“The reaction from my English teacher was the highlight of my day. She is such a sweet, warmhearted lady. She always makes sure that I understand my homework and I am very comfortable asking her questions. She deserved to receive a gift bag for all of her hard work. I am glad that I had the opportunity to say thanks today.” – Kelsi
Today was a day dedicated to teacher appreciation. We created small gift bags that featured Erica’s awesome homemade cookies, miscellaneous treats, and candy. Kelsi, MaKenna, and Kelsi’s friend Maddie took the bags to school and delivered them to a few of their teachers. We wanted to let these special individuals know that we appreciate all of the work they put in to educate our children and that we value them. It was a great opportunity for the girls to say thank you to those who invest a lot of time in them. I think Kelsi’s words above say it all. Honoring these teachers was the highlight of our day.
Tomorrow is Day 12 and we are calling it Take Time To Read. We will be going into a local elementary school and reading a book to a second grade classroom. I know of a great, new book that was just published that we can share with the class. We are really looking forward to it. Every time we visit an elementary and read with students we have a great time. It is always very rewarding. We hope that you take time out of your busy schedule tomorrow to read to a child. Our hope is that you can read to a stranger, but we know that may be tough. Read to your child, a niece or nephew, or a grandchild. It doesn’t matter. Just take time to read!
This week’s volunteer activity was set up and performed by MaKenna. These are her words:
I have been wanting to do something to impact kids in a local hospital. This week, I finally was able to make it happen. My friend and I made the decision to make blankets and bracelets to be delivered to the children at Lutheran Hospital. I just love to see people’s reactions to the gifts. That is probably my favorite part of helping others.
Making the blankets was really stressful in the beginning. It was taking us much longer to make a blanket than we had planned. We only got 2 blankets completed in the first hour and with each passing minute came more stress. In the end, we completed the task of making seven blankets.
I also wanted to make the children some bracelets. I am constantly making bracelets for myself and rarely do I give any to others. I thought that this would be another good way to bring a smile to a face in the hospital. It is awesome when you can do what you enjoy doing for a good cause. It really makes it a lot easier to give back.
On our way to the hospital I worried that we were not going to have enough blankets for everyone. I really hoped that we did because I did not want to leave anyone out. It was exciting to start handing our the blankets. It was great to see the looks on the faces of the kids when I gave them one. It is hard to see kids my age in the hospital. So many of them are fighting a battle that they may never win. One little girl was struggling with cancer. It was obvious that she was really sick and that she felt terrible. That didn’t keep her from smiling though. Even with the pain and sickness she found reason to smile. When we told her that we had bracelets she said “Are they better than the ones I already have on?” Of course, she was referring to the hospital band and allergy tags that circled her wrist. We gave her a blanket and 3 bracelets and her eyes lit up which put a big smile on my face. She was so grateful and very happy considering her situation. It warmed my heart. She, by far, was my favorite part of the day.
I think other people should do projects like this because it is so easy to make a child smile. It didn’t take us very long to make and delivery these gifts. We spent just a few minutes with each child. Each minute was important and each minute created a smile. And that is what it is all about.
Day 9 was originally planned to be a day in which we helped the homeless. Due to our crazy schedules, we decided to swap Day 9 with Day 16. So today we made a food donation. We donated some non-perishable food items to a local church food pantry. This particular pantry focuses heavily on providing food to our city’s Burmese population. The donation was small this year, but we hope that it helps those individuals and families in need.
Tomorrow is Day 10 and we are calling it Sweet Surprises. Our task will be to surprise others with the gift of chocolate, other candy, or baked goods. Everyone loves sweets and we hope to bring a smile to a few faces tomorrow with sweet surprises. We hope you will participate too. Just so that you know, I love Rolos!
Good neighbors make great neighborhoods. Today, as Day 8 of our 25 Days of Giving, we focused on trying to help in our neighborhood. We wanted to be good neighbors. We spent some time in the cold collecting trash, retrieving trash barrels from the street, and picking up dog manure. Simple gestures of pride in our community. At the end of the day I’m not sure our actions made much of a difference in the lives of others today. We do feel though that if each of us took more time to care about our neighborhood and those individuals that live down the street life would be much sweeter for all.
Day 9 is scheduled to be a day where we help the homeless. As a family, we have made the decision to swap days 9 and 16 in our calendar. We will making our food donation tomorrow and helping the homeless on Day 16. You can make this change if you want or you can stick to the original plan. Actually, you can do whatever you want. Just do something tomorrow that centers around giving and positively impacting others.
By now you have heard my powerful story about the life-changing cups of coffee. It is a story I tell often because it was an amazing moment in my life that I like to share. It shows the impact a simple gesture can have on the life of another person. Today, our task for Day 7 of the 25 Days of Giving was to treat a stranger to a meal or drink. That is exactly what we did.
While making our normal trip through the McDonald’s drive thru for a few tasty beverages we decided to cover the meal of the car behind us. When we handed the money to the cashier and told her what we wanted to do she smiled from ear to ear. ”This is so great! This is so kind of you! This is so great!” came out of her mouth over and over again. You would have thought that we had given the money to her as a gift. We pulled away not knowing what impact, if any, that gesture had. We do know that the $6.67 we spent at McDonald’s today was the best investment we made all day.
Tomorrow we will be good neighbors. We are going to pick up trash and dog poo in our neighborhood. We just want to take action to make our neighborhood a better place. We hope you will do something too. Good neighbors make great neighborhoods.
We put a twist on the idea of a generous tip today. This day was originally created to give a waiter or waitress a little extra on the gratuity during lunch or dinner. Last year we gave a $20 tip on $14 lunch. This year we decided that we were going to stay home and eat dinner around our table. We were not going to go out so leaving a tip could be a challenge. Well, not really.
I had to stop at Walgreen’s today to pick up some medicine. As I got out of the car, I heard the familiar sound of a Salvation Army bell ringer. At that moment, I knew exactly what I was going to do. As I approached the store, I watched the ringer greet shoppers with a big smile and Merry Christmas. The holiday, giving spirit could be seen and heard in him. I dropped a few coins in the kettle and then turned to gentleman with an outstretched hand. I shook his hand and gave him a few dollars. I thanked him for supporting the Salvation Army and for being positive in doing so. He just smiled as he stared at me. It was only a few dollars, but it was my way of saying thanks to him.
Day 7 is called Treat a Stranger. We encourage you buy someone a coffee or a soda. Pay for someone’s meal in the drive-thru of your favorite restaurant. It is totally up to you. Just take some time and say “it’s my treat” to a stranger.
There is no better sound in the world than the sound of my wife and my daughters laughing. One of my daily goals is make them smile and to hear them laugh every day. No matter how difficult a day may be, laughter can be a great release. If only for a moment, laughter makes the day’s troubles go away. Today, as Day 5 of our 25 Days of Giving, we focused on making others laugh.
I started my day with a few laughs with some homeless men. It was good old-fashioned trash talk that generated the biggest laughs. Seeing that group of men laugh and smile was a great way to begin the day. Throughout the day, we all looked for opportunities to be goofballs, act silly, and generate laughter in others. Laughs can be generated anywhere at any time. Laughs are had with friends and laughs are had with complete strangers. This afternoon, while sitting at a stoplight with the windows down, I cranked up the volume on Eddy Grant’s 80s classic “Electric Avenue”. I then proceeded to dance only like I can dance (to clarify that mean bad dancing). I looked over at the car next to me and man was smiling and laughing. He actually gave me a thumbs up as the light turned green. A few blocks down the street, I jammed out to Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”. My inner soul man came out a belted out the words bobbed my head. The look on the woman’s face in the car next to me was priceless. She obviously enjoyed my jam session. The girls and I continued these antics after I picked them up from school. It was a lot of fun.
“We gonna rock down to Electric Avenue and then we’ll take you higher”
Day 6 is tomorrow and we will be giving a generous tip. We encourage you to leave your waiter or waitress a little something extra as a tip. The role of restaurant server can be thankless job. Show someone that you appreciate them with a generous tip.
Thank you. Two simple words that, when put together, are very powerful. Two words that are taken for granted, forgotten, and often unsaid. Life gets busy and we are always in a hurry. We fail to pause a moment to share our appreciation and our gratitude with others. Today, we wanted to focus on saying thanks.
We sent emails and text messages, made phone calls, and posted notes on social media sites. We wanted people in our lives to know how much that we appreciate them. We wanted them to know how important they are to our lives and to our success. Unfortunately for us there are too many people to thank in one day. So we are committing to continue the focus on thank you as we move forward in life as a family.
We do want to take a minute to say “Thank you” to you, the person reading this post. There are so many other things that you can be doing with your time. We feel very blessed that you have chosen, and continually choose, to support this crazy adventure we started more than two years ago. The kind words of encouragement and the life-changing stories that you have shared have impacted our lives forever. Though we have never met many of you in person, we want you to know that you hold a special place in our heart. Thank you friends for your support. The Brown family appreciates you!
Tomorrow is Day 5 and it will be a day of laughs. We are going to do our best to make others laugh tomorrow. Be prepared, we can get a little nutty! I may even sing to you. Wait, that won’t happen. We are focusing on laughing tomorrow not crying. We hope that you will make others laughter a priority in your day tomorrow!
Today was Parking Day. We spent time covering the parking expenses of others in downtown Fort Wayne. While in the parking garage, I left a few dollars with the garage attendant to pay for the next car to leave the garage. I will never know if those few singles made a difference, but I hope that they brought a smile to someone’s face. I did witness how the random act made the garage attendant feel. It was obvious that he was excited for the next car to pull up so that he could let them know. After leaving the garage, I made a couple of stops around town and dropped some quarters into a few random meters. Hopefully those that pulled up to those spaces enjoyed the few free hours of parking.
Tomorrow is Day 4 and we are simply calling it Thank You. We will be expressing our gratitude to some important people in our lives. We will write some handwritten notes, make a few calls, and give a few social media shout-outs. The goal for the day is very simple….to say those two very powerful words to those who deserve to hear it. Thank you!