One More from Melanie

In this season of giving, we’ve peeked in on how someone else does it, providing some fresh oomph for all of us to pass along whatever kindnesses we can. Melanie reported, after her birthday was over, that next year she’ll tweak her system to make it more efficient. After all, the number of kindnesses will only grow as the candles on her cake increase. Here’s what she wrote in an email:

At the end of the day I was pretty worn out…next year I’ll have to start giving myself a week to accomplish my list, because it’s not going to get any easier to get through it.  

Kindness..Many of the things were actually just a matter of getting around to my good intentions…notes I meant to write or thank-you’s I meant to say long ago but hadn’t accomplished. It felt good to just hunker down and be intentional (which is the opposite of random, I know) about making sure certain people were feeling loved and appreciated. I learned that it really doesn’t take much time at all, with a little planning, to brighten someone’s day who really needs it.

A few more things I learned… 

Kindness participantKindness starts at home. There are a gazillion things I do that all of us moms and wives do to serve our families, but I’m learning that there’s a big difference in the way I go about it when I have the mindset of, “How can I bless them?” I noticed an absence of resentment and an all-around better attitude when I thought to myself, “I can get this for him,” or “She would like it if…” Thanks, Lord, for the heart change! 

Along those lines, as this becomes a birthday tradition, I may make arrangements so the kids aren’t with me the _whole_ time I’m running around town. It may get easier as they get older, but this year I heard a lot of whining about getting in and out of the car, and it really amounted to a long day with lots of driving around for them. 

I also learned that I’m really awkward when I’m talking to random people. But the look of surprise when they learn they’re getting a free coffee is worth it.

Kindness....And I want to be sure to bless people who don’t get many thank-you’s, like those serving at school or church or cleaning public restrooms.  

And most importantly, I want to make the day less about “random,” which is a little too much about me and “how nice I am.” Instead I want to more purposefully share the love of Christ, because without him, I’m rotten and selfish.

And lastly, I confirmed that I have the most patient, indulgent husband. He drove around in rush hour traffic for me and never complained.  

All in all, best birthday ever. Tradition established. 

Love, Mel

“Remember this…. Whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”                    (2 Corinthians 9:6)

Praising and praying with Mary

I’m praising God for an early Christmas gift: my feeding tube came out today! Thank you so much for the faithful praying all of you did about this!

Not-so-random Acts of Kindness

Yesterday we met Melanie, who had decided to establish a new birthday tradition for herself. She would use her day of celebration to complete 38 not-so-random acts of kindness, one for each candle on her birthday cake. After having a good time meeting her goal on her 38th birthday, Melanie let us all know, in a second email, how it went:

Hi, again!

 Just had to update you on what was a pretty terrific day. The best part was hearing from all of you who were in cahoots with me, looking for a way to bless someone in your path. Here’s some of what we were busy with this week:

  • Kindness.Made copies for someone and delivered them
  • Took time to visit an elderly man in poor health
  • Helped someone figure out their new printer
  • Wrote a letter to an old friend
  • Called up a home-bound friend for a cheerful visit
  • Let someone go first in the car line at school
  • Slowed down and asked questions about things people are interested in
  • Smiled more and frowned less
  • Donated blood
  • Secretly paid for ice cream for the next family in line
  • Swept snow off cars in the parking lot
  • Left a note, gift, and balloon by the door of someone who shares my birthday
  • Took coffee to several school employees
  • Donated to places like the Salvation Army
  • Set a floral arrangement in the lobby at school with a note
  • Wrote encouraging notes to the kids’ teachers and principal
  • Left a note for the church staff thanking them and letting them know they’re prayed for
  • Left encouraging notes for library and maintenance staff at church
  • Left helium balloons for the kids of the moms in the Bible study at church
  • Shared floral arrangements with various friends
  • Delivered helium balloons to some nearby friends
  • Left Cracker Jack boxes for mailman and neighbors
  • Paid for another person’s coffee
  • Gave away several gift cards
  • Brought dinner to a friend
  • Paid extra attention to my tone of voice and patience with my family
  • Brought cookies and a thank-you to firefighters
  • Took coffee to my in-laws

*               *               *               *               *               *               *               *               *

KindnessJust reading through this partial list of kindnesses turned out to be an act of kindness to me. It brought a special heart-glow and taught me a thing or two about simple, doable blessings all of us can pass along.

Tomorrow we’ll hear from Melanie once more as she shares how she hopes to refine her birthday project so that 39 not-so-random acts of kindness can be delivered effectively on her second annual attempt to let the light of Christ shine through.

“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only.” (James 1:22)

Random Acts of Kindness

Kindness is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit listed in Scripture. (Galatians 5:22) In other words, if we believe in Jesus, kindness ought to be pouring out of us like crazy: thoughtfulness of others, compassion toward the needy, sympathy for the grieving, consideration of another’s point of view, etc.

In recent years myriad organizations have sprung up for the sole purpose of performing “random acts of kindness” for no other reason than just to be nice. There’s even a foundation by that name (Random Acts of Kindness International), a non-profit “founded upon the powerful belief in kindness, and dedicated to providing resources and tools that encourage acts of kindness.”

Of course we don’t need the resources of a foundation to act kindly, and a while ago I received an interesting email from my friend Melanie, who’s made a serious commitment to being kind. She’s decided that every year on her birthday she’s going to devote the entire day to random acts of kindness, doing it in the name of Jesus. Here’s what she wrote:

Hello, Dear Ones! 

Acting kindToday, to mark my 38th trip around the sun, I’m going to be out and about doing (Intentional) Random Acts of Kindness, hoping to bring some sunshine into the lives of others in the community who are special or helpful or just look like they need a smile.

Would you do me the honor of joining me today and blessing someone, a friend or stranger, with an encouraging word, a smile, or some other kindness?

These are things we all try to do anyway, but today I’m going to see if I can do at least 38, and it’ll be fun to know that you’re looking for a way to spread a little love today, too. I’m starting out this morning by putting the kids’ clothes in the dryer so they are nice and warm when they put them on.

This isn’t about a pat on the back but rather: “Let your light so shine before men so they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)   

We are blessed to be a blessing!

Acts of KindnessSo Melanie determined that on her 38th birthday she would do 38 deliberate, not-really-random acts of kindness, some face-to-face, some in secret, making a commitment to add one more with each new birthday.

Then she ended her email by inviting her friend-list to reply back with ways they thought of to be kind, so the group could swap ideas and inspire each other.

Tomorrow we’ll get to see what a happy birthday she had!

“Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” (Hebrews 10:24)

Praising and Praying with Mary

  1. I’m praising God that our 11th grandchild may arrive in the next few days!
  2. Please pray about feeding-tube-frustration. Today’s appointment with the specialist resulted only in being turned over to an appointment with a surgeon on Thursday.