I Dream In Digital

Friday, December 17, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness

I love this time of year. Especially since moving back to Texas. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed Minnesota...in the summer. The winters were another story. I can only take sub zero temperatures & massive snowfalls for so long. 3 winters was more than enough for me. Ahhhh, Texas. Now this is winter! For the most part there is usually no snow but the weather is cooler. Maybe a coat, but usually a sweatshirt will do.

There is something about people in Minnesota though. Some call it "Minnesota nice". Take the following story as an example. It's a story about a man who lived frugally in life but left an amazing imprint on a small Minnesota community after his death.

That story really struck a nerve with me today. I had already started writing this post when it aired on the NBC Evening News. It was a deliberate act of kindness, but a true act of kindness none the less.

Sometimes in the hustle & bustle of the holidays, we tend to focus on things that in the greater picture, don't really matter. We rush from here to there & pay little attention to what is going on around us. While running errands today, we had a few close calls with drivers who were too focused on things other than the vehicles they were driving. As a promised treat for my daughter's excellent behavior despite feeling under the weather, we went to Chick-Fil-A. As usual, the drive thru was packed. I was patiently waiting my turn to get in line while not blocking traffic when another vehicle turned into the lot to get in the line from the other direction. Then the last car pulled forward. Would the other driver let me in the line where I should be? Would she just go ahead of me like so many others had done before? Much to my amazement and delight, she let me go. I was so happy.

Then, a little voice said to me. "Pay for her meal." I felt like Ray Kinsella in Field of Dreams. You know... "If you build it, he will come." I had a laugh and when I got to the window, I paid for our meal, then I paid the order of the vehicle behind me. I just told the stunned employees at the window to tell her "Merry Christmas" for me. It was a small act, a random act of kindness. At the same time, it was big opportunity for me to follow my heart instead of listening to my rational brain pick the whole thing apart.

In this season of giving, what can you do to randomly bless others with kindness?
* make a card for the resident of a local nursing home
* bake some cookies for your neighborhood police or fire station
* rake leaves or shovel snow for a neighbor
* buy an extra bag of pet food to donate to a shelter
* give blood
* put some change in an expiring parking meter
* donate new baby items to a hospital for a family in need
* give a blanket to a homeless shelter
* leave flowers on the doorstep for a friend who needs a lift
* buy desert for another table at a restaurant
* hold the door open for someone
* leave your change in a vending machine for the next person
* buy the meal for the vehicle behind you at the drive thru

Honestly, the possiblities are endless! What are you going to do? I dare you to do a random act of kindness for someone. No, I TRIPLE dog dare ya!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Just When You Least Expect It

Just when you least expect it, God's amazing ability to impact others through our actions, leaves me breathless. I guess it might help if I back up the story a little bit.

I was talking to a friend last Sunday about an idea I had to bless the parents of the babies we take care of every other week. It was something little but something that had been on my heart for a few weeks. She agreed it was a good idea, so I passed it along to our team leader. Our team leader liked the idea too and shared it with our whole team. Then it snowballed! In less than a week, it was passed along and implemented with the entire preschool team.

It's been less than 24 hours. Lives have already been impacted. I almost cried when our team leader told me this morning. How beautiful is God to use us when we share our hearts with others. Something that could have had a small impact on a few people, God has now magnified and used to bless many more families than I could ever imagine. Stepping out in faith with what I thought was something as simple as a classroom supply has lead to something much greater. I'm in awe, I'm humbled, I'm left speechless.

It really reminds me of the lyrics from a song called The Greatness of Our God. "No sky contains, no doubt restrains all you are, the greatness of our God." You can't put God it a box. He's bigger than the box, bigger than the universe. The little whispers that He puts into our hearts that give us ways to express God's love to others are not simply suggestions, they are actions. When we underestimate the power of these actions we underestimate or doubt the power of God. I learned a beautiful lesson today in how great God really is.

What has God put on your heart lately to show His love to others? I urge you to take action on that whisper today. And who knows, maybe something wonderful will happen...just when you least expect it!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Babies, Babies, Everywhere!

What is best about this time of year? No, it's not 100+ Texas temps. This always seems to be the time of year that my friends are having adorable, chubby cheeked, bundles of joy! That's right, babies!

I have been going back and forth for the past few weeks. I've been praying for some babies to not come early & others to put in their long awaited appearance. It's been tough to keep it all straight lately. One day last week I was desperately praying for a set of twin girls not to come early at 26 weeks & praying for another little boy who was overdue. Thankfully God was watching out for all 3 babies. One arrived safely & the other 2 are safely inside their mom who is no longer in labor but in the hospital on bed rest.

This July/August baby boom has had my sewing machine working overtime testing patterns & getting baby gifts ready. (I openly apologize to my family who hasn't eaten at our dinner table in a week because it has been overtaken with fabric & sewing things! Sorry!) I'm making lasagna tomorrow for a friend who had her baby last week and will probably be making another meal for a different friend who had her baby a few days ago.

I got a good laugh from my daughter earlier this afternoon. She said she wanted someone to have a girl baby because she was tired of watching me make things for boy babies. Needless to say, I had a good laugh!

As soon as my wonderful husband gets home, we're off to see another friend who was just admitted to the hospital for pregnancy complications. The baby, another boy, is still 3 weeks early. High blood pressure has caused his mom to develop a retinal hemmorage in her eye. They may deliver the baby as soon as this evening. I'm praying for a safe arrival for mom & baby with no further complications!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Crafternoon

Fabric has been stacking up for months. So many projects...sew little time. Add a broken ironing board to the mix and things start to look hopeless. But then I found a project that would help end my misery and get me back to the sewing machine in record speed. What was this miracle project you ask? A tabletop ironing board!

I found a video tutorial at Missouri Star Quilt Company.

It was quick & easy and turned out great. But I really should have used it to iron the fabric cover before I took the pictures. Oops!

The whole thing cost less than $10 & Home Depot even cut the board to the size I needed. The bonus was that I had an extra piece of board left after the cutting that I could use to help keep my cutting mat from warping while it's not in use. I love the fact that it is the same size as my cutting mat. That way I can just put the ironing board & cutting mat in the carrying bag I made to take them both to a class or a get together.

Now if I can just get through a few more projects this weekend, I will be really happy! For some reason my friends all decided to get pregnant around the same time and the due dates are all coming up quickly. I have lots of baby stuff to make but I can't really complain about it...it's all just so darn cute!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Gigi’s Hugest Announcement DVD by Sheila Walsh

Gigi’s Hugest Announcement has 2 stories from the Gigi, God’s Little Princess series written by Sheila Walsh. Gigi has a huge secret to tell her best friend. She devises a grand plan to make her announcement but soon learns that not everything works out as you plan it. With a little help from her parents, Gigi learns the value of not giving up. In the second story, she learns that you may not succeed at everything you try but you can always find a way to use your talents.

I had never heard of Gigi before doing this review. My 3 year old daughter and I watched the DVD together & we both really enjoyed it. I have not been able to view it since because my daughter loved it so much, it’s in heavy rotation on her portable DVD player. The lessons are timely and presented in an entertaining and understandable way. After this introduction to the series, we are looking forward to reading and watching more stories about Gigi.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this DVD free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hand of Fate by Lis Wiehl

Panic ensues in Portland after talk radio host Jim Fate is killed with poisonous gas. Police quickly evacuate downtown and the investigation begins. The Triple Threat of FBI Special Agent Nicole Hedges, Federal Prosecutor Allison Pierce, and crime reporter Cassidy Shaw spring to action to solve the crime. Who killed Jim Fate and why?

I have to say that I was mildly skeptical when I started reading this book. This is the second book in a series and I usually start a series at the beginning. Add an author I’ve never read to the mix and I tend to be a little more critical than I probably should be. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The characters were well developed and I felt as if I didn’t miss anything by not reading the first book, but still got a good idea of who the characters were. They were real people with challenges just like the rest of us.

I’m a suspense novel junkie and I usually figure out who did it about halfway through the book. That was not the case here. Surprisingly, a major twist near the end left me in awe that my assumptions were wrong. Who did it? You’ll just have to read the book for yourself to find out.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Holy Whole Wheat Batman!

I didn't realize how long it's been since I've done any baking until today. I am WAY out of practice & it shows. I took on the challenge of using whole wheat flour to add a healthy boost. Now, I'm wondering what would possess me to do such a thing!

My first baking experiment actually turned out quite yummy, giant breakfast cookies with raisins. I got the recipe here, http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/giant-breakfast-cookies . Emma & I both had one and they were so tasty. She even asked for a second one.

My second experiment...the jury is still out on that one...it's still cooling. I realized very quickly that there is a reason why I own a bread machine. Yep, I made bread, and in the theme of the day, it's whole wheat too. It was kind of a comedy of disasters. The yeast wouldn't proof because the house was too cold, tried again & the liquid was too hot. Then the dough wouldn't rise so I had to force it to rise on the top of the stove by preheating the oven. I didn't let it rise enough in the pan so the loaf was much smaller than I expected.

Maybe the dough I froze will work better for the next loaf...we'll see!

The good news is that the salsa I made yesterday turned out so good, even Emma will eat it. She got a chunk of jalapeno today and instantly wanted to spit it out but I coaxed her past it & gave her a drink. She's such a trooper! I adapted the recipe from Pioneer Woman's Restaurant Style Salsa. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/01/restaurant-style-salsa/. I never thought of using canned tomatoes in salsa before but it worked!

Now I'm off to see if I can avoid destroying dinner!