Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 21 My last day of The Giving Project!

Wow, it went by fast. There were days I struggled with what to give, then opportunities seemed to just flow. Ways to give others a gift became easier and easier.

I am surprised how much I enjoyed the journey. I am inspired, more present, more aware- I liken it to the first time I tried on a pair of reading glasses- "wow, a whole new world, I can see the fine print!"

Amazing new opportunities at work, strengthened family and friend connections seemed to just appear and click with ease. I am looking forward to continuing this journey and sharing more with you. I know the power of giving, and simply sharing a gift a day, will enrich work environments and the bottom line, strengthen family and friends' relationships, and yes, change the world for the better.

Join me ... start anytime, and share your stories with me.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Giving Project Day 20 - Vintage Gift

Most know that I collect and wear vintage fashion and have quite a collection of purses, sunglasses, and pristine coats. From no names to Gucci and Pucci, with the impeccable quality whether an item is hand-stitched or simply made to last, I so appreciate the details that are hard to find in everyday products today.

My latest find is a 70's belt buckle I spied on our weekend getaway at a yard sale- the ink marked masking tape sticker taped across it showed $1. I gave the woman $5 and said, "keep the change, it is fun piece, thank you." Giving more at a garage sale, instead of negotiating! Not sure if I will ever see that expression on someone's face again. Not sure if I will ever give that gift again, but that day it felt right. A gift indeed for both of us.


Monday, June 28, 2010

The Giving Project Day 19 Une Tasse de Cafe

image complements from

I stopped for a morning coffee- "a quick stop," I thought.

I waited in line and waited, there was no eye contact when it was my turn, and I felt myself getting slightly annoyed. Then, just as fast as the emotion of frustration came, I stopped, and reminded myself I wasn't in Paris ordering a fresh croissant and cafe au lait -- the true experience I was after -- I was in fact on my way to a meeting, a few minutes behind, just a few extra moments to spare for a cup of caffeine, er, I mean, coffee. So I stopped, breathed, and found myself commenting to the servers how busy they were, and asked if it was usually so busy. One person smiled, and said yes, thanks for noticing. They were short staffed due to a colleague calling in sick. As I was handed my coffee, I thanked them, waved and just couldn't help a cheery, "Merci, Au Revoir" sing song.

My cup of coffee tasted tres bon.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Giving Project Day 18- Gifts for the Planet

Nicola Lake sunrise

On our weekend get away, I woke to a stunning sunrise.
Grateful, inspired and in awe of the amazing beauty I experienced, my gift today is to help the planet.
I am finding little ways to help- took my own coffee cup to the cafe in town, picked up a candy wrapper off the street and put it into the garbage, read using sky light instead of electricity. Small gifts, sure, but felt good to help a little. What small gifts can you give the Earth today.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Giving Project Day 17 -Ahhh The Smell of Fresh Library Books

I love library books, always have. I remember my mom driving us kids to the library, it was a treat to go to the library. I remember having my own library card and being able to check out any book I wanted. Judy Blume when available, was always one of my favourite finds.
Today my library trips are still treats, at least once a week with the boys. We joined the Summer Reading Club- Reading Rocks! Chris Tougas, author and illustrator of Art's Supplies and Mechanimals has created the hilarious poster and reading record for Reading Rocks! where prizes are won for reading.
I thought I would thank the librarians for sharing their favourite finds, their passion for reading with my family, so the boys and I picked a few flowers from our garden and gave them to the library staff.

I enjoyed watching my sons choose their books- what topics interest them that day. For one, currently any topic to do with sharks and haunted houses gets picked off the shelves. For my other son, anything Star Wars will do.

Friday, June 25, 2010

People are talking about The Giving Project

What people are saying about The Giving Project:

"Hi Janet. I just wanted to make sure you know how much educators appreciate it when parents take the time to say "thanks". A gesture like yours is enough to make us smile for days! So . . . thanks for the thanks!"
- Irene

"Way to go Janet. What a beautiful story. I look forward to reading you tomorrow."
- Isabelle

"love your initiative! I often try to remember to give random acts of kindness or gifts in many forms and lately I am trying to also find ways to remember to be kind to myself. We are only as good to others as we are to ourselves. I look forward to reading more of your blogs and perhaps participating myself!"
- Tamara

"It is a lovely alignment to your work -- how appropo to be involved in a giving project and a business all about giving!"
- Kathleen

How has giving that little bit more impacted your life? Share your stories with your own Giving Project. -- 21 days could change your world. Join us today!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 16 - More Easy Ways to Give

I am on Day 16 and my daily gifts have already enriched my life. I am much more present and aware of everything and everyone in my life. I find myself more grateful for the little things- my kids' smiles, my husband's strength and support, time spent with family and friends, my colleagues' great work. I guess in a sentence I am feeling more grateful, more positive. If you have thought about starting The Giving Project, or are stuck on a day, here are few easy ways you can give today.

Tell one of your colleague's they are doing a good job.
When walking into your building, look behind you and hold the door open for the person behind you.
Smile at that person you have just held the door open for.

As Aesop once said… “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

Enjoy your day.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fun in The Park and a Break for Mom

         image from

Day 15
One of my sons had a play date at a friend's after school today.
I thought I could return the favour and give another mom a break also- so I took my other son and his friend to the water park. Two moms got a break- now that is giving, not to mention one fun way to ensure your kids drink enough water on hot days!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 14 Sharin' The Earch

Day 14

I dug up a few of our hostas from our garden and gave them to the neigbour who has commented on their beauty. Sharing the good earth- a pretty darn cool feeling.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 13 - Easy Gives

 image from
Day 13
Coming up with easy ways to give can be a challenge.
So here is my gift today- a few gifts to give that are super easy.
Write a quick post it note- "have an awesome day" and include in a lunch kit or laptop bag.
Share a couple of new songs with someone- fresh running songs for i-pods are always appreciated.
It's the end of the school year- Thank the kids' school crossing guard - show up with a hot chocolate or coffee.

The Giving Project Day 12

Day 12
I thanked my husband for being a good Dad.
I thanked him for telling his Spider-Man bed time stories (over and over again), thanked him for helping them build those complicated Lego kits, and teaching them how to ride their bikes.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Giving Project Day 11

Day 11
I am excited about Father's Day as my gift today is gathering the Dads in my life to say thanks.
Having a bbque tonight to celebrate with my Dad, my Dad in law, and the number 1 Dad- my sons' Dad!
Burgers, beer and fun to be had by all including the moms.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Day 10 - The Gift of Music

                                                         photo from

Day 10 
Happy Friday.
My gift today was to share a couple of great songs with my sister who I know would appreciate them as she trains for yet another marathon! Go sis Go!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Giving Project Day 9

Day 9.

My gives lately have been thank yous, so I continue with another thank you for my day 9.

This thank you goes to Jen, my manager.

The title of Manager just doesn't say enough of how she helps me every day.

Some new titles for Jen:

Jen, who took her day off to help a client with a challenge, and I only heard about it after the challenge was solved.
Jen, her signature phrase "there is always a way" attitude that inspires me and clients.
Jen, communicator extraordinaire, builds genuine relationships with clients and suppliers.
Jen, who understands my ideas and executes them with excellent attention to all details and finesse.

Thank your colleagues today, and share with me some new titles for your managers who help you achieve your success.

Download our thank you cards here...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Giving Project Day 8

Photo by Robyn Lehr, from Real Simple

It is what as known as "step up day" at school today- the kids enjoy a day with the teacher they will have next year. My kids are excited about the day, their new teachers, and the excitement of being one grade higher! It is hard to believe the school year is almost over as I reflect on what a great year the boys have had.

My daily gift today is saying thanks to their teachers. Sure, thanks for the basics of teaching to read, spell and add and subtract, which goes without saying, but for me it is also how both teachers saw and encouraged my sons' individual strengths, guided them to be confident in their choices, encouraged their sense of humour, provided leadership opportunities, but, perhaps most of all, that the boys come home and say, "I like school."

Thank you Mrs. S and Mrs. Y.
Enjoy your summer!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Giving Project Day 7

Day 7
On my early morning run I gave my usual “gives”-smiles and waves to other runners and people I passed along the way, but today I was more aware, present of how my smiles to others, my thank you waves to cars that stop for me (and don’t stop for me) at crosswalks, makes me feel connected to everyone, that my daily gives are good for me. The Mahatma Gandhi quote comes to mind You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Share with me the little things you do every day that make a difference.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Giving Project Day 6

image from

Driving to a client meeting, I stopped at a red light. I looked to the side of the street and saw a man holding a cardboard sign asking for money and food. As the light changed, and I proceeded to move forward, I opened my window, said hello and handed him an apple. There wasn’t time for much else besides a glance at each other and then I was gone around the corner. “Would I have given him my apple if I was not doing my daily give challenge, The Giving Project?” I asked myself. Hmmm interesting question. I drive by this spot often, have seen this man before, and have never given before. I have thought about it, but never acted on it. Food for thought… for sure. Giving is good.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Giving Project Day 5. Thanks, Dad.

My Dad, 1950's

Day 5

As Father's Day approaches
, my give today is saying thanks to my dad.

Thanks Dad for my 9th birthday gift - a unicycle. A
lways think outside the box!

Thanks Dad for braces. Always look your best.

Thanks Dad for teaching me how to cast a fly, catch (and clean) a fish. Always finish what you started.

How will you celebrate the Dads in your life?

Share your ideas with me - leave your comments below. Remember, it doesn't have to cost a thing.

Happy Dad's Day. A gift - here's a link to our e-newsletter, Giving, which includes a Father's Day gift guide, for a few ways you can say thanks.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day 4 - "I Gave at The Office"

Day 4

Do you experience appreciation every day at work? Do you arrive in the morning to an environment that shares appreciation? Do you show your appreciation to your colleagues?

Today, Day 4 of The Giving Project, I gave appreciation, by saying, "thank you." I called one of our suppliers, using the old fashion device called a telephone, wanting to have a more personal connection than sending an email. I was specific in my gratitude, thanking him for his excellent customer service- always just a phone call or email away, his fine craftsmanship and superior quality of work, as well as always updating us on his progress.

What do you do to show appreciation at work? Do you prefer to get a gift, cash, public or private praise? Tell me what was your best gift from a boss or a co-worker?

"The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated."
- William James

Would you like to use our thank you cards? Send me an email and we will mail them or email them to you.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Giving Project - Day 3

Janet, friends and family at a Canada Day run

On Canada Day, our community celebrate with an annual 8km run, festivities and fun for all. This year, I have been training for the July 1 run and my goal was to come in the top 3 of my age group- a lofty goal, but feelin' good about it.

Just this morning, an email came in from the organizer, who I also volunteer with as a SunRun clinic leader, asking if I would volunteer with the run. Initially, I thought, hell no, I want to beat my time and win a ribbon! But then I found myself typing back without hesitation, "I would love to help," as I thought that this can be my gift for Day 3 of The Giving Project.

It's only Day 3 and I am seeing how much more aware I am of giving, and how it is simply a choice to make.

So, the boys will run the 1km kids race first, then our family will be helping at an aid station handing out water and cheering the runners on. There is always another race to run and time to beat. With my give of the day, I already feel like I won!
How did you give today? Please share your wins with me.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Giving Project - Day 2

photo from

Standing in the grocery store line up this morning, I noticed a man behind me with a jug of milk impatiently sighing about the lineup. I gestured for him to go ahead, and said, “sounds like you are in a rush, please go ahead of me.” Not a thank you, just a gruff huff as he stepped to the front of the line, paid for his milk, and hurriedly ran out of the store. Initially taken aback, I then realized, my daily "gives" are not going to affect everyone and that is okay. The Giving Project is for me to give and others to join me if they like but with expecting nothing in return. Whether the man is sipping his milk thinking it was nice of me to help him out, or thinking, gosh I could have said, thanks, isn't the point. The point is I gave and it feels great.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Giving Project Day1

Day 1
With it being Day 1 and all, I found myself asking out loud,
"What can I give today that is different, unique, an out of the box give?"
Just then one of my sons came into the room and said with a serious, quiet tone in his voice, "Mom, the cat is loosing its hair". The neighbour's cat comes over quite often to visit and just about as quickly as the cat jumped on my son's lap, I was about to blurt out, "oh it is just shedding" and continue on doing whatever I was doing. I stopped and became very present, aware that here is my chance to give the gift of time to my son. So I sat down beside him, and as we petted Mia the cat, I shared with him that it is normal for cats and dogs to shed (loose) some hair as they don't need as much hair in the summer, just like he doesn't need to wear his winter coat anymore. I assured him the cat would not go bald, and was healthy. He was relieved and satisfied with my explanation. As he walked away holding the cat in one arm, I smiled to myself, grateful for my good mom moment, grateful for my son's caring personality and excited about how The Giving Project is going to change my family's life for the better.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Giving Project – That extra twinkle

A couple of weeks ago, my husband, our sons and I volunteered handing out cupcakes on the east side of Vancouver during the Fair in the Square celebration put on by Central City Foundation.

After an inspiring day of giving our time, we walked to our car and noticed someone adding coins to the parking meter. I would like to be telling you my initial thoughts were, “how kind ", but I actually thought it very odd, "does he think that is his car, is he out of it?” After he proceeded to put money in the next meter I realized that no, this is a random act of kindness! One of my sons called him, the parking angel. I had to quicken my step to catch up to him. We chatted briefly, I thanked him for choosing to give to the event is such a creative and meaningful way.

I wanted to keep talking but he was on his way to plug more meters. I stood there for about 5 minutes being grateful. I thought about how we volunteered today, how we gave, and how he gave simply by adding a coin to my meter. I stood there smiling. I realized that even though my initial intention was for my children to experience meeting people from a different community they normally wouldn't encounter, I was the one that learned.

My husband calls it the "extra twinkle," a twinkle in my eye that supposedly shines brighter “than usual", as he saw an idea forming in my brain. I said out loud on the car ride home, "What if we all gave something, just something small - a smile, a cupcake, plugged a meter, a simple thank you? The world would change." A challenge, I thought. I know friends, family, and clients that would give.

So here it is, The Giving Project, 21 days of giving. 21 days because that’s how long it supposedly takes to form a habit. I will blog and tweet daily on what and how I give and I ask you to join me and do the same by commenting on my posts-start at Day 1 here click here 

If you’re on Twitter, tweet me your gives (please use the hashtag #realgiving).