Thursday, February 28, 2013

Day 59: Importance of Family

I sometimes question why I live where I do.  Especially in the middle of Winter, this thought often pops up.  However, whenever anyone asks if I will ever move out of Wisconsin, my answer is always "no." And the reason is family.  It is so important for me to always be within easy driving distance of my family.  Being close to everyone makes life more enjoyable. Plus, most of the time, it makes life much more convenient as well.  Holidays are easier to plan, baby-sitters are easier to find, and in case of emergencies, I am always close by.  Last night, I saw the benefits of this first hand.

My father-in-law, Greg, had a major heart attack last night after shoveling his driveway. His wife, thankfully, was there and rushed him to the hospital.  After a couple EKGs it was determined he needed to be taken for emergency surgery. Long story made short, everything went well in the OR and he is currently recovering at the hospital.  The reason I am telling this is because of how important of a role family played last night and only reiterates why I will never move away.

My wife received the phone call around 9pm last night, when they were just starting to run the tests at the hospital.  We obviously needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible, which normally would have been difficult with Emma sleeping, however my parents, who watch Emma a few days a week were staying at my place so we were able to just put on our shoes and walk out the door.  These extra few minutes made all the difference because when we got to the emergency room they were in the process of rolling Greg off for surgery.  We would have missed wishing him well if my parents weren't able to watch Emma which I know would have been very difficult to deal with.

Within an hour or so of when it was discovered Greg needed surgery.  All four of his children and his two son-in-laws were at the hospital. Wether it was making small talk or comforting one another, having everyone there made this night much more manageable. I cannot imagine how difficult this would have been if we were all spread out around the country.  So I might complain a lot about the weather here in Wisconsin, but I wouldn't trade it for living anywhere else, unless my family was right there with me.

Throughout this process I was so amazed with how my wife handled the situation.  She was so calm and brave throughout.  So today, for my act of kindness, I brought home flowers for my wife and wrote her a little not telling her how proud I was of her.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Day 58: Gift for a New Parent/Dog

On day 5 I sent a care package to new parents.  Going through the "new parent thing" myself recently I know every little bit can help.  Last night my brother-in-law became a new parent to an english bulldog. This dog was looking for a new home after their owner moved into a new place that didn't allow dogs.  My brother-in-law has wanted a dog for awhile and was also fond of the breed so it worked about perfectly.  Now I know this isn't exactly the same thing as having a new born, but being a new dog owner can be a lot of work as well.  So today, for my act of kindness, I went over for a visit and brought a new toy for the dog (Picture above).

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Day 57: Gift For My Wife

There have been times in these first couple months of 2013 that I have been so focused on doing kind things for random people that I forget about some really important people in my life.  Over lunch today I went to an on site store of my company I work at.  Initially I was looking for something for myself but then I saw something I thought my wife would really like.  So today, for my act of kindness, I surprised my wife with a purse that I bought for her.  Now, I usually don't pick out items like this for my wife because I never know if she really likes it, but I figured I would give it a shot. Plus my company, Lands's End, has the best return policy so if she doesn't like it she can always return it and get something else. :)

Thanks for reading my blog! I will be donating 10 cents to a charity or a good cause at the end of 2013 for every follower. Please follow me on twitter @365kindacts or like me on Facebook at

Monday, February 25, 2013

Day 56: Free Xbox

So I didn't think I would ever write the following sentence. I do not have time to play video games anymore. And on the rare occasion I do find time, I choose to do something else....mainly sleep. Video games and I have had a very good run but all good things must come to an end.  This was a tough decision to make, but in the end I know it is the right one. :)

Instead of having my Xbox collect dust or trying to sell it, I figured I would see if I could find a good home for it. So today, for my act of kindness, I gave my Xbox and some accessories (picture above) to a coworker.  She has a niece and a couple nephews that she is going to give it to.  I am sure they will get a lot more use out of it than me.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Day 55: And the Random Act of Kindness Goes To....

With The Oscars being tonight I figured I would do something movie related today. This is the only award show I actually look forward to because I love movies so much.  My wife and I make it a point to try and see every movie that is up for best picture.  It has been a little bit more difficult to do the last couple years since there are so many nominated but this year we saw six of the nine that are up for best picture with "Zero Dark Thirty" being our favorite.  "Les Mis" and "Argo" were tied for a close second.

Anyways, today for my act of kindness, I went through my movie collection and picked out one of my favorite movies that I feel like a lot of people haven't seen before, "Minority Report." I then picked a random person out of the white pages, wrote a little note and put the movie in the mail to be sent to the person.  The note basically said, "I hope you enjoy the movie, it is one of my favorites. If you have already seen it, please pass it on to another random person."  This was a fun act to do and I hope the person enjoys the movie!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Day 54: Best Man Duties

I have the privilege of being the best man of a wedding coming up in May.  I've known this friend practically my whole life.  We grew up in the same neighborhood and went to the same school through college.  I'm definitely looking forward to standing as the best man in the wedding.  Another thing I am looking forward to is the bachelor party.  And part of my duties as the best man is to plan the party.  I feel like there is always a little bit of pressure to planning a bachelor party because you don't want to let anyone down.  So today, for my act, I started the planning for the bachelor party.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Day 53: More Snow

Another day living in Wisconsin, another few inches of snow to deal with. After work I went out to shovel my driveway and sidewalk.  When I got done with my sidewalk I decided to just keep shoveling.  When I got to the end of my neighbor's sidewalk I decided to keep going.  I sort of had a Forrest Gump moment where he just felt like running, except I just felt like shoveling. Today, for my act of kindness, I ended shoveling the sidewalk of four of my neighbors.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Day 52: Complimented Parents

We recently took a trip up to Minneapolis to visit some friends.  Although it was a lot of fun, it was exhausting. I'm starting to realize that once you have a kid, traveling is never the same.  Every aspect of the trip was a little more difficult.  Today, I grabbed lunch at a restaurant in an airport. Sitting at the table next to me was a family with three little kids all under the age of six is my guess.  I caught myself thinking if I think a car trip for a weekend with one baby is a lot of work, I can't imagine what air travel with three would be like.  Another thing I noticed while sitting at lunch was how well behaved these kids were.  They even said "thank you" to the waitress when their food was brought out.  So today, my act of kindness was a simple one, I simply walked over to the parents when I was leaving the restaurant and told them how impressed I was with how well behaved their kids were.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Day 51: Thank You to a Soldier

I have huge respect for members of our military   They are willing to risk everything in order to protect our freedom.  Today I had an opportunity to thank one of these individuals in person. I went to Chipotle for lunch this afternoon.  While I was eating my food a guy came in who was dressed in his military uniform.  I'm not exactly sure what branch he was with, but I'm pretty sure it was U.S. Army.  Usually when I'm out in public and I see someone in the armed forces, I will make it a point to thank them. However today, I had an opportunity to do a little more.  While he was in line I went to the cashier and told her I wanted to pay for his meal. It's a good thing the military gets a discount because it turned out he has buying meals for two other people. :) Anyways, when he found out I paid for his meal he was very appreciative.  So today, for my act of kindness, I paid for a soldier's lunch as a thank you.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Day 50: Too Much Food

For anyone that knows me, they can attest to the fact that I love eating, and I can eat a lot!  Today I went to Wendy's for lunch and ordered 6 junior bacon cheeseburgers and an order of fries.  This would normally be no problem for me to take down.  However today, for whatever reason, I was full after my 4th cheeseburger. Not only disappointed with my eating effort, I was also disappointed with the fact I was going to be wasting food.  While I was on my way to the garbage, I noticed a couple of old guys that were just finishing up eating. I asked them if they were still hungry and they said it all depends.  I asked if they wanted my two cheeseburgers that were still wrapped and they said yes.  They were happy with the free food and I was happy I didn't waste any food.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Day 49: Mikayla's Grace

Yesterday I wrote about taking things for granted. Today, another thing I have taken for granted recently was brought to my attention. My daughter currently has an ear infection, pink eye, a bad cough and is teething. This has made for some pretty difficult nights recently. I have also caught myself thinking how unlucky we are with all that going on. Then I take a step back and put things in perspective. All the things Emma has going on right now is temporary and we are so lucky to have a very healthy baby overall.

My wife and her friend/coworker, Amanda, were pregnant at the same time and it was fun for them to go through the pregnancy stages together.  Then, a few months away from Amanda's due date complications came up. A year ago today my wife's friend lost her newborn due to the complications. I cannot imagine what this family went through but my heart breaks for them. It also puts things in perspective. I should never complain of the long nights anymore. 

Obviously this was such a tough thing for Amanda and her family to deal with. Thankfully there is a group in Madison called Mikayla's Grace. Mikayla's Grace is a charity that helps support families who lose their babies prematurely. They provide care packages and support for these families. If you want to learn more about this great charity, please go to their website.
Also, today for my act of kindness, I made a donation in honor of Amanda's baby. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Day 48: The Water Project

Since having a baby one thing that has dawned on me is that I took a lot of things for granted in my previous life, i.e.. sleeping, eating dinner with my wife, video game time, working out, etc.  Now I knew having a baby was going to be a ton of work, I just had no idea how much.  This got me thinking a little bit about what else I am taking for granted.

I am sure a few of you have seen the video below.  I stumbled on it a few days ago.  It is a video of a "press conference" by Matt Damon where he talks about him going on strike from going to the bathroom.  This is clearly a joke but the message is not.  The bigger theme of this video is to raise awareness for an organization called, "The Water Project," who is working towards the goal of making sure everyone in the World has access to clean water.  Currently 780 million people do not have the luxury of having access to clean, safe water.  Noticed how I referenced water as a luxury in the previous sentence?  I would not have done that yesterday.  It's not that I didn't know it was an issue, it was just I never put it in perspective.  Kind of an out of sight, out of mind thing.  This is obviously something I have taken for granted.  So today, for my act of kindness, I donated to "The Water Project," at  Something that is pretty cool about this organization is once you donate they show you what specific project your money is going to and you can follow the project to completion.  The project my donation went to is building a well in Rwanda.

If you are looking for a laugh, click on the link below and watch the Matt Damon video.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Day 47: Mr. Mom

Since having a baby it has been really tough for my wife to find time to herself. And when she  does find some time she is usually so tired that the idea of sleep trumps any idea of going out.  So today, for my act of kindness, I didn't give me wife an option; she was going to spend some time doing whatever she wanted.  We are up in Minneapolis for the weekend visiting some friends who have a 3 month old, so the two moms spent the afternoon going to the mall and going out to lunch and the two dads watched the kids.  I kind of feel a little guilty using this as an act, but it wasn't so much me watching Emma, (Because I'm her dad and that's what I'm supposed to do) it was more so me making sure my wife had some time for herself.  Overall it was a great day.  I got some additional bonding time with my daughter and Gina had a day to go out with a close friend.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Day 46: Organ Donor

So apparently having the orange donor sticker on your license isn't sufficient anymore.  This was brought to my attention today.  So today, for my act of kindness, I went to and registered to become a donor, which I believe is very important.  Sorry this is so short.  It has been a crazy day.  My daughter has pink eye and we also took a road trip to Minneapolis tonight to visit friends.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Day 45: Hoops for Hearts

I do not have nearly enough activity in my life these days.  I played volleyball on Monday and by the second game both my legs had cramped up. I felt borderline pathetic.  I used to be a pretty active person, but since Emma has been born it has been really tough to find either the time or have the energy.  So today, when I was sitting at my desk I came across a fundraiser that my company was doing that involved activity.  It is called "Hoops for Hearts."  Basically if I went to the gym and either hula-hooped or played basketball for five minutes, my company would donate $5 to the American Heart Association in my honor.  Win - Win.  So today, for my act of kindness, I played basketball so that $5 would be donated to the American Heart Association.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Day 44: Helped a Stranger Clean Up

I think we have all been in the situation before when you spill something in a public place and need to embarrassingly spend time cleaning/picking up the mess.  Well today while I was eating lunch, I saw someone spill their entire lunch all over the floor.  I immediately felt pretty bad for them since this is not only embarrassing, but it is annoying since half the stuff you just bought is ruined.  So today, for my act of kindness, I went over and helped the person clean up the mess.  I would have taken a picture of the actual mess for documentation, but I thought that would have only added to the embarrassment.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Day 43: Good Things Happening to Good People

I always hear that good things happen to good people.  I’m not sure I necessarily believe that but I did see an example of this today.  I work with someone who hasn't had the best of luck the last few months’ health wise.  Well today I learned that she got some great news regarding her health and the future is looking promising. I could not have been happier when hearing this news.  So, today for my kind act, I bought a card to tell her congratulations!  I left it on her desk so it should be the first thing she sees in the morning when she gets in tomorrow. Hopefully it makes it a great start to her day! 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Day 42: I Love Dogs

I love dogs.  I have a 3 year old boxer named Paisley. See picture above. She has been such a great addition to our family.  I grew up with dogs so as soon as we got a house I wanted a dog.  My wife, on the other hand, had never owned a pet let alone a dog so she was a little nervous about getting a bigger dog.  However she fell in love instantly with the Pais and comments all the time now about how she can't imagine not having a dog because of how much they add to life.  I know this sounds kind of stupid, but one of my biggest fears through Gina's pregnancy was that Emma would be allergic to Pais. Thankfully that is not the case and Pais and Emma are best buds. 

Today for my act of kindness I wanted to do something to help animals so I went to the Madison Humane Society's website and made a small donation.  I plan on doing more to help the Humane Society later in the year but I thought this was a good way to start.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Day 41: Brownies

When my wife makes brownies I will eat the entire pan within 24 hours if other people don't eat them first.  Today my wife made brownies and I thought it would be nice to share.  So today, for my act of kindness, I took a plate of brownies across the street to my neighbors.  Also, when I was dropping them off I found out that they were the neighbors that plowed my driveway earlier in the week.  So, in the end, this was a random act, but it turned out to be a thank you as well.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Day 40: Took the Plunge for Special Olympics

My day 31 kind act involved helping organize a bake sale to raise money for the Special Olympics Polar Plunge.  With the bake sale plus money raised from individuals we were able to raise $2,100 in total. Today was the day a select few of us took the plunge in the lake.  To say it was freezing would be a huge understatement. It was so cold it hurt. I now understand why Jack was not able to hold on in Titanic. I now forgive you Jack. But it was all for a good cause so it was all good.  So today, for my act of kindness, I took the plunge with some great coworkers and my wife, who I was very proud of for doing something like this.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Day 39: Warmed up Winter for a Stranger


Well it's another freezing day in Wisconsin. No surprise there.  Right around this time of year is when I really start looking forward to spring.  The winter just seems to drag on forever and the cold just lingers.    I was talking to my neighbor today and I mentioned that Emma was almost nine months old and that he probably hasn't seen her since she was four months old.  This is my neighbor across the street.  I think it is pretty crazy that I can live throwing distance from someone and still not see them for months at a time. I blame this entirely on Winter.  During these months we all tend to hibernate and just wait for warmer days.

Today I wanted to help someone who has to endure this weather more than the average person.  So, for my act of kindness today, I brought hot chocolate to a crossing guard at a school.  He was very appreciative of my act.  I hope it warmed up his day a little bit (Get it?..."warmed").

On a side note, I just wanted to write that I had someone do a kind act for me this morning.  I got home late last night and saw there was about four inches of snow waiting for me to shovel it.  When I woke up this morning I looked out the window and saw my driveway had been completely shoveled.  This made my day.  Not sure who did it but it was definitely appreciated!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Day 38: Tipped the Total

I feel like good service should be rewarded. Today, as I was on my way to the airport I stopped at a restaurant for lunch.  My waitress was great;  Fast service, got the order right and was friendly.  Now, I consider myself a pretty good tipper in most cases, but today I felt like giving a little extra to show some appreciation.  So, today for my act of kindness, I left a 100% tip.  I didn't stick around to see her response, but I hope it made her day a little bit better.

Sorry this post is so flight is now boarding and I am anxious to get home and see the family!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Day 37: Guest Post

I was contacted yesterday by a person who has gone through a lot of hardships in the past 7 years.  She reached out to me because she wanted to see if she could share her story in hopes of inspiring others.  I had no problem with that at all because that is a huge part of why I am doing inspire.  So today, for my act of kindness, I helped a stranger share their personal story. See below.

Heather and her family

My Battle Against Cancer

No matter who you are, at certain times, you're going to have to depend on others and let them help you through. I learned this lesson when I was 36 years old. On August 4, 2005, my beautiful daughter Lily came into the world, and everyone in our lives was rejoicing. Little did we know what was going to come next.

After returning to work, I was feeling so tired, and I had no energy. I also experienced extreme weight loss, and I became rather concerned. I knew that weight loss and fatigue could be attributed to adjusting to new motherhood, but I had a feeling deep down that it was something much worse. Only three and a half months after Lily was born, I was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. As a child, I had been exposed to asbestos, and now, here it was, back to haunt me.

At this appointment, I was told that without treatment, I would live for 15 months. How could I leave my baby without a mother at only a year and a half old, and how could I leave my husband a widower? I simply couldn't do that. Therefore, we flew to Boston so I could be taken care of by one of the best doctors for mesothelioma. On February 2, 2006, my left lung was removed in an extreme surgical procedure called an extrapleural pneumonectomy. This was followed by 18 days in the hospital, and eventually chemotherapy and radiation treatments as well.

My baby was always on my mind. When I went to Boston, Lily went to live with my parents in South Dakota. The whole community came out to help them. Children who I babysit for and childhood friends with whom I had gone to church were there offering support to my parents. Back in Boston, I was making friends, and they were offering me an incredible amount of support. Thankfully, my parents sent me pictures of Lily learning how to eat real food, roll and move around by herself. The nurses would look with me, and we would rejoice in her accomplishments. Despite the rejoicing, I missed her so terribly. However, I always remembered she was for whom I was fighting.

The affection and attention she received from my parents is quite evident. Although they now only see her every few months or so, the bond is truly there. As an entire family, we have worked to really understand what life is about. It can be over in the blink of an eye. To you, I say embrace everything that life brings. In practically every situation, you can find good and bad, and that is the peace that cancer brought to me.  I am so happy to be able to say now that I have been cancer free for 7 years! Every six months I go to see my doctor in Boston for new scans to make sure my cancer has not come back.

The main goal of sharing my story is to spread awareness of mesothelioma. Sadly, mesothelioma is 100% preventable if only asbestos were banned. Many people are not aware that asbestos is not still even banned in the US. There are thousands of people who suffer and die each year due to this disease, and I am one of the tiny percentage of those people who have survived this incredibly deadly cancer.

Because of this, I feel that I am the voice for all others who we've lost and it's my duty to spread mesothelioma awareness as well as be a source of inspiration, hope and guidance for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation to my own. Although mesothelioma may not be a very relatable topic, I know there are plenty of mother out there who have gone through similar situations and sicknesses. Ultimately, I just want to inspire people with my story while raising awareness.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Day 36: Breakfast for Stranger

When I am on the road the hotel chain that I typically stay at has a to-go breakfast bag option.  It is convenient on the mornings I am in a little rush.  Today was one of those days so I grabbed a bag on the way out even though I wasn't that hungry.  In the bag was water, a muffin, a cereal bar and an apple.  On my way to my first appointment, I saw a homeless person on a corner holding a sign asking for food.  I knew right away this person could use the food more than me so I rolled down my window and gave him the bag.  He was so gracious that I was willing to give him the entire bag.  I was happy to make his day a little easier.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Day 35: Pushed a Stranger's Car

I have stated before in this blog that I think winter/snow in Wisconsin can make everything a little bit more difficult.  Well, I saw another first-hand example of that today.  While I was driving to the airport I got behind someone at a red light.  We were on a slight hill and there was a couple inches of snow on the ground. When the light turned green, the car ahead me didn't go anywhere, their wheel's just kept spinning. I watched for the entire green light this little car not going anywhere. After the light turned red, I got out of my car and told the driver I would help him.  When the light turned green, for the second time, I helped push his car and he was able to get on the move again.

 It is kind of funny, sometimes I spend a lot of time the night before thinking about what I am going to do the next day for my kind act, and then something like this happens, and it all takes care of itself.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Day 34: House Cleaning

Sundays in our house usually consists of cleaning.  We are so busy through the week that we have trouble keeping up around the house, so Sunday is the day we catch up.  Today, for my act of kindness, I decided that I was going to do all the cleaning.  When I told Gina that I would do all the cleaning today I could tell she had mixed emotions and I knew exactly why.  Part of her was happy that I would be doing the cleaning, but another part of her was worried that I wouldn't do a good enough job, and I understand where that feeling is coming from.  I tend to take shortcuts when it comes to cleaning.  However today, I tried to make sure I did a good job so she wouldn't need to redo everything. Hopefully it made her day a little easier.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Day 33: Small Compliment

I was a cashier at Best Buy for 3 years through high school.  Overall I felt like it was a pretty thankless job.  It is a position where you only have opportunity to disappoint.  The customers expect no mistakes and fast service.  As soon as something goes not according to plan, people can get pretty frustrated. Today I went to Best Buy to use up a xmas gift card. When I was checking out I could tell my cashier was very new because he had another employee next to him telling him what to do.  Throughout my checkout process there were a lot of things that he did much slower than usual and I could tell his trainer was getting a little frustrated. I felt bad for the guy because I have been in his position before.  When you are new to something, your brain just doesn't work properly and everything takes a little extra time.  So, today for my act of kindness, when I was handed my receipt I told the cashier that I thought he was doing a really good job.  I know this is a relatively small act, but I feel like it made a big difference in this person's day.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Day 32: Parallel Park

I have found over the years that I actually enjoy parallel parking.  I seek out opportunity to do so.  When I find a spot that is just barely bigger than my car I view it as a challenge.  I know a lot of other people out there do not share the same sentiment. I found one of these people today.  After parking my car downtown, while I was getting out of my car I noticed someone attempting to parallel park.  They were clearly struggling.  After witnessing the 4th or 5th unsuccessful attempt, I felt like I should try and help.  I walked over to the car and got the driver's attention.  I asked if she wanted help parking.  Now, when asking I was just assuming that I would just stand there and direct her where to go.  This is not what she assumed.  She jumped out of her car and told me and thanked me for the help.  I took her cue and hopped in her car. No big deal, but I successful parked her car the first attempt.  :)