Friday, May 16, 2008

Encircled in Strangers Arms

This year our Girl's Camp theme is "Light the Fire Within" focusing on the Olympics and being a finisher. My friend Linda (the stake camp leader) has put more work into this year getting ready than I thought even humanly possible. It really is amazing.
She is putting together a video of inspirational sports stories to show the girls. This is one they have found and I just had to share it on my blog.

I have been thinking a lot this week about blogging and how weird a world it is right along side how amazing it is. my good friend received some interesting/insensitive comments regarding a mother's day post she wrote about on her blog and it has really thrown her for a loop. I have been there. A year ago I received a comment on my blog that had me crying and not blogging for a week. My heart has really gone out to her.

So what does a video about girls softball have to do with blogging? Well, you will see in the video that it is the competitor team that is able to help the girl win the game - the girls that don't know her and how important this was to her, they were the ones that were able to help her the most that day. There was power in strangers hands.

Sometimes a compliment from a complete stranger may have more impact than if your mom or husband gives you the same compliment. A positive comment on a blog from a stranger could really make someones day because you may think, "they didn't have to say that!" Just as a rude comment from a stranger could really make someones day difficult because you may think, "they didn't have to say that!"

I really believe that there is a super strength of motivation and encouragement that we can give to someone who does not know us. I rarely go a day without making an effort to go up to a stranger and compliment their hair, clothes or something I saw them do that really impressed me. It kind of started out as a game but has become a habit for me now. I have actually become friends with a lady who's hair I complimented at a store. Turns our her husband is Navy and is kind of in a weird way my husbands boss. Every time I run into her it is a joy.

I remember one day I went up to a dad in his car in the Safeway parking lot. He was even pulling away and I had him roll down his window. I had watched him with his three boys who all were rowdy and screaming and crying when they got to the check out and saw all the candy. He held his ground by not buying them any but was always soft and sweet about it. He never raised his voice or got frustrated at them during the 8 minutes in the check out line of utter chaos. I was so impressed by him. (remember I am the mom who buys treats and balloons for my kids to bribe them to stay as quiet as possible or else I will totally lose it) He was so tender and soft all while his three year old was screaming and hitting him. I told him I was so impressed with his parenting skills and I learned a big lesson that day to stand my ground as a parent ( i am admitily a wimp and give in easily) but that it was still possible to be loving.
He seemed surprised by my comment but very appreciative. I had wondered what a man in the middle of the afternoon was doing with his kids at the grocery store, was he divorced, widowed, was his wife sick, it was interesting to me.
giving compliments to strangers is a fun thing to do and a great example to your children.

Yesterday I was so lucky to have lunch with a blogger and a sister in law to my cousin, Elisa. Lisa has tried to two years to meet me and get together. I have thought I was too busy and far away to meet her. (i am like 8 miles) I never make time to go to lunch with friends and always thing it is not possible with my little kids. She never gave up on emailing me. I so appreciate her never giving up on me after I would not email her back or not give up on me when I only seem to contact her when I needed something. She is an incredible resource for the D.C. area - she is the only reason I know about the ribbon outlet!
She was so nice and brought me a gift as well as a coloring book and stickers for Sally Jane (who was near perfect and sat in silence) I could not believe how much I enjoyed sitting and chatting and also talking about how much we love Elisa!
While we were talking she shared with some wonderful parenting tips (next time we go to lunch I am bringing notepad to take notes)
One of the things she shared with me was the power of strangers hands lifting our children in ways that may not be possible as parents. It gave me a sense of responsibility at girls camp thinking of the parents who may send their daughters praying that one adult will embrace her, love her and help her feel the spirit. Thanks Lisa for the best hour and half this week and letting me listen to your soothing voice. Next time I hope my camera will work!

So i will be so bold as to issue a challenge to do by Sunday evening. It is simple, easy and free!

Compliment one stranger!
In person, on the street, tell your neighbor that you never have talked to how much you love their garden, tell one of the young women at church how beautiful she is, thank someone in military uniform for their service (check out this site for a neat way to thank them) tell someone you like their haircut... it is easy and the more you do it, it will become a habit. this is a great challenge to give yourself to do daily if you have moved to a new town as you can go the whole day of not talking to anyone.
Let me know how it goes.

* and would you believe that I didn't buy and of the milk glass at the garage sale. being able to see it and take a photo was just as exciting to me(it was even more exciting to Jeff)


denise said...

Love this post! I assume you are talking about Jill (who I don't know but feel so badly for) Sometimes people can be so insensitive but the sensitivity of others around us can help pull us thru.

I am up for your challenge and intend to find people that I can extend a sincere compliment to - thanks for the push!

I'm proud of you for walking away from the milk glass. That's a hard thing to do when it's a deal. When I see a deal I feel like I have to buy it because I will never find it at that price again but then I end up with a bunch of stuff that I have no idea what to do with.

kristi said...

denise don't be too proud, i didn't have any cash so it was not really a possiblity - but it felt good to just enjoy seeing it.

Karen Christensen said...

I happened upon your blog a few months ago and it is one of the few that I hold onto & check often. I really enjoyed your post today. Everything you said was so true & important. We can all make a big difference with our small acts of kindness. Thank you for the reminder. You are a wonderful example.

denise said...

I hadn't watched the video the first time I left a comment - I just finished watching it. What an amazing story - I thankful I am for good kids like those girls. I hope that I can raise my kids to be sensitive to others and extend themselves in such an unselfish way. Thanks for posting this video I think I am going to post it on my blog as well.

Roberts Family of 4 said...

Oh, boy.....BAWLING! What a sweet video! Thank you, dear Kristi, for your motivating thoughts. I love this challenge!

Leigh said...

I went to a conference recently and one of the speakers was Merrilee Boyack. She spoke about how, if we all committed to giving away just five "split seconds" a day--a compliment, a helping hand, a note, a prayer--we could change the world. I've been working on it ever since, and it is amazing the difference it can make in yourself, not just the people you give helps you automatically look for the positive rather than the negative.

(And I'm just astonished that you didn't get any milk glass! I would have been dragging my husband AND his money back to the sale with me. :)

Liz said...

Oh Kristi, I am totally balling over that video. What a great thing those girls did. They are an inspiration. Thanks for posting it.

Also, great post. I love what you said. The power of a compliment is huge! I am going to take on your challenge!!

Lauralee said...

awesome post kristi.. love that story in the video! YAY for Washington girls! :)

love your challenge.. I am so up for that.. lucky me, I have to go grocery shopping this am so it will be easy..

I had no idea what milk glas was.. i think my grandma had/has stuff like that.. have a great one!

mimi said...

Wonderful words, Kristi! What an amazing video. You too, are an inspiration!

Autumn said...

Kristi~you always have wise words! I have to laugh though b/c everytime I talk to someone who is a "stranger" my 5 year old gets on to me b/c I've taught her not to talk to strangers! I am going to take up your challenage! I will have to watch the video at home, but I'm sure your girls camp will be a great experience.

Elisa said...

I am so glad you two of my favorite women finally got together! I knew you would love each other. Both of you have made such an impact on my life, and you are so right about Lisa's voice. She is like free therapy.

I am up for the challenge!

linda said...

Thank you for the challenge Kristi! I try to do this already but the reminder was needed.

I know when someone randomly compliments me, I think about it all can really have an impact on a person's life.

I too have made a friend from this such a thing...and we are still friends some 23 years later, AMAZING!

Amy said...

I love the quote from the head caoch of Wester: "It's a great moment when someone has the character to do the right thing at the right time."

So true.

What a lovely post you wrote and great way to encourage everyone to "play nicer" in this sandbox of life!

Anonymous said...

That was a cool video! What a great theme for your camp too.

Being sincerely complimentary isn't hard- it just takes those extra seconds to express what you are already thinking. Like you, I love to say things to random people- it just lifts my mood and I know how I feel lifted when a neighbor goes out of their way to compliment me. Good feelings all around. So I hope to go even more outside my comfort zone to meet your challenge this weekend :) Thanks!

Rachel said...

I cried when I saw that softball highlight on Sports Center. Truly touching. My heart goes out to your 'friend'. I, too, recieved an anonymous rude comment on my blog some time ago, and it just peirced me in the heart. I felt sick. With my SOLE new year's resolution being 'to feel more comfortable in my own skin', I have thought a lot about how we women need to build each other up, strengthen, inspire and love each other. I have found myself naturally picking up on this habit of complimenting strangers, from reading about Random Acts of Kindness and the cool things you do (paying for someone's food behind you in the drive thru...). I gladly take your challenge and appreciated reading this post today.

Also, thanks for the tip at the blog party about the map meter. I now have one at the bottom of my blog.

Cynthia said...

Once again, FABULOUS post! I emailed it to my friends and family, it was so good! I also do the compliment thing. Whenever I see a baby, I always tell the mother how cute it is. I loved that as a new mom!

Shauna said...

Love these thoughts...amen!
We are all in this together!

I complemented a store clerk today for being so careful about how she packed some fragile items I just purchased. I thanked her for taking the time to protect the items.

I also thanked the Drive-thru people at Wendys' for being so fast. You can bet that people only mention when they are slow. They are seriously so fast and effecient and I let them know they are the best.

This is something I look to do every day. Buidling each other, strangers, friends, or familiy is life changing and many times we don't know that we helped change a life!

The monkey bunch said...

That was amazing. I can only hope that my kids will grow up to be like that! I guess the best way is to live that way yourself, hu?

The Shabby Princess said...

I happened upon your blog a few weeks ago and love it. You have such a spirit about you, and it's amazing. I love this post, and just had to comment. I will try my best to compliment people more often--I always try to compliment the baggers at the grocery store, because you know they get plenty of cranky people on an hourly basis.

I also love your "Pink Christmas"--that's just the neatest thing.

Well, thanks for inspiring ME!

Price Cream Parlor said...

Great reminder! Many moons ago, while traveling cross country with three littles by myself I was the receipient of a sincere parenting compliment. Those words have stayed with me all this time! I try to do the same now - parenting compliments are the best!! So shocking when you give them - totally unexpected! Love that!
I find it so sad that someone would take the time and the energy to write a negative comment anonymously. Knowing full well the power behind those painful words. Shame! WE MISS JILL!!!! Come back SOOOONNNNN!!!! Why can't we all just lift one another? - shame!
OHHHH! Can you share your camp ideas?? I am going to camp for the first time since I was a girl! I would love, love, fun ideas!

Sunshine said...

I had heard of this story a couple weeks ago but hadn't seen this clip...yep! You guessed it, it had me crying as well. Thank you for the challenge.

Shanna said...

Okay, so I am here to give you a compliment. I have been a lurker and have loved reading about you and your inspiring words! Someday I hope to be brave enough to do a marathon, but for now I think I need to do a 5k first! :) Thanks for the fun and for the positivity! Keep it up! I need to go out and give some more compliments. Thanks for the push.

Adam said...

hey homie, check out this hilarious video!!

Christina said...

i had previously seen that video of the softball team--women can be wonderful!!

i try harder to give compliments to those within my home..raising girls who will be SO hard on themselves..i make big efforts to compliment them---it helps their self esteem--which im sure one day some snotty girl will CRUSH them!!

charlotte said...

Compliments from strangers have definitely made my day before--that is a great challenge!

Jeanette said...

Thank you for enriching my life yet again. I love the compliment challenge and to prove that I'm going to work on it I'll start by leaving you a comment even though I always feel a bit odd admitting that I'm peeking in on the lives of strangers. I just have to tell you how much your acts of kindness and fabulous outlook have inspired me and how my life has been blessed because of it. When you write down all of the noble and worthy things you have done with your life you can add blogging to that list because you are an absolute inspiration and a blessing to so many! Thank you, thank you.

Holly said...

You know, I am all over this challenge! I do try to say things or give compliments to strangers, but not as often as I could or should. What a difference people could make be stepping out a bit and saying something nice to someone else, especially someone you don't know.

Boy, I am just picturing that dad in the store. Wow. So nice of you to say something encouraging--and what an impact he made on you and you most likely impacted him as well. That is just a warm fuzzy great thing!!

My name is Andrea said...

Thanks, Kristi. I agree with you and think that it is so important that we not judge each other, ever. It can be hard. But we never know what another person has gone through or what they are dealing with in their lives. We are hard enough on ourselves without others telling us we are not good enough! As women, we never know when a positive comment might change a person's outlook or even their life. And we never know what a negative remark might do. Most of us don't blog so that others will find fault with our lives! Now look at me rant. You are awesome and uplifting and I think you have no idea how many people you have had a positive influence on!!!

Cara said...

Love the video. I wish the nightly news had more of that instead of the depressing stuff. I would watch the news more for sure AND the world would be much more positive don't you think? Thank you for the challenge. I try and do this too on a daily basis but it's nice for the reminder!

katherine said...

wow. that was such a touching video! your girls at camp will surely be inspired.

i will say that since moving to the east i will totally talk to strangers and compliment them. I never would've done that 'at home'. It just seems like everyone can benefit from it, you just can be embarrassed to say something.

I'm way too bad at letting my kids have candy from the check out. I get one with them...very bad.

Juli said...

Kristi, you are so good at saying thank you to others. I saw the clip from the gratitude campaign and I have to say thanks for sharing it. I grew up seeing my dad in uniform every morning on his way to work as a dentist in the army. I love service men (and women) and I try to say thanks, but it's hard to do when you're passing on a busy street.

I just have to say that something you said once at church in New Orleans affected me. You were talking about how you sent a thank you card every day. You had them all sitting there with a stamp, ready to go. It's important to say thankyou and that tip helped me to get it done.

michelle said...

This is just wonderful, Kristi. I just posted yesterday about how a compliment from a stranger had a big impact on me. I remember growing up and feeling embarrassed that my mom was always talking to strangers. I was so shy. Now I'm the one talking to strangers. My favorite thing about your post is when you said that there is power in strangers' hands. So true, and I want to use that power for good!

Jill said...

This is a wonderful post Kristi.

I'm happy to say I compliment strangers without hesitation, though I don't think I've complimented any parenting moments I've witnessed. I'll be more aware from now on.