Wednesday, October 30, 2013

day 117 : embracing the 'big-ness'

when i first started this project, i was all about it staying small and simple.
holding a door open, smiling at a random toddler at the coop, being really nice to my grandparents.
and obviously, those things are important.
those are things that we should all be doing, each and every day.

but, in the past few weeks, i have wanted more. more from this project. more from myself. more from strangers.

that night that blake and i were walking daphne, the night that the 'be nice box' was born, i was so outrageously inspired. i wanted to stand up and scream and work for a million hours in a row, only eating chocolate bars and popcorn {done and done}. i am thinking about this project ALL THE TIME! ways to connect people. ways to show others how important they are. ways for ME to grow as a human.

i have done a lot of things in my life. i have lived in europe all alone. {i got a tattoo from a guy in spain that didnt speak any english at all}. i have spent time in haiti, only a few months after the country was destroyed by a natural disaster. i have fallen in love. and then totally had my heart broken. i said goodbye to my grandpa & felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest. i have had jobs that have been hard. jobs that i didnt love at all. moved across the country with $300 and a 2-door car full of my life.

my point is : i want to be a person that does big things. a person who jumps off the cliff when others are saying 'wow, that looks dangerous.*' i want to be a person that takes huge chances and continues to be inspired by people i have never even met.
i am totally convinced that a small group of humans can change the world.

today i was at the store {buying chocolate popcorn} and i got really overwhelmed. i feel so lucky. to live where i do. to meet so many amazing people. to have the opportunity to brighten the days of people i might never see again. to be able to listen to YOUR stories of changing the world.

in the beginning, this was just a project about doing one nice thing a day, but over the past 5 months, i realize that it has really become a part of my life. i am noticing that i am constantly seeking out situations where i can smile at a stranger or hold the door or send a handwritten note to a friend. and while i feel awesome doing good deeds for others, i am also realizing that being more aware of others feelings, emotions and situations has made me more compassionate.

so the good deed in all of this? realizing that all of us {YOU} really do have the ability to make the world better. its not about money. its not about who you know. its not about who you think you are.
the idea that we can change the world is totally life-changing in itself!

*just a note : i wouldnt ever jump off a cliff in real life. i dont like water and jumping to my death has always been a fear of mine. but, you know what i mean ;)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

day 116 : grab some groceries for a neighbor

yikes! how did this week get away from me?
right now, I am taking on three part-time jobs, along with trying to get the Be Nice Box going ; so I have been finding myself with less time that usual!

We have an older neighbor who has quite a few medical issues. She doesn't leave the house much and doesn't have an in-home care.

Before heading to the co-op, I stopped at her place to see if she needed anything. She needed milk, so I bought her a container.

Super easy to do! She felt taken care of, I was already going to the store and we got to support a great local business!!

*fun note : the boxes go out on Monday!! I am so pumped*

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

day 115 : know when to walk away

happy Tuesday, everybody!
{I am laying in bed & need to get this out before I can sleep}
today's good deed could end up being super wordy ; but I will try to control myself.
{also, no photos because I am on my phone & using the blogger app}

this morning , I posted an article and my opinion on Facebook. {that is what it's for, right? ;)} and someone totally misinterpreted my point // meaning {also what Facebook is all about, yeah?}

she blew up my comment wall and somewhere along the line became combative and argumentative. after 8 comments, she started private messaging me. over the course of the DAY, she continued to send messages. she said her feelings were hurt and thought I was rude for the opinion I inserted into the article // my status.
she called me names, questioned my character and accused me of faking the idea that I promote kindness.

eventually she deleted me from all social media channels and posted some passive statements about behavior and being nice.

so, where does the good deed come in?
I stopped engaging with her. I am assuming she so badly wanted to get her point across and 'win' the argument ; so I let her.
I let her get the last word. she wanted to end the conversation and take a few jabs before she deleted me, and she did.
{sometimes chasing someone who has their mind made up is just a massive waste of energy}

I know who I am.
I recognize that in life, some folks might not agree with our opinions. some folks want to ignore your explanation and continue to fight.
I do not believe that having an opinion makes you rude.
I don't believe that standing behind your statements makes you inauthentic and hypocritical.

I really do believe in kindness. I believe in being nice to people. I also believe it's dishonest to assume that we all wear 'rose-colored kindness glasses' that enable us to stay away from conflict for all the days of our lives.
when challenged, there is a time to talk and there is a time to step away.
it's important to know the difference.

see you all tomorrow!

Monday, October 21, 2013

day 114 : send a postcard to a little boy

you guys!
this one is so fun! and super easy.

a couple weeks ago, i got an email from aundra. we met at healthy living summit & she was looking to start her own kindness project.
last week, she launched it& its called a year of chestertown nice.

her cousins son is the class geographer at school & they are looking for postcards from around the world.
so cute!

i have a handful from minnesota, so i wrote his class a little note & sent it off!

if you are interested in sending his class a postcard & sharing a bit about where you live, leave a comment or send me an email & i will get you his address!
{dianapantz at gmail}

also a quick 'be nice box' update : all of the november boxes are SOLD OUT! [thanks so much!!]
there is currently a waiting list for december. if you want to get on the list {you will be guaranteed a spot for december} send me an email!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

day 113 : talking about fear & encouraging others

happy saturday! 
you guys, i have been overwhelmed by all the texts, emails, tweets, messages & support regarding the be nice box!
i think the coolest thing is that there is a group of people floating around the world {YOU} that believes in the same thing i do! 
you believe in spreading kindness. you believe in sharing goodness. you believe in making this planet better. i love that. we are doing it! 
thank you so, so, so much!
{gosh, i really do appreciate it!}
{side note : there is only ONE box left for the month of november! so, when that box sells out, there will be a waiting list for the december box. subscribers and waiting list folks are GUARANTEED a spot for the new box BEFORE it gets opened up to everybody else!}
{to snag the spot, head here}

this could be a huge post all on its own ; but ill cut it down for you ;)
currently, i am 4 weeks in to my first adult swim class. it is once a week & hosted through community education.
there are four of us ; all grown adults. and all with deep fear of the water.
when i was a little, little kid, i use to take swim lessons ; but have ALWAYS been afraid of deep water. always.
i had a few bad experiences as a kid with deep water that still haunt me now. i am fine dunking my head under. fine bouncing around. but, the second my feet cant touch ; panic.
i cant swim. i cant tread. i dont even know how to dunk under without plugging my nose.

so, i turn 30 in a few months & while i was training for my duathlon, i kept thinking about how gratifying it would be to kick my fear, learn to swim & complete a triathlon.
{thinking about swimming in open water still gives me knots in my stomach, so im not sure if it would happen next summer ; but i would LOVE to complete one}
in my four weeks of class, i have learned to breathe underwater, to swim {like, actually swimming!!!} half-lengths of the pool, to tread water {for a few minutes at a time!} and to feel more comfortable in the water.
{i really have been terrified of water for YEARS, so this is such amazing progress for me!}

there is a women in our class. shes late-50s or early 60s and almost drowned when she was younger. each class, she grabs a few pool noodles and just sits in the shallowest part of the pool and just bobs. {she sits at the 90* angle of the length & width of the pool, so shes wedged in the corner} for her, this is huge. each class, she & i talk about fear. about progress. and swim caps. ;)
last week, she started walking, with her pool noodles and got about 10 feet {distance, not depth} into the pool without holding onto the side. she said thats the farthest shes been in a pool since she was 8 years old.
i sat there & watched her with tears in my eyes. it was really like watching your child go off to college.
im sure i looked like a total creep watching her in the pool, but we made eye contact & told her that she was so incredibly inspiring & i hope she realized how amazing she is. i told her to go home & tell everybody she knows about the progress shes been making!
the fact that she has been so afraid to step foot in a pool for 45 years & we get to watch her progress is awesome.
fear is one nasty emotion ; the hold it can have & the memories it can bring can be pretty rotten.

your job : tell somebody that you are proud of them!
for working hard, for being a great parent, for being thoughtful ; anything awesome!
if you are on twitter, share your good & add the hashtag #benicebox, so we can all be inspired!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

THE BIG REVEAL // day 112 : launch a business that will change the world

here it is!
the reveal of my big, huge, adventurous plan!
originally, i had a HUGE, wordy post typed out, but i am erasing it all & starting over!

here we go!

i started this blog after the boston bombings in april, with a goal to complete one random act of kindness each day, for an entire year.
so far, i have completed almost 120 acts ; its been such a blast!
want to see a few of my favorites?
{go herehereherehere & here}

last month, i left my 13-year career in education, *knowing* i wanted to do something new with my life & time. i had no idea what that was, but i knew i was ready.

since i have started the kindness blog, there have been FIVE other women who have started their own blogs about kindness {so awesome}. you can see them hereherehere, here & here. i have been SO incredibly inspired by the blogs, emails & tweets that others have been sharing! its been so amazing to watch strangers come together, do good deeds & make the planet better.
i kept asking myself 'how can i use this blog & this platform and turn it into a career i will love?!'

one night, i was out walking daphne & the idea hit me!
and the be nice box was born!

do you want to know more?!
{say yes!!}

what is it? 
the be nice box is a monthly subscription service encouraging YOU to spread your own kindness!
there are 1, 3, 6, & 12-month & gift subscriptions available!

what do i get?
each month, the box will center around a theme & all contents will be a surprise until you open the box.
but, each month you will receive a list of 13-15 fun, awesome & affordable ideas to practice kindness in your area. along with the list, you will also find 5-7 materials, items & handmade products to help you fulfill some of those tasks. and finally, each box will contain a cool, handmade surprise for YOU!

how much does it cost?
a one-month subscription is only $12! 
you can get 3 months for $35 or 6 months for $68.
a 12-month subscription is only $133!
the best part?
$1 from EACH box sold will be donated to charity.
{each month, the theme & the charity will align. that way, we can make impact, after impact, after impact!}
for the november box, we will be donating our money to 'ten thousand things.' they are a minneapolis-based theatre company that provides FREE performances to prisons, low-income housing projects, community centers and homeless shelters! 
learn more about them here!

also, shipping is ALWAYS FREE! there are no hidden fees or marketing tricks!
the price you see is the price you pay!

where can i sign up?
im glad you asked ;)
you can head over here to sign up!
please note : for the first few months, there will be a limited number of boxes available.
if the november boxes sell out, there will be a waiting list for the december box!

how can i stay connected?
lets be friends!
i love social media & really believe that we can connect with folks we wouldn't have otherwise had the opportunity to meet!

other things to note : 
the boxes will ship around the 25-28th of october, so they will be on your doorstep by november 1st!
at this time, boxes will only be shipped INSIDE the US {sorry, international friends}

thanks so much for reading!
i really, really believe that if we all come together & take baby steps to be better, the world will absolutely become a better place!

if you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email or connect with me on twitter!

you guys! i believe in this box! i have been feeling stagnant and uninspired in my life for a while now & i honestly believe creating this box was meant to happen {its okay if you think its sounds silly!} the idea that i get emails, tweets and messages ALL the time from folks saying 'hey! i did something rad & kind today!' ; i love it! i believe in community. i believe in teamwork. i believe that we can all be better & make a huge change!

thanks so much for following along, everybody!
i really, really appreciate all of you!

Monday, October 14, 2013

day 111 : send my grandpa some photos

happy monday, everybody!
its been a bit quiet over here, but i promise it will liven up tomorrow.
i have a billion things to do today to make sure i am ready {well, the goal is to be 'ready enough, everybody believes im ready' ;)} for the site to launch!
be sure to stop back tomorrow & i will share all the details!
i really am excited. i believe so strongly that we can all team up, complete small acts of kindness & make the world better!

todays act is pretty simple!

last month, i completed my first duathlon {you can read that here} and blake took a bunch of photos. last week, i printed a bunch off & this morning, i sent three photos and a handwritten note to my grandpa. he lives a couple hours away, but i havent seen him for a couple of months, so i figured this would be a great way to let him know that i am thinking about him.
today is a great day to let a parent or grandparent know you are thinking about them! 

see you tomorrow ;)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

day 110 : give a TON of books new homes

this one is SO easy! 
blake & i have both worked with kids for years {me : 13 years ; him : 16 years}. literacy is SO important to both of us. over time, we have both developed a real love of kids books. not the {lame} character books that only allow rote learning {yes, i know, that is fine, too} ; but real quality childrens books. ones with great story lines and beautiful pictures.

between the two of us, we have crates and crates of kids books. SO MANY! 
over the past couple months, we have been purging and simplifying our lives.
blake recently took a new position {still with kids, but no longer teaching} and i decided that i am done working with kids {its just not where my passion is, anymore} ; so we had to decide what to do with all these kids books..

we decided to go through & donate most {only keeping ones that are really personal to our lives, stories, career} 
blake took about 30+ to his new job to use for some program activities and we set aside another 50+ to give to the minnesota literacy council! their mission is to put books in the hands of every kid in minnesota! each year, they donate over 10,000 books to kids in low-income families // areas throughout the state.

i was SO lucky to grow up in a family where books were enjoyed and read often. my parents read me book after book after book each night before bed & i am convinced it was because of them that i love reading so much today! 

if you are looking to donate books in your area, contact a school, a head start program, or a literacy council. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

day 109 : make you cry and introduce you to mama jade

hey everybody!
its been a week since i have posted on here.
you will find out why its been a bit quiet in the next couple of weeks!
i have been *incredibly* inspired this past week and am in the process of launching a new business that *could* change the world!
it will be a direct extension of this blog ; but there is quite a bit of work involved, which is why it will be a bit quiet around these parts until the new website launches next week {woo hoo!}

today, i decided to pop in & share a story with you that has gone viral in the past couple of days.
{i know, you know..} we rescued daphne over a year ago. she is 65-pounds and part pit. she has a slew of issues & has destroyed most things we own ; but gosh, we love her so very much.
we know that when she was a puppy, she was trapped in a harness {either she ran away with it on, or it was left on intentionally}. we dont know her whole story, but whenever i hear stories of dogs that have been abused and mistreated, my heart just rips in half.

a facebook friend shared this picture this morning; and after doing some digging {and bawling for 30 minutes!} ; i found a really inspiring story!

first, look at the photo of this pit bull.
{the photo is from the author of the CL post}

and then, go read this craigslist post.
and then, go 'like' this facebook page to stay updated & involved!

i dont want to give too much away ; but i promise that you will bawl, feel so sad & then feel so very inspired by all the goodness in this story!