The Appreciation Factor

All things Appreciation: Things to appreciate and the Ways we look at, Show and Think about Appreciation.


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Thankful Thursdays -June 22nd Edition

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

One pile found on Martha’s Vineyard. Source: Backwater Trading Co.

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)

Source: How Sweet It Is (Jessica Merchant)

Serves: 4         Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
– 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

Directions:

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!

What did you think of this issue of Thankful Thursdays?

Have a link you want to share for my next issue of Thankful Thursdays – Share it in the comments section.


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How Will You Contribute/Share Your Kindness?

Friday, November 13th, is World Kindness Day. 

I’ve been looking forward to this day for almost a year, having just missed it last year. Not be deterred, I printed a reminder and put it in my new day timer right away.

I know this blog is about Appreciation first and foremost, but I’ve always felt that kindness can beget gratitude/appreciation, and that showing/expressing our gratitude can also trigger kindness. Kind of makes a nice circle don’t you think?

 

Hands on a globe --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

World Kindness Day, was first introduced in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement, a coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).  This group’s primary objective is to “foster goodwill among the broad community – local, national, and international – by way of kindness and in so doing, create greater understanding and cooperation between all people and all nations throughout the world.”  (You may be familiar with one of the US delegates, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.)

 

All in all, it’s a day to inspire individuals to share kindness
and strive to create a kinder world.

 

 

What can I do?

On this day, I encourage you to show kindness to your friends, family, loved ones, colleagues and strangers.  Your act can be big or small. Really anything that shows your appreciation or kindness to another person will do.  I’ve been planning on what I’m going to do on the 13th for a while, but have put together a list of 12 things that may help inspire you to take part in this truly special day. (FYI: The tasks I’m going to do are those in Green.)  Here’s a list of actions you can take:

1. Write 5 Thank you notes to those who have made an impact on my life or have recently helped me  (You didn’t actually think I could forego my tried and true way to share my appreciation. These notes will also be more of the Just Because type vs. due to a recent interview or act of assistance.)  Like this idea, but need help writing one? Visit these 2 of my prior posts for tips:

PB Envelope & TY CardWriting a Memorable Personal Thank you note

Writing a Just Because Note

2.  Feed meters or pay for someone’s coffee. (I don’t drink coffee so the latter half of this is harder for me personally. I did do it once, though I did not stick around to see the recipient or if the barista simply drank it.)

3.  Make food and distribute to office mates or friends – It’s best to share with someone who knows and trusts you vs. a stranger. (Be sure to include the recipe!)

4.  Surprise someone in your network with a reference on LinkedIn.  You likely have many in your LI network or otherwise whom you could write a glowing recommendation.
So often it’s their request that prompts us to help, why not surprise her/him before they have to ask. (You can also offer to provide/write one even if you’re not on LinkedIn.)
Idea courtesy of
Jenn of Work Wonders Coaching.Jar of Hearts

5.  Put 25 – 50 paper hearts or smiley faces in a box/jar. On the back of each one, write something that is special about your lover or a good friend. Give her/him the box and tell her to pull out a heart or smiley face anytime she gets lonely or wants a pick me up.

6.  Have an Amazon account?  Did you know that you can donate money to your favorite US non-profit through Amazon Smile.  Amazon will donate 5% of the price of your eligible Amazon Smile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. I just set this up and it took less than a minute!

7.  Since World Kindness day is so close to Veteran’s Day – Send a special note to a veteran, soldier or wounded military personnel. If you don’t know any personally, here are two links to make a connection:

Write a letter to a deployed or wounded member of the military through Operation Gratitude. Soldiers say that’s the most meaningful part of care packages they receive.

On Facebook?  You can send your thanks to military members through Military Facebook pages.

8.  Say thank you to those that you see every day, but whom may not work “with” you.  Everyone is important from the office security guard and the person at the front desk to the mailroom clerk and cleaning staff.  Get to know their names and greet them by name. It also never hurts to say thanks for their services as you likely would have a completely different office without them. Plus we all like to feel that our efforts are appreciated.

9.  Looking for something on the Internet?  Instead of simply turning to that popular search site, use Goodsearch to search the internet, play games or answer survey questions.  50% of their ad revenue and/or 1 cent for every search is donated to charity.

10.  Printing some coupons before you go on a shopping spree? Print out a few extra (when you can) and bring them along.  You can surreptitiously leave them in the store for others to find, or hand out to a fellow customer who looks like they could use one for their purchases.

11.  Create some inspirational quotes or signs and place them around the office or in your colleagues’ work spaces.  You never know when someone may need that pick-me-up.

12.  Make an impact for those who need help by visiting Free Rice, a United Nations Food Program that donates rice to hungry people when you interact with the web site. 

 

 

It’s Good for You!

Now of course, while I want to promote World Kindness Day, I do believe that showing kindness deserves more than just one day to share or celebrate it. Kindness and gratitude should be shared as much as possible, all year-long.  Plus did you know that it’s been scientifically proven to be beneficial to do so?  A great reference I found was Amy Morin’s Forbes article about 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude.  Here are my top three from the article:

  • Gratitude increases mental strength. For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma.
  • Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people…
  • Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. Not only does saying “thank you” constitute good manners, but showing appreciation can help you win new friends…

 

Inspired?
Will you celebrate World Kindness Day and help make the world a kinder place?
What ideas to you have to show your kindness, random or deliberate? Share them with me and my followers!