Another RAK!

Another random act of kindness idea.  When you are visiting a new city this summer, call the local chamber of commerce and tourism office and tell them about your 90% positive experiences in their city.  I love doing this. They are always so grateful and surprised.  People are proud to work at these offices and support their local community. Tell them how much you enjoyed visiting and holidaying in the place where they live.

Thank Everyone!

I see a lot of people out today getting groceries and supplies for their weekend of fun. Make sure you are telling every one who serves you what a great job they are doing. Serving staff, gas attendants and hotel staff need to know they are good at their jobs. Take the time to say thank you to them. They are not thanked enough for their hard work and they help make your holiday great.

RAK

Let’s do a random act of kindness today. I make it a point to call managers and tell them how much I enjoyed one of their employee’s service. I like to add another layer to that and call or email the head office. It is amazing how quickly they respond thanking me and they often say, “We usually hear from those who are unhappy. It is nice to hear from a happy customer today.” See, it could make someone’s day.

4 Steps to Being Happier

“The Science of Well-Being “is a course at Yale University and it is an overview of what psychological science says about happiness.It encourages four activities that align perfectly with my Focus on the 90% message: make lists of what you are grateful for, do random acts of kindness, exercise/sleep and meditate.

Make lists of what you are grateful for

This is focusing on the 90%! The ability to focus on what you are grateful for has changed my life. Some people think 90% is just too high of a percentage and I am just too damn happy. Fair. Whatever percentage of your life is positive, focus on that.

I am grateful for: my health, my home, my friends and my family — a husband who doesn’t think “happy hour” is where problems are solved and teenagers who are on such good paths in their lives, my pets and the list goes on and on.

Do random acts of kindness

Smile genuinely at everyone. Feed people you know are hurting. Leave gift cards for people who do a good job. Leave the coin in the shopping cart. Compliment people on their sweater, how kind they are to their children and their beautiful yard. Thank people for opening the door for you, their great service and for being your customer.

Text people and tell them you love them and why you are grateful for them. Give everyone who begs for money, money or food. Don’t judge through a 10% lens, just be kind. You don’t know their story. Leave people feeling better.

Exercise and sleep

I can trace every time I have focused on the 10% to being tired and depleted. Sleep is sanity for me. The times I try to function on little sleep prove to be very unhappy and unproductive days. I find myself being ungrateful, annoyed with people and then I start a vicious cycle of looking for caffeine.

Stop watching TV late, get off of your phone, no late eating, leave unanswered emails, walk over toys and housework and get some sleep! Quit playing martyr to your life and just go to bed.

The best exercise in the world is a walk with my dog, Holly.

Meditate

I tend to be very busy and live off of adrenalin. Years ago, a naturopathic doctor told me if I kept that up I would wear out my adrenals and I would suffer with poor health later in my life. Wow. I took that very seriously.

I take small pockets of time a few times a week to just sit, close my eyes, breath deeply and focus on one great thing. This form of mediation calms me right down. I do it on the airplane, while I wait for teenagers in the car and up early sitting on the deck. Calm adds a layer of genuine to people.

Grateful you are a part of my social media world,

Impact

Our daughter Jayda finishes Grade 12 today. Her life has been impacted by so many people.

Meet Mr. Brent Michelson. Brent is a teacher I mention in my book. He was our daughter’s Grade 8 teacher and one of the most impactual people, for sure.

This wonderful man drove four hours from his new teaching town to come and congratulate the Grade 12s whose lives he touched. Does that show the passion he has for teaching?

And School’s Out!

I woke up today with a day full of work in my home office to this scene. This means  teenage boys are flopped in my basement and teenage girls are camped out upstairs. Everyone is celebrating their last day of school. This is a very popular scene at my house and I suspect what I will be seeing all summer.

And then my girlfriend sends me this:

THE 18th SUMMER

I came home the other day after a long afternoon of running errands and this is what my front porch looked like. These shoes mean that I have a house full of kids . . . mostly teenagers. These shoes are a sure sign that it is summer and school is out. These shoes mean there is probably no food left in my house. These shoes mean noise and chaos and laughter and music. It means there are probably kids lounging on my sofa, floating in my pool, playing air hockey or watching a movie somewhere. These shoes mean that we are the designated hang-out house today.

I paused outside of my door and felt a wave of sadness wash over me as I looked at these shoes . . . shoes from a group of kids that have been hanging out at my house for four years now. Some kids have competed on the same teams, some have been in the same classes as far back as elementary school, some have dated and some have broken up. But all have remained good friends over the years. Most of these kids just graduated from high school which means these shoes will be going in different directions this fall when they head off to college.

They say you only have 18 summers with your kids. I am on number 18 with mine. This realization tugs at my heart and makes me wonder how 18 summers went by so quickly. Big changes are happening around here – for me and all these kids in my house. My heart knows it and feels it and that’s why the sight of these shoes has me feeling a little sentimental. I know that after this summer, things will never be the same again. This is a bittersweet part of parenthood . . . this transition from having them home to watching them leave. My head knows this is a good thing, but my heart . . . it just hurts.

I love having these shoes all over my porch because it means that my children are home. It means that I know where they are and who they are with and that they are all safe. I am very aware that these shoes won’t be here much longer. All too soon these shoes will be scattered across different college campuses and they will be taking their first steps of independence. And I know that all of these shoes might not find their way back home next summer as life takes them on new adventures.

These thoughts hang over my head like a dark cloud . . . trying to steal the joy from the present moments. I shake my head, trying to force those wistful feelings away. I don’t want the sadness of what is to come to take away the happiness of today. But I am finding that I have to remind myself of that often during this 18th summer because every moment seems bittersweet.

But for now, I will embrace these shoes and I will be so thankful for them. I will buy all the snacks. I will welcome these kids into my home and let them crash on my couches. I will soak up the sounds of their laughter and I will make them clean up all of their messes. I will pray that everyone drives home safely and I will love having a full house. But most of all, I will do my best to choose happiness and joy for this moment right now and not let that dark cloud of sadness swallow me up. Because this moment right now . . . it is really good.

So I am going to treasure this summer of the shoes . . . Because I know that all too soon those shoes will be running off exploring the world . . . and my porch will be empty.

Romans 15:13

Heather Duckworth
Love, Faith & Chaos