Here is just a small sampling of how the 29-Day Giving Challenge has impacted my life.
Let Giving Take Flight By: Melanie A. Peters
In September of 2016 I traveled to Las Vegas, NV with my mom and two of my sisters to celebrate my youngest sister’s 30th birthday. When I travel I love to purchase new books and read them on my trip. It is like they add to the adventure. I always remember when and where I got that book, and even more importantly where I read it. On our Vegas trip I purchased and read You are a Badass by Jen Sincero. This book was amazing! I loved the power it stirred within me and really encouraged me to bring about change within myself and the world around me.
As I read Jenn’s words, I found that I really did want to do more to feel like my efforts were valuable. In You are a Badass, Jen had a number of book recommendations for finding ways to make confident impacts in our lives. 29 Gifts by Cami Walker was one of the recommended books. As soon as I finished Sincero’s book, I hunted down my own copy of 29 Gifts. I was immediately moved by Cami’s honesty about why she needed change and about how giving was the cure for her weaknesses. I knew I needed to take that same prescription and begin giving with intent daily.
My giving came easily and gave me a feeling of value. Even when I was exhausted from my daily endeavors of being a mom, wife, teacher, and farmer, I felt energized planning or carrying out my efforts to give. The 29 Day Giving challenge was something that I wanted to share. I told everyone I knew about this terrific prescription that was making a difference in my life. I gave copies of 29 Gifts to those I knew would benefit from it. I challenged my students to find ways to give. It was so empowering.
Eventually my giving fortified me enough that I began to work on making a dream come true that I had kept in the back of my heart for some time. I wanted to begin a positivity blog. Sharing positive and helpful quotes, stories, and images was something that I desperately wanted to do but always felt my message was not good enough. After completing Jen and Cami’s books and while nearing the end of my first 29 Days of Giving, I did it.
It was by accident, but I did it. I had begun researching the steps for creating my own blog and started compiling positive messages to share. While playing on WordPress, I created a design and theme I liked. I toyed with some story ideas and some ways to get my message out. The cool thing about WordPress is that you can preview your posts. It was cool to see what my posts would look like if I ever did get the nerve to publish them. Well the Preview button is next to the Publish button and, after creating one of my test posts, I hit the Publish NOT the Preview.
My heart stopped. I quickly figured out how to delete the post but even more quickly I regretted it. My blog was now active. It was now there for me to share with the world, so I went into my drafts and polished up what I would really like for my first post to be and www.intentergy.com became my new way to put positivity into the world.
Not long after making my blog a reality, I had just begun my second 29 Days of Giving and I was at a loss about what to give. Yes, I had given my time and attention to my children, husband and students that day. Yes, I had tried to show compassion and patience to all those I had encountered, but it didn’t feel “intentional” enough to me. I was also working on a post for my blog, but was stuck about how to bring my message to life in a photograph.
My three children were very excited about my new blog and about my 29 Days of Giving. Each day they wanted to see what I had written and what photo I had included with my post. They were particularly interested in what or how I gave each day and how people reacted to my giving. So when I told them I was stumped, my daughter Maggie had an idea.
She wanted me to use an image of balloons being released. I told her that would make a really pretty picture but it was very cloudy and stormy outside. She said, “So, it will make the balloons look happier.”
I had an idea where she was going with this but my next question was, “How will these balloons be a way to give?” My 7-year-old wonder came back readily with, “We will put papers in them with a picture. Whoever finds the balloon will find the picture and it will make them happy.” From the mouths of babes…
We set to work. My three children colored pictures on small slips of paper and I wrote positive quotes or well wishes on mine. We each chose three brightly colored balloons. I had a small tank of helium left from the boys’ birthday party, after we carefully inserted the folded up messages into the balloons, I filled the balloons with helium and tied on ribbons.
The wind was blowing hard and the balloons were not cooperating. I had Maggie hold on tight to the ribbons but she was scared. So I reached out my hand and held them high so I could capture the shot. The stormy weather had frightened the boys back inside but Maggie was determined that she would release her own balloons. After taking some amazing images, Maggie and I let them go. They were gone in seconds but the hope that someone found our happy images or messages is still with us.
My kids still ask about those balloons and like to wonder about who found their pictures. We haven’t released happy balloons since that day in March, but I know we will do it again. Hopefully releasing those positive pictures and messages will inspire kindness and giving to take flight for others, just as 29 Gifts inspired me.
I shared my29 Gifts journey and daily positivity blog with a co-worker today that has been feeling really torn about her future. My intention was to make her day better but she hugged me and told me that she hoped I would journal my giving for today as the gift of bringing her positive energy. I feel very guilty now considering that my giving, but, hey who am I to question immediate thanksgiving. I LOVE this giving thing!
My giving has resulted in an interesting turn of events. Today someone left an amazing goodie basket outside my classroom for me. The basket contained: chocolates, a candle, lotion, a kind card, and a stack of positive quote cards. The sender was anonymous.