One Life Can

Your Life Matters and Touches Other Lives

One life can change the world. A simple act of kindness can impact another person's life in ways you may not ever fully appreciate. Be inspired by the stories other people like you have shared. Enter your Facebook user name, Twitter handle, or email address in the search bar to see if anyone has left a story about a way you have impacted their life. Or share your own inspirational story of how someone else made a positive impact in your life.



Lucky Pennies

Lucky Pennies

Find a penny, pick it up. All day long, you’ll have good luck.

Some folks believe that if you find a penny heads up and pick it up, it will bring you good luck. If you find a penny tails up, then flip it over to face heads up, but leave it there for the next person to find their own bit of luck.

That was the inspiration for this #OneLifeCan mindful act of kindness. In our daily travels near and far, we have left these lucky pennies in random places to bring a bit of luck to others. Everyone could use a little bit of luck, right? Even if you don’t believe in that sort of thing, we hope this brought a smile to your day. Each of these pennies has been left with love in random places. How much love? Well, we hand-polished each penny, then coated it with a thin, protective lacquer to help protect it from oxidizing. It probably took us 5-10 minutes for each penny, but we think it was worth it. After all, not many people are likely to pick up a dingy, old penny, face up or no. Would you? With more than a thousand pennies planned for circulation, it’s a lot of work, but it’s done with love and wishing good thoughts for the happy recipient. Plus, it kept our hands busy as we binge-watched Netflix. 😉

If you are on this page, then you have probably found one of our lucky pennies and scanned the QR code on the opposite side taking you to this page. Feel free to share a story of a moment of luck or kindness, if you like. If you’re not in the mood to share, no worries, we’re glad you came to visit and we hope that you are inspired by others’ stories.

Now you can be a part of creating luck for others and place this penny somewhere other than where you found it. Don’t forget, leave it face up!

BEHIND THE SCENES

All of the pennies that have come from OneLifeCan.com are pre-1982 pennies that are still 95% copper, not the zinc coins plated with copper that started circulating shortly thereafter. So the penny you hold in your hands is special indeed.

We should mention that we aren’t coin collectors and we know that cleaning any coin devalues it for collection. We did try to keep an eye out for the rarer ones, but with more than a thousand pennies, maybe one of these slipped through. In which case, we’ll be over here in the corner banging our heads against the wall.

Step One: Scrub, scrub, scrub.

Lucky Pennies
We used Bon Ami to hand scrub the pennies. We chose Bon Ami over Barkeeper’s Friend because Bon Ami is more of a mechanical cleanser whereas Barkeeper’s Friend contains oxalic acid which damages the copper penny’s shine. We protected our hands with nitrile gloves, wore protective glasses and masks, and each penny was rubbed clean with just our fingers.

Step Two: Brush, brush, brush.

Bon Ami
We then used a toothbrush with the Bon Ami to get into the ridges and pesky nooks in the stamped dates and wording. The areas around Lincoln’s neck and torso were especially pesky.

Step Three: Buff, buff, buff.

Polished Pennies
We removed the last bit of oxidation and brought out the penny’s gorgeous shine with a jewelry polishing cloth and more rubbing. We’re pretty sure we’re going to have repetitive strain injuries after this. Why did we have to pick 1,000 pennies?! Couldn’t we have stopped at 100?

Step Four: Protect.

Varathane Protectant
We used Rust-o-leum’s Varathane Outdoor Spar Water Based Clear Spray. This protects the coin from oxidizing. We did observe that some of our pennies did brown from their polished shine even after the lacquer. We’re not quite sure why. It might be that the Varathane itself oxidized the copper in the penny. Or we might have waited too long between batches and the pennies started to oxidize in the air between the time we cleaned them and when we sprayed them. Or it might have been impurities in the water we were using the rinse the pennies. We moved to Berkey-filtered water and smaller batches between spraying and it seems to be helping. Nonetheless, each of these cleaned and polished pennies is still more beautiful than any penny you probably have in your pocket.

Step Five: Squint and Scan.

QR Codes
We put a QR code on the tail side of the penny. Remember, that side is the bad luck side. 😉 We were doubtful that a QR code that small could be recognized, but to our surprise, it can! You can try it with a QR code scanning app, Samsung’s built-in Samsung Internet scanner, or iPhone’s native camera app.

It will usually pick it up with no problems, but sometimes you’ll need to zoom in and let it autofocus. Our first labeling attempt failed because we tried spraying our labels with the same Varathane protectant to help protect it from the elements and the ink bled. We then tried a weatherproof label with the spray, and it still bled. So we just used the weatherproof label with a bit of glue to keep it fixed to the penny. We’re pretty sure over time with wear the QR codes will become unreadable, but that’s how the coin flips sometimes.

Sheesh. All that work for some silly pennies that most people will just pass right over? Well, sometimes we put good out in the Universe and if the Universe conspires, it will connect with the right person. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard–and been a part of–stories where the right kind word or act at the right time meant everything to someone. We’re hoping these pennies find their way to those folks.

*Full Disclosure: After hand polishing the first couple of hundred pennies, we might move to a rock tumbler to help do more of the initial cleaning, because RSI is becoming a real possibility. We did try a batch with some Brasso, and while the pennies came out very clean, they lost their shine and we weren’t able to bring it back with any amount of polishing.

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Teddy’s Got Your Six

Teddy's Got Your Six

Say hello to Teddy. He’s going home with one of our brave military sons or daughters to be given to someone they love. Whenever I meet a service member in my travels, I make it a point to say, “Thank you for your service.” Five simple words of respect and gratitude. If the circumstance permits, I’ll buy them a cup of coffee, a round of drinks, or insist they join me for a meal. I grew up in a military family so I know that if they’re on the road in uniform they’re either leaving someone who will be worrying about them until the day they come home or they are coming home to someone whose prayers have finally been answered.

I don’t think they should go home empty-handed. Teddy agrees and said that he’d be honored to keep their loved ones company and stand watch until they come back home. Teddy invites you to join him and bring other willing bears to a USO Center or one of the other great organizations that supports our military personnel and their families.

Teddy can be shy and is a bear of few words so I included the following note:

Teddy Thanks You

You are welcome to download and print the image above or write your own personal note. Be sure to include the link, onelifecan.com/teddy, so others might be inspired to do the same.

Are you one of our proud service members who received a Teddy? Once again, with deepest gratitude, thank you for your service and sacrifice. If you’d like to share a story of compassion, inspiration, bravery, or kindness, please feel free to share your story here.

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My Uncle. My Hero

Uncle

When we found out that our Uncle was dying, there was a grave silence among our family members. He was such a happy man. He was the one who was always present in our household when my father had to go and work overseas. He was a very supportive, jolly man. Our mornings were always filled with laughter and food. Aside from his jovial persona, he always had the right words to say about any particular issue whether personal or social. He was filled with so much wisdom. Yet there we were, struck by grief at the news that he only had a month to live. As with any other teenager, I feared not only for him but for us. I feared that he might change. That the disease might change him, might change the way he looks at the world. I fear that it might change me too. He was my role model. He made me look at the world with cheerfulness despite my short temper.

I was wrong. He never changed. He was still the same old happy Uncle still managed to joke around even when his speech was slurred already, when his hands were frail in the hospital bed.

I still remembered the last words he told me, “Jas, regardless of what happens to you in life, never lose sight of what makes you happy, of the life that you have lived regardless of how short or long it may be. You have to learn how to fight and not lose hope because in the end, that’s all that matters.”

Up to this very day, I hold those words dear to my heart. It’s what keeps me going. He will always be a part of me.

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Esther, our smiling angel.

Esther

Five years ago, my aunt gave birth to a baby with Down syndrome. She knew life will be challenging the moment she saw her baby. But she was wrong because her life was changed for the better because of this baby. The baby was named Esther. Esther was a happy child. She would smile at strangers making them smile back at her and not fear or give her an unusual look. The room always light up wherever Esther go. She’s just a joy to be with. If only everyone get their value, instead of being negative about it, they’d be happily welcomed by society.

Esther was indeed a gift to our family. God gave us an angel to broaden our perspective, make us smile and effortlessly enlarge our heart.

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” – Hebrews 13:1b-2

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If you want it, you’ll find a way.

Sign Language

One day, my 7 year old sister came home from school and wanted me to take her to the bookstore to get books on sign language. I asked her what is it for. She told me that there was this new kid at school who was deaf and she would like to befriend him because nobody else would take an effort to communicate with him. She asked her teacher what’s wrong with him and what does she have to do to be his friend. The teacher told her to learn sign language because that’s the only way the little boy can communicate.

It amazes me how kids these days can be so pure, kind and innocent. How they see things so easy and light. Adults should sometimes just sit back, relax and try not to over think things.

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