December 21, 2011

Wake Up Wednesday (2011 in Review)

Last week's challenge was to go caroling.  The boys and I headed over to our elderly neighbors house to give them that remote control car and sing a little.  I brought my guitar.  I felt a little weird just showing up with my guitar, but they were so happy that we came and sang.  It was SO fun and I'm really glad we did it.  I love how a little music can bring so much joy.  

Since this week is Christmas, this week's challenge is.....

simply to remember the reason for the season.  I'm going to try not to let all the details and to-do lists bog down my mind.  I want the week to be meaningful.

Now, before you go anywhere I thought it would be really cool to do a year in review post for our Wake Up Wednesdays.  WUW was a new thing here this year and I've been so touched and uplifted by your participation.  I don't know if any of you really get a chance to read each other's experiences.

So, here are some of my favorite experiences YOU shared with me this year.  I know it's a lot to read through, but I promise they'll make you smile, laugh, and feel really happy.

CHALLENGE: Report a job well done.

Last week I was behind one of those trucks that say "how am I driving?" and I remembered in your post you mentioned that very thing! So I called the number (while I was driving...uh-oh) and reported that they were doing a good job of driving.

Boy did I feel stupid, but ya know...I hope it made their day, because I'm sure they rarely hear the positive side, only their mistakes.

I wondered how we would feel if we had those on our cars, and someone called in every-time we drove like idiots?

CHALLENGE: Gather thing you don't need or use and donate them.

I am 34 weeks pregnant with my 5th and last weeks challenge somehow sparked the "nesting" instinct in me! Before that point I was very miserable and pretty much spent all day on my couch. But last week I cleaned every room in my house out! We loaded up our mini van 6 times to take all the stuff to DI! It feels so good to have everything clean and organized before this baby gets here! Thanks so much for the encouragement!

CHALLENGE: Learn the name of someone and use it when you speak to them.

We were on vacation, so this one was easy for me. I used our waitress' name and our tour guide. It was obvious our waitress was having a bad night, so when I used her name and told her we appreciated her smile and service, it seemed to cheer her up. It's amazing how people react when you use their name.

CHALLENGE: Do something for Earth day.

The kids and I planted our first vegetable garden. I love the idea of growing our own organic food and teaching my little ones about where food really comes from. Nevermind that I have no idea what I'm doing and all of the tomato cages are upside down. It's the thought that counts, right?

CHALLENGE: Make something for someone out of your comfort zone.

Thank you so much for doing Wake Up Wednesday. I always look forward to learning what our new challenge is. I have been doing them with my son, who is two and trying to show him even at this young age how kindness and concern for others are important. One of the first challenges we did was making something for someone who is out of our comfort zone. I had just met a neighbor and found out that she had been having a really hard time. She had recently lost her mother, whom she lived with and cared for, and was very lonely. I love photography and last year had taken a beautiful photo of hydrangea blooms on a bush in her yard at the edge of the road. My son and I took her that photo with a card. She was so surprised and at a loss for words. It made my week.

Last week, a plant appeared on our porch. The next day, she stopped by with a garden book for me to look at and said that she had divided her asters and wanted me to have one. She didn't know when she dropped off the flower that is was my birthday. I couldn't have asked for a better gift. Thank you for challenging me to reach out. My son and I have a new friend.

CHALLENGE: Be a patient driver.

I don't drive much but today I was doing quite a bit of driving and I remembered your wake up Wednesday goal and it made me feel better. Instead of speeding up to annoy someone tail-gaiting me I quickly pulled over to let them pass. It made me feel better, so thanks. 

CHALLENGE: Avoid using a car.

I rocked last week's challenge...we used our golf cart and biked around our city last week. I live in a planned community with over 90 miles of cart paths--so golf carts are a pretty common occurance around here. They are fun, "green" and make every outing an adventure! Plus, my 9yo girl decided she'd bike around when we went on the cart, so I'm sure she biked her little legs off in the 90+ degree heat we've been having forever. Great challenge!

CHALLENGE: Do something you've been putting off for a while.

The first time that I participated and I am sooo proud of me!
I finished a patchwork quilt with I think 50 squares with signitures of the guests of my best friends wedding. It was my wedding present to her and her husband. Oh, in case you wonder, the wedding was May 2008...
Now they move to a foreign country and your challenge gave the final "push" to finish the quilt and present it to them at the farewell party.
My best friend cried tears and will now "carry" us all over to her new home.
Thank you for "pushing" me :)

CHALLENGE: Pick up trash wherever you go.

I walk my kids to school every day and was terribly uncomfortable with the quantity of trash between here and there. So I took on your challenge and did something about it. 4 grocery bags (!) of garbage later my kids are definitely more aware of how important it is to keep our world nice by not throwing trash on the ground! Thanks for the challenge!

CHALLENGE: Plan something fun for someone.

One of my friends is going through some really hard things right now. Having been through some of the same stuff, I know sometimes you just need to cry, so I planned a chick flick party for her. A few of our best girlfriends got together in PJ's and did mud masks on our faces. Everyone brought their favorite chick flick, and a treat that represented the movie (Pancakes for Dan in real life, cake with topping "on the side" for When Harry Met Sally, frozen hot cocoa for Serendipity, etc.) Then we snacked all night and watched gooshy movies. We cried and laughed, and I think we all needed it.

CHALLENGE: Give a gift to someone NOT on your list.

I decided to bake a loaf of pumpkin ginger bread and take it over to a family in our ward who we haven't gotten along with in the past. They seemed pleasantly surprised and I found myself starting to think a bit differently towards this family. Thank you for the challenge it has really helped!

CHALLENGE: Give someone flowers to plant.

I brought my daycare lady daffidols for her mom's birthday-- her mother who also helped with her daycare passed away almost a year ago, so I knew these upcoming weeks were going to be hard on her, she loved them!

CHALLENGE:  Call someone you haven't spoken to in a while.

I did the same as you ... called the G-ma. She was sick so im glad i could have brightened her day a little more. Like you i am not a phone person unless it someone i talk to all the time. So i took about ten min. to get my self to dial. But once i did it felt so great to talk to her she always makes me feel like i have great worth and that was a blessing i needed right then and there :D thanks for another great challenge!

CHALLENGE: Do something kind for a public service worker.

My kids and I delivered notes and cookies to the fire department. Yes I totally stole your idea but the amazing thing is it has spurred my children on to do more. They have already suggested going to the police station or the dump to bless the garbage man. Thanks again for wake up wed, love having someone challenge me to be a better me. 

CHALLENGE: Visit someone elderly.

We called one of the nursing homes in our town and set up a date for our homeschool group kids to go play games with the residents. We had our first date last week and it was so much fun. My son got to play with Ms. Helen. She didn't know how to play go fish or war but once Carter taught her, she whooped up on him. She even beat him at UNO. Carter was so happy though, he knew if he won it was because he earned it.

CHALLENGE: Write a letter to someone who truly admire and tell them why.

As soon as I read your challenge last week I sat down to write a letter to my sister-in-law. My mom and I are always talking about how much we love and appreciate her, but we've never told her. Upon receiving the letter she sent me and email to say it was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for her. I don't know who got more joy out of this challenge, her or me! :)

CHALLENGE:  Compliment a stranger.

As usual, I was a slacker, but when I got in line at the grocery store I remembered I needed to compliment at least one person. So I decided I would compliment the check-out clerk. It took me awhile to get up my nerve to do it, but then I found the perfect opportunity. She had accidently knocked over a package of meat to go back to the meat department and made some sort of frustrated noise. So I said, "One of those days, hunh?" And she said, "Like you wouldn't believe." Or something like that. And then I said, "Well at least your hair looks good and you look nice." And some other stuff, and she laughed and smiled and seemed to be a lot happier after that. I was glad to help her day be a little brighter. It was something so simple for me. Why don't we compliment strangers more often?

CHALLENGE: Compliment a stranger.

I noticed someone who I know, but don't really *know* who looked fabulous. As I was across the entire building, I didn't have the chance to approach her to compliment her, but I did however take the time to make a phone call. Her answering machine picked up and I chose to leave a message because I didn't know if I'd remember to call her back. I explained that I was simply calling to tell her how fabulous she looked that day and that her hair was **AMAZING** that day. That's it. The next day, while I was out and about, she called back and left a message with my husband that the message I left had been the best message she's ever received. Well, then a few days later, a friend mentioned to me how she had noticed this lady's hair on the same day. I explained how I had called to compliment her and she was amazed I would take the time to do so and vowed she too would do better at giving compliments. It's so wonderful to receive a sincere compliment, but even better to give them.

CHALLENGE: Compliment a stranger.

What a delightful idea. I love your wake up Wednesday challenges. I noticed a lady in church had very lovely ankles but that's such a bizarre thing to complement someone on and I don't really know her very well. I didnt say anything to her when I was sitting by her but I saw her again a bit later and said, "this may sound strange but you have the prettiest ankles." She laughed and said, that is so funny you should say that, I've been on a strict diet and this morning I told my husband it finally seemed to be working, even my ankles were getting smaller. Very funny. I'm glad I took time to tell her and thank you for inspiring me to do so.

CHALLENGE: Make something for someone out of your comfort zone.

Last Wednesday when you gave us this challenge I was trying to decide what to do and then I went to get my son from Kindergarten and noticed that it looked like his teacher had been crying. I didn't get a chance to ask her if anything was wrong but the next day when I went to school I asked her if everything was Ok and she told me that it was her Dad's birthday yesterday and her Dad had died just this last April so it was a particulary hard day. I felt so bad and right then and there I decided that tomorrow I would bring her dinner. So, the next day I made a huge crockpot dinner for my family and hers and when the school day was done I arrived with it in hand. She saw me approachin and said , "Jen, whats this" and I said "I'm sorry about your Dad and someone should have brought you dinner yesterday but here I am today." She hugged me for along time and cried. Then I of course cried. Anyhow, I love serving others - it's so nice to just forget myself sometimes and do something for someone else. Thanks for the challenge lady. Here I go with my next challenge - this will be soooo fun!!! Love ya big!

Thank you all for your support and your strength.  Thank you for joining in and stepping outside of your comfort zone.  Thanks for giving me a reason to smile and laugh and cry and try harder.  Thanks for reading.


kim west said...

cheri! you are such an example and inspiration to all of us! thanks for everything! merry chrismtas girl! hope it's great!

Virtually-K said...

Hi!I just wanted to tell you that I just discovered your site this weekend (via Pinterest) and I adore it. I subscribed to your feed largely because I didn't want to miss whatever your next wonderful craft might be but now I'm also really looking forward to your Wake Up Wednesday challenges. Reading through this post was uplifting and inspiring and I can't wait to read more, so thanks! And a very merry Christmas to you and your family.

Catherine Peart said...

I have never participated in one of the Wednesday challenges and I love this review - it just cheered up my day immensely! thank you all. (if you keep doing this next year I just might join along now - very inspiring!)

BrendaLady said...

Reading about everyone else's positive experiences really touched me. These good deeds might have been small, but they were a bright beacon to me today. Thank you Cheri for being such an inspiration. Checking on your blog every morning is one the best parts of my day and especially today.

Kendra Lee said...

I loved reading your post today. This is the first time I've read about your Wake Up Wednesday. I plan on joining in immediately!

I even posted about Wake Up Wednesday on my blog post today here:

I can't wait to share my experience next week. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Chase and Sadie said...

I am SO in LOVE with your blog. You are so inspiring and creative! I think your Wake Up Wednesday posts are thee BEST and I am making a goal of following them for the new year!! Thanks for sharing your awesomeness!!

The Miller Five said...

I love your challenges. I look forward to a new one every week. Hopefully January will bring a calmer atmosphere and I can be more active with your challenges.


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