January 26, 2015


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This Week's Idea


Give a compliment before you criticize. By doing this, you'll accomplish three things:

1. You'll calm yourself down;

2. You'll calm down the criticizees so instead of instantly planning their counter-attack, they'll listen (hopefully);

3. You'll step into their shoes, for a moment, and imagine how you'd want to be addressed if you were being criticized.

Here are some flammable conversations that might have turned out better if the criticizer had added a compliment first, plus a "please" or two:

I'm so grateful that you're still in the office because...
I requested the Little Mermaid to entertain at my daughter's birthday party, and instead Cruella De Vil showed up. You can probably hear the four-year-olds screaming. Can you please help?

I always receive such great service from your company but...
the hotel room you guys booked for me is damp as a swamp and there's green stuff on the ceiling. Can you please put me in a different hotel?

The room looks amazing, the tables are set so beautifully but...
I specified red tablecloths, not blue. The wedding ceremony starts in one hour, so please change them now.



Good Karma for a good new year: Write your first check to, or make your first online purchase for, charity. Scroll down this page for some ideas.



D1NT's Favorite Low-Stress, High-Hope Gifts
No malls. No traffic. No hassles. Donate online, or send a check. You can't help everyone, but you can help someone. By giving to any of these great organizations, you'll make an unbelievable impact on a child's life:

Our Military Kids, paying for sports, arts, tutoring and more for children of deployed and wounded service members;

Children's Law Center, giving holiday and birthday gifts, and school supplies to neglected and abused children;

GO Campaign, providing food and education to needy children around the world, especially orphans.


How many children do you know who complain about their school's food? Not so many in Inez, Kentucky, where lots of students look forward to school because without it, they don't eat.

During the school week, the kids eat what their schools provide but on the weekends at home, they have little or no food. (How in the world did they manage over the summer?) Fortunately, when school is in session, the nice people at the schools' Family Resource Center organize a Backpack Brigade.

Marlena Slone and her staff fill backpacks with donated food and send them home with the neediest kids on the last two Fridays of the month. That's when the urgency is greatest. On Mondays, the children return the empty backpacks to school. Then the process begins again, but there isn't enough food for all the hungry kids.

In past years, we mailed peanut butter, crackers, snap-top tuna, and more for the backpacks. But for the holidays, the Family Resource Center staff wants to send home boxes of food with turkey, ham, green beans, stuffing, corn, cranberry sauce, gravy and pies for hungry students' families.

We can help:

1. Mail nonperishable holiday food: Cans of green beans, corn, cranberry sauce, gravy, dessert items or other holiday food.

2. Easier: Send a check or Walmart gift card so Marlena 's staff can buy turkeys, hams and other items.

- Click to send a Walmart gift card.

- Send a check for any amount made out to: Eden Family Resource Center (in the Martin County School District).

3. Kids can help too: Make holiday cards, sent with love from wherever you are.

Address: Eden Family Resource Center, c/o Marlena Slone, 179 Eden Lane, Inez, KY 41224; Phone: 606-298-7134

You can't feed everyone, but you can feed someone. With this Nice Thing, you can extend your holiday table all the way to Appalachia, and make Thanksgiving and Christmas a little more joyous for some deserving families there.

More Ways to Help

- Assist a school in your area. Nearly every school district, including affluent ones, has families that are hungry. Call a school principal.

- Donate food to, or obtain food from, your local food bank or pantry. Click on the links to find yours in the U.S. and click here for Canada. To help in other countries, click here.



LifeStraw is a small tube with filters inside, and the little thing purifies water. You can put the bottom in a murky river, suck on the straw at the top, and the water coming into your mouth will be clean. Amazing. It's good for your family's emergency kit, camping, travel, and anywhere water quality is iffy. So it's a great product, but here's why it's also a nice product:

For every LifeStraw that someone buys, the company donates water purifiers to schools in Africa, to remove pathogens and dirt that cause horrific diseases. Starting this month in Kenya, 125,000 children are going to start receiving clean water, thanks to LifeStraw customers.

A LifeStraw costs about $20 - the cost of a few big bags of Halloween candy. It doesn't seem like much, considering all the good it does. An additional layer of goodness could be added if groups, like D1NT clubs, teams, schools and houses of worship, took it on as a service project to help their communities, and the kids in Africa.

So the next time you feel overwhelmed by sad world news, which can be pretty often lately, think about this: You can't help everybody, but you can help somebody. If you can buy a Lifestraw for yourself, great! Some day it might help you, and you will also help a child far away. And if you don't buy one, how about telling other people about it?



Another wonderful project from the good people who brought us FreeKibble.com and FreeKibbleKat.com! Visit the site daily and click on the kitty to donate free cat litter to animal shelters. Then they can spend the money saved on caring for cats and getting them adopted.


SHED SOME LIGHT: Recycle eyeglasses and sunglasses

Do you have an old pair of eyeglasses shoved into a drawer? You can recycle them and give the gift of sight to some people who canít afford glasses.

Lions Clubs International collects glasses and its volunteers take them to clinics in Mexico, Peru, India and other countries. Opthalmologists and optometrists examine the villagersí eyes, and adjust OUR glasses for people who need them. So if you have any prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses or reading glasses - any size, any strength - that you donít wear anymore, please donate them, and give someone the gift of sight.

How to help:
1. Mail glasses to: Lions In Sight Foundation of California and Nevada, 1404 Lemon Street, Vallejo, CA 94590, or
2. Click to find a Lions Club International location near you (US, Canada, Europe, S. Africa), or
3. Drop off at any Lenscrafters store. Click for locations.



Sometimes you need to do a nice thing for yourself before you can do one for anyone else. Here's an idea for how can you change some of the worrisome and angry thoughts that get stuck in your brain. The thoughts that squeak squeak squeak like a hamster on a wheel, drowning out everything else.

What if you could change it so the hamster wheel didn't squeek? What if it sounded like Sinatra or Aretha or Mozart - a sound that was loving, soothing and uplifting?

If you can't change something, change the way you think about it. Start by changing your computer passwords to motivational phrases. Every time you type in the password (or write it on paper), youíll be reminded of its uplifting message. Examples:

And of course: Do1NiceTh!ng

Can changing a computer password change your life? Try it. It canít hurt.

(For enhanced security, include at least one UPPERCASE character, one lowercase alphabetic character, one symbol and one number, totaling at least 8 characters.)