Guest Post: “A cup of coffee turned my life around”

Y’all – today, I’m so excited to share with you some words from my cousin, Megan.  You may remember her from the last time she posted on the blog a couple years ago.  She was the recipient of a RAK the other day!  And, to spread the word, she decided to write-up a little something to share with y’all.  How awesome is that?!  It’s also kind of ironic that, on the same day, I also witnessed a RAK in the form of people passing around peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to homeless folks.  Two random acts in one day?!  I think it was one of the best days of my life. *Cue tunes*

Before we get on to the story, if you are interested in participating in 31 Random Acts this year (yes – we’re doing it, again!), please like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter!  Or, just email me to tell me that you’re in! [Caitlin dot parke at Gmail dot com] <– to thwart spammers

Ok, back to the action.  Want to know what happened to Megan?  Read on, y’all!


(Originally written: Saturday March 22, 2014.)

Today, a cup of coffee turned my life around. To some, this may sound crazy. To coffee addicts, like my father, this is probably a statement made every morning when he pours a whole pot of coffee into an oversized cup before he scoots off to work prior to the arrival of the sun.

It’s not what you think, though. I was draggin’ today so I decided to go to the local Starbuck’s drive-thru to get some coffee to pick-me-up before I drowned myself in school studies. I ordered my coffee and proceeded to the window where another car was waiting. I was distracted by my phone and wasn’t paying much attention. When the car pulled away, I crawled up to the window where the woman informed me that the car ahead of me had paid for my coffee. I was so caught off guard that I couldn’t even remember what the car looked like! Who was this mystery person? Was it a fellow Purdue fan that approved of my “Boiler Up” license plate?  Was it a former high-school classmate? Does it matter?

In the end, I drove away with a coffee and a smile. This is where I started thinking…

My cousin Caitlin posted blogs on RAKs before. She sent flowers to someone who needed them, donated clothes, brought in candy for her coworkers, and other kind acts. I always thought, “This is a great idea, but do I have time to actually go out and do these things?”  It is easy to allow the daily grind make you rush through your day and… life. Sometimes, we need to be reminded to slow down and see the beauty that is in this world. All it took for me was a $3 coffee. Lately, I have found myself moody and stressed with my crazy nursing school schedule. That person brought me back to my more care-free and kind hearted days, and urged me to work on being more like my old self.

That coffee and, more importantly, the random kindness of that driver, caused a ripple effect.  After Starbucks, I proceeded to TJMAXX (where I did not need to buy anything—for the love of God, stop going in there, Megan!). While there, I found myself giving everyone a kind smile and just being a little nicer to everyone I encountered, hoping that my kindness would affect them the same way the coffee affected me.  Besides, any one of these strangers could have paid for my coffee!

I decided to try on a few things then talked myself out of them. Instead of loading down the dressing room attendant with more things to return to the racks, I told her I would take care of it myself. She said that she would do it, but I insisted. As I pulled out of the busy parking lot, I let an elderly man in a van pull in front of me. He gave me a friendly wave and was on his way.

This coffee not only encouraged me to spread a little more love and joy, but created a domino effect with others around me. Will the dressing room attendant and the man in the van pay it forward in some way?  Or, just feel a little happier?

Here is the secret. RAKs have the power to not only bring joy to the person affected, but it brings you joy as well. Let’s try to be more caring to our fellow man. No one knows what people are going through, and sometimes all it takes is a coffee or a smile to turn their day around.


Thanks for the sweet post, Megan!  And, remember everyone, if you want to participate in 31 Random Acts in October 2014, please join the Facebook Page and/or follow us on Twitter!

Ps. Are you joining in on the 2014 Book Challenge?

2014 Book Challenge!

Hey y’all!  I alluded in my last post that I would have a challenge for you this week, and I am here to deliver on that promise. Woop! So, without further ado, let’s just jump on to it.  Shall we?

A couple months ago, I stumbled upon this article on the 26 Books that Will Change the Way You See the World.  I was so intrigued by the list that I decided then and there that I would challenge myself to read all of these books.

I really wish I was ‘standing up here’ stating that I plan on reading all 26 books this year.  I am always impressed with those people who read 20+ books in a year.  Alas, I am not included in that bunch.  Plus, I don’t want to totally lie to y’all since I already read one of them: Harry Potter (duh).

The real issue with reading 26 books in a year is that I only tend to excessively read for about three months.  This is while I am sitting by the pool and there is nothing else to do, but bask in the sun’s rays, sip on something lovely, read some words and dip occasionally into the water in front of me.  Ahhhh.  So, my 2014 goal is to read 4 Books that Will Change the Way You See the World!  Rock on with my bad self.

Want to know which books I chose?  Scroll on to read synopses of the four books, and my timeline for finishing them.  If you’d like to join the challenge and read the books with me, feel free to let me know in the comments or the submission form below.  I’ll send email updates with discussion questions and chapter timeline goals.  Additionally, let me know if you’ve read one (or several) of these 26 books and if I chose the right ones / if you have suggestions for other good ones!  I need advice, peeps!  And, yes – this is kind of like a book club – just virtual!  



Last Lecture by Randy Pausch: I’m totally prepared to cry for this one about the Carnegie Mellon professor, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and given only a few months to live.  Projected to be a surprisingly uplifting read.  Target completion: April 2014.


Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris: After the Last Lecture, I’m planning on needing a good laugh.  This book, including Sedaris’ travels abroad and experiences in other cultures, is expected to provide those humorous belly aches.  Projected to be a fun read.  Target completion: June 2014.


The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollen: I’ve heard so many great things about this book even prior to seeing this list.  I think it’s a great addition to my diet knowledge toolkit, and I can’t wait to read about its theories.  Projected to be an enlightening read.  Target completion: July 2014.


Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell: Ok, so part of my reason for wanting to read this book is because my sister owns it already.  Who doesn’t love free books?  Hehe.  But, seriously, I’ve heard it’s a really good and intriguing read about what it takes to be successful (including a lot of factors beyond our control).  Projected to be an interesting read.  Target completion: August 2014.

** Have you read any of these books?  Which books did I miss?  Did you read something lately that you really liked?**

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