Friday, October 18, 2013

My Birthday Wish: 28 Acts of Kindness

There are some awesome ideas posted on Pinterest for celebrating a birthday with random acts of kindness equal to your age. My 28th birthday was quickly approaching, so I figured, why not?  I thought it would be nice to share this experience with my 2-year-old daughter, Grace, while we give back and spread good cheer.

You're never too young or too old to be kind. 

I knew that my acts of kindness wouldn't be completely random, so I decided to make a list in advance to make sure I could get all 28 done.  Over the past week I've been working to complete all 28 acts of kindness. I also didn't want for them all to be centered around buying things or giving people money or gift cards. While giving money is a generous gesture, I wanted to also do things that were thoughtful and meaningful. True, nothing I did this week is life altering, but maybe I brightened someone's day. That's my only goal.

I hesitate to post here because I am not looking for recognition or praise. I am grateful for all that I have, and yet sometimes I get caught up on things that don't matter in the greater scheme of things. I am lucky to have good health, a loving family, supportive friends, plenty to eat and a warm house, so why not pass a little of that luck on to others in honor of my birthday.

1. Donate Blood
Cole had a long weekend, so I made an appointment for Columbus Day. I hadn't given blood since well before I was pregnant. The nurse was impressed when I pumped it out in 7 minutes. She asked me if I wanted to take a picture with my blood, so here I am...holding a bag of my blood.

2. Run in the 2013 Virtual Joggermom Cancer Run 
I have one month to log 26.2 miles and a portion of my entry fee goes to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

3. Return carts from the parking lot at Target
This one was easy, and I don't know if it had any real impact, but at least the carts were safely stowed in their cart corral. (I always find it annoying and lazy when people leave their carts in a parking space or prop them against a curb.)

4. Buy someone a cup of coffee
There was no one in line behind me at the Starbucks inside Target-shocking- so I bought a $5 gift card instead. I ended up giving it to a man who was helping some elderly people from Cape Fear Valley do their shopping. He asked me what it was for, and I told him, "just because." He seemed surprised and said he was going to give it to one of his patients. What a sweet guy.

5. Leave a dollar in the dollar deals toys section of Target
I thought it would be fun for a kid to find it, so I put it down low in the play dough.

6. Donate to the Hoke County Humane Society
Grace and I brought old throw pillows, a dog bed, some leashes and doggie bandanas to the Hoke County Humane Society. The lady we left them with was so appreciative. We went back and said hi to the dogs, but it really is heartbreaking to see them all shut in their cages. Please think about adopting, if you are considering getting a pet. There are so many who need loving homes.

7. Hide a surprise in a favorite book 
Grace loves the library, or "libaby" as she calls it. We spent some time reading and playing with the puzzles, and then snuck a surprise into one of our favorite books, The Giving Tree, by Shell Silverstein.

8. Donate to the Library Giving Tree
On our way out I noticed a tree with pumpkins ranging from $1-$50. We chose a $5 pumpkin to help support someone in need in the community. The tree is through the window, behind Grace.

9. Bring spare clothes to Grace's school
Grace's wonderful school was asking for some spare clothes to keep on hand in case the kids had accidents or a run-in with a mud puddle.

10. Buy locally
From now on we will be purchasing our eggs from Grace's teacher's son. Yay for fresh and local!

11. Buy a lotto ticket for someone
I never buy lotto tickets, but I thought it would be fun to surprise someone with the chance to hit the JACKPOT!

12. Donate to the Goodwill
In preparation for our move, I cleaned out some of Grace's baby toys and kitchen gadgets and dropped them off at the Goodwill.

13. Pick up trash around the neighborhood
Grace really got the hang of this fast. Now I need to get her to STOP picking up random grossness!

14. Leave quarters at the laundry mat
The laundry mat attendant seemed suspicious of me, probably because I didn't have any laundry... So I left my quarters and darted out before he could say anything. I remember how annoying it was when we didn't have a washer and dryer. I hope some surprise change will bring a little cheer to this miserable chore.

15. Bring treats to my hardworking SS mamas
I seriously get to workout with some awesome women. They wake up and drag their babies and all of their gear out the door to attend Stroller Strides. They provide friendship and support to each other and can do burpees like it's nobody's business. I thought it would be fun to bring some cookies to share after class, since, you know, it is my birthday. :)

16. Call the electric company to report street light outages in the neighborhood
There are more than a couple street lights out in our hood. I kept meaning to call, but haven't, for months! I finally called today, and they said they would send someone out. They asked me to tie ribbons around the poles that were out and didn't have ID numbers.

17. Bring Ranger Gavin a thank-you treat
Ranger Gavin keeps the park we workout at clean and safe. He is always cheerful and friendly whether he's tidying up the restrooms or returning a lost turtle to the wild. I don't think he gets a lot of recognition for all he does, so we dropped off a jar of trail mix and a thank you note to let him know he is appreciated.

18. Buy "Gage's New Friend" a book to help Gage earn money to get an alert dog
Ten-year-old Gage was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. He has written a book about his struggle and hopes to raise money to get a Diabetic Alert Dog to be his best friend and guardian angel.

19. Give a loan on
This is an amazing non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Through their website I am able to lend $25 to someone trying to create a better life for themselves. My loan will go to help a young man in Kenya mentor and educate the youth. Click here to learn more about John.

20. Visit our local fire station and thank them for keeping us safe
We are scheduled to visit our local station next Friday with Grace's classmates. If I must spend the afternoon with firefighters, than I must. It's tough being me. ;)

21. Send a surprise to a friend
Bows by Simply Pretty Bows
22. Pay for someone's movie at Redbox
I think Redbox movies are more than a dollar now, but I stealthily taped a buck to the screen anyways. Happy viewing!

23. Donate books to the library
Maybe one day I will have my own library wing in my house, but until that day, I can't keep every book I read. I hope they are enjoyed by others!

24. Visit a nursing home
I was nervous about this one. I don't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but I thought it might be nice to bring Grace to a nursing home to visit with anyone who wanted. I called the nursing home before hand to make sure it would be ok. They said we were welcome. We stopped by and spoke with a sweet lady named Leela. She seemed happy for some company, and said she has 6 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild.

25. Let someone go ahead of me in line
No one likes to wait, but sometimes people get extra impatient at the grocery store. Grace and I happily let the lady with 5 items go in front of us at Food Lion even though we didn't have a full basket.

26. Take the It Can Wait Pledge
Nothing on my phone is that important that I need to endanger my life, my daughter's life or anyone else on the road.

27. Pay for someone's order in the drive-thru
Panera was kind enough to give me a free Birthday pastry, so I decided to pay for the car behind me. I drove off as quickly as I could, but I hope the girl enjoyed her surprise gratis lunch!

28. Write an overdue thank you note
There are a lot of people that could use an extra note of thanks, so I chose someone who wouldn't have expected to hear from me. ;)

So there are my 28 acts of kindness. Nothing earth-shattering, but it was meaningful for me. It was fun and reminded me to be generous. You really never know how a little kindness can turn someone's tough day around. I couldn't have asked for a better birthday gift to give to myself...

...but, if you wanted to do something for me too... there is something. Maybe in honor of my birthday, I could recruit 28 of my friends and family to do something unexpectedly nice for someone else? Your random act of kindness can be anything you want. I promise it will make you feel good and you will brighten someone else's day! Take a risk and make the choice to do something kind. If you do, comment here or on Facebook. It will make my birthday even more super-duper extra special!

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