So many people have written to ask how they can get a copy of The Bountiful Garden. Books can be ordered online at http://www.TheBountifulGarden.net. I’m also working furiously to make the books available in small bookstores across the country. Blue Bicycle Books in Charleston now has copies available as does First Church Unity in Nashville. If you know of a bookstore interested in carrying them, please email me at denise@thebountifulgarden.net.

My friend Jen posted a challenge on Facebook last week: Perform one random act of kindness each day during the month of December.
Great idea, I immediately replied, typing my acceptance for all the world (or at least all of my Facebook friends) to see. This, I thought, would be a piece of chocolate covered cake. But, it seemed, I had a thing or two to learn about myself and the effort required to pull off a random act of kindness.
Day one came and went and at the end of the day I couldn’t come up with a single act of kindness to show for it. OK, I quickly forgave myself. I’d simply carry it over and make certain to perform two tomorrow. But again, at the end of the day, I failed the test. Three carryovers and counting.
Jeeze, this is tougher than I thought!
It’s not like I’m a mean person and thankfully, I can’t add anything to the random act of meanness column but really, this clearly isn’t something I’m going to be able to do without a little preparation.
As I was working my way through a reflection of the day, searching desperately for anything that might qualify as a random act, I passed by minor items, like, “thanking the cashier,” or “smiling at the crossing guard.” As far as I’m concerned, those are gimmes—actions that are automatic and without forethought.
That’s when it came to me. To qualify as a random act of kindness in my book, the act would require intention and attention. By that I mean, I would need to be aware of the situation including my actions and how they might affect another person. And then, I would need to act with intention—a decision based on creating an outcome.
In my book, The Bountiful Garden, I addressed the importance of intention and attention as part of seven affirmations called, The Gardener’s Way.
It is the last of the seven affirmations and is titled: Seeds of Mindful Responsibility. It reads:

Knowing that my thoughts, my words and my actions are powerful beyond human understanding, I act with mindfulness; focused on positive outcomes and always conscious of the effects that they might have on myself, my family, my community and my world, today and into the future.

For me that’s the key–the component I’d been lacking for the first three days of the exercise are the ones I miss most days of the year. I’m rarely MINDFUL of most of my actions throughout the course of the day. And, I don’t think I’m alone in that regard.
I’m willing to bet that most of us go through our day, focused on what happened last night, or on our long list of ‘to-do’, or what we’d fix for supper, or why our boss seemed to scowl at us when we entered the room. It is rare, at least for me, to be completely mindful in the present moment when the rest of the world is beating at the door.
So, tomorrow’s another day. Day four, in fact but I intend to make certain that the sun doesn’t set without me reducing my growing list of “need to dos,” by at least one or two. To make certain I’ve printed out the affirmation – you’ll find a list of all seven at http://www.TheBountifulGarden.net – and will carry it with me throughout the month as I create attention and intention for manifesting kindness in my world.