Monday, December 06, 2010

I just got these cute cards for FREE!!

Tropical Cheer Christmas 5x7 folded card
Make a statement with custom Christmas cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

It Keeps Going and Going and Going!!

Woodson Chapel Christian Church in St. Joe, MO is starting the 40 Days of Kindness. Pass it on!

Friday, April 16, 2010


As I sit and reflect upon what my 29 Days of Giving has done for me and how I've benefited from my own acts of kindness, I'm AMAZED at how much I've infected others to react, initiate and incorporate bigger and better ways to keep the momentum going!!  It's been well beyond my 29 days of Giving and I've seen and witnessed how it keeps going and going although I've quit the accountability and daily acts of giving.  Even though I'm not intentionally and actively giving on purpose each day, I'm still giving and sharing daily.  And the benefits are overflowing! 
We've all heard the phrase "Pay it forward" and many have seen the movie, but this is more than a movie or a phrase, it's real life and it's PURE- giving or acting without expectation.
If you google the phrase, "pay it forward" this is what you'll get:

Wikipedia also defines it:
The expression "pay it forward" is used to describe the concept of asking that a good turn be repaid by having it done to others instead. In contract law, typically there are two parties, but there may be a third party beneficiary. "Pay it forward" means the creditor (obligee) offers the debtor (obligor) the option of "paying" the debt forward by lending the funds to a third person instead of paying it back to the original creditor. Debt and payments can be monetary or by good deeds. In sociology, this concept is called "generalized reciprocity" or "generalized exchange". A related transaction, which starts with a gift instead of a loan, is alternative giving.

See also
Reciprocity (social psychology)
Reciprocity (cultural anthropology)
social responsibility
Gift economy

I absolutely LOVE this- especially what's found in the See Also- kindness and social responsibility.  It's part of our core responsibilties and the way to Walk in the Shoes of Jesus to live as we are here to live.  Hebrews 10:24... And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds...

Many times I've been asked about my giving and what inspired it, why I did it, how it worked and so on....  I'm really not one to talk much about my personal life (in person any way), or make a big deal over the things I do or have done- I just do it to do it....  But I do talk about it and love what it's done!  My sister-in-law and her husband, the Pastor of a church in Minnesota, have taken my acts of kindness and enveloped it into a passion and ministry within their church and they've blogged about the responses and reactions within the church and their community!  Click on her link to follow their story.

Not long after they started their 28 Days of Giving, I was again approached to share my story.  My own church wanted to start up something with a goal of 4,000 Acts of Kindness!!  Expanding from the 29 Days, they wanted to encourage 100 people to take the challenge of 1 act of kindness each day for 40 days = 4,000 acts of kindness!!!  They kicked this off Easter Sunday with my own video testimonial.

Check out their link and progress here:

Who knows where this will all lead?!  I'm just proud to say that I've been an active part of it!!  Don't be afraid to get involved and pay it forward yourself and to give back.  Who knows, mabye your town will be the next Kindest City in your state!?  See how this city is working towards that title now:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Flowering Cross by Beth Ryan

"The Flowering Cross" is a wonderful Easter story for children.  It really shows kids how they too can have an affect on the lives of others and how they can share their love for Jesus as well as his love for us.  Through Katie, Papa Jack finally opens up as his heart is filled with love for the first time.

I read this story to my children, ages 6 & 8 and they both wanted to share in the review as well.  My youngest, loved the story and thought this would be great for me to read as I teach K/1 Sunday School- especially now as we're beginning to celebrate Easter.  My son also thought that this was a very good book.  While he thought it could have been a little longer, he did not find it boring.  (His words.)  I too enjoyed the book and thought it had a great Easter message while creating a new tradition with the Flowering Cross as a way to celebrate the life Jesus gave for us and to say Thank You Jesus for all He has done for us.

There are also "Faith Imprints" and Bible verses at the bottom of several pages to refer to and discuss as you're reading the story.  While I like the references, I would rather have them at the end, but either way is great and it really makes it fun to go back and discuss to see how the kids understood the story.

I highly recommend this story for young children and will enjoy sharing this with others. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, January 10, 2010

2010 Rewards, Motivations and Goals

2010- Our Goals, Our Motivations and Our Rewards Boards!

As many of you may know and have seen, we keep the kids "Rewards Boards" posted up on the wall in the kitchen.  Previously, they were on a giant hot pink posterboard and we used stars to track their progress.  It worked wonderfully!!  But then, after having several inquiries for more information and pictures and what not, I tried to create a post to show and tell all about it- only for my post to get lost somewhere in Cyberspace.... not happy.  But no love lost.... in the process, I thought I'd add some helpful tools and links and inadvertently (my 10c word for the day!) researched the SuperNanny just a bit and discovered her, even cooler, reward boards!!!  So I thought I use hers, as ours was beginning to get a little tatterred and worn.... 

After a few trials and tribulations, we FINALLY got our new boards up and running, just in time for the new year!!

Bella's chart is on the right while Anthony chose the Pirate theme on the left.  We dug out some game pieces and use those to move their 'marker' up and down as needed.  I printed the pages directly from the Supernanny site, laminated them and use 'tacki-tape' (?) to move their markers and to hang our creations. 

This was our first official week using the new charts.  They each start at the bottom on "Start" and have to work their way up to 10.  They have to earn it in order to move up- setting the table, putting away their laundry, doing other chores as asked- no questions asked or whining allowed, etc...  But they can also lose it and go back down at the drop of a hat- bad behavior, not listening, arguing and fighting, time outs, etc...  One night last week, Bella did go down 2-3 places in just a manner of minutes, but made it all the way back up to 9 by the week end.  :O)  Anthony, on the other hand, managed to make it all the way to 10 and held on to it (although just by a thread) all the way to the end!! 

So then what? you ask.... well, that's up to you!!  Last year, they earned a quarter for each star they had at the end of the week (the primary difference was that they started with 10 stars and had to keep them all they get to earn them!!).  The quarters still work for us, but have decided to tweak that just a bit as well.  Last year, we discovered that it was nearly impossible for them to not spend it as fast as they earned it!!  And when you're only earning $2-$2.50/week, that's a whole lot of nothing they wasted their money on.  We even tried to find incentives for them to SAVE for... and found that Bella is a MUCH BETTER saver than her brother!!  Combined with some birthday money she got, she managed to save enough for a really nice digital camera!! 

So, this year, we're going to help them save...  and just like our family individual goals, we're keeping with our theme of 100.  If they have 10 perfect weeks, they will have earned 100 quarters!!  So, below their charts, they have another 100 board to track their earnings!!

And just because I know you're dying to hear about our family individual goals of 100...  I'll tell you.
It really originated as goals for the kids, but of couse, they sucked us in too!  And to be honest with you- well, the mom and the dad are not doing too well yet.... 

The kids were kind enough to make us each nametags for our tracker.  Mom's goal is to work out 100 times, dad's is to save $25- 100 times, Anthony's goal is to read 100 chapters (a revised compromise from 100 books) and Bella's goal is to learn 100 words!!  As you can see by the bottom 2 charts, the kids are off to a great start!!!

So, what are your goals, your rewards and your motivations (aka: resolutions) for 2010?

Monday, December 07, 2009

Well, my 29th day was officially Sunday.  And once again- I gave a lot to the Children's Ministry and to the Children in the Christmas Musical this year, at our last practice before Dress Rehearsal on Wednesday!  And then when I got home, I squeezed in just a little bonus with some bananas we had browning on the counter~ I made banana muffins for the family, and a batch to share!!

And now, my gift to you is the gift of giving itself and the challenge to try it for yourself and reap the rewards in more ways than you could ever imagine!!

About the 29 Gifts Movement.

The 29 Gifts Story
29 Gifts Origins is a global giving movement with several thousand members in 38 countries. Our collective mission at 29 Gifts is to revive the giving spirit in the world. We change lives—and change the world—one gift at a time. During our first year of operation we've accomplished a lot for some very worthy causes. Read about some of our projects here.


Give one thing away each day for 29 days. Share your stories about how it impacts your life to focus on giving. Join the 29-Day Giving Challenge today. Why? Because to see our world change, we have to do something to change our world. Plus, the best way to attract abundance into your life is to be in a perpetual state of giving and gratitude. Be an important part of the global giving movement that inspires more generosity on our planet.


Sign up and then give away 29 gifts in 29 days. Your 29 Gifts can be anything given to anyone... money, food, old sweaters, smiles, your time, kind words or thoughts. You can start your own personal 29-Day Giving Challenge at any time—there’s no official begin or end date. To complete the challenge, submit a story, post a piece of your original artwork, create a short film or write a song. Tell us about your favorite gives and the impact it made on your life to focus on giving.

29Gifts Founder, Cami Walker, answers some frequently asked questions in this Welcome Video

Find more videos like this on 29-Day Giving Challenge


1. Be mindful. The Challenge is intended to be a sacred ritual—it is your opportunity to cultivate a mindful practice of stepping outside your own story for a few seconds each day by serving others.

2. Don’t quit. If you have a day that you feel unmotivated to give, it’s ok. Just go for the simple give. Call a friend and give some kind words. Write someone a nice note. Or exchange smiles with a stranger. Every give doesn't need to be monumental. You might even notice that the “simple gives” feel more powerful than the grand gestures.

3. Don't worry if you don't do it perfectly. If you forget your give one day, be gentle with yourself. This ritual is about progress, not perfection. Sit down and quietly reflect on your day. Review the entire day mindfully and find the times you unconsciously gave so you can bring it into your consciousness. Don’t forget that there is never a day that you don't give. There are only days that you don't acknowledge and remember you did.

4. Be receptive and have fun. Enjoy your 29 days. And remember to stay open to receiving. Giving can't happen without the receptors of our gifts.

5. Participate. To get the most out of your experience, take part in our discussion forum and document your experience. Writing in your giving blog or posting videos or images regularly on the site will help you keep giving top of mind during your 29 days—and longer if you choose to stick around.

6. Stick Around. When you've completed you first 29 days, our hope is you'll feel so inspired by the changes you see in your thinking and your life, that you'll continue to give mindfully each day. You're welcome to stick around our community as long as you want to. Many givers have been here for multiple 29-day cycles. You're also welcome to join us as a volunteer after you've completed your first 29-day cycle. We always need people who are willing to commit to help welcome new givers, comment on blog posts, spread the word online, help us organize our community events and fund raisers. If you're interested in volunteering, contact Erin, our online community manager at and tell her a bit about yourself, your skills and why you'd like to be a 29Gifts volunteer.

Sign up now and get started. Give your gifts to the world!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Days 24-28

Geepers!?  I don't know where the time has gone!?  Another busy week in the Olson Household.... 
Imagine that. 

Tuesday, Day 24
(Thankful for my daily facebook updates to keep me inline and my memory refreshed)

Karisma 'Jones' Olson thinks she just found out what her gift du jour will be today!!

I can go to starbucks and know that 5c of my wonderful cup of coffee is going to help fund aids research! Thanks Andrea!!  Starbucks Coffee Company
December 1 at 1:21pm · Comment ·LikeUnlike · View Feedback (4)Hide Feedback (4) · Share

Yvonne Ruffthat's cheating.
December 1 at 3:13pm · deleteKarisma 'Jones' OlsonOh how do you figure?!
Ok, I did feel a *little* nudge of guilt- so I gave another $1 to Harvesters too, fed another 5 families!!! That feels good!! I was sooooo going to Pay It Forward today- at McDonald's- it was the only drive thru on my list, but the line was FOREVER long and I only had an hour for lunch.... so I went inside instead and will have to save that one for another day.... :O)
December 1 at 7:25pm · Delete

Wednesday, Day 25
December 2nd- Pookie's Birthday!!

Well, of course I gave him gifts!!

And I gave my bff away..... 
She packed up the house, hit the road and moved away.....
far, far, away.

But, she'll really never be more than a click awy.

Thursday, Day 26
I gave a hug.

Friday, Day 27
I did it- on the afternoon Sonic run, I decided I'd pay it forward!  So, in never having done this before, I thought, do I ask what the person behind me's total is before proceeding?  What if they're buying lunch for their office or bringing home dinner for the family?!  What if it's outrageous?  Doesn't matter.... defeats the purpose.  You just have to jump in, full forced- no going back. 

So I did.

I asked to pay for the person behind me too. 
Her total:

That felt like cheating.
But still, I bet it brought a smile to her face! :O)

Then, later in a trip to Tar-Jay with the kids, we all picked out gifts for Toys 4 Tots- no price restrictions- I just asked them to pick something they thought another child would like...
Some kids will be happy to receive-
A McDonalds cash register, complete with the burger and fries, a cool new sled and a couple packages of play-doh!! Oh what fun!!

Today- Day 28
After an early morning Holiday Extravaganza and pancake breakfast at school with the kids, the girls
(Bella, Aunt Cathy, Nana and I), we all went running around and did a little shopping too.  Our first trip was to the King Of Kings for Martin Luther Academy's annual cookie walk and while paying dearly to keep my own child well fed today, we also made sure to go out of our way to hit the Salvation Army buckets whenever they were near!!