And with a new year comes a new list - with a twist.
I have done my "Things to do while I am..." list for about 7 years now, each birthday making a list of goals to accomplish before the next year. Some years I have accomplished it all, other years I haven't even come close (which is what happens when one of those items is to train for and run a full marathon!).
But my heart feels different this year; and I don't feel like I need the same type of list. I feel like I have done so much, I have seen so much and experienced so much - I feel like my lists are becoming hollow and I fear my heart is as well. We can so easily become numbed by what this world is offering us and what this world is destroying all at the same time.
I read the news a lot, like a whole lot. I could tell you more about current world conflicts than I could tell you about what happening in my community. Sometimes the darkness of what is happening in this world every day can seem so overwhelming, it is hard to know what to do, or who to help, or how to help.
But one thing I do know; is that I want more.
I want more human connection and less social media. I want more authenticity and less disguises. I want to speak truth more than I hide truth. I want to challenge and be challenged. I want to be constantly amazed by grace, instead of living as if I deserve any of what I have. I want to see my neighbours the way Jesus see's them and I want to show them the same life I Can't Believe I have been blessed with.
I don't need another list of trips to take, possession's to gain or knowledge to gain. Instead I want to spend this year being kind when it's not expected or asked for and let stretch marks spread across my heart and soul. I want more life.
So this year I made a different list; one Tuesday in July with a house full of people and bowls full of soup I was telling a friend about my annual birthday lists and how I just didn't feel the same way about making my list this year. She then told me how a friend of hers did a list similar to mine, but with a twist. A twist that brings joy to your soul, in a way that no first class flight will do. A twist that will challenge me financially, spiritually, emotionally and occasionally physically ;)
I was instantly on board with the idea, and so I present to you my "33" list.....
33 Acts of Kindness
(to be completed by 9/9/17)
1. Send a care package
2. Shovel a stranger's driveway
3. Send flowers
4. Leave a “Confidence sticky note”
5. Make someone a homemade gift
6. Bring muffins to a neighbour
7. Let someone ahead of you in line
8. Send a card anonymously in the mail
9. Bring cold drinks to city worker's in the summer
10. Donate canned food
11. Compliment someone in customer service to their manager
12. Leave an encouraging note
13. Share a treat, when you want to keep it all
14. Buy groceries for a stranger
15. Make a mini spa for a tired friend
16. Include a personal compliment in an email instead of your regular signature
17. Leave a coupon next to the product in a store
18. Pick up trash in a neighbourhood
19. Bring flowers to a gravestone
20. Pay for the person behind you in line
21. Bring treats to public service workers on Christmas
22. Chocolate – enough said.
23. Deliver dinner to someone without a vehicle
24. Compliment a parent who needs it
25. Leave a used book with a note where someone will find it and enjoy it
26. Share your story to encourage someone; even if you're scared to
27. Cut someone’s grass
28. Send a thank-you card
29. Offer a free evening of babysitting to friends with kids
30. Leave quarter's in a candy machine
31. Donate to the women’s shelter
32. Pay for a strangers meal at a restaurant
33. Compliment a stranger
I want more this year, I think we were all meant for more. We were meant for more than just passing each other by without looking at who a person really is and without seeing real need. Jim Elliot once said, "The 39th street bus is as much a mission field as Africa ever was." and I pray I can live that this upcoming year with authenticity and kindness in my heart. I want to remember that I am placed in the job I have, the neighbourhood I live in and at the church I attend not by chance, but with a plan in place.
Here's to 33 years old.....
PS - Also complete the Cincinnati Marathon ;)