Archive for September, 2012
September is National Courtesy Month and it’s a wonderful time to be reminded of how much kindness means to people. Our friend Mary O’Donohue, author and courtesy advocate, has a new project perfect for National Courtesy Month called “Your Ripple Effect.” It provides a way for folks to post kind acts on her website, creating a ripple effect for kindness and courtesy.
Mary shared this with us: “I’m a big proponent of courtesy, respect and compassion. I believe we all have an opportunity to create a ripple effect with our lives by doing whatever good we can in the world.” To share your ideas for adding to the ripple effect, visit Mary’s web site.
September 21 was World Gratitude Day and the etiquette experts suggest that we show our gratitude by sending thank you notes. January is a popular time for thank you notes since it follows the holidays, but there’s no etiquette rule that says you can’t say thank you all through the year. In fact, an important courtesy you can show to a friend is to say thank for no reason at all. Maybe you’re thankful he or she was there for you through a tough time.
Many VoiceQuilts are created as thank you’s. Sometimes, it’s a group of students thanking a teacher. More often, it’s a mix of family and friends, expressing their gratitude on a birthday. Sometimes an entire community will band together to express their thanks. Last winter, Atlanta-area politicians, sports celebrities and families thanked the troops for their service during the Christmas season.
National Courtesy Month might be drawing to a close, but there’s still plenty of time to show kindness. Who knows? A small act of kindness – in the form of a thank you or an act of courtesy – might take on a life of its own.
World Gratitude Day is September 21. I started thinking… “How do people show gratitude to others?” I’ve been a fan of a Facebook Page Random Acts of Kindness for quite some time. How better than to show gratitude to the universe than by performing Random Acts of Kindness to those who help us and even to those we don’t even know (yet or maybe even never)? Have you ever had the person in front of you in the Starbucks drive-through line buy your coffee? I have — it was such an amazing surprise and made me smile all day.
And while browsing Pinterest, I found this extremely inspiring blog how a mother spent her 37th birthday showing gratitude to her postman, lunch server and others. She started this tradition on her 35th birthday two years ago and plans to do it annually. She performed over 37 random acts of kindness and good deeds this year in one day – one for each year of her life. What an inspiring lady!
If you ever need a pick-me-up, search on hashtag #randomactsofkindness. Tweeters around the world post ways that others have touched them with good deeds. My favorite was a tweet about New Yorkers helping an unlucky reader retrieve 30 pages of reading papers blowing in the wind! You can also search on #dokindness to see how others have been helped because of others performing random acts of kindness.
VoiceQuilt Gift givers are naturals at showing gratitude. The SUNY Cortland Softball team made a “Thank You” VoiceQuilt for their coach; a group of San Diego Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk participants created a quilt of gratitude for their retiring trainer. There are many other heartwarming stories here.
So, why not use World Gratitude Day as an excuse to perform a random act of kindness this week? And, while you’re at it, please let us know about it by commenting here or on VoiceQuilt’s facebook page. We’d love to hear all about it!
When you are part of the VoiceQuilt family, your relatives “expect” a VoiceQuilt Keepsake gift for birthdays, anniversaries and other important events like graduations. As a result, I have created quite a few VoiceQuilts over the years. Little did I know that I was creating a time capsule of my children’s voices as well!
I thought it would be fun to compare the voices of my two boys (who are now 16 and 18) and listen to how their voices have changed over the years. And oh my— how they have changed! This adventure reminded me of the infamous Brady Bunch TV episode when Peter’s voice changed.
For fun, I downloaded all of my VoiceQuilts and then uploaded each boy’s messages into separate time capsule VoiceQuilts.
Here are a few voice message snippets from Kevin:
And not to be forgotten, Brian:
I wish I had recordings of my children’s voices when they were even younger! I so enjoyed collecting voice message toasts, tributes and favorite memories for family members over the years. I now see other benefits as well: being able to assemble a time capsule of my children’s voices that I’ll cherish for years to come.
Operation: Care and Comfort is a non-profit, all volunteer organization that sends military care packages to soldiers deployed overseas. Virtually all of their funding goes towards postage for the cost of shipping military care packages. The OCC has care package programs for military families in the San Francisco Bay Area, too. They distribute sports tickets, gift cards and other items donated by corporate partners and philanthropic individuals.
Last week, the OCC asked friends to call in to record voice message testimonials on Facebook.
“OCC is creating a video about the work we do, and we want to include comments from those we serve – our troops, veterans and their families. What did OCC do to support you and your family? Did you receive care packages?”
Julie De Maria, OCC’s Founder, asked VoiceQuilt to edit the voice message testimonials so that they could be included in a fundraising video. When I listened, I heard voices brimming with emotion:
* A military Mom described her toddler’s delight with a show featuring Elmo;
* A homeless veteran described a baseball game that lifted his spirits;
* A military widow thanked the OCC for an outing that “meant so much” to her dying husband.
At VoiceQuilt, we’ve been privileged to hear wonderful military thank-you’s: moms and daughters recording thank you messages for the troops on Veteran’s Day; Atlanta families, politicians and sports celebrities calling in to thank the troops during the Christmas season.
OCC’s messages from military families made me realize how important these care packages have been. Please consider taking a moment to vote for OCC in the Chase Community Giving Program! With your help, OCC can deliver more care packages to families like Jose’s. (Take a listen to his voice message at the top of this post!)
Grandparents are very special, but we don’t always take the time to celebrate them as often as we should. September 9, 2012 is Grandparents Day. It’s a great excuse to plan activities and gifts that make grandma and grandpa feel special.
One Grandparents Day idea is to invite grandma and grandpa over for a celebratory meal. If your child is old enough, he or she can get involved in the cooking process. Ask kids to set the table with special personalized placemats that grandpa or grandma can take home.
Another wonderful idea – courtesy of the DIY blog Young House Love – is creating a thankful jar. All you need is a container and several small slips of paper. Write down different things you and the kids love about grandma and grandpa and add them to the jar.
At VoiceQuilt, we’re privileged to hear families celebrate grandparents every day. As part of a 90th birthday celebration, granddaughter Kathryn shared her favorite memories of a trip taken with her grandma. In another family, four-year old Graham shared favorite memories of time with grandpa and grandma as a holiday gift.
Grandparents are a special blessing and we hope you’ll be inspired to honor grandparent’s day in unique and creative ways!