Kindness Reminders

String-Ring Engagement

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The tradition where a man uses a string to tie around a lady's finger promising to buy an engagement ring in the near future may have originated in The Count of Monte Cristo, in which Edmond uses a piece of string to tie around Mercedes' finger to signify the actual ring he would eventually place on her finger. I love this idea because firstly it places the importance on the couple's commitment and not the size of a purchased diamond and its' expense. Secondly, it allows the finance to choose her own ring, size, and style, taking the pressure off the poor groom. Lastly, it allows the couple to budget for the ring they choose together at a time when they can afford it.

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In Remembrance of Me (repost)

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I watched a television special about Alzheimer's this past week that reminded me of this email I received when I fist began String-Ring. Jeff, one of String-Ring's first customers, had a unique twist on the purpose of his String-Ring reminder string. He uses the purple string, the awareness color for Alzheimer's, to honor his father who suffers from the disease.

Tina,
I've just ordered my first String-Ring and I'm looking forward to wearing
it. Your idea behind this project is outstanding! I too believe that the
lack of respect for our fellow man is the core to many of the challenges we
face in the world today.

Re-post: What is String-Ring?

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Something to Share

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I've blogged about people lover, Leon Logothetis, and his payback journey across America in his Kindness Cab (Story here). The cab ride was free but Leon donated the meter amount to local schools to buy books. Well, this captain of kindness is always freshening his game with new adventures of goodwill to prove that one can survive on the sheer kindness of strangers. He did, after all, cross the country a few years ago with only $5 and a backpack after leaving his comfortable life for a wild journey of begging his way across the states. Today, I read a story in the Huffington Post which Leon contributes to with his stories of kindness. Seems he was riding Kindness One (which appears to be an evolution of the Kindness Cab) in an attempt to find a kind stranger to put him up for the night.

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Art & Kindness

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Here's a lady after my own heart. Combining my two favorite things... Art and Kindness.

Art teacher, Stephanie Peterson Jones, took pieces of her fence that had been destroyed by Superstorm Sandy last fall and created art. Stephanie painted objects like fish and flags that her husband had fashioned with the storm debris and started selling them on her Art & Kindness facebook page. She then donates a quarter of the proceeds to Operation Hope, a community organization that helps individuals in the community unable to meet their own basic needs of food and shelter.

As a substitute art teacher, I am always trying to find ways to incorporate a kindness them into our projects. When I read about Stephanie teaching kindness through art, using classroom art projects that help raise money for charity, I thought this is a kindred spirit.

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The Pink Ribbon

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Recently, I've started wearing the cancer awareness ribbon on my String-Ring. I was given the sterling silver charm at The Breast Center here in Houston after being diagnosed with breast cancer last March. In a large tote bag handed to me by a nurse with a warm hug, I found the charm, a hand knitted shawl made by The Needlework Group at The Terrace Willowbrook (lovely group!), pencils and notepads given to me from the Girl Scouts, and a number of other goodies from people I don't even know. Everyone, from good friends and neighbors to strangers, have been so kind during this difficult time, giving me much needed strength and support.

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Indiegogo Campaign

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As a proud HooplaHolic, I'd like to support them in reaching their goal with the Indiegogo Campaign. Just a few days left to donate and help raise money needed to continue showcasing everyday folks inspiring others.

Bank of Bob

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I've been a Kiva lender for several years now, all on the recycling of 2 twenty-five dollar loans. There has been some scrutiny about Kiva loans such as the loans are not exactly person-to-person as one would think, but rather get funnelled to a micro-finance company that charges the borrowers interest. Critics say the program is misleading by giving you the impression your money is going directly towards a family victimized by civil war, for example, trying to sell produce from a small farm. I'm not familiar with all the mechanics of making an organization like this work but I'm certain it is complicated with its share of legalities. So I'd already come to the conclusion that even if there is a middleman (a microfinance institution) who makes a profit from this "non-profit" loan, it's an easy program to support and deserving people on the other end of the program are benefiting who otherwise would not succeed.

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89 Years Spent Sharing Kindness

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This story reminds me of this post I made 2 years ago, but 76 times sweeter. Birthday random acts of kindness are not new, but this is the first time I've seen one celebrated in honor of an octogenarian. That's a lot of RAOK!

Samantha Manns is honoring her late Great-grandmother, Virginia Booth, by performing an act of kindness for each year Virginia lived. The retired school teacher died last month at the age of 89, leaving her great-granddaughter bereaved. She had always been there for Samantha's difficult adolescence, and was the kind of person who touched everyone she met.

“Some of her last words were, ‘I don’t want anybody to be upset.’ And I was really upset for a few days,” said Manns, 18. “Then I thought, ‘Maybe I can’t be happy right now, but I can do things to make other people happy.’”

Track the progress of Samantha Manns’ 89 acts of kindness at www.facebook.com/89Acts.

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Keeping Kindness Fresh

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Many studies have shown we are happier when engaged in acts of kindness. A new study from University of California professor, Sonja Lyubomirsky, suggests performing a variety of kind acts is the key to maximize happiness. Sonja has studied happiness for more than 20 years and concludes that variety, frequency and motivation all play a role in the effectiveness of happiness-boosting activities. This most recent article about happiness is a little reminder to change it up a bit. So if your routine is buying that stranger behind you in the Starbucks drive-thru a latte on your morning commute, you may just consider dropping off used books to a library this week or writing a thank you note to a service worker instead.

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