fabulous friday #47

Happy Friday, friends!

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1.¬†I was feeling really sad earlier this week about Celine… just missing her a lot. My sweetheart surprised me with beautiful flowers and took me out to dinner. He is simply the best.

flowers from allyn

2. Speaking of flowers… the amaryllis that Allyn’s stepmom Laurel gave me three weeks ago is finally blooming! It’s so pretty. And I’m thrilled that I’ve kept it alive and haven’t accidentally killed it! {I don’t have the greenest thumb…}

amaryllis

3. One of the little girls I tutor is selling Girl Scout cookies, so I bought a few boxes from her… and she delivered them to me in the sweetest decorated bag. How cute this this?

decorated heart bag

On the subject of Girl Scouts, Holly reminded me of something really awesome that Celine used to do: when she saw Girl Scouts selling cookies at a table, she would buy a box of cookies and then GIVE the cookies to the Girl Scouts so they could enjoy them while they worked. Such a simple, thoughtful act of kindness that brings SO much excitement and happiness to the girls! It is also the perfect solution for those times you want to support the Girl Scouts, but don’t particularly want a bunch of cookies hanging around your pantry.

20150227_121147

4. My thoughtful friends Shane and Lauren sent me cards this week. Always brightens my day to receive love in the mail!

wild things card

5. In the mail this week I also received copies of North Dakota Quarterly, a beautiful literary journal. I am honored to have my work published in the current issue, 80.2. You can read my short story online here.

north dakota quarterly

On my agenda for the weekend: tonight Allyn and I are going to dinner and to a play — a production of Part I of Angels in America, a powerful play I read and loved in college. I’ve never seen it onstage and am very much looking forward to it! Tomorrow, I’m teaching all day and then in the evening Allyn and I are meeting up for a double-date with Dana and Brad at this new-ish adult arcade place called Plank that looks really fun. I’m excited!

Should be a great weekend. ūüôā Hope yours is wonderful, too! Have fun and be safe out there, everyone!

Questions of the day:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What are your plans for the weekend?

fabulous friday #46

Happy Friday, everyone! I don’t know where this week has gone. Crazy that we’re approaching the weekend again already. Hope you’re having a terrific day, and if you’re back East dealing with the crazy weather, please stay safe!

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. My care packages love continues. I have such amazing, loving people in my life! This week I received Valentines from my parents, a wonderful card from Julie, and a card and poetry books from my friend Carand.

julie card

carand poetry books

2. My butternut squash chili turned out really well! It is so hearty, savory and warm. I have been enjoying a bowl for lunch the past couple days and it is the perfect midday comfort food.

butternut squash chili

3. My friend Peter Yobo has released an amazing ebook, The 7 Steps to Creating Your Masterpiece Day, now available on Amazon. Here is a brief synopsis:

“Peter shares the 7 steps, that, when implemented daily, will create true life transformation. If you share Peter’s passion for living fully and achieving greatly, then you’ll have a blast reading The 7 Steps to Creating Your Masterpiece Day.”

masterpiece day peter yobo

4. My grandma was going through old photos this week and she found some adorable ones of my mom as a little girl. Too cute! I also love when I can see glimpses of myself in old photos of my mom. ūüôā I think she is the most beautiful woman, inside and out, I have ever met! I love you, Mama. ‚̧

Mom first day of kindergarten

mom little girl xmas

5.¬†Tonight I’m meeting up with Allyn in San Francisco for a really neat event co-hosted by his MBA program: a screening of the documentary film Girl Rising and a panel discussion about “Girls, Women and Sustainability” with experts in the field, including a producer of the film. After first watching Girl Rising¬†with my brother a couple years ago, I was inspired to seek out books on the topic such as Half The Sky, which I detailed in this post. I have become more and more passionate about¬†women’s rights and girls’ education around the world. I’m super excited for the event tonight!

Questions of the day:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What are your plans for the weekend?

fabulous friday #45

Happy Friday, everyone! I haven’t felt like doing one of these posts for the past few weeks… but I was thinking today about how Celine was an incredibly fabulous person, and I think she would like the idea of all of us recognizing and celebrating the fabulous things, large and small, that we are loving in our lives each week. So, I am happy to be back this week with a fabulous friday post for you. ūüôā

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. Care packages. Tania sent me three books that she thought I would like: A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle; Painted Prayers by Jodi Uttal; and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. Reading is such a comfort to me, and I am already working my way through these good books.

books from Tania

And my dad sent me a beautiful card:

typewriter card

2. Another book arrived in the mail this week — Every River On Earth, a book that I have a short story in! It’s been at least two years since my piece was accepted for this collection, and it was so exciting to finally hold it in my hands. It is a beautiful book and I am proud and grateful to be a part of it!

Every River on Earth

3. This inspiring post from Nicole at Life Less BS with some concrete tips for achieving any of your goals using a simple, little-by-little approach. I especially liked this quote:

“Change doesn‚Äôt have to be huge in order to be hugely impactful. If you‚Äôre sitting there waiting until you have ‘enough time’ or the ‘right circumstances’ to make a big change, you‚Äôre making it too hard on yourself. Who says¬†big changes are¬†the only way? Who says¬†it has to be all or nothing?”

4. I baked some delicious sunflower butter cookies using this recipe, adding in both dark chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. They turned out great! Definitely a make-again. Plus, they are gluten-free!

sunflower butter cookies

5.¬†Valentine’s Day! This has always been one of my favorite holidays, whether I’ve been single or in a relationship, because it is all about letting the people you love know that you love them. If you’re looking for some sweet, inexpensive Valentine’s gift ideas, here are some ideas! My favorite way to celebrate is with cards. I still have the cards my parents sent me last year up in my room:

valentines

This year, I’m teaching during most of the day, and then Allyn and I are going out to dinner and to a movie. You can bet I already have my outfit all picked out and am going to bake some red velvet crinkle cookies tonight! ūüôā

red velvet cookies

Questions of the day:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What are your plans for the weekend?
  • Are you doing anything to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

a year of Wooden: week 24

Hi, friends! How was your 4th of July weekend? Filled with fun, friends and relaxation I hope! And some good food and fireworks, too! ūüôā

Today I’m back with this week’s year of Wooden challenge.

a year of wooden

  • January:¬†Drink deeply from good books.
  • February:¬†Make friendship a fine art.
  • March:¬†Help others.
  • April:¬†Build a shelter against a rainy day (financially).
  • May:¬†Be true to yourself.
  • June:¬†Give thanks for your blessings every day.
  • July: Love.

Coach Wooden said, “The two most important words in the English language are LOVE and BALANCE.”¬†This month, we’ll be focusing on the first of those: cultivating and nurturing more love in our lives. Next month, we’ll strive to create better balance in our lives.

Last week’s challenge was to write a love letter to someone special in your life. I’m not going to reveal who I wrote a love letter to, in case the person reads this {don’t want to spoil the surprise!} But I will say that the act of writing down the many qualities and details I admire and love about this person made me feel even more grateful to have someone so special in my life.

valentines cards

This week’s challenge is to increase the love in your life by increasing the time you spend PRESENT with your loved ones. In other words, it’s not just important to spend time with those you love — it’s important to make that QUALITY time! What’s one simple thing you can do that will make a huge difference? Turn off your cell phone during meals or coffee dates or car rides with your friends and family. Checking email or updating social media can wait until later. Focus on savoring the in-person time you have with the people around you, and I guarantee you’ll feel more loved!

In his book Wooden & Me, my dad shares an anecdote¬†about one afternoon when he was visiting Coach Wooden at his home and their visit was interrupted by a phone call. Coach Wooden let the answering machine pick it up, and soon my dad heard the unmistakeable voice of basketball superstar {and Coach’s former player} Bill Walton.

“Don’t you need to get that?!” my dad asked incredulously.

“Oh no, no, I can call Bill back later,” Coach Wooden said. “If I answered the phone, I’d be stuck on the line talking to Bill¬†and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy my time here with you right now.”

Here’s a powerful video on this topic that I think Coach Wooden would have agreed with: Look Up!

Questions for the day:

  • How did your love-letter writing go this past week?
  • Have you ever gone on a technology break?

fabulous friday #22

Happy TGIF, friends! I have¬†one of those jam-packed, busy weekends on the agenda … I’m excited about all the fun things on my calendar these next two days, but maybe all that looming activity explains why I’ve felt so sluggish today. I’m just having a hard time getting up and moving, which is unusual for me. I’m taking it as my body’s cue that I need a little rest. Could also be this heat wave we are having … I’ve been chugging water and Gatorade like nobody’s business, but it can still be difficult to stay adequately hydrated!

Moving right along…

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. Justin’s Maple Almond Butter. Omg you guys, I don’t know why I’m so late to jump on the bandwagon, but I can’t get enough of this stuff. I love it on toast, on celery, on apples, on carrots, by itself on a spoon…

justin's maple almond butter

2. This inspiring and honest post by one of my favorite bloggers, Nicole @ A Life Less Bullsh*t, about fear & procrastination.

3. My new haircut! I don’t know if any of you could tell from the photos I posted earlier from Julie’s wedding, but I got a couple inches trimmed off the ends. Not a big change, but it feels so much healthier. I love the light, summertime feel of a new haircut. {Cute side note: one of my 8-year-old students even noticed and complimented me on it. So sweet! Made my day.}

haircut.jpg

4. Lee Brice’s new song “I Don’t Dance.” Makes me tear up every time it comes on the radio.

5. The sweet and thoughtful card I received from my brother, who is currently on a plane to Vietnam as part of a two-and-a-half week trip he’s taking through his MBA program. He’ll be traveling to Vietnam, Thailand, and China, and I can’t wait to see him when he returns home and hear all about this adventures! Please send your thoughts and prayers for a safe trip.

Here he is riding an elephant in Sri Lanka last year.

Here he is riding an elephant in Sri Lanka last year!

Questions of the day:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What do you have on the agenda for the weekend?

year of kindness challenge: week 45

Before sharing this week’s kindness challenge, I’d like to take a moment to thank all of the veterans who have served our country, risking their lives to keep up safe.

thank you veterans

Including the World War II navy veteran in my life, Gramps!

love my gramps

I’ll get to see Gramps on Thursday when I head home for the long weekend … I haven’t seen him since August and it will be so nice to visit and give him a great big hug! I might even whip up a batch of his favorite lemon bars.

Moving on to the kindness, I came across a couple kindness-related links this past week that I wanted to share with you:

year of kindness button

This past week’s kindness challenge came from my blogging friend Gayle Greeley,¬†who has¬†an amazing blog “Be the Difference”¬†where she is chronicling her volunteer efforts for 40 different charities in order to celebrate her 40th birthday. Her idea was to¬†create a card and send it to our troops.¬†My dad sent me a link via Facebook for a movement called “Holiday Mail for Heroes” so I sent in a holiday card, thanking a soldier for their service for our country and wishing them a joyful holiday season. It’s not too late to send a card if you would like to join in!

holiday mail for heroes

holiday card

card to mail

The Week 45 Kindness Challenge, in honor of Veteran’s Day, is to visit a Veteran’s Home and spend time with the veterans there. Alternatively, if you know a veteran, do something kind to show them how much they are appreciated.

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.

Have a marvelous week!
– Dallas

P.S.: Head on over to this Year of Kindness Challenge page to see all the archived posts from the previous 44 weeks!

Questions of the day:

  • What kindnesses happened in your life this past week?
  • Are you doing anything special on this Veteran’s Day?

year of kindness challenge: week 44

It’s a new week, friends! Hope yours is off to a lovely start. The weather has been SO amazingly beautiful here lately and I am soaking it in. It is really starting to feel like the holiday season is upon us … is it too early to start listening to my Christmas music station on Pandora??

year of kindness button

Last week’s kindness challenge was¬†to take a batch of Halloween treats to a place that could use some Halloween treats, not tricks! I whipped up some double-chocolate brownies and brought them to the nurse’s station at a local senior care facility … everyone seemed surprised and grateful for the homemade treats.

halloween treats

The Week 44 Kindness Challenge comes from my blogging friend Gayle Greeley, who has an amazing blog “Be the Difference” where she is chronicling her volunteer efforts for 40 different charities in order to celebrate her 40th birthday. So inspiring! She writes:¬†“I think a great act of kindness would be to create a card and send it to our troops. There is an organization called Operation Gratitude. Here is a link I found with more information.¬†I think this would be especially important as we move towards Veterans’ Day.” I agree, Gayle! This will be a great kindness challenge for this week.

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.

Have a marvelous week!
– Dallas

P.S.: Head on over to this Year of Kindness Challenge page to see all the archived posts from the previous 43 weeks!

Questions of the day:

  • What kindnesses happened in your life this past week?
  • When do you begin to break out the holiday music?

year of kindness challenge: week 27

year of kindness button

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Did you do anything fun to celebrate the 4th of July?

Last week’s Kindness Challenge was to volunteer at a soup kitchen or food pantry. This was one of the most meaningful experiences I’ve had so far in my #yearofkindness endeavor. I spent a morning working at a local food pantry: stocking shelves, breaking down boxes, and helping to distribute food to clients. Everyone I encountered was so friendly and genuinely grateful. I will remember one woman in particular who was beyond excited to get a package of ground turkey. She was nearly jumping up and down with excitement. Many of the clients were women who came in with their children. This food pantry also distributed diapers, baby wipes and baby food.

The experience made me realize what a gift it is to be able to go to the store and choose what I want to eat. The clients who came to the food pantry were entirely dependent on what the donations had been that week and what was available. For example, this week the staples we gave out were red onions, yellow squash, corn, canned peaches, rice, instant potatoes, tomato sauce and grapefruit juice, as well as a selection of canned soups, crackers, boxed pasta dinners, and a limited number of perishables such as milk, yogurt, and lunchmeat. I was surprised how in-demand beans were, canned beans and dried beans. We ran out of beans quickly. In the future, I will always be donating beans to the food pantry!

I’ve decided to become a regular volunteer at the food pantry for the rest of the summer while I am home. I’ll be working there once a week. I feel really grateful and blessed to be able to help out my community in some small way!

The Week 27 Kindness Challenge is to send a card or care package to someone in the military. Here are some great links:
–¬†http://www.give2thetroops.org/
–¬†http://www.military-missions.org/care-packages/
–¬†http://www.operationgratitude.com/tag/military-care-packages/

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.

Have a wonderful week!
Dallas

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year of kindness archives:
–¬†week 1 challenge: donate items to those in need
–¬†week 2 challenge: leave quarters & note at laundry machine
–¬†week 3 challenge: write & send a kind handwritten note
–¬†week 4 challenge: give hot chocolate to someone outside in the cold
–¬†week 5 challenge: do something kind for a neighbor
–¬†week 6 challenge: deliver valentines to a nursing home
–¬†week 7 challenge: donate to a food pantry
–¬†week 8 challenge: donate toiletries to a shelter
–¬†week 9 challenge: post a kind note in a public place
–¬†week 10 challenge: do something kind for a child
–¬†week 11 challenge: thank someone in a genuine & meaningful way
–¬†week 12 challenge: deliver baked goods to a fire station
–¬†week 13 challenge: give someone flowers
–¬†week 14 challenge: donate books
–¬†week 15 challenge: reach out and spend time with people
–¬†week 16 challenge: smile at everyone you meet
–¬†week 17 challenge: pick up litter/trash
–¬†week 18 challenge: write a kind note to a mom figure in your life
–¬†week 19 challenge: leave an extra-generous tip
–¬†week 20 challenge: donate blood/join bone marrow registry
–¬†week 21 challenge: visit a cemetery and pay respect
–¬†week 22 challenge: practice a little patience
–¬†week 23 challenge: call 3 loved ones on the phone
–¬†week 24 challenge: do something kind for a senior citizen
–¬†week 25 challenge: pay for someone’s public transportation