of the biggest challenges I’ve ever gone through, and these acts of kindness were my lifeline. The people I’ve met along the way are now invaluable friends. I’ll be sharing the top five lessons I learned in next week’s wrap-up post, but for now, I just want to say this: THANK YOU! 

kind note

This past week’s kindness challenge {inspired by Martha Richards, the Executive Director of the WomenArts Foundation} was to reach out to an artist whose work touches you and tell him or her what you love about their work. I sent cards to two of my favorite local artists and teachers, Patti Post and Rima Muna. {Click on their names to visit their websites and check out their stunning artwork!}

artist notes

with rima

My brother and I with Rima at one of her art shows, a couple years ago.

The Week 52 Kindness Challenge, as we head into this sparkling new year, is to forgive someone. You can write a letter of forgiveness; you don’t even need to send it. You can have your own ceremony of letting go: burn a slip of paper in the fire to symbolize your release of anger and hurt. The person you forgive might even be yourself.  

As always, blog about your experiences and include your links in the comments section below, or feel free to send me an email at dallaswoodburn AT gmail DOT com.

Oh, and before I wrap this up I also wanted to share this fabulous article that I came across thanks to Danica at It’s Progressionhttp://www.wellnesstoday.com/beauty-inspiration/8-messages-to-teach-young-women-and-girls-about-happiness

Savor these final hours of 2013, and let’s ring in 2014 with kindness!
-Dallas

P.S.: Head on over to this Year of Kindness Challenge page to see all the archived posts from the previous 51 weeks!

Questions of the day:

  • What are you doing to celebrate New Year’s?
  • What acts of kindness happened in your life this past week?

year of kindness challenge: week 51

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone!

Today I brought some chocolates and cards to the local nursing home in honor of my dear friend Jewell, who passed away in 2011. I miss her every day, but especially at Christmastime. She was one of the most genuinely sweet and kindhearted people I’ve known! I’ve started a tradition of bringing holiday cards to the nursing home every year as a way of remembering her.

me and jewell

To make the cards this year, I upcycled wrapping paper scraps by cutting out holiday designs — Christmas trees, gloves, snowmen, snowflakes — and gluing them down to blank white notecards. Then I wrote holiday messages on the back, such as:

  • Hope your holiday season is filled with joy and laughter!
  • Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
  • A friend is sending you lots of love and blessings this holiday season.

candy for nursing home

upcycled cards

It made my heart happy to think of the residents smiling when they receive the holiday cards.

I finished wrapping all my presents yesterday, so I’m all set to go! The rest of my Christmas Eve was spent visiting with relatives, taking care of my poor brother who is sick, and baking! I made a pumpkin pie and funfetti cookies.

funfetti cookies

Now … on to the kindness challenge! We’re down to our final two weeks, can you believe it?

year of kindness button

Last week’s kindness challenge was to donate a toy or book to a child in need this holiday season, and/or to drop off a donation at a local animal shelter. I dropped off five boxes of new books {donated through my annual Holiday Book Drive} and three new basketballs to the local Boys & Girls Club.

The timing worked out perfectly — the manager told me she was expecting to get a large donation of children’s books from another source, but then didn’t receive nearly as many books as expected so she was left scrambling to pull together enough gifts for all the children. And the holiday party was that very afternoon! I could tell from her tone that she was feeling pretty desperate.

“I was hoping you would come,” she said as she helped me unload the books from the car. “I remember you from last year. You’re our book angel!”

I can’t put into words how joyful and fulfilled the experience made me feel. The universe is magical and things truly work out for a reason!

book drive

The Week 51 Kindness Challenge was inspired by Martha Richards, the Executive Director of the WomenArts Foundation. In a recent newsletter, she wrote: “If you are like me, you are being deluged with funding requests at this time of year. If you are able to make cash gifts to women artists and women’s organizations, I hope you will do so. Most of us {including WomenArts} are working on a shoestring, and your cash gifts will really make a difference.  But I also believe there is a currency of kindness that we can use to lift each other’s spirits whether or not we have any spare cash on hand. I have seen it over and over again at WomenArts and in other parts of my life — you can often give someone the courage to keep working or try something new just by listening to them carefully, acknowledging their hard work, and finding kind, supportive things to say.”

So this week’s kindness challenge is to reach out to an artist whose work touches you and tell him or her what you love about their work.

As always, blog about your experiences and include your links in the comments section below, or feel free to send me an email at dallaswoodburn AT gmail DOT com.

Merry Christmas!
-Dallas

P.S.: Head on over to this Year of Kindness Challenge page to see all the archived posts from the previous 50 weeks!

Questions of the day:

  • What are you doing to celebrate Christmas?
  • What acts of kindness happened in your life this past week?