Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

Kindness Challenge: Spike & the Kindness Poster

Yesterday afternoon I received a Facebook message from a local TV reporter who is a friend of mine on social media channels. She indicated that she had seen my post about our first Acts of Kindness challenge and was so intrigued with the idea of Promise Monsters that she invited them to the station for a segment!

Isn’t that great? I’m so glad this local company is getting more attention.

The funny thing is – about 5 minutes after I received the Facebook message, our postal worker, Mr. Jason (who’s great, by the way), delivered our next Promise Monster to our doorstep! Talk about timely.

Meet Spike. Spike is a mess – but in the best of ways! He’s very creative and good at expressing himself, and has no fears.


Wes was ecstatic to meet Spike. He loved his quirky shape instantly. He asked me to open the mission card immediately to find out what Spike had challenged us to do. Hurriedly, we learned that we were to create a kindness poster that would surprise and spread happiness to those that saw it.


Me: “What do you want to create on your poster? What makes you happy that you think will make other people smile?”
Wes: “I think rainbows, Mama!”
Me: “What a great idea. Do you want to hang it in a public place like a grocery store or maybe at someone’s house?”
Wes: (jumping up and down) “I want to make it for Grandma and Grandpa! And put it in their house!”

Getting excited, we headed to the basement to find our materials for Spike’s kindness poster. Locating stickers, scrapbook paper, crayons and markers, we gathered around the kitchen table to start our project.


We thought about what would make Grandma and Grandpa happy and decided to make coupon tear-offs to redeem for a free hug from Wesley. He thought that was pretty clever and then decorated the poster with rainbows. Since it’s Thanksgiving time, we found some season-appropriate stickers to add to the poster and talked about what we were thankful for in both grandparents.

IMG_7649  IMG_7653

I like Grandpa because:
– “he has food to eat”
– “because I do”
– “he plays trains with me”

I like Grandma because:
– “she likes Grandpa”
– “she plays with me”
– “she likes to close doors with me” (this was followed by many giggles)

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He was excited to surprise his grandparents with Spike’s kindness poster. We had already made plans to drop Wes off at my parents’ house that evening anyway, so we knew we could surprise them in the very near future. Once we arrived, Wes promptly walked into their kitchen and hung it up on their refrigerator.


And boy, were they ever surprised!
“What do you have there, Wesley?”
“It’s Spike’s poster!”

At this point, I had to explain the premise and the purpose of the project, and they instantly loved it. They crouched down to look at it more closely and oohed and ahhed at Wes’ creation.


Wes was so pleased to see his grandparents so happy. And he knew that the kindness would continue for days – every time they see the poster and every time they “redeem” a coupon. It brought a huge smile to all faces in the room. Thanks, Spike, for a great idea!

Obviously, this project was adapted for a 3-year-old’s small social circle and abilities. But even then, his efforts were well received and appreciated. I’d call that a mission: accomplished!

And then today, during Small Business Saturday, we stopped into Little Green Bean Boutique, an eastside children’s resale clothing shop featuring handmade goods. Guess what we found? A huge display of our favorite little monsters. “Look, it’s Blue Smarshmellow!”


Once again, Promise Monsters have entered our lives at a very opportune time. At church, we just finished our sermon series, Love Indy, on spreading kindness to our neighbors and community. And now that Thanksgiving has recently past, we have been more aware of our blessings and gratefulness. Spike’s challenge rekindled that special feeling you get when seeing others smile; it helped to make appreciation, gratitude and “paying it forward” more of an occurrence in our lives.

Wes hasn’t yet chosen his reward for completing Spike’s challenge, but from the looks of it, he’s gonna love the choices – Spike’s accessories like socks and stocking cap, to name a few. A small incentive, yes, but well worth the price. Everyone wins!

As we approach the holiday season, I highly recommend a fun gift like Promise Monsters. Watch a little person do something big for someone else. It’s a wonderful experience.


Our family has been chosen to blog about our experiences with Promise Monsters, an Indianapolis company creating toys that encourage spreading kindness to others. To view all related posts, click here

Posted: November 29th, 2014
Categories: Leah
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Thankful. (Still) Working on Contentedness.

This year is weird. So many twists and turns and never really knowing up from down. But since it’s Thanksgiving season, I wanted to take a moment to be still and reflect on our blessings. Because we do have a lot.

Around this time last year, I was not content. There were things I wanted to change about everything. I complained about the size of our house. I was overwhelmed at work. I didn’t feel connected to our church family. And I so badly wanted a better car. I’m sure I was a nightmare to live with. Poor Steven.

It wasn’t fun to live that way. This past spring, I prayed (not very hard, mind you), that I would learn to be content with my surroundings. I typically don’t like change, but it’s funny when you’re set on something new and different and it doesn’t phase you as “change.” Even though it wasn’t a very fervent prayer, I know God understood my heart and where I wanted to be. And this Thanksgiving, I can say, “it’s okay. I’m good.”

Our house isn’t big or glamorous, but it’s cozy. And I love that we are “forced” to spend every evening together in the same room as a family. Tough nickels, eh? Our neighbors are wonderful. And it’s a snap to clean since there isn’t much that gets dirty!

The most remarkable and difficult and out-of-nowhere change happened this summer. After 2012 passed and the dust settled, I became comfortable in my job again. I was happy, but things weren’t right. Just when I started to understand (and sob) that it was time to move on, my current position fell into my lap. It made so much sense that I’m still baffled today at the easy transition. Not that it was easy to leave; quite the contrary. But once the mourning period was over, I was able to spread my wings. My 4.5 years at Joy’s House taught me to fly.

Our church is small, and on a typical Sunday, we average 80 members in attendance. Most of those 80 people are older families or empty nesters. I have hoped for and desired a handful of people our age with young kids that share similarities with me and Steven to join our church so painfully much that it got in the way of the things that really mattered. I’m relearning how to love our congregation. Did you know that you CAN be friends with 50 and 60-year-olds? And heck, they have lots of living under their belts to give you straight answers and advice.

It seems silly now to write about a car. But, you know? You spend a lot of time in that thing, and when you don’t love your car, it can be a problem. I’ve never really had a car I loooooved like some people do, but I certainly had affection toward my first driving-machines. The car I currently drive – it’s not its fault that I don’t draw a big heart around its name – wasn’t my choice of vehicle when we bought it. I had higher hopes outside of our price range. It’s a fine car, really: gets great gas mileage, has a wonderful warranty and everything. But over the last few years, I decided I NEEDED a Subaru Outback. I spent hours researching used Subies for killer deals, and it became salt in the wound for all of us. Instead of learning to love my car, I’ve become detached. Now, it’s “just a car.” Who cares, really? It gets us safely from point A to point B, and all Wes cares about is firetrucks.

So, there. Just a few things that I can now call blessings. There’s still a lot to be done to be fully content; it’s a work in progress. Honestly, it doesn’t mean that I’m always happy and life is full of rainbows. But being content with who you are, where you live and what you’re doing – well, that’s peace I haven’t known before. It’s nice not to worry so much about every little thing. To hand over the reigns and walk down the path set before you.

And I know I’m getting sappier as I age, but I embrace it. I like that I can morph this Leah into a gentler, sympathetic, more loving person. Well, actually, I guess it’s the guy upstairs who’s doing the morphing… but I’ll follow.

Posted: November 20th, 2013
Categories: Leah
Tags: ,
Comments: 2 Comments.

November 30 | 30 Things

It’s nearly midnight. Usually I’m asleep by now (as are all others in the house), but it’s still November 30. I’m a little late on the “30 Days of Thanks” bandwagon, but I’ve got time now.

  1. I am thankful for my Lord. He provides every single thing in my life. The air I breathe, the ground beneath my feet – it’s His. Solid ground.
  2. Eight years ago I met my best friend and forever partner. Life sure is more fun and a heck of a lot easier with Steven. We’re a good team.
  3. Oh, Wesley! (Cue Princess Bride) Dare I say more? I fall more in love with our son every day. It’s amazing how much they learn so early in life. I am proud to be given this mom thing opportunity.
  4. My sister is quite possibly the reason I am so focused and dedicated to all the above things. She has been a stellar example and a loving and understanding friend – who happens to “get” how I think. Or not think. We’re known to just wander about and still understand the other.
  5. I have grown to know and love my parents in a totally new way as an adult and new mother. I’ve always known how rare and lucky I was to have parents married for now 40 years. Their relationship is strong and steadfast – and my words fail to unwrap my appreciation.
  6. My extended family is pretty great. My parents in law are generous and gracious. My in law siblings are quirky, yet caring. My grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are all close and family-oriented, so I get to see them often and share our lives together.
  7. One each for my nieces and nephews. Alli, my oldest niece is the smartest kid in her class. She is going to be valedictorian for sure. I swell with pride when I hear her accomplishments in school and soccer, and I’m bursting to seams that she shares my love of books.
  8. Elli is my spitfire gal. I love her spirited energy, her long eyelashes and her curiosity. She is surrounded by boys in her life, but she shines through the dirt and grime she loves so well. I see glimpses of my sister in her and I pretty much tear up whenever she hollers my name (aka Lisa).
  9. Jeremiah. He’s my constant reminder that God works everything for his good. No person on this earth cannot be changed by knowing him. Ask me about his story sometime.
  10. Anna, my preemie 2 lb miracle baby niece who saved her mama’s life. Just like Jeremiah, we greatly anticipated her high-risk birth, and she thrives today.
  11. Josiah is the newest kid in town. He is sweet, innocent and has surprised us all with his life.
  12. I am thankful for my faux aunts and uncles that have been a continual source of support and encouragement throughout my life. I am thankful for the friendship they have provided to my parents – which has been most evident all these years.
  13. I am thankful for my second set of parents – David & Sheela Lall. Their kids are my brothers and sister, and I am blessed beyond believe for being a small part of their ministry in India.
  14. I am thankful for my childhood best friend, roommate and sister, Rachel. So many wonderful memories are spent with her. There is truly nothing like a best friend.
  15. I love my community. East side Indianapolis is my home. The energy is thriving here, and it’s so exciting to be part of it all.
  16. I love the PEOPLE in my community. We rock, man.
  17. Chocolate. All forms.
  18. It’s somewhat down lower on the list, but it doesn’t mean they’re not important. My pups, Jake and Lucy, provide endearing laughs and comfort every. single. day.
  19. Our home. It’s the first place we settled, and I don’t think we’re going anywhere for a while. Many memories have been made and will continue.
  20. Reliable transportation is wonderful.
  21. Again, it’s not as high up on the list, but not on purpose. I freaking love my job. Seriously. Hands down best position ever created for me. Some days I forget how great it is, and then I witness yet another amazing Joy’s House family and their strength gets me all excited about my job again.
  22. My coworkers. Past and present. I’ve been blessed to work with some amazing people, and I know that I have them to thank for where I am right now. Every place is a stepping stone.
  23. I received a fantastic education. Ball State was perfect for me, and I can’t recommend it highly enough!
  24. Health. We are fortunate.
  25. The ability to be thankful. Sometimes it’s hard to be grateful and not assume I’m “deserving” of such-in-such. But I know that everything in this life is GIVEN to me.
  26. Technology. I love it all. Maybe too much.
  27. The season of giving to others. Everyone is just a little kinder and gentler.
  28. Matthew, Wesley’s namesake. He introduced Steven to me. Eternally grateful, man.
  29. Charles & Nikki. Wesley’s Godparents and dear friends. Much love.
  30. You, whoever you are. You read this and apparently care (or are curious) about our lives. Thank you.

I didn’t quite make it, but it was close. 12:08. Goodnight, all!

Posted: December 1st, 2012
Categories: Leah
Comments: 1 Comment.


No complaining, no rambling, no frustrations. Just gratefulness.

  • Unfailing love from our Father
  • Four wonderful years with a fantastic husband and father
  • A healthy-chunky, adorable, amazing little boy
  • The almost-human pups that provide comfort and laughter and companionship
  • Two fulfilling jobs
  • Close relationships with family
  • Oodles of supportive and lively friends
  • Our fantastic neighbors and our neighborhood
  • A blog to vent and receive encouragement & advice
  • Chocolate and coffee
  • Crab rangoon
  • The thrill when you find a forgotten piece of candy or dollar bill
  • Freedom. Taken for granted often
  • A yucky Q-tip, sponge or bucket of water after you’ve cleaned – instant results!
  • The excitement of the future and what’s in store
  • Life, and the ability to be grateful for our blessings
Posted: November 26th, 2011
Categories: Leah
Comments: 1 Comment.

4 Chunky Months

When rolls are cute

Just back from our 4-month check up. Our big 19.3 lb boy is still in the 97th percentile for weight, 75th for height and 25th for head circumference. The nurses all chuckle at his beefy legs and belly. Oh, my little monster!

So how’s the sleep coming along, you ask? Meh. We had a good run, but enter birthdays, friend visits and holidays and whadda’ya know – we’re back to (nearly) square one. At least he’s still sleeping IN his crib, but it’s getting harder and harder to get him to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Pediatrician said it’s time to let him get himself to sleep. And yes, that means several nights of crying. Sigh. This goes against all my maternal instincts, but I realize that he needs to learn to self-soothe or we may well be battling this sleep nonsense for years. I bought some earplugs on the way home from the appointment.

I feel a little sorry for our friends who stay with us during the Thanksgiving weekend every year. I guess we’ll all be combating nighttime crying together, which is only appropriate, since they’re Wes’ godparents and all. At least I don’t have to endure it alone, and maybe I’ll get distracted enough not to succumb to crying myself!

Here’s hoping that come Thanksgiving Day, I can be thankful for a sleeping child. I am blessed and grateful for a stinkin’ cute kid, regardless. I mean, how darling are his 4 month photos?

Posted: November 21st, 2011
Categories: Leah
Tags: , , , ,
Comments: 1 Comment.

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