Kindness and Butterfly Coins

I’ve been doing random acts of kindness since the death of my eight-year-old grandson, Jacob, in August 2013. Shortly after Jacob died, my daughter and I designed cards to leave behind whenever we chose to do an act of kindness. It seemed a fitting way to remember and honor a little boy who was kinder than anyone we knew, challenging ourselves to be more like him.

random act of kindness

Anyone who has been following my blog for any length of time, is aware of what butterflies mean to me since my husband’s death, particularly blue ones.

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So when I heard about using Butterfly Coins for random acts of kindness, you can imagine my excitement. Founded by Ron Hornbaker and Bruce Pedersen, ButterflyCoins.org is a global experiment to inspire and track the butterfly effects of random acts of kindness. The coins are coded so you can follow the ripple effect of kindness.

Of course I wanted one of the 2018 editions of the coin with a beautiful blue butterfly design. (now sold out) Minted in solid, thick brass, two inches in diameter, the coin weighs nearly two ounces, and features a color enamel-painted butterfly. It is beautiful.

butterfly coin

By carrying one of the coins in your pocket or purse, you’re reminded to look for opportunities to help someone, friend or stranger. Pass along the coin with your kind deed, encouraging the recipient to pay it forward. The coins have unique tracking codes on the back, along with instructions to make a brief story note about how they received it. Each coin has a dedicated story page, where you can watch your legacy of kindness unfold countless times into the future, forever.

The 2019 Second Edition coin is a Monarch, and on sale right now for $6.95 each by clicking HERE.

monarch coin

Of course, I’ll have to come up with an act of kindness worthy of this beautiful coin. Most of my random acts of kindness are small; pay for the person behind me in line at a window drive-up, purchase a piece of pie for someone sitting alone at a restaurant, leave a dollar and a Jacob card taped to a pop machine. While my favorites are those I can do as a faceless, nameless benefactor, leaving the card behind, opportunities do arise that I just can’t resist. Most recently, there was an older woman checking into a breakfast at my workplace. I heard her telling her female companion she’d saved for the $10 cost by putting one dollar bills into an envelope as she got them. When she retrieved the envelope from her pocket with a shaky hand and opened it up, I saw confusion on her face and heard her gasp. The envelope was empty! Her companion seemed just as flustered as she was, so I asked if I could cover her breakfast in honor of my grandson.

“Please let me,” I pleaded when she demurred. “I love doing random acts of kindness in his name, but haven’t had the chance recently.”

“His name was Jacob,” I added when she finally agreed, partly because I didn’t have a card with me, but mostly because I like to be able to say his name.

This week, with wind chills dipping below zero in Iowa, I’m carrying gloves in my car with the cards.

gloves

Yesterday, I chased an older gentleman down when I spotted him waiting at a busy intersection, hunched over against the wind as he zipped up his coat, stomped his feet, and clasped his bare hands together to blow on them before shoving them into his pockets. I made several laps around a bank parking lot until he reached the drive. When I opened my window and handed him a card and a pair of gloves, his face lit up as if I’d handed him a gold coin.

Or a beautiful brass butterfly one.

 

The Word

“I haven’t chosen my word for the year yet,” I lamented to the group of women who attended my Women’s Christmas program Sunday night. I began the practice of choosing a word for the year after reading Debbie Macomber’s One Perfect Word in 2011. In the book, Macomber discusses how concentrating on a single word has become a tool for God to work in her life, and in the lives of others.

one word“I know what my word means, but I don’t know what word encompasses the meaning,” I continued. “I want to learn how to just live in the moment this year, to just be, but I don’t want the word BE. It has to mean relax, revel, appreciate…” My voice trailed off. Most of these women were strangers. They couldn’t know how impatient I was, how I struggled to entrust the daily workings of my life to God.

A woman who was sitting nearby smiled broadly. “I know the word. It’s mine for this year. I learned it in Bible study this week. It means to relax, to reflect, to love, to listen. It’s used over seventy times in the Psalms.”

I could barely contain my excitement. I loved reading the Psalms.

“What is it?”

“Selah. The word is Selah.”

I’d never heard it. How could I not be familiar with what sounded like the perfect word for my year?

Turns out, the NIV version I use doesn’t include the word in the text, but as a footnote. Nor do Bible scholars agree on the Hebrew word’s meaning. Some say the implied meaning is a simple musical “rest” or pause. More scholars tend to go with the term meaning “pause and reflect.” And that’s exactly how my Everyday Life Bible, Amplified Version, with notes and commentary by Joyce Meyer includes it.

Psalm 32:7 You are a hiding place for me; You, Lord, preserve me from trouble, You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance. Selah (pause, and calmly think of that)!

A third interpretation would include both the others, and claims the meaning is “lift up, exalt, and magnify” The Lord.

Pause. Reflect. Rest. Lift up, and exalt The Lord. This year, I want to pause and reflect before I speak, write, or schedule programs and events outside of work. I want to rest in the Lord, allow him to guide me in all my endeavors. I also want to include restful activities; quiet mornings alone, nature, shared moments with the people I love. I want to lift others up. And I most definitely want to exalt and magnify the Lord in everything I do.

selah

Selah. I found my word for 2019.