Category Archives: Giving

Spreading Joy with Inspirational Messages

Are you tired of all the bad news lately? Seems like every time I turn on the TV there is another mass shooting. Then there’s the upcoming election news with all the nasty insults flying and disheartening debates.

Looking for the perfect uplifting anecdote? I read about a fun trend that is SkyROCKeting (hint,hint) across the country.

I found out about this motivational movement in an article about Hannah Barnes. She is 19 years old, lives in Texas, and is battling stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She endured six rounds of chemotherapy.

rocks-laughingBarnes and her cousin were on vacation in Houston and heard about a rock painting trend. People were hand painting stones with inspirational messages and hiding them in public places. Those lucky enough to find the painted rocks either relocated them or made their own to replace it.

They decided to start the tradition in their own community with a “Wilbarger County Rocks” Facebook page. Members post pictures of rocks they’ve found or plan to hide for others to locate.

The two young women claim that the creative act of painting a rock with an inspirational message and hiding it for someone else to find is downright therapeutic. The process took their mind off of negative things as they envisioned the looks of delight as their rocks were discovered.

The good news is that Barnes recently found out she is cancer free.

This idea is marvelously simple and some of the stories behind the movement are touching. The goal is to brighten someone’s day and spread a little happiness, love, and inspiration. Those that participate say the small gesture can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

painted-rocksThink of a less dangerous and more artistic version of Pokémon Go. Or a less complicated type of geocaching. The trend connects people and encourages them to explore their communities without a Smartphone. More like a treasure hunt.

A similar Facebook group was created by Cathy Tomko and Connie Quatermass in Kitsap County, Washington. Quatermass tells the story of how a man with cancer was on his way to a cardiologist appointment when he found a rock painted with a heart. The man was on his way to get his heart checked before beginning treatment. He received good news about his heart and says he’ll be carrying the rock in his pocket during his treatments.

Love it.

Ironically, it seems the rock painting trend began with a tragedy in Oregon. Susan Dieter-Robinson and Tom Robinson got married and their daughters, Anna Dieter-Eckerdt and Abigail Robinson, glued fabric in the shapes of hearts to rocks as decorations for the wedding. Tragically, the two girls were later killed in a hit-and-run crash. Their parents began painting and distributing similar rocks to honor the girls’ memory. In 2014, they launched the Love Rocks Facebook page.

So began a tradition that began spreading to other communities across the country.

Of course, many of these groups have some simple rules. That includes keeping artwork and comments positive and G-rated so children can participate and being respectful of private property, national and state parks, cemeteries, and businesses.

If you want to give this trend a try, you can use acrylic paint found in craft stores or Sharpies. Spray your rocks with a clear gloss spray paint to protect paint from the weather. Community rock groups are easily set up on Facebook if you’re so inclined.

good-job-stickerMessages can be short and simple: Don’t give up. You’re Amazing. Unleash Your Silly. You Are Brave. Live Your Dreams. Take a Moment and Breathe. Create. You Rock. Imagine. Forgive. Thrive. Stop and Smile. Pray. Dance in the Rain. Nurture Hope. Stay Curious. Believe. Be Fearless. Find Joy. Give Freely. Live in the Moment. Laugh Loudly. You Are Enough. Be Blissful. Seek Adventure. Take the Next Step. Let it Go. Relax. Try Something New. You’ve Got This. Have a Grateful Heart. Give Someone a Hug. Take a Chance.

If painting rocks isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other simple ways to brighten someone’s day.

Write down positive quotes and place them in library books for someone to find. Leave a workmate a compliment on a sticky note. Write a love note on the shower door for your spouse to discover. Etch a positive message in the sand. Put a love note in a lunch box for your child to read at school.

I’m sure you can come up with some ideas of your own. Just brighten up someone’s day!

Images, in order of appearance, courtesy of suphakit73, BJWOK, and David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Five Ways to Celebrate Make a Difference Day

Want to be happy?

Make a difference in someone’s life.

For more than two decades, on the fourth Saturday of October of every year – which falls on October 24th this year – millions of volunteers unite to prove the universal truth found in the Bible: there is more happiness in giving than in receiving.

Can you reach out to an elderly person and make a difference in their lives?

Can you reach out to an elderly person and make a difference in their lives?

Of course, I’m talking about Make a Difference Day. It is a day to celebrate the power of people to make a difference.

If you’re looking for ideas, suggestions proliferate on the Internet this time of year.

Since I was a caregiver for my Mom who had dementia until she recently died, my thoughts are with the elderly this year. With that in mind, here are five ideas to help you make a difference in an elderly person’s life:

  1. Visit senior citizens at a nursing home. Offer to read the Bible or their favorite book to them. Decorate their rooms with homemade art that your children or grandchildren make. Offer your pet for therapy.
  2. Pick up groceries or medicine for an elderly person who is unable to drive.
  3. Offer to help with heavy-duty housework or yard work. Clean gutters, wash windows, shovel snow, or rake leaves.
  4. Go for a walk with an elderly person. If they are in a wheelchair, offer to push them around a beautiful park.
  5. Teach a senior friend how to use a computer or the Internet.

Of course, you need not limit yourself to the elderly. This is the perfect day to show a bit of kindness and gratitude to all the people in your life.

Thank those who make a difference in your life.

Thank those who make a difference in your life.

Why not write thank-you notes to those who serve you such as the mailman, teachers, grocery clerks, and waitresses? Bake cookies for your local fire department. Or simply compliment those who make your life better and thank them for all that they do.

Donate school supplies to a classroom, give books, crayons, or toys to a children’s hospital, donate a bike to a homeless person, or give clothes to a family in need. Volunteer at a local animal shelter. Plant a garden and share the produce.

Don’t forget to show love to people in your own family. Take turns making a special meal or treat for each other and celebrate each member of the family. Thank them for always being there for you.

Pray as a family for the people in your life on a regular basis. Make a difference in your children and grandchildren’s life by reading the Bible as a family every day.

In other words, let your light shine. Of course, don’t limit your acts of kindness to the fourth Saturday of October. Make a concentrated effort to make a difference in someone’s life every day.

Because here’s the basic truth: Bring a bit of bliss into someone’s life and you will find bliss yourself.

Image courtesy of worradmu and Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Be A Giver

“Be a fountain, not a drain.” – Rex Hudler

Fountain 2I have a lion head tiered fountain in my backyard. The simple sight and soothing sounds of cascading water instantly calms me. When I’m feeling down, I can close my eyes and the gentle rhythm of flowing water evokes tranquility and lifts my spirits. Birds visit often to drink and bathe in the water and I am content knowing we are providing a source of life and refreshment for them as well.

Drains, on the other hand, simply suck water down.

That’s why I love this quote. Do you want to be a continual source of refreshment to your loved ones with your words, behavior, and smiling face? Or do you want to be that drain and simply suck the life out of people?

In other words, are you a giver or are you a taker?

The answers to those questions can determine your happiness.

Studies show that altruism, whether that means donating money, volunteering, or a simple act of kindness has the potential to reward the giver as much or more than the recipient.

In fact, “givers” report:

• An improved sense of well-being (89 percent).

• Lower stress levels (73 percent).

• Better physical health (68 percent).

• Enhanced emotional health (77 percent).

• Enriched sense of purpose in life (92 percent).

• Increased happiness (96 percent).

Why is that the case? A number of studies came to the surprising conclusion that giving affects our brain chemistry. People who give often report feelings of euphoria, which psychologists refer to as “Helper’s High.” These studies certainly give credence to the famous Bible verse stating that there is more happiness in giving than receiving.

You can give in many ways, not just monetarily. Rich or poor, everyone has ample opportunities in their lives to make a difference. Maybe giving means listening to a friend’s problem, supporting a family member through a difficult time, comforting someone who is depressed, or offering help to a total stranger. Even simple acts such as opening a door for someone or offering a friendly smile can brighten someone’s day and make us feel happier as well.

Why not resolve to be like that fountain and make people feel happy they spent time with you. Be a source of refreshment. Like Mayo Angelou once said in an interview, “The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud….be a blessing to somebody.”

If you do so, you’ll not only help those on the receiving end of your kind or generous act, you will benefit yourself as well. As Alice Walker so eloquently said, “Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.”