I’ve always loved to write; however, I never had a desire to blog…until now. So what changed? Why the sudden urge to start? Simple–I became inspired.
To fully explain this new found inspiration, I need to go back and set the stage a bit. I’ll warn you this may seem like a long story, but I promise it will make sense…eventually.
A simple message that got me thinking…
My husband and I recently started attending church…something neither one of us had done on a consistent basis in decades. While I grew up attending church every Sunday, for a number of reasons (which could be its own blog post) I stopped going. But now that Mike and I had a family, we both agreed it was time to find a church home again.
And this is where my inspiration was planted.
Each month the church centers its message around a theme. I was initially skeptical when I found out what the next few weeks were going to be focused on: money. However, over the course of the series, I realized that the message was much bigger than just money…it was really about generosity. Here are a couple of the main takeaways that stuck with me and got me thinking…
- Do you know what separates successful people from others? It’s not talent. It’s not intelligence. It’s imagination. Those who are successful, those that change the world are the ones that have the ability to imagine the possibilities. So what could we do if we just used our imagination? What amazing things could we do…if we only took the time to consider new ideas?
- Everything we have–our talents, our money, we were given so that we can help others. Was I using everything I had to do the most good? Likely not.
So each week I left church with the wheels in my brain turning. I wanted to do more to help others…but I wasn’t sure what to do or how to get started.
The few hours that changed me forever…
Christmas is by far my absolute favorite time of the year. Forget all the hustle and bustle of the shopping, the mobs at the malls and stress with the busy schedules. To me, Christmas is pure magic. It’s the one day where everything stops. We put the smart phones away, turn off the TV and spend time with the people we love most.
Each year at Christmas my family always does something to give back. For the past few years we’ve adopted a family–buying them gifts, stocking their pantry with tons of food and making sure they had everything they needed to enjoy the holiday. And while I loved this (after all, I got to feel like Santa Claus!), this year I wanted to do something different. So I pitched the idea to my mom about volunteering in a homeless shelter. It was something that I always wanted to do, but never had got around to it. She loved the idea and we got my sister and step-dad on board as well.
We were only in the shelter for 3 hours…but those 3 hours changed me forever. (You can read about my experience at the shelter in my next post.)
The feeling I had from helping the women and families from the shelter was so amazing and overwhelming…I didn’t want it end…I wanted to do more.
And that’s when I got my idea.
I realized that the date was November 25th…1 month exactly from Christmas. So I gave myself a challenge: complete an act of kindness every single day until Christmas. And while this challenge was designed to help others, I actually considered it as a Christmas gift to myself. I was going to use my imagination and think of new possibilities that I could accomplish to brighten someone else’s day. And so my 30 Day Christmas Challenge was on!
The goal of my blog…
I never intended to promote the details about my 30 Day Christmas Challenge. I didn’t want to appear showy or have people think that I was doing these acts for some kind of personal attention. Keeping the acts private seemed to make them more genuine. But then I realized I was wrong. When I shared with a few people what I was doing, everyone loved the idea. They wanted to hear what I had done and what things I had planned. In fact, a woman I work with (who has become somewhat of a partner in crime with me on this project) actually suggested that I start one. And while I was initially hesitant, I soon got on board. I realized that this challenge gave me an incredible opportunity.
Let me be clear. My blog has a very specific goal: inspiration. I am a big believer that giving is contagious…and my hope is that through this blog, I can help more people catch the giving bug! By sharing my experiences over the next 30 days, I’m hoping you’ll use your imagination and come up with ideas on things that you can do as well. You don’ t have to sign up for a 30 day challenge or make some kind of long-term, extravagant commitment…one small act of kindness can have a huge impact for someone. I have a feeling that a lot of people were like me–wanting to help others, wanting to give back…but not sure what to do or where to start. I’m hoping by sharing my experiences and stories over this challenge, that it will give you ideas of things you can do to pay it forward as well.
In fact, I know I’ve already successfully given this “bug” to one person–my mom. She was the first person that I told about my idea to start this challenge. I sent her an e-mail explaining how I was inspired and gave her a quick sneak peek at a few of the things that I was going to do. The next morning she called me and said the five little words that every child wants to hear their parent tell them…”I’m so proud of you.” She was crying. And for those of you who know me, you know that this means that I was crying…happy tears of course. She jumped on board and has been doing this challenge with me. Each day we call, e-mail or text each other–sharing our good deeds for the day. Every day I can’t wait to hear what she did…and to share my daily story with her. I’ll warn you, giving is not only contagious…it’s addicting!
During this challenge, I also want to disprove a myth. When people find out about my challenge, a common response has been, “that’s cool…but it sounds really expensive.” Not true. The truth is, while some of my acts of kindness do require spending money, many don’t require any money at all…or very little. During this challenge I expect to prove an important lesson–that the smallest acts of kindness, doing the simplest things can truly make someone’s day.
Measured in moments…
In my house there’s a quote painted on a hallway, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take…but by the moments that take your breath away.” Cheesy, yes. But still, I love the idea behind it. When you think about it, everyone’s life can be summed up by moments–short flashes of time, little memories. I think the trick to having a full life is to try to make as many of these as possible–to find ways to take an ordinary day and do something to make it truly remarkable.
And so “Measured in Moments” was born. While I’m starting this blog to document my journey throughout my 30 Day Christmas Challenge, my hope is that I’ll continue it long past these initial 30 days…and that I’ll continue to share the moments that take my breath away.