The 2020 #CHOICELOVECHALLENGE
We at Choice are blessed with an endless amount of love. The majority of us strive to live a life where giving back is a priority, but with our busy schedules, it often falls last on our very long to-do lists. For the past few years, during February, Heather has challenged her team to make loving on someone or giving back a priority in what she calls the “Choice Love Challenge.”
Here’s how it works, Heather gives each person $50.You are free to use the money in any way, whether it be a friend who needs a girls afternoon or donating items to the local animal shelter. The only rule is, no spending it on yourself. Here is how each member of our team chose to spread love to those around us:
Children hold a special place in my heart. Their naive personalities and love for the world and the people around them is beautiful. My friends laugh at me regularly, saying if there are ever kids at a party, I am more likely to make friends with them than their parents. For my love challenge, I chose to bring cupcakes and art supplies to a local DCF safe room. Safe Rooms are designated spaces, typically within churches, for children waiting for placement in a foster home or kinship home. Each child-friendly safe room is filled with couches, toys, games, food, showers, and a place to take a nap. Without a safe room, oftentimes, a child sits in a cubicle with their child welfare worker, listening to their story told to prospective placement families, again and again, further traumatizing the child.
My heart was calling me to help bring a bit of joy into these children’s lives. After dropping off the gifts, I was overwhelmed with emotion. While I will never actually get to meet the children, I hope when they arrive at the safe room with the yummy chocolate cupcakes with funfetti frosting and the coloring books; they feel even just a bit of love during a scary and unknown time.
It’s no secret that my love language is gifts. While others may think it superficial, I find such enjoyment from selecting the perfectly curated gift and watching as they open and experience it for the first time. There are so many ways to love others well and during this month of love, I challenged our team to go do that for unsuspecting people. I provided each team member with $50 and said that they couldn’t use it on themselves; they must go surprise someone else by treating them in some way. And as soon as I laid the challenge down, I knew who I wanted to treat. Though only a part of our team for 30 days, Kristina has been a gift to my life that I didn’t even know how much I needed. Since first beginning work for Choice, she’s been proactive, thoughtful, conscientious and detailed. She’s had significant impact on both Choice and me personally and she’s barely been here a month. Recently moving to a new home and taking a new job have meant that she’s not doing anything special for herself right now. I wanted to confirm the value she’s already bringing to my life, so I gave her $50 and said she must go spend it on herself and she must do something that she wouldn’t normally do – buy a special outfit, have a service at a spa, dine somewhere new. The caveat was that it couldn’t be too practical or something that she would normally do for herself.
When Heather so generously gave us money to give back to those who need it most this month, I knew I wanted to lift up and celebrate some of the women in my life. It seems like this time of year is really hard for each one of them – some of them are in school, some of them are grieving, some of them have started new jobs, but all of them are hustling and working so hard. I am proud of each and every one of the women I was able to celebrate. Though we are separated by four different states and five different cities, I wish I could sit down for coffee with each one of these women and catch up. Because coffee is life-giving to me, I sent each of my five Galentines a Starbucks gift card to grab some coffee for themselves. Devin Lee did this for me once, I still remember how surprised and thrilled I was to receive it. So until I can sit down across a cup of coffee with my favorite women, I hope this will help remind them how truly loved they are. I am going to be talking about each one of them in Choice’s Instastories on Thursday, so tune in!
Love Challenge season is here! This is one of my favorite activities Choice does every year and I’m so grateful to Heather for making this a priority every February. There is really nothing I love more than dogs so for this Love Challenge I decided to love on my furry friends.
My community has a wonderful dog shelter, PAWS that is dedicated to placing animals in their fur-ever homes. Placing animals with the right owner is not an easy job but I know they bring pure joy every time they find the right match! Because of this, I knew I wanted to show them some love this year. My sweet Goldendoodle Wagner couldn’t resist himself and helped me “shopping” through PAW’s online wish list to pick out the perfect items to donate! We landed on dog bowls the shelter needed. It was so fun walking in and handing over the bowls for their use. They were so grateful and I might have spent some time snuggling some puppies while I was there!
I am always amazed at how Heather seems to be able to do it “all”. She moms like a boss, loves her husband well, loves her TEAM well – and encourages us to love others around us in the same manner. I kept thinking through the options in my mind on what I could do for the #ChoiceLoveChallenge. There were many things my heart felt pulled to: friends going through really hard things, family who is always there for me, the list goes on and on. I happened to be pondering this thought in the Chick-fil-A drive-thru line (holy land) when I noticed the mom in my rear view mirror. She was smiling and dancing with her littles in the back seat and it instantly brightened my day. I wondered how it could boost her day even more if when she pulled up to the window, her chicken nuggets and diet lemonade were already taken care of? The thought made me feel all of the warm and fuzzies. Not only was I able to pay for the car behind me, but all three cars behind me. The impression it made on the sweet cashier was priceless. She could not stop thanking me. You see, we do not do these things to hear “thank you,” but instead to just help brighten someone’s day. I am blessed to work for someone who pours into us in this way, and encourages us to pass it on as well.
I’m a sucker for old-fashioned snail mail, and anytime I have the ability to send a handwritten note or gift to someone I treasure it. So when Heather shared the $50 with us this month for the #ChoiceLoveChallenge, I immediately wanted to put together a surprise care package for someone in my life. But to keep it exciting, I decided to pick a random person in my phone contact list to send to. I scrolled and scrolled until I stopped on a name without looking — Grandma Betty. My sweet grandmother in Springboro, Ohio, who has cared for others her entire life as a nurse and mother absolutely deserved this surprise gift. So I browsed and shopped until I put together the perfect package of a few of her favorite things — a beautiful card, LIFE magazine’s Dogs issue, coffee, Burt Bee’s products and a Chick-fil-A gift card. As I wrap the gift to take to the post office this week, I can’t help but think about how many times in her life she’s orchestrated special moments and surprises for her children and grandchildren. I’m so glad I was able to share this small gesture of love for her!
We challenge you to participate with us and share your stories using #ChoiceLoveChallengenge.