Monday Monthly Mission #17

January 31st, 2011 - filed under: Furthermore » Monday Monthly Mission

On the first Monday of every month, we take on a ‘mission’ – a shift or habit or inspiration – to work on together. There’s strength (and support) in numbers! On the last Thursday of the month, we reconvene to see how far we’ve come.


It’s getting harder and harder for me to come up with compelling MMMs . . . I guess that’s a good thing? Less areas of life that need extreme tweaking? (Im always open to suggestions!!!)

I’d been half-heartedly toying with a “no eating out” challenge for February, but Damian was none too keen (imagine a supersad frown and a whispered “but I take great pleasure in eating out”, *heart melt*), and to be honest I couldn’t blame him. This is about doing right by ourselves and doing right by the world – not about exercises in needless sacrifice!

I was drawing a blank as the new month was drawing near. Then – such perfect timing – reader Kathryn left this comment on the MMM16 wrap-up :

Mine is to decide to be happy and not let the unhappiness of others, or circumstances, take that away from me so easily. As part of that mission, I decided I need to do more random acts of kindness, because this reminds me that I do have control over the energy I’m putting into the world. This month, I picked 3 random strangers with recently updated Amazon wishlists and sent each person a gift from their wish list with a note of explanation and a request that they pay it forward by doing something nice for someone else.

Isn’t that beautiful? I adore the idea – bravo Kathryn! What a way to impact the world . . . imagine the ‘love ripple’ that will spread from this single sweet gesture! Kathryn explains the details :

A good way to go about this, in case anyone else wants to try it: To search for wishlists on Amazon, you have to enter a name, email address, etc. I decided to pick first names of friends (e.g. “Bill) to use as search terms and pick strangers from the results. The search results come back with wishlists that have been updated recently at the top of the list. I picked from these since a recently updated wishlist is more likely to be accurate.

So that’s it, our February MMM! Do it once in the month or do it once a week, as often (or not) as you want. Spend as little or as much as you want. Do it anonymously or include your info, but please do offer an explanation and ask that they pay it forward. We want that ripple to grow into a tidal wave of love!

So my dears, do you accept this mission?
Thanks again Kathryn!

  • Monika {windycityvegan}

    Absolutely – thank you, Kathryn! (I would not be nearly as enthused about not eating out, to tell you the truth. So thank you, *Damian*, for the supersad frown as well)

  • Lynn

    That sounds wonderful, I would love to participate!!!

  • Tenise Rae

    Awesome! I can totally do this as I already do from time to time! I actually have a pay it forward project going right now for someone I barely know. So exciting! :D

    Hey, and have you done an environmental MMM? Like….plant a tree (or any plant really)….or pick up trash? I can’t remember if you have or not but I can’t tell you how many times I take a walk and see little pieces of gum wrapper or water bottles, cans, plastic bags, broken pens, etc., just laying in the street or on the crosswalk! People are slobs but if we all just picked up one or two little pieces of garbage and either threw them away, recycled them, or put them in your compost (is that wrong?) then the streets and our walking routes wouldn’t be so cluttered with trash.
    I like that idea! :D

  • Stephanie

    I just wouldn’t want it to someone that wouldn’t appreciate it, but I guess that’s silly.

  • Kathryn

    I’m so flattered that you made this the monthly mission! Thanks Sayward!

  • Melissa C.

    I just watched “Pay It Forward” the other day! Kathryn, thank you for suggesting this, and Sayward, thanks for making it the MMM! :D This Amazon idea is a really easy way to Pay It Forward!

  • MaidenOregon

    This is FANTASTIC!! As soon as read this MMM, I went straight to Amazon and began searching for users. I decided to find someone with the same name as myself. I easily found someone with a recently updated list and promptly began the process of sending them something from it. I chose “100 Dragon’s Blood Sedum Seeds”. So, as I was going through the different steps of checkout, I kept wondering where to put the “pay it forward” message. So, now I have sent a gift to someone and they have no idea why!!! I’m going to find another user and try again. This is so addicting and fun! YAY!!

  • Meghan

    That is so awesome! Great idea!

    (I also am glad that you didn’t go with the no eating out idea!)

    Maybe you should have a post specifically asking for MMM ideas. I’m sure there are a ton of great ideas in this community, and then the burden wouldn’t be all on you to come up with something!

  • Melisa

    Kathryn put it so beautifully!! Her good act reaches me with warmth, too, by reassuring me that there are wonderful, selfless, lovely people in the world even if I don’t encounter (or notice) them every single day. The idea is awesome.
    And as my hubs and I observe OUR birthday week, I’m very appreciative there’s no pressure to not eat out. Mad Mex vegan burrito, here I come!!

  • Sayward

    Yay, love the enthusiasm for this mission! It’s such a simple and beautiful gesture – thanks again Kathryn! And – ha ha – Damian and apparently lots of other people thank you as well! ;-)

    @ Tenise Rae – That’s so great that you already do this. You’re on it girl! Also I LOVE the pick-up-trash idea. Thanks!

    @ Stephanie – I understand what you mean, but here’s how I think about it:

    It’s like when I give money to a homeless person (and I often do) and people will say to me “They’re just going to spend it on booze.” And maybe that’s true. But, that is out of my hands and frankly, none of my business. Being generous should be a pure act, all on it’s own and no strings attached. It’s not about the recipient and what they do/how they react/their own trip or whatever. It’s like when I talk to someone about veganism (or environmentalism or anything like that). I can’t be attached to what they do with that information, or I will get anxious and frustrated. I need to stay focused on *my* role and *my* goal – to provide truth and to do what I know is right. Or in the case of this mission, to provide kindness and do what I know is good. After that, well, you have to just . . . let it go.

    Hope that makes sense!

    @ MaidenOregon – Yay! That’s so great to hear! I also have my first target all picked out (I found someone with Becoming Vegan on their wish list, hee hee), I just need to get my computer and credit card in the same place at the same time. =)

    For the message, as you’re going through the checkout process there should be a little box you can check that says it’s a ‘gift’ (it’s on the next screen after you select the shipping address). When you check it, a text box will show up and then you can leave the message!

    @ Melisa – Haha! Yes! Vegan buritto birthday!!!!!!!!!

  • Merlissacorn

    I just got a book because of this today. It mentioned your blog, and now I’m following it. Thanks! It made my day!

  • Sayward

    @ Merlissacorn – Oh wow that’s SO awesome! Yay, and welcome to the site!!! =D

  • Missy

    I was one of the “Pay It Forward” Amazon gift recipients. I can’t tell you how delighted and tickled I was to find a packet of seeds in my mail that I had picked out! I thought I had accidentally ordered them when I meant to save the item for later! Imagine my surprise when I opened it and found a note directing me to this website. I am a school teacher and have a four-year-old son. We live in Maine and will enjoy planting these seeds come spring. What a lovely gift and I will be sure to “Pay It Forward!” Thank you to the anonymous gift-giver!

  • Sayward

    @ Missy – YAY! This is so cool, welcome welcome! I love that people are finding their way back here and sharing their stories. Makes the giant world seem a bit smaller (and sweeter).

    To everyone participating in this challenge, THANK YOU! It’s really just warmin’ my old heart. =D

  • Melissa

    I am a PIF recipient and just tickled to have received this special gift of love in the mail. Heartfelt thanks to Melissa for the awesome cookbook. My daughters and I are going to whip up some ice cream this weekend while finding a someone to share the love (and some ice cream) with.

    So glad to have found your blog! I’m very excited to start participating.

  • Sayward

    @ Melissa – WELCOME! So glad you came and found us! I hope you had fun with the cookbook this weekend and I hope (I’m sure!) the ice cream was delicious. =)

  • Lovey

    I just spent the morning browsing Amazon lists and sent off a gift. What fun! I think I’ll do this every month. It was interesting peaking at so many wish lists – what a variety of people there are out there! It was hard to pick just one person. I’m giddy just thinking about how it will be received.

  • Jennifer Miller

    I’m a recipient, too and it was just wonderful to receive this gift. Thanks to Melissa G :)
    I am looking forward to sharing the love!

  • Sayward

    @ Lovey – Yay, you ROCK!

    @ Jennifer Miller – Hi!!! Welcome to the site, I’m so glad you found us and found this post. Hope the package was a nice surprise that helped to brighten your day. =)

    And I second the thanks to Melissa G!

  • kory

    Just sent mine (didn’t check out the mission ’till now… oops!). Super fun mission! Thanks to Sayward and Kathryn!

  • Violet

    I received the book Craft Hope today because of this! After a stressful day at work, it was so touching to come home to this act of kindness! I am so very grateful and looking forward to passing it on. <3