Happy summer! I’ve been looking forward to the first day of summer for a long time. As I said to someone yesterday on the phone, I may like the first day of summer even more than my birthday!
I’ve got some great Thankful Thursday stories to share today. You’ll note that two are around writing; I was more inspired by National Stationary Month than I realized. Two others focus on middle schoolers really stepping up. As you know, Thankful Thursdays are stories, people, companies, and videos that move me, and which exemplify appreciation, kindness, or those making a difference in the world. These five stories really spoke to me and I hope they’ll speak to you too!
As an added bonus that’s in honor of summer, I’ve included a refreshing non-alcoholic drink, Watermelon Lime Agua Fresca, courtesy of the How Sweet It Is blog.
We’re Really Just All the Same
I found this on Twitter in May, and it still moves me every time I watch it. A girl in Birmingham, England came to school with a new prosthetic blade. How did her classmates react?
Watch this video to find out:
Thanks to www.someecards.com for this story
They Say Middle School Can Be Cruel, But This One has Kindness In It
We’ve all known that group in middle school who always has the best and most expensive things and who seem to look down on those who don’t. In this case, one who had a lot, shared a lot more. Instead of continuing to allow a younger classmate to be bullied and made fun of, an 8th grade boy gave a 6th grader a pair of his Air Jordan’s that he’d only worn a few times! (FYI: Some Air Jordan’s cost over $125!)
His parting comment: “…remember this day for the rest of your life. No matter how many bad people there are, there are always people that will help you in the long run.” WOW! Such wise words from an 8th grader.
Click this link to read the whole story.
A Letter Makes A Difference – Girls Love Mail
Ever since National Stationery Month in April, I’ve candidly become a bit obsessed with cards and letter writing – much more so than what I expound upon here at The Appreciation Factor. I’ve told you in the past how much impact a handwritten note can have, so you’ll quickly see why, this story about Girls Love Mail, an organization that sends handwritten notes of encouragement to women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, made such an impact on me.
I think I’m going to have to write a few letters myself for Girls Love Mail and join their 2017 Miles of Mail campaign (as of this post, Girls Love Mail is on Lap 2 with over 9,400 letters received, and over 92,000 have received a letter since the group’s founding in 2011!) Truly, when more has a letter meant so much?
Putting a Spin on a Serious Topic
While you may have distinct opinions on Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why and it’s depiction of a girl who commits suicide and who she blames, I promise this is not story is not a downer.
Much has been said about 13 Reasons Why and how it glamorizes suicide. I personally did not have that take away but I know younger audiences could walk away with different ideas from this program. This is why I wanted to share a story of Oxford, Michigan, who turned the story around to be, 13 Reasons Why Not. The school wanted to address suicide, bullying, depression and other challenges teens face, with a positive twist. Select students from Oxford High School were picked to tell their story and to thank a friend/friends for bringing hope and inspiration to their lives.
You can listen to this NPR Youth Radio feature: 13 Reasons Why Not (Listen here).
Rocks Can Make a Difference
Ever a fan of acts of kindness, this one won me over immediately. It’s probably because I also collect rocks – primarily heart-shaped rocks, but still find a nice rock can really make my beach day – even one without any writing on it. The thought of finding one with an inspirational message… wow!
It all started when Meagan Murphy wrote some inspirational messages for friends on rocks she found on her local Cape Cod beach. Inspired by the positive reactions she received, she started leaving inspiration rocks for strangers to hind on her local beach. So many people were moved by them, that they started to leave their own.
Now formally, The Kindness Rocks Project (www.thekindnessrocksproject.com) it’s expanded across the US and rocks have been left/found in over 10 countries!
There are two goals of The Kindness Rocks Project:
1. Inspire others through randomly placed rocks along the way
2. Recruit every person who stumbles upon one to join in the pursuit of inspiring others through random acts of kindness.
What a great reminder to always act as kindly as possible, and share inspiration in places one may not expect it.
How can you get involved? Anyone and everyone is welcome to participate – no registration is needed. Simply decorate a rock and leave it for the next person to find. Doesn’t get much easier than that.
And as a special treat a recipe courtesy of Jessica Merchant of How Sweet it Is
Watermelon Lime Agua Fresca (frozen non-alcoholic drink)
Serves: 4 Total Time: 20 minutes
– 1/2 Large Watermelon, Seeded and Cubed (about 4 cups)
– 1/2 Cup freshly squeezed lime juice
– 1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest, plus extra for topping
– 3 Tablespoons sugar
– Pinch of salt
– 4 Cups Ice
– Garnish: Lime and Watermelon wedges
Place the watermelon, lime juice and zest, sugar, salt and ice in a blender. Blend until you have a slushy consistency and the mixture is cold and frozen. You can taste and add more sugar if desired.
I’ve tried this and it’s Ahhhhhmazing! Can’t wait for the really good summer watermelon to come out! I’m also thinking about adding some Mint to this too! Let me know what you think!