My name is Kim and I am so excited to be the third guest blogger for The Simple Year! I’ll admit I submitted my proposal to Kerry and Kandice as a bit of a lark (I was hopeful but never confident) and was BEYOND THRILLED to be chosen as this years guest blogger. Before I get into my plan for the next 365 days, I’d like to take a minute to tell you a little about my family.
My husband and I both grew up in a small town outside of Syracuse, New York. Although we went to school together from 6th grade on, we did not become friends until senior year of high school. I thought he was kinda cute (and always available to loan me lunch money so prosperous as well) and in the tried and true fashion of high school communications (prior to Email, Text, Tweets and Instagram) I simply asked the girl who had a locker next to his if he was going to the prom with anyone. Well, one thing led to another and here we are – 22 years later – happily married with two kiddos, a beagle and a house in the suburbs of Colorado Springs, CO.
The kiddos! Well – they are pretty awesome if I do say so myself! Our son Hayden is 10 and has a passion for swimming which he’s been doing competitively since he was 6. Our daughter Harlyn is 5 and, what we’ve fondly dubbed, a tomboy princess. She loves to climb trees and ride her bike while decked out in the latest and greatest fashions. Our third family member is Bella, our own personal Snoopy. Bella loves to take walks, bark at squirrels and is my “work at home” companion – keeping me company while the kids are at school and hubs at work.
Now – on to the good stuff! My idea for this years blog is a bit different. While Kerry and Kandice were focused on how to simplify life through the minimization of material possessions, I plan to focus the next 365 days on building connections, bringing people together and improving life (mine and those around me) through acts of kindness. I was inspired to go down this path because of a recent incident in our neighborhood. A young man, only 14, committed suicide at our local park. We are a close knit community and the park is a central place where families gather to play, picnic and generally enjoy the beauty of Colorado. The suicide was like a big, black blight that I couldn’t look away from. It moved me deeply though I did not know the family or the young man. I wanted to help – but didn’t know what I could do to make a difference. I was just one person and not even intimately connected with the family. I felt a heart call but did not know how I would, or could, answer it.
The day after the suicide, I was driving home from dropping my daughter at daycare when I happened to see a woman walking down the sidewalk, wrapped in a blanket. There were tears running down her face and the sadness coming off her was palpable. At that moment, I knew this was THE MOM, and that I HAD to talk to her. I stopped and spoke with her for 45 minutes. I mostly listened and tried to carry away some of her pain. I was deeply moved by the experience and wrote a blog post about it – which I posted on the Facebook page our neighborhood had set up for the family.
Immediately, I began to get comments. People were moved and shared the post with their friends and family. Out of towners wanted to help, give money and support the family. A Mom in NY wrote to tell me that because of the blog post, she had a long conversation with her son about suicide. At that point, I began to realize there was power in kindness – particularly what I’ve dubbed “conscious kindness” – which is really paying attention in the moment and stepping outside your comfort zone to take action.
For the next 365, please join me as I strive to live a life of kindness. This means practicing both conscious and unconscious kindness, encouraging others to do the same, and ultimately recording what happens when you shift focus towards living a life dedicated to compassion, caring and love. If you feel moved and would like to participate, please feel free to come along with me on this journey! If one person can make a difference, just think of all we can accomplish together.
I can’t wait to share the next 365 days with you!