Acts of Kindness (and Another Giveaway!)

The most recent cover article I did for Her Life Magazine was about a young man named Jeffrey Owen Hanson. The article mostly focused on his mom, Julie… an amazing woman who has the desire to give to others more so than anyone I have ever personally known.

I don’t want to give the story away here, but I’ll give you a brief wrap up. Jeff was diagnosed at age 6 with a rare genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis. Jeff is now legally blind, but during part of his chemo and radiation treatment for a tumor on his optic nerve, Jeff found a hidden talent in painting and a passion for helping others. Jeff’s work has gotten noticed from people all around the world, including Sir Elton John.

Please click here to take a look at Jeff’s website (and make sure to read about Jeff’s Bistro)… his story is so inspirational. He has some gorgeous notecards for sale as well as a 2008 calendar benefiting charities close to his heart.

So, why am I blogging about Jeff today? Well, Jeff’s mom, Julie is a stay at home mom, but her work as a stay at home mom goes beyond what most of us would say is in our typical “job description.” Julie’s day is spent managing Jeff’s charity work and his commissioned canvas sales. She is trying to get the word out about his calendars, she is filling orders, she is on the phone from dawn to dusk managing this “foundation” all by herself. Her days are very happy and full doing her part to help raise money for the charities that are meaningful to their family… all this with a monetary paycheck of nothing.

When Julie has a rare free moment, would you like to know how she spends her time? She spends it baking… a hobby she loves to do. She bakes as often as she can and then…this is what I love so much about her… she gives her baked goods to others. She always wants to have something on hand. A loaf of bread to surprise someone just because. A batch of cookies to take to the community center. She surprises people randomly with her baked goods often.

I have always had an admiration for people who perform Random Acts of Kindness. I remember being at the drive through window with my mom and watching her give extra money to the cashier to buy the car behind us ice cream cones. Random or not, acts of kindness make us feel good and they definitely can turn another persons bad day around.

With the economy the way it is, and people suffering so, can you imagine how nice it would feel to be the giver and the recipient of something unexpected? Randomly pay for someones lunch. Buy something off of a strangers Amazon Wish List and have it sent to them. Bake up some baked goods and take them around to people you care about. Just do something… small or big, practice acts of kindness as often as you can.

For the next Taste of Home giveaway, I would like to hear what you have done or plan on doing to pass on kindness to others. Leave a comment after this post with the details of your act. Only comments sharing this information and with a valid email address will be a part of the random drawing. The deadline to comment is midnight CST on Wednesday, November 26th. There will be two winners… one for Light & Tasty Annual Cookbook from 2004 and one for the Taste of Home Low Fat Country Cooking.  Thanks again to Kate from Kate in the Kitchen for her act of kindness in sharing these wonderful cookbooks with you.

Pumpkin Bread

1 (16 oz.) can pumpkin

1 2/3 cups sugar

2/3 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 large eggs

3 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon baking powder

1. Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans.

2. Mix pumpkin, sugar, oil, vanilla, eggs in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into pans.

3. Bake loaves for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans.

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  1. Lisa says

    I LOVE this post! :)
    Eek! This reminds me how I have been lagging on my RAoKs!!! Thanks for this reminder … this is a lovely, inspiring post!

  2. says

    I love Jeff’s work. Thanks for sharing. On election day, I took my 100-year old neighbor to vote. Even though she did not vote for my candidate, I was still thrilled she cast her vote! Tomorrow, I plan on stopping by to see how she’s doing — it’s been 20 degrees outside this week so she hasn’t been out for her usual daily walks. It feels great to reach out to others!

  3. says

    I keep trying to post but it won’t work so here goes one last time.
    Well I had such a wonderful Grandmother who was so well loved by all her children and 29 grandchildren so maybe that is the reason my heart goes out to seniors, I wish all of us would adopt one for Christmas and maybe for a whole year. I write little notes, bake stuff, make meals and love to go out to eat and see a senior eating alone and pay for their meal with out them knowing it was me. For Christmas we are putting together 50 christmas stockings and hand them out to seniors plus we are going to adopt one and get them a small tree, Christmas dinner and a few small gifts for them. There was a resthome in our are we use to go to to visit the seniors before it got closed down and it would break our hearts, they would grab our hands and beg us not to go or to take them home with us. The would tell us how their family never comes to see them anymore. There are many rest homes where they are nice and the family visits all the time, this just happened to be one of those horrible resthomes. There are so many seniors who have no family, very little food to eat. Sorry to go on and on. :o) We have also adopted six soliders over seas we send care packages to. I want my children to have a heart for other and I hope they will keep doing this when they have their own family and pass it on. Sorry I wrote a book. :o)

  4. Mandy C says

    Great giveaway! I did two things – I donated $50 dollars to Rude Ranch Rescue – they rescue abandoned animals, dogs, cats, even horses, etc. I also donated $50 dollars to Deaf Abused Women Network (DAWN) because I’m a deaf woman who has been abused before and I wanted to help them out.

  5. Kassy says

    Great giveaway! I am a giving person and will do many things to help someone else out! When I sit and think about specific examples I can’t seem to come up with one though.

  6. Sheila in Ohio says

    Quilters often use their talents to offer warmth to the less fortunate, and I am no exception. This comment is not about what I do for others, but to tell you about others who do. There are various groups that are dedicated to charity quilting, but I would like to tell you about two unsung heroes.

    One is Mary J. in Minneapolis, MN, who is the mastermind of our online (Yahoo) group of Heartstrings quilt project. ( Not only is she our cheerleader and chief organizer, she is also a ‘longarmer’ who uses her skills and resources nearly solely for charity quilting and has quilted 54 tops (I believe) for the Heartstrings group herself… in 2008.

    Now, I don’t think Mary cooks much (I could be wrong) and may or may not benefit from one of the cookbooks, so I’d like to tell you about another quilter as well. Her name is Alycia C. in Kersey, CO. ( In May 2008 Alycia donated 48 quilts (in the name of the Quilts of Valor organization from those she had collected or made) to a nearby (Army?) base which I believe is a site for rehabilitating our wounded soldiers. You can imagine that Alycia felt overwhelmed that there are so many wounded there and she only had 48 quilts to deliver. So she organized a drive on her blog and in her online quilt groups (Heartstrings being one of those) to collect 400 quilts by May 2009 to deliver one to every soldier at that facility so that none would feel left out. Some quilts come to her already quilted, but many she quilts herself which doesn’t leave her much time to make money from her business, which is quilting quilts for others. In addition to this huge QOV effort, Alycia also has a hubby and three young sons, AND she organizes opportunities at her sons’ schools to get children involved in the process of making quilts and giving to others. A check of Alycia’s blog tells me that she has 192 completed quilts and 52 tops that need quilted toward her goal of 400. That is amazing! Our Heartstrings group is having an online pillowcase party this weekend (organized by Mary, above) to make sure that each quilt has a case for the soldier to carry his/her quilt around in.

    I make a few charity quilts a year, but nothing on this scale. I plan to provide gift certificates to each of these women to purchase batting and thread so that they can continue to turn all that fabric into warm quilts for others. However, like I said at the beginning, this isn’t about me. I would like to remove myself from the contest in order that one of these women might win instead!

    Thank you, Kristen!

  7. says

    I just won a giveaway over at Recipe Girl where she also asked for RAK, so I’m saying I’m not eligible for this one. But I sure do like reading the responses – it makes me want to perform RAK more often!

  8. says

    This is a lovely post. Random acts of kindness..I plan to bake Christmas cookies and package them in pretty individual pkgs for my husband to hand out to his coworkers.

  9. Teresa says

    I don’t really consider this an act of kindness because I enjoy being able to help a friend. My friend is going through chemo and I take her to and from her sessions. I stay with her and run out to get our lunches.

  10. says

    What a great post! My husband and I try to make acts of kindness a lifestyle. When we see homeless people begging we try to take them to the nearest place to eat and buy them a meal. We also always try to just be kind to brighten up people’s day, like visiting our recently widowed neighbor to look at her wedding album. Knowing we’ve touched someone’s life really blesses ours.

  11. says

    I forever hold the door open for others. It’s not a huge overly-exciting thing… but I always go the extra mile to hold doors open, help load a car, smile warmly at someone who looks sad… little things.


  12. says

    It is inspiring to read about all these acts of kindness. It is people like you that make the world a better place to live in.I have no act of kindness to mention but a goal that Ivy, Giz and myself have set for ourselves. We have created a forum called Bloggeraid to raise awareness and ultimately raise funds for the United Nations World Food Program. There is something so exciting in the works too that will create random acts of kindness from all of you who choose to participate.We are beyond excited!!!

    Bellini Vallis last blog post..Spanakopita Burgers with Greek "Tude"

  13. Lisa G says

    My friend is on bedrest and I’ve been cooking up a bunch of things for the freezer to deliver a week’s worth of meals for her family at once.

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