This past weekend, I received an email from a couple about a lantern that made it’s way to West Virginia and landed in their yard. The lantern simply had “Braxton Bergeron 2012″ on it.
The couple wrote:
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This past weekend, I received an email from a couple about a lantern that made it’s way to West Virginia and landed in their yard. The lantern simply had “Braxton Bergeron 2012″ on it.
The couple wrote:
In addition to reading wonderful nominations for deserving people, it’s also so fun to see where the nominations came from. This one, for Ami, came from across the country in Washington state. Here is what Ryan said about Ami:
“Ami is the most thoughtful person I know. She is constantly doing sweet things for her friends across the nation. I am a Soldier in the Army and Ami has given me tickets to an Ohio State football game along with a “game survival kit” that had everything needed for the game. It had a hat(personalized with my name on it) to keep the sun out of my eyes, a poncho incase it rained, beer money for tailgating, aspirin incase of a hangover, gum for fresh breath, and a bunch of little things to make my day a memorable one. Ami also sent a good friend of ours a gift certificate to purchase a tree when his mother passed to plant in her honor. Ami is the most selfless and thoughtful person I know. These two instances are just two of many stories that Ami has done to make her friends’ lives a lot better. Nominating her for recognition, such as this, is the least I can do for someone that has been so good to me and many others.”
After sending Ami a box of chocolate dipped fruit, Ami responded to us:
Recently, we received an anonymous nomination for Magda. Here is what her friend told us:
Maggie is an extremely generous person with a very kind heart but has had the worst few months lately. She is an ESL teacher at an extremely low-income school in Memphis, TN. She works tirelessly for her students, organizing a uniform drive, winter coat drive, and won a grant to provide extra tutoring before school for students who need it most. I know that Maggie has had an extremely rough few months, and I really think she could just use a small token of kindness to get her through. Thank you.
We were told that Maggie loves the Graffiti Nail Bar in Memphis so we gave them a call and had the business mail a gift card her way. This all took place over the holidays and so though she received the gift card, she hadn’t seen our email so had no idea what it was all about. A few weeks later, after holiday break, here is what Maggie wrote us:
I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. I have been on winter break from school and just returned today. I am so thrilled and honored to have been nominated and received a “sussy.” I got my gift certificate in the mail and had NO IDEA where it came from It definitely brought a smile to my face! Thank you so much, and I will be paying it forward.
It’s so fun for us to meet new people in new cities. To learn about friendships and strong women who are doing good for the world. We were so honored to bring that smile to Maggie’s face.
Please consider nominating someone today!
Thanksgiving has to be my favorite holiday of the year. Unlike Christmas (which I love!), there’s not an expectation to decorate, prepare, shop, spend, wrap and sparkle. In fact, it’s such a shy holiday that I don’t think much about the day until it’s right upon me. This is a perfect holiday for a procrastinator like me, who takes life one hour at a time. I can show up with a bottle of wine, whip up a quick dish and wallah….Thanksgiving is accomplished.
But the real reason I love this day, is that we all take this time to consider what we are thankful for. In the hubbub of life, we stop and for just a day, think about our blessings.
So here is the “Thanks. Giving. Challenge.” I know you’re all busy and are most likely mentally checked out for a 4-day weekend. The last thing you want is homework, but hear me out because this is a simple ask. I want you to take the concept of the word “Thanksgiving” one step further and actually GIVE THANKS.
I started this challenge earlier this week and not only thanked two fierce women for being inspirations in my life, but I also gave them a sussy.
So if you’re feeling frisky…don’t just thank, also give. You can do that on your own (send them a fall flower arrangement!), or by nominating them for a sussy. You fill out the form, we’ll take it from there and will have something to your nominee within the week.
To be part of this challenge, you don’t have to tag #thesussyproject or submit nominations. You don’t need to require your friends to say something nice back. I didn’t ask for this to become a chain letter! You just have to remind these individuals that they are valuable to you and on this particular holiday, tell him or her that you are grateful. If you want to let us know you’ve taken the challenge, tweet us @thesussyproject. But this isn’t about us – this is about you.
This is a gentle reminder that everyone loves to hear when they are making an impact in your life. Don’t let this year’s holiday pass you by without TELLING them.
Last week, we received a nomination for the lovely couple, Debbie and Steve. The nominator asked to be anonymous so throughout the sussying process, we had to watch our Ps & Qs to make sure the two didn’t know who had thought of them. I will say this to you, D & S,….this person thinks very highly of you both.
As per our protocol, I reached out to Debbie and Steve, alerted them of the nomination and introduced The Sussy Project to them both. Per our nominator’s instructions, we sent them a gift card to Target to help with upcoming baby costs. And upon receipt, Debbie responded with the below. Since this mirrors much of what we heard from our nominator, I will let you hear their story through Debbie’s words:
When you feel like life keeps kicking you while you’re down, or that the black cloud never leaves above your head, think of Debbie and Steve. Think about their beautiful (and growing!) family and the fact that both parents are fighters. Taking care of one child, prepping for another. Chemo therapy sessions. Surgery. I can hardly imagine how out-of-control life must feel for them.
But yet something as tiny as an email or card, or even a small gift card to Target can remind them that there are people pulling for them. Loving them.
So readers, you have homework: This week, make an effort to reach out to someone you haven’t in a while. Touch base with that friend who lost a parent or grandparent a few months ago. Check in with that person struggling with finances. Ask that down in the dumps coworker to coffee. You never know how much a little gesture could change their day.
And if you have some spare time, read up on Debbie and Steve through their blog: laswells.blogspot.com. Send them well wishes and if you are the praying type, include them in yours tonight.
Thank you to our nominator and our recipients for being incredible humans. And for reminding us about perspective.
Though our posts and sussies have slowed down recently, we are still hard at work in our effort to surprise people with kindness.
Last week we received a nomination from Trena about her friend, Devon. Trena told us:
“Devon is funny, hardworking, helpful, and friendly! She’s a hardcore derby girl and has a huge heart!
I’m not sure of the details, but I know she’s been having a rough time lately and could use a pick me up!”
Trena gave a great idea of a gift that would bring a smile to Devon’s face, but we weren’t able to make it work. So we went the easy route and sent Devon a $25 AmEx gift card so she could purchase something for herself. Within days, Devon posted on her own blog about her sussy experience.
It’s feedback like this that reminds me of why this project exists. In the humdrum of life, it’s difficult to make time for things that don’t demand it. Work, home, family, friends…those things are easy to schedule for. But something like The Sussy Project is an add-on and unfortunately, it can slip through the cracks. This response from Devon only furthers my passion for keeping this project going….one sussy at a time.
Last month, I had the honor of going to Costa Rica on my company’s Top Performer trip. One of the things I love most about the opportunity – other than just escaping the Indiana winter – is that I get to interact with my colleagues about things non-work related. As my husband and I were lounging around in the pool, The Sussy Project came up. My colleague DP, and his wife Susan, told me about their daughter, Matti. She is a gorgeous high schooler who just happens to have a hearing impairment. But the real story, and the connection to The Sussy Project, was about Allison. When I returned from the trip, we had received a nomination for Allison for a sussy. Here is what DP wrote:
Our daughter, Matti, is a special kid, who is strong, beautiful, and smart, but has difficulty communicating given her hearing impairment, and is on a bit of a ‘different track’ than most other students at Loveland High.
Allison is popular, a varsity athlete, and a great all-around person. Since Matti arrived at Loveland as a Freshman, Allison has gone out of her way to include Matti in ‘EVENTS’ like homecoming pre-gatherings, to simple things like an invitation to sit at her table at lunch. This has all been done with the best intentions, and with nothing but unconditional want to make Matti feel included. Matti, and we, have appreciated every effort in this regard.
If there were more “Allisons” around, we’d all be in a better place!
Allison and Matti at Homecoming this year
It’s incredible to consider the age of these young women and what a paramount time in their lives it is. For Allison to include Matti the way she has, simply because she is a good person and likes Matti, shows so much confidence, leadership and compassion. We are honored to have been introduced to Allison and were really excited to Sussy her.
DP came up with the great idea to send Allison a gift card to Target so she can purchase some “off to college” items. We reached out to Allison and let her and her parents know of the nomination and to look out for the sussy.
Here is what Allison said in response:
Receiving the Sussy Award was such a surprise, and I am so thankful to have been recognized by such a lovely family like the Pooles! Little do they know that Matti has impacted my life as well. She is the sweetest and most loving girl that you will ever meet. She is always happy. This special trait of hers brings out the best in me. Matti has also helped me to see the world from a different view point because of her hearing impairment. I love spending time with Matti, whether we’re just chilling out or dancing like no one is watching at homecoming! I can’t wait for prom this year, Matti!!
And her lovely parents wrote to us too:
As parents, we are extremely proud of Allison. Not necessarily because of what she has accomplished in her young life, but rather because of who she is as a person each and every day. She is a special and thoughtful individual who genuinely cares for others unconditionally. Deliberately, and at times unknowingly, with her actions Allison reminds us about what is most important in this world. And for that we are truly blessed. –Mary Beth Kluge and Steve Kluge
We love this story for a variety of reasons – just one of them being that we were introduced to two pretty spectacular high school girls. But in addition, when I consider this story in relation to all the ones we hear about how bad high school has gotten for teens: bullying, cliches, peer pressure. Though high school wasn’t a treat for me, I can’t imagine going backwards and doing it over in this day and age. It’s a story like this one – of Matti and Allison – that reminds us there are great students doing wonderful things. There are confident women who are kind and compassionate. And it’s those people that will become the leaders of the next generation.
I hope this story gets shared with other kids in high school. I hope they see that the best way to get to big places is by being kind.
As Kurt Vonnegut says….
It’s fitting to write this post on Valentine’s Day when yesterday, Indiana took a major step in the right direction in recognizing all love. For those that haven’t been following along, there has been a massive political debate in our state. An amendment, HJR3, was proposed to strengthen the gay marriage ban already in existence. Essentially, this measure would amend our state constitution to not allow gay marriage or civil unions in the state of Indiana. And the organization fighting this amendment, is called Freedom Indiana.
We are a statewide bipartisan coalition of businesses, faith leaders, civil rights and community organizations, and individuals united to defeat HJR-3, formerly known as HJR-6. This anti-freedom amendment duplicates existing law and would permanently ban all protections for same-sex couples and their families and remove existing protections for unmarried Hoosiers.
And the woman behind Freedom Indiana? Megan Robertson. She and her organization mobilized opponents of HJR3 Indiana to stand up for equality, for love and for the rights of everyone in this state. They encouraged us to write and call our congressmen and senators. To show up to the state house in support. To protest this hateful bill that would have made Indiana a state that doesn’t stand for love. She fought for every gay and lesbian in our state and yesterday, it paid off. She essentially worked herself out of a job!
I remember being in Oxford England with my good friend Roberto in 2002. We were talking about religion and politics. And we talked about gay marriage. Roberto asked me if I thought we would see gay marriage legalized in our country, in our lifetime. Both of could hardly imagine that this discrimination would go on for 30, 40, 50 more years and we both agreed that we’d see massive change in the coming years. Though we aren’t there yet and our state still has a long way to go, we have made big strides in the right direction just this year. And a lot of that is do to Megan and Freedom Indiana.
For all of those reasons, she was nominated for a sussy anonymously earlier this week, and here is what we emailed Megan:
You were nominated for your tireless work in defeating HJR3. Our community is better with you in it, fighting for equality and fighting for love. So please accept this sussy as a thank you from all of us who have been a part of your movement. You are inspiring. You will received an email from Starbucks shortly with your eGiftCard. We know this is just a small token of gratitude but we hope that it makes you smile.
And despite all that was going on in the state house this week, she found time to write us back:
When I received the following nomination I realized it was a story after my own heart strings. I married a man who has a passion for climbing mountains and it is a passion that is either engrained in a person or it’s not. The gentleman mentioned in the nomination is someone who is awe-inspiring, someone who motivates you and someone who makes you realize “Maybe I can do that”. But, the woman behind the scenes is the true “unsung motivator” to all of us. She married a man who had a passion, too. And she clearly supports him and loves him through it all. Today we recognize all of those people who do a lot of that “behind the scenes” work for those they love.
Cheryl Cutting sent us this nomination:
I’d like to nominate Ellen Weihenmayer for a sussy! Ellen is the wife of renowned blind adventurer, Erik Weihenmayer. She represents, for me, so many of the unsung heroes in this world. She is the ‘pit crew’, the “behind the scenes” Atlas holding up the ‘world’ so that her husband can go out and do all the good he does in the world. She does a lot of the really hard work – runs the business, is mom to their children, serves in her community and also does a lot of good, impactful work in her own right, but it is never seen. However, her doing all the ‘invisible’ things she does means that Erik can go out and visibly impact and change the paradigm for people living with disabilities in the world today.
We did some research on Erik and were in awe of all the things he accomplishes. And yet on this day, we get to honor his “rock.” So we sent Ellen flowers and told her about the nomination and what The Sussy Project stands for.
After Ellen received her flowers I reached out to her and her response made you realize why she was nominated in the first place:
Hello Rachel. I received my lovely tulips the other day and everyone has been asking about them. It’s such a nice award. Thank you very much.
I call this kind of award a “quiet person’s award.” Quiet people need loud people who need quiet people in their lives. My husband’s kind of loud. He’s loud in the sense that he is living his extraordinary life so vividly that others can easily see and hear and be touched by his unparalleled achievements. Tapping his blind cane toward a door the other day, I saw someone open it for him. I watched as he entered. By the time I arrived at the same door, after locking our car doors, the man who had helped Erik said to me, “sorry.” The door had shut and I’d have to open it by myself. I didn’t mind. I’ve been okay about finding my own doors to open. It was the “sorry” that got to me. What is that? Sorry that his rules of helping others didn’t extend to me? Sorry my timing was off? I spent the evening thinking about his apology. Maybe the “sorry” comment was because he didn’t see me, or hear me in time to hold the door. Maybe if he had just known I was there, he would have helped.
Cheryl called me a member of Erik Weihenmayer’s pit crew – the unsung “Atlas” going about my days quietly, efficiently; with Erik’s mission at the heart of my work. Setting an example for others to lead, Erik has transformed the image people once had of the blind. He is quite remarkable in his day-to-day no limits, no barriers mindset. I am proud to see the doors swinging open for him. But his success should not be an excuse to let my own life be less extraordinary. Martyrdom has its own pity party.
We should all be met with people willing to open a door or two in our lives. My friend, Cheryl Cutting and this very cool Sussy award allows me the wonderful opportunity to assess my life. It reaffirms the notion that being just a few steps behind greatness isn’t good enough. In Erik’s words, REACH! I hope to do more of that.
Thank you so very much, for the encouragement.
What a beautiful response and the exact reason why she deserves this nomination. Thank you, Ellen, for your inspiring words. Reading this made us think and ponder about all the people behind the scenes that live extraordinary lives and do incredible things, like Ellen. So here is our ask of you:
Take some time to look around you. You may think you have someone “obvious” to nominate – but is there some “Atlas” behind that person that could use a Sussy, too?
Recently, we received an anonymous nomination for Cheryl. This is what the nominator wrote us:
Cheryl tragically lost her lifelong best friend, Jamie, on December 22, 2007. Jamie was murdered by her husband just a few units down from Cheryl’s apartment. It was an obvious day of tragedy for Cheryl & everyone who loved Jamie, but also a day of tragedy for everyone who loves Cheryl.
Cheryl’s life continues – she is married and is a mother to 3 children. But so many of these milestones in Cheryl’s life are incomplete because Jamie is missing. The 2 of them shared in every monumental moment of each other’s lives: Marriages, Graduations, New Homes, New Jobs, etc. Jamie was there for Cheryl & Cheryl was there for Jamie. Very few women have friendships so dedicated and honest.
I recently learned about the Sussy Project & decided that I would nominate Cheryl to receive a random act of kindness in honor of the amazing friendship she had with Jamie & the tragic end to a wonderful friend’s life.
(What do you suggest for the sussy?): A margarita themed gift basket or something for a girls night like movie passes, Starbucks card, etc. – something for her to use with a friend; something that could help her make a happy friendship-based memory.
We can’t imagine how difficult it must be to tragically and suddenly lose your best friend. We of course wanted to brighten Cheryl’s day, honor the loss of Jamie and celebrate the nominator who is clearly a good friend as well. So we sent Cheryl a gift basket for a girl’s night in!
Cheryl received the basket and responded with the following:
I did receive the basket… it was a very nice surprise! It did make my week brighter, this time of year is difficult for me for several reasons and I looked forward to the basket after the email. Thank you and Thanks to whoever nominated me!
We hope that Jamie’s memory lives on and that new memories and new friendships are made.
—If you are interested in nominating someone for a sussy, please do so here!