Monday, August 20, 2012

The storm

I've been MIA this past week or so, not by choice, but by sheer exhaustion. I've debated whether or not to talk about this because I personally don't enjoy reading a string of negative tweets or blog posts or whatever, especially from one person. I never want to be the person that constantly complains. So I'm going to talk about it once, get it out, and move on. If there's anything I've learned in the past few years of blogging, it's that sometimes the love of strangers can be uplifting in ways I've never imagined. And for selfish reasons, I think just writing this will be therapeutic for me.

Both my family and NTP's are in the middle of a storm, and we could really use your prayers.

About three months ago we discovered that my first cousin has Stage 4 cancer. He's 26 years old. Now, three months later, we still don't know what kind of cancer he has. Sadly, our faith in the medical community is quickly sinking, as is his health. My mom and aunt drove him up to Boston this past week to see a specialist associated with Harvard. He was still unable to give a diagnosis, but put him on an aggressive treatment to see how he responds, and then go from there. On their way back to Macon, I met them in Commerce to pick up my mom. Y'all, my cousin (who was always overweight) was thinner than I am and obviously in a lot of pain. But throughout it all, his faith in God is uplifting not only him, but the rest of us that love him.

On top of that, my grandmother (my only remaining grandparent) has been in a nursing home for nine years because of a stroke that paralyzed the left side of her body. When I took my mom to LaGrange Sunday morning we stopped by the nursing home and for the first time, my grandmother didn't know who I was. She also called my mom by another name. As you can imagine, my mom was already physically and emotionally exhausted from the trip to Boston and I think that broke her in a sense.

NTP's family could also use your prayers. I don't feel right discussing it, so I simply ask for your thoughts and prayers.

I think we could all stand to be a little more thankful for the little things every day. I know I could. Now when I find myself grumbling over something small, I've started realizing just how trivial it is. I'm healthier than many, have the most incredible support system, and have a God who will be with me ALWAYS, through every storm, and a Savior that died so that my cousin, my grandmother, and all of us will have everlasting life. If that's not comforting, I don't know what is.

Thanks for your patience and understanding and I really hope this didn't ruin anyone's morning. That was not definitely my intention.

A friend sent me this verse this morning, and I'll leave you with this uplifting bit of truth.

"I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me." - Psalm 16:8

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness

"By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another." - John 13:35


I think a lot of times we forget, myself included, that as Christ followers this is what we're called to do above all others.

Last week in our Bible study we challenged each other to work on having a loving and generous heart and thought a great way to do that would be by performing a random act of kindness during the week. I was so excited about doing this that it took me forever to fall asleep that night because I kept thinking of what I was going to do.

So the following morning I went to Starbucks (which is very out of the norm for me since I'm on a pretty tight budget) and pulled up to the drive-thru window to pay for my latte. I told the nice young man at the window that I'd also like to pay for the person behind me. Just seeing his face when I said that made it completely worth it (especially since the person behind me had a $12 order). While I was paying he asked if I liked Starbucks' regular coffee. I said yes and he handed me a large, on the house.

I was so blessed and humbled by the experience that I've been thinking about it all week. And what would you know, today I stumble across a blog post from an inspiring mom who performed 38 random acts of kindness for her 38th birthday. Robyn's post can be found here. I read through all 38 awesome acts of kindness as well as the ones in the comments section. This post was published over a year ago and I can only imagine all the wonderful kind things that were inspired by it since then.

And it inspired me to do more.

I am so excited to do 24 random acts of kindness with friends and family in February for my birthday, but I can't wait that long to get started. So during my lunch break I began a list of things I want to do. Starting NOW!

I'd love to hear any ideas y'all might have! I'll make sure to document them as I go so y'all can share in the awesomeness! And let me know your ROAK and the results. I really can't wait to hear them. :)

1. (My favorite) Leave gift cards inside my favorite books at Barnes & Noble with a note that says,  "I enjoyed this book so much and hope it brings you all the adventure, happiness, and joy it has brought me. Much love, a fellow bookworm."

2. Tip an exceptional waiter or waitress 100% and leave a grateful note on the receipt.

3. Pay for a military family's meal at a restaurant.

4. Drop off donuts and a thank you note to the police and fire stations.

5. Buy a toy for a pup at Petsmart.

6. Buy a cupcake for someone else on my birthday.

7. Pay for someone's groceries.

8. Work with the church to find a family in need and anonymously buy or prepare them a Christmas meal feast.

9. Feed some parking meters.

10. Tape some change to a vending machine.

11. Take flowers and a note to the hospital thanking doctors and nurses for all they do.

12. Buy a milkshake for someone behind me in the Chick-fil-A drive-thru. (What a yummy summer treat!)

13. Leave a candy bar and thank you note in the mailbox for the mailman.

14. Offer to help an elderly person load groceries into their car.

15. Write thank you notes to soldiers overseas.

16. Compliment a stranger.

That's about as far as I've gotten so far. And I think it's a great start, but I'm also praying that God presents me with opportunities to share random acts of kindness. And I have a feeling those truly random moments will be the most incredible. :)