year of kindness challenge: week 16

year of kindness button

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Sorry I’m a little late posting this — hope your week is going fabulously. Mine has been fantastic and busy! My family and best friend Holly were in town for my thesis reading — a special night that celebrates the graduating class of the MFA program, where all the graduates get a chance to read from their thesis in front of a supportive audience of friends and family. I felt so blessed to have my family there with me — it was amazing of them all to come out to Indiana to celebrate. I loved introducing them to my friends and professors in the program!

me and hol thesis reading

Holly was so sweet to drive out from Nashville for my thesis reading!

dal and porter

Here I am with my thesis advisor, Porter.

Perhaps the most treasured part of the night for me was actually not when I read from my thesis, but right before I got up to read. Every graduate asks one person from the program to introduce them before their turn to read, and I asked my close friend Terrance, who I have worked on the literary journal with as fiction editors the past two years. Terrance is one of the funniest people I know, and I expected his introduction to be filled with jokes and friendly teasing. There were definitely some laughs, but I was surprised when his introduction was mostly serious and heartfelt. He told a story about an incident two years ago that I had nearly forgotten, when he was printing out copies of a big 15-page report for class and forgot to click on the button to collate them. He was on a time crunch and said he was close to tears as he spread the various pages out on a table and began to gather them up in the right order and staple them together.

I remember walking into the grad lab that day and seeing Terrance surrounded by papers, furiously shuffling and gathering and stapling. At that point, we were not fiction editors together and didn’t yet know each other very well. Still, I could tell he was stressed out, and of course I offered to help. I have a fond memory of us stapling and gathering and shuffling the papers of his report, talking about school and writing and teaching, and in just a few minutes the task was done and he made it in time to his class. In the ensuing months, there have been many times he helped me in similar ways — it’s just part of being friends.

But Terrance remembered that day. For me, it was a small, simple act, but to him it meant a whole lot — so much that he shared the story in my thesis introduction. It brought tears to my eyes, and it also was a powerful reminder of the profound effects of kindness. Even small, everyday acts of kindness can touch others greatly and create ripple effects of kindness that spread out further and further.

Last week’s kindness challenge was to simply spend meaningful time with someone else you otherwise might not see. I had a wonderful time with this challenge! I went for a long walk with one friend I had lost touch with, had coffee with another acquaintance, and spent an evening playing board games with two friends from my program who I will miss when we all leave soon.

with friends at reading

Here I am with friends Tiffany and Shavonne at the thesis reading night.

The Week 16 Kindness Challenge is to smile. Smile at everyone you meet. Smile at strangers you pass in the hallway, smile at cashiers when you purchase things from a store, smile at your waiter in a restaurant. I think it is easy to forget the power of a smile to brighten the days of others. {And I’m willing to bet the world will smile back at you many times over!}

I’ll leave you with this thought from Heather Waxman, inspiring blogger at For the Love of Kale:

body kindness

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 filled with smiles!
🙂 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

goals & menu plan for the week of 3/17

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Here’s how I did on my goals last week:

  • revise up to page 180 of my thesis novel
  • blog about Week 10 Act of Kindness Challenge & complete it myself this week
  • finish reading Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
  • finish grading papers for both classes
  • finish the baby blanket I’m knitting

And here are my goals for this upcoming week:

  • turn in my thesis manuscript to my committee! {this is a big one!}
  • blog about Week 11 Act of Kindness Challenge & complete it myself this week
  • read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • finish grading reports for my freshman class
  • start a new knitting project
  • clean out papers in the back room

Finally, here are some recipes I’m looking forward to trying this week:

twice-baked potato soup
quinoa salad with apples, chickpeas + feta
curried carrot soup with cornbread
peanut-butter breakfast cookies
cupcakes with chocolate fudge frosting

What are your goals and meal plans for the week?