Archive for the ‘Lend a Hand’ Category

New Year, New Changes (and New Post…FINALLY!)

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Happy 2011!! (just a few weeks late.)So much going on at Mix Mingle Glow, I can’t WAIT to share it with you.  We love our Brides, and we are already getting excited talking to and planning with so many new couples this year.  To make things even better,  2011 is going to bring some awesome changes; something that I am most passionate about…

Ever since my birthday last year when I shared my day of 30 Random Acts of (Birthday) Kindness, my life has kind of changed.  The activities and residual blessings in a very deep, personal way alone were amazing.  But then there were all the emails…wow.  That single crazy post – the one I almost never posted at all for fear it would sound self-serving and boastful – took on  a life of it’s own.  I’ve made “friends” and connections with some pretty amazing people all over the (virtual) world as a result.  In addition to the private emails from people who were inspired to do something similar to celebrate their own birthdays, there have been online Message Forums discussing it from a parenting perspective, charities and non-profits Twittering about how such a concept could benefit their cause, a radio station who wanted to talk to me about it on air, a Canadian philanthropist/TV personality who became my Facebook friend, a newspaper that featured the story, a magazine that has recently inquired about printing it and countless blogs who have shared the experience.

This has all left me thinking, over and over again…..WHAT AM I TO DO WITH THIS EXPERIENCE?  I am not one to just chalk it up to a single life experience and move on without a second thought.  This little thing surprisingly resonated with many others and  I just knew there was something else to be done as a result.

A few months ago it became very clear to me that there is something MUCH bigger at work here and I need to use it as a catalyst for what I can do in this world to honestly help make it a better place.  I mulled it over in my brain, prayed about it, talked with a few trusted friends about it and waited to have a clear direction before I proceeded.

Then, last week, I heard about Joanne Heim.
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Joanne is a pretty amazing woman, wife, mom and friend to many who writes the blog The Simple Wife. At 38 years old, she suffered a massive stroke on Tuesday, January 11.

As I have followed her husband’s updates on Twitter and the blog posts of some of her family and friends and have prayed diligently for her healing, I have realized something about life.This precious woman, the same age as me, has done some pretty incredible things in her relatively short life.  She’s written 3 books, writes for at least 2 blogs that I know of, and has become deeply involved in relationships with friends she has met as a result of both.  I know there are probably MANY more things she has accomplished and fully trust and believe that she will be healed and continue to help change lives all around her.  But what has struck me is that if Joanne never did another thing on this Earth, she has already done SO MUCH to make it a better place for so many.  It has reminded me of that saying that it’s what you do “in the dash” of your life (you know, that little line that sits between the day we are born and the day we leave) that really matters.

Soooooo, in addition to planning weddings and parties here at MMG, there will be something more.  A whole new division, if you will, that will help others use the celebrations of their lives to bless others and make a real impact on this world of ours.  Stay tuned as we get the kinks out and work on setting up some pretty cool things.I could have waited until it was all “up and running” before sharing it with you.

But then I would have wasted a little more time filling in The Dash.  And it’s short enough as it is.

**photo credit: Kristen Haufschild, kh photography

The Post Heard ‘Round the World

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

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I just feel the need to let my faithful readers know that I have not fallen off the face of the Earth following my last post.  I could never have anticipated the level of response I would receive when I wrote about my Birthday Random Acts of Kindness.  The comments left on the blog are just a teeny-tiny sampling of the phone calls, emails, Tweets, Facebook comments and online links left on various message boards, blogs and forums I have been inundated with.  (I wouldn’t use a word like “inundated” lightly!)  Literally every day something new from someone I don’t know and yet feel spiritually connected to now, sharing their joyfulness as they retell how they were inspired to do something nice (usually more than one time) for a perfect stranger.  Just when I think I can’t shed one more tear…it’s almost too much for one heart to hold.

Sooooo, the “problem” was that most if not all people out in the WWW were linking to my blog website address and not the individual post, so I felt compelled to leave the post up as the most recent for all those link-followers to find easily.  I’m gonna find a way to put a special link up on the sidebar for those who still stop by for a look-see.

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming…

How I Celebrated My Birthday (aka 38 Random Acts of Robyn)

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

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***Due to the awesome, unexpected response since I originally posted this, I have started  The Birthday ProjectThe website is www.thebdayproject.com and we have started a great community of amazing like-minded people on Facebook too (please jump over to “Like” it and say “HI!”.)  Thanks!***

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago my birthday wish was to complete one Random Act of Kindness for every year of my life thus far, as well as asking friends, readers, Facebook fans and fellow Twitter-ers to each perform one Random Act of Kindness and to let me know about it throughout the day.

I planned out 38 things ahead of time just in case, but really was praying for opportunities to present themselves throughout the day. It was absolutely freezing and windy but we were not to be deterred!  My husband, three daughters and my husband’s parents joined me in the most favorite birthday of my life!

OUR 38 ACTS:

1.  Returned grocery carts back inside the store from the parking lot for shoppers.

raok1.jpg 2.  Loaded bags of groceries into cars for shoppers (received a hug from one adorable elderly man).

raok2.jpg 3.  Handed bottled waters out the car window to joggers/walkers/bicyclists we passed by (felt like we were support for the Iron Man triathalon or something…lots of laughs from people on this one).

4.  Inconspicuously dropped coins on the playground for children to find while they played (my girls are really good at this apparently.  No, no one choked on a random found penny.  Yes, LOTS of squeals of delight floated through the air as we walked away!)

5.  Fed parking meters.

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6.  Paid for the  next two cars behind us on the toll bridge. (Toll operator said, “You gotta be kidding me”).

7.  Handed out Tootsie Pops to children (asked parents permission first of course!).

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8.  Bought a gift card for groceries and turned around  and handed it to woman in line behind me.  I wasn’t prepared for the look on her face.  I immediately left before I started to cry.

9.  Walked up to a family eating lunch at a local restaurant, placed a gift card on their table and walked out.

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10.  Dropped off several hand written thank you notes and doughnuts at the police station.

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11.  Gave a dozen hot doughnuts to a very cold crew working on the power lines.

raok7.jpg 12.  Took  a large bag of clothes to the local homeless shelter.

13.  Left 3 gift cards with notes hidden amongst books at Barnes & Noble.

14.  Paid for the woman’s coffee behind us in line at Starbucks.

15. Chased down and caught runaway Happy Birthday balloon and returned it to the owner’s unlocked car (then secretly watched as he returned and was completely baffled at the balloon sitting in his front seat!)

16.  Tucked happy notes in car doors in parking lot wishing people a good day full of God’s blessings.

raok8.jpg 17.  Handed out mylar balloons to children shopping with their parents.

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18.  Took art supplies to the Family Waiting Room of labor & delivery floor of the hospital for new big brothers and sisters to be.

19.  Dropped off stuffed animals on the children’s floor of the hospital.

raok10.jpg 20.  Delivered balloons to hospital patients.

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21.  Handed out water bottles to very appreciative nurses (who knew they were so thirsty?).

22.  Taped change to vending machines (I actually saw passersby stop and take pictures of the machines without taking the money).

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23.  Pumped woman’s gasoline so she didn’t have to get out of her car in the cold.  (We also added a bottle of some sort of additive since she asked. I should find out what that stuff was.  I never add stuff to my gas tank.)

24.  Left quarters at a laundromat.

25.  Delivered handwritten Valentine cards to the local assisted living facility.

raok13.jpg 26.  Phone card to young woman in need. (I asked the owner of a store I frequent if he knew of any customers who might need it and he got a big smile on his face.  He looked at the girl working there and told me she had just confided in him yesterday that she couldn’t afford her minutes on her cell phone to call her family back home.  It was a suuuper cool moment.)

27.  Handed out hot chocolate at ice skating rink.

raok15.jpg 28.  Left free Krispy Kreme doughnut coupons on coffee table at church.

29.  Gave coffee to a toll booth worker on our way home.  (He seemed the least affected or appreciative of the day.  I feel like he might have needed it the most of everyone.)

30.  Walked into McDonald’s and asked the cashier to use my free coupon on next person in drive through line.

31.   Wrote a letter to old friend and mailed it (yeah, the total old fashioned way).

32.  Took plates of cookies to 2 neighbors I don’t really know and spent some time talking with them (no, I did not bake them myself but no one seemed to care).

33.   Read a story to children in Barnes & Noble (I think people thought I worked there!  The kids liked it and the parents loved it!).  BONUS:  My 8 year old daughter found a little guy and read him a book too.

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34.  Took pictures of two tourists in front of Hard Rock Cafe and a family in the park.

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35.  Brought in the neighbor’s garbage can for them.

36.  Gathered a newspaper that a woman who’s hands were full dropped at the grocery store.

37.  Left a small treat with a note of thanks for the mailman.

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38.  Read an entire Junie B. Jones book (all 9 chapters) to my children before bed, instead of the usual two chapters.  (Happy girls indeed!)

**************************************************************************

I was overwhelmed by the number of texts, emails, Facebook messages and Tweets I received from family, friends, colleagues and people I don’t even know, telling me a Random Act of Kindness they did in honor of my birthday.  I cried several times throughout the day from how touched I was.  Here are the great RAOK other’s did:

Jeanette:  I am so glad to hear that you had an amazing birthday!  My ROAK – My assistant teacher was having a rough week so I baked her a box of her favorite cookies… Snickerdoodles!!

Heidi: we collected old towels, washcloths and newspapers and am donating them to the local animal shelter!

Debbie: Just paid for the order for the car behind me at the drive thru lane….

Kimberly: Happy Bday! We just taught an older lady how to use the automated postal machine from start to finish ;o) (everyone deserves to learn how to avoid the postal line!!!)

Will
:  Called a new colleague to tell her a press release had a major typo on it before it went any further! Handled it graciously and with understanding that we all make mistakes.

Becky:  Happy Birthday Robyn! I let someone use my discount card at the grocery store since they didn’t have one…not major, but I thought of you and smiled! Hope you get all of your Random Acts of Kindness fulfilled! Enjoy your day! Xoxo

Deanne
: I didn’t kick the %$#* out of someone who drove me crazy tonite~~~ does that count?

Sandi
:  I collected something from Freecycle (electric Hannukah menorah) that I donated to an Adult Living Facility. I know that they prefer electric over real candles. Does that count towards your 38? I love your post!

Heidi
:  In honor of your birthday i cleaned out our closets and have donated 7 garbage bags of clothing to haiti!! (this was on my radar and i needed a little incentive, thank you!) happy birthday sweet friend!

Traci: We bought a box full of medical supplies, food, etc to donate to Haiti. O. was thrilled to help me pick out band-aids, gauze pads, tape, etc. Love you friend…hope you had the best birthday ever!! XOXO ♥

Mara: Happy Birthday Robyn!  A. and I are making valentine cards to send to the military troops today! Hope you have a wonderful birthday!

Shandra: My random act was that I just paid for the bridge tolls of strangers behind me in line coming back from Logan airport. :) Also gave the toll taker a coffee from Dunkin Donuts. It’s WICKED cold here today. :)

Stacy: This pay it forward thing is an amazing idea. Wow. I am going to have to do this on my next bday. You have inspired me!!! Giving away free food randomlly to people at our (pizza) place today in your honor…probably shouldn’t say where, huh? xoxo

Lara
:  Today we spent the morning at the school doing yardwork and then came home and cleaned out closet/garage and donated everything to The Bargin Box!!!

Cameron
: I let a mother with two squirmy kiddos ahead of me in line, even though she had way too much stuff :)

Lynn:  Does it count if the lady next to us in “Avatar” was crying her head off and I gave her some tissues? She was most grateful…:)

Nicolle: My RAOK in honor of your Birthday…but, before I share, I have to say that you have started a tradition…and I, too, will use this request on my Birthday in August! I just LOVE this, Robyn…it is right up my alley and has filled me up today with good cheer and warm vibes and in turn has brightened the worlds of complete strangers~ matter-of-fact, I had such fun doing so, that I did it twice today! Ok, ready?
RAOK #1: Walked up to an elderly man in the mall today and simply smiled, asked if I could bless him and was surprised to find how open he was to the occassion…rested my hand on his shoulder, said a silent prayer, smiled and told him he was a special addition to this world of ours~ he, in turn, had tears and a smirk all in one. My heart was fulfilled~
RAOK #2: On the way home, stopped in 7-11, a little girl was glaring at the big cookies…asked her Mommy if I could, she said yes, so we (D. delivered) bought her a BIG GIANORMOUS cookie and some milk to go with it….D.’s little heart was fulfilled and his cheeks were rosy~
Thank you, Robyn!!! YOU, my friend, have made MY day! I adore you! HAPPY BIRTHDAY all over again!!! xoxo

Lara:  My raok today, I bought coffee for the man behind me at Starbucks today!! And I just read that you did the same thing! How fun!

Amy:  Bought tea for the lady behind me in line at the coffee shop declaring “it’s Robyn’s RAOK day.” Granted she has no idea what that means but my new friend, Betsy, declared that I must be the nicest person in the whole city. : ) I do stuff like this at the Holidays all the time. Thanks for the reminder to keep it going all year long. Love to you! (And I’m totally stealing this for my 38th in 2 weeks!)

Alexandra
:  In your honor, spent 2 hrs counseling a past acquaintance in his new walk with the Lord. Happy Birthday….

Claire: Hey Robyn- RAOK took $40.00 worth of quarters into Magic Kastle Laundromat and asked the lady behind the counter to pass out to all customers for a day of free laundry. Guess great minds think alike!

Diana:  WOW ROBYN! I have never been so excited to have my Bday! You have inspired our whole day! My husband got involved we cleaned my 96 yr old great grandmothers house then went grocery shopping for my cousin who is currently unemployed! My acts werent randon but they were kind! Thank so much for a wonderful day!HaPpY BiRtHdAy my friend!

Michelle
: had to call a maintenance guy out to my place yesterday (friend of a friend) – his 7yr old daughter was tagging along with him everywhere on Sat – when I realized I didn’t have any goodies for her, I stepped out & bought some Little Debbie Zebra Cakes & her very own bottle of milk – when I brought them back they were both blushing & smiling when they received them – the whole time I was thinking about your day! Thanks Robyn. B-)

Laura: RAOK We boxed our pizza up and handed it to two guys on the street in NYC. They were so excited.

Corinne
: I pushed wayward grocery carts up to the front of the store so the bag guys/gals didn’t have to.  :)

Carlos:  RAOK – A boy came to the house selling chocolate bars so that he could earn money for him and his baseball team to go to Cooperstown. When I paid him, instead of picking out the bars I wanted, I told him to take what he wanted for himself. His face lit up! Not the biggest deal, but it was nice for him. And plus, it was for baseball!

Lynn:  While visiting the freezing cold restroom at the Outlet Mall, I realized that the lady cleaning the area must really need lunch and a hot cup of coffee. Her sweet face and shocked response when I handed her the cash REALLY made my day! Thanks for inspiring us, Robyn!

Sean:  After purchasing our tickets at the theatre, we purchased the next in line’s tix too! The Mom and her two teenagers were completely floored. “WHAT??? WHY????” then…”thank you so much, thank you!!!” We were giddy with having made their day and saved them a buck or two!

Joanna
:  Our random act of kindness on Saturday in honor of your birthday… At R.’s cheerleading competition we met a girl from Pensacola who was competing as an individual. Her coach, her family and her friends weren’t able to go to the competition, so she didn’t have anyone to cheer her on. We all yelled our lungs out for her. She placed 1st in her division :) Happy Birthday Miss Robyn!

Kylene: Inspired by your RAOK so I paid for the ladies’ coffee behind me at Starbucks this morning. She seemed excited. :)

Julie: In honor of your bday I treated the stranger behind me @ Starbucks to their morning coffee. Thanks for the inspiration!

Amy
:  Just bought gift card for lady behind me @DSW shoes. :)
Lindsay: not that creative but I paid for a girls cookie at the great cookie co at the mall:)

Amanda
: RAOK – paid for the person’s meal in the car behind us.

Michelle:  Hi Robyn – hope ur having a great wkend!  Reached out 2 a troubled teen 2day-thx 4 the inspriration

Kate:  I paid for the next two people behind me at the coffee shop this morning in honor of your bday.

Elisha:  I’m organizing an event with friends to help raise money for a friend that has lost 5 members of her family in Haiti and is trying to get money together to send to other family members who are in need of a tents that are ranging in price from $500 -$700 each.

Kylene: Me & my hubby took pictures for 6 different groups of people at Millenium Park in Chicago yesterday. We’re both photogs. ;)

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO CELEBRATED WITH ME.  With the exception of my wedding day and the days I gave birth to my children, my 38th birthday was by far the best day of my life.  We were both exhilarated and exhausted but mostly reminded how opportunities to help others are all around us all the time; we’re just usually too busy to notice.  And thank you again, Kimberly, for the inspiration.  You, my dear, are the original Rockstar!

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What You’re (maybe) Missing + It’s My Birthday!

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

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Seriously…are you following Mix Mingle Glow on Facebook? Cuz, here’s the deal:  Every Tuesday I feature a handy-dandy party-planning/entertaining/helpful tip that shows up automatically on your NewsFeed (aptly named “Tuesdays Tips”).  Now I don’t mean to brag, but the people are kinda loving it.  I just hate for you to miss out is all I’m saying.

OK NoW hErEs ThE fUn StUfFKimberly totally inspired me several months ago when she featured the supercool idea of doing Random Acts of Kindness in honor of her own birthday, and asking friends to join in the fun as a gift to her on her blog.

{You see where this is going, don’t you?}

So I am spending Saturday doing 38 Random Acts of Kindness with my family in honor of my 38 years of life.  I personally can’t wait.  Since many friends were asking what I’d like for my birthday, I have asked them to each to ONE thing and share it with me.  If you are feeling festive between now and the end of the weekend, I would be honored if you would leave a comment describing something you kindly and unexpectedly did for someone else.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if 38 of you did it?  What if even MORE did?? Please, please oh please consider it.  It would honestly be the best birthday present ever!

I’ll be back after this fun weekend (and the crazy Mad Scientist party I am designing for an adorable little girl on Sunday!) to give you the play by play of the weekend events!!  Thanks friends!

Give A Little, Get A Lot!

Monday, January 11th, 2010

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Recently I heard about Maria and Evan, an adorable couple who were married in November 2009.   The night after they had their engagement photo session, Evan stopped by the store to pick up a couple of items and was hit by another driver, splitting his car in two and throwing him into a concrete wall, resulting in a fractured neck at the C2 vertebrae, an injury that is often fatal.  Doctors told Maria that Evan would probably not be able to walk down the aisle.

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After enduring many complications, lots of hospital time and a risky surgery, they were elated to learn Evan would eventually make a full recovery.  It was a long year but you can imagine how sweet that Wedding Day was when it arrived and Evan not only walked his Bride down the aisle, but took her hand for their first dance together as husband and wife.

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Sadly, the newlyweds soon learned that they were drowning in medical bills and in addition to trying to find a teaching position and taking up odd jobs, sweet Maria decided to sell her beloved Maggie Sottero Vienna wedding gown.

At first I didn’t want to part with my dress. But then I realized that it’s just a thing, and that I was already holding onto the best part of that whole day — Evan!  Now I’m glad that someone else will get to enjoy my beautiful wedding dress, and I hope it brings them the same joy that it gave us.”

Recycled Bride is hosting the sale of this gorgeous dress for the discounted price of $1000 and has generously offered to cover all packing, insurance and first class shipping fees.  You can buy the dress at the rockin’ Recycled Bride website (all my current 2010/2011 Brides, take a look!)  I would L-O-V-E to have one of my own precious Brides wearing that dress on their wedding day!!

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Due to the inquiries of so many kind, generous people, an account has been set up for anyone interested in making a donation to Maria and Evan.  (How awesome would it be if they received enough donations that Maria didn’t end up having to part with her beautiful dress at all?!)

Now listen….if there is one thing that I am more passionate about than designing and planning special occasions, it is giving to others in their time of need.   I am assuming if you are a fan of this blog, you feel the same way.  So if you don’t need a new wedding dress but want to help a young newly married couple when they need it most, then CLICK HERE and make a donation.  It can be $1.  Or $25.  Or $100.  Whatever you can do, do it.

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 “I am only one, but I am one.I cannot do everything, but I can do something.  And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I CAN do.”  -Edward Everette Hale