fabulous friday #33

Happy Friday, friends! This morning started off bright and early with a bowl of fresh fruit & vanilla greek yogurt — my favorite breakfast right now!

yogurt and banana

Before I move on, just a little reminder: tomorrow is the last day to grab a copy of my ebook “Lost and Found” for FREE! I’d love for you to read it! Here’s the link: 

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. Last night I got to see Erica for dinner — I always love getting to catch up with this lovely lady! We went to a terrific Italian restaurant called Giannfranco’s Trattoria and split two of the chef specials of the night: ricotta cheese & sausage ravioli and veggie risotto with cream sauce. YUM! Neither of us had any room left for dessert, but the selection looked so delectable that we decided next time, we’ll just split a salad and then have dessert! Or maybe just skip the salad altogether 😉

2. Oh my goodness, YOU GUYS. THIS BOOK. My mom leant it to me and I finished it within two days. It’s called One Plus One and it’s by JoJo Moyes, the author of another book I loved, Me Before You. This is one of those books that makes you feel better about the world. I smiled, cried, and felt like I became close friends with the characters — I was sad to say goodbye to them all at the end.

jojo moyes one plus one

3. Speaking of crying… this video made me cry. It’s only three minutes, but I guarantee it will stick with you: Compassionate Homeless Man Shares Meal With Stranger When Others Wouldn’t.

4. Homemade applesauce! I made it for the first time based on this recipe from Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean, and it turned out really well! It was much easier than I thought applesauce would be to make… all I did was peel and chop some apples, dump them into the crock pot with a bit of water and loads of cinnamon, cook on low for four hours, and then mash it all up with a potato masher. I was happy to use up some apples that were getting wrinkly and turn them into a really great, healthy snack!

homemade applesauce

5. These super-cool upcycled wallets, bags and totes made from former street banners by the company Upcycle it Now. They’re being offered as perks in a neat IndieGoGo crowd-funding campaign that my sweetie Allyn & some of his classmates are holding to raise money for a humanitarian trip they are taking to Kenya with the nonprofit organization Zawadisha. You can snag one of these upcycled goodies by making a donation to the campaign through the end of September.

upcycled wallets

mens wallets

I’ll sign off with this from Murray: “Have a wonderful weekend!”

murray paws

Questions of the morning:

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

a year of Wooden: week 13

Hi, everyone! Apologies for my extreme delay with this year of Wooden post… this week has flown by incredibly fast. My mom was in town, I had two job interviews, and last night was my final reading as part of my Steinbeck Fellowship. {More about that in tomorrow’s fabulous friday post!}

Now that we’re into April, we’re going to be focusing on a new topic for this year of learning from Coach Wooden’s philosophies and teachings.

a year of wooden

  • January: Drink deeply from good books.
  • February: Make friendship a fine art.
  • March: Help others.

Last week, the challenge was to help someone less fortunate than you are. I dropped off a donation of clothes to a local thrift shop; books and magazines to the library; and canned goods and toiletries to a homeless shelter. In these next two weeks, I’ll also be volunteering at an event my church is holding called “Winter Nights” in which we feed and shelter homeless families from the area until Easter Sunday. I’ll be helping cook and serve dinner and leading some activities for the kids.

  • April: Build a shelter against a rainy day. 

This month’s challenge also comes from Coach Wooden’s 7-Point Creed. I thought rainy April would be an appropriate time to focus on this credo! I like to interpret “building a shelter” in a multitude of ways: family, friends, work that satisfies and sustains you — but, since we will focus on these elements in other months, I’m going to focus this month on the financial interpretation of “building a shelter against a rainy day.” In other words: save now to build a safety net!

For this week, the challenge is to create a “spare change jar.” Instead of pocketing spare change to spend somewhere else, drop it into the jar. You could continue this challenge all month — or even {as I plan to} all year long! How much spare change will you wind up with at the end?

I’ve always loved this wise sentiment from Coach Wooden:

wooden quote peaks valleys

This month, we’ll work on building a shelter to keep life’s inevitable valleys that come along from getting too low!

Questions of the evening:

  • What are your favorite tips for saving money?
  • In what ways do you “build a shelter against a rainy day” in your life?

year of kindness challenge: week 35

year of kindness button

Hi, friends! Hope you had a terrific Labor Day weekend and that your week is off to a wonderful start!

My weekend flew by. I am feeling fully settled in to my new life in Northern California; I spend my days writing at the library and my afternoons running on the treadmill or taking yoga classes at the nearby fitness center. My new neighborhood is beautiful and is also inhabited by deer and wild turkeys! I’m loving cooking with my grandma and baking with my cousins, and my grandpap is giving me an in-depth education in music from the 1950s. 🙂 It is such a blessing to get to spend more time with my sweet relatives who live up here — they have truly taken me in and welcomed me with open arms!

Now, on to the kindness! This past week’s kindness challenge was to buy a sandwich and drink and give it to a homeless person. I bought a sandwich and Kevita drink at my new neighborhood Safeway and gave it to a homeless woman I passed by on my way home.

The Week 35 Kindness Challenge is to compliment a salesman to his or her manager next time you go shopping. It’s great to compliment the salesperson themselves, but it’s even better to pass the compliment on to the boss of the person who helped you!

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 day!
– Dallas

—————————–

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
– week 26 challenge: volunteer at a food pantry or soup kitchen
– week 27 challenge: send a care package to someone in the military
– week 28 challenge: give at least one compliment every day
– week 29 challenge: do a favor for someone else
– week 30 challenge: scatter lucky pennies around a playground
– week 31 challenge: mail an empowering postcard
– week 32 challenge: plant something
– week 33 challenge: donate school supplies
week 34 challenge: give a sandwich to a homeless person

year of kindness challenge: week 34

year of kindness button

Happy Monday, everyone! I’m writing to you from my new home in northern California. Here’s a pic my dad snapped right before I hit the road:

20130823_093354

I’m getting settled in and enjoying a lot of time with my wonderful relatives, including my cute cousin Bianca who I have a feeling is going to become my baking buddy this year. Woo! I’m so excited to have someone to bake with. 🙂

20130824_130522

This past week’s kindness challenge was to donate school supplies to local children who need them. I donated these notebooks and markers to a school supply drive in my community that I found with a quick internet search.

20130802_152025

The Week 34 Kindness Challenge is to buy a sandwich and drink and give it to a homeless person you pass by on your way home. Another option: if you go out to dinner, box up your leftovers and give them to a homeless person.

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 day!
– Dallas

—————————–

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
– week 26 challenge: volunteer at a food pantry or soup kitchen
– week 27 challenge: send a care package to someone in the military
– week 28 challenge: give at least one compliment every day
– week 29 challenge: do a favor for someone else
– week 30 challenge: scatter lucky pennies around a playground
– week 31 challenge: mail an empowering postcard
week 32 challenge: plant something
week 33 challenge: donate school supplies

year of kindness challenge: week 8

Happy Monday, friends!

I spent this past weekend in Louisville for a literature & culture conference at the University of Louisville. I presented a paper on Saturday morning, and then Mike and I stayed an extra day to take in the sights and have a mini “vacation.” We had so much fun! Louisville is only a few hours south of where we live in Indiana, but it felt very different there — warmer weather, lots of fun shops and new restaurants to explore, and that lovely Southern twang! If you’ve never been there, I would definitely recommend it as a great city to check out! We are already talking about going back sometime in the spring or summer.

Another novelty about the weekend? Both Mike and I left our computers at home and neither of us have smartphones, so we were Internet-free for two days. It was a nice break to be “off the grid” for a little bit! We both returned home feeling recharged. I don’t really think of myself as someone who wastes time online — usually when I’m online, I’m checking emails or reading blogs or looking up recipes or reading submissions for Sycamore Review, etc etc etc — but in the past few weeks I’ve found myself checking my email and going online perhaps more often than I need to. I think it’s easy to fall into “Internet autopilot” and feel like we must be constantly engaged with the web, staying updated, checking posts … and all of that can just be exhausting after a while, you know? It was such a relief to lie down on the hotel bed, crack open a good novel and not feel like there was anything else I was “supposed” to be doing. I think Mike and I are going to try to “unplug” more often as part of our weekend routine!

Now, on to the kindness! 🙂

year of kindness button

Last week’s kindness challenge was to drop off a donation of canned goods to a food pantry, homeless shelter, or soup kitchen. This idea came when I was thinking about how we often hear a number of opportunities to donate food to the hungry during Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it seems donation efforts die down once the holiday season has come and gone.

My first step was to go through my cupboards and pantry and find a variety of nonperishable food items to donate. As you can see, a lot of tomato-based products made the list, since I have made a big effort the past few months to fully weed out tomatoes from our diet. {Nothing against tomatoes! But Mike is allergic.}

cans from pantry

Then I picked up some canned veggies at the grocery store to round out the donation, and put everything into a big bag! {Note to self: next time, use two smaller bags. Mike helped me carry carried this big bag to my car for me.}

food donation bag

A quick Internet search brought up multiple food pantries in Lafayette, including one just a five-minute drive from campus. I dropped Mike off at school and zoomed over to the food pantry before I had to teach my class. Like last week when I dropped off Valentines to the nursing home, this only took me a short time, but it brightened my whole day! The woman working at the food pantry was SO surprised and grateful for my drop-by donation. I definitely plan to go back and make more donations in the future. It was a drizzly, cold, gray day, but walking back to my car afterwards I swear the world seemed sunnier. Every week of this project just proves to me more and more how being kind to others brings so much kindness and joy into your own life.

A reader emailed me that instead of donating food this past week, they donated toiletries to a women’s shelter. I think that is such a great idea that I am officially making it the Week 8 Kindness Challenge: donate toiletries to a women’s shelter or homeless shelter. Are you someone who stocks up on those free hotel soaps and shampoos and lotions? Why not clean out your stash by donating it to those in need? Or pick up an extra bottle of your favorite shampoo/conditioner/body wash next time you’re at the store and bring it by a shelter in your area. I know it will be appreciated!

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

—————————–

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