Saturday, February 22, 2014

Random Acts of Kindness

Over the week of Valentines, I created a "Random Acts of Kindness Challenge". It all started when I received the following email:

It was so great to meet you this weekend at Little White Dress! Not only is your resolution amazing but so are you! You are so full of life and have such a grateful spirit! It was truly contagious as soon as I met you. Your purpose, goal, and message are centered around the Lord and it filled my soul with such positive, faithful energy. And above all else, that's what God calls us to do. I love it!

Not to overwhelm you with all these things (and seem awkward) because I know I hardly know you & I met you for such a brief second. But this year my resolution is going something along the lines of focusing on the positive in people, letting go of the negative, and always always always letting people know just how important they are to you! Far to often we harp on the negative and never let people know all the little things they do that make them so important. So when someone looks extra special, I tell them. When people make me smile, I tell them. When little things happen that I would previously be thankful for just in my head... I tell them! And then I tell God. 
Sounds so small but It has truly changed my heart. I couldn't let you just go on with such strength and courage and not tell you just how incredible I found you, and your journey to be! What a inspiration you are - if I was with you I would give you a big ole hug!! 

So I got to thinking, I am not ready to take the plunge of the FULL YEAR yet. First, let me focus my heart and soul on my own personal resolution and the attitude of gratitude...and hopefully next year I'll be prepared for the big leap of faith you are in the midst of! But God put it so heavy on my heart to get involved, give back in SOME way... pay it forward, to the great journey you & the rest of the girls are taking. I own a boutique inside of Little White Dress called Belles & Bowties. I focus on bridesmaids & tuxes, and while I don't think any of your followers are interested in those two garments I did think they might love my baubles! I carry a line called Reece & Blaire (check them out: I was hoping that in one of your [challenges] I could give away these cute baubles or a necklace? Take a look, tell me what you think or if you have any other ideas. I want to help - even the tiniest bit. Sorry to go on and on forever but I was so excited when you left - I have to be a part, even the smallest part. Let me know what you think little lady! Thank you again for your amazingness, it does not go unnoticed. 

Take Care,

Here is a picture of the gorgeous bracelets:

Now if this isn't the most amazing, thoughtful, and generous act of kindness, then I don't what is! I knew I had to make the challenge fit the prize. So, I got my creative juices flowing and decided on the following:

Step 1: Perform a "Random Act of Kindness" for someone you don't know, and expect nothing in return. It can be as simple as buying a stranger a cup of coffee or filling up an expired parking meter with coins. 

Step 2: Leave a note that says "You are loved."

Step 3: Post a picture of your Random Act of Kindness on Instagram along with a brief description of what you did, and tag @the1yearwardroberesolution. 

There was no limit to the number of acts that a person could perform. And, for each post, their name was entered into a drawing for the beautiful bracelets.
I was overwhelmed at the amount of entries!!! Here are a few of my favorites:

I selected the winner (in a random drawing) on Valentine's Day. It was so much fun - and so exciting! It was so wonderful to be able to use my journey for doing something good - and paying it forward. In the 2 months I have been on a "shopping" restriction, I have learned one very important thing: I get more joy out of giving and inspiring others than I EVER did out of receiving. 

Take less. Give more. Be blessed and inspired. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

How It All Began...

It all began the end of November 2013. I decided to "purge" my closet of the things I no longer wanted. I gathered 4 huge lawn and leaf trash bags worth of clothing - some of which still had tags. The worst part: I couldn't even tell I had taken anything out of my closet. It was sobering. I knew I had a problem. Online shopping and impulse buys at stores like Target (where clothes are "cheap") had control of my life. I had credit card debt and the anxiety that goes with it. I knew I had to make a change. 

I started praying to God for a resolution. What a lot of people don't realize is that, when you pray, it is not a one-sided conversation. You have to be quiet and listen. When you stop "talking" and start "listening" God will answer. Now I can't promise you will like what He has to say. Because I know I didn't! That quiet little voice said "You need to go an entire year, all 4 seasons, learning to appreciate what you have. Nothing new for 365 days." Nope. I didn't like this response. So I pushed it away. I thought to myself "There is NO WAY I could do that!!" I tried to give up online shopping for Lent one year and failed miserably! God knew this. Yet every day, the words came back. They started to get stronger and resonate with my soul. I decided that if I was going to do this, I was going to need a plan and a support team. So, I called on some of my closest friends (who happen to be my size) and told them my plan. All of them had the same response: "You are crazy!! Why??" So this is what I told them...

1. I have way more than I could ever need. 
2. I want to learn to be happy with the things I have. 
3. I want to find out if "less" really is "more". 
4. I want to prove to myself that I can do it. 
5. There are more important things I should be spending my time and money on. 

I also told them I was fully aware I am going to have "withdrawals" and may even "relapse" over the course of this year. So, being the awesome friends they are, they all agreed to open their closets when I feel the need to "shop". They agreed to let me borrow their best and send me their cast-offs. It takes a group of supportive friends and family to help with a resolution of this magnitude. 

This is more than a journey of shopping restrictions, it is a journey of self. It is proving to myself that the "things" of this world do not control me. It is finding the courage to take on a challenge that God has placed on my heart and knowing He will guide and support me the entire way. It is learning to count my blessings and be truly thankful for the people in my life who I treasure above all things.