Kindness in a drive-thru

wp-1482785284567.jpgToday, I found kindness in a drive-thru, at our local Hardee’s in Emporia, Kansas.

Today, after being off work and grad school for a week, I found myself stressed out as I was trying to wrap up a couple of projects that are due right after returning to work and class this week.

As I pulled up to the drive-thru I was distracted, cranky and feeling stressed, my to-do list running rampant and un-checked in my mind. I ordered my Diet Dr. Pepper and was greeted by a kind, upbeat voice. She thanked me and I pulled around to the window, where I was again greeted by the kind crew member, who again thanked me and told me to have a nice day.

Her positive, upbeat attitude made a huge difference in mine and it really stuck with me all the way to my office, where I caught up on my homework for this week. It’s funny how that simple act of kindness helped me re-focus.

I just finished writing a thank-you note to the restaurant and included my original receipt — just hoping she gets the recognition at work that she deserves. Kindness is especially rare these days, and when you find it, it is certainly worth recognizing.

My closing thought: don’t underestimate kindness. Don’t underestimate the impact you’ll have on someone just by being that kind person. It doesn’t take much and can be as simple as a thank-you and a smile.

Been a while … still going strong

cropped-image1.jpegIts been a long while since I’ve posted on this blog. Life, grad school and my wonderful job have all taken my time.

Much of the gratitude postings I do now are either on my Facebook page or through hand-written notes (which are still being mailed out quite frequently).

This is a quick check-in. Life is going well. I’m very blessed on so many levels.

I hope this finds every reader well and happy. I am grateful for you!

 

So many blessings

wp-1482785284567.jpgOne of the greatest blessings in my life is gratitude. My project, 1,000 thank you notes, is going nicely. With that said, here is a bit of an update.

I spent the holiday weekend with my grandmother and visiting family. I kept a running list of who I needed to thank for various things over the weekend. The list kept growing from family members who hosted the gatherings, to gift-givers and to random kind strangers.

One young man from the local pizza parlor in Parsons drove to my grandmother’s home to return her checkbook she left there.

On Christmas Eve I woke up with vertigo that ended up being the result of a sinus infection and fluid in my ears. The staff at the local urgent care clinic was kind and I was able to enjoy the holiday with some antibiotics on board.

The day I left to go home, my grandma and I ate at a local diner. Food was good and the staff was very kind. Grandma says she’ll frequent that place now.

So many of my family members cooked amazing food over the holiday and gave so much to each other.

I went through an entire packet of thank-you cards today and almost an entire book of stamps. I wrote each note feeling a wealth of gratitude. When you get to go through an entire packet of notes in one sitting, you know you are richly blessed.

 

1,000 thank you notes update

wp-1478367299645.jpgThis week the first several thank-you notes have gone out for the 1,000 thank you notes project.

Each time I head to the mailbox and drop that thank-you card in it, I feel my own heart expanding in joy and gratitude. I know how much it means to receive a thank-you note — much more than the sender realizes.

I’m thanking people for big things, for small things, for everyday things, for extraordinary things. And everything in between.

As I go about each day I think of things I’m grateful for — and who to add to my thank-you list. In the past couple of weeks that I’ve been compiling my list, I am constantly looking for opportunities for gratitude. There are so many people to thank for so many reasons. And just by simply thinking in those terms and making that list, I am already amazed how much of a difference it makes in my thought process.

As always, thank you to everyone who is supportive of me and this project. I’m excited to be on this journey and to bring joy to others, one thank-you note at a time.

With gratitude,

B.

 

 

 

1,000 days of thankfuls

imageToday I hit my 1,000th day of posting what I’m grateful for on Facebook. And on Thanksgiving too!

One. Thousand. Days.

That’s a huge number — over three years of gratitude posting. See this post for an explanation of the project.

My journey began on Nov. 1, 2013, when I decided to start posting what I was grateful for during the month of November. One thousand posts later — I have no intention of stopping.

As I sit here reflecting on the past 1,000-plus days of my life, I feel a mixture of emotions. I feel joy, happiness, gratefulness and also some sadness. Three years is a lot of living and a lot of change.

It’s difficult to quantify the last 1,000 days of my life — so I’ll simply say this. I am so grateful I chose to keep going with this. I am thankful for each and every person who has read the posts. And I’m thankful for the project that I will now embark on — 1,000 thank-you notes. 

In a sense it feels like I’m starting over as I enter the four-digit mark for thankfuls. Embarking on another three years.

To my family and friends, thank you. You encouraged me to keep going and keep pushing toward this day. In posting about gratitude, I found a new way of thinking — taking even the most painful aspects of my life and finding gratitude. image

The following quote says it best:

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” Melody Beattie

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

 

Changing the view

wp-1479566904201.jpgLast night I took time out for a change of pace — for a change of view. I admit I’ve had severe election fatigue as most of us in the United States do right about now. I was feeling pretty burned out.

So, a change in pace was in order. In the form of a high-rise hotel room with a view second-to-none. I’m also in the middle of National Novel Writin Month, so last night I had the perfect cozy writing spot. Since the hotel room’s walls are almost all windows, wrapping up in a cozy blanket did the trick.

As I gazed at twinkling street lights, I felt a deep sense of gratitude that there was so much beauty around me, but also that I am fortunate enough to be able to afford that one-night change of pace.

I took many photos (I’m pretty much a photo hoarder) and I realized that some of my photos were blurred — it was dark and holding the phone steady against the window wasn’t always the easiest thing to do. But I realized that even though the view was blurry, it was still there. Much like life — we have good times where the view is crystal clear and dark times, where it blurs out. But it’s always right there waiting for us to notice it again.

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Same view, just blurred

I am grateful for the view last night — and for the view in my life every day. I am grateful for gratitude, it has become my core — center of my being.

When you’re feeling burned out, a change of view might help — if you can’t afford a hotel room, go to a cafe or even to the public library or drive a different route home. Anything to change up your view a bit.

As always, I’m deeply grateful you chose to read this and that you choose to read my blog.

With gratitude,

Brandy

1,000 thank you notes

wp-1478367299645.jpgFor the past few months, I’ve been working on how to move my gratitude project forward, thus the transformation of my blog and blog Facebook page to “The Wandering Pigeon: Gratitude.”

As day 1,000 of my daily gratitude postings rapidly approaches, I have decided to reveal my next step: 1,000 thank you notes. And right now, especially in the election aftermath, the world needs this more than ever. (See this post for an explanation of my daily gratitude postings.)

A few months ago I had business cards printed and postcards with a simple gratitude message along with information about my Facebook page, encouraging others to post what they’re grateful for. A thanks and a call to action.

Again, the world needs simple, kind acts right now.

My mission is to get 1,000 handwritten thank-you notes out in the world — a project that will reach more people than residing in most small rural towns. It’s a bit overwhelming to think about.

I’ll post some of the stories behind the notes on my blog. I hope that others will be inspired to sit down and write a simple note of gratitude to someone as well.

I recently read the book “365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Gratitude Changed my life.” The author really gets it. I found it interesting that when I was considering this project (before I even knew this book existed) I found this book, reaffirming why I am doing this. You may purchase the book here. I highly recommend it.

Whether this project takes me a year or five years, I’m committing to it. I’m committing to thanking the kind people in this world for big things, for little things and for everything in between.

If you’d like to help, send me a message on my Facebook page. I’d be happy to send you some of the business cards to include in your thank-you note.

 

Chasing gratitude

imageToday I woke up on the wrong side of the universe and it just kept going.

I didn’t want to get out of bed. I couldn’t find my socks. The dogs wouldn’t eat — and one of them is really sick and I’m afraid he will slip away soon. Then the dogs made a mess. I spilled my shampoo. My hair wouldn’t cooperate.

Then my car wouldn’t unlock. There was a traffic back-up on my road, which was due to an accident on another highway (I didn’t know at the time).

By the time I pulled into my parking space at work, I wanted to throw in the towel and just go back home, sit on the couch and forget Monday existed — all for a bunch of small things.

On days like these where nothing seems to be going right, gratitude isn’t easy. On days where a bunch of little things add up into one giant pile of frustration, gratitude is far from my mind.

As I settled into work and got a few things done, the frustration I was feeling slowly lifted and I realized a few things. In my frustration I missed out on an entire beautiful Halloween morning. The air was cool and wet this morning with low-hanging fog. My dogs probably didn’t eat well because they knew I was frustrated. And I missed my few precious moments with them this morning — because of my frustration.wpid-20150525_140935.jpg

I didn’t enjoy my cool car ride with my windows and sunroof back. I didn’t even look at the campus as I walked to my office.

I wasn’t feeling grateful for much of anything. And now I’m wishing for a do-over.

What these nearly 1,000 days of writing daily gratitude posts on my Facebook page have taught me is that gratitude works. When I allow myself to move away from gratitude and get caught up in frustrations, I lose my perspective. This morning’s frustrations were all small things. VERY small things.

As I type this, I’m so grateful for perspective. I’m so grateful that I was able to pull myself back into gratitude and gain that perspective again. I can’t get a do-over of my morning, but I can move forward with gratitude — which truly changed and transformed my life over these past few years.

Stay tuned. Wonderful things are coming.

B.

Life history in a make-up bag

wp-1477763413647.jpgGoing through a make-up bag you haven’t cleaned out in decades (and still use daily) is truly like taking a walk down memory lane.

Today I became frustrated with the many items in said make-up bag because I couldn’t get to anything I truly needed. So I dumped it in the sink — and my life history unexpectedly fell out.

First there were countless old hair bands — the kind that ripped your hair out at the end of the day. Those came from my late teen years — with my near waist-long hair — oh how I miss my long hair.

Then there were tons of those silver barrettes — that kept my hair out of my face when I was driving with my very first car — a Chevy station wagon. This car had no air conditioning, if you wanted heat it took 30 minutes before it produced any on a cold winter day and it dropped a quart of oil and power steering fluid — A DAY. I used to buy them in bulk at Sam’s Club. But, it was my first car. My first wheels. The first time I could get into my own car and drive anywhere I wanted (as long as I had cardboard to put under it so it didn’t drop oil in friends’ driveways).

Next came the make-up brushes. Seriously, I don’t even think I ever used them. I was never truly into lipstick for long periods of time and I just have no idea what all those brushes were for. My daily make-up routine has never included those. My guess is I received them as a gift and I just put them in my bag.

Then out tumbled an old foil Cadbury’s Egg wrapper. Huh? Maybe I was eating one of those and putting my make-up on at the same time? Who knows. But I sure do love those Cadbury Eggs.

Then there was eyeliner — I swear like 10 kinds of eyeliner and they were who knows how old! There was pencil eyeliner (which I don’t use anymore), liquid eye liner, glitter eye liner (so cool!!) and some that had the labels worn off. Most I threw away.

As I unpacked my make-up bag and tossed old items in the trash, memories kept tumbling out. Of my days as a student working two jobs to get my associates degree. Of my days driving an hour to go to school to finish my undergrad degree. And working on the side.

Of people past. Of friendships past. Of countless experiences. Of living at home with my mother and brother. Of hanging out all night with friends and still managing to make it to school and work the next day.

So. Many. Memories. Bittersweet in many cases.

Who knew my life history was located in my make-up bag? It almost made me sad to throw the items away, but it’s really nice to be able to find what I actually need.

I’m grateful for those memories. Those treasured memories. I’m hoping this post will preserve them.

 

Deep, fierce gratitude

20160310_194909.jpgDeep. Fierce. Gratitude.

As I walked across campus to my car earlier this week I was filled with gratitude. I looked at the changing leaves, listened to them crunch under my feet — and realized as I was walking that I don’t have the life I had always dreamt of — I have the life I never DARED to dream of.

I have an amazing life filled with so many things to be grateful for (and in no particular order):

  • Love. There are so many people in my life who I adore to the moon and back. Most of these people don’t even know how truly amazing they are. (I must tell them more often).
  • Career. I’ve had an incredible career, which, over the years, has afforded me the opportunity to meet so many of the above stated incredible people and be involved in my community. In March I changed jobs — and I’m loving this job so much!
  • Adventures. So. Many. Adventures. I have traveled so much more in my life that I ever thought I could. I’ve seen many amazing places and made incredible memories. I can’t wait to see what adventures lie ahead!!
  • Wealth. I’m not talking monetary wealth here. I am not “wealthy” by any means, but I have enough. ENOUGH. And I know that alone, makes me wealthy.
  • Kindness. This is a big one. Not only do I strive to be kind, I have met so many kind people. Even the simplest act of kindness can change a life.
  • Health. Another big one. I treasure my health. Because it can be ripped away in a second.

I could go on and on with the list above, but in the interest of brevity, I’ll move on with my thought process. With all the above said, 2016 hasn’t been all roses. And without getting too intensely personal (which I rarely do on my blog posts), a few people in my life decided to head for the exit sign and I have also chosen that path with a few friendships that had become toxic. I’m talking people you never think you’d ever have leave your life. Not easy. But, again, I have some really amazing people in my life that were right there, helping me put the pieces back together. (And this portion of the post makes me teary-eyed). For all those who listened to me, texted and consoled. Thank you. 

Deep. Fierce. Gratitude. 

It’s what keep me humble.