To The Person Who Is My Person, Thank You

To The Person Who Is My Person, Thank You

I appreciate you more than you'll ever know.
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The person in my life who I consider my best friend is never considered less than a hero in my eyes. When I say hero, that doesn't mean I expect her to jump into a fire for me or push me out of the way of an oncoming car, I mean she is the person in my life who I look up and I am thankful for every day.

Dear Friend,

I know I tell you this all of the time but I love you with all of my heart. When I was younger my grandma Pearl used to sing to her grandkids "You are my sunshine." I have always had an appreciation for that song that doesn't compare to anything other. This is why on dark days, I tell you that you are my sunshine. When I say that I am trying to express every emotion to you that I can in one simple phrase.

You are the person in my life that lights up my moments of sorrow and sadness.

When my grandma Rose died our junior year, I didn't know how to handle myself. Everyone mourns in different ways and I needed to talk. The second I texted you on my car-ride home from Tennessee, you responded immediately. You knew I didn't need advice and it would have been foolish for me to ask for, what can you really tell someone in that situation. You talked to me and asked me about memories, always responded until you knew that I was okay and there was nothing left to say.

That next week at school, you didn't let my sadness overrule our friendship. We talked and made jokes because you knew that it was what I needed. Sometimes when I won't open up, you push me to. For some, this may seem like a bad thing but I know, for me, it isn't. You know when I'm upset and how to help. Even when you feel like your words are doing nothing or that you could be doing more, just know that I appreciate everything and you are doing wonderfully.

You are the person that I want to talk to the second anything happens in my life.

I am often stuck in a situation where something funny or exciting happens in my life and I pick up my phone to tell you immediately. Often, I turn to look over my shoulder and you're there. My first instinct is to share my life events with you but at this point, when anything is worth sharing, you're already with me.

You are the person that I love and trust with all of my heart.

We meet in second grade, 11 years ago. We begin our friendship with the classic storybook connection. We talked, had a few play dates, and split paths as we grew older. The next time we talked was our seventh-grade year in choir. Just like before, we did not become immediate friends. We talked in class and had each other numbers but never really saw each other outside of school. Then one day in choir, you were upset. Someone asked you about it and you brushed them off, not wanting to talk about it. That night was probably the first time I texted you, just a simple "hey, what's up" and eventually I asked you if you were doing okay from earlier that day.

Our conversation, just as many do now, became very deep and personal very quickly. We talked about everything and our friendship was born immediately after that night. It has been years since that conversation and sometimes our friendship has faltered but only to come back as strong as it started the very first night. You are the person in my life who knows more about me than I probably even know.

You are my person.

Love,

Randi

Cover Image Credit: Tracey Ozee

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Acts 1:8 Ministry Explains How To Teach Your Child To Be Charitable And Compassionate

Acts 1:8 Ministry, a non-profit organization based out of Wisconsin, believes in building strong community foundations with integrity and humility.

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There have been many natural disasters that have wreaked havoc in the United States and around the world such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. Over the last few decades, the generosity of Americans has become well-known, and it's vital to inspire this charitable and compassionate concern for others down to future generations.

Acts 1:8 Ministry has helped enrich the lives of others around the globe through the support of generous donors and volunteers who want to help spread kindness, strengthen their faith, grow the Christian church, and improve communities. To pay it forward, Acts 1:8 Ministry explains below how parents can instill charitable and compassionate qualities in their children through word, action and leading by example.

Start At Home

If you have more than one child, you know there are those times they don't want to share toys, snacks, or even friends. Teaching siblings to share is less complicated when you teach your children why the love for each other is so important. In a family unit, each member depends on all the others. Parents provide shelter, food, clothing, and different needs. Children contribute by helping with chores, obeying house rules, and doing their homework. Mutual love and respect are what strengthens the family unit. Working and giving together teaches invaluable lessons to children and builds a secure family unit.

Working Together For Others

Donating time at a food pantry, shelter, or meal distribution center for low-income families or homeless folks in your local area teaches your children the importance of caring for those who are less fortunate. Explain why it is wrong to judge people who need free services to survive. Your children may encounter people who are dirty and wearing smelly clothes, and they need to know not to say anything that would hurt their feelings or embarrass them.

Giving Together For Others

If your state has a beverage deposit on soda, juice, and alcoholic beverages, you and your children can collect discarded cans and bottles. The money you receive from their redemption can be donated to a variety of charitable causes including animal shelters, food banks, clothing distribution centers, or a local charity you support. There is always a need for cash at all of these facilities. Plan annual family fundraisers, such as yard, craft, bake, and plant sales. Donate the money earned to one or more charitable projects the family chooses together.

Establish Charitable Habits

Establish habits and family routines to encourage charitable acts. Choose things that fit your family's lifestyle. Keep a large "charity" jar and place a dollar amount in it every time the family does something special such as going to the movies, spending a day at a water park, eating out, or taking a vacation. Whenever the family spends money on a fun adventure or outing, setting a little money aside to be used for those who don't have the same opportunities helps children understand the need for caring about other people. Other things you can do as a family include:

• Reduce the amount of clothing in your closets, and donate clean and undamaged items to a charity that distributes clothing to low-income families.

• Clean out the toys. Donate unbroken toys and games to homeless shelters that take in families or to a home for battered women and their children.

• Donate your time to visit a nursing home, and talk to different residents. Encourage your children to ask the older folks to tell stories about their childhood.

• Bake cookies or bread together and distribute to older people that live in your neighborhood. Have your children make a card to give with the food gift.

• Help a neighbor who has been sick with yard work, taking out the trash, or other chores he or she is not able to do.

Children love making others happy and will continue to feel the same way as adults if you help them establish the habits of caring, sympathy, helping, and compassion when they are young. By teaching children the core values of caring and compassion, future generations of Americans will continue to be the world's most generous and compassionate people.

About Acts 1:8 Ministry:

Acts 1:8 Ministry is a non-profit organization that equips Christians to care, share and connect people to Christ through Christian kindness. The Planned Acts of Christian Kindness® Program has touched thousands of lives in the US and over 100 countries worldwide. Through the Water Project, over 130 water wells drilled, blessing hundreds of thousands of lives with clean water.

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Finding Your Niche In College Starts With Finding You

Attempting to be someone you are not for the sake of having company only hurts you in the long run.

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Transitioning to college is hard enough, but trying to find a place where you feel "at home" can make this time even more stressful. Here are some tips on how to find that place/group of people that make you feel like sunshine.

I have always felt a little out of place wherever I went, but it wasn't until college that I realized that this feeling was so special and more people should capitalize on their differences rather than conforming to a certain mold. Transitioning to college and finding your place among so many people can be very overwhelming. The added stress of attempting to be someone you aren't for the sake of having company adds a whole other layer to this problem. The easiest thing for me to do in any situation like this is trying to make the setting a little smaller. One of the most obvious ways to do this on a college campus is by getting involved!

It is inevitable that within the first few weeks of the semester at any college, there will be an organization fair. This is a chance to scope out all that your school has to offer! Chances are there will be some type of group or club that lines up with your interests. Most college campuses have extracurricular opportunities ranging from social sororities and fraternities, professional ones, intermural sports, vocal groups, and so many more. You are more than likely going to find some type of organization that you can call home if you seek them out. Joining an organization is such an easy way to interact with people with similar interests. An interest can bring two completely different people together and create some beautiful friendships. It is situations like this where it is important to be your authentic self and mingle with those you share something with.

That being said, finding your place in college isn't always about being involved. Getting involved on campus is just one of the simplest ways to start. There are so many other opportunities on campus to meet people whether it be among others in your residence hall, people in your classes, or just people you find yourself stumbling upon! Finding people to spend your time with is easy; however, you should make it a point to surround yourself with people who bring you up.

Once you have a set group of people that you find yourself spending time with, it is important to pay attention to the way you feel when you're around them. If you find yourself feeling bad about yourself or get the impression that you need to change something in order to "fit in," chances are the people you're around are not the best for you or your self-esteem. It is important to surround yourself with people who allow you to feel comfortable in your own skin. That being said, you also want people who encourage you to make good decisions and help you reach your goals. People who encourage toxic behavior in your life might be fun in the short term, but in the grand scheme of things, you need to be surrounded by people with your best interest in mind. Essentially, surrounding yourself with people who influence you to be your best self is one of the best decisions you can make short and long term.

The key to all of this is being conscious of your own feelings and needs. Pay attention to who reaches out to you to hang out. Notice the ones who pay attention to you as you speak when it feels like no one is listening. More than anything, be conscious of who you're with and where you're at when you experience moments of pure happiness. Life is too short to waste your precious time on people who don't build you up. Wouldn't you rather spend your time with more moments of pure joy than self-hate? Start living for you!

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