Monday, March 3, 2014

Top Picks from 14 Days of Loving-Kindness - February's Family Challenge

#Compassion2014 - Putting Life Into Focus

Rather than setting resolutions, I prefer to select a guiding word for each year. In 2013, I chose Abundance (to encourage myself to focus on gratitude and the goodness all around me). For this year, I selected Compassion. After taking an almost bloggy break in January, I decided to focus on Acts of Kindness in February as part of my commitment to compassion. 

14 Days of Loving-Kindness proved to be an invaluable challenge for myself and my family -- pushing me forward in so many important ways. Before sharing my March challenge (yep, I've decided to do another one), I wanted to highlight my favorite posts from February as well as a few words about what I learned in the process. 

  • Embracing My Imperfections - Kicking off the challenge with a reminder of the importance of loving myself and taking care of myself really helped. As parents, we can often put ourselves last, but when we burn out, it becomes impossible to show love or kindness to others. I love the shift that is happening as I learn to love myself -- completely and fully.
  • Loving-Kindness for a Counselor - Gratitude might be one of my favorite acts of kindness. Taking the time to hand write a letter to individuals who positively shaped my life felt really good. It also reminded me of the importance of teaching gratitude to my sons. 
  • Healing Through Showing Kindness + Compassion to Someone Who Has Hurt Me - This post was the hardest to write and share, but also the most important of the series for me personally, one of the most popular on the blog that month, and definitely received the most comments. I hadn't realized that this act -- finding a way to show kindness to someone who hurt me deeply -- would be so freeing. As difficult as forgiveness can be, being angry at someone for years is much harder. I've been transformed by the act and by all of the support I received from readers. Thank you. 
  • Teaching Little Hands to Help - Thinking about how we could extend loving-kindness to someone hungry or homeless helped me realize that caring for others in my community and teaching my children to respect everyone  is something I learned from my own parents and am honored to pass on to my children. 
  • Love Thy Neighbor - The boys love doing acts of kindness for our neighbors so sharing our favorite ways that we do this was lots of fun! 
  • Random Acts of Kindness Week Pinboard + Simple Acts of Kindness Making a Big Difference - I've seen over and over in my sons that something quite simple can really make another person happy. We've discovered the value of including a child who is left out at the playground, saying hello to an elderly person who seems lonely, holding someone's hand, and so many other simple acts that really do matter. I've also learned that ANYONE can make a difference. The week after the challenge officially ended, we went to a nursing home for veterans. I was nervous that the boys wouldn't know what to "do." While we were there, I realized that being there and being themselves was enough. I realized that time is quite often the greatest gift of all

Before signing off, I just had to share a fun photo collage from #14DaysofLovingKindness with a few images mixed in from other activities we've done as a family to spread some love, kindness and compassion. 

From the top: showing love by sharing veggies/produce with neighbors and
serving our community through trash pick up and food donations.
In the middle: showing kindness by feeding our neighbors chickens and delivering muffins and
teaching gratitude through thank you cards.
On the bottom: learning to love ourselves by recognizing what makes us unique --
 Caterpillar + I's shoulder dimples and my signature family trait...(you'll get it if you read Embracing my Imperfections).  

Does your family practice random acts of kindness? Do you have a family tradition connected to helping others? If so, please share in the comments, on my Facebook page or by connecting with me on Twitter. If you're a blogger and have a post, share that too -- I'd love to pin your wonderful ideas to my Be the Change or Celebrating Acts of Kindness Week boards...or maybe both! 

Also, if you're on Twitter, I'd love for you to join Pennies of Time, myself and many other inspiring people for the next #servechat on March 6th at 9:30 pm PST. We'll be talking about identifying need and taking action. 

You might also like: 

Learning to Serve
Loving Ourselves
Teaching Gratitude
Loving Fully


  1. I like this post. Makes me feel good.

  2. I love your blog and it's purpose! I'm excited to follow you and learn more! I recently launched a website, and I have so many of the same feelings and passions as you…thanks for doing so much good!!!

  3. You have embraced the theme of compassion with so many acts of kindness and compassion. That is a wonderful way to embrace 2014 (and very motivational!)