Monday, November 30, 2009

A Week Of Giving - Days 17-23

Another week has flown by!  A week with family, a week of celebrating, a week with friends, a week of Thankfulness and A WEEK OF GIVING!!

Now, if only I can think back and remember that far...... oh boy!!

Tuesday- Day 17
 It's the hardest yet to remember, while I'm absolutely certain it was there~
I'm gonna have to get back to you on that one!  :O)

Lunch Note Promise by Lunchables
Check out the Lunch Note Promise! Promise to write a lunch note and Lunchables will give a free lunch to a kid in need!

Wednesday- Day 18

'Twas the day before mom and dad's 45th Wedding Anniversary, so I loaded up the kids and we went to the ponderosa to wish them well and to share the love!!  The kids worked so hard and decorated a card to the tee!  We picked out some absolutely *gorgeous* flowers for them to keep and to plant to bloom each year after year and a wonderful bottle for the two of them to share!!

Thursday- Day 19

Also known as THANKSGIVING.  It was so easy to give today and to be thankful and to be greatful for all that we have, those that we know and those that we love.  We started of with a trip to McDonald's on our way out of town and made certain to "Give a Hand" for the Ronald McDonald House and those in need. Then we headed to the land of Des Moines where we shared a fabulous new Pumpkin Trifle desert at the dinner at the church.  We met some new friends and played games with the kids!  Then to top of the day, we gave our undivided attention to our kids with a family night out- at the Buc's game!!  Nothing like good 'ol Iowa hockey!!  Especially when the kids KNOW one of the players personally and he LIVES with their cousins!!  How very cool is that!?

Friday - Day 20

Oh me oh my- today, I gave till it hurt!!!  They call it "Black Friday."  The day that the stores break out of the red...  This year, I had also heard it referred to as "Green Friday" at Toys R Us, as this was the day that they "made a lot of green" and even Blue Friday as advertised in KMart's big ad?!  We're thinking this one goes back to the days of "blue light special!"  And if you too remember that~ maybe I'm really not so old!?  LOL!  We went to bed somewhere between 11:30 and 12am, for a short nap as the alarms went off at 1:30am to leave the house by 2 to pick up a friend and be at the Old Navy for their doorbusters by 3am!!  Holy moly!!!  What were we thinking?!  Heck, we were done by 8:30am and couldn't even begin to tell you of all of our savings!!! Hee hee...  Today we felt like Marines- getting more shopping done before 9am, than most people get done all day!!!  So, Friday, needless to say- I gave to the economy!!

Saturday- Day 21

To be honest with you, somewhere between Thursday and Friday and the lack of sleep in there- it's really hard to say, if it happened on this day or if happened on that!?  But somewhere in there, we even snuck in another quick trip to the grocery store for some odds and some ends and another great feast was purchased and given at the register for another one in need.... 

Sunday- Day 22

Once again, I gave my afternoon to the children.  Sunday's have been practice days for the upcoming Christmas Hang Ups~ our musical at church.  The kids have been working and studying and practicing soooo hard since September and with only 2 practices left, this Sunday was pretty essential!!  The kids are doing great and the show's sure to be a hit!!

Monday- Day 23
So much to do, so much to say....It's incredibly hard to think for a week, but what about just one day?!  Back to work, back to the grindstone- it's in it's out, it's Monday....  oridinary ol' no big deal Monday....
But it didn't feel that way to everyone I know.
I'm sure that my friend Dana would beg to differ as this is a day she's marked down in her book.
Today was her daughter Delaney's surgery, a big one I'm sure.  So I've given prayers for her, for both of them and for their family and friends.  As God is watching from above, it's through Him that they are given strength and through Us that we give support.  We love you sweet Delaney!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 16

Tonight while at the grocery store with the kids and while standing in line just trying to get through the checkout without a complete meltdown from my adorable 7 year old who just couldn't understand why I would not give him yet another quarter to put in yet another machine at the front doors for yet another cheap toy.... he decided to try to distract and out smart me...  He says to me, "Mom, do you think they have one of those bucket things or a place to give money to the homeless people or something?"  He did get my attention and I started looking around, thinking that usually they do have something at the registers- when I, with the help of my daughter, spotted the Check Out for Harvesters donation coupons.  They have these available in $1, $5 and $10 increments.  Immediately Bella rips off the $1 and hands it to the cashier, I smiled and said ok, then Anthony says he wants the $10 one?!  Well, that just wouldn't be fair, so we agreed on another $1 donation!!  We just fed 10 people for only $2!  Then we had to proceed still all the way to the car, to explain how that money- the equivalent of four quarters that we just donated for each of them, fed 5 people who otherwise wouldn't have been able to eat.  Although he tried to argue the point with me and to explain how the Indians didn't have money when they were here with the Pilgrims and how they had to live off their crops on the land~ I think in the long run, he "got it."  At least I hope I'm making some sort of impression?!

Then, just to top off our night of giving, the man behind me with a turkey under each arm, asked if I'd be so kind to let him use my Hen House card too?!  Well heck yeah, who wouldn't?!  Silly man!!  Sure made his night and saved him a pretty penny too!

Harvesters can turn a $1 donation into 5 meals. How do we do it? By leveraging that dollar to acquire, transport, sort, store and distribute enough donated food to feed five people. Where else can you get that kind of return on your investment?
To find out more about Harvesters- visit their website at:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Days 13, 14 & 15

Wow!!  Another 3 days have passed!!!  But not without another 3 days of giving!!  If only I could remember what I gave on Friday... hmmm....  It started with another lucky free lunch that I shared with a friend!!  Woo hoo!!  And ended with a late night sharing the cleaning duties with the kids?!  Does that count?  And to think I got a nice and organized book closet out of that deal!!  And another great/late heads up on an EARLY morning shipment of Zhu Zhu pets at Toys R Us!!!  Thank you, thank you!!  And I'm sooooo sorry, for not sharing my news (especially with you Troy!).... but I didn't find out till late and the sale was at 6am- which meant you had to be there by, hmm, oh, say 5:30am at least.... and, well, to be honest- I was up to my eyeballs in pledge and cupcakes- just not at the same time.  :O)

Then Saturday was the day of the big girl's birthday party!!  Oh what fun it was too!!  Her daddy was kind enough to wake up early and make the run for us, so that I could sleep in just a tad... then after surprising her with another friend for her friend, we got ready for the day.  And what fun did we have as we made candy necklaces, decorated cupcakes and made scrapbooks too!! And how lucky we were that one little friend who's just a little younger too, was in need of a coat the she just out-grew!!  Giving made easy!!  And I must have rubbed off on my kids, if just a bit... as Bella was so nice and generous to share in all of her gifts!!

Today, like most Sunday's we spent at the church!!  And in between Sunday School and our Musical practice when running errands and picking up a cookie cake for Ms. Colene and to share~ we made sure to share a sweet treat with the nice girls at the checkout too!  Then on the way home, we gave our old glass bottles to the recycling bin by Gomer's...  just one more thing we can do in our efforts to help Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!!  What's your One Thing?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 11 & 12

Wow!  I can't believe it's already days 11 & 12!!  And I'm not even having to think hard about it yet...  there just seems to be such a need for giving!  And most of it, comes natural! 

Yesterday I had to really think about it though...  In retrospect, I see where in a rush to make it to a meeting by 6 and getting there at 6:15 only to find out we were 15 minutes EARLY!!!  I got to give my kids some undivided attention!  We got to study some spelling words and had a little fun throwing in a few extras too!!  Then at the meeting, I gave an open mind to an offer for God's opportunity to "mess me up!"  (You had to be there!)  But what a great opportunity this is as God has sent Curtis Huffman from his beach suffering life in Florida back to Kansas City's Northland to start a movement, to start a church that starts churces that starts churches!!!  And to think that we could be at the breaking ground of all of this.  And just when I was asking "What is my next step?!"  Strange how God listens and answers....  The church name?  Northland!!  The church's mission:  Equip people to know, go, and show the ways of the Christian faith with pre-Christians and Christians from here to the ends of the earth.

Today- not only did I share my buy one get one free lunch from Noodles, but I gave my USB car charger to a coworker with a dead phone to make his deliveries to St. Joe and Excelsior!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Days 9 & 10

It's not easy being cheesy....  LOL!  But somehow I do do it very well.  :O) 

Day 9 was such a busy day running here and there and everywhere, but in the hustle and bustle of it all- I did manage to hit the Salvation Army bucket again.  Then when out running around with the kids, I discovered that I've rubbed off just a little bit....  everytime we pass the bell ringers, the kids ask for money for the bucket and whether or not we're going to ring the bells again this year?!  Anthony loves it and knows that it's a good cause to help people who need some money, but Bella says she thinks it might be too cold this year.  LOL!  We've always done it at the Hy-Vee in Liberty, in between the doors- sheltered from the elements!!  Kids are so darn cute!! So of course, once again, I gave them each a dollar for the bucket.  And inside WalMart, Anthony was sure to ask me for some money- I thought he wanted it for a candy machine or some game or something, but no, it was for the Children's Miracle Network- he said, but mom shouldn't we give some money to help the homeless?  No coaching needed- but possibly some lessons in tithing?!

Day 10

Today was Bella 6th Birthday!!!  Does it count that I gave her a plethora of gifts?!  Aside from that, as we left Chuck E Cheese tonight I stopped and handed out the remainder of our 5 helium balloons (with parent approval) and lit up a few small faces!  Sometimes it's the little things we do!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 8

Day 8

Today was yet again another VERY BUSY day for Mrs. Olson!! 
Thankfully though, Tony and the kids let me sleep in!!  Which in turn, seemed to make the day seem even busier and go even faster.... 
So after a great day at church with an AMAZING message, Chris Cakes and fellowship, a quick trip home then back again for Christmas Musical practice, home again, then off to in the world could I work in giving? 
You just do. 
As I jumped on facebook and was sitting and reflecting about my day and sort of wondering myself- what did I give?  I didn't count Tony's giving to The Ronald McDonald House yesterday, when we ran through the golden arches for breakfast, so could I really count our giving to the church?  Na.... 
But our fellowship and giving a place to sit to someone we'd recently met and share our breakfast with~ that counts...  And I thought about my time, the time I gave to teach the kids in the Christmas Musical, but then I was reminded that it was the gift of love today.  (Although in some instances, we all might argue that it was patience more than anything!)  At Bunco, I always give up my money rather easily....  :O)  However, tonight I had 2 roll-offs, in which I actually won one!!  So, I gave them all CAKE!   

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day 5, 6 & 7

Ok, so I have to admit, this whole giving on purpose is really harder than it seems......  I mean, I'm a pretty giving person at it is, but when trying to give daily, I wonder if some of the things I give count?!  There really aren't any rules to this- at least not that I'm sure of?!  But on day 5, I was really struggling- a coworker was having a really hard time, she's had some medical issues surmounted with time off, hospital bills, doctor bills, lack of insurance, not to mention everything else that encompasses that, but then on top of everything else, she was just having some intense pain!  It was sooooo bad, and she was trying to be soooo strong, but being as stubborn as she was, she just really wanted to fight it out- I tried to lend my ear, to give her strength, but found that all I could really do was to give her a big old fat and juicy hug!!!  (And for those of you who know, I'm really not a big old fat and juicy touchy feely kinda huggy person!)  So, does that really count?  I really didn't "do" anything, but I did everything I really could.... 

Day 6... another day like before- I didn't give anything monetary- I think that's where my sense of "giving" keeps getting confused.... it doesn't have to be monetary, but genuine, heart felt and necessary.  So on day 6 I listened.  Something we could all really benefit from- just to stop and listen- sometimes that's all the other person really needs.  They don't necessarily need our judgement, our advice, our opinions or our two cents- they just need someone to listen.  And that's just what I did.      Later, of course, I checked back in and we brainstormed and we talked and we shared and again, I listened.

Day 7. 
A busy day.  I gave my time- attended Leadership Training for my son's Cub Scout Den.  Ran errands and decided to park just a little farther away and grab a cart from the parking lot on the way in- something we should all do- why not?!  You're going to use it as soon as you get inside anyway and it's one less cart for someone else to tote or to run away stray into the parking lot?!  Next stop, I intentially planned to go into the grocery store on the same side as the Salvation Army Bell Ringer to make sure to give my donation- my mom said she plans to give to each one she sees this year!  What a great idea!!!  I usually volunteer to ring the bells each year and haven't signed up yet and just might not physically be able to fit it in- but will definitely help where I can!  Once inside the store, I put my blinders on and challenged myself to get in and get out with everything on my list in just a very short amount of time.  In doing so, I failed to help the little old lady in her store owned power cart ramming it into the meat coolers as she tried and tried to turn it around while her frail husband stood ever so sweetly out of her way.....  I really don't think I could have jumped the counter and ran around and weaved through the other people in the store to help her before she managed it, but still, it woke me up and made me aware.  I travelled over to the toilet paper and mentally added two jumbo packs to my list as the kids have been begging me to get some the next time I go to the store as their classes are competing to see who can collect the most for the shelter bins.  Then I passed the sweetest little lady climbing up on the bottom shelves to reach the Sponge Bob Dixie Cups that were on the top shelf and knocked over and pushed back- she was ever so grateful!  I'm guessing she has grandkids?!  And still I managed to get everything on my list and out of the store in record time!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 4

Ok, so today is Day 4 of the 29 Days of Giving...  I had great intentions of giving to Toys For Tots today.... but the fact that the toy I thought I had, I don't and the trip I had planned to the bank didn't happen since it was closed...was making it a tough start!  But, on the way out the door, I grabbed the container of cookies still sitting on the counter, that we didn't need at Cub Scouts after all, and brought those to work to share once again.  Gee, I'm starting to see a theme here already!?  LOL!  Then, on a drink run in the morning, a did spot a coworker who's wallet was dry.......  it happens.  And then I just had to throw in an OJ for my friend Diana who seriously expected me to believe that she was going to eat a sausage biscuit with grape jelly without anything to drink?!  Silly girl!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness?

I don't really know what started it, but the other day at work we somehow got on the subject of random acts of kindness...  One girl was talking about a trip to Dollar General and how the lady in front of her with her baby in toe, had to put back the toilet paper she was going to buy as she just didn't have quite enough to pay for it.  Now, we've all been there before when you get to the checkout and you left your wallet at home, the debit card in the car, your spouse forgot to give you the new credit card and yours is expired~ or even just when you didn't have quite enough....  not only is it embarrassing, but I can't even imagine to have to choose what to put back, and not having enough for toilet paper.  Well, the girl I work with must have felt those same emotions as she went ahead and paid for the toilet paper with her items and caught up with the new mom still loading the baby into the car.  How very grateful she was and couldn't thank her enough!!

The other gal at work shared a similar story that had just happened to her when leaving Sam's and meeting a young lady at the gas pumps.  The young girl was trying to use a Wal-Mart gift card she had to pay for her gas, but the pump wasn't able to read and/or accept it.  Frustrated and out of gas, she asked, nearly begged to sell her gift card for some gas money.  My colleague refused to take her gift card, but did give her $10 and followed her to QT to make sure she got there safely and was able to get the gas she truly needed.  Again, the girl was extremely grateful. 

Well, of course not wanting to be without my own little tid-bit to add... I just had to chime in!  Of course, my story paled in comparison.  But still an act of kindness that was witnessed and this time to me!!!  This was my silly 'ol story and quest for the infamous and impossible to find Zhu Zhu pet!  A friend tipped me off that Wal-Mart was going to have them in the ad on Sunday and would have them available- yet in limited supplies.  Well, since everyone knows that Sunday starts at Midnight- I high-tailed it up there at 12:00 on the nose.  Only to find out that the line started at 11:30pm!  They had 20 come in and with a limit of 2 per person, that meant that the first 10 people there got them!  Bummer.  I missed that boat, but shrugged it off, no big deal. I figured I'd make the most of it and pick up the dog food and few other things I needed so I wouldn't have to battle the crowds on Sunday anyway.  Then as I was walking out the door, I ran into my friend- you know, the one that tipped me off!!  This was his 3rd Wal-Mart for the night and when I told him the news, he and his friend left too...  who woulda thought?!  Then low and behold, next thing I know as I'm loading up my van and getting ready to head home, he stopped at my car and asked when Bella's birthday was.  I told him it wasn't till the 17th and that I had a full 10 days to shop- no big deal.  He snickered a little, handed me the cutest little white pet hampster, Zhu Zhu and wished me luck.  What a guy!  I'll pay him back, just as soon as I can and he knows it- he's just not holding his breath!!!  Supposedly, the next shipment is expected December 1st....

Which leads me to Sunday's Sermon in church.  The topic was about giving....  and mentioned in the sermon was the book "A Month of Giving."  Well, in googling the subject of 30 days of giving, 1 month of giving and other various ideas- I came across the 29 Gifts Movement.  Originally, while sitting and listening to the sermon, I thought this would be a great idea to write down and chart our giving within the family, but since hearing the stories at work and doing even more research- I thought I'd put it out there and see who's up for a challenge?  Shoot me an email and sign up with me!  It's become quite the movement already and I can't wait to journal my progress, share my stories and hear from you too!