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  • Still Points North: One Alaskan Childhood, One Grown-up World, One Long Journey Home
    Still Points North: One Alaskan Childhood, One Grown-up World, One Long Journey Home
    by Leigh Newman

    Can't wait! 

  • Einstein's God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit
    Einstein's God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit
    by Krista Tippett
  • The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone---Especially Ourselves
    The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone---Especially Ourselves
    by Dan Ariely
  • Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up
    Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up
    by Harriet Lerner
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  • Rhythm And Repose
    Rhythm And Repose
    Anti/Epitaph

    Tender and beautiful. 

  • Boys & Girls
    Boys & Girls
    by Alabama Shakes

    Love this album! So happy when I saw BrainPicker post this on her site! 

  • City of Refuge
    City of Refuge
    by Abigail Washburn

    Pure magic!

  • Some Nights
    Some Nights
    by Fun.
  • She Ain't Me
    She Ain't Me
    by Carrie Rodriguez

    I'm such a fan. 

  • I'm Your Man
    I'm Your Man
    by Leonard Cohen

    Take this Waltz is on my top ten list of all songs!

  • Babel
    Babel
    by Mumford & Sons
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  • Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey (Original UK Unedited Edition)
    Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey (Original UK Unedited Edition)
    PBS

    So totally addicted to this series! Absolutely amazing!

  • Zen: Vendetta / Cabal / Ratking [Blu-ray]
    Zen: Vendetta / Cabal / Ratking [Blu-ray]
    starring Rufus Sewell

    Based on your recommendations from a recent blog post! It's another wonderful BBC mystery series! 

  • The Good Wife: The First Season
    The Good Wife: The First Season
    starring Julianna Margulies, Chris Noth, Josh Charles, Matt Czuchry, Archie Panjabi

    One of the best shows on TV. Juiliana Marguiles is incredible. 

  • Doc Martin: Collection - Series 1-4
    Doc Martin: Collection - Series 1-4
    starring Martin Clunes, Caroline Catz, Lia Williams, Stephanie Cole, Ian McNeice
gifting
Wednesday
Feb132013

i heart generosity day (with a giveaway, of course)

 

I love Generosity Day. The idea is simple: Let's reboot Valentine's Day as a day of "sharing love with everyone." You can read more about the origins of the movement here

I love this idea! For me it's really easy to forget about real love on Valentine's Day. When I was a tween and teen, the entire day was cringe-worthy. It was always about watching the popular girls get the crappy $1 roses sold at school. When I was was dating and first married to Steve I felt pressure to "get it right" which launched all of my shame gremlins.

As a mom it's about running to Target at 8PM on 2/13 to rummage through the picked-over cards.  As you can see, my perspective has been about how the day makes me feel. Where's the LOVE in that?

Here's the call to arms hearts:

"Give to people on the street.  Tip outrageously.  Help a stranger.  Write a note telling someone how much you appreciate them.  Smile.  Donate (more) to a cause that means a lot to you.  Take clothes to GoodWill.  Share your toys (grownups and kids).  Be patient with yourself and with others.  Replace the toilet paper in the bathroom.  All generous acts count!" 


Radical Generosity?  I'm in.

My goal for tomorrow is to practice random acts of kindness all day. Last week I took Charlie to the neighborhood self-serve yogurt store and when I was checking out I asked the woman behind me to put her yogurt on the scale with Charlie's. She looked confused so I said, "My treat." We both got teary-eyed. It was awkward and vulnerable (people aren't used to kindness anymore), but worth it. It was connection.  

Last year I celebrated Generosity Day with a book giveaway. This year I'm giving away three beautiful blank journals from Anthropologie. They're my favorite journals for keeping gratitude lists. 

Do something generous tomorrow - anything - and leave a comment telling us about it! I'll draw three names on Friday! You can also check out the Generosity Day Facebook page here.

« one of my favorite pieces of wisdom from harriet lerner | Main | sounds true: new adventures + a giveaway »

Reader Comments (135)

I LOVE this idea! Thank you!
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathy
Well, it's not tomorrow yet but I have to tell you a story. I live in CT and I have a 3 and a 5 year old. While Sandy Hook hit everyone hard, it hit me in my most vulnerable of places. . .the fear of losing my children. I was finding myself paralyzed by fear and waves of terror. I decided that the only way to battle this was to practice major acts of public love, to people I don't know. I bought coffee for the newspaper lady, paid for the few groceries an elderly lady with a fixed grocery budget was going to have to put back, gave $5 to the man who asked for spare change. It was wonderful. But the most amazing thing happened with my three year old daughter.

We were in McDonald's (for shame) and she was eating an ice cream, it was mid-December in CT, so not warm! A construction crew came in and one of the men commented on how happy she looked and told me a story about how he loved eating ice cream in the winter when he was a kid, and how his mother never understood.

I got an idea, I went up to the counter and told the manager that I wanted to buy an ice cream for everyone in the store. At first he was so confused. But when he "got it" he had a huge smile on his face. They started making cones and my three year old went to each person in the restaurant, handed them a cone and said, "Merry Christmas". People were laughing, crying, I was tearing up the whole time. My daughter was beaming!

After we had handed out 29 cones, the manager refused to charge me more than $10. But the real gift was this. . . When we got into the car to leave my daughter started laughing. When I asked what was making her laugh she said, "Mommy, it was SO much fun to buy ice cream for people who we don't know their name". That about sums it all up. Giving, when it is totally unexpected is pure joy!

Since then, whenever I'm having a bad day, or feeling bad about myself, or frustrated with my life, I do something like this and boy does it turn it all around. Giving in this manner is infinitely more rewarding than receiving.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjmbh
Brene',
I love this idea. My fiancee' and I don't give gifts, not for Valentine's, not for birthday, not for Christmas. To us it is more important to be loving every day. (And we are both fortunate to have enough that if we want something, we can afford it)
Generosity Day should be every day. I will make an extra special effort tomorrow to make someone feel better. Don't include me in the drawing. Someone else needs it more than me. <3 you
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterNicole Gonzalez
I absolutely LOVE this!!! and JMBH- how wonderful!!!!! How fun for your daughter!!

I am going to pick up my dog from the vet later. I LOVE my vet and all his workers. I'm going to take them flowers and candy!

This blog made me SO happy!!!! Can't wait to get out there and GIVE!!!
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDeb
What a lovely idea. My kids' school does something similar for the month of February. They call it "Warm the heart month." At an assembly at the beginning of the month, each class announces a project they're taking on (everything from collecting for a charity to planting habitats for Monarch butterflies) and they work on the project throughout the month.

We don't do much with Valentine's day in our house, so I like the idea of a Generosity Day.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristy C-M
My son's 3rd grade teacher had each student write their favorite brown bag lunch and each student is making and bringing lunch for another student on Valentine's Day.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLS
Great idea! and much healthier too!
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGalit
What a way to put Valentine's Day into perspective!! I too felt the same way during my high school days. I want my kids and family to know I love them everyday, not just on February 14th. Most of the time we skip Valentine's Day since my husband's birthday is the 15th. The kids get way more excited about Daddy's birthday. I'm also seeing giving of yourself instead of gifting is way more powerful and means quite a bit more to others and myself.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKim L.
I paid for a lady ahead of me in the grocery line who was having to put back groceries. She told the clerk she couldn't get them, paid for what she had, and left. I quickly paid for mine and what she couldn't get and ran hers out to the parking lot for her. I couldn't even speak I was so overcome with love. Yeah, definitely need to do more of this. I love the ice cream idea. Thank you. love what you do.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMyra
brene, there are two wonderful women i share time with at starbucks as baristas. one is a single mom to twins, and the other is a widow after being married over 30 years. i'm guessing tomorrow might be challenging for both, and since i don't work, i think i'll figure out some way to shower each with love.

thanks for this nudge.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjenn nahrstadt
Love love love this idea. Anne Lamotte is posting today about "Occupy Valentines Day" which I also love. Generosity day it is. Yay.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAngela
Tomorrow will be my first Valentines day after the end of a 10 year marriage. I was dreding it, until I read these entries. Now I am looking forward to finding as many ways to spread love tomorrow as I can.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStarla
Love the idea of a love-spreading day, instead of a love-turned-inward-towards-yourself-and-your-partner day.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKP
My valentines gift to my husband this year is a jar filled with countless little notes of things I love about him. It was a wonderful refresher to me to sit and think about what a great guy I married so many years ago, and it's my hope that he feels loved for the so many wonderful qualities he has! I think that will express my love much more completely than a box of chocolates or flowers!
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea
I will be donating blood! And, I love the idea of buying frozen yogurt for the person behind you!
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSunny
What a brilliant way to celebrate Valentine's Day...today 2/13 is Self Love day, so I'm having girlfriends over to celebrate themselves. I want to close the night by sharing this as a way to celebrate tomorrow. THANK YOU!
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLiz Garcia
I *love* this idea! I'm going to write 12 "you're special" cards, decorate them and give them out to friends tomorrow to show how much I care. :)
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSylvain
I work with children who have difficulty in kindergarten. Right now there is one little girl who has struggled with talking to the other children (sometimes even coming into class is tough). Doing schoolwork is tear inducing on many days. Today another little girl (who has her own challenges) was having a really tough day (the schedule was different with Valentine Card time and all the excitement). This first little girl took the second one's hand and spoke to her. They then started to play a game together, laughing the whole time. Both girls were still smiling and singing as they left for the day. The second little girl told me, "I have a friend!". Can you get much more generous than reaching out and doing something that is difficult for you because someone needs to see it more than you need to hide it?
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristie
Loved this post. I just read it to my 11 yr. old daughter. And we both are going to look for ways to give generously tomorrow. Thanks!
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
Today I went to a conference called serve Idaho put on by americorp. And listened to a speaker about volunteering. It inspired me and I am going to volunteer to do a presentation at school about tobacco prevention to 5th graders to hopefully prevent them from smoking!! Thx love your blog.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBecky elder
When I was a kid, vacations were always in Florida in February visiting my grandparents and other family members. Valentine's day was a big family dinner with little gifts for everyone. Now 30 years later Valentine's Day to me is a time to celebrate the love of friends and family. Thank you for your blog. Awesome ideas!
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHope Swiatek
You have inspired me. Challenge accepted!!!
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSandra S.
I love your ideas! I live looking for ways to give and my 7 year old daughter takes notice. I think it's the greatest gift and lesson we can teach our children on how to change the world.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGloria Ballard
Brene: I love this idea of radical kindness! Everything matters and I don't ever think an act can be too small...we have no idea what smile or an ice cream or...can do in a person's life. And ours as well. The giver gets just as much (if not more) than the receiver. thank you for this! -Soraya
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSoraya Nulliah
What a lovely idea and practice! When in the drive-thru line,we've paid for the order for the car behind us. It's so cool to watch their expression and how hard they try to make sure we know they're grateful. Very inspiring ;-)
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKrista E.
I work at the Boys and Girls Club, we are giving each child a stuffed animal...something to love when they don't have the support they deserve at home,
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKayla
It's afternoon in Australia. I took a friend who is divorced and hearing impaired, out for a special lunch at a nice cafe. Something she never does. My act to say, we might not have 'partners' but we're ok. :)
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristine
Brene, I love this idea. single this Valentine's day for the 1st time in Ever and dreading it totally. now, armed with your suggestions I plan to go through the day putting smiles on other people's faces all day long and not be so focused and concerned about my own. thank you for the perspective.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterVickie
Glad to see this, thank you. Last year, I had a neighbor who lost her husband in January to cancer. Right before he died, she was diagnosed with cancer. She has spent the last year getting treatments. On 2/14/12 - I woke up really early and tied a bunch of balloons to her front yard, so she would see it early morning or take some to other cancer patients. I am 41 and never been married, yet. However, I wanted something on her first Valentines day without her husband, to hopefully, make her smile. I tried very hard not to get found out. It's been a year and tomorrow I have set my alarm and waking very early to do the same thing. Plus I have added 7 other people to the list ,who might be thinking no one will remember them tomorrow, and they, too, shall receive an early morning, red, heartshaped, mystery ballon. :). God Bless You.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCissy Scanlon
I made a friend a special card & little gift to let her know how much she means to me. She has just split up with her boyfriend which I didn't know when I made it so going to spend some girly time together on Valentine's Day to help cheer her a little.
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia
Dear everyone,
What a great, inspiring ideas! I'm definitely going to these things more often!
Earlier this week I decided that it was time to get all my courage together and and talk to my boyfriend (for 4 years already :)) about my insecurity issues with sex, which is my biggest vulnerability issue. And when I finally talked to him about it, he fell asleep. Enormous vulnerability hangover for me and I felt incredibly hurt. The next day we talked about it and he apologized. But I have a hard time getting back to normal. So my generosity gesture for today is to forgive and accept from myself that I have these insecurity issues and forgive my boyfriend for making a mistake and telling him how much I love him.

I wish everyone a happy Generosity day full of love and inspiration!
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMieke
In a few hours, I'm flying to Africa to pack up the belongings of a family who cannot go back to pack their house themselves. He is the principal of an African theological institution and his wife oversaw all things hospitality for visiting guests. They had to leave suddenly this fall and were never able to return. The story is far more complex and personal than I can share publicly but it's an honor to travel to Africa and pack them out and organize for the return of their possessions.

Here's the kicker, I've only had a week to get my life in order to go (renewed passport, vaccines, plane ticket, schedules of wife and kids). When I was asked if I could go, I discussed it quickly and deeply with my wife (who teaches full time). She expressed total support and made a point to affirm that my gifts and the trust that I cultivate with others is why there is no question that I need to take care of these friends.

The generous one in this story is my wife. As I'm gone she'll manage her own full time teaching schedule and the two vastly different schedules of our 3 and 6 year olds, while also attending a bridal shower a few states away this weekend. After 12 years of marriage, we resolve to never stop fighting to grow stronger and to embrace the opportunities to radically love others while maintaining that our marriage while always remain the top priority.
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndy
This is a great idea. Today at work I will be generous to all I meet with warmness and an open heart.
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKeith
As a teacher of Year12 students, to day in class a student commented on a program to fund water in a third world country..."Do you mean charity water?"
"Yes" he said...
Great what were you thinking?
"Well like for $25 we could fund a well."
Yes we could, I bet with all of us that's probably a small change jar being filled over a couple of weeks or so.
" I'm going to do that, I'm really going to do that. That would feel so good."
Yes, yes it would!

So joyful to have 17yrs olds speak, feel and act with compassion and
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl Australia
Ah, perfect! Thank you ... this campaign has put into words what was already tumbling around inside me. I have always dismissed Valentine's Day. This year, I feel differently. I just lost my Mother-In-Law to brain cancer. We worry about my Father-In-Law who loved her beautifully for more than 50 years. So, a new tradition: he joins us for dinner every Thursday. Tonight is our first Thursday dinner together. What to do with the fact that it's Valentine's Day? I want to honor the love that they shared and celebrate the love that I my husband and I have, yet I want to expand the idea of love ... love for community, one another, all the beauty that love brings into our world each and every day. It's the best thing we've got going! This campaign provides a framework for me to talk about what I was feeling. Thank you for bringing clarity to how simple and how lovely it is to care for anyone and all around us! My husband, who teaches high school English, is also taking this idea into his classroom today ... won't it be fun to see where all the love goes?
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle
I just experienced another great act of generosity:
I'm from the Netherlands and it is snowing here at the moment. Behind my office is a children's daycare center with a bicyle path next to it. While it was snowing, these little kids stood outside handing over self-made hearts to the people on the bicycles who have a hard time cycling in the snow. :)
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMieke
I love the idea of Generosity Day! Today, I will write a personal note to 10 friends telling them why they are wonderful. :) Have a great day!
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBecky
I splurged on a fancy fruit arrangement for my kids' after-school snack, and I'm making a special trip to the grocery store so I can refill the favorite snacks and drinks in the lounge where my daughter takes riding lessons. Thanks! Happy Generosity Day :)
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn A
to jmbh----thank you for sharing you story! I am deeply touched.

I gave candy to the bus driver and wished him a Happy Valentine's Day. I also bought breakfast for the gentleman behind me at the cafeteria. The man's face lit up as did the cashier who was helping us.

Before giving I felt a sense of discomfort. I figured out it was a moment of vulnerability. Go figure. There was a part of me that wanted to hold back but I reached out anyways. I felt a little uncomfortable but persevered. Afterwards, I felt such a great sense of warmth and happiness.

It is not even 8 am yet and I am really excited to find ways to be generous!

Thanks, Brene for all you do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMary
I've got some heart shaped chocolate chunk cherry cookies in the oven, to give to all my clients today. Just smelling them baking, is making me feel happy and reminding me how lucky I am to have so many kind people in my life!
02.14.2013 | Unregistered Commentermichelle y,.
I've texted my dearest friends messages of love and gratitude. I also was very moved at Dunkin Donuts this morning. I saw a man eating food and he clearly had not had a good meal or shower in ages. I bought a 10 dollar gift card and offered it to him. I said, "I'd like to give this to you if you want to accept it." He took it and said, "Thank you." I was glad I gave him a choice of whether to accept it or not. It felt really good to treat him with dignity and also let him know he isn't invisible.
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
I called to thank my nurse for proving two shots to rid me of my migraine.
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulie
I am bringing in pizza to my daughters reading group, and going to look for a way to be generous to every one I interact with today, regardless of all the things in my own life that are currently unraveling. It is a great way to add beauty to a day.
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHDM
Last night I made sure to slow down and sit with my son while we worked on making paper airplanes for his valentines day cards for his classmates at school. It was truly a labour of love and was reminded how precious and sweet giving your time can make one feel special.
I also found the courage to text the people in my life that I have not spoken to in awhile to simply say " I love you"!
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmily
happy valentine's generosity day.
02.14.2013 | Unregistered Commentermolly
Thank you Brené! What wonderful inspiration you spread about!

Well, this year I decided to create my own Valentine Day's cards so I spent a wonderful, totally immersed evening making them. I felt the love for sure!

Today, I'll donate some things to Goodwill and who knows what else will transpire!

A beautiful day to all! I really enjoyed reading your posts.
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina K.
I love this post!!! I read it this am and thought it definitely fit with what I chose to do today. I brought lollipops to all the staff in my division and building with a little happy note attached. It has been amazing to see the reactions....people have loved them and I have seen more smiles today than I have in months. It is awesome to see how a small act of generosity could truly brightens someone's day. Thanks for challenging us to be generous and vulnerable!
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSheralyn
Generosity day is very inspiring. I will say thank you in some way to every colleague at work on generosity day.
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea
Generosity day is very inspiring. I will say thank you in some way to every colleague at work on generosity day.
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea
Itook time to send several friends cards with messages explaining why they are so uniquely wonderful and what they meant to me.
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterNiki

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