This week, I’ve had three unexpected acts of kindness fall into my lap. As I mentioned, Duda produced a flat of tomato transplants for the tiny garden that could. My childhood friend, and vet, Ryan pulled a gently used dog kennel out of a closet for me so I wouldn’t have to come up with another $100 at the pet store. And a friend’s father swooped in when shower fixtures went on strike in my master bathroom.

These friendships are lengthy; I’ve invested time in them, but rarely am I able to give to these three as they give to me. Sometimes life is lopsided in your direction and your only job is to take it in, be thankful and try to help someone else along the way.

Phoenix in February

Lent began yesterday, as did this year’s Calculated Acts of Kindness kickoff. CAOK is a yearly thing we do around here. A quick tutorial:

What CAOK is:

  • 40 days between Lent and Easter to do nice things for other people
  • A way to share those kind acts, banking them as inspiration for others regardless of faith. All faiths promote helping those in need and being kind.
  • A time to think about the goodness in your life, and how you can spread it a bit to others
  • A perspective reset. (“Boo hoo, life sucks. My home is falling apart,” transforms to, “Man I am lucky to have someone help me fix this. And it is going to be better than it was!” And let’s agree on this one point: showers fixtures/chewed up baseboards/falling over patio walls are not worth crying about.)
  • A time to make your friends some really ridiculous, ill fitting gifts and later be surprised to see they actually love them:


What CAOK is not:

  • A Bible beating way to brag about your faith. Thank you, no.
  • A way to brag about your great, most awesome acts of kindness. Again – not the point. I’d hope you would take a photograph and share them, but this is not self-congratulatory so much as inspirational. There are a lot of people who play along. We’ve had CAOK entries from 6 continents! You never know how your idea will be interpreted to make someone else happy.
  • Anything other than just being a nice way to mark the next few weeks.

Any questions?

This year, I’m lucky to have some friends willing to champion the campaign on their blogs too. Check out Aimee, Sarah and Shana’s sites for their perspectives on lent, faith and CAOK.

I hope you’ll join in too. Photos go here. Leave ideas in the comments. Know that I’m casting a wide net this year and hope to reach many of you one way or another with a good deed.

Carry on, friends. The world can use your extra kindness.