fabulous friday #23

Happy Friday, everyone! Hope you are enjoying the sunshine and have fun plans for the weekend! Before I get into the rest of this post, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has served and is currently serving our country. Yes, Memorial Day weekend is typically associated with BBQ get-togethers and amazing shopping sales, but let’s make sure we remember the real purpose of this holiday weekend: honoring the bravery and sacrifices that our fellow Americans have made to keep us safe.

To veterans, current military servicemen and women, and your families: my deepest thanks for your service!

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. Your kind comments and enthusiasm for my birthday kindness chain! Today I’ve been busy working at my computer, so I’ve done a handful of kind acts from my desk: sent an email of praise to a coworker, wrote some thank-you notes, posted three positive reviews on Amazon, and reached out to an old friend I haven’t been in touch with in a long time. More proof that you don’t even need to leave the house to make the world a better place!

2. Starbucks work sessions. I have a big cup of green tea w/honey, I’m surrounded by the hustle and bustle of people, there’s light jazz in the background … perfect ingredients to power through my to-do list!

starbucks

3. This inspiration from Nicole @A Life Less Bullsh*t to quit being afraid and just get started already:

a year from now

4. I won the Swanson Vitamins giveaway that Danica hosted on her blog!! I can’t ever remember winning even a raffle, so this was a huge surprise and I am so excited and grateful. Happy early birthday to me! I’m going to buy myself some nut butters and baking supplies. Thank you, Danica!

I won a giveaway

5. Phone dates, Skype dates, Google Hang-out dates, and in-person dates with people I love who make me feel loved. I talked with Holly, Allyn and my parents on the phone yesterday, I’m Skyping this afternoon with my friend Chidelia, Greg has called me via Google Hang-outs twice from Thailand {so thankful he is safe and having fun!}, I saw my aunt Annie and cousin Arianna for dinner last night, and I’m seeing Dana for dinner tonight. Nothing warms my heart more than time with so many amazing, loving and generous people I’m blessed to have in my life. ❤

P.S. Look at how cute my Grandpap was in his choir concert last weekend! I couldn’t resist sharing this photo I snapped of him!

grandpap choir concert.jpg

Questions of the day:

  • What are you loving this Friday?
  • What are your plans for the weekend?

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?

happy birthday dad! {and happy memorial day, everyone!}

Today is my dear daddy’s birthday! I feel so grateful that I get to be home to celebrate with him! My dad is a truly amazing person. He is my friend and role model, my biggest fan and supporter, and one of the most genuinely kind and caring people I have ever met. He is also hilariously witty, goofy, and fun! I love every minute I get to spend with my dad. I hope he has a fantastic birthday today! I love you, Dad!

me and dad

On this Memorial Day, I also wanted to take a moment to remember and say thank you to all the brave, selfless men and women who have served our country. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for your sacrifice and service — not only today, but every day!

We read this poem in church yesterday, and it really struck a chord with me, so I wanted to share it here:

Two Sides of War (All Wars)
by Henry Grantland Rice

All wars are planned by older men
In council rooms apart,
Who call for greater armament
And map the battle chart.

But out along the shattered field
Where golden dreams turn gray,
How very young the faces were
Where all the dead men lay.

Portly and solemn in their pride,
The elders cast their vote
For this or that, or something else,
That sounds the martial note.

But where their sightless eyes stare out
Beyond life’s vanished toys,
I’ve noticed nearly all the dead
Were hardly more than boys.

veterans1

Please take some time today to remember and give thanks to our veterans! I’ll be back tomorrow with this week’s Year of Kindness Challenge.

year of kindness challenge: week 6

year of kindness button

Happy Monday, everyone! How was your weekend? Mine was quite lovely and filled with friend time, which was SO nice. In grad school often everyone is so busy that it can be difficult to find time to get together, even on weekends. This weekend turned out to be the perfect timing for lots of social get-togethers. I had lunch with friends on Saturday, saw a movie with a friend yesterday afternoon– the new release Side Effects which was a terrific, twists-and-turns-filled thriller! — and had more friends over last night for dessert and many rounds of a very addictive Chinese card game called “Da Fa.”

My brother Greg has been in the forefront of my mind all weekend, because he departed for his month-long goodwill trip to Sri Lanka with a group of Rotary ambassadors. I am going to miss talking to him every day, but I am just bursting with pride and excitement for him. He is giving away 70 new pairs of shoes and socks through his nonprofit organization Give Running. You can follow his team’s travels on their blog at http://ustosrilanka2013.org/

me and greg shoes

Here’s a picture of me and Greg with a mountain of shoes he has collected and cleaned!

Last week’s Kindness Challenge was to do something kind for a neighbor. I have new neighbors who moved into the apartment below me back in November, and most of our encounters have taken place at 3 in the morning, when I go downstairs and knock on their door to kindly ask if they could turn down their bass subwoofer that is shaking the walls. {It is ridiculously hard to sleep when there is a rap beat thumping loudly and incessantly below you!} However, they are typically nice about turning it down when asked, and I thought I would try a tactic of kindness to let them know it is appreciated.

So I baked them cookies!

cookies

I baked a sampling of double-chocolate chip, peanut butter chocolate chip, and oatmeal butterscotch. {And yes, I may have eaten a few myself!} 🙂

Then I stacked the cookies in this clear plastic container that I washed and upcycled {it originally came from a package of pineapple that we used last week when I made bbq pulled-pork sandwiches.}

pb cookie

cookie stack

I taped a thank you-note to the front of the container and dropped it off in front of their door.

thank you note

When I returned that night, the cookies were gone, so I assume the neighbors found them and brought them inside. I have not seen them in the hallways or anything, but I also did not have a problem with their loud subwoofer this past week, so maybe the two things are connected! 🙂 Here’s hoping we continue to have lovely quiet sleep-tastic nights around here.

Have you ever had a positive experience trying to “kill someone with kindness”? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!

Here are some other good things that happened in my world this week:

  • Someone is posting kind notes in the bathroom in the English department! They kept popping up all week and totally brightened my mood. Here’s a favorite that I came across on Thursday:

kindness note

  • I have managed to stay healthy so far {knock on wood} despite a flu bug that is making its way around campus. 
  • My students are being extra attentive lately — always a bonus in my book!

How did the Week 5 Kindness Challenge go for you? What good things happened in your life this week?

Now on to the Week 6 Kindness Challenge: deliver Valentines to a nursing home, Veterans Hospital or assisted-living facility. I got this idea after I delivered holiday cards and cookies to a nursing home this past Christmas, and it was such a wonderful experience. The residents were beyond grateful and it warmed my heart to make them feel like someone was thinking of them and sending them good wishes during the holiday season. Celebrate Valentine’s Day by spreading love and kindness to elderly people in your town who may otherwise be forgotten!

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

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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