30 Days of Ramadan GOODness – 2012

Ramadan has always been very important to me, for many reasons. I find that it helps bring family together, creates unity amongst my community and helps me reflect on everything that I have been blessed with.  From when I was very young, my parents talked very strongly about the spiritual benefits of fasting and recognizing that there are people in this world that are not as blessed as us… and that I should always be thankful for the life I have been given. These early teachings have been engraved into my soul, and have helped me get the most out of my annual month fasting.

This year I decided to take it a step further. I have always fasted during Ramadan, prayed my obligatory prayers and genuinely tried to be ‘better’ during this time…but I feel like I can do more. This year I have decided to cleanse my mind, body and soul, by doing 30 good deeds throughout the month of Ramadan.

I call it my 30 Days of Ramadan GOODness’.  I will set out to do one good deed (and hopefully many other smaller ones) a day for 30 days. I hope that I will be able to spread some serious GOODness throughout my family and community…and hopefully even inspire others around me to join in!

Follow me through the month of Ramadan as I spread some serious GOOD!

Day 1: Giving the gift of water

This summer has been hot, very hot, and I have found myself attached to my water bottle all day long. This quickly got me thinking about how fortunate I was to be able to walk over to the sink and fill up my water bottle in seconds. No walking long distances, no dirt tinted water, no need to go without. There are 884 Million people in this world that do not have access to clean drinking water, so for my first task in my month of GOODness I have decided to donate to ‘water.org’ and give the gift of clean drinking water…nobody should have to go without.

Day 2: Cleaning up my community

I am a strong believer that we were intended to leave this world as we entered it, however if you look around it is quite obvious that this is not the case. I live in a beautiful residential neighbourhood, lots of great people and breath-taking nature…but through time people have littered the community. For Day 2 of Ramadan GOODness I am grabbing my kids, a few big garbage bags and a pair gloves…we’re going to head out into the community and pick up any litter that we can see. Beautifying our world, one community at a time!

Day 3: Spreading some love to my work family

Have you ever noticed how much time you spend at work, sometimes I feel like I see my work family more than my own. We are able to share stories, learn from each other and always have a good belly aching laugh, all of which are very important to get you through a work day. For Day 3 of Ramadan GOODness I have decided to bring in a platter of yummy treats for my work family.

Day 4: Brightening up a medical centre with flowers

Throughout my life I have been blessed with good health, which means I really only go to the doctors office once a year for my annual check up. However, even in that one visit it becomes very apparent that a doctors office is quite a dreary place. I couldn’t imagine having to visit that pale and depressing office on a regular basis. That is why for Day 4 of Ramadan GOODness I will be taking a bright beautiful bouquet of flowers for my local medical centre…cheering up the atmosphere with some Ramadan GOODness!

Day 5: Simply smile…at everyone

Have you ever walked through a mall or office building and looked around at all the serious and almost gloomy faces? Everyone seems to be preoccupied by the worries of the world, so much so that they have forgotten to smile. I find that smiling at someone, especially when they’re not expecting it, gives them a sudden boost, and although many are caught off guard at first, they almost always shoot you big shiny smile back. For Day 5 of Ramadan GOODness I am going to walk through the day smiling at everyone as big as I can…it’s a small good deed with a big impact!

Day 6: Leave a note of inspiration…on someones windshield

At the end of each work day as I am walking to my car I can’t help but feel a little dazed. Thinking about the hectic work day I just had, the long slow dive home, and even the tasks for the day to come…all seem to preoccupy my mind. Imagine walking to your car and having a sudden lift in spirits, a boost for your trek home. For Day 6 of Ramadan GOODness I will be leaving inspirational and encouraging letters on random cars in the parking lot…hoping to spread some serious GOODness, one windshield at a time.

Day 7: Help the environment and plant a tree

Trees are very important to the health of our planet. They clean the air by giving off oxygen, help modify temperatures, provide shade and habitats for wildlife…and so much more. Trees also help beautify our cities and provide a perfect place for childhood fun! For Day 7 of  Ramadan GOODness I am getting the family together-we’re going to put on our gardening gloves and sun hats to get outside and plant some trees…helping Mother Nature soak up some Ramadan GOODness!

Day 8: Contact family and friends you haven’t seen for a while

Life is busy, there’s absolutely no denying that. I often feel like the days are just flying by, and I can only hope that I am taking enough time to pull back and actually enjoy the pleasures of life. Weeks and months go by without any time to  connect with old friends and family…social media has made it so easy to know about people’s changing lives, that we no longer make an effort to actually connect on a human level. That is why for Day 8 of Ramadan GOODness, I am connecting to some old friends and family…emails, phone calls and letters…spreading some long overdue GOODness!

Day 9: Baking for your neighbour

We all grew up hearing the term ‘love thy neighbour’, be friendly with them and help each other whenever possible…but what does that even mean? These days loving our neighbours usually consists of a wave hello in the drive way or a smile while mowing the lawn. People can spend their whole lives living next to the same family with only a few short conversations every few weeks. That’s why for Day 9 of Ramadan GOODness I am ‘loving thy neighbour’ with some delicious baked goods prepared by my kids and I…spreading some yummy GOODness right next door!

Day 10: Donating Toys

My children are truly blessed…they have endless love from two sets of families, they are healthy and happy, and they are showered with gifts at every possible occasion. I often think about other families that are not as fortunate as us…all children should feel the excitement of opening up a gift and being able to play with a toy that is theirs alone. These simple pleasures are what childhood memories are made of. For Day 10 of Ramadan GOODness my children and I are going to donate toys to children who really deserve it…spreading some GOODness to the most important people.

Day 11: Learning to greet people in their own language

Have you ever had someone walk up to you and greet you in your own language, or even better, in a completely different language? It always catches me off guard and puts a big smile on my face. The way that you greet someone can immediately change their mood, and at times, set the tone for the rest of the day. For day 11 of Ramadan GOOODness I will be learning greetings in many different languages…speading some GOOD with a personal touch!

Day 12: ‘Good for one favour’ coupon

Do you ever feel like you’re running around like a chicken with its head cut off? Juggling 10 things at once has become the norm for our society, and every time you feel like you just pulled your head out of the water, you are bombarded with another hundred tasks. Don’t get me wrong though, I love being busy and having a lot to do, but everyone can use a hand once in a while. For Day 12 of Ramadan GOODness I am giving out ‘GOOD for one favour’ coupons to my friends and family…hoping to spread some GOOD…one favour at a time!

Day 13: Donating clothes to the needy

Ever since my kids were born I have noticed that we buy a ridiculous amount of clothes, not to mention all the clothes that are gifted to us from friends and family. They wear their clothes a few times and then are ready for the next batch, leaving the old clothes in almost perfect condition…many of the clothes in their closets still have the tags on them! That’s why for Day 13 of Ramadan GOODness, we are going through our closets and bagging all the clothes that we can donate to the people who really need them…cleaning our closets and spreading some GOOD at the same time!

Day 14: Dinner with the family

Anybody that knows me, even the slightest, will be able to tell you that my family is the mostly important aspect of my life. I turn to my family in happiness, sadness and moments of confusion…they have always been there for me and I hope that I have, and always will be there for them. For Day 14 of Ramadan GOODness I am having my family over for dinner…spreading some family GOOD with a yummy feast!

Day 15: Donating a water well

At the beginning of Ramadan, Day 1 of GOODness, we donated the gift of water to a family of four. We were able to give the family clean water for life, which was great. But it is no surprise that the water crisis is growing all over the developing world and many people are denied the basic necessity of water. For Day 15 of Ramadan GOODness we have decided to donate three wells to different villages, providing access to clean water for an entire community!

Day 16: Write a letter to someone who inspires you

Most people have someone in their lives that has helped encourage them to reach for the stars and follow their hearts. In the past few years I have met many strong independent woman who have encouraged me to be strong, independent and an over all better person. They have shown me that being a woman (especially a woman of colour) should not stop me from reaching my goals, instead it should be an even greater push to fulfill my dreams. For Day 16 of Ramadan GOODness, I am writing a letter to one of these inspirational women, and sharing with them how they have touched my life…spreading some GOOD to those that have already spread it to me!

Day 17: Sign a petition for a cause close to your heart

It should come as no surprise that like many people,  there are many social and political issues that are very close to my heart. Sometimes issues are so big that we often think ‘ there is nothing that I alone could do to help this situation ‘, and then, discouraged,  we slump back into our chairs. However, I have found that there is always something we can do; write a letter to you local politician, learn more about the issue and educate others around you, donate to the cause and  so much more! For Day 17 of Ramadan GOODness, I have gone online and signed a petition about a cause very close to my heart and will be encouraging others to do so as well…spreading some GOOD, one signature at a time!

Day 18: Donate food to a food bank

I often watch commercials or see billboards about the world food crisis. They usually state numerical facts about poverty that leave one stunned and saddened. I have heard people in the past comment in these facts by saying, ‘ Thank God we live in Canada, and are not touched by such poverty’. True, we are very fortunate to live in Canada, far from many of the greater world’s problems, but poverty and hunger is not one of them. It may surprise you to know that 851,000 of our Canadians use food banks every month. My parents always taught me that charity starts at home, and so for Day 18 of Ramadan GOODness, I am donating a large amount of food to a local food bank…spreading some GOOD close to home!

Day 19: Learn from a group of seniors

Have you ever walked by a group of seniors hanging out, playing cards or telling stories? I have always found my self slowing down when walking past such gatherings and trying to listen in on what they are talking about. I agree, a bit intrusive, but always so interesting. I find that seniors always have such great histories to share with us…about life and love, war and peace, and of a simpler time when people had a bit more interest in the simple pleasures of life. I am fortunate to work in a community that has many of these senior gathering hot spots. So for Day 19 of Ramadan GOODness, I am going to sit in on one of these gatherings, listen to stories and ask questions…spreading some GOOD and learning from our seniors at the same time!

Day 20: Pay the bill  for person behind you in line

Have you ever been at a coffee shop waiting for your turn, and then suddenly have the person in front of you turn and say, ‘What will you be having, it’s on me’ ? Yeah, me neither, but wouldn’t that be great! I am certain that it would set an extremely positive tone for the rest of my day, and probably encourage me to do the same for someone else. That is why for day 20 of Ramadan GOODness, I am going to buy the person behind me in line their morning coffee and breakfast…spreading some early morning GOOD in a coffee shop!

Day 21: Help someone carry groceries into the car 

I am one of those people who always underestimates the amount of groceries that I need. I walk through the entire store trying to balance my items on my arms and chest like a game of Jenga. Half way through my shopping trip, I decide I need a carriage, but am too far from the front doors to get one. After paying for my groceries and while lugging my heavy grocery bags to the car, I look around and notice that I am not alone in my madness, so many other people are doing the same grocery balancing act as me! That is why for Day 21 of Ramadan GOODness, I am going to hang out in front of the grocery store for a while, and help people carry their grocery bags to the car…spreading some GOOD and getting a workout at the same time!

Day 22: Pay for the order after you at a drive thru

My family and I, like many Canadians, frequent the Tim Horton’s Drive Thru on a regular basis, sometimes multiple times a day. You get into the long winding line, relay your order to a machine you can barely understand and then pick up your yummy treats…pretty uneventful. Imagine getting to the pick up window and having them tell you that the car in front of you has already paid for your order, wouldn’t that be great?!? What a great way to spread some surprise GOOD and encourage the others in line to do so as well. So for Day 22 of Ramadan GOODness I am going to pay for drive thru order behind me…spreading some GOOD in the most Canadian way possible, at a Tim Hortons!

Day 23: Register to volunteer

When I was younger I remember volunteering at many different community centres, shelters and hospitals. Not only was it fun to do, but also quite fulfilling. As life got busier, these volunteer experiences became fewer and less manageable in the madness of everyday life. For Day 23 of Ramadan GOODness, I am going to join the 5 million people volunteering in Ontario and donate some of my time to a good cause…spreading some GOOD and feeling good while doing it!

Day 24: Honouring your Mother

Mothers are very unique people…we get angry with them, come to them with all of our problems and often take them for granted, but Mothers continue to be there for us, day after day. My Mother and I have a very close relationship, especially since I have no sisters, my Mother and I have relied on each other for all degrees of support. My Mother is  a very strong woman who has always been there for her family, so for Day 24 of Ramadan GOODness I am honouring my Mother with a big bouquet of flowers…spreading some GOOD to one of the most important people in my life!

Day 25: Making amends with an old friend 

We go through life meeting a lot of different kinds of people, some fade away without notice and some become good friends leaving deep impressions. Many times, close friends quickly get pushed out of our lives, and usually due to small misunderstandings that escalate out of control. After such incidences we often reflect on how silly the argument was to begin with, but by then it’s usually too late to go back. For Day 25 of Ramadan GOODness I am connecting with an old friend that I have had a falling out with…taking the first step towards restoring our friendship and spreading some GOOD at the same time!

Day 26: Buy a person in need a meal

I work in a very busy community, loud noises, busy streets and unfortunately, quite a bit of people in serious need of some GOODness. Usually in a hurry to get to work, or to start my trek back home, I find myself quickly slipping by with a smile and a simple hand gesture apologizing for not being able to drop anything into the coffee cup. But today I decided to stop and talk to one such individual, share a few laughs and buy her a quick lunch. She seemed so grateful and so genuinely sweet…that’ll be the last time that I slip quickly by those in need. Spreading some GOODness…with a warm cup of soup!

Day 27: Kill them with kindness

Do you ever come across those people who seem as though they are just bitter and upset with the whole world? I know I do…walking through the mall, down the street or sitting behind the desk at the doctor’s office, people just seem to be carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. For Day 27 of Ramadan GOODness, I decided to smile and be friendly with everyone I passed, even got a few people to turn their heads and smile back. It made me feel great and I have a feeling it made them feel pretty good too…spreading some GOOD, and killing them with kindness at the same time!

Day 28: Give someone much needed advice

I often have friends and family confide in me for advice, and I have always found it hard to give tough advice…you know the kind that might upset the other person or just isn’t what they’re expecting to hear…but that really isn’t fair to the person trusting me in the first place. So for Day 28 of Ramadan GOODness, I am contacting a friend and giving her some much needed advice, and a swift push in the right direction…finger’s crossed my advice doesn’t backfire. Spreading some GOODness…with some much needed advice!

Day 29:  Giving out little gifts that make people smile

With Eid celebrations around the corner, this is a great opportunity to make people smile with some thoughtful gifts of appreciation. Getting gifts of any kind, and any size, have always made me feel good…knowing someone cared enough to put thought and effort into the right gift for me, is a great feeling! For Day 29 of Ramadan GOODness, I am buying some special little gifts, for some special little people. Spreading some GOODness…with  gift wrap and ribbon!

My 30 Days of Ramadan GOODness (well 29 days thanks to the moon), was a wonderful experience. I have never felt so happy and care free. It was like every good deed I did, mirrored back on my three folds, and kept me smiling all day. I even had many of my friends and family excited about their own daily GOOD deeds…success! With Ramadan coming to end, I definitely don’t intend to stop spreading my daily GOODness. Smiles and small gestures of kindness is something that I will continue in my daily activities, and I encourage everyone else to do the same…spread some GOODness, all year round!

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