Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Random Acts of Kindness beginning with "W," "X," "Y," and "Z"

I'm still battling with my health, (although I am seeing some positive progress) so this post also contains four letters like the last one.

Throughout the A-Z Challenge I'll be blogging through the alphabet using each letter to create a list of Random Acts of Kindness. I've been collecting RAK ideas for some time now as I gear up to the 2016 launch of a project dear to my heart: B(e) Kind 366. I'll be performing an act of kindness every day of the leap year starting January 1st, 2016 while raising funds for World University Service of Canada (WUSC), an organisation that changed my life.

I'm starting each post with a synonym (of sorts) for kindness. I added this part to my posts because of an amazing movement I am a part of 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. We link up monthly and blog about changing the world for the better. It's magical really. We're even on Twitter! @1000Speak

W is for Warm, but to be honest, I could not come up with synonyms for "X," "Y," or "Z."

Walk - with a friend, alone, take your dogs!
Watch - the sunrise, the sunset, the rain come down.
Wave - to people you drive past.
Wish - leave coins on a wishing well or fountain for others to wish with.
        
X (as in kiss - xoxo) - send someone a special message and use it to sign off, leave it as a comment on a loved one’s facebook, make some out of paper and leave caring messages on them.
XD (the emoticon for a laughing face) - text it, facebook it, tweet it!
X Marks the Spot - bury treasure in a playground and leave clues for a child to find.
Xavier Rudd - So much of Xavier's music is incredibly beautiful and kind. I've chosen one of my favourites, "Better People," to share with you. 
Xpialidocious - say it, sing it. Embrace the awesomeness of the “word.”


Yoga - attend a class, follow a video, try a different type (ashtanga, bikram, hot, restorative, vinyasa), attend a Yoga-thon!

Zombie Run - take part as a participant or a volunteer.
Zumba - try it! Attend a Zumba-thon!

That's it; that's all, folks! I'll do a wrap up post in a few days with a count of how many RAKs I listed A-Z. Here's a fun thought: before I do the count, YOU venture a guess and post it in the comments. I'll do something especially kind for the person who is the closest to the correct number. 

In addition check out my super fun "If Jane Austen Blogged A-Z" post, test your Janeite knowledge, and win some Jane Austen swag! 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Random Acts of Kindness beginning with "S," "T," "U," and "V"

Well folks, my health has gotten the better of me over the past week which has led to me missing a few posts and packing S, T, U, and V all into one! Four letters makes for a long list of RAKs so I hope you find some inspiration!

Throughout the A-Z Challenge I'll be blogging through the alphabet using each letter to create a list of Random Acts of Kindness. I've been collecting RAK ideas for some time now as I gear up to the 2016 launch of a project dear to my heart: B(e) Kind 366. I'll be performing an act of kindness every day of the leap year starting January 1st, 2016 while raising funds for World University Service of Canada (WUSC), an organisation that changed my life.

I'm starting each post with a synonym (of sorts) for kindness. I added this part to my posts because of an amazing movement I am a part of 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. We link up monthly and blog about changing the world for the better. It's magical really. We're even on Twitter! @1000Speak

S is for Supportive
The first time I shaved my head in 2011

Scented Soaps - put them in random lockers at the gym with a little note.
Shave your head! (I’ll be shaving mine on February 4, 2016 for National Cancer Day.)
Shopping carts - put some stray ones away.
Shower - for only five minutes.
Sing - to a child, at an open mic, at karaoke, in the shower, for your supper!
Smile - at strangers! Make a conscious effort to keep one on your face all day J
Sock” someone!
               
T is for Thoughtful

The toys and books I took to the
Children's Ward as one of my
29 RAKs for my 29th on Jan. 29
Take WhatYou Need - put these signs up in public places. 
Tell - a parent how well behaved their child is.
Text - someone just to say good morning or good night.
Thank you - make it public on a poster, make it private in a note.
Thankful list
Tip - leave a generous one.
Toys - take some to the children’s ward of a hospital, leave some a playground.
Tweet - to promote a cause.

U is for Understanding

Unplug - electronics
Upside down - snowman, build one!

I couldn't come up with a "V" synonym; can you?

Virtual - greetings, smiles, hugs!
Volunteer - My plan is to volunteer with at least one different organization every month in 2016! 

Now that's a long list, but I am always looking for more RAK ideas so if any come to mind please do post them in the comments!



After all of that, be sure to check out my super fun "If Jane Austen Blogged A-Z" post, test your Janeite knowledge, and win some Jane Austen swag! The more people who enter, the more swag I'll add to the bag.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Random Acts of Kindness beginning with "R"

Throughout the A-Z Challenge I'll be blogging through the alphabet using each letter to create a list of Random Acts of Kindness. I've been collecting RAK ideas for some time now as I gear up to the 2016 launch of a project dear to my heart: B(e) Kind 366. I'll be performing an act of kindness every day of the leap year starting January 1st, 2016 while raising funds for World University Service of Canada (WUSC), an organisation that changed my life.

I'm starting each post with a synonym (of sorts) for kindness. I added this part to my posts because of an amazing movement I am a part of 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. We link up monthly and blog about changing the world for the better. It's magical really. We're even on Twitter! @1000Speak

R is for Respect

Random - Pick a name from the phone book and mail surprise note/gift  
Re - shelve misplaced groceries, -hang clothes that have fallen off store hangers, -use plastic and canvas grocery bags.
Read - to a child, to a senior, something you normally wouldn’t, something from a banned book list, something written by someone from a marginalized group, a book that someone recommends, to participate in a reading challenge or a read-a-thon. Read something and pass it along to someone else or leave it in a public place for a stranger. I recommend: Citizens of Nowhere
Recycle
Review – a book, a film, a restaurant, someone’s customer service, BUT make sure it’s all positive!
Run – 1km, 5km, 10km, a half marathon, a full marathon. Run to raise funds or run just to run! (I’ll be running a half marathon in December of 2016.)
Ride for Refuge (I'll be biking 25km in October of 2016.)

That's it for my "R" list! I am always looking for more RAK ideas so if any come to mind please do post them in the comments!

Since I keep urging you to check out my super fun "If Jane Austen Blogged A-Z" post to win some Jane Austen swag, it's only fitting that I give you an "R is for Reading" recommendation from Jane Austen's novels as well. If you have read two or more Austen novels, I highly recommend Northanger Abbey. It is, by far, my favourite. If you have never read Austen or have only read Pride and Prejudice, then I recommend Sense and Sensibility! It's hilarious and you'll love it! If you enter my giveaway, you'll have a VERY good chance of winning some read-worthy Austen books!

Monday, April 20, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Random Acts of Kindness beginning with "Q"

Throughout the A-Z Challenge I'll be blogging through the alphabet using each letter to create a list of Random Acts of Kindness. I've been collecting RAK ideas for some time now as I gear up to the 2016 launch of a project dear to my heart: B(e) Kind 366. I'll be performing an act of kindness every day of the leap year starting January 1st, 2016 while raising funds for World University Service of Canada (WUSC), an organisation that changed my life.

I'm starting each post with a synonym (of sorts) for kindness. I added this part to my posts because of an amazing movement I am a part of 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. We link up monthly and blog about changing the world for the better. It's magical really. We're even on Twitter! @1000Speak

Try as I might, I couldn't come up with a synonym of sorts that starts with "Q" - can you?

Quarters - leave some by payphones, next to bubblegum machines, top up someone's parking metre.
Quiet - take a vow of silence for a few hours, for a whole day, for even longer if you can handle it!
Quit - Don't!
Quote - share some inspiring ones via social media.

My "Q" list is quite short, but I am always looking for more RAK ideas so if any come to mind please do post them in the comments!




Check out my super fun "If Jane Austen Blogged A-Z" post, test your Janeite knowledge, and win some Jane Austen swag! The more people who enter, the more swag I'll add to the bag.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Self-Kindness (A #1000Speak "Nurture" Post)

February 20 marked the start of an amazing movement - 1000 Voices for Compassion. One thousand plus bloggers came together to flood the blogosphere with posts dedicated to the theme of compassion. I wrote a post simply called "1000 Voices Speak for Compassion." A month later, on March 20, the movement continued and bloggers posted around the theme of "Building Beyond Bullying." This time I wrote something a little outside of the theme, but with an important message nonetheless: "Positive Stereotypes, Do They Exist?" Now it is April 20 and the theme for this month's post is "Nurture." Once again bloggers are linking up and spreading goodness across the globe. The link up is live until Noon GMT on April 21 so why not join us? After that you can still read all of the blogs (the link up will just be closed) and find us on Twitter @1000Speak and with the hashtag #1000Speak.

Besides the fact that 1000Speak is an incredibly beautiful initiative to be a part of, I'm also participating because it fits so well with my own project that will come to life in 2016. B(e) Kind 366 is a kindness project that I have been dreaming about bringing into existence for a few years now. In 2016, that dream will become a reality! I'll be doing a Random (or not) Act of Kindness (RAK) every day of the year in 2016 and raising funds for World University Service of Canada, an organization that has changed my life.

Throughout the month of April I have been taking part in the A to Z Challenge and posting lists of Random Acts of Kindness ideas for each letter. While it is wonderful to perform kind acts for others, it is equally, if not more important, to treat ourselves with the kindness we deserve, to NURTURE ourselves. With that in mind, I thought I would provide a few self-kindness ideas in honour of April's 1000Speak theme while still keeping with my A-Z theme.

Keep a Happiness Folder - when something makes you laugh, when you have one of those really great days, when you receive a compliment, when you are the recipient of a RAK, jot your recollection of those moments down and put them in a folder (or jar, or box). On those days that really aren't so great, pull it out and remember happier days!

Literally STOP and smell the flowers.
Practice Mindfulness - There are a number of ways to incorporate simple acts of mindfulness into your day. I'll give you two. Mindful eating - sit in silence with your food, look at it (at the colours, the textures, the arrangement on the plate), smell it (what is the scent of each individual item? what is the scent of the whole plate together), take a bite and just hold it in your mouth for a moment without chewing, roll it around (how does it feel in your mouth? what flavours can you taste? are all of your taste buds engaged? bitter? sour? salty? sweet?), finally chew slowly and as you swallow imagine the nutrients entering your blood stream. At least once a week try to have a meal where you really appreciate and are mindful of your food. Journey of the Senses - whenever you are feeling overwhelmed or just whenever you feel the urge, stop what you are doing and stand or sit still. List off five objects that you see. Close your eyes and list five sounds that you hear. Then breathe in deeply through your nose and list five scents that you can smell. Finally, list five flavours that you can taste. Try to do this at least once a day; it's a really effective way to be fully present in any given moment and focus on things that allow us to clear our minds of clutter.

Relax - lie down and close your eyes. Starting at the top of your head consciously think about your entire body relaxing one part at a time. Think about the tension leaving the back of your head, your neck, your shoulders, and continue down the back of your body to your toes. Once you have relaxed each individual toe, work your way up the front of your body. Think about the tension leaving the tops of your feet, the fronts of your ankles, legs, knees, thighs, etc, all the way back to the top of your head. I promise you, you will be relaxed by the time you are finished. The key is keeping your mind focused on your body relaxing.

And finally - any kind thing that you would do to nurture someone else, do to nurture yourself every once in a while! Buy yourself a gift. Write yourself a poem. Send yourself a letter.




Saturday, April 18, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Random Acts of Kindness beginning with "P"

Throughout the A-Z Challenge I'll be blogging through the alphabet using each letter to create a list of Random Acts of Kindness. I've been collecting RAK ideas for some time now as I gear up to the 2016 launch of a project dear to my heart: B(e) Kind 366. I'll be performing an act of kindness every day of the leap year starting January 1st, 2016 while raising funds for World University Service of Canada (WUSC), an organisation that changed my life.

I'm starting each post with a synonym (of sorts) for kindness. I added this part to my posts because of an amazing movement I am a part of 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. We link up monthly and blog about changing the world for the better. It's magical really. We're even on Twitter! @1000Speak

A sample Pay It Forward card
P is for Peace

Pay It Forward - read the book, watch the film, but most importantly do it! If someone does something kind for you do something kind for someone else. 
Photo - send an old one to a friend or family member, offer to take one for a group of strangers, take on a Photo-a-Day Challenge.
Plant - a garden, a tree, flowers, something in a mug!
Play - with a child: make faces, peekaboo.
Poetry - read some, write some! (I will write a poem for everyone who donates to B(e) Kind 366 in April 2016.)
Positive - Free Thought Sign
Positivity Challenge - For 5 days post 3 positive things that happened to you or that you are grateful for that day. At the end of each day, tag/nominate 3 people to take part in the challenge.

I have to give a special "P" shout out to Pinterest as part of this post. Most of my ideas for my RAK lists have come from boards on Pinterest. I've been linking to most of the pins when the opportunity arises on each post, but if you're interested in finding all of the pins in one place follow my new B(e) Kind 366 board and my 365 Days of Kindness board - a board I have been collecting RAK ideas on for over a year!

A bit of a longer list for "P", but I am still always looking for more RAK ideas so if any come to mind please do post them in the comments!


"P" also happens to be for Pride and Prejudice and while P&P is not my favourite Jane Austen novel, it tends to be the favourite of most people. It is also the subject of Master's of Arts thesis so I finally took the time to include a photo of the swag up for grabs in my super fun "If Jane Austen Blogged A-Z" giveaway! The more entries I get, the more swag I'll add so go and test your Janeite knowledge or even just venture guesses!

Friday, April 17, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Random Acts of Kindness beginning with "O"

Throughout the A-Z Challenge I'll be blogging through the alphabet using each letter to create a list of Random Acts of Kindness. I've been collecting RAK ideas for some time now as I gear up to the 2016 launch of a project dear to my heart: B(e) Kind 366. I'll be performing an act of kindness every day of the leap year starting January 1st, 2016 while raising funds for World University Service of Canada (WUSC), an organisation that changed my life.

I'm starting each post with a synonym (of sorts) for kindness. I added this part to my posts because of an amazing movement I am a part of 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. We link up monthly and blog about changing the world for the better. It's magical really. We're even on Twitter! @1000Speak

O is for Open-minded

Off (the grid) - live without electricity, running water, electronics for a set amount of time. (I’ll be doing this in July 2016 for a minimum of five days.)
Offer - to help someone, anyone with something, anything!
Open - the door for someone.
Order - delivery for someone else, dessert for a random table in a restaurant.

I decided to include a video of Matisyahu's "One Day" because it is such a beautiful song that perpetuates hope for a better world! 

That's it for my "O" list! I'm always looking for more RAK ideas so if any come to mind please do post them in the comments! 

Check out my super fun "If Jane Austen Blogged A-Z" post, test your Janeite knowledge, and win some Jane Austen swag!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Random Acts of Kindness beginning with "N"

Throughout the A-Z Challenge I'll be blogging through the alphabet using each letter to create a list of Random Acts of Kindness. I've been collecting RAK ideas for some time now as I gear up to the 2016 launch of a project dear to my heart: B(e) Kind 366. I'll be performing an act of kindness every day of the leap year starting January 1st, 2016 while raising funds for World University Service of Canada (WUSC), an organisation that changed my life.

I'm starting each post with a synonym (of sorts) for kindness. I added this part to my posts because of an amazing movement I am a part of 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. We link up monthly and blog about changing the world for the better. It's magical really. We're even on Twitter! @1000Speak

N is for Nurture

The really neat thing about this synonym is that "nurture" happens to be the 1000Speak theme for April. I chose the word for my "N" post before 1000Speak chose it for their April theme. Kind minds think alike!
Husky Raised by Cats Acts Like a Cat

Nature – spend some time it. Take on a 30 minutes a day for 30 days nature challenge. 
Negativity – counteract it with positivity. Ex. For every negative facebook post you see, post something positive!
News – watch it, read it. Read online news from another country to gain global perspective. 

That's it; that's all for "N"! I'm always looking for more RAK ideas so if any come to mind please do post them in the comments!

Check out my super fun "If Jane Austen Blogged A-Z" post, test your Janeite knowledge, and win some Jane Austen swag!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Random Acts of Kindness beginning with "M"


Today is an extra special day: We are half way through the alphabet! "M" is letter #13 and today, April 15, is also my MOM's birthday! My Mom is my best friend, my cheerleader, my mirror, my sounding board, my support group! She is, by far, the most important person in my life! She is the reason I am the woman that I am. She is the one who taught me that kindness is always the answer. I dedicate this post to her!


Throughout the A-Z Challenge I'll be blogging through the alphabet using each letter to create a list of Random Acts of Kindness. I've been collecting RAK ideas for some time now as I gear up to the 2016 launch of a project dear to my heart: B(e) Kind 366. I'll be performing an act of kindness every day of the leap year starting January 1st, 2016 while raising funds for World University Service of Canada (WUSC), an organisation that changed my life.

I'm starting each post with a synonym (of sorts) for kindness. I added this part to my posts because of an amazing movement I am a part of 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. We link up monthly and blog about changing the world for the better. It's magical really. We're even on Twitter! @1000Speak

M is for Mindfulness

Practice Mindfulness
Magic - learn some, perform it for others, believe in it (if only for a day)!
Memory Jar - make one for yourself or to give to someone special. 
Mirror - leave small ones with inspiration post-its stuck to them for people to find.
Money - give some, lend some, leave some in the children’s section of a dollar store!
Mud Run - take part in one!
Music - listen to something new, learn to play an instrument, support a budding musician, attend a musical event (I’ll be making a customised playlist for everyone who donates to B(e) Kind 366 in August 2016).

That's it for my "M" List! I'm always looking for more RAK ideas so if any come to mind please do post them in the comments!

Check out my super fun "If Jane Austen Blogged A-Z" post, test your Janeite knowledge, and win some Jane Austen swag!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Random Acts of Kindness beginning with "L"

Throughout the A-Z Challenge I'll be blogging through the alphabet using each letter to create a list of Random Acts of Kindness. I've been collecting RAK ideas for some time now as I gear up to the 2016 launch of a project dear to my heart: B(e) Kind 366. I'll be performing an act of kindness every day of the leap year starting January 1st, 2016 while raising funds for World University Service of Canada (WUSC), an organisation that changed my life.

I'm starting each post with a synonym (of sorts) for kindness. I added this part to my posts because of an amazing movement I am a part of 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. We link up monthly and blog about changing the world for the better. It's magical really. We're even on Twitter! @1000Speak

L is for Love

Learn – something new! A language, a skill, a new word every day!
Lemonade – make some, share some. Play the video; I promise it will not disappoint!
Letter – as in the old school way of communicating! Paper, envelope, stamp, send it to someone special or a stranger! Leave a stamped envelope and a blank card for someone else to fill out and send.
Litter – pick it up!
Lotto tickets – leave some scratch and wins for a lucky stranger to find.
Lunch – pay for a friend’s or better yet a stranger’s!

That's it for my "L" List! I'm always looking for more RAK ideas so if any come to mind please do post them in the comments!

Check out my super fun "If Jane Austen Blogged A-Z" post, test your Janeite knowledge, and win some Jane Austen swag!

Monday, April 13, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Random Acts of Kindness beginning with "K"

Throughout the A-Z Challenge I'll be blogging through the alphabet using each letter to create a list of Random Acts of Kindness. I've been collecting RAK ideas for some time now as I gear up to the 2016 launch of a project dear to my heart: B(e) Kind 366. I'll be performing an act of kindness every day of the leap year starting January 1st, 2016 while raising funds for World University Service of Canada (WUSC), an organisation that changed my life.

I'm starting each post with a synonym (of sorts) for kindness. I added this part to my posts because of an amazing movement I am a part of 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. We link up monthly and blog about changing the world for the better. It's magical really. We're even on Twitter! @1000Speak

K is for KINDNESS

Oddly enough, I have a very short list today so in the spirit of kindness, I am linking to other "K is for Kindness" posts that I happened upon while blog and twitter hopping:
- Chantelle from Cocktails and Memories writes about how kindness between strangers developed into a beautiful friendship. 
- Joy from My Own 2 Sense writes about how teachers and parents contribute to a world of kindness.
- Melanie from Melanie Schulz writes a brilliant piece of flash fiction with kindness at its heart.  
- Rachel from Rachel's Ramblings writes about how small acts of kindness from her coworkers made her day. 
- Shantala from Shanaya Tales writes about how a brief moment of stranger kindness has remained with her throughout her life. 

Now for a few simple RAK ideas and a few more links to some "kool" blogs: 
Karma - do and be good; attract good. Check out C. Lee McKenzie's K is for Karma post. 
Kickstarter - check out the projects - find one that speaks to you - support it! Type "kindness" into the
search engine for a place to start.
Kindness Wins - Galit Breen's brand new book! Get yours!
Kiss - a loved one unexpectedly, blow one to someone special. Give someone a chocolate one! Check out Katie Paul's tantalizing post K is for Kissing.
Kitchen - open yours up to guests and host a dinner party. 
Kooky - allow yourself to act, dress, just be! Encourage others to join in! Check out Kelly Martin’s K is for Kooky post. 

That's it for my "K" List! It's a short list, but I do hope you'll spread the kindness by visiting some of the blogs that I linked to in this post. 

Check out my super fun "If Jane Austen Blogged A-Z" post, test your Janeite knowledge, and win some Jane Austen swag!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Random Acts of Kindness beginning with "J"

Throughout the A-Z Challenge I'll be blogging through the alphabet using each letter to create a list of Random Acts of Kindness. I've been collecting RAK ideas for some time now as I gear up to the 2016 launch of a project dear to my heart: B(e) Kind 366. I'll be performing an act of kindness every day of the leap year starting January 1st, 2016 while raising funds for World University Service of Canada (WUSC), an organisation that changed my life.

I'm starting each post with a synonym (of sorts) for kindness. I added this part to my posts because of an amazing movement I am a part of 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. We link up monthly and blog about changing the world for the better. It's magical really. We're even on Twitter! @1000Speak

J is for Joy
Journal prompts

Journal - keep one for kindness, gratitude, or just because. Leave a blank journal and a note
encouraging the finder to write.
Just - say hello, good-bye, good morning, or good night!

That's it for my "J" List! The more Random Acts of Kindness ideas the better, so please add to my list by leaving suggestions in the comments!

 If J isn't the best letter to try out your Jane knowledge, I don't what letter is! Check out my super fun "If Jane Austen Blogged A-Z" post, test your Janeite knowledge, and win some Jane Austen swag!

Friday, April 10, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Random Acts of Kindness beginning with "I"

Throughout the A-Z Challenge I'll be blogging through the alphabet using each letter to create a list of Random Acts of Kindness. I've been collecting RAK ideas for some time now as I gear up to the 2016 launch of a project dear to my heart: B(e) Kind 366. I'll be performing an act of kindness every day of the leap year starting January 1st, 2016 while raising funds for World University Service of Canada (WUSC), an organisation that changed my life.

I'm starting each post with a synonym (of sorts) for kindness. I added this part to my posts because of an amazing movement I am a part of 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. We link up monthly and blog about changing the world for the better. It's magical really. We're even on Twitter! @1000Speak

I is for Inclusive

Include - someone new in a group activity. 
Ice cream - buy someone some, make some, enjoy some! Give someone an ice cream kit
Inspiration - leave signs on km markers of a walking trail, on lockers at the gym, put post-its in public places. 
Instagram - tag people in positive image posts, post selfies while holding signs that advocate for a cause. 
Invest - in your own future (start an RRSP, buy a savings bond), in a child's (start an RESP).
Invite - people over and be their host, someone to breakfast/lunch/supper and pay for their meal, someone to an event and buy their ticket. 

That's it for my "I" List! The more Random Acts of Kindness ideas the better, so please add to my list by leaving suggestions in the comments!

Want to win some Jane Austen swag?! Who doesn't?! Check out my super fun "If Jane Austen Blogged A-Z" post and test your Janeite knowledge!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Random Acts of Kindness beginning with "H"

Throughout the A-Z Challenge I'll be blogging through the alphabet using each letter to create a list of Random Acts of Kindness. I've been collecting RAK ideas for some time now as I gear up to the 2016 launch of a project dear to my heart: B(e) Kind 366. I'll be performing an act of kindness every day of the leap year starting January 1st, 2016 while raising funds for World University Service of Canada (WUSC), an organisation that changed my life.

I'm starting each post with a synonym (of sorts) for kindness. I added this part to my posts because of an amazing movement I am a part of 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. We link up monthly and blog about changing the world for the better. It's magical really. We're even on Twitter! @1000Speak

H is for Happiness

HappinessCafe - approach a local cafe about hosting a day or week long event.
Heat - turn it off for one cool weather day.
Hello - say it to someone, anyone, everyone - especially a stranger!
Help - someone, anyone do something, anything! Carry groceries, shovel snow, rake leaves. Help someone who has dropped something.
Homeless - do something for them. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, give your spare change, put hats and scarves in places they can be easily found.
Hug - a loved one, a friend, a stranger. Give out free ones! Send one in the mail

That's it for my "H" List! I'm always on the look out for more ideas so please help me build my list of Random Acts of Kindness by leaving suggestions in the comments!

Want to win some Jane Austen swag?! Who doesn't?! Check out my super fun "If Jane Austen Blogged A-Z" post and test your Janeite knowledge!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Random Acts of Kindness beginning with "G"

Throughout the A-Z Challenge I'll be blogging through the alphabet using each letter to create a list of Random Acts of Kindness. I've been collecting RAK ideas for some time now as I gear up to the 2016 launch of a project dear to my heart: B(e) Kind 366. I'll be performing an act of kindness every day of the leap year starting January 1st, 2016 while raising funds for World University Service of Canada (WUSC), an organisation that changed my life.

I'm starting each post with a synonym (of sorts) for kindness. I added this part to my posts because of an amazing movement I am a part of 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. We link up monthly and blog about changing the world for the better. It's magical really. We're even on Twitter! @1000Speak

G is for Give

Googly Eye Bombing
is one of my favourite RAKs
Gifts - send one to someone, anyone - your trash collector, mail person, bus driver, teacher, a stranger. Give a gift basket to someone working on Christmas. Give a mental gift. (Since January is my birthday month I’ll be sending a gift to everyone who donates to B(e) Kind 366 in January of 2016).
Garden - plant your own (you can even do it indoors), tend someone else’s, get involved in a community one.
Give something up - soda, chocolate, potato chips, or - dare I say it - COFFEE, for a week or push yourself and give something up for a whole month. Who knows maybe you’ll stick with it!
Googly Eye Bomb!

That's it for my "G" List! Tomorrow's "H" List is a bit longer. Any guesses on what the "H" synonym will be?

I'm always on the look out for more ideas so please help me build my list of Random Acts of Kindness by leaving suggestions in the comments!

Want to win some Jane Austen swag?! Who doesn't?! Check out my super fun "If Jane Austen Blogged A-Z" post and test your Janeite knowledge!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Random Acts of Kindness beginning with "F"

Throughout the A-Z Challenge I'll be blogging through the alphabet using each letter to create a list of Random Acts of Kindness. I've been collecting RAK ideas for some time now as I gear up to the 2016 launch of a project dear to my heart: B(e) Kind 366. I'll be performing an act of kindness every day of the leap year starting January 1st, 2016 while raising funds for World University Service of Canada (WUSC), an organisation that changed my life.

I'm starting each post with a synonym (of sorts) for kindness. I added this part to my posts because of an amazing movement I am a part of 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. We link up monthly and blog about changing the world for the better. It's magical really. We're even on Twitter! @1000Speak

I had a friend deliver these to a public health
nurse in my community. 
F is for Forgive

Fair Trade - promote it, buy it! Take on the Fair Trade Challenge.
Favour - do one for someone. 
Find - out about something new, a new hobby, time for someone special, time for yourself! 
Floss - be kind to your gums!
Flowers - send some, deliver some - to family, friends, nurses, strangers! Leave some on the graves of loved ones and strangers.
Foster - an animal from a shelter.
Freebie - give yours away (ex. on a buy ten, get one free card).
Friend - make a new one, spend time with an old one, reconnect with a lost one, do something special for one. 
Fun - go have some! Whatever it is - just do it!
Fundraise - for a good cause. 

That's it for my "F" List! I'm always on the look out for more ideas so please help me build my list of Random Acts of Kindness by leaving suggestions in the comments!

Want to win some Jane Austen swag?! Who doesn't?! Check out my super fun "If Jane Austen Blogged A-Z" post and test your Janeite knowledge!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Restrictive Pronouns: Reading and Writing Ungendered

After reading Book Riot Contributor Rah Carter's article, "Missed LGBT History Month? There's a Book For That," I immediately ordered Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Denis Rodman by Leslie Feinberg. I wanted to read it primarily for my own interest and lack of knowledge on the subject matter and secondly because it would fit two categories of The Book Riot 2015 Read Harder Challenge: Challenge 5 - A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ and Challenge 10 – a microhistory. Actually, come to think of, it would also fit Challenge 6: A book by a person whose gender is different from your own.


I haven't learned this much from a book in a long time and that's saying a lot considering I'm a Master's of Arts student in English Literature. It's only fitting to quote Feinberg in explaining what Transgender Warriors is about: "It is a fresh look at sex and gender in history and the interrelationships of class, nationality, race, and sexuality." Feinberg explains the difference between transgender and transsexual and lists a whole host of terms that fit within the definition of "transgender." As Feinberg struggles to come to terms with identity and treatment by society in general, readers go on a historical journey through an often hidden, but highly non-heteronormatively sexualized past. My heart hurt many times over as the microhistory moved into the more recent realms of patriarchy and capitalism that lead to the disgusting treatment of transgender people that sadly still occurs today. Don't get me wrong, as a society we have come a very long way, but we still have a very long way to go.

As I read personal statements like, "People stare at me wherever I so. Some who gawk at me shift between seeing me as a very feminine man and extremely masculine woman. I unnerve them because they can't determine my sex," it really hit me how much a person's gender is simply irrelevant. Feinberg includes a quote from Craig Hickman, poet and performance artist, that says "I often am seen by people as a 'What's that?' to which I usually respond 'Isn't beautiful enough?' We are attracted to people, to personalities, and even though physical attraction is very important, why - really - is the gender associated with any one characteristic important at all?

If I had to choose only one thing that had the most impact on me from this book, it would be the realization that language is so very restrictive. "Language can't be ordered individually, as if from a Sears catalog," writes Feinberg. I have a number of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances that could be labelled under one or more of the LGBTQ category. I have a best friend who is currently doing graduate studies research on bisexual female youth in sport and one of the most difficult parts of the research is finding people who are willing to label themselves. And really, who can blame them?

You may have noticed that I avoided using any gendered pronouns in this post, or maybe you didn't. Either way, the point is that writing ungendered can be done! After all, why should we define ourselves by a pronoun?!

-----

I haven't been able to get the ideas of writing ungendered and reading about ungendered characters out of my mind since I read Feinberg's book. I did a quick internet search for books that contain gender-neutral characters and was pleasantly surprised at the results. Here are just a few I plan to add to my TBR list:

Lock In by John Scalzi

This is a Sci-Fi novel that follows the story of two police agents, Chris Shane and Leslie Vann (two obviously gender-neutral names), twenty-five years after the outbreak of a contagious virus that causes one percent of its victims to become "Hadens" - fully alert humans who are unable to respond to stimuli or move. Main character, Chris Shane - whose gender is never revealed - is a Haden investigating the murder of a fellow Haden. An "Integrator" is someone who can allow a Haden to use their body which is how agent Shane functions. I actually think I'm going to check out one of the two audio-versions of Lock In, either the one narrated by Wil Wheaton (pretty cool, right?!) or the one by Amber Benson (also cool).


Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brenzenoff

This one is YA Fiction and tells the story of sixteen-year old Kid (clearly gender-neutral). Kid's life on the streets of Brooklyn is full of adventure and love and the gender of the main character nor the lover, Scout, is ever revealed. YA is typically a genre that never really seems to be able to capture my interest, but this novel and its ungendered characters has already peaked mine.


Call Me Tree by Maya Christina Gonzalez

Of all the books that came up during my search, this colourful work of Children's Literature is the most intriguing. I say that because it is a children's book and if we are going to start changing the conversation about gender and its arguable lack of importance, then the best place to start is with our children. Gonzalez' main character obviously goes by the name Tree and the story explores the idea of why someone is called he or she and the assumptions made when calling someone by a gendered pronoun. I may be an adult, but Call Me Tree is definitely a book I want to add to my collection and introduce my own children to (whenever that day comes).

A-Z Challenge: Random Acts of Kindness beginning with "E"

Throughout the A-Z Challenge I'll be blogging through the alphabet using each letter to create a list of Random Acts of Kindness. I've been collecting RAK ideas for some time now as I gear up to the 2016 launch of a project dear to my heart: B(e) Kind 366. I'll be performing an act of kindness every day of the leap year starting January 1st, 2016 while raising funds for World University Service of Canada (WUSC), an organisation that changed my life.

I'm starting each post with a synonym (of sorts) for kindness. I added this part to my posts because of an amazing movement I am a part of 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. We link up monthly and blog about changing the world for the better. It's magical really. We're even on Twitter! @1000Speak

Peanut Butter Burger
E is for Equality

E-Card - send one!
Eat - with someone, something new, something foreign, something someone asks you to try (even if you think it's strange).
Egg - someone! This is a great idea for the Easter season, but really anytime would do!
Expired - posters on community boards - take them down and recycle them.
Explain - something to someone who is having difficulties understanding. 
Exercise - 30 minutes/day or 10,000 steps/day (I will be exercising a.k.a. walking, running, cycling, etc. one km for every dollar donated during the month of June in 2016.)

That's it for my "E" List! It's a little shorter this time around. Please help me build my list of Random Acts of Kindness by leaving suggestions in the comments!

Want to win some Jane Austen swag?! Who doesn't?! Check out my super fun "If Jane Austen Blogged A-Z" post and test your Janeite knowledge!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Random Acts of Kindness beginning with "D"

Throughout the A-Z Challenge I'll be blogging through the alphabet using each letter to create a list of Random Acts of Kindness. I've been collecting RAK ideas for some time now as I gear up to the 2016 launch of a project dear to my heart: B(e) Kind 366. I'll be performing an act of kindness every day of the leap year starting January 1st, 2016 while raising funds for World University Service of Canada (WUSC), an organisation that changed my life.

I'm starting each post with a synonym (of sorts) for kindness. I added this part to my posts because of an amazing movement I am a part of 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. We link up monthly and blog about changing the world for the better. It's magical really. We're even on Twitter! @1000Speak

D is for Dedication

Dance – with a loved one, with a stranger, by yourself, in public, in private, in the rain! Take a dance class alone or with a partner. Play the video below and dance right now!
Date Night – plan one with someone special, plan one for someone else. Deliver a date nightbox!
Diapers – donate some, leave some along with wipes on a public washroom change table.
Ding Dong Ditch – a nice surprise for a friend, neighbour, complete stranger!
Documentary – watch one! 
Donate – money, goods (clothing, food, toys, school supplies, hygiene products), items to a charity yard sale, your time. The Stephen LewisFoundation organizes an Aeroplan donation campaign every year. Make an appointment to donate blood. Fill out your organ donor card or register online!
Drink – more water! Buy one for a friend!
Drive Thru – pay for the person behind you! 

That's it for my "D" List! Please help me build my list of Random Acts of Kindness by leaving suggestions in the comments!

Want to win some Jane Austen swag?! Who doesn't?! Check out my super fun "If Jane Austen Blogged A-Z" post and test your Janeite knowledge!

Friday, April 3, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Random Acts of Kindness beginning with "C"

Throughout the A-Z Challenge I'll be blogging through the alphabet using each letter to create a list of Random Acts of Kindness. I've been collecting RAK ideas for some time now as I gear up to the 2016 launch of a project dear to my heart: B(e) Kind 366. I'll be performing an act of kindness every day of the leap year starting January 1st, 2016 while raising funds for World University Service of Canada (WUSC), an organisation that changed my life.

I'm starting each post with a synonym (of sorts) for kindness. I added this part to my posts because of an amazing movement I am a part of 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. We link up monthly and blog about changing the world for the better. It's magical really. We're even on Twitter! @1000Speak

C is for Care & Compassion

Candle - light one for the spirit of someone or something. Just enjoy the ambiance of the flame!
Candy - make a sign giving away free candy. 
Celebrate – a holiday, a birthday, someone else, yourself! Celebrate The Small Stuff - join this awesome blog hop!
Challenge – take one on: do something new, do a daily fiction prompt, BLOG A-Z! Check out Rebecca Horner's 30in2015 for some awesome challenge ideas.
A photo from my last planned kindness endeavour!
Cheer - someone else on, yourself on!
Cheerleader Lolli - make one and leave it for a stranger. 
Clean – for yourself, for someone else. Clean up someone’s left-behind trash.
Coffee - buy one for a friend, for a stranger, give away your free one, leave a pre-paid coffee card for studying students. 
Coins - leave some on pay phones, in shopping carts, on toy/ candy/vending machines, at the laundromat, at a fountain so someone else can make a wish, on a mall ride. 
Compliment – a family member, a friend, and most importantly a stranger! Make a Free Compliments sign
Cook – for a loved one, for your neighbours. Take a cooking class by yourself or with a partner. Try a new recipe!
Colour - a picture; it's calming, with a child, leave colouring pages and crayons in public places, participate in a Colour Run!
Coupons – leave them on the items they discount for the next shopper to find. 

That brings me to the end of my "C" List! Please help me build my list of Random Acts of Kindness by leaving suggestions in the comments!

Want to win some Jane Austen swag?! Who doesn't?! Check out my super fun "If Jane Austen Blogged A-Z" post and test your Janeite knowledge!