I have seen this post floating around for awhile on various social media outlets and was really intrigued by it. So often, we spend this time of the year looking back on what we did wrong and making plans for resolutions to make ourselves better in the next year. That’s all fine and dandy, don’t get me wrong, but why the heck aren’t we celebrating all we did right this year? All the times we slayed and nailed it? Those times deserve their time in the spotlight too!
I’m sharing mine here, because I am proud. I’ve come a long way in a year and I’m excited to see where I go in 2020. I want to hear your achievements and wins for this year! SHOUT OUT TO YOU FOR ALL YOU DID!
I started a blog and website. That’s pretty big for me. Not only that, but I have been moderately consistent with updating and posting! I even have a solid Instagram you need to check out if you aren’t already! Normally, I have great ideas but they peter out pretty quickly and I move on, this just reminds me that I’m on the right path. I’m doing my heart’s work and it feels amazing!
I helped two people very close to me through some very scary, hard times. I made a difference and I can see how much I really do matter to people.
I became a paid author. Read that sentence at least three more times. I am an author. Dream come true right there. More to come too!
I learned how to do hand lettering. No more being envious of others, I can do it whenever I want.
I loved my family and friends. I forgave people who hurt me. I unpacked old wounds and I am helping to heal properly. I laughed a lot, cried some, stayed true to myself, and saw a snow owl.
I “met” all of you. Some are closer than others now, but I’m so grateful for each of you.
“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.” Matthew 10:8
We’re gathering next week for Christmas. Time spent with our family and friends. We come together because Jesus was born. We celebrate his birth for all He brought to us: love, healing, and forgiveness. We talk a good game this time of year, but how often do we dig deep to freely give love and healing to others?
Eleven months out of the year, most of us rush through life relatively laser focused on our needs. Its human nature, we’re all guilty from time to time. Then in December we throw a small gift in a can or change in a kettle to warm our hearts. But what about the people who were struggling before December? What about the families who were torn apart for reasons outside of their control? What about the peopke doing the wirk and doing their best who will need help far beyond the Christmas season?
We want to celebrate Jesus’ birth with presents and decorations, but what about celebrating his life through loving, helping, and giving? Society complains when single parents (especially dads) don’t step up to support their kids. We complain when they don’t work as hard as we think they should to support their kids. We rant and rave far too often about all the people who do things we do not agree with that we lose sight of the people who quietly step up and do the right thing day in and day out.
Kenan Harris is one of those people. I am honored to know and work with him. Kenan is a single father to an 11 year old boy (his son’s mother passed away when he was baby). Kenan is a family man who loves God and country. A veteran of the US Army, he works 70 hour weeks to support his son and raise him to be a man of strong character.
He doesn’t do it flashy, he doesn’t look for praise. He shows up to quietly do what’s right and spread his positive outlook. He does it all because its the right thing to do.
Its our turn to step up for him and anyone else in a similar position. To say thank you. To show his son that people care and doing the right thing, like his father does, will always come back to you.
An 11 year old kid shouldn’t be without his parent on Christmas. We shouldn’t allow it to happen without giving what we can to fund his trip or spread the news that they need help.
You were given love, no questions asked. Its time to pass it on.
Bougie Becky and baristas both need kindness. Not one or the other. Both. I know, there’s a meme out there about how treating the person behind you in the coffee line isn’t doing good (see below). First of all, stop sending it to me and sharing it to me. I’ve seen it.
Secondly, I don’t agree with it. Not at all.
Here’s the thing, you don’t know Bougie Becky and the Barista or their situation. Sure Becky is in the line to get an $8 coffee but that doesn’t mean this is an everyday thing for her. I have gone through a coffee line more than once knowing that I really shouldn’t be spending money on it but I just needed a little boost to get me through my day. Becky could definitely be in the same boat. Also, the order I place at Starbucks is only $3 so quit assuming she’s rolling in for the most expensive item on the menu.
Maybe Becky was up all night with a sick child or an ailing parent, giving more than she ever thought possible to help others. She just needs a cup of freaking coffee to get through the day at her job. Becky could be heading to her shift at the hospital, nursing home, or elementary school for all you know. Becky could be giving away pieces of herself all day long with little appreciation in return. She may have a gift card she’s using, so now she’ll be able to treat herself twice. She may only stop for coffee a couple times per year, to treat herself to a simple pleasure. Becky may be going some stuff, you don’t know.
Becky doesn’t deserve to be left out of holiday kindness and cheer just because corporations and our government chooses to keep wages disgustingly low for many employees. I’m going to guess Becky is neither the CEO of a major corporation or a member of Congress. If she is, buy her some coffee and sit her down to talk it over with her.
Becky is a hard working woman just like you and me. She is up early to make sure her family is all set to head into their days. Becky may not work at Starbucks but there’s a really good chance she goes to a job where she is underpaid, unappreciated, and struggles to get through her work happily most days. When she leaves work unfulfilled and drained, its not time for Becky to go soak in her hot tub while cabana boys feed her bon-bons.
Becky has to oversee homework, make dinner, do dishes, drive kids to practices, run three errands, and pick the kids up so she can wrestle them into bed before 8 or 9 pm. Then there is laundry to fold, messes to tidy, and a marriage to give time to also. Once you add the madness of holiday cards, shopping, wrapping, cooking, and entertaining it is an insane amount of work.
Becky is tired. She is trying and doing her best every day. Some days, Becky loses faith in the world and feels alone in this crazy world. She feels like no one sees her. I am Becky, I know many Beckys, and I am sure you have been Becky before.
Of course you should tip your servers and be kind to the people behind the counters. Always. Does that honestly need to be addressed? Here we go: those folks are busting their rears to cover bills many of us are lucky enough not to stress about. They are college kids trying to earn book money. These folks are parents working nights to treat their kids to a happy Christmas or extracurricular they couldn’t afford otherwise. Absolutely, ALWAYS put some money in their cup.
All the people need kindness year round. Being kind to those serving you and those around you are not mutually exclusive acts. You can do both. Pay for someone’s coffee and tip for two. If someone pays for you, throw what you were going to pay in the jar.
Just be kind and spread kindness wherever you can. God bless Becky, the barista, you, and me.
Giving Tuesday & #GiftItForward ideas always flood me this time of year. I’m sitting in a black cape in the rear of the salon while I write this. I’d like to say no gray hairs have ever graced this head, but that would be a lie. In fact, with every passing year the battle to keep them at bay gets harder and harder.
Some day, I told myself, I’ll just color it all gray and be done with this act of vanity. But that day is not today.
Today I’m watching the clock tick on, enjoying the view of an older gentleman in a bonnet under the dryer across from me, hoping I’ll get a glimpse of his new ‘do before I go.
I also think back to when the gray first showed up. When I was a single mom, working hard to barely keep us afloat, cursing the gray hairs while skillfully balancing my income with our bills. Grateful when I a few dollars left to occasionally mostly match my hair color to a box at Walgreens and wash away the gray for awhile.
That Christmas, a friend had a gift card for a free coloring to a salon she didn’t go to. I’m not sure if it was the bags under my eyes, the obvious roots from a failed color match attempt, or the harsh gray hairs peeking through that tipped her off but she gifted that gift card to me.
She saw me. My struggle and my wants were acknowledged for the first time in a long time that day. I cried. I know there were other things we actually needed at home, but this was needed just as badly. This was needed for my soul.
She was giving me far more than just a little pampering.
I soaked in every moment at the salon that winter. That year I was becoming the solo mom, rock, warrior, and survivor. No regrets came from any of the hard things I was going through, but did miss the little treats I had taken for granted before.
I promised myself two things that day. First, someday all my colors would come from the salon and not the drug store. Secondly, when I got where I was going, I’d turn around to pass along kindness to someone else.
Here I am, 13 years later, in my cape just like you can find me every 8 weeks. This time of year more that any it takes me back to the gift card and promises made.
I call it “Giving It Forward”. A way to take what I am have and bless others. To share my good fortune with them and bless them with a little kindness.
My favorite way to do it this time of year is through gift cards. I receive quite a few each year. Some I’ll use, some I won’t. Many I will only use part of. They used to gather dust in a drawer in my kitchen until “giving it forward” hit me.
Giving Tuesday – #GiftItForward
I gave a gas card for station I am never nearby to a family preparing for a long drive to an important, possibly scary, appointment. I told I found it, I’m not in it for the glory.
If you were behind me at Starbucks, you have likely received a discount on your drink from the gift card balance I left behind for you.
To the lady at the Subway drive thru, I saw those kids bouncing in your backseat. I saw the look on your face. A day’s worth of tasks, appointments, worries, and responsibilities veiling your tired face. I hope the card I left behind put a dent in your bill and a smile on your face.
It’s that easy. Freely we receive gifts and freely we pass them on to those around us. It’s not Earth shattering work, there is no handing out of awards, but smiles will be given out. I think that makes it important work. This December, I’m inviting everyone to join me! Follow me on Instagram and tag @She.Proclaims with the #GiftItForward hashtag to see love spread! You can also donate your balances online to charity at Donate Your Card.
(P.S. I am not sure what the man did. He left before I could see him but my stylist and I agree it doesn’t really matter, that’s a man living his best life for himself. Rock on, sir.)