Monday, December 3, 2012

Day 46 - Let another car take that parking spot. Smile and wave.

I'm not sure about where you live but where I'm from you must drive aggressively in order to survive. Driving in Miami can be incredibly frustrating, no wonder our city is a two-time winner of the Rudest Drivers in America. From people who are always in a hurry, always on their cell phones, always flicking you off, its not easy to be nice to someone. And I believe I will see pigs fly before I see someone giving me their parking spot, but today I will be more than happy to start the trend.

What better season to get into the spirit than the holiday season right? Today, why on my lunch break I had to go run some errands; one was to stop at our local grocery store Publix which is always full. As I went to park another patron went to cut me off and before yelling something very unsympathetic to them, I remembered my deed of the day, so I smiled the biggest smile I could, waved and drove away. The person’s face was priceless, a mixture of confusion and shock, I couldn’t help but giggle as I drove away.

I am definitely an optimist and I can only hope that this person will go and do the same to someone else but if they don’t my total satisfaction was in this person’s facial expression today as I drove away. So today, go out there and make someone’s day by giving up your parking space and if all else fails, make your own day by laughing at that person. ;)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 45 - Take a sibling out to a movie.

Today's deed was my type of deed, fun and simple. I am actually very fortunate, by fortunate I mean I work for the owners of a large entertainment venue in Miami; I am the office manager so all of the stores and/or restaurants are considered my tenants, including a very popular elite, private, reserved seating movie theater.

It works out for me because we have VIP cards to the movie theater and get free movies whenever we would like to go, hence the fact that I said this deed would be simple. I got my little sister a job in my office as the assistant to the marketing manager so we go to the movies at least once every other week; when I asked her to go with me tonight, of course she said yes. We watched a movie by the name “Life of Pi” which was a very fascinating story and we both enjoyed watching it thoroughly but as I sit here tonight writing this entry and reflecting on my deed, I don’t think my favorite part of tonight was the movie at all, it was the fact that I got to spend time with my little sister, laughing, eating popcorn and sharing silly stories after the movies while we ate frozen yogurt.

It didn’t take me long to realize the point of today’s deed; spend time with a loved sibling. I know that unlike me, it’s not so easy for everyone to hang out with their siblings and I also know people make excuses, I’m busy doing this or we live too far away from each other. If you could go back in time to your younger days, I am sure your memory would be filled with funny/happy/sad moments with the person that grew up with you, also known as your sibling and the reality of things are that life is short and passes in the blink of an eye. Friends come and go but your family will always be there for you. So make it a point to spend time with a sibling sometime soon, whether it’s going to the movies, going to the park, watching a football game together and if you don’t live in the same city or continent a Skype date would be nice as well. Trust me, it will bring both of you closer and will leave you smiling! J

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 44 – Donate Blood.

To be quite honest with you, I wasn’t looking forward to today’s “deed of the day”. I have never been a big fan of needles nor blood, let alone a needle in my arm taking out my blood. In Miami, it seems like you must make an appointment for any good deed, whether it’s donating clothes or giving blood which is pretty bizarre to me.

As y’all know by now, I am a pretty big fan of researching and knowing the facts before posting an entry so that’s exactly what I did for today’s deed and I was amazed at the facts that I learned regarding being a blood donor.
To be begin with, did you know that donating blood is actually good for your body? According to a well-known doctor by the name of Dr. Amen (and yes, I confirmed through other articles that Dr. Amen is correct); when donating blood you are lowering the iron levels in your body which can help reduce heart disease. You see, excessive iron in your body is thought to contribute to heart disease, especially at its early stages and donating blood on a regular basis has been proven to lower your iron levels which in turn preserve your heart and vascular health. Some other good reasons donating blood is good for your body are that it can help reduce cancer, help reduce heart attack risk and your body replenishes the blood right away.  When you donate blood, your body replaces the blood volume within 48 hours; this process helps your body stay healthy and work more efficiently and productively.
Now, a part from thinking about yourself, there are other reasons why you should donate blood. Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood, that means 44,000 blood donations are needed per day to save lives and 20% of the receivers are children (many cancer patients); not to mention 1 out of every 7 people who enter a hospital need blood. The demand for blood is high but the supply is not enough; about 60% of the population is eligible to give blood, yet less than 4% do. One pint of blood from one donor alone can save up to three lives which is pretty amazing to me. One of my favorite reasons to give blood is you also get FREE cookies and juice, what could be better than that? J The list of why you should donate blood goes on and on, you can find out more at the Red Cross website.

Today, I chose to donate to the
Community Blood Centers of Florida, Inc. - I chose their Bird Road location because that specific location donates all of their blood to our local children's hospital called Miami Children's Hospital. While donating blood today I learned so much that I didn’t know prior, I learned that I hadn’t donated blood since 2004 and that I have the most common blood type which is O positive; 40 out of 100 people have my blood type. But the one thing I learned today that I never knew is that I am what you would call a “baby donor”. What that means is I am CMV negative.

CMV stands for Cytomegalovirus which is a flu-like, non-fatal virus that at least 85% of Americans have without even knowing. Despite CMV having the words “disease” and “virus”, it is scarcely mentioned by doctors and physicians because it’s very common and pretty much harmless. Currently only 15% of the population is CMV negative which is the only type of blood that they can transfuse into a baby and/or newborn; the reason being is that infants have lower immune systems due to not being fully developed so every precaution must be taken to avoid infection and the purest blood is CMV negative. Probably like you, I have never ever heard of CMV so I was kind of shocked when they told me about it. At the end of the day, I love babies and children, so if I could choose to save a life it would definitely be a baby which means I am pretty thrilled at the fact that I am considered a rare baby donorJ.

Point being is, GO OUT THERE AND SAVE A LIFE, it's free, you get free cookies and you never know, you might be one of the rare 15% that could save babies!!

P.S. Click "here" to read patient stories for motivation!!J

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 43 – Clean out your sweater drawer and take extras to a charity.

Whether you see them or not, homeless people are worldwide and they need your help. As mentioned in previous posts, studies have shown that homeless people aren’t necessarily lazy or drug addicts, most have mental illnesses in which they cannot care for themselves.

Many people complain on a daily basis that they don’t have this and they want that, but none really stop to appreciate what they really have, including myself.  Knowing my deed of the day, I started gathering things to donate last night and realized that I had so many clothes when some people only have the clothes on their back. While collecting articles of clothing I stopped making excuses, no I am not going to save that for a rainy day, the reality is that we are keeping articles of clothing that we don’t even use when someone would love to wear them every day. It wasn’t long before I cleaned out my entire closet and then raided my mom’s closet as well.
After doing my research, in the Miami area there are many organizations that would be thrilled in receiving donations, The Salvation Army Miami, Chapter 2 Clothing, BigBrothers/Big Sisters Organization and Miami Rescue Mission to name a few. The one I chose to donate too was the Miami Rescue Mission because they give to all types of people in need from children, to battered woman, to men and to animals. This deed opened my eyes and touched a sensitive place in my heart. Sometimes it’s easy to feel bad because you’re going through a tough time in life. However, remember that no matter how bad your situation may seem, there are tens of thousands of things to be grateful for.

Today, get into the Holiday season by giving back to those less fortunate than us. You may have clothes in your closet that you have not worn in years, stop making excuses and give them to someone who actually needs them. It can be anything from jeans that you are hoping to squeeze in to, a shirt that went out of fashion four years ago – and let’s face it, is NOT coming back into style, blankets, old towels that are not being used, etc. Believe me, ANYTHING helps!
It’s so easy to find charities that will even make it convenient for you and will even pass by your residence to pick them up which means you can’t make excuses like “wasting gas” to drive to the organizations or struggle carrying the items. Not to mention, most of these charities and non-profit organizations give you a receipt to get a tax break!
Whether you meet them or not, the homeless people who wear your donated clothes or use blankets will be thankful for your giving nature.
You can help at least one person in need by not even spending one cent, so stop making excuses and pay it forward. Every little bit helps, whether donating your time or donating items you have around the house that you don't use. Choosing charities within your own city will have a positive effect on your local surroundings. The effort needed to help a homeless person is far outweighed by the goodness you feel by knowing you have done a good deed without requiring anything in return. Go out there today and pay it forward!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 42 - Send a handwritten thank-you note.

I found today's deed to be rather simple, you see last week was my birthday and after this past weekend I have not stopped smiling. Family isn't always blood. It's the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what. I am fortunate and blessed to say that the family I have created for myself (a part from my amazing actual blood family) never cease to amaze me more and more.

The first person that came to mind when writing a thank-you note was my little sister, Pickle Butt (my nickname for her). It amazes me how someone can be so self-less, loving and caring and I really can't deny how lucky I am to have her in my life. So my handwritten thank-you note went to her, as follows:

My dearest Pickle,

When I first read your birthday card to me, as predicted, my emotional level was at a 12 and I cried my eyes out. Who am I kidding, I cried for most of the day on my birthday but tears of joy for all the happiness you brought to me that day and always. Honestly - when I think of you - I often thank God for placing you in my life. I call you my sister but you are so much more than that; you're the constant in my life, a best friend, a teacher, a confidant. I do not have the words to say what my heart feels so I will say only that I love you and thank God that when he was handing out angels he sent me you.  Although I am the older sister who is supposed to be teaching you, on the contrary, I learn from you every day; I have never met anyone as self-less as you. You have the biggest heart out of anyone I know, always putting everyone else before you never expecting anything in return. You are my favorite person in this entire world (minus Channing Tatum); no matter what is going on in your life, you always have a smile on your face, constantly teaching me to not take life too seriously and that sometimes it's okay to have fun and do things 19-year olds do. Some times we need someone to simply be there.. Not to fix anything or do anything in particular, but just to let us feel we are supported and cared about, I promise to always be that person for you. Your light in the dark. Your shoulder to cry on. Your partner in crime to laugh with. But most importantly, your big sister and your rock. I love you, always have and always will. Thank you for being the most amazing sister a girl could ask for. I look forward to a lifetime full of memories with you.

Boo Boo

Today, take the time to write a hand written thank-you to a dear one, wether it be family or a friend. Show them appreciation because life is way too short to not show you care!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 41 - Smile at kids or give them a silly face to distract them and give their parents a moment of reprieve.

From as far back as I can remember, I have always loved children (unless they are brat’s lol). I fit right in with them and the love is mutual, they usually love me right back for the most part; so, when I saw my deed of the day I found joy in the idea right away.

This evening I made plans to have dinner with one of my best friends; by the time dinner was over we we're extremely full and decided to walk around the shopping plaza to walk off the fullness of the food and while walking ran into a popular pet store here in Miami by the name of Pet's Mart. Since as far back as I can remember, I have always loved going inside pet stores and petting all of the animals, so of course I made my best friend go in with me. There we we're, acting silly in the bird section, I was actually laughing hysterically at a story Ana was telling me about a parakeet she had a couple years back. I was so into the story that I didn't notice there was a small girl standing a few feet away listening to the story as if it we're her own friend telling it.

As soon as I looked at her, she looked away and acted as if she we're looking at the birds. This happened a few more times and then I finally spoke to her saying "my friend is crazy isn't she?” the little girl nodded, I made a silly face and then we both laughed. When the story was over I left my friend in the bird section while I went to pet the cats that we're up for adoption and I noticed while walking the little girl was following me. She followed me all the way into the cat section and asked if she could pet them with me, it wasn't long until I met my new friend Cassy. I taught her how to get the cat's attention and how to play with them. Seeing her laugh and smile made me laugh and smile.

I read this amazing article that explains what's in a smile, it goes on to say that a smile is the window to the soul; it puts us at ease when we see people smile. Freely offered, a smile has the ability to make a complete stranger feel better or more compelled to return the favor. Smiles know no language barriers, no demarcations of race, gender, class or age. It’s the one thing that is truly universal amongst humans. They say a smile from a child is packaged sunshine and rainbows, it holds incredible power and can change your day in an instant. Something about a child’s smile is so innocent, intoxicating, calming, beautiful, and one of life’s greatest blessings. So today, go out there and attempt to make a little one smile, it will definitely leave you smiling for the rest of the day!♥

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Day 40 - Record a message or video and send to one of your grandparents.

As I have mentioned before in some of my previous post's, unfortunately for me I didn't have the "pleasure" of having grandparents growing up. On my mother's side, my grandmother passed away when my mother was a teenager and my grandfather lives in another country. On my father's side, I was a tad bit close with my grandfather (much more close than I was with my grandmother), but he passed away when I was little; so, all I have left is my grandmother.

I was never really close with her and I guess I can say I always held a grudge against her growing up. Now that she's older she wants to spend time with me, but for some reason, I cannot let go of my grudge. Deed's like today's deed are difficult, because not only do I have to let my guards down, but I have to let it down with someone I always tried to be tough with when I was older due to resentment. This good deed's project has really been making me grow as a person and cross bridges that I never wanted to cross.

I made a short video for my grandmother in which I will be attaching to this post but before sending it out in the mail I wanted to reach deep down and find what this deed was really doing for me and of course for others (in this case, my grandmother). What I learned frpm this deed is something that I already knew, this entire time I have been harboring resentment in my heart towards my grandmother; and the only thing that holding resentment does is hurt us emotionally and eventually physically. Resentment brings anger, bitterness, division and God does not want to share our heart with resentment. Unforgiveness is the greatest toxin we have stored in our body, and everyone deserves a second chance. And sometimes, people treat you a certain way because that's how they we're treated growing up.

If you have resentment in your heart ask God to replace your resentment with peace and love. Most importantly, whether your memories are good or bad, today take some time out to show your grandparents you're thinking about them and love them. You can send them a short video, a picture, or even just a simple phone call will do. Because you never know what tomorrow holds, a little gratitude goes a long way, so show them you care!!!!


Monday, October 15, 2012

Day 39 - Send a friend a thank-you note for being a good friend.

Everyone wants to be loved, everyone wants to be recognized, everyone wants to mean something to someone; whether it be a family member, a friend, or a significant other. The thing is, sometimes actions go unnoticed, as if they were expected from you. In today's world and society, we all know a good friend is hard to find; a true friend who can pick you up when you're down, make you laugh during the hardest times, share stories with you and confide in.

I have come to learn that girls will be your friends, but some will come and go. The ones that stay with you through everything - they're your best friends. Don't let go of them and most importantly appreciate them. I've always been a big believer that your girlfriends are your soul mates and guys are just people to have fun with.

I was blessed in my life with 3 amazing soul sisters and when we united our friends, our circle got bigger. I don't know where I would be without my friends, so today's deed to send a thank you note for being a good friend was easy because it's easy for me to show them my appreciation, the only down fall is that I would be using up a lot of ink and paper.

I hope there is someone in your life that you can lean on during the hard times and laugh during the good times with; if there is, show them appreciation and say thank you. Not only will it make them smile from ear to ear but it will show them that their efforts are not unnoticed!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Day 38 - Serve food at a food bank.

I finally did my one deed that I have been wanting to do which is serve food at a food bank. If you have been reading my posts, I chose a well-known homeless shelter in Miami, Florida called Camilus House to donate my time too. After a long application process including an orientation, today I served dinner to the less fortunate.

I'm not going to lie to you, everyone has a fear of the unknown, of not knowing what to expect so me going to the shelter did make me feel extremely un-easy, luckily, my little sister agreed and decided to volunteer and do this deed with me. Of course Miami traffic never allows you to get to most places on time and I was always raised that if you're not early to a meeting you're late so I was very aggravated when I got to the shelter at the time lunch was served instead of getting there 15 minutes early to prepare myself. Walking up and seeing the line going all the way out of the dining hall door, with all men made me more nervous than I have ever been.

After walking into the kitchen they quickly gave us a job to do, I must have "I love dessert" written all over my forehead because they immediately assigned me to serve cake slices, my little sister was in charge of handing out the juices and water. I couldn't help but notice everyone in the dining room staring at us like we we're aliens; the men looked more than shocked to see us working in the kitchen. It wasn't long until they started making conversation with us, each of them we're unique and different in their own ways. They all made us laugh and one thing is for sure, they we're ALL very respectful, polite and courteous.

I enjoyed this experience so much that I agreed to return next Saturday and serve lunch. Mainly what I learned from this deed is that not every homeless person is a druggie and/or alcoholic, they are real people who have had something devastating happen to them like getting laid off from a job and not having their degree, or have had an economic problem, or even worse they have a mental illness. I read an article from Chicago’s local newspaper the Chicago Tribune that says that studies have proven that the estimated 35,000 homeless people in Chicago are neither mentally ill nor alcoholic, but are driven to the streets and shelters by severe poverty.

It has been proven that volunteering your time to help others allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place and it is also a two-way street, it can benefit you and your family as much as the cause you choose to help. The help guide to volunteering opportunities gives you numerous reasons why volunteering your time can benefit you and your family. I encourage you to PLEASE give up a couple hours of one day this month of October and serve food at your local food bank, I promise that not only will you enjoy it but you will want to return and do it again.  

My favorite role model and icon of all times is Mother Teresa, last year she said “We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love.” Go out there today and spread love because people will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel!!!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Day 37 - Be happy for somebody and tell her/him.

It's easy for me to be happy for someone, I have never been the envious type and on the contrary my friends and family progressing thrills me and motivates me all at the same time. I know that if they are moving forward, I will be moving with them.
With that being said, I contemplated for a while about who I was happy for in particular. Then it hit me, I have this friend who I have known for years, I mean it's been at least 10 years; we can go forever without talking and then when we do it's like we never stopped. Just like me, he was born and raised in the Miami area and from the looks of it he lived a very comfortable life. But sometimes, even having most of the necessities doesn't buy happiness. A couple of years ago he told me he was going to move to Los Angeles, California and pursue his dream of acting, I believed him and the thought of him moving over there seemed dreamlike and something that at the time I thought I would be too afraid to do. I have always been a firm believer in "don't count your eggs until they hatch" so saying something is completely different than acting upon it. A couple of years passed by and he hadn't moved and every time he would mention it, I would smile but would always think in my head "yeah right, we'll see".

About a year ago he really did move to L.A. and has been living there ever since. He is currently taking acting classes and has gotten a few small roles. We talk here and then but nothing major; recently we begun speaking more frequently than usual and I thought he would be the perfect person to tell that I was genuinely happy for him, so I did.
I told him that I never actually thought he would go through with it and that I was proud and so happy for him, a lot of people talk the talk and never walk the walk and he actually proved everyone wrong. I also told him I know he's an amazing person and no matter what happens I know he's going to be something big in this world and not to let anyone ever tell him different. I hope that he progresses and becomes all that he's ever inspired and wanted to be and that all of his wishes come true.

He's not one to show his emotions so he reacted very nonchalantly but I hope that deep down inside it made a difference and made him smile. Even though people try to put on a front like they don't need anyone's approval, deep down inside, when someone recognizes what you've done and tells you that they are proud of you, it makes you smile. It makes you smile that your efforts have not gone unnoticed and it makes you smile that you are actually going through with your dream no matter how many people try to put you down. I don't know about you, but I don't remember the last time someone told me that they we're actually happy for me, and I'm not going to lie, it would be nice to hear it. So today, go out there and tell someone that you are happy for them and see how they react.♥

Friday, September 7, 2012

Day 36 - Step one of serving at a food bank.

So... although you are not required to, I have been trying to do my deeds in order; but as hard as it may seem some are pretty difficult to do right away. One of the deed's I had to skip in the beginning of August was to "serve food at a food bank", yeah it sounded easy, I googled every single food bank in Miami and/or near Miami and all of them (I called over 10) required you attend an orientation before volunteering with them, simple right? No, not that easy because they only hold orientations once a month and on a certain date and time. Not to mention that they would also have to approve your application and make sure you have no background crimes and/or felonies, etc. Who would have thought it would be that difficult to volunteer. Even though, now that I reflect on it, it's the way it should be because you don't want a felon or criminal working at your establishment with your clients.

Anyways, out of all the places I researched there are two big, remarkable, well known centers in which I chose to affiliate myself and volunteer with, Camillus House and  Miami Rescue Mission. They called me back and I set up meetings and orientations with them this month so that I could proceed with serving food at their food banks and working with them in other areas where they could use my help.

Today was my orientation at Camillus House, a shelter that was founded more than 50 years ago. Me being there for not even an hour made me so excited to help and work with them. Their service is carried out with the deeply held belief that every human being is precious in the eyes of the Lord and deserves love, respect, and a chance to live a dignified life. They do more than offer a free meal, they also offer medical care, showers, drug treatment and most importantly a second chance to the desperate, the lonely, and the ones society left behind.

Many of their clients have nowhere else to go. They have no friends, no family, and no loved ones to help them. Camillus House becomes their family and gives them the support and hope that they need to begin the long, difficult transition to a new life and to become self-efficient. They even offer job training to those who don't have the experience or have ever worked.

Our orientation leader, an amazing young lady with a beautiful heart, Eileen told us about her experiences and how she had planned to volunteer with them one time only and how that one time turned into 4 years of volunteering and her now working with them. She said what lead her to come back we’re the people she met while serving, when she would hear these amazing peoples stories she just wanted to take them home, give them a place to live, food and a hug but she knew she couldn't, so instead she came back regularly to see them and volunteer with Camillus House whom she is now employed with. Another story she told us was about an un-named client who had a severe mental illness. He had been homeless for so long that when Camillus House gave him a home and place to stay with a brand new bed they noticed every time they would go into his room his bed was still not used and laying upwards on the wall. After some time of them asking him if he was using it he finally admitted that he had been sleeping on the balcony outside for the past month because he never knew what it felt like to sleep inside four walls on a bed. The story left me in shock and she advised us that most will, but she also said that it will make us want to give more of our love and more of our time.

In conclusion, I cannot wait until September 17th, 2012 after the application approval process so that I can start working with them. I will definitely be letting y'all know my experience and I hope that my involvement will inspire you to do the same and give back in your community. Have an amazing weekend and PAY IT FORWARD!! :)

This is a picture of Mother Teresa serving food at Camillus House in the 1960's; absolutely amazing!♥
"I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, only more love." - Mother Teresa

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Day 35 - Send a handwritten thank-you note.

One of the things I have always been big at is sending thank-you notes, whether it's for a gift I have received or a job interview, a thank-you note shows that you appreciate the gesture and also makes an impression. No, I am not talking about an e-mail or a Facebook message, I'm talking about the old-fashioned elegance of writing, stamping and mailing a thank-you note.

Although there are days that I want to strangle a co-worker, I am pretty blessed in general for having a job that I love and co-workers that are like family. Which brings me to the person I sent a thank-you note to. Over the years, I have become extremely close to my boss and his family, I tell everyone they are my second family because they basically are. My boss was extremely lucky to marry such an amazing and beautiful wife, I often joke that I came out just like her because she has the biggest, giving heart anyone could have. Whether it’s serving at a food bank, or donating clothes to those who don't have, or even taking homeless people on the side of the road food, she is constantly giving. Every day she sends me and her family an inspiring e-mail and always knows the right things to say to make me feel better and put a smile on my face, for that I am thankful. I am thankful she has been put in my life so my note went to her.

It read: "M, I wanted to send you this little thank you card for everything you do, and for always being so inspiring. It's the little things that count and trust me they never go unnoticed. Thank you for always being there for me when I have a question or need advice, you are such a giving person and so beautiful inside and out. You always know the exact things to say and can always put a smile on my face. My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to. Your dreams stay big and your worries stay small. You never need to carry more than you can hold. And while you're out there getting where you're getting to, I hope you know somebody loves you, this is my wish for you. Thank you and I love you, C"

Every day someone - the guy making your deli sandwich or doing your dry-cleaning or the woman who drives your bus this morning - is making our lives a little better. Maybe it's a friend, neighbor, relative, professor or teacher who, even by their words or actions a decade or so ago, did or said something that smoothers our path and soothed our souls.
For that we need to say thank you. I encourage you to write a thank you note to the first person who pops into your mind after reading this entry; it's guaranteed to make their day and yours while you're writing it!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day 34 - Creat a Sock Drive for the homeless.

One of my future deeds is to serve food at a food bank so I decided to sign up with the Miami Rescue Mission. I got in contact with one of their supervisors and in the process of meeting them I found out about a sock drive they are having.

For today’s deed, I decided to create my own “deed of the day” which is to hold a SOCK DRIVE out of my office. The reason behind it is that in the past I have done several local missions with my church, all of them have touched my heart but there was one that touched it the most.
Last year, mid-year I visited an orphanage with my church called FloridaBaptist Children's Home; the mission was to help landscape the property and plant as many plants for them as possible; the orphans that resided there of course had to help us as well. For those of you that know me, you know I am NOT an outdoorsy type of girl so planting plants in the scorching heat on a Saturday morning is not my idea of an amazing weekend. There I was at 10:00am; melting away and having the hardest time ever getting my shovel in the ground. As I looked around, most of the volunteers we're with their families including a male who helped the ladies out and no one appeared to be having a difficult time, in fact they made it seem like it was a piece of cake. I was the only one there volunteering by myself and I was so aggravated that I felt like just walking to my car, getting in and driving away. Then all of a sudden this little boy, who I later found out, was 7 years old, tapped me on the back and told me in a little voice "you’re doing it wrong". I turned around with a puzzled face and he said "let me show you"; he then proceeded to grab my shovel and show me how to plant the small shrub.

We spent the rest of the day together planting the shrubs, laughing and talking. Throughout the day I learned this little boys life story, he was an orphan living at that home, his two sisters (one older and one younger) had been living there as well for going on two years.  Throughout their lives they have been transferred from orphanage to orphanage and got lucky to be placed this last time together. Their mother was a heavy drug user who didn't really care for them, and they also had other siblings that lived in other orphanages. We all had lunch together and they we're so excited to show me their beds and where they slept, they talked to me about school, about friends, about typically everything. In the little time we spent together I learned that they had never had their own room, they had never owned a brand new pair of shoes they we're all hand-me-downs, and the same went with their clothes. They had holes in their shoes and their hair was a mess but I still found them so beautiful. I not only totally fell in love with the boy but I fell in love with all three of them.

The fact that they lived this life, where they didn't have a family, didn't have an actual home and they still had a huge smile on their faces broke my heart. They told me that as long as they still had each other that was all that mattered. At that moment I wished I could have saved them, adopted all three of them and taken them home with me. I could only pray that they have been adopted and if they haven't, when they do, I hope they all go together. One thing that I did learn was to not to take things for granted, little things like new shoes, or socks on my feet, and that’s what brought me to this deed.
For many homeless people, life on the streets is hard on their feet. Many don't have shoes and if they do, there's a big chance they don't have socks. The most basic ways to keep your feet healthy are to keep them warm and dry, I remember my parents always telling me not to walk barefoot around the house because I could get sick. Myth or not, everyone loves to have warm, dry feet. You probably throw away a sock as soon as you find a hole in it without even a second thought, but for many homeless individuals, keeping feet warm with a decent pair of socks is not an option. Through "Operation Warm Feet", you can help.

Providing socks for those in need is a simple gesture that goes a long way. According to Miami Health Care for The Homeless Program "Clean, white socks are a staple of homeless health care. Rain-soaked feet, ill-fitting shoes, constant standing and diseases like diabetes take their toll on the feet of homeless people. Every day MHCHP's nurses and physicians treat a huge range of foot ailments - from trench foot to skin infections, from frostbite to nail diseases."

How many people are homeless? How many can you help by providing the comfort of warm, dry feet? If you are in the Miami area and would like to donate some brand new pairs of socks please let me know and I will collect them. If you would like to start your own "Sock Box" the information is below. For those of you in different areas who would like to make a difference, google "socks for the homeless" in your town or area and I guarantee you will find a program near you.

Remember, no matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind. And a little spark of kindness can put a colossal burst of sunshine into someone's day!

Love each other as I have loved you. - John 15:12

Day 33 - Buy a bunch of flowers on your way to work. Give each one to acolleague you appreciate.

Today's deed was to purchase flowers on my way to work and give them out to the colleagues I appreciate most; I must say my co-workers love this good deed project because they benefit from it quite a bit lol. I didn't have a chance to buy the flowers early in the day so I ended up buying them on my lunch break. I split them between all of the employees I appreciate in my office which was each and every one of them.

They smiled from ear to ear when I went into their offices holding the flowers and you could tell I made their day. Sometimes all it takes is a small gesture to totally change someone's day. I don't know what your work situation is on a daily basis, but I do know that I have experienced myself what it is like to work for a horrible boss and in a horrible job situation. After being at my current job (which I love) for three years, I, like anyone else have horrible days where I just want to quit and walk out the door. But at the end of the day, I love where I work, I love the people I work with, love the owners of my company, and love everything about my job so I realized that I should show appreciation a little more often. You should take a moment to reflect on your working life today, do you enjoy your job, do you love your co-workers like they are family? What if you didn’t get along with your co-workers and/or boss, or what if you didn’t have a job at all at the moment?

In uncertain times, we should all be grateful for our jobs. Even if it isn't our dream job, there are always positive sides for everything and if you are grateful for what you have than better opportunities will always come into your life. So today take a moment to be grateful for your work environment and let the people you work with know that you appreciate them, even if it's not flowers, a little post-it note to say thank you or any small gesture at all is guaranteed to make their day. Remember, most of us work an 8 hour or more shift and if you do the math, most people spend more time throughout their entire life at work than they do at home or with their loved ones!!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Day 32 - Put a love note in a loved one's lunch.

At my age, I am still a firm believer that people come into your life for a reason. One of my favorite quotes is "God doesn't give you the people you want, he gives you the people you need. To help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you and to make you into the person you were meant to be". It's funny because I think sometimes someone is put into your life because you need them, as if God sent them, and sometimes people don't realize that. Less than a year I met this beautiful, intelligent, funny young girl and counting the months now, it doesn't feel like less than a year, it feels like much longer, it feels like a lifetime.

She calls me her big sister and I call her my baby sister. The crazy part is that as much as I thought she needed me, I needed her just as much, as if God answered a prayer for both of us. Today I wrote her a thank you note, since I don't prepare her lunch in the morning; I snuck into her office while she was out and slipped the note into her lunch bag. The note read "Sissy, This is a little note to tell you that I love you more daily. I wish you could see yourself the way I see you and I wish you could love yourself the way I love you. And above all, I wish your life everything you deserve because in my opinion you deserve the world.  I can't promise to always have the right words to make you feel better, but I can promise to always have arms to give you a hug, ears to listen to whatever you want to talk about, and a heart that is always trying to make you smile. I will stand by you forever!! Love you♥, Your Boo Boo, xxoo. P.S. "If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you!" - Winnie the Pooh♥."

Her reply made me smile from ear to ear, knowing that a simple little card could make her happy really made my day. I know if someone wrote something like that to me it would totally touch my heart so I have made it a point, from now on to send little notes to the special people in my life so they can know just how special they are and what they mean to me, you should do the same. You don't need an actual card; just write a little note on a blank sheet of paper to someone in your life who always brings a smile to your face, your sibling, best friend, co-worker, family member or whomever!!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Day 31 - Tell your parents you love them and appreciate them.

People usually say "actions speak louder than words" and although I can tell my parents I love them and appreciate them on a daily basis there's really no depth to the words. I wanted to go a little beyond my deed of the day, I have always expressed myself better through writing rather than speaking so I decided to write my parents a love letter letting them know how I feel and telling them things that I have never told them before. I have always been an extremely private person when it comes to my personal life but writing these letters made me feel remarkable because I knew how it would make them feel reading it and I really hope that when I am older, my children will do the same for me.

My parents have been divorced since I was one years old so I wrote them separate letters. I am sharing these letters with you in hope that it will hearten you enough to write letters to your parents as well thanking them and telling them how much you appreciate them. Life is short, time flies by and once you lose a parent, you realize just how fast time goes by. When we are younger we don't always appreciate our parents for all that they do for us. Don't wait until it is too late to appreciate your parents and let them know while they are still here.

Dear Momma,
I know I don’t tell you often enough those two meaningful words, “thank you”, or tell you how much I appreciate you. So I am writing you this love letter to tell you that you are such an important person in my life.
I know that whenever someone tells me I look identical to you, I usually roll my eyes and deny it; in turn you always say “she hates it when people tell her that”. But the truth is, everything I love about myself comes from you. My eyes, my ability to always smile and laugh at myself, my silliness and the way I always try to see the best in people and in everything. My need to want to make the world a better place and give back to people who aren’t fortunate to have what we have. My perseverance and ability to tell myself “it will all turn out right in the end”.  I know I got my strength from you, when I was little I thought you could do anything, you we’re like a superhero, my superhero. You have taught me to be brave, I remember you always telling me “if you fill your face with laughing, there will be no more room for crying”. You have taught me to love myself, to never settle and to always have compassion for others. No matter how many times I repeat a story, you never interrupt, always listen and allow me to make my own mistakes. It never ceases to amaze me how self-less you are and always have been.

I love you for so many reasons. I appreciate how you take care of me, even at 27, when I’m sick. How you let me cry on your shoulder, even when I’ve made really stupid mistakes you warned me about. And how you are one of the funniest people on this entire planet, I love how all of my friends have always fallen in love with you instantly, and how you draw people in.
You are not only my mother, but you are my best friend. I have always had many friends but when I lived up north the only person I spoke to at least 10 times a day was you, I could talk to you forever on the phone about nothing and love every minute of it. I can tell you anything knowing that you’ll always give me an honest opinion.  You have taught me so many valuable lessons about life that I will carry with me forever. You have given me guidance, even when I wouldn’t listen. You have loved me when I didn’t deserve it. You have believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.
You have been my friend, my cheerleader, my counselor, my advocate, my protector, my cook, my maid, my nurse, my rock, my everything, but my favorite thing you have been is my mother. Thank you for giving me tools to be a happy, kind, and loving person and for setting an example of the type of mother I would like to be in the future.
I will never be able to repay you for all that you have done for me, all that you have sacrificed for me, all that you have said, all the wisdom you have shared, and all the love you have shown me. I realize that I don’t give you as much credit as you deserve. I can’t express in words what you give me without even knowing it. You’re an amazing mother and I don’t think I tell you enough. I hope that I make you proud and I hope I can always lift you up. Today. Tomorrow. Always.
I love you momma,

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day 30 - Deliver something small and sweet to everyone on your team - midafternoon, just when everyone's energy wanes.

The funny thing about today's deed is that about two weeks ago I had a doctor's appointment and when I returned to the office I brought everyone cake slices from my favorite bakery. In other words, I performed the deed of the day two weeks ago without having any knowledge that it would be a deed of the day. I always do little things like that for everyone in the office or anyone I care about for that matter because a) I love to see people smile and b) I love the feeling when someone surprises me when I least expect it with something sweet.

Two weeks prior when everyone least expected it I told them an emergency had arisen on the property and I needed to meet with everyone as soon as possible in our office conference room. Quickly everyone arrived with worried looks on their faces (when I say everyone I am speaking about the three co-workers I work with me in my office); as soon as they arrived asking what happened with concern I informed them it was happy hour time and time to eat a piece of cake. Everyone smiled and laughed as they sat down and enjoyed 20 minutes of delicious cake, conversation and laughter.

Today on my lunch break I went to our local grocery store Publix and purchased the most delicious looking cupcakes in the entire bakery, when I arrived back in the office I requested a quick meeting in the conference room. This time around everyone knew what was going on and we're more than happy to come into the conference room. I gave everyone paper plates and napkins and let them choose the cupcake of their choice, the price for the cupcake was a picture of themselves holding their cupcake. We all put our busy schedules and to-do lists aside for 20 minutes and enjoyed each other’s company while enjoying a yummy cupcake. It was nice to take a mental break and not talk about work; instead we talked to each other for a bit. In the future, when everyone in your office is having a hectic, overwhelming day take a short drive to a nearby bakery and buy some treats for your team. I promise you not only will the mood change in the office but the cheerfulness and kindheartedness will rub off on everyone else and will completely switch the mood in your office. Not only that but I guarantee someone will surprise you on your worse day with something sweet to brighten your day up!!!♥♥♥

Monday, August 13, 2012

Day 29 - Donate old books.

Knowing today's deed in advance I started looking through boxes for books on Sunday night; I knew during my last move when I was moving back to Miami from up north I had packed a box of just books. As I have mentioned several times in the past, I love to read but not only do I love to read but I also love to collect books. I envision someday having a beautiful book shelf in the living room filled with all types of different books. But the reality is, that day will not be coming for a while and instead these wonderful books have been sitting in a dusty box for over a year. After searching our storage room for nearly an hour I was relieved to finally find the box full of books.

One thing I am not is a hoarder; I am completely in sync with the idea of “out with the old and in with the new”. I make it a point to clean out my closet every couple of months and sometimes even get rid of clothes with tags on them so it wasn't hard for me to part with the books. I know that in the future when I do have this wonderful book shelf I am fortunate enough to purchase new books but someone less fortunate who doesn't have that luxury could really use these books and it would totally make their day when they receive them as a gift.

I went through the books dusting them off and smiling as I thought of the memories of reading them, I then proceeded to place them in a new clean box with a note that read "I hope these books help someone day dream like they did to me and once reading I hope that person decides to pay it forward by giving someone else that day dream as I did".

My initial thought was to give these books to Good Will but then I remembered that Good Will actually would re-sell the books. I wanted people who couldn't afford to purchase books to get these. I started thinking and it wasn't long until I remembered about the orphanage located in Homestead, Florida that I had volunteered at several times with my church in the past, Open House Ministries.
Open House Ministries is an amazing orphanage now known as "God's spot", it provides children and teenagers after school tutor programs, a health clinic for families that cannot afford to see a doctor, social services for families as well as an organization for community development. While volunteering there in the past I have come across amazing children and teenagers of all ages which I knew would love and appreciate these books just as much as I did. I contacted one of the employees at the ministry and set up a time to drop the books off. After work today I headed directly there and met with her to give her the books, while there I greeted a couple of small children who we're beyond thrilled to look into the box to see what books we're in there. Giving them something as simple as old books brought so much happiness to them and touched me beyond belief. I will now make it a point to take old books to the ministries on a normal basis, just so I could see smiles the way I saw them tonight. I really hope this entry encourages you to get some of your very own old books together and take them to an orphanage near you. The reward of giving these books to less fortunate children or adults for that matter will definitely give you an unbelievably good feeling.
If any of you live in the Miami area and would like to donate some old books, toys, clothes, etc. to Open House Ministries you can reach them at (305) 242-1418.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Day 28 - Allow everyone else to go first all day.

When I read my deed of the day I took it literally, not just to allow people to walk in front of me or to hold the door but to literally let everyone go first, speak first, walk first, take the first bite of the dessert, etc. For those of you who know me know that allowing everyone to go first all day is nearly impossible for me. I have always been one to interrupt people when they are talking because I am so excited to say my side of the story. I love taking the first bite out of everything hence the fact that I used to tell my little cousins growing up "let me try it first, I want to make sure it's not poisonous; I'm doing it for your safety"; they believed it until they we're around 9 years old and then they would just roll their eyes and laugh.

I started the day by opening the door for everyone and letting them walk inside places first which was fairly easy. This task did not really get difficult until we went to an employee lunch, whenever people would be in a story and I wanted to add my two cents, I would go to interrupt them and then completely remember my deed and bite my tongue. It was definitely harder than I thought it would be. When the food came out, it took every single bone in my body to offer everyone a taste before I took a bite. As the day progressed my deed got harder and harder but by the evening I was so used to it I didn't have to think twice about allowing someone to go first which was definitely odd for me.

What I learned from this is... it's actually nice to let someone talk without interrupting them because I got more of a chance to listen to their story and actually focus on what they we're saying instead of thinking about what I wanted to say. And in return I found that when I let people finish their story without cutting them off, they would do the same with me. Now, the whole letting them take a bite first? I didn't learn anything from that and will choose not to do so anymore! Lol jk jk! Seriously, I've come to notice that people are usually so consumed with themselves, it's kind of sad that people always think about themselves and I am ashamed to say I am one of them. This deed definitely made me realize it's actually nice to listen and not be the one talking all of the time. It's truly nice to see someone’s face full of delight when they take the first bite of the cheesecake and it's really nice to open the door for someone, it proves chivalry isn't dead. I encourage you to try that today, allow everyone to go first all day and I am pretty sure you’re going to feel just like me at the end of the day, happy I did so! Trust me, if I can do it, ANYONE can do it!!