Access to all 31 Days of the Kindness Challenge

31 Day Kindness ChallengeKindness Challenge:

Kindness is so important.

And in today’s world, we don’t see very much of it.

I want to change that. I want us to work hard to practice kindness in our daily lives. It’s not always easy, and it can be so easy to act out of impatience, frustration, or anger instead. But when we choose kindness we’re also choosing love over hate. And that is a powerful thing my friend!

“Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” – Colossians 3:12

 

ALL OF THE POSTS FOR THE 31 DAY CHALLENGE

 

The above link will take you to a page where you can scroll through each day of the 31 Day Kindness Challenge starting from day 31. This may inspire you with fresh ideas on how you can easily spread kindness in your own life.

RELATED: THE KINDNESS | CHALLENGE

This challenge is not meant to overwhelm you or make you feel like a failure for skipping a day(s). Most of the tasks are fairly easy, but some will require extra effort and it is okay to save such tasks for easier days! (Even if those days are weeks or months away!) Don’t stress yourself out, just do the best that you can. And come up with your own fun ways you can practice kindness! There is no limit here to what you can do!

I launched the series in a set of daily emails for the month of July and I may do it again in the near future for those that missed it and want the daily reminder!

DID YOU JOIN THE KINDNESS CHALLENGE? COME UP WITH YOUR OWN IDEAS? LET ME KNOW BELOW!

So excited to be spreading love and joy with all of you! Let’s do this!

With love,

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June Update of Goals and Travel Plans

I love reading a lifestyle blogger’s personal update. I find it so interesting, as a fellow blogger, to read their goals each month and to find out what shows they’re watching, books they’re reading, etc.

Considering that’s not my niche, I never thought I would write one. Well. First time for everything! 🙂 I thought it would be fun to give you all a little sneak peek into my life! It’s purpose is to create honesty and to be super real with my readers. I hope you enjoy the update!

June Update on Goals and Travel Plans

 

RECENT TRAVEL

(if you follow me on IG, (Which you totally should!) then you saw pictures from Los Angeles during Spring Break, a weekend trip to Nashville, and weekend trips around Arkansas)

But this summer…

HAITI – Wow. It was my second time to visit this beautiful country. I was once again blown away by the joy and love of its people. God is doing incredible, miraculous, transformative work there, and I’m so thankful that He let me be a part of it! (Through Mission of Hope. Read more about Haiti here)

BRANSON, MO – This is just a day trip for my family, so I almost forgot to include it. (I didn’t include Arkansas trips either!) But in the future I want to get some Silver Dollar City and Branson restaurants/attractions reviews posted on here!

KANSAS CITY, MO – What a fun little trip! My besties hopped in the car for a little road trip to see our other bestie! We had a blast exploring KC, visiting Worlds of Fun/Oceans of Fun, and so much more. My IG has fab pictures from it, and more will be featured in upcoming blog posts about the trip!

SEAGROVE/SEASIDE, FL – Ahh..such a relaxing getaway! I loved this classic family vacation. We love the beach and the weather/water was so perfect this year! (Which was surprising due to a few sea lice rumors…shudder..) Not sure about a specific blog post for this trip because in the future I hope to do a bunch of posts on the area because my family and I are such frequent visitors! So I’ll update with links soon. Again, IG has lovely ocean views for you to check out!

 

UPCOMING TRAVEL

MIDLAND, TX – Well I’ve never been before so I have no idea what to expect! I’m going with my boyfriend’s family to visit some of their relatives, and I know it’s going to be great!

ICELAND – AHHH!!! This is the most spontaneous thing I’ve ever done! Literally 24 hours ago we booked our plane tickets and we’re going in late July! I’ve been dreaming about it for weeks and the travel blogger world is CRAZY about it! (have tips or advice? Please share!)

*side note, Iceland includes a quick trip to my beloved NYC!

ALASKA – Yet again, another BUCKET LIST place!! I’m going with my parents, and it’s my dad’s 50th state to visit! (So cool!) I can’t wait to see breathtaking mountains and glaciers, and go on some beautiful hikes! (have tips or advice? Please share!)

 

GOALS FOR ADVENTURES AND KINDNESS

(Before July)

SOCIAL MEDIA 

Hey, feel free to help me out with the above if you would like! 🙂 Thanks in advance!

Also looking to join group Pinterest boards that are travel or self improvement related, so please holla at me if you know of any I could join!

GENERAL
  • Post more frequently and consistently! (aka write posts ahead of time!! Gotta get better at this!)
  • Grow my newsletter subscriber list as well as open rate/click-throughs
  • Network! Make friends with other bloggers! It’s already been so fun and rewarding, but I can still count it as a goal, right? 🙂
  • Update design aspects of my blog (like the drop down menu)
  • Incorporate more giveaways! (Get excited, I already have 2 in the works!) and collaborations! (been to Asia? I’d love to feature you, just let me know 🙂 )
AND ALSO
  • NOT WORRY SO MUCH. Stress is not needed nor desired. I, and I’m sure other bloggers can agree, need to stop with the comparison. I’m still a newbie blogger. I blog part time and started it while I was a full time college senior and working two part time jobs. Whew I’m exhausted just thinking about this past semester!
  • It’s so easy for me to drain myself trying to do all of these things for my blog and then get frustrated when I don’t magically have the same success story as someone else. I have to remind myself that numbers do not determine my worth or abilities as a blogger. I need to focus on being me and not compare myself with to all of the incredible bloggers out there! We’re all unique and amazing for different reasons! 🙂 P.S. Bloggers are so supportive and helpful, and I was shocked by how wonderful the blogging community is!

I hope you enjoyed this little update and insight into my goals for these last couple weeks in June as well as my upcoming travel plans over the next couple of months! I’m so excited to implement these goals and keep sharing all of my adventures and self improvement tips with you!

With love,

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Email Pains – 3 Easy Ways to Clutter Free

Ping! Little red icon with a 1 pops up on my email icon.

 

(few minutes later) Ping! The icon jumps up to 2. Cue a shudder and an intense desire to get rid of the little red icon. (Anyone else relate?)

 

The email struggle is real. I have over 5 email addresses, with 3 of them getting flooded with numerous emails daily. I am also one of those weird (yet totally adorable, right?) individuals who MUST (and I do mean must!) have all the red icons on my phone/tablet/computer completely gone.

 

I realize that many individuals don’t see the importance of this, and perhaps the pesky notification bubbles don’t bother them. But I’ve met a lot of people who have expressed how overwhelming all their notifications can be, especially with email.

 

They also talk about how they leave their overflowing inbox alone simply because they don’t want to go through and delete all of the hundreds of unopened emails that they have.

 

I can relate to the struggle. My email inboxes can wreck havoc on my life if I let them. But I try hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. I fight to always have my email under control. And let me tell you, it is SO worth it! I don’t lose emails, get frustrated, or have anxiety from a lack of organization!

 

So my dear cluttered friend, it’s time to take charge and make a change!

3 Easy Ways to Have a Clutter Free Inbox

 

  1. SEPARATE THE FINAL DESTINATIONS

 

All of your emails shouldn’t go to the same place. That doesn’t mean that you need multiple emails, although I’m sure most of you do. Email systems come with a wide range of features. Typically, there is one that will funnel your email into separate places. You can create folders based on the sender or use filters to keep everything categorized.

 

If you have multiple accounts, then determine what type of emails each one should be used for. I have a personal email that my friends use to send me things, and I also send important emails to that folder (such as info from my bank, PayPal, an association for Speech Pathology, church emails, etc.) It is so important to have ONE place where all of your important information is sent and stored. This will make finding old (yet important) emails so much easier! And you won’t miss a thing!

 

I also have an account that I use as a promotional junk mail account. This is perfect for all the restaurant clubs and clothing store emails that you’re likely part of (guilty here!) I love having an account that is specifically designed for all the unimportant stuff. It keeps me focused. And my waistline is definitely thankful that I don’t recognize the latest Baskin Robbins special as a priority!

 

Lastly, don’t mix your work and personal emails. It will just create clutter and make it easier for important things to fall through the cracks. I have a special account reserved for all things related to my blog. I use it for all of my subscriptions to bloggers’ latest posts and newsletters. My social media accounts and all inquiries for Adventures and Kindness are sent directly to this account. It helps me stay organized and keeps me from losing precious emails!

  1. MONITOR YOUR Email cHECKING

 

How often do you want to check your emails?

 

Do you get paid to check your emails even when you aren’t at work? If not, then try keeping that account off of your phone. You can check it when you arrive at work, when you leave, and throughout the day as needed. Don’t give yourself the extra stress if it’s not necessary!

 

How do you check them?

 

As my best friend would say, “complete the task”. If you decide to check your email, make sure you have the time, or check it again later when you do. For example, it can be easy to get in a hurry and quickly check your email only to read 1 important one and logout before dealing with all of the other ones. This is not completing the task! It will leave your inbox full of clutter. Give yourself a little time to manage it. *see number 3* This will keep that pesky red button away, and it will also make your inbox (and therefore you) happy!

 

  1. DELETE, DELETE, DELETE

 

If you want to keep your inbox organized, then the delete button is your new best friend! It’s not necessary to read every single email that you receive. In fact, I would say it’s much healthier and less time consuming if you don’t!

 

Here’s what I do:

  • log onto email
  • scan unread messages
  • go through and read/reply to important ones
  • select all unopened ones and click on the trash icon

 

This ensures that important messages are given top priority, but you’re also getting rid of everything you don’t need. Now be careful with this! If you followed part 1, then I recommend really using this for your junk account.

 

If your email account has unlimited space, then you might not have to delete it. But ii there’s a cap, then t is extremely helpful to delete as you go (rather than try to delete a ton when it informs you your mailbox is full.)

 

Use your best judgment, and enjoy the gratification of an organized inbox! I hope these 3 easy steps transform the way you tackle the big email giant. Don’t let it win. Stay organized. Stay focused. Stay happy 🙂

 

What do YOU do to keep your inbox clean? Let me know in the comments!

 

With love,

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Blessing Bags

Blessing Bags Blessing Bags

As I was driving to work today, a lady on the radio said something that was really unsettling to me. Not surprising, oh no, I’d definitely heard it many times before. But today it just hit me how we are totally letting this happen without caring about the potential consequences. These consequences may seem insignificant to you, but they aren’t. They have the power to transform lives.

 

What am I talking about? So glad you asked 🙂

 

I’m talking about the way that people walking on the streets interact with the people living on the streets.

 

Out of fear, disgust, or distrust, we may not reach out a helping hand to the homeless people that we pass by. I understand. I’ve been there and I will continue to be. It’s hard to know what to do, and even harder to be brave enough to take action.

 

So what do I think is holding us back? (Please feel free to comment with what holds you back personally!)

 

We Just Don’t Care

 

We’re selfish. We’re busy. We’re distracted. When you pass someone who is homeless, what do you do? In large cities, it’s so easy to become immune to these individuals. You see them everyday, and it just becomes ordinary and routine. Our minds are so wrapped up in our plans and to-do lists for the day that we don’t stop to think about whether or not that person is going to have his or her basic needs yet.

 

When was the last time that they had food? Water? A shower? Felt safe?

 

We can’t answer because we don’t engage. We pass by without even blinking and don’t think twice about it. It’s the easiest to do, right? I’m not being judgemental of you or anyone else. I’m completely guilty of this too! I’ve been to NYC 10 times, and each time I’ve passed by homeless people without stopping to engage or assist.

Blessing Bags

We Are Scared

 

This is the one that I relate to the most. I will admit that I often get anxious. Not necessarily because they live on the streets, but because they are strangers and I never know what to expect. I have this strange fear that they will jump up and attack me. I’ve watched the movies and heard the horror stories. I know that the danger is real, but I personally don’t believe that it should prevent us from helping. There’s evil everywhere. We live in a broken, messed up world. But as good ole Dumbledore said, “Soon we must all make the choice between what is right and what is easy.” 🙂

 

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be cautious. We should, the world is a scary place! If you’re alone, then don’t feel like you have to give someone a ride or do something that could put you in a dangerous situation. Always practice caution. But don’t let fear hold you back from transforming a life. Because that is what you can do!

 

We Judge Them

 

This is the one that breaks my heart the most. I hate hearing people’s judgements of the poor or homeless. “They deserve it” “They probably blew everything they had on drugs” “They need to get off their lazy butts and do something about it instead of sitting here holding a sign” “Why don’t they just go get a job?” “Not my fault they don’t know how to work hard like the rest of us” “They’ll just spend the money on drugs”

 

I could go on for a while, but I’m sure I don’t need to. If you’re anything like me, then you’re definitely guilty of judging a homeless individual at one time or another. I’m really working on changing my thoughts about it, and I hope to change yours as well. Here’s some statistics for you:

 

92% of homeless women have experienced severe physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime – ReThink Homelessness

 

Each year 500 homeless teens are buried in unmarked graves. – ReThink Homelessness

 

In January 2015, 564,708 people were homeless on a given night in the United States. – National Alliance to End Homelessness

 

About 15% of the homeless population (83,170) are considered “chronically homeless” individuals. – National Alliance to End Homelessness

 

Quotes for you from the National Alliance –

 

“Typically, families become homelessness as a result of some unforeseen financial emergency- a medical emergency, a car accident, a death in the family – that prevents them from being able to hold on to housing.”

 

“Young people often become homeless due to family conflict, including divorce, neglect or abuse.”

 

“Veterans often become homeless due to war-related disabilities. For a variety of reasons – physical disability, mental anguish, post-traumatic stress, etc. – many veterans find readjusting to civilian life difficult.”

Blessing Bags

What We Can Do (Blessing bags)

 

There are a lot of ways in which you can help this population. Donate to a local food bank, serve dinner at a soup kitchen, give to charities and organizations like the Salvation Army.

 

You probably know this already. But what if you’re in a car, driving to the store, and you come across someone who is homeless.

 

What can you do?

 

Make a blessing bag!! That’s what I did when this situation recently happened to me! I was with one of my besties and we were headed to Wal-Mart. After seeing the individual, I knew that I wanted to do something. I had a read an article on Pinterest forever ago that talked about how this lady was making what she called Blessing Bags and handing them out to individuals that she met who were homeless.

 

My friend and I knew that THAT was the perfect solution. There was no need to worry about what he/she would do with the money that we gave, because instead it would have to be used to fulfill all of his basic needs. We bought travel sized shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, food, and water. We put it all in one Wal-Mart sack and handed it to him (with some encouraging and kind words!) from our car as we passed him when we exited the lot.

 

It worked brilliantly, and he was so overjoyed. I’ve read so many stories all over Facebook about how small gestures like blessing bags can make huge changes in people’s lives. They can give them hope. They can help them take the next step or even just get through another day.

 

And the great part is, blessing bags are SO easy to make! You can customize them and include a personal note of encouragement and love. You can make several at once and store them or carry them with you in a backpack if you know you will need them.

 

Even better news, is that I have made a FREE BLESSING BAGS PRINTABLE CHECKLIST! Yay! Click here for it – you don’t want miss an important item ! But also don’t forget to make it your own and customize!

 

Thanks for joining in my efforts to practice kindness! Sign up for the weekly newsletter to receive the latest posts, and feel free to check out the Kindness Challenge or 3 Simple Ways to Practice Kindness.
With love,

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Blessing Bags

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Why We Should Celebrate More Birthdays

Birthdays-Why We Need to Celebrate More Birthdays

Once a year you have a birthday. You may not think it’s a big deal and perhaps you don’t even like to celebrate your one special day. 

But I think you should! If you don’t want to, then…I guess I understand. (Although birthdays are so much fun and I totally encourage you to make it a great day for yourself!) However, you absolutely should celebrate the birthdays of your friends and family members!

We need to celebrate more birthdays. Why? Well..

 

  1. You Get to Build Someone Up

Okay I realize that there really isn’t an excuse for not encouraging people everyday. We should definitely do it! But birthdays are a great reminder to spread kindness and lift people up. In today’s society, you often see special birthday shout-outs on social media. I think this is so great! It really makes the birthday girl/boy feel valued and appreciated it. The key with this kind of post is to make it meaningful. You could say, “Hey I love ya, happy birthday.” But it would be much more impactful to caption it with how wonderful the person is, how thankful you are for her/him, and why you love her/him.

I realize it seems like a lot of work. And it definitely can be! I don’t do social media posts for birthdays nearly as much as I used to. And that’s okay! Posts are great for those that you have a super close relationship with. But you can still build someone up even if you don’t want to plaster it all over social media!

Send them a thoughtful card, email, or even text message.

Spread the love and let them know that you’re thinking about them on their special day. Once again, it will mean much more to people to hear encouragement and praise beyond the traditional, “Happy Birthday!” It doesn’t take long to check Facebook for today’s birthdays and then shoot someone a quick text if you need to. If they are anything like me, then I’m sure they will be thrilled that you took a minute out of your day to lift them up!

Why We Need to Celebrate More Birthdays

 

  1. You Get to Reach Out to People You May Have Forgotten About

This (see above header) is one reason that I am thankful for social media. It lets you stay connected (sometimes too connected!) to people who you may have drifted away from due to time, distance, etc. Old high school friends will pop up on my feed on their birthday. Look at this as a blessing! Now you get the opportunity to write a quick happy birthday message on their wall. This doesn’t have to be lengthy. The previously-mentioned-should-be-thoughtful-post was for a friend or family member. Short messages are great for acquaintances! They will` likely be so appreciative that you took the time out of your day to wish them joy.  And how great is it to contribute to making their day the best one yet? It’s a small gesture that can go a long way.

Why We Need to Celebrate More Birthdays

 

  1. You Get to Show That You Care

Birthdays, especially for loved ones, are a lot more than just a thoughtful message. Actions speak louder than words, right? That is why it is so important that you celebrate the day by doing something. Take them out to dinner, throw them a surprise party, buy them a thoughtful gift, bake them a cake. The possibilities are endless! You know what the birthday girl/boy likes and dislikes. Do something special to show them that you care. I love giving people cupcakes or making them a homemade (and terrible, I have zero crafting skills) card. My roommates are great at thoughtful actions! They will decorate with streamers and balloons so that I wake up to a special surprise. A sweet gesture doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Just make it thoughtful and personal. They will likely never forget it!

Why We Need to Celebrate More Birthdays

 

  1. Because You Never Know When It Will Be Their Last

I hate to turn a happy post into a sad one, but this is a HUGE reason why we should celebrate birthdays. After year 21, people tend to stop getting excited about their special day. This is, in my opinion, a tragedy! Birthdays are a great time to reflect on the year. You can think back to the highs/lows and be thankful for everything that you were given. You can even appreciate the hardships and struggles, because you pulled through and are stronger because of it.

Celebrate the people you love because we aren’t promised a tomorrow. You never know which birthday is going to be someone’s last, so cherish your loved ones and love on them as much as you can. It’s easy to get wrapped up in ourselves and we like to stress about just how busy we are. But let’s make a change. Let’s make the day extraordinary for the people we love. Don’t they deserve it?

I’m in no way paid for this post, but I’d like to end with a way that you can make a difference! Imagine a world with more birthdays. The American Cancer Society is striving to “create a world with less cancer and more birthdays” and you can join the fight! Click here to learn about Relay for Life and how you can donate to the cause, raise awareness, and fight alongside those that are battling cancer. Let’s celebrate more birthdays!
With love,

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You’re Amazing

know that you're amazing logo

 

 

 

Do you need a little encouragement today? If you’re reading this, then I bet you do. Maybe you had a rough day today or maybe it’s been a rough week or even year. So here’s today’s dose of encouragement for you! Sit back, my friend, and soak all of it up! 🙂

 

You’re Amazing

 

Okay yes, I probably don’t know you because unfortunately I do not know all of my readers on a deep, personal level. (I wish that I did 🙁 ) But I still know that you’re amazing. I 100% believe that you have potential. That you have talents. That you have strengths. That you have wonderful qualities about you.

 

Now don’t scoff or roll your eyes! Just because you might not see it doesn’t mean that it isn’t true. Maybe you feel like no one in your life sees it. Still doesn’t mean that it’s not true.

 

You’re amazing

and I believe you need to hear that today. As Dr. Seuss so perfectly put it, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” You are a rare and beautiful creature. The only one of its kind. You have a unique personality, appearance, likes/dislikes, etc.

 

Stop looking at your uniqueness as a flaw.

 

Personal story here. I have a hard time accepting my differences from other people. I don’t like to stand out or be different. (If it’s something great, then I don’t mind as much.  Just don’t catch me by surprise and single me out!!) But differences often seem like a negative. If everyone is wearing/doing/talking about one thing and I’m not, then I feel like an outcast. I feel as if I don’t belong, everyone’s judging me, or that no one likes me.

You're Amazing

We have to stop feeding ourselves these negative self-thoughts. We have to stop giving in to the lies that we aren’t enough.

 

Aren’t pretty enough

Aren’t well liked enough

Aren’t fashionable enough

Aren’t smart enough

Aren’t funny enough

Aren’t slim enough

Aren’t perfect enough

 

It’s not healthy. It’s not fair. It’s not even true! There will always always always be someone who is smarter, prettier, funnier, skinnier (etc.) than you. We’ve got to accept that fact right now. Instead we need to focus on being the best version of ourselves. We need to focus on growing in our strengths and using our talents proudly. We need to strive for a positive self-image.

When someone asks you to describe yourself, what do you say? What descriptive words or characteristics come to mind? Are they negative or positive? How are you painting yourself to others? Do you constantly remind yourself that you’re amazing?

 

Show people how incredible you are by believing in yourself. Believe that you are a talented individual. Believe that you have valuable strengths that are an asset to this world. Believe that you can do anything that you set your mind to. Believe that you’re amazing!

You're Amazing

 

You are you. And that my friends, will always be enough.

 

With love,

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3 Simple Ways to Practice Kindness

The Kindness Challenge

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Why You Should Go Eat Ice Cream Right Now

ice cream

Ice cream. You’re already craving it. One look at the picture was all it took. Now you’re imagining the delicious treat, and how your tastebuds will rejoice when they come in contact with it. It’s creamy and smooth. It’s that perfect flavor and mini recipe made just for you.

 

  1. You Can Customize It Just the Way You Like

 

There are so many flavors of ice cream. SO many. Which is great, because that means you can create whatever treat you’re feeling right now. Want chocolate? Birthday cake? Pick your all time favorite or be adventurous and pick something new. Like peanut butter? Add some. Like caramel? Hot fudge? Candy? Brownies? Fruit? You can add it! The possibilities are endless when it comes to this delicious treat.

 

  1. You Can Eat It in Any Season

 

People who say ice cream can only be eaten in the summer…I’d call them liars. Why? Because ice cream is so good that it can be enjoyed rain or shine, day or night, breakfast or dinner, summer or winter. If you want to restrict yourself to only eating it in the summer, then I’m sorry you want to suffer in that way. Personally, I love eating it year-round. And the great part is, ice cream doesn’t melt as fast in the winter! So while you may be cold, your ice cream is too! Which will just ensure that you get to enjoy every last bite. Just hang out somewhere warm and enjoy!

ice cream

 

  1. Ice cream is So Light, It’s Basically Air, Right?

 

This is my philosophy on ice cream- I’m basically eating nothing. Sure the calories printed on the sign or the back of the carton say otherwise, but I’m choosing to believe that it is so light it is like eating air. And air can’t make you fat. Plus you need calories to live. So you’re really just doing your body a favor, right?

ice cream

 

  1. You Will Be So So So Happy That You Did

 

It’s so rich and creamy. It tastes amazing. It brings joy and pleasure. And it is so convenient too. You can store it in your fridge or make a quick trip to your nearest ice cream shop. If you get a milkshake or frozen custard, then I forgive you (I love those too). I bet you’re already thinking about the mix-ins that you can add. Do you want a cup? Or a cone? Waffle, cake, or sugar?

 

These are important life decisions. Your taste buds are ready for the best part of their day. Are you? I think it’s time to go eat some ice cream. 🙂

 

With love,

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ice cream

 

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What We Can Learn From Williams Syndrome

What We Can Learn From Williams SyndromeIndividuals with Williams Syndrome face a lot of difficulties. However, they are born with an incredible “superpower” that I believe is way undervalued and overlooked in our society. They are born with a talent for being kind.

 

What Is Williams Syndrome?

 

Williams Syndrome is a genetic condition that is characterized by cardiovascular anomalies and developmental disabilities. According to Williams Syndrome Association, it affects 1 in 10,000 people in the world, and is not exclusive to a particular gender or culture. Heart defects are a common problem among these individuals, and they can also have unusual facial features. They are generally considered to have “Elfin’ faces” due to their full lips, wide-spaced teeth, depressed nasal bridge, and broad forehead. (Due to copyright purposes, I can’t legally show you a picture for an example. Google it sometime!)

 

They are also known for having “stars in their eyes” due to a star-like pattern in the iris. Infants with Williams Syndrome may have difficulty feeding or chronic middle ear infections, which can both be problematic for their health. They may have mild to severe intellectual disabilities, developmental delays, musculoskeletal problems, elevated blood calcium levels, or increased risks for ADHD or anxiety disorders.

 

However, individuals with WS are extremely friendly and talkative. They love to be social and are super extroverted. They have high language skills, but this can lead to a lack of social constraint due to how friendly they are toward strangers. They have difficulty with pragmatics, meaning that they have trouble understanding nonverbal gestures and listening rather than talking in a conversation. They may have restricted or repetitive interests or have difficulty interpreting abstract language. Interestingly enough, these individuals may have an unusually strong aptitude for music.

 

What Can We Learn From Them?

 

God created these beautiful individuals for a purpose. They are not flawed, they are wonderfully and fearfully made. Yes, they may have to endure a lot of hardships and difficulties. But they have mastered the concept of loving people. They want to be friends with everyone they meet. They aren’t worried about what other people think of them and they don’t fear rejection from striking up a conversation. They don’t hold back their friendliness. They spread joy. They love to dance. They have beautiful souls and they just want to talk to you.

We have so much to learn from these individuals.

 

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Say Hello.

 

“Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” – A Cinderella Story. This is a great quote because we should never let the fear of failure or mistakes to keep us from trying. Don’t be worried about your pride or potential embarrassment. Say hi to people! Embrace some wisdom from those with WS and learn to be friendly.

What We Can Learn From Williams Syndrome

 

  1. Love On Anyone and Everyone.

 

What We Can Learn From Williams SyndromeIndividuals with WS are open to talk to whomever they come in contact with. Even strangers are potential friends, and their kind hearts are welcoming and loving. They are typically quick to help people and are empathetic to those who are hurting. In the video below, you can watch as the toddler with WS reaches out to comfort a fallen stranger unlike most children his age. While it is important to have constraints for safety purposes, I think we can learn a lot about unconditional love from these individuals. How often does your kindness correlate with your opinion of someone? How often do you knowingly or unknowingly judge someone or treat someone differently based on an assumption or stereotype? Kindness is free, and the world needs more of it. Let’s be open to sharing it.

 

I am in no way trying to trivialize the syndrome or the difficulties that can go along with it. People with WS are people just like you and me. They also need your support, love, and special treatment/therapy to help them with their medical and social concerns. But we can also learn a thing or two from their openness. We can learn how to be more kind.

What We Can Learn From Williams Syndrome

 

For more information or just to watch a heartwarming video, click here. And click here if you’re looking for ways to help or get involved with the association.

 

What are some more things we could learn from Williams Syndrome? What are other disabilities/syndromes/conditions that could teach us kindness or other valuable life lessons? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

With love,

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For more posts related to kindness, check out the rest of the series

The Kindness Challenge3 Simple Ways To Practice Kindness Today

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3 Simple Ways to Practice Kindness

3 Simple Ways to Practice Kindness Today | adventuresandkindness.com3 Simple Ways to Practice Kindness Today

We probably all agree that kindness is a good thing. We also can agree that the world needs more of it. Yet have we stopped and looked inside the mirror? (cue Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror). The world needs more of it, but what does this look like? How do we go about being more kind” to the people we interact with each day? It may seem unrealistic or complicated (I definitely thought so at first), but I’m here to make it super easy. So what are 3 simple ways to practice kindness?

  1. Look Behind You

3 Simple Ways to Practice Kindness Today | adventuresandkindness.comStory time. Okay so the other day I was walking to class, going to work, and eating at a restaurant. (All very normal things, right?) Except this time it was different. I began to notice the behavior of the people around me. First, I noticed that we open and close a lot of doors. (I promise this is relevant, just hang tight!) Second, we have tunnel vision. We look straight ahead, and we rarely glance anywhere else. Our eyes are fixed on what lies up ahead…or fixed on our phone. (we’ll get there in #3, no worries)

These two characteristics are the reasons why sometimes we’re walking behind someone and as we approach a door, they just let it close in our faces. It can annoy us and frustrate us, and it is something that is so preventable! On the other hand, whenever someone holds the door open for us we tend to be impressed and thankful. It’s such an easy thing to do. You open doors all the time. But when you do,  look behind you. If someone is back there, then pause to hold the door open for them. Think about all of the millions of times you open a door during the course of your day. That’s a lot of possibilities to brighten someone’s day and show a little kindness. And it’s so easy!

 

  1. Embrace Interruptions

Our society values speed. We want everything to be fast, easy, and convenient. We live busy, rushed lives that allow us to jam pack as many activities and appointments in as possible. There’s barely enough time to eat and sleep, let alone time to be interrupted when we’re in the middle of something important (and basically everything seems important).

But the other day at work, a coworker that I hadn’t seen in awhile came in and asked about my break. I, of course, did the automatic response of “It was good, how was yours?” Surface level and very lame, yes, but we’ve never worked the same shift before so I didn’t think to come up with a better response.

Then she did something that surprised me. She sighed and said, “not so good.” As she began to describe the struggle that her family was facing, I realized that she just needed to be heard. She just needed someone to listen and tell her that it was all going to be okay. How often do we miss those opportunities to just listen? Opportunities to drop what we’re doing and focus on someone else? We overlook them all the time, but we shouldn’t.

When someone interrupts you, what do you do? Get annoyed and try to quickly get back to what you were doing? (I know I’m guilty of it!) But just think- what’s more important, the person or the task? When you prioritize people, you end up practicing kindness in the most rewarding way.

 

What's more important, the person? or the task?

 

  1. Make Eye Contact

The other day I was talking about an old classmate of mine, and I was super complimentary of how genuine and kind he was. I told someone, “When you talk to him, it’s like he’s really listening. He makes everyone feel special.”

The more I thought about it, the more I realized what made him so different from everyone else. When this guy asked you a question, he didn’t halfheartedly listen. He didn’t interrupt. He didn’t look down at his phone or off into the distance. He looked directly into your eyes.

It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but eye contact is important. It’s a social cue that shows you are interested in what the speaker has to say. It shows that you care, and that you’re listening.

3 Simple Ways to Practice Kindness Today | adventuresandkindness.com

When we talk to people, don’t we want to feel heard? And don’t we want people to know that we care about them? Let’s try and really listen. Let’s direct our eyes (and our attention) back where it belongs.

 

These 3 simple ways to practice kindness are realistic and applicable. Try it out today. Look behind you when you open a door. Embrace interruptions, and prioritize people over your to-do list. Make eye contact, and show people that you care about what they have to say. It’s as easy as 1-2-3! 🙂

Do you think these 3 things are easy enough to do? What are some more simple ways to practice kindness? Let me know in the comments!

 

With love,

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Want more simple ways to practice kindness? Try the KINDNESS CHALLENGE!

 

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The Kindness Challenge

Photo by Brennan Ehrhardt

Photo by Brennan Ehrhardt

The Kindness Challenge- I’m not always good at being kind. I don’t know about you, but there are a lot of things that happen throughout my day that can sometimes build (and build) to create a frustrated and snappy Emily. It’s really not pleasant.

It can be simple things too, like spilling something on my shirt (I will admit I do this way too often) or misplacing my phone for the millionth time. I’ve learned that it is really easy to get wrapped up in all of the things that can go wrong, even in just the first hour of my day. For example:

  • I didn’t hear my alarm and now I’m running late. (Panic, yes definitely panic, it will help.)
  • I’ve pulled out almost every item in my closet and I’m still not dressed. (Daily quote- “I have nothing to wear!”)
  • The traffic is crazy and I have to be at work ASAP. (Whyyyy?)

Life can be stressful. There are so many ways to get frustrated. So many things to complain about. But the problem is,

 

soon we will have to speak to someone.

 

It may be a roommate, spouse, or family member. It may be the neighbor watering his plants or the friendly lady who works at the front desk. It’s so tempting to take out your stress and crankiness on the first person that you see. But just because it’s tempting, doesn’t mean that we should do it. Yes, we have rough days sometimes. Yes, something will likely go wrong today. But it’s how we respond to life’s demands and frustrations that reveals the condition of our heart.

 

So how do we respond?

We can respond two ways: kindly or unkindly. What the person “deserves” is irrelevant. That isn’t up to us to decide. We don’t know what they’ve been dealing with today, yesterday, or all last year. Everyone is struggling with something, and everyone could use a little more kindness in their lives. We have a gift that we can give them. It’s free, but it does require a little effort. We can give the gift of kindness.

We can brighten someone’s day, and even brighten our own by letting go of the negativity and focusing on all the positives. Today, you are alive. Today, something will go wrong. Today, you can choose to respond with kindness.

It’s definitely a challenge. Are you up to it? I’ve created a 30-day Kindness Challenge that I will be doing over the next few weeks. Join me! It can be done in any order, and there’s no need to feel guilty for not completing everything. The goal is to simply challenge yourself. It’s not always easy, but it’s rewarding. Stay tuned, my friends, as I write about the Kindness Challenge/practicing kindness!

The Kindness Challenge

What do you think of the Kindness Challenge? What are some of your ideas on practicing kindness? Share in the Comments below!

Want more 30-day Challenge ideas for practicing kindness? Here are a few I found to give you some more inspiration!

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