So it is that time of year again when many people give up something for Lent. My daughters have done it in the past with great commitment and success. But I have to be honest, I have failed at this every single year since my youth. I guess I just don't find it purposeful. (If it is purposeful for you, then go for it!) Don't get me wrong, I'm sure I have plenty of things I need to give up...but how is this going to help the greater good? I understand the meaning behind it - Jesus sacrificed his life for us, so at the very least we can sacrifice something for HIM for 40 days. However...I wonder....I wonder if we could do things differently for the Glory of God? I wonder if we could start a Lenten Movement that would bring JOY to millions of people and to God?
You could commit to one service project or make it a goal to complete some many acts of kindness each day or each week. Here are some ideas:
1. Write a letter or send a gift to our soldiers through Operation Gratitude or a Military Facebook Page.
2. Take an elderly person or shut-in flowers or a meal or simply spend some time with them.
3. Clean up a park or neighbor area.
4. Visit the Humane Society - take supplies and cuddle with some pets.
5. Send an anonymous letter of appreciation to a community helper (fire fighter, teacher, police officer, librarian, etc.)
6. Donate anything you don't use to a women's shelter.
7. Purchase a gift card when checking out at any store. Then give it to the cashier or person who carries your groceries to the car before you leave.
8. Smile and wave at someone who appears lonely or sad.
9. Genuinely thank a person for working for you - at a coffee house, restaurant, department store, etc.
10. Long hair? Get a haircut and donate it to Locks of Love or some other organization.
11. Visit a nursing home to read, paint nails, play games, etc.
12. Become an organ donor on your license.
13. Volunteer to babysit for free for one night for a family in need. Better yet, babysit and give them a restaurant gift card.
14. Get involved in a Big Sister or Big Brother campaign.
15. Write a letter to students in a classroom. Share wisdom, advice, encouragement, etc.
16. Call a parent, grandparent, old friend, etc.
17. Send a letter to a parent, grandparent, old friend, etc.
18. Say "please" and "thank you" everywhere you go!
19. Make a point to ask at least five questions about a person in your conversation. Get to know them!
20. When shopping, pick up clothes or items out of place, put a shopping cart where it goes, and thank an employee.
21. Write a note to the boss of someone who helps you. Let the boss know how much you appreciate his/her employee.
22. Leave a small gift in random places. I love the idea of attaching a bag of unpopped microwave popcorn to a Red Box!
23. Practice Road Joy instead of Road Rage. Everyone has a story behind the wheel - be kind.
24. Offer to mow (or SHOVEL this year!) a neighbor's yard.
25. Give a homeless person a gift card to a restaurant.
26. Leave the mail carrier a treat or simply a note of appreciation.
27. Reduce negative talk. Build up, or shut up.
28. Make a point to give people genuine compliments.
29. Donate blood.
30. Shop at a locally owned business.
31. Volunteer at a food bank.
32. Bring treats to work.
33. Learn CPR.
34. Send "happy" mail to a hospital where children are fighting cancer. You may include coloring pages (free off the internet), stickers, little books, or simply happy words.
35. Collect soda can tabs to donate to Ronald McDonald house.
36. Get involved in Smiles for Siblings to encourage the entire family affected by cancer.
37. Write love notes around the house or spouse and kids. Write on mirrors, hide a note by the toilet paper, sock drawer, lunch box, etc.
38. Cook a little extra at a meal and share it with a family in need.
39. Send flower for the staff at a hospital unit.
40. Keep a couple umbrellas at work to lend them out when it rains.
41. Stop talking and truly LISTEN.
42. Clip or print extra coupons to share in the store.
43. Take flowers and/or an encouraging note or poem to a hospital or nursery home. Instruct the staff to give them to a person with no visitors.
44. Put change in expired parking meters.
45. Make a point to learn someone's name and use it.
46. Donate your talents or skills for a day. Volunteer to do laundry or help clean for a busy family.
47. Let people merge in traffic.
48. Assume good intentions from people.
49. Let it go.
50. Read the bible every day and pray!
Grab a cup of coffee and watch these videos while you smile and cry! Enjoy!