27 Acts of Kindness: Days 19, 20, and 21

Is anyone else remotely stunned, like I am, about the fact that the month of April is almost over?

Time certainly doesn’t seem to be passing in a normal way these days…and let’s face it, “normal” isn’t easily defined at the moment.

Rather than dwell on what’s normal and abnormal, though, I’ve had this challenge to focus on, and it’s helped immensely. In keeping with the “time is flying by” theme, I’ve already completed three weeks of it! I’m thankful that this is keeping me grounded and making me feel slightly more useful lately, and that’s what inspired this weekend’s acts of kindness…gratitude.

Friday, 4/24 – Act of Kindness #19: My dad is an essential employee. Ever since this whole thing started, he’s gone above and beyond to not only fulfill the duties of his job, but also to take care of me and my mother. He has made every trip to the grocery store for us for weeks now in order to keep us safe at home. He also runs any errands for us that would otherwise require us to go into a store. So I wanted to acknowledge him and express my gratitude for his extra efforts by writing him a card. While that can’t amount to everything he’s done for us lately by any stretch of the imagination, it was the best way I knew how to say thank you, and I think that the small gesture meant a lot to him.

Saturday, 4/25 – Act of Kindness #20: I’ve thought about essential employees a lot lately…they don’t have the luxury of working from home like I do. Medical workers, delivery drivers, grocery store clerks, and everyone in between deserve to be recognized for the hard work they’re doing (and not just during this time – they don’t receive enough thanks under normal circumstances).

That’s why I decided to recycle a cardboard box into a thank you sign for the front yard. As essential employees drive to and from work, I hope that they notice it and realize that there are so many people who appreciate them and want them to know that what they’re doing is meaningful.

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It took me a full hour to do the lettering for this sign, but it was the least that I could do.

Sunday, 4/26 – Act of Kindness #21: I admit that I’m definitely running out of acts of kindness ideas…so thank goodness for Google. I spent time yesterday afternoon researching more ways I can help, well, anyone while I’m stuck at home.

I got a handful of great ideas from my detective work, but the one that resonated with me yesterday is an opportunity to show gratitude for essential workers – how fitting! The volunteer effort involves making virtual cards and/or greetings for essential employees. It’s a safe way to send messages of thanks to these hardworking individuals. I volunteered and I’m waiting for notification as to how I will be conveying my words of encouragement and appreciation, but in the meantime, I figured I’d share the link to the project here so that others will hopefully see it and will want to participate, too.

There is less than a week left to my challenge…and I’ve saved some special acts of kindness for the end. Stay tuned!

Thank You

Today’s blog post is intended to be short, but sweet: I want to take this as an opportunity to say thank you.

To my sweetie,

 

Since I published my post last Friday about being “dia-feated”, a dozen or so members of the DOC – and even a couple nonmembers – have reached out to me via social media to share their words of encouragement with me:

“…I enjoy your blog posts and your voice is important to me”

“…your blog reached one person, and that’s enough (for me)”

“I read your blog all the time, and it helps me.”

Each message expressed similar sentiments using different words: Don’t give up. My voice matters to someone.

Again, the intention of that post was never to drive traffic to my blog or messages to my inbox. I was merely trying to express some sentiments that I’d been feeling for a few weeks now. But the fact that so many people DID, in fact, take the time to reach out to me and exchange a few messages with me meant the world. I found each one to be uplifting and truly touching, and if you were one of the individuals who wrote to me, I can’t thank you enough.

It’s funny – but truly wonderful – how kind words from friends and strangers alike can do so much to revitalize your soul and make you see what’s right in front of you: an amazing, supportive community who just gets it.

Thank you.

This Thanksgiving, I’m Thankful for…Diabetes?

This post originally appeared on my blog at ASweetLife.org on November 26, 2013. It’s hard to believe that I wrote it nearly five years ago, but with Thanksgiving occurring tomorrow, I thought it would be appropriate to revisit it since it captures my feelings about diabetes this time of year. Of course, life has changed quite a bit in the last five years, so I’ve made a couple amendments (below, italicized) to the original…

Each year around Thanksgiving, I think about the things that I am thankful for in life. Some obvious answers come to mind: my parents. My brother, my boyfriend, my dog. The fact that I am able to attend an amazing college. The roof over my head and the food on my plate. The list could go on and on. I’m sure most of my answers are unsurprising.

But is it weird that I’m thankful for diabetes, too?

Don’t get me wrong here. Oftentimes, I resent that I have to deal with the burden that is diabetes on a daily basis. I cry about it, I get angry about it, I curse about it. I wish that it didn’t impact me or my loved ones the way that it does. I’m all too aware, however, that I cannot change the role diabetes plays in my life. All I can do is accept it. When I did that and truly thought about what acceptance means, I began to think of why I might feel blessed in some bizarre way to have diabetes.

For starters, my diabetes has brought me closer to my family. My mom and I are able to relate to each other on a different level because of it. My dad and my brother show concern and unrelenting support for us that might not be the same if Mom and I did not have diabetes.

Sometimes, I think about how even though my diabetes seems to have a mind of its own, it adds a certain degree of control regarding some aspects of my daily life. It helps me get into a routine that is pretty static. It relies on what I choose to feed myself; in this way, it motivates me to make the right choices when it comes to my diet.

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And it has brought some amazing opportunities my way. Without diabetes, I would not have become president of the UMass Amherst chapter of the College Diabetes Network. I would not have discovered the Children with Diabetes: Friends for Life conference that I attended in Disney this past summer, where I made some awesome friends who keep in touch with me. And I certainly would not have begun blogging for ASweetLife.org. This experience itself has allowed me to get in touch with my feelings regarding diabetes to a greater extent. I have been able to explore my interests as an individual who loves to write. I have the pleasure of speaking with a wider variety of people within the diabetic community and hearing individual stories that I might not have ever heard.

I never would have guessed that a mere five years after writing this post, I’d be writing content for my very own diabetes blog. The creation of Hugging the Cactus is a huge diabetes-related accomplishment itself, but I’m reflecting on other diabetes changes I’ve experienced and how I’m thankful for them…so many come to mind. My OmniPod insulin pump, my improved A1c levels, new friendships formed…I’ve come a long way, and I’m grateful for every single positive experience that diabetes has brought into my life.

That’s why I’m seeing diabetes as something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. I long for the day where diabetes is cured and I no longer have to think about it. But for now, I want to make the best out of something that could be perceived as the worst.

With all that said…enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday! No matter how you choose to celebrate it, remember that you are loved, you matter, and there’s people in your life who are endlessly thankful for your love and light.