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Posts Tagged ‘Stephanie’

Blog post by Stephanie, a Kindness Investor from Mt. Laurel, NJ.

Today’s Intention ~ I am grateful.

Meet Miss Liz.  She is the hardworking friendly lunch aide and crossing guard at elementary school of my boyfriend’s son Gregory.  This mother of three daughters is always concerned about the children’s safety and was surprised by my gesture.  She showed her appreciation with a large smile.

According to Gregory, “Miss Liz is one of the nicest lunch aides! She is always happy and helps the children at the school.”

I wanted to involve Gregory in the project so I asked him why he was grateful for Miss Liz. He said, “Miss Liz cares for us, helps us when we need and is nice.”

She will be giving the money to the humanitarian efforts to help Japan.  She is so grateful for all that she has: food, clothing , shelter and feels it’s important to give back to people who have far less, especially the people of Japan.

I’m glad that today I was able to get a child involved in helping me give to someone; especially someone who offers so much help and support to children.

Today will be the last day that I will share my journey with you.  I am so grateful for having the opportunity to get involved in the Year of Giving!

It was a great joy to be part of it and I truly believe it inspires others as well.  I know today Gregory will be thinking more and more about giving.
A funny side note is that I keep finding money!  I found $6 in an old coat, $20 in the washing machine, and my mom gave me a scratch-off lottery ticket that won $50!

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Blog post by Stephanie, a Kindness Investor from Mt. Laurel, NJ.

I created an intention this morning ~ Today, I appreciate a kind heart!

Meet Tom, who not only has a very kind heart but also sells something very sweet and tasty, namely ice cream.  Tom and his wife Shari, opened The Zebra Striped-Whale in Newtown, PA several years after his wife self published her first book, which shares the same name. When I encountered Tom he was busy at work behind the counter but was still open to share his story before I even presented him the ten dollars.  I learned he used to work for years in my town (small world) and that he is the father of two daughters, Maxine (Max) and Ariele, one of which who was having her first day of work at a law firm in Philly.

When I asked Tom what was the greatest thing about his job, he answered that, “People come in excited.  They know it’s going to be a happy experience, not like going to the dentist, but when they come here they know they are going to get something good to eat.”

He says the shop was designed to delight all five senses from attracting your nose with the smell of the crepes and waffles,to the taste of his delicious ice cream.  Tom shared that his favorite flavor was the, “Sweet Cream because you can mix it with anything.”

The Zebra-Striped Whale is known for whirlwinds.  A whirlwind invites you to choose your ice cream flavor and the toppings are blended into the ice cream by hand with a flat paddle.

Tom with Colleen.

Tom was a psych major in college and worked in sales for most of his life.  He shared his dream of opening an ice cream shop with his wife and the two took it to the next level.  Tom is a creative spirit both on and off the job.  He created the artwork for The Zebra Striped Whale Alphabet Book, which is soon to be published. Tom’s motto is create a nice life, live well, and share good fortune and happiness with others.

Before we left, Tom surprised my friend Colleen and I by giving the $10 to her.  She used it to buy “The Zebra-Striped Whale” and Tom also gave both of us a book called “Cop Buddy” that was created to honor a fallen officer.  Tom and Shari not only own an ice cream shop and publish children’s books, but they also created The Zebra Striped Whale Foundation which serves the community through the art of children’s picture book publishing.  He truly has a kind heart and I enjoyed meeting him.

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Blog post by Stephanie, a Kindness Investor from Mt. Laurel, NJ.

I created an intention this morning ~ Today, I honor healthy living and well being!

I met Beth at Starbucks and we chatted over coffee.  She is a mother of four and a breast cancer survivor with a great faith and zest for healthy living.  She knew over 12 years ago she was fighting for her life against the aggressive form of cancer. With the support of her loving husband and the desire to raise her children (ages 5 to 13 at the time), she began “feeding” herself all kinds of fruits, vegetables and healthy foods while surrounding herself with positive people.  She was receiving great support through letters from other cancer survivors who openly shared their stories of what they did to win the battle.  Beth also focused on prayer and asked God to help her with the fight. The cancer itself became a catalyst in itself to live a healthier lifestyle.

With the power of veggies she was not only able to rebuild her immune system but also created a path for her family to become healthy as well.  though Beth went through chemo, radiation and surgery, she truly believes God taught her how to be healthy and in doing so led her to  become educated about whole foods.  She learned a great deal from Christine Pirello, a local food expert and studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

Beth is now better known as a health coach and instructs others to eat healthy.  She works with children, teens and adults while also running her own website!  Beth believes you don’t change anyone by telling them to change; rather you give them reasons to want to change. For her, the reason to create change in her own life came from the fight to beat cancer and she now uses that passion to help others change.

I would highly recommend Beth as a health coach.  I appreciate her openness to share her knowledge. Healthy eating for her is less about a diet, and more about creating a lifestyle of choices that are easy to implement.  She says it’s easy steps that make the difference. People, she feels, should simply cook for leftovers,  create their own healthy snack packs (especially for kids) and eat more foods that grow.

I had considered myself a “healthy eater” but Beth shared a great tip for me.  I tend to like “soft” foods: yogurt, avocado, humus, etc.  I honestly I don’t love food and therefore don’t spend much time cooking, preparing or eating.   Beth shared the value of simply taking more time to chew the food I’m eating because it allows the body to release more enzymes to aid in digestion.  Speaking with Beth helped to highlight that I always seem to be eating on the go, even when I am eating healthier foods. I have a new attitude towards healthy living thanks to Beth and now value the time it takes to eat properly.

Much in the way Beth passes along great advice, she is going to give the $10 to someone else.

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Blog post by Stephanie, a Kindness Investor from Mt. Laurel, NJ.

Day 4 Intention ~ Today, I Choose Greatness

I had the great honor to meet 9 1/2 years old Stephanie E. at Indigo Moon, a yoga/massage and gift shop where her mom works.  Stephanie is great not just because she shares a great name as me, but she is truly an all around amazing kid.  As a fourth grader, she is a Safety Patrol Monitor at her school.  Her role is to help as a hallway monitor and bus buddy. Stephanie is also involved in The Circle of Giving program at her school that was created to honor a teacher’s son who passed away in the third grade.  Stephanie believes the program has been going on since the 90’s. She thinks it’s a great opportunity because over Thanksgiving she volunteered at The Ronald McDonald House.  Stephanie has also decided to give back by volunteering to help the Food Bank of New Jersey feed people, especially children.

She decided to volunteer with her mom.  I asked Stephanie, “Why is your mom great?”  Stephanie said her mom is funny and makes her laugh. She says being funny helps people to be happy.

This young girl is not only giving in many ways, but also talented.  She is a great artist, an excellent writer and loves gymnastics, even though she is now healing from a sprained ankle.  Stephanie also likes swimming in the summer and always loves playing with her dog, Brodie.

This young lady describes herself as, “crazy in my own way.”  I asked her what that meant.  She said she likes to entertain people and is usually energetic and happy. Stephanie said the greatest gift you can share each day is happiness.  I have to say, I agree!

Kids are great and so are you, Stephanie.  I love the creative person you are.  You are a leader and will continue to do great things in your life!

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Blog post by Stephanie, a Kindness Investor from Mt. Laurel, NJ.

Today’s Intention ~ Today, I Appreciate Joyful Living
I met birthday girl Liz at Border’s Bookstore.  She was working intently at her computer while listening to her iPod, the image of today’s college student.  I approached her as she was packing up and she was at first surprised and unsure about the Year of Giving.  She asked if I was going to ask her a bunch of “philosophical” questions about the meaning of life.  Being a deep thinker, I thought if we had more time I probably would have.  Instead I said I just wanted to learn a little bit more about her and her story.
Liz began sharing that she took a year off after highschool before she started community college.  She is currently undeclared, but she does harbor the idea of eventually going to law school.  She told me she would also like to take philosophy classes in college.
Liz went on to explain her passion for story telling.   She told me about a fictional love story she wrote in a blog a year ago.  She elaborated that she was contacted by a man who wants to turn the romance into a movie after Liz converts the blog into a script.  I now wonder if that is what she was working on before I approached her with the $10.  Liz also shared a ghost story with me about Ellicot City, Marlyand which I thought was funny because I have actually been there before.
Later in the conversation, I found out that it was Liz’s birthday and she was meeting up with a friend soon, but before she left I asked her what 3 things bring her joy in her life.  She said her Bichon Hagen, her family (Liz currently lives with her mom and her older brother just got married), and finally that one day she may be discovered! Hmmm, I wonder if that means joy that she will discover in herself or someone will discover her great talents as a writer.
Liz was a friendly young woman who I enjoyed speaking with!
I made an avatar of Liz because she didn’t want her picture taken.  Her hair was more blond with longer bangs, but I wanted to do something fun to honor the birthday girl/college student/writer who loves her dog and family!  Oh and she said the $10 will buy her coffee. She loves coffee and it keeps her going.  We both shared a good laugh that I was able to give her a surprise birthday gift!

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Blog post by Stephanie, a Kindness Investor from Mt. Laurel, NJ.

I created an intention this morning ~ Today, I focus on listening.

My next Year of Giving experience brought me to my local library, a place I hadn’t really been to since I was a kid.  I was motivated to sign up for a library card when I was there because I found a series of children’s books called “The Way To Be” series which interested me.

This is where I met Carl B, who can best be described as “a wealth of historical knowledge”.  We began talking and Carl shared stories about Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln, Milton Hershey, Da Vinci, Pearl Harbor, The Roman Empire and Ancient Greeks.

He is currently unemployed himself, but dreams about being a highschool history teacher one day. I was amazed at the “wealth of knowledge” Carl has within him and could easily share with high school seniors.   He said he was always interested in history since 5th grade and he learned a lot from books and museums.  He did say history movies sometimes fabricate the truth but documentaries are more accurate.  What fascinated me was Carl, didn’t just share historical facts and info. He talks about history like he lived it and knew the people directly.  He talked about the character of people, the stories that aren’t always in text books, and the history of objects and technology.

Carl was very friendly, talkative and is truly motivated to make a difference in teens.  He said his dream would be to teach seniors specifically because that would be the last year to motivate them to go to college and continue learning.  He believes he is a self-taught historian because of his hunger to learn about the past.

Carl plans to donate the money to PHILABUNDANCE, an organization that helps feed the hungry throughout Philly and the Delaware Valley. Every year he gives them money and shares a quote from Deuteronomy.

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Blog post by Stephanie, a Kindness Investor from Mt. Laurel, NJ.

I created an intention this morning ~ Today, I am open!

I wrote up a certificate that said “I value you & your story” to give to today’s recipient. I eagerly left my house ready to meet my $10 recipient.  I went to the bank with 4 $20 bills and asked for 8 $10 bills.  Seven bills were for my YOGI’s (Year of Giving Investment) this week and one bill was left over for me. 🙂

While I was at the bank, I overheard the teller next to me tell the young woman that she was in the negative.  I had been there before and bounced a check, so her situation hit home for me.  I wanted to hand her the $10 but she was with the teller, had a cell phone call on hold and her mom was waiting for her in the car.  Honestly, the scenario to give her the money at that moment didn’t seem like an open opportunity so I left the bank and ventured off.

I went to Panera for lunch, thinking this was a perfect place to meet a YOGI, but the place seemed crowded, busy and sadly the people felt closed off to making connections with a stranger.  I left and later set out to Whole Foods.  I was aware that it still seemed difficult to even make eye contact with people.  Everyone seemed to be in a hurry.  The customers seemed to be looking in their wallets, talking on their cell phones or focusing on where they were going next.

I did approach a woman shopping with her 4 year old child, and to my surprise she was not open to talk with me at all.  She quickly raced away saying, “My child is with me.”

I was let down for a moment and felt she really wanted to protect her child. I have always promoted Kindness in schools and enjoy connecting with children.  People tell me I have a natural gift for this, but I didn’t realize how challenging it is to connect with people I don’t know who are going about their everyday routines and schedules.

Feeling like I may fail myself and not find someone to connect with, I looked over at the last register and watched a middle-aged woman tap a man on the shoulder and point to a bill on the ground.  I believe it was only a dollar bill, but I observed this woman’s kind gesture.  The man was not even aware that he dropped money, but picked it up and graciously thanked the woman.  After the woman paid for her salad, I approached her smiling and gave her the $10.  I said I observed her gesture and that I would like to give her $10 as part of the Year of Giving.  She was shocked and surprised, so I started our conversation by explaining just what YOG was.

Cheryl F. accepted the $10 and told me she is the mother of four teenage girls ages 12, 14, 16 and 18. She said the hardest thing about being a mother was how close in ages her girls are and wished daily responsibilities did not get in the way of her spending more time with them. Cheryl works as a Home Health Aide and helps serve the elderly.  She shared how our elderly are a lot like children – needing lots of care and attention, too.  She said she enjoys her job and helping other people out.

When I asked how she will use the money, Cheryl said, “I will hold on to it and then pay it forward!”  She wanted to tell her daughters about what happened today.  I thanked Cheryl for sharing her story and for being so kind.  Cheryl was warm, friendly and cares about her daughters and the elderly!

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