What an amazing day! One of the best days ever!
Yesterday, I celebrated my 30th birthday in a very different way than usual! After reading some inspiring blogposts here and here...I was motivated to spend my birthday doing things for OTHERS. This wasn't going to be a day all about me, but rather about others! And since I was turning 30, I decided I should do 30 random acts of kindness. Well, some were random, some not so random...but either way, it was for the benefit of someone else! I called it "Happy Day" I prepared alot before the day actually arrived, and made out a rough draft list of ideas (yes, I am a control freak) I just didn't want the day to get here and for me to have a brain fart and not be able to think of anything to do.
Here's what I did in preparation:
- made a list of things I thought I could do...then narrowed it down and selected around 30 ish...
- Cleaned out my closets, playroom,and pantry for donations to charities and food banks.
- Put together a goody basket of gifts for the Ronald McDonald house.
- wrote encouraging letters to three prisoners, via a ministry of Voice of the Martyrs
- Created and made a letter for Emma
- shopped for treats, cookies, flowers, popsicles, waters, etc
- Baked cookies and packaged them up
- Packed up the van with post-it notes, markers, batteries, my boxes, baskets and bags for the charities, change of clothes for the kids, diapers, wipes, stroller and all of the other regular stuff you need to pack with you when you're out all day with your kids.
- hand wrote 30 individual "Happy Day" cards to hand out to random people
1) Left a treat for the mailman.
2) Mailed letters to prisoners.
3) Baked cookies for my family and let them have this special treat before breakfast!!! (usually I am baking something yummy, but have to tell my family that it's off limits for them, because it is a cake order for someone else, or a baked good for a party....but not this time!)
4) Gave my sister in law a ride to work. She doesn't have a car, she had a bike, but it got stolen. Normally she has to walk to work 30 minutes each way. (But recently someone has given her a bike!!!) Today, I got up extra early and packed up the kids to give her a ride.
(*) My mother in law keeps her kids while she works, and when I went to pick her up, she gave me a birthday gift of a huge chocolate bar. I shared most of it (I took one bite, of course) with my kids!
5) My sister in law works at Goodwill, so when we got to her work... I was already at my next destination! I donated bags of clothes to Goodwill. (James was my photographer!)
6) Purchased two gift cards from McDonald's. I drove around for a LONG time looking for someone who looked like they needed it! Finally found a woman walking down the road with bags of groceries. I pulled over and told her it was birthday and what I was doing, and offered her the gift card and a "Happy Day" card.
7) Got out some trashbags and gloves and the kids and I picked up trash off the side of the roads. This was actually James' idea! He was really great all day, opening doors for everyone, and really helping out!
8) Visited a laundromat and there were 3 women who had just arrived. I gave them "Happy Day" cards, and paid for their laundry. This was one of my favorite parts of the day. It was as if I had told them they had won the lottery!!! It made my day just as much as theirs!
( BTW, totally off topic, but this little boy being in this basket reminds me sooo much of the book, A Pocket for Cordoroy. I love that book!!!)
(*) Every Friday I go to a ladies bible study, and wasn't about to miss that just cause it was my Bday,so...
9) I brought 30 cookies as a surprise treat for them.
10) I also brought a huge bag of bubbles and bubble toys for the kids to play with, and then we gave them to the host family's kids to keep. (also James' idea! The bubbles are in the gift-bag in the pic below.)
11) Gave each of the ladies at the Bible Study a personal note of appreciation and love.
12) After Bible study was over, I met my mom for lunch at Ryan's. We gave the hostess a "Happy Day" card and hersey bar. (Again...James the photographer!!!)
(*) Two random things that happened... After we said the blessing for our meal, we opened our eyes, and there was an old man standing at our table. He reached into his pocket, and handed James and Bella each a one dollar bill!!! How funny is that? On "Happy Day" my kids get there own happy day random act of kindness from a stranger. Love it! Also, my mom paid for all of our meals, plus had the waitress sing my Happy Birthday...embarrassing!!! I didn't even know they did that!
13) We left a big tip for our waitress along with a "Happy Day" card and some herseys bars. Again, this was another favorite part of the day...her reaction was so wonderful. (we were walking away when she found it, but we could hear her from across the restaurant. Loudly laughing and showing all the other workers telling them about everything.
14) Dropped by some items at a local church's food bank.
15 -16) Next we traveled to Savannah and headed for downtown. At first we ended up at Forsyth Park. It was a HOT day, so we got out our 30 popsicles and 30+ bottled waters and walked through the park handing out randomly. Everyone was very grateful and surprised.
(My batteries in the camera died right before we went into the park, so no pics of that except this couple who walked by as we were getting out of the car. But there were tons of smiles and happy memories made!)17) Gave a homeless (maybe?) man the other McDonald's gift card. (plus a water and popsicle)
(*) As we drove to our next destination, we would stop when we saw tired bikers, pedestrians...offered them water too.
18) Donated children's books and videos, and a little bit of candy too :) to the Greenbriar home for homeless children. This was sobering. That side of town was very poor, and everyone was extremely grateful.
19) On our way to next destination...gave out more waters to kids walking home from school. More smiles.
20) Went to the Ronald McDonald House for families and dropped off a gift basket filled with books for adults and children, photo albums, room decor to add a homey feel, toys/activities for the kids to do, and one of my handpainted canvases.
22) Went next door to the hospital parking garage and put "Happy Day" post it notes on the side view mirrors.
23) Went inside and found a break room filled with at least 15 vending machines!!! Wrote a Happy Day note and left 12 quarters
24) and 3 boxes/bags full of Mary Kay make up samples.
(*)Enjoyed a wonderful meal with family and friends at Musato's Japanese Restaurant. This has been an April birthday tradition that has been going on for at least 18 years straight. Maybe more...we have bad memories, and can't remember the exact year when we started. But it was wonderful to keep the tradition alive. Mom drove Grandad home to fill his medicines, but Mark the hubby and Joy the friend joined us in our Happy day quest!
25) Gave "just because" notes to my Grandma Fay, Granddad Eby, my mom, and friend Joy.
26) Went to the dollar tree and purchased 30 balloons...gave the cashier a "Happy Day card and candy"
27) Went to the mall and handed out balloons to kids...and a few adults who were young at heart! One of my favorite parts of the day. As we were getting out of the car to head into the mall, a woman stopped us and asked if she could have one for her son. After telling her our "Happy Day" mission, she told us that she was the manager of a store inside, and that she had two very deserving girls who worked there, so that was our first stop inside. The girls were so excited. It tickles me just how much a balloon can make your day.
I loved seeing all the smiles!
(*)One the way to the bookstore, James saw a donation center for Habitat for Humanity...and stopped everyone and asked if we could donate some money to them!!! I love it!!!
28) Went to the bookstore and let the kids just sit and read. and read. and read. We stayed there for an hour!
29) In addition to all the Happy Cards I handed out today, I also designed a card and sent it to Emma
30) Emailed encouraging letters to friends
I can't tell you how exhausted I was at the end of the day! I am so thankful Mark was with me to drive me home, or I would have had to get a hotel room! That's how tired I was!!!
it was soooo worth it! I have never had so much fun on my birthday before. All the focus was on others, and there were no pity parties for me!!!
I also encouraged others to do kind acts in honor of my birthday. I created a facebook group, and 49 people joined! Whoohoo!!! One of the members, my friend Joy, got her whole 2nd grade class involved.
They spend the day cleaning up around the school, cleaned offices, picked up fellow schoolmates lunch trays and trash for them. AREN'T THEY ARE AWESOME?! Thank you Joy for setting that up! She also joined me for the last leg of the day...the balloons!!!
Another person who blew me away was Ms. Kathy from Glennville. I met her at my parent's church Easter weekend at the Easter Egg Hunt. In my first post about how I was going to spend my birthday (here), she left a comment for me. Here is what she said...
Act # 1 Today, I am going to make a $15.00 dollar donation to the "Colby Anderson Fund" (at the bank), in honor of your birthday. Colby lives in Glennville, and was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this year. He is currently undergoing treatment in Savannah. So far, he's responding well, but there is a long road ahead of him.
Act #2 I am sending a small gift to Abby Riggs, who is 5 years old and also suffering with leukemia. Abby is the daughter of a semi-famous Christian blogger and author named Brent Riggs. The Riggs family lives in Oklahoma, and I met them over the internet.
I've followed Abby's story for about a year...she's fighting a hard fight, and it's not going well...Abby was adopted by the Riggs family from Guatamala, along with 2 other international children. Brent also has 4 grown children.
I send Abby cards, letters and occasional gifts in an effort to keep her spirits lifted. Sometimes my granddaughter and I color pictures for her and mail them. Abby's in the hospital a lot!
Anyway, Abby's gift will be in honor of your birthday. I will wrap it in birthday paper, and send a card explaining that it is in honor of your birthday. Abby loves Winnie the Pooh, and I'm sending a Winnie the Pooh activity book/crayons.
Thank you for coming up with this unique and kind way to let us help make "30" special. It is my pleasure to help you celebrate in this way. Blessings to you and yours, Kathy in Glennville
I also want to send a HUGE thank you out to my mom, who was with me for most of the day helping out. She helped me find the shelters, and took pictures for me. She helped me keeping up with two kids the entire day. I love her, and thank her!!! She does kind acts every day, without anyone noticing and makes a difference in so many people's lives (including mine)!!!
This was most definitely a HAPPY DAY for all! Thank you for sharing it with me!