Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Week 1: Beginning at the Beach

Welcome back to the Kindness Countdown! Unlike previous years that saw me performing 40 acts of kindness over the 40 weeks leading up to my 40th birthday, and 45 RAoK as I counted down to age 45, this final round will contain two bonus projects: an entire year of activities (52 weeks) as I count down to my 50th birthday!

The other change I foresee t\his go-around is my children's involvement. Unlike the past two projects completed while I was homeschooling, my kids are all 10 years older now, two of them adults in college living out of the house. While they have all expressed interest in continuing to be a part of it, their involvement will be limited during the school year. 

However, along with their growth comes a sincere desire to help areas of their lives they see a need. I'm excited to work alongside them to do what we can in spaces that matter to them. Stay tuned for those activities, and in the meantime...

To kick things off, my three kids and I, armed with black garbage bags and handy dandy grabbers, headed to the beach in Milwaukee on June 30, my 49th birthday, to spend some time cleaning up the shoreline. 

We filled two garbage bags in about an hour with everything from bottle caps (so many bottle caps) to lone socks, balloons, plastic silverware, packages of edibles, remnants of fireworks, food packaging, personal hygiene items, and enough plastic straws to make a healthy bouquet. 

One man approached us on his way to a trashcan and asked "Are you guys picking up garage? Right on! Thanks!" He added his garbage to one of our bags and that's about the time my kids and I started to look around and noticed the lack of garbage cans near the beach. And so began the first of what I believe will be many discussions with my kids (two of them now voters) as a result of this little project of mine.

We contemplated how long it would take the beach to fill back up with garbage (not long was the consensus) and if it's worth doing things like this knowing it won't change the majority of people's practices (yes was the majority). And that led me to explain to the kids why I, someone who generally believes good deeds are best done in private, started this blog a decade ago. 

I have received a whole lot of messages from strangers over the past 10 years saying they happened upon my blog in a magazine or podcast and were looking for fun family activities as a way to give back, or were inspired by the simplicity of most of my ideas and were going to replicate them in their own community. 
Reminding my kids (and myself) of the ripple effects of Kindness Countdown, especially 5 years ago when it was features in People, Real Simple, Women's World, etc, encouraged me to keep going and see how far and wide I can project the idea that kindness is cool, areas of service are all around you, and you don't have to have a lot to make a big impact. 

Thanks for tuning in to this first week; I hope you follow along for the next 51! What a year this is gonna be!!


  1. Count me in if I can help with anything in any way.

  2. You and your kids are off to a great start! Mark and I do a ton of walking and we will bring a bag with us to pick up trash as we walk! Thanks for doing this! ❤️