Pay It Forward Friday – SMILE!

Smiling is infectious; you catch it like the flu.
When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too.
I passed around a corner and someone saw my grin.
When he smiled, I realized I had passed it on to him.
I thought about that smile and then I realized its worth.
A single smile, just like mine, could travel around the earth.
So if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected.
Let’s start an epidemic quick and get the world infected.
Author Unknown

I recently read a blog written by Lori Deschene where she is discussing the idea of smiling.  She states that “some days, it’s easy to smile. You wake up to the sounds of birds chirping, with the warm glow of the morning sun cradling your face. You take several deep, cleansing breaths standing beneath a perfectly cascading shower, just before drawing a smiley face on the steamed-up glass with your index finger.

Your roommate or significant other makes your coffee, just the way you like it. You hit every traffic light. You sing to your favorite tunes. And you arrive at work refreshed, excited, and anxious to create and collaborate.”

But not every day starts this way. Sometimes you wake up to chaos, in your head or in the world around you. You hit snags, and bumps, and roadblocks at every turn. You try too hard, or don’t try enough, and things fall apart, or things fall short.  You struggle, you fight yourself and other people, and you find yourself wishing you could stop the world so you could get off for a while.

So this got me thinking.  I know how I feel when someone smiles at me when I am feeling down and out.  It is usually unexpected and catches me by surprise.  My mood changes almost instantly and the best part about it was that someone took the time to try to make a small difference in my life.  Sometimes the smile comes from someone I know and sometimes it is from a total stranger.  Smiling is free and it truly can warm the heart.  A smile can make someones day so much better than it ever could have been. And if you think about it, a smile can also very quickly lead to a laugh or a giggle.  Not only is smiling infectious but if you can make that smile turn into a laugh everyone feels better.

Regardless of if you are in need of a smile or are willing to give a few away, we wish you all a wonderful Pay It Forward Friday with smiles galore.

If you need a little inspiration to get you going this Friday morning, please enjoy this favourite video that is sure to bring a huge smile to your face.

Chase Made A Difference . . . What Will You Do Today?

Walker Projects in Regina Pays It Forward

Walker Projects Century West is a professional engineering company in Regina that was hired to draft the blueprints for the Chase Kraynick “Pay it Forward” Splash park.  They have been providing professional engineering services to the Town of Canora for years and when they heard about our project they decided that they wanted to make a difference by giving back to the communities that support them.

Staff member Jennifer Soos stated that when they heard of our project, they decided that it would be a great opportunity to help out not only a client, but a community where one of their own (Jasmine Dennis) has grown up.  They felt that it was their way to help keep one special boy’s dream alive.

They soon found themselves organizing a bottle drive with their social committee and decided that all the proceeds would be donated to the Town of Canora for the splash park.  Social committee members completed the bottle drive over the noon hour and other staff members wanted to make personal contributions.  Walker Civil was so proud of their staff that they found themselves matching dollar for dollar all the employees’ hard work.

In the end, a cheque in the amount of $1114.03 was sent to the Town of Canora for making this project a reality.

Way to kick off the season of giving! Thank you to all the staff at Walker Projects Century West for making a difference in our community and for giving your time and energy to make our dream a reality!

Walker projects would like to take this opportunity to challenge all other business to pay it forward for a charity of their choice and to make a difference in someone’s community today.  This is the true essence of the Pay It Forward spirit!!

To visit Walker Projects Century West website please go to: http://epec-consulting.com/home

Chase Made A Difference… Will You?

Gearing Up for AVIVA Semi-Finals in Yorkton’s Santa Clause Parade

This year Yorkton’s Santa Clause parade was held on Saturday, November 24, 2012 and they had 24 floats entered into the parade.  We could not pass up the opportunity of entering into the festive activities, so we of course entered a float for the AVIVA COMMUNITY FUND competition for Canora’s Chase Kraynick “Pay it forward” Splash Park.  We decorated our float with as much blue and yellow decorations as we could find (which are the AVIVA colors) and had as many Christmas lights hanging off the float as we could muster.

Instead of handing out candy to all the spectators, we passed out Chase’s Pay It Forward cards and the AVIVA silicone wrist bands reminding everyone to start voting for the AVIVA COMPETITION SEMI-FINALS on December 3rd! We are competing against 30 other projects and need your support to get to the final 10 in the judging round.

I would like to thank everyone for helping us in decorating the float, the walkers for passing out all the wrist bands and Pay It Forward cards and, of course, all of the fabulous spectators for cheering us on in support of the project.  The Yorkton parade was a tonne of fun and if you happened to miss it, you can look forward to our float being entered into the “Canora Winter Lights Festival Parade” on December 6th!

Please don’t forget to start voting on December 3rd, by registering on line at www.avivacommunityfund.org and voting for Project #13447.

Chase Made A Difference…Will You?

Pay It Forward – Lucien’s Story

We know that Chase’s story has affected many different people from across the province and country and every single story touches our hearts.  This one comes to us from close to home with a similar theme that we absolutely love.  Lucien attended daycare with both Chase and Cooper, so to us the power of kindness amongst the  children in the world is truly evident!  Thanks to Lucien’s mom, Elly Luijke-Carlson for sharing this story with us today.

Hi,

For the last couple of years my husband Mark has been planting pumpkins for Lucien in our garden.  And every year, we give most of them away to family, friends, daycare and whoever would like one.  This year, we even planted a couple of variaties; Giant, Jack-o-lantern and regular ones.

After hearing about the Chase Kraynick Splash Park and the “Pumpkins for the Park” event on Sept 29, we still decided to give our pumpkins to whoever wanted one. . . . but this time we would take a donation if people were willing to pay for them.

We collected $160 for the Chase Kraynick Splash Park.

Have an absolutely fabulous day!

Chase Made A Difference . . . Will You?

Let Me Hold You Longer

A little over a month ago I wrote a blog post called The “Last” Times.  It was a collection of thoughts and ideas that had been swimming around in my mind for quite a while since Chase had passed away.  I needed to have some way to get them all out of my head and writing them all down seemed to be the perfect avenue to do so.  Since then I have received many supportive comments and compliments from people about that post.  A colleague of mine suggested that my thoughts reminded her of a book called Let Me Hold You Longer written by Karen Kingsbury.  At first I was shocked that someone would think that my thoughts and ideas could be compared to the author status of Karen Kingsbury but since the teacher in me loves children’s literature I went out to find it so that I could read for myself.  It has since become a new favourite of mine.  It is one of those stories so heartfelt that you have a tough time reading to your kids without tearing up.  It is also one of those stories that when you are done reading it you can’t help but give your child an extra long snuggle and kiss on the cheek.
I wanted to share it’s message with you all as it resonates with every parent to make note of all the times we should try to remember the important “lasts” in life.  I just wish that I would have found this book before I wrote  The “Last” Times.  The two certainly do coincide well.  Thanks Kyla for suggesting that I read the book and thanks to Karen Kingsbury for her truthful words. This is the poem you find within her book.  Please Pay It Forward today after you enjoy the read and you might just want to go out and buy yourself a copy Let Me Hold You Longer as well.

Long ago you came to me,
a miracle of firsts,
First smiles and teeth and baby steps,
a sunbeam on the burst.

But one day you will move away
and leave to me your past
And I will be left thinking of
a lifetime of your lasts…

The last time that I held a bottle
to your baby lips
The last time that I lifted you
and held you on my hip.

The last night when you woke up crying,
needing to be walked,
When last you crawled up with your blanket,
wanting to be rocked.

The last time when you ran to me,
still small enough to hold.
The last time that you said you’d marry
me when you grew old.

Precious, simple moments and
bright flashes from your past-
Would I have held on longer if
I’d known they were your last?

Our last adventure to the park,
your final midday nap,
The last time when you wore your favorite
faded baseball cap.

Your last few hours of kindergarten,
those last few days of first grade,
Your last at bat in Little League,
last colored picture made.

I never said good-bye to all
your yesterdays long passed.
So what about tomorrow-
will I recognize your lasts?

The last time that you catch a frog
in that old backyard pond.
The last time that you run barefoot
across our fresh-cut lawn.

Silly, scattered images
will represent your past.
I keep on taking pictures,
never quite sure of your lasts…

The last time that I comb your hair
or stop a pillow fight.
The last time that I pray with you
and tuck you in at night.

The last time when we cuddle
with a book, just me and you
The last time you jump in our bed
and sleep between us two.

The last piano lesson,
last vacation to the lake.
Your last few weeks of middle school,
last soccer goal you make.

I look ahead and dream of days
that haven’t come to pass.
But as I do, I sometimes miss
today’s sweet, precious lasts…

The last time that I help you with
a math or spelling test.
The last time when I shout that yes,
your room is still a mess.

The last time that you need me for
a ride from here to there.
The last time that you spend the night
with your old tattered bear.

My life keeps moving faster,
stealing precious days that pass,
I want to hold on longer-
want to recognize your lasts…

The last time that you need my help
with details of a dance.
The last time that you ask me for
advice about romance.

The last time that you talk to me
about your hopes and dreams.
The last time that you wear a jersey
for your high school team.

I’ve watched you grow and barely noticed
seasons as they pass.
If I could freeze the hands of time,
I’d hold on to your lasts.

For come some bright fall morning,
you’ll be going far away.
College life will beckon
in a brilliant sort of way.

One last hug, one last good-bye,
one quick and hurried kiss.
One last time to understand
just how much you’ll be missed.

I’ll watch you leave and think how fast
our time together passed.
Let me hold on longer, God,
to every precious last.

Chase Made A Difference . . . What Will You Do Today?

Pay It Forward with Love Letters

Hannah Brencher’s mother always wrote her letters. So when she felt herself bottom into depression after college, she did what felt natural — she wrote love letters and left them for strangers to find. The act has become a global initiative, The World Needs More Love Letters, which rushes handwritten letters to those in need of a boost.

Hannah Brencher believes in the power of pen and paper, and has started a global initiative that encourages strangers to exchange love letters, or if you don’t exchange them at least take the first step to write one for someone who may really need one.

The following video is her TED Talk outlining her Love Letter writing journey.  Who will your first love letter be written to??

Chase Made A Difference . . . What Will You Do Today?