Put the phone down. Step away from the screen. Enjoy the moment you are in. That mantra resonates with me lately.

Flashback to the Magical Ice Festival, my dad and brother had come downtown for two reasons: 1. See the incredible ice sculptures and 2. Celebrate my brother’s birthday. The timing worked out to where I could join them at The Buck Burgers and Brew for lunch.

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My brother, Jake and his girlfriend, Sara.

My brother is a Special Olympic athlete and had just come from practice for the State Summer Games. For those of you wondering, he is the most competitive bowler I have ever met. In the Special Olympics, there is an athlete oath said before every event, “Let me win, but if I can not win, let me be brave in the attempt.” My brother’s oath is, “Let me win.”

Conversation shifted effortlessly between practice updates, what appetizer to order, how my brother’s girlfriend was going to do her hair for the Night to Shine prom hosted by The Shore Church, to the start time of the Ice Wars. There we were, family and friends enjoying each other’s company. So much so, that a neighboring table asked to pay our entire bill, simply because “we looked like a nice family enjoying our time together.”

I had always thought that random acts of kindness and paying it forward were just a fairytale I read about on other blogs and Facebook posts. The kindness of those generous patrons struck me, and I decided to pay another table’s bill. Later on I found out that the trend continued six times more. All of this got me thinking about how had we been on our phones, like we have so often found ourselves before, quite a few people would have had an entirely different experience that day.

I also got thinking about how a person’s day can be impacted by one small kind gesture, and what the impact could be on a community. Then I realized, our community is full of people who influence my day, even in the smallest of ways.  Whether it’s the jovial smile I can always count of seeing when I run into Ed Bennett from The Candlestick Maker, the enthusiastic spirit that exudes out of Kelly Vega from the Livery, or the absolute passion I witness from Abel and Jayme when dining at The Mason Jar Café – it’s all ways that have a positive impact on the community.

EdCandlestickMakerEd :)

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From right to left: Kelly, myself & Deb Sailor at the Winter Beer Fest

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Cutie pies Abel and Jayme at the Mason Jar

So, my plan is to put my phone down more (unless I am using my selfie stick!), enjoy the moment and appreciate all of the kindness in this great community!