This truly WAS my best birthday EVER!! Here's how it went down. 6 days before my 37th birthday, my husband asked me the annual question: "What would you like for your birthday?" I didn't have anything already in mind, (and of course, after stating this, I got the "look". I know y'all know what I'm talking about. It was as if he was saying "Oh, please don't make this harder than it already is.") I told him I would get back to him.
As I lay in bed that night, I still couldn't think of anything I just "had to have." As I said a prayer, thanking God for all the blessings in my life, IT HIT ME. That's what I want for my birthday -- I want to bless peoples' lives! I had recently stumbled upon this idea from Kimberly, so I decided I wanted to spend the next few days leading up to, (as well as on) my birthday, doing one random act of kindness for each year I've lived, and I wanted others to join me. I set up an event for my birthday wish on Facebook, asking friends to do at least ONE random act of kindness in honor of my birthday. Then I made a list of 30-ish ideas (God filled in the rest) that I could feasibly do within just a few days, along with everything else I needed to get done each day. Some of these were borrowed, others I made up on my own.
(Now to convince my husband it was REALLY OKAY not to buy me anything. In fact, I gave him specific orders NOT to. I believe this tortured him slightly, as he was not 100% convinced. ) Sorry, Honey! ;)
You have no idea what an awesome feeling it was, pulling out of my driveway, as I set out on my first day of RAKs. I was never so excited about a trip to Walmart in all my life!
So here are the 37 RAKs, as well as the RAKs by others who participated in my birthday celebration.
1. Taped $2.00 in quarters to a Self-Service car wash
|The quarters were tucked behind the note|
2. Stopped by the dollar store and hid five 1-dollar bills in the toy aisle
3. Left change for a free soda on a vending machine at Walmart
4. Left fresh diapers on changing table in Walmart restroom. I bought a pack of 24 diapers and put 3 diapers in each baggie (to leave in multiple restrooms.) If you do the math, that's 8 people blessed. Boom. Done.
5. Paid for the next person in line in Starbucks drive-thru. This guy is holding my note to give to them. He was super friendly & didn't mind posing for my picture!
6. 7. & 8. Went to the pediatric wing of a hospital and brought bottled water and chocolate for the nurses, balloons for any patients who weren't getting many visitors, or might just need some extra cheering up, and coloring books and crayons to leave in the activity room. The nurses were extremely grateful and insisted on taking MY picture with all the stuff. (I cropped myself out.) ;)
9. Donated a bag of clothes to charity.
10. Made bookmarks for my 9th and10th grade girls small group
11. Wrote a nice post on a page of an online friend who has inspired me this year (You know who you are, K.L.!)
12. Donated dog and cat treats, old blankets and towels to an animal rescue shelter
I visited a few of the residents while there. So. Darn. Cute.
13. Put quarters in 6 of the gumball machines at the mall
14. This one was fun. I walked up to this random, yet totally adorable couple while at the mall, asked if they were married and how long, he smiled adoringly at his wife and said, "2 years." I handed them a 5-dollar bill and asked them to go get their picture taken in the photo booth, in celebration of their marriage. They were incredibly grateful and said they hadn't taken a picture together in well over a year! Newlyweds! Can you believe it?! As you can see from their pics, I think they will cherish them. They also win the award for "Cutest Couple." Too sweet.
15. I hand wrote 10 "happy notes" and put them on cars in a parking lot
16. Sent in a small gift for the school nurse. She is our brand new school nurse and she is now helping to take care of my 15 year old son who has diabetes, while he's at school. And she is as sweet as
17. Stopped at a laundromat and left quarters on one of the washers
18. Sent in a small gift for one of my son's teachers. Nearly every day, when I pick him up from school, he tells me how awesome this teacher is. I wanted to thank her for being awesome. And do you know what she did? She gave him a merit! Now I see what he means! She IS awesome! You rock, Mrs. C!
19. Wrote a thank you note to a soldier, then prayed for whoever would receive it
20. Wrapped packs of gum in this note and taped them to peoples' cars. Corny? Maybe. Minty? Yes. ;)
21. Made this reusable "love note" sign for my sweet husband. It now hangs in our bedroom. With our crazy-busy schedules, we don't get a whole lot of time to talk about things other than the usual - (kids, bills, etc.) This is just another way for us to communicate in a way that helps our marriage grow.
|I created a printable for the frame, (I used Picnik.com)|
and used a dry-erase marker to write on the glass
22. Left a gift for our wonderful mail carrier. She promptly left a thank you card the next day. :)
23. Spent 10 minutes tidying up each of my kids' rooms, giving them a head start on Saturday morning chores. They were very excited to come home to this on Friday afternoon. Now that they're 11 & 15, this is something I NEVER do anymore.
|teen son's room|
|tween daughter's room|
24. Sent "thinking of you" cards to 3 people who have been in my prayers lately: a friend who lost her husband 1 year ago (on this day) to Cancer, a sister-in-law still coping with a messy divorce, and a close cousin (who lives far away) who is going through a very difficult time
25. Sent a card to a child with Cancer through Hugsandhope.org
26. Made a small donation to my grocery store's "Adopt a Family" program, which allows them to purchase food and gifts for a needy family around the holidays. They were collecting, via a chili cook off, while I was doing my weekly shopping
27. Brought homemade pumpkin spice bread to a residents' home
28. Spent time talking to each clerk I encountered, asking them how their day was going (Some were smiling through obvious hurt, pain, or stress. Others just lit up with joy.) Powerful moments.
29. Returned a carafe I borrowed from my mom, and placed fresh flowers inside
30. Donated a bag of food to our church's food pantry for the needy
31. Left a generous tip for my server at a restaurant. She deserved it.
32. Handed out water to people walking, jogging, or walking their dog. All were grateful. I had the kids with me for one of them, and the lady who was walking her dog was so tickled pink over the whole thing, she couldn't stop talking about it! Totally awesome moment, for her, for my kids, and for me. And this one was ON my birthday. Pure Awesomeness.
33. Dropped off homemade cookies to my local firehouse. He was VERY grateful and offered to pose in front of the truck for me.
34. Left coupons on store shelves near products.
35. Mailed expired coupons to military families. (They can use them up to 6 months past the expiration date.)
36. Picked up trash in parking lot
37. Made cookies for my neighbors
Here are the Random Acts of Kindness from others, in honor of my birthday:
Kim E. - Abby at Applebee's just got a big high five from her manager. Her awesome service garnered her a RAK in the form of a compliment paid.
Kristen P. - There's a soybean field by my house and I walk through there to get home from school. (The owner doesn't mind.) The other day, I noticed that someone had dumped their trash in the field, so today I went to the field and cleaned up most of the trash, although I didn't get it all. There was a lot and I couldn't get anymore in the trash bag.
Lori G. - I got water for a gentleman in my office. He was older, unstable, and complaining of chest pain. Not too cool. I do this all the time, but I did want to share that on occasion, we all need a cup of water. Wouldn't you offer water to someone? I teach my children to always treat others as you wish to be treated. I hope this resonates in them... for you. Put yourself in the place of others and realize that we might be different on the outside, but essentially, inside.... we're all the same.
Katrina L. - I have a friend with Cancer of the spine I'm helping move into a new place. Also, I keep in touch with his sister too. xx
Jodi K. - This morning, I treated myself at McDonald's to an iced caramel coffee and also paid for the woman behind me. The cashier told me I was actually the 2nd person that morning to pay for someone else's order. :) I looked back at the woman as I drove off and she was waving at me in thanks with a look of "Do I know her??" Then, when I got to work, I discovered I won a free Quarter Pounder through the Monopoly Game from my coffee. I gave that to a coworker who thanked me because she was just about to eat a frozen Banquet meal for lunch and said that sounded MUCH better. :)
Nancy S. - I opened the door and helped a quite handicapped older gentleman through the door at the doctor's office... simple ♥
Kim E. - I blessed two cars behind me at St. Louis Bread Co. in your honor today. The cashier blessed me with chocolate to say thank you. I told her that Becka would be so happy.
Shelly C. - Today I took care of a homeless puppy. She was found by my daughter and her friends. We are currently looking for a forever home for her!
Scott R. - I brought books, crayons, pencils, paper, markers, glue, glue guns, glitter, and other supplies to a local inner city elementary school in need in you honor!!
Karen S. - I ordered some fingerless gloves for my mail carrier, signed up to the Soldier's Angels website - made a donation, signed up for the Letter Writing Team, and ordered supplies to make sand scarves and cool scarves and will mail them when completed. Also, started some seedlings and ordered a container and kid-friendly watering can to give to the adorable 2-year-old girl who lives two doors down and is completely obsessed with my new raised-bed gardens! -- What a great way to celebrate your birthday! Love, Mom (who works from home and doesn't drive. She had to get creative to think of some RAKs she could do.)
Tyra S. - I know it's not much, but I did help an old lady down a curb and to her car. She was very appreciative and it felt good.
Kim S. - Just took some flowers to a friend who isn't feeling well.
Christy W. - My girls and I have picked up supplies to make walker carriers for the ladies at the nursing home our church visits each week.
Jennifer F. - Today at Bread Co. I paid for the person's food in line behind me, and when I told Kate, the lady working the drive-thru, what I was doing she wanted me to tell you Happy Birthday and that she would be joining in on the RAK wagon!
Kathryn S. - At Chatsworth House I bought a friend an ornament she admired, even though I wanted to buy it for myself! She was so made up with it. I also offered to do back massages for friends at the weekend. All five of them accepted and they spent a lovely couple of hours chilling together.
I would like to give a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who celebrated with me for my birthday wish. My hope is that this event will serve as an inspiration to cause your own ripple of spreading goodness to those around you, and just as a reminder that there are opportunities all around us, we're just usually too busy to notice. As you can see, it only takes one small act to bless someone else. In a world that seems to be "All About Me," it is nice to take a moment to show love, mercy, and kindness to another person. I pray that these 37+ people truly felt blessed by these small acts, and if nothing else, I at least made them smile. These past few days have also helped me realize that I could be doing so much more on a regular basis to serve others.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To ACT JUSTLY, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 (NIV)
"Act Justly." Wouldn't you know it, that on my birthday, which was on Sunday, this was the topic of the sermon? Coincidence? I doubt it. And under normal circumstances, I would not be advertising my random acts of kindness, but the purpose of this was to share the idea with others who might be inspired to do the same, or at least start thinking about the opportunities to do more.
Feel free to share your most recent Random Act of Kindness in the comments.
Have a blessed day! :)