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Sunday, December 23, 2012

I'll be Home for Christmas

Christmas is just a few hours away... I swear it was just Christmas the other day, well at least it felt like it.

Time just keeps going by faster and faster.  I was talking with a client about this the other day.  We got on the usual "time goes by so fast chit chat" and I was telling her a story about when I was a kid it seemed like the days took weeks to pass and summer could never come fast enough.  NOW, it all blurs together, and if you blink, you miss out on precious moment of life.

On the subject of time going by so fast, in February it will be three years since my Dad died.  I have not been home since.  On Monday, I am going to head home for the first time.  It is something I have been avoiding, but it is time to go.

More on that in a minute, but first a few quick, and very important announcements.

We had an awesome Ustream chat.  If you missed it and would like to watch the replay, click here.  You can also see all the past Ustream's there as well.  On that note, if anyone has any ideas/suggestions about how we can better improve the web chat experience, please let me know.  I am sorry you all have to deal with the commercials.  If Santa is nice to me, this year I will look into upgrading to the commercial free version unless we can find a better software platform.

Holidays Around the World event is going on.  Be sure to take your pictures and post them to the 1 Year 1000 Challenge page.  This was an awesome challenge last year that had 20+ countries and every continent, save for Antarctica, participating.  To learn more about this challenge, click here.

I'd like to start 2013 off with a ton of momentum by creating some year long challenges for us to participate in. These challenges are big ones, and have ZERO chance of being realized unless you all agree to challenge yourselves throughout the year.  The cool thing is it is a win win.  If we all challenge ourselves and give 100% we will all be in store for the best year yet.

1,000,000 that is right, 1 Million Positive Pounds Pursuit challenge.

The name says it all. 
When it comes to your health, everyone should have a goal!

2 of the most common goals are:

1 - Losing Weight
2 - Gaining Muscle

Health and Fitness related diseases are sweeping the globe. The #1 killer in the USA is Heart Disease, the majority of which is preventable through proper diet and exercise.

I have a goal for 2013, to help produce 1,000,000 Positive Pounds of weight loss/lean muscle gain.
 To participate, or to find out more info, join the Facebook group I have set up for this challenge:  Click here to go to the group page

1,000,000,000 Steps Challenge.

We tried to do 1 Billion steps in a month and we did not quite make it.  I still believe 1 Billion is achievable, but lets stretch it out over the course of the year.  There are actually some members of the 1000 Challenge Community that have been keeping track of their steps still.  I am hoping we can combine forces on this.  Please email me to let me know

In 2013, I Challenge Myself To_____ it is that time of year.  No New Years Resolutions, 2013 is all about challenging yourself to achieve your goals.  I have set up a Facebook group to help hold you accountable to achieving these goals.  Check it out here To join the group all you need to do is take a picture of yourself holding a list of your goals for 2013 with the words "in 2013 I Challenge Myself To" at the top

Holiday Discount... in my last blog I mentioned that until Christmas, I was offering 10% off the purchase of all personal training and life coaching services.  Since I have been a little behind on emails, I am going to extend this offer through December 31st at midnight.  This a great gift to give yourself or someone you care about.

Phew, that was a lot of updates :)

Back to what I was saying before, wait what was I saying?  OH yeaaaa, time flies, and it has been nearly three years since I have been home.

I would be lying if I said I was not nervous about going home.  I have been avoiding going since my Dad died, simply because I am not sure how it will make me feel.

Will I be sad?  Will I be angry?  What will the experience be like? 

After my Dad died I went through the normal emotions of grieving, but I was also very angry and ashamed at myself, angry that I was not in a better position financially to help my Mom after.  And ashamed for the same reason. 

Ever since I was a little kid, I always had wanted to grow up and be able to "help" my parents whenever help was needed.  At the time of my Dad's death, I felt like I let both of my parents down.

Fast forward to this moment and the above leads to the nervousness I am feeling now.  I know that going home is not only going to give me an awesome opportunity to spend time with my family, but it is also going to give me a chance to make peace with my Dad's death and that part of myself I have not made peace with yet.

I share this private part of my life with you all because I wan to remind you all that I am human, flesh and blood, just like all of you.  We all struggle at times, we all experience many different emotions, and we all deal with life, and death, in our own unique way.  Sometimes it is easy, or convenient, to dismiss what I have to say, or what I try to teach and bring to the world; because "I am not like you because I do not know what your life is like."

I may not know you and I may not know what your life specifically is like, but I know humans, and I know what the human experience is like.  We are all in it together, happy/sad, rich/poor, healthy/sick, all of it makes up the many fabric's of our lives.

So yes, I am a little nervous about going home.  It is an unknown for me, but I am also excited, excited to see my family, excited to revisit my roots, excited to have a few down days, excited for mine and my Mom's date to see The Hobbit, and excited for the opportunity to grow and move forward in life.

I wish you all Happy Holiday's and Merry Christmas.

Life is only ever going to be what you make of it...

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,

Jesse











Saturday, December 15, 2012

12-12-12

 Waaaazzz UUUUUppppp everyone!


I hope you all enjoyed 12-12-12 as much as I did.  I really love doing challenges like that one, they are so simple, yet so profound if you look a little deeper.

Before I get to that a couple quick updates

Merry Christmas!  Between now and Christmas I will be offering 10% off all Life Coaching and Personal Training programs.  That includes my Zero Limits Boot Camp program.  This is a great gift to give to someone special to you or to yourself.  Email me to sign up or if you have any questions.  Be sure to mention the 10% off promo from this blog

On the subject of Christmas, next week I will post the Holiday's around the World Challenge.  It will be the same format as last year.  This was such a fun event.  Check out the photos from last year

Start thinking of your goals for 2013.  I have a cool new accountability idea to achieve those goals that I will be sharing in the next few days.

12-12-12 has come and gone.  And while these days are fun because we can create cool challenge out of them, they really are no different than any other day, are they?

So why do the challenge on 12-12-12, why not do it on 12-15-12 instead, if the days are the same?

12-12-12 and similar days to it, provides a unique opportunity to bring awareness to a very valuable lesson.  We all love cool little things like this when the numbers on the calendar line up, or when we look down at the clock and it is on 2:22.

So what is the point of 12-12-12 Jesse?  What are you babbling on about?

The point, and the real challenge within the challenge, was to take a moment and just be aware what you are doing.  To be mindful of your life and deliberate in your existence.  You see so many of us run through life so fast that we never stop to "smell the roses."  The moment that you took on 12-12-12 was your moment to "stop and smell the roses."  Think about it...

Some of you resolved to make the day special for different reasons.  Some of you took time off work to treat yourself to something special.  That is great and that is smelling the roses.  It is making time for you.  Putting the busy hustle and bustle on hold to just be present, to be aware of who you are and what you are doing.

Some of you were working that day and more specifically at 12:12pm, but even while working, we still have the opportunity to stop, take a breath and be aware of what we are doing at work.

How many of you go to your job and are on auto pilot, going through the motions, with your only awareness of time being when the day is done and you are free to go home?

So to participate in a challenge like the 12-12-12 challenge forces us to stop and again, be present.

That is the reason I love doing these challenges, it gets us all out of the routine of life and makes us, even if for a moment, present and aware of life around us.

Some of you chose to spend the time with friends and family while some of you chose to honor the memory of loved ones lost.  Some of you chose to celebrate birthdays, while others simply took note of the time and in doing so connected with hundreds of people from all around the world who were doing the same thing.

Life goes by so fast.  So often we reach the end of a day, or a week, and we cannot remember one significant thing that happened that week, unless it was something negative, why?  Because we are not making an effort to be present.

Every day can be a 12-12-12 Challenge Day, every day there is an opportunity to be present, to experience more of what the world and life has to offer.  To be present does not cost money, the only thing it requires is just a moment, a moment where you allow yourself a vacation from the routine and permission to just be.

Thank you everyone for participating.

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,

Jesse












Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kenny's Story

Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening... I think I got it all covered now.

I am writing to you from my desk, in my house, in my town... I am back home :)

My European adventure is over.  I cannot believe how fast the time went, I mean it went really really fast... have I mentioned it went by fast?  My, how time flies...

Ok I am running out of time on the time jokes :) hahahaha Ok, I will stop now, I am serious.

Anyways, when I got home, I was greeted with quite the surprise, Kenny.

Before I get to Kenny, a couple quick updates

12-12-12- event and Holidays around the world event's will be posted this week.  These will be photo event's so get your camera's ready!  :)

It is time to start thinking about what you will challenge yourself to do  in 2013.  I have an idea to help us all stay more accountable.  I am putting the finishing touches on it and should have something to share with you all in the next week or so.

My monthly newsletter comes out this Friday.  If you have not already subscribed to it, click here to do so.  It is free and full of good tips and information.  Who does not want FREE tips and information?  :)

 That is it as far as updates go, now, back to Kenny...

Meet Kenny:


When I got home, I walked into a house filled with the aroma's of Thanksgiving dinner, familiar faces, and a couple new dogs.  My housemate, seeing the surprise on my face, quickly told me that he was helping out a friend by fostering two dogs for a few days.  One of these dogs is Kenny.  As he told me Kenny's story, my heart melted.

Kenny,  was found abandoned in a field, lying in the freezing cold, bleeding to death.  Kenny was a "Bait Dog."  Bait Dog's are used in dog fighting.  This is the Wikipedia description of a "Bait Dog"

""Bait" animals are animals used to test a dog's fighting instinct; they are often mauled or killed in the process. Trainers obtain bait animals from several sources: wild or feral animals, animals obtained from a shelter, or in some cases, stolen pets. Sometimes the animals are also obtained through "free to a good home" ads. According to news reports compiled by the Humane Society of the United States, the snouts of bait dogs are wrapped with duct tape to prevent them from injuring dogs being trained for fighting. Their teeth are filed and their nails are cut until nothing is left.The dogs bite, and tear to subdue the opposing animal by incapacitating or killing it"

Bait animal, that's what Kenny was.  And apparently he had served his purpose and was discarded like a piece of trash, left to die.

When they first found Kenny, they were not sure if he would even live. He was so emaciated that his ribs were all protruding from his body.  He was covered in blood. And had dozens of scars all over his face, his neck, and the rest of his body.

I am not sure how the next part of the story goes, but from what I understand, word about Kenny got out and  a Facebook page was made about him which quickly got over 10,000 likes on it - people were trying to get him rescued before his set euthanized date which was 3 days ahead. People as far as Utah were posting about him on Facebook.  People wanted to save Kenny and help him find a home.

Kenny has been at my house for about a week now and he is one of the sweetest, most gentle animals I have ever met.  The idea of him being bound up and left defenseless while people are encouraging other dogs to bite and claw at him, breaks my heart.  I was talking with my housemate about this the other day and we both said we have not even heard him so much as whimper, let alone a bark or growl from Kenny. 

I have never known a dog that holds eye contact with you as long as Kenny does.  He comes up to you, very sheepishly at first because he is terrified he will get hurt, but despite that fear he still approaches.  Once he feels safe, he locks eyes on you and does not break eye contact, not even for a second.  You can see it and you can feel it, he wants so badly to connect with the person who is petting him.  He wants so badly to be loved and to be able to give love. 

Kenny was so abused, that he does not even know how to play.  I watched yesterday as my housemate through the ball for the other dogs and Kenny stood by and watched.  After seeing the other dogs fetch the ball, Kenny tried it himself.  The only problem, he is still not quite sure how to run, and he is still pretty weak.  So after a few laborious gallops, he had to stop.  I was amazed that he tried, and then that got me thinking...

Humans, as evolved as we think we are, we really are way behind our four legged friends, in a couple very big areas.

Kenny has experienced more pain and trauma than most people will ever experience in their lifetime.  His face and neck is nothing but one big scar.

Humans have this bad habit of taking painful experiences and giving a more painful meaning to the experience.  Dog's have a painful experience and want only the opportunity to move past it and love.  Humans hold onto the pain because the pain allows them to form an identity from it - this happened so I am not good enough, I am not loveable, I can't, I am a failure, I am stupid, etc....  You all know how that list goes.  Dogs want to let go and move past the pain because they want their identity to be as far removed from the pain as possible, they only want their identity to be associated with love.

Why do we do this to ourselves?  Why aren't we more like dogs?  What would our day to day life be like?  What would the world be like if we all acted a little more like dogs?

If you were Kenny, how would you recover?  How would you go on living?  Would you shut the world out?  Would you blame everyone and everything?  Would you fault God for letting "this" happen to you?  Would you use it as an excuse to justify why things just seem to never go right in your life?  Or, would you resolve to leave it in the past and move forward and do your very best to give love and be loved?

Kenny loves to cuddle, he loves to eat, he enjoys being around other dogs too.  He loves to hug, he likes to dance, he enjoys learning new things like learning how to play.  And, what Kenny seems to love more than anything, something he gets so excited about that he nearly wags his tail right off his body, is he LOVES to be loved, and he LOVES to give love.

Maybe that is the key for us humans - to simplify the world and focus on the things Kenny enjoys the most:  cuddling, eating, being around other people.  Giving great hugs, an occasional dance, learning new things and playing.  And, most importantly love... giving love without any expectation of it in return, and soaking up every ounce of it when it is given.

Here are a few more pics of Kenny,

I have shed quite a few tears spending time with Kenny the last few days, I think as he his healing, he is helping me heal a part of me that I did not realize, or did not want to realize, needed to heal too.

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,

Jesse

ps.  if you enjoy my photos, be sure to check out my photography site by clicking here.








Saturday, November 17, 2012

Going Home

As the title implies, my time living in Europe is coming to an end.  I cannot believe 4 months have come and gone already!

It seems like the time has at times flown and at other times crept by.  It seems like a lifetime ago that I was filled with the excitement of the Olympics and the adventures that lay ahead.  It really has been only 4 months...

Before I get into the meat and potato's of the blog, mmmm meat and potato's (said with my best Homer Simpson voice) a few quick updates.

December I am planning on holding Two 1000 Challenge Community events.  A holidays around the world event like we did last year - it was a lot of fun wasn't it?? :)  And a 12-12-12 at 12:12 am/pm event similar to what we did on 11-11-11 at 11:11am/pm last year.  Details will come out in the next week or two.

On the subject of December it is the gift giving season.  Who is in need of a new wall or office calendar?  If you said yes, check out my photography website.  I have calendar's there as well as many other great gift ideas:  Jesse Brisendine Photography

It is funny because when I left California for Europe way back in July, I had visions of a much different experience than I have had.  I imagined traveling on the weekends, visiting all the cool spots to eat at, having beers at some of the local pubs, and covering every square inch of London by foot.

It started out that way.  The first month I was here, I would say I walked about 7 miles every weekend around London.  I would finish that walk with a stop at a random pub for a tasty cold beer.  And then life happened.

An ongoing stomach/digestive issue, to put it delicately, and the medicine I am taking to try to help with it put me on the sidelines from doing some of the things I enjoy.  Since that first month, I have gone out to eat maybe six times, and have had two days where I allowed myself a couple beers.  My body has been so sensitive that alcohol, red meat, spicy food, greasy food, sugary food, buttery food, fatty food, fun food, etc... really unleashes havoc on me almost immediately after.  For a couple weeks there I thought I was getting better, and then took several big steps backwards.

I am  not complaining though.  Although I would be if I was not flexible with my dreams and visions that I have for my life.

I was talking to a friend a few days ago about dogs and how they spend so much time chasing their tails.  They will spend hours in the pursuit of trying to catch up to something that is.... that is already behind them.  And what they miss out on while engaged in this endeavor, is all the potential fun that lies in front of them.

Humans get caught chasing their tails too.  We all have times where we wish we could go back, "if only we could do this over," "if I could just be like I was at this time" etc... We can't go back.  We can only stay right where we are, or move forward.  So why do we spend so much time holding onto the past.

We marry ourselves to ideas we have.  Visions, of how life is "Supposed to be," when Life has other ideas for us.  If we resist the ebs and flows life throws at us, we end up like the dog, spending a lot of our time chasing our tails.  BUT, if we learn to ride the waves that come with the ebs and flows of life, then we will always be able to find a new opportunity that was hidden behind the vision of what we thought life was "supposed to be."

I'll offer myself up as an example. 

I had this vision of what my down time, my personal time here in Europe was "supposed to be." Travel on the weekends, adventures at pubs and various restaurants, exploring the city on foot, and of course documenting all of it with my camera.  I had dreamed about this, I was excited about it, I could not wait for it, I got a taste of it, I wanted more of it, then life decided it was time for an ebb and flow.

Decision time for Jesse, do I hold onto the above dream, chase my tail, only ultimately to be let down when I realize that I can never catch it?  Or do I get flexible, do I ride the wave and flow with the ebb and flow?

I opted for choice #2.

The time that was going to be spent on pubs and restaurants got redirected into refining my diet, eating well, and getting rid of extra body fat I have been carrying around for far to long.  As a result of this decision I am going home in better overall shape than when I left.

The time I was going to devote to traveling and getting out in the countryside I re-invested into myself.  I spent some time rehabbing nagging injuries and learning how my body moves and ways to correct imbalances that have caused me problems for years.  And while I am not fully healed, i am definitely healing, and stronger in some ways than I have ever been in my life.  As an added bonus, I now can be more empathetic with clients who experience similar injuries.  Something I was not able to do before.

The time I was going to spend walking around and exploring, I re-invested to my own personal learning and growth.  I have been talking about taking online classes for the last 3 years.  I love to learn, but never make the time for myself.  I decided to finally do it.  And since I was given this gift of extra free time (notice the choice of language "given a gift,") I was able to really dive into this class I am taking and as a result am probably 3 months ahead in it than I would be otherwise!  And the best part is what I am learning here is only going to make me more effective as a Life Coach which means it will only help me better pursue what I am really passionate about - helping people.

Other little things that I was able to do with my extra time I was given:
  • Read three more books than I would have normally read.  
  • Get ahead on some of my business development and expansion.
  • Learn to meditate ( I have only been talking about doing this for 6 years or more)
  • Learn new creative ways to challenge my body with exercise combinations
I am sure there are a couple more in there, but that is all I can think of for now.

The point is this:

Life is not always going to work out the way we think it is "supposed to."  We are going to get thrown curve balls from time to time.  Life ebbs and flows, it always has and it always will.  If we don't learn to hit the curve or to ride the ebb and flow, we will be left like our four legged friends, chasing what's behind us, never able to catch it.

On the other hand if we learn to hit the curve, if we learn to flow with the ebb and flow, if we learn to look for opportunity in places we had not thought to look before, then one thing is for sure, we will never find ourselves hung up on dreams of the past.

Opportunity to create and make your life better exists around every corner, we just got to be willing to look for it.

So I did not get to have the European adventure I had envisioned.   I still had a great time and I am so thankful for the opportunities I did have, all of them.  I know I will be back and I know there will be other opportunities to see Ireland, Scotland, and many more places. But I may never get the opportunity of "time:" Time to heal, Time to learn, and Time to grow that I have had these last several months.  I am so glad I took advantage of the opportunity.

And now for the next adventure, back to California!  Who knows what opportunities will in store in the near future. I will certainly be looking for them :)

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,

Jesse





 

Monday, November 5, 2012

It Can't Rain All the Time



Helllllooooooo EVERYONE!

I have been visiting the small island of Tenerife, part of the Canary Islands for the last 10 days.  I was so excited to come here as it brought with it the promise of sunshine, warm weather, a tan and clear skies.  Four things I was no finding a whole lot of in London.

Three of the first four days were amazing.  The weather was perfect, the sun was shining, my tan was returning, and then the rain came.

And it did not leave, it rained, and rained, then rained some more, and then rained even more.  Before I get to all that a couple quick notes:

1.) I have a Youtube page where I upload weekly videos.  These videos are meant to help, inspire, motivate, and educate.  I encourage you to check them out.  After all they are free resources!!!  Here is the link:  My Youtube Page

2.)  I have a couple ideas for a few end of the year and beginning of 2013 1000 Challenge Community Challenges.  Before I get those up and running, I wanted to check with you all and see if You had a suggestion.  The more the merrier. :)

3.)  On the challenge note:  start thinking of what you will Challenge yourself to do in 2013.  I have some new ideas that will help with our accountability and ensure we make 2013 our best and most successful year yet.

4.)  The holiday season is here!  If you are looking for some cool gift ideas, check out my photography page.  A motivational calendar or a pretty picture make great holiday gifts.  Check it out here

So, onto the rain....

As I was saying it rained, then rained some more, then rained even more than that, then it stormed!  When all was said and done, there has been more rain here in the last 6 days than in the last 2 years combined!  Two days ago I was sitting by my window watching the rain come down, and I remembered a quote from, "The Crow," one of my favorite movies growing up:  "It can't rain all the time."

"It can't rain all the time," is the title of a song from the lead character's band, but it is used as a metaphor throughout the movie.  Just to give you a little background, the lead character and his girlfriend are murdered on "Devil's Night" a night of looting and mayhem that crime lords organize the night before Halloween.

One year later, Eric, the main character, is able to come back to life, kill all the bad guys, and avenge his and his girlfriends death's.  The metaphor from "It can't rain all the time," is formed throughout the movie.  "It can't rain all the time," comes to mean: that we will all experience some rainy days during our lives.  Some of those days will turn into severe storms, storms that may seem like it is impossible to survive, but you can.  No matter how  dark the skies are, no matter how horrible the reality may seem, the sun and promise of brighter days are on the horizon because, "It can't rain all the time."

So how does "The Crow" tie into me sitting at the window on a rainy Canary Island afternoon?  Well, earlier that day I had talked to three of my friends who live on the East Coast (Connecticut and New Jersey).  They were very fortunate to have minimal damage from Hurricane Sandy, but others, as you all know by now, were not.

I sat thinking about Hurricane Sandy and all the people affected by it.  Then I thought of "The Crow," and as I was thinking of "The Crow," the storm broke for a few minutes revealing a small patch of blue sky.  And it reminded me of a few important facts that are definitely worth mentioning here.

Hope can be bred out of chaos and destruction.  Whether you are dealing with Hurricane Sandy, or your own personal storm, keep searching for hope.  Hope has the power to guide you through the darkest of days.

Perspective is so important.  When we are hit by a storm, whether it is a physical storm the likes of Sandy, or an inner one that rages inside you; it is so easy to develop a negative perspective.  Your perspective is your North Star, it guides you through life.  If you form the perspective that the world is against me, God hates me, etc... you will go through life experiencing just that.  If instead you look for a more empowering perspective, something like: this is my opportunity to help others, this is my chance to be a better neighbor, friend, etc... your North Star will guide you on a path that allows you to experience more opportunities to help, be a better neighbor, etc...

Strength is not just for bodybuilders.  Strength is something that resides in all of us and when the storms of life hit, it is the time we need to dig deep down inside of ourselves and summon our greatest strengths.  We all have the capability to be stronger than we are. 

Love.  It is so important, our most precious natural resource, and during stormy times, there can never be enough of it. Spread as much love as you can during these trying times, love will eventually prevail.

Every second of every day people around the world experience extremes.  A man in Texas can be experiencing the miracle of life, the birth of his first child.  While at the same time a woman in Egypt is watching her son get murdered.  Life happens in the blink of an eye, it always has, and it always will.  We are not guaranteed a tomorrow, we are only promised this moment that we are living right now.  No matter how perils the situation may seem, it is important to stop, take a breath, and take a few seconds to be grateful for all that you do have.

Amidst devastation it is so easy to focus on the have not's: the loss, the destruction, the injuries, the injustice's.  These may be a reality, but they are not the only reality.  That other reality lies in gratitude: your breath, your still alive, your abilities to make a difference, friends, family, your ability to move, to read the words in front of you.  Stay focused on gratitude it will help you through the storms.

"It can't rain all the time." Eventually the storm will pass and the dark skies will give away to the promise of a brighter tomorrow.  Stay strong, look for an empowering perspective, spread the love, express gratitude, and keep hope alive, for without these things, we are nothing and life has no meaning.

My thoughts and love are with all of you who are weathering a storm.

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,

Jesse









Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness



I cannot tell you all how excited I was to see all the participation around the world for Random Acts of Kindness Day.  As so many of you experienced, we all have so much power to change the world, to positively impact another’s day.  Imagine what the world would be like if we all exercised this power a little more often.

To try and help further illustrate the above point, I have chosen to compile some of your stories/comments from Random Acts of Kindness Day into a narrative form.  I have done this for two reasons:

1.)    To honor the requests of many of you who were concerned that by sharing your experiences it would diminish the randomness and the actual act of kindness itself.  (please note that I do not believe this.  How are we supposed to train our minds to be more aware of opportunities to do this, if we do not consciously seek out opportunities?)
2.)    I thought that by sharing your experiences in the form of a story, it would be a better way to honor the Random Acts of Kindness you performed.

There are two central characters in this story, Alex and Jamie.  I chose Alex and Jamie because they are “unisex” names, meaning they are popular as both boys and girls names.  As I write this story I am not intending for Alex and Jamie to be portrayed as either a Man or a Woman.  How you wish to view Alex and Jamie is completely up to you. 
One final note, I am transcribing this from an idea I have in my head onto the blog you are reading.  Any inconsistences or lapse’s in the flow of the story are not intentional as I am filling the blanks into my idea as I type.
. 
Ok onto the story:

Once upon a time, in a land very similar to your own, their lived an ordinary kid named Alex.  Alex’s family was not financially rich, but they were wealthy with love and knowledge.  Alex was the 3rd born of 4 children.  Alex was very small in stature compared to the two brothers and one sister Alex had.
When Alex was 20 years old, Alex’s Dad was killed in a horrible car accident. 
Dad had been saving for 6 months to do something special for Alex’s Mom on their anniversary.  When the day came, Alex’s Dad took the money out of a secret hiding place and headed into town to buy Alex’s Mom some flowers, her favorite chocolate, and a golden heart necklace.  He was going to buy her a bracelet to go with the necklace, but when he walked into the store he noticed a homeless man in a wheel chair with a sign that read “Vietnam Vet, I am hungry and love to read.”
 Dad counted his money and headed into the store.  Alex’s Dad grabbed the flowers, chocolate, necklace, and food for the homeless man.  He looked for some books, but all he could find is a book on “how to become a real estate agent.” He went up to the register to pick up the bracelet, but noticed there was a food donation box for animals.  The sign said that you could purchase pet food and put it in the box and all the food would be donated to the local animal shelter.
Alex’s Dad recounted his money again.  He could not possible afford the chocolate, the flowers, the necklace, food and the “how to become a real estate agent” book for the homeless man, food for the animal shelter, AND the bracelet.  He thought for a moment about what to do, and then thought about how much his wife loved to do little random acts of kindness to make other people happy.  He knew that the book and food would make his wife much happier than a bracelet.  So Alex’s Dad bought dog food, along with the gifts for his wife, walked outside and handed the homeless man the delicious food and “how to become a real estate agent” book, jumped in his car, and started on his way home.
Dad was in a hurry.  Making the decision to buy the food for the homeless man and dog’s set him back about 10 minutes later than he planned.  He did not want to ruin the surprise by being late.
As he drove, Alex’s Dad thought back to the time when he had broken his leg and could barely work let alone do the household chores.  And he remembered how one day his wife surprised him by mowing the lawn… it meant so much to him that she would do that, that she would help him out at a time he felt so helpless.
Alex’s Dad could not wait to get home; he imagined how happy his wife would be to receive her gifts.  He could see the tears of joy coming down her face, and he could see her cheeks redden with happiness. He could almost hear her…
Suddenly, out of the corner of his eyes, he saw a flash of red, blonde hair, piercing green eyes, an airplane, two cars, people, a TREE
BAM!
Alex’s Dad was killed instantly upon impact with the tree.  He saved the lives of the three people who were on the side of the road.  There was no way he could have avoided hitting those people, unless he chose to run into the tree.
The person with the blonde hair, piercing green eyes, and the bright red jacket with an airplane on it, had gotten a flat tire about 10 minutes ago.  Two people interrupted their morning commute to help this person change their tire. They were shocked when the car came around the blind turn heading straight for them.  They all thought they were going to die.  At the last instance the car swerved and hit the tree.  All three rushed over to check and see if the driver was ok.
Alex’s two older brothers had moved away from home and Alex’s sister was too young.  Alex’s mother could not be consoled so that left Alex with the task of heading down to sign the necessary paper work and collect Dad’s personal items.
The police report said “the driver was found clutching a necklace in his right hand.”   Alex began to cry realizing that Dad had purchased this gift for Mom.  Then Alex read the tiny inscription on the necklace:  “The power of Love and Kindness exists in You.”  Alex kept the necklace thinking it would only upset Mom more if she saw it.
Three years have passed and Alex is now 23 years old.  Alex has stayed close to home to help Mom who never fully recovered after Dad died.  Alex is happy, but feels like something is missing from life.  Alex once had big dreams to change the world, but feels like those dreams can no longer be realized living this small, ordinary life, in this small town.
After all, doing great things and changing the world is only for great people right?  Ordinary people like You, like Me, like Alex, great things are not for us, right?
One day Alex stumbled upon the necklace, and reread the inscription for the first time in over three years, “The power of Love and Kindness exists in You.”
Later that day Alex and a friend were volunteering at a haunted hayride on a local farm.  Alex’s friend was complaining of being sad and Alex had got her out of the house in an effort to cheer her up.  While they were there they noticed a 10 year old girl who was not having a fun time on her birthday.  She was too scared to get on the hayride and began cry, so Alex ran over to her and gave her some candy and popcorn to cheer her up.  The little girl was so happy.
Alex’s friend said, “Wow you just made that little girls day.  It is amazing what a little kindness will do.”
“The power of Love and Kindness exists in You.”  Alex thought.
“I have an idea!”  Alex exclaimed.  “What if we make a goal of trying to do something nice for a stranger every day, you know, Little Random Acts of Kindness.”
“You mean do something and expect absolutely nothing in return?” Alex’s friend asked.
“Exactly!” said Alex.
“What is the point?”  Alex’s friend asked.
“Because, uh, um… because… Because we can!  Because You and I, we have the power to make a difference in the world.  Because Love and Kindness exists in You and Me.” Alex replied
“Um, I am not sure if I share your enthusiasm, and I don’t know if I really buy into the whole “change the world” stuff, but hey, what the hell, I am in.” 
“Fantastic.” responded Alex.  “There is a walk tomorrow for ALS, you know Lou Gehrig’s disease that I was thinking about doing.  Let’s start with that.  I’ll see you there tomorrow at 9am.”
With that Alex headed home smiling what felt like the first real smile since Dad had died.  Alex did not know where the Random Acts of Kindness adventure would lead, but that did not matter.  What did matter is Alex now had a sense of purpose… a driving force that would help guide Alex through life.
Alex met up with Friend at the ALS walk and was surprised to see Friend standing there holding a tray of healthy snacks for Alex and her.
“I thought I would start this Random Acts of Kindness thing off right,” she said.  “I figure you and I can’t possibly change the world if we keep eating junk food.”
Alex and Friend enjoyed a few of the snacks and passed the rest out to other participants of the ALS walk.  As they walked, Alex and friend discussed some of the possible ways they could perform Random Acts of Kindness.  To their amazement, they came up with more ideas than they could remember.
“We could give away some of our old clothes to someone in need.”  Alex suggested
“Yea!  And we could buy a couple weeks’ worth of food for the Smith family that lives down the street.  You know Mrs. Smith has been out of a job for over three months!  I bet they could sure use the help.”
“Great idea!” Alex responded enthusiastically.  “We could also do something like bake homemade biscuits for the Lions Club jumble sale and auction that they have coming up next week.”
“I love it!” Friend chimed in.  “Hmm, what else could we do??? Oh, I know!  I could call my friend Lisa today just to say hello.  Her husband has not been doing well, and I am sure she would appreciate the sentiment.”
“We could also go to the local retirement home and spend some time with the residents there.  I am sure they get lonely and would really appreciate the company.”
“Wow, we are really coming up with some great ideas.”  Friend observed.  “You know it is not every day that you are given an opportunity to do a little Random Act of Kindness for a fellow or fella you don’t know.  It feels great!”
“You are right,” Alex said.  “It is not every day that we are given the opportunity, BUT every day we do have ability to CREATE an opportunity to do a little Random Act of Kindness for someone.”
Alex and Friend finished up the ALS walk and parted ways.  Friend headed home to give her friend, Lisa, a call, while Alex headed to the local store.
Alex parked the car and got out.  Alex was about to run into the store when something caught Alex’s eye.  An old lady was starting to walk out in front of the traffic.  She seemed to be confused by the street lights.  Alex dashed over there and stopped the old lady.  Alex chatted with the old lady for a minute, explaining the street lights.  The old lady told Alex she was color blind and repeatedly thanked Alex for taking the time to help her.  She insisted on buying Alex lunch.
Alex and the old lady had a delightful time at lunch.  She had insisted on taking Alex to Alex’s favorite restaurant.   As they chatted, Alex could not stop thinking about the irony of the situation… the only reason Alex was sitting there enjoying the delicious lunch with the great company was because of the decision to look for opportunities to perform Random Acts of Kindness. 
“Just goes to show you, Alex thought… you never know where life may take you.”
As a final thank you, the old lady gave Alex a gift: “I worked for the airlines for over 30 years,” the old lady said, “Every year, I get what are called buddy passes.  I want you to have one.  You can take that trip to California that you were talking about, for free.”
Alex was speechless, “Th, Tha, Thank You so much!” Alex wrapped the old lady up in a hug.  They said their goodbyes and Alex walked away feeling 10 feet all.
Alex finally made it into the store to buy a long overdue card and gift card.  As Alex was standing in line, Alex noticed that there was a man standing in line that was struggling to carry all his groceries.  Alex stepped aside and insisted the man go in front of Alex.  The man was hesitant at first, but after getting reassured from Alex that it was ok, the man happily set his heavy loud down on the counter.
Alex paid for the card and gift card and headed off to the local hospital. 
After Dad had died Alex had several medical issues that had come up.  There was a nurse at the local hospital that had been extra kind to Alex.  Alex wanted to repay her kindness by surprising her with a nice card and a gift card to the local Starbucks.
The nurse was so surprised to see Alex, and when Alex presented the nurse with the card and gift card, the nurse got a little misty eyed, saying “rarely do I ever hear the words, “Thank You.” Thank you Alex for thinking of me and taking the time out of your day to brighten mine.”
Alex and the nurse chatted for a bit.  Alex told the nurse about the Random Acts of Kindness idea at which the nurse responded with great enthusiasm.  They said their goodbyes and Alex headed home.
Meanwhile the nurse was at the midway point of a graveyard shift and on her break decided she would walk across the street and grab a coffee with the gift card Alex had given her.  She thought it would be a nice treat to get the 3 girls she worked with a little treat too.  So she bought them each a little goodie from Starbucks.  As she was standing in line to pay she overheard a man asking the cashier what sandwiches they had for under $3.  The nurse, again thinking back to what Alex had said about Random Acts of Kindness, pulled out a $5 bill and handed it to the man.  She paid for her coffee, and goodies for her co-workers with the gift card, and left.
A few weeks passed by and Alex stayed true to the vow of doing Random Acts of Kindness every day.  Alex could not believe how much it was changing day to day life.  Little, seemingly trivial things were making the biggest of differences. 
One day Alex made it a goal to smile and say good morning to everyone, especially those who seemed like they were not having the best day.  Alex was shocked to hear how many people responded back by saying “thank you.”
On yet another day, Alex decided it would be, “be considerate to other motorists/drivers day.”  All day that day Alex was more patient than normal, always yielded, used a blinker, and never insisted on the right away.  Alex was amazed to see many people waving and flashing smiles of appreciation all throughout the day.
A few more weeks passed, and Alex decided it was time to perform a little Random Act of Kindness, for Alex.  After all, if we are not kind to ourselves, how can we ever consistently be genuinely kind to other people?
Alex decided to cash in the buddy pass that the old lady had given and take that trip to California to escape the cold winter weather.
When Alex boarded the plane, Alex overheard a couple asking a man if he would be willing to give up his aisle seat so that they could sit together.  The man folded his arms and shook his head no.  Upon seeing this, Alex approached the couple and told them that there was an open seat in the row that Alex was sitting in and that they could have Alex’s aisle seat.  The couple thanked Alex.
Alex walked away smiling and sat down in one of the seats that had been vacated by the couple.  The person sitting next to Alex, commented, “I saw what you just did for that couple that sure was a nice gesture.”
To which Alex responded, “it was no big deal really, I still have a seat and look how happy it made them.  Seeing them happy is worth more to me than 20 aisle seats.”
The stranger pressed on, “No, I mean it, you just do not see enough people doing little Random Acts of Kindness like that very often.  I really respect what you did.”
“Well thank you,” “my name is Alex.”
“Jamie.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Jamie, what is taking you to California?”
“I am treating myself to a little vacation.  I needed to take a break from the cold.  I was supposed to be on the earlier flight, but when I was walking through the airport, this nice lady stopped me and asked for my help.  She could not decipher the flight boards.  You know how confusing those things can be at times.  Well to make a long story short, I stopped to help her, we got to chatting and the next thing you know, I missed my flight.” Hahaha Jamie said with a laugh.
Alex and Jamie struck up a conversation.  They talked about anything and everything.  Alex told Jamie about the Random Acts of Kindness pledge and Jamie responded by saying that each day, Jamie begins the day with the intention to try and doing something nice for someone else.
“After all,” Jamie said, “You never know where life will take you.  If I had not stopped to help that lady in the airport, I would not be sitting here next to you.  Much in the same way if you had not so willingly given up your seat to that nice couple, you would not be sitting here next to me.”
The hours passed by, Alex and Jamie did not stop talking; in fact, both of them were starting to take a liking to each other.
Jamie was about Alex’s age and obviously a very caring person.  Jamie also must do fairly well financially judging by the designer jeans that Jamie wore.  Alex thought Jamie was very attractive, Jamie had blonde hair and these piercing green eyes.  One thing Alex could not figure out, is why would this attractive, seemingly well to do person wear such a tattered red jacket?  And what was that faded symbol on it, it looks like an airplane?
Alex decided to ask.  “So I gotta know, what is with that red jacket, it looks a little out of style?”
Jamie grew quiet for a moment then took a deep breath…
“A little over three years ago my Mom was diagnosed with stage four cancer.  Within a matter of weeks she went from being the life of the party to completely lifeless.  One day I got a phone call from the hospital saying that they believed my Mom would be dead in a matter of hours and that I needed to hurry over there if I wanted to say goodbye.”  “On the way to the hospital I tried to call my Grandma, but she did not answer.  You see she worked in the airline industry as a flight attendant and was midflight somewhere.” 
“I was so upset about Mom, and about Grandma not picking up that I was not paying attention to the road in front of me.  I looked up at the last minute to see a dog in the middle of the road, I swerved to avoid it, but ended up with a flat tire.”  Jamie began to tear up as the story continued…
“I started to panic, I got out of the car contemplating running to the hospital when these two nice people pulled over to the side of the road to help me change the tire.  You see, I did not have the proper tools in the car.  I was amazed these people did this because, well you know, for them to take the time to help a complete stranger… as I watched them change the tire, I vowed then and there to always make the time to help other people a priority in my life, no matter what.”
“Well these nice people were just finishing up with the tire when all of a sudden a car came around the road.  You see we were stopped at this blind turn and there was no way that the driver could have possibly seen us, and he, he…”
“He swerved to avoid hitting you and crashed into a tree.”  Alex said, finishing Jamie’s sentence
“He was killed on… wait, how did you know that?” 
“The driver was my Dad,” Alex said.  “He was on his way home to give my Mom a gift for their wedding anniversary.”
“Alex, I am so sorry.”  “Your Dad, he saved my life, you know.  He also saved the lives of the two strangers that helped me.”  “We ran to the car, but there was nothing we could do, your Dad was dead.”  “The two strangers took down my information and told me they would stay with your Dad and the car and that I needed to hurray to the hospital to see my Mom.”  “My Mom died 30 minutes after I got there, not only did your Dad save my life, but he made it possible for me to say goodbye to my Mom.”
“For the longest time I have been so angry at those people who my Dad avoided hitting.  I blamed them for his death.  I always felt that Dad’s death was so meaningless, that it did not need to happen.  I never stopped to think about what may have been going on in their lives, or that there was a deeper meaning, a deeper purpose behind Dad's death.”
“Your Dad is a hero Alex.”  “We had only been there a few minutes, no more than 10.  I have wished, so many times over the last 3 years that your Dad had driven by there 10 minutes earlier.”
“What about the jacket?”
“The jacket?” Jamie asked, “I was wearing the jacket on that day.  It was a gift from my Grandma.  After my Mom died, she quit her job at the airline industry; she had been working there for over 30 years.  She was so angry, that she blamed her job for not allowing her to say goodbye to her daughter.  She suffered all sorts of health problems as a result of the guilt she felt.  Most recently she has become color blind.  Anyways, I wear the jacket to remind me of that day, to remind me of how precious life is and how important it is to do my best to live each day to the fullest, no matter what.”
“Fate has obviously brought us together for a reason.”  Alex said.
“I agree.” Said Jamie
As the plane landed Alex and Jamie exchanged phone numbers and parted ways.  Only a matter of hours passed until they contacted each other.  They spent the remainder of their vacation in California together.
One year later…
Alex and Jamie have just been approved to move into their first home together.  The real estate agent just gave them the good news.
“I can’t believe we got approved for this house!” Alex exclaimed
“Thank you so much sir,” Jamie added
“You are both very welcome.” The Real Estate Agent replied. 
After all the papers were signed and the Real Estate Agent turned the keys over to Alex and Jamie, both Alex and Jamie insisted that the Real Estate Agent stay and celebrate with them.  After all he was so kind and helpful to them.
“I would love to,” the Real Estate Agent said, but I have a commitment I must keep. 
As the Real Estate Agent turned and started pushing the wheels to make his wheelchair move, he stopped and looked back at Jamie and Alex.
“You kids know that you are the first people I have sold a house to?”  “A few years ago I was homeless and felt like life was over.  You see the war took my legs and society was not to fond of Vietnam Vets.  It made it really tough for me to find a job. Hell I was actually planning on killing myself.  One day this guy, who was clearly in a hurry, took a few extra minutes out of his day for me.  He went into the store and came out and gave me a bunch of food and a book.  I was speechless that someone would do that for me.”
“And, get this, the book was called, “How to Become a Real Estate Agent.”  “At first I scoffed, me, a Real Estate Agent, but then I thought, why not?  If this guy believes in me enough to buy me food and give me this book, maybe I should try to believe in myself.”
“I never saw that guy again.  I always hoped I would, I wanted to thank him.  You know, I have never told anyone that story, but for some reason I felt like I needed to tell you kids.  I guess the moral is, never underestimate the power that an Act of Kindness can have on another human being.  You two, Me, we all have the power to change the world.  We all have the ability to be great and do great things.  You know why?  Let me tell you why: Because the power of Love and Kindness exists in each and every one of us.  We just have to choose to use it.”
And with that, the Real Estate Agent turned and wheeled away.  Alex and Jamie stood on the doorstep of their home, arm and arm waving goodbye to the once homeless Vietnam Vet who had just sold them his and theirs first home.
“It’s amazing don’t cha think?” asked Jamie
“What?” asked Alex
“That man’s story, how a little Random Act of Kindness by a mystery man had the power to change his life.”
“He is absolutely right you know,” Alex said as he reached into his pocket.  “My Dad had this in his hand on the day he died,” as he showed Jamie the necklace.
“The power of Love and Kindness exists in You.”
“In certainly does,” said Jamie, “It certainly does.”

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,

Jesse