Thursday, July 10, 2014

Turning 47 Made Me Smile

So, I am guilty of spending more than enough time scanning countless, unrelated pins on Pinterest.  Many are repetitive and completely unrealistic for this mama.  Some I pin and file away for another day, if I can actually remember what I pinned.  Then there are ideas that grab you.  Grip tightly.  Make you think.  Challenge you.  Make you do something.  So, I did.
Random Acts of Kindness is not a new concept.  Yet, I was challenged to choose 47 (the number of years God has blessed me with) ways to show kindness to other people.  It was going to take some planning and a bit of creativity.  Many of the pins that I read about were 30 somethings celebrating.  Forty-seven is not a small number.  I was determined.  
Two weeks before, I chose my list.  I knew that it was going to take the weekend to accomplish, so I made sure that my family was on board with my plans.  Including them was half the fun.  
I did much of the shopping alone, which of course is a treat in and of itself.  
My birthday fell on Sunday, so Saturday I set the plan in motion.  
1.  Barnes and Noble is my home away from home.  After I bought an iced coffee, I bought a $5 gift card, wrote a quick note in it and handed it to the next lady in line.  It was my first birthday blessing, and I was excited.  
2.  At the bookstore, I also bought a Caldecott Medal book that I would place in the church library the next day.  I love kids' books.  My kids loved this one too.
 book cover image: a sick day for amos mcgee

3-5. The next stop was Produce Junction where I got to buy flowers and a potted plant.  A few stops after the produce store, I visited Aldis, a store at the end of our development.  I frequent there regularly.  There is a particular cashier who makes me smile every time.  She is encouraging, a hard worker, and a mom herself.  I searched her out in the store to bless her with the other bouquet of flowers.  Her smile reached from ear to ear, and it never stopped.  She even gave me an additional hug before I left the store.  

Later that evening, my kids and I visited our neighbor who is like a grandma to our kids.  Her generous heart blesses our family weekly, and I wanted to share a blessing with her.  The plant made her smile.  Then she gave us some free bread.  Wait!  What is wrong with this picture?
My mom came over on Monday to help me watch the kiddos while I took Laura to the doctor.  Little did I know how the rest of the week would play out.  She spent many hours at our home.  Flowers seemed like too small a token of my love for her, but she smiled none the less.  I love that woman.
6-30  The kids had a great part in this next smile maker.  We loaded 24 water bottles in the van and went to our town's playground and started handing them out to moms, dads, kids, soccer players, basketball players, basically anyone who would take one.
31-40  I also bought some bubbles to give to some littles at the playground.  One dad was there with his two little girls.  It melted my heart to see him walk with them further into the field to blow bubbles with his girls.  
41  I found this set of plastic animals at Walmart.  I set two of my kids on a mission to find a hidden place where kids would fit and would see some fun toys to play with and imagine.
42  Dunkin Donuts is another one of my faves.  We have one in particular where we stop each Sunday morning.  I walked in on my birthday.  One couple was sitting enjoying their morning as well.  I was able to bless them with a $5 gift card.  It feels good to make someone smile. 
43  Another neighbor is always ready to help out.  He is a grandpa and loves our kids.  We made him some brownies and brought them over.  His grandkids were thrilled too.
44-45   My foster kids have supervised visits twice weekly.  The facility is more than adequate, but often with the high turnover and difficult population, some of the basics get overlooked.  Many of the moms are on limited incomes if they have a job.  The kids are the ones who will go without.  I cannot fix the big problem, but I knew I could supply a very little to help.  Now this may seem silly, but I bought straws and sippie cups.  Yet, in the four years I have dealt with this company there have been multiple times where these simple items were not available.  It is a small pebble in a big ocean, but I know it will make a little one and maybe a young mom smile.
46-47  I had planned on finishing my birthday celebration on Monday, but God had other plans.  I spent the next three days in the hospital with Laura.  Choosing to be patient, smile when answers were not available, and be gracious were all kind things that I had to choose.  
I had wanted to place a clean diaper in a changing station for a mom who may find her self with a little one and an emergency.  
Also taping a bag of microwave popcorn to a Redbox was in the plans to make someone smile unexpectedly.  
Those things may still happen.  I don't have to do it all on my birthday weekend.  Random acts of kindness need to happen more than randomly.  
One of the extra blessings was watching my kids share in my journey.  We get too caught up in what we get and forget the giving.  Thank you, Lord, for nudging me to step outside of my comfort zone and share with others because of the many ways you have blessed me.

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