PAYING IT FORWARD FRIDAY: GO TEAM! (Click to the right to help now!) –>

In 2007, after finalizing a divorce and launching myself into the rest of my life, I signed up to run the 10th anniversary race through my hometown on my birthday. The race was the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon as in 26.2 miles. For perspective, when we moved worlds away from San Diego out to the sticks in Poway – I signed up to run farther than that.

I have no idea how a marathon got in my bucket list.  I never ran as a kid, except on horseback. Workout programs followed the trends.  In college I ran around the track, while the rugby team practiced on the infield, ending up with shin splints. It was then that I attended an information meeting for a fairly new program called Team In Training.  I didn’t sign up because I lacked the vision beyond myself to see how to complete it. Then, 16 years later, the planets aligned! I signed up!

Team In Training benefits The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to find a cure for blood cancers and improve the quality of life for patients and families.  The training program molds you into an athlete and a fundraiser!  It SO thoroughly trained me, that I still remember the night before my marathon. I didn’t worry about finishing; I worried about not making it to start.  Talk about the law of attraction, when I got to the start area, I stepped off a curve, twisted my ankle, got through it and finished anyway!

Courage to start! John “The Penguin” Bingham

Beyond the event, the support I received, the mental arguments I won, and the people I met made it the most amazing experience ever.  I got to train alongside heroes!  Heroes who showed incredible bravery facing their, or a loved one’s, diagnosis, heroes sharing their stories of recovery or recurrence, heroes who blew past fundraising goals, heroes relentless for a cure.  I continue to draw on the endless inspiration from the experience so often that now my kids roll their eyes. I have done several events with the Team since and make such quality friends! If running is not your thing, they have options.  I highly recommend joining the Team for you and for them!

PAY IT FORWARD FRIDAYS: THE BIRTHDAY PROJECT

At my age I’m climbing that flowery hill, and every birthday brings me one step closer to hurtling down the shady backside, heading straight for the briar patch. I love great celebrations with friends, but found something more my taste in a blog that I stumbled upon.  Robyn Bomar celebrated her 38th birthday by committing 38 random acts of kindness herself, and proposed to her social media followers to also each complete one act! I LOVE random acts of kindness and that this is a project that anyone can celebrate with friends. Plus, everyone leaves with a full heart, and not just bag o’crap favors.

She planned some acts and allowed the day to present opportunities as she went along.  Kindness ranged from loading groceries for shoppers, bringing in a neighbor’s garbage cans, taping change and a note stating “Free Drink!” on vending machines, buying a store gift card then handing it to the person behind her in line! For the full rundown of 38 acts click: http://www.thebdayproject.com/the-original-38-random-acts-of-birthday-kindess-post.html

A small effort can yield a wide-spread difference!

As her site points out, you share your birthday with 19 million people in this world. Think of the positive shift that would occur if a fraction of those people did just one action!  Acts multiply exponentially as people tend to continue paying it forward.  I have heard of two coffee shops overflowing with generosity.  One is a drive-thru chain started when 1 person paid for the car behind them and that chain has remained unbroken for years. One is a coffee shop where an donor left $100 to pay for other people’s coffee and still returns regularly to donate to warm someone’s heart and brighten their day.

I am compiling my birthday list but hate to wait!  Choose to celebrate your anniversary, your Merry Unbirthday or just because! I am going to celebrate MLK Day by doing acts with my kids. Just because school’s out doesn’t mean they can’t learn something.  Do one random act this weekend and share it with us!

Read about The Birthday Project at: www.TheBdayProject.com

While special attention is not what motivates folks to give back, high fives are always appreciated.  To bring anyone or any organization to my attention to possibly be featured in Pay It Forward Fridays, please email: makesmewander@gmail.com

Let’s make this world a little kinder.

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