Pay it forward peeps!

 

 

As many of you have already read on Facebook, the kids and I were blessed by a random act of kindness a few weekends ago.  We were grabbing some lunch at Taco Bell and when I pulled up to the window I was informed that our order had been paid for by the gentleman in front of us!  I had been so busy trying to figure out what the kids wanted to eat, getting them to sit still, stop fighting, stop yelling, stop making me insane, that I couldn’t even tell you what kind of vehicle it was that paid.  I have done this a time or two, but I had never been on the receiving end!  I was so taken by surprise that I, sadly, didn’t immediately pay it forward and pay for the person behind me.

The cashier was clearly moved by the gesture.  She handed me a note from the gentleman, saying that the Christian radio station he listens to had been doing a campaign of random acts of kindness (JOY FM) and he wanted to participate.  It led to some wonderful conversations on the ride home, discussing how God wants us to show love and kindness to everyone, even strangers.  Even when we get nothing in return- especially when we get nothing in return.  Isabelle even asked that we pray for the “nice guy that bought us lunch”.  It was such a great real life teachable moment!

As I posted on Facebook, we can all benefit from being on either end of a random act of kindness.  Since it happened, the kids and I have been discussing different ways we can show God’s love to those around us, including strangers.  I thought that, especially with the upcoming holidays, it would be a great time to share some of our ideas!

We have had the opportunity to do several of these, but not all of them.  We are working on it though!  Some are for strangers, some are for people you know.  These are some simple and inexpensive ideas that would be easy for anyone to do… so be sure to fill us in and share your stories!  The kids will love hearing about their ideas in action!

1) Pay for the person behind you at a drive thru.  (make sure it isn’t a full conversion van or bus if you are on a budget 🙂 )

2)  Blessing Bags- we are in the process of making our 3rd batch!  Fill large ziplock baggies with some toiletries- soap, toothbrush/paste, deodorant, comb, etc.  We always include a pocket Bible and a note from our family and a picture or two from the kids as well.  Have them handy in your vehicle to give out to people asking for help at intersections, etc.  These can also be a huge blessing to your own family when you realize you have forgotten to pack toothbrushes or other toiletries when you are out of town!

3)  Send a card.  Just let someone know you are thinking of them.  Or send it incognito.  I recently sent a card “from” Justin Bieber to a friend’s daughter, who happens to be a HUGE fan.  She taped the reaction for me.  That was worth 10 times the cost of the card!

4)  Send a Box of Sunshine.  This one takes a little more effort, but it is worth it!  Gather a bunch of yellow stuff… candy, gum, stickers, candles, just fun random stuff.  Shove a big yellow smilie face balloon on top and tape it up.  Send to a friend that needs a little pick me up.

Kind of like a box of sunshine… a carry-on with a kid!

5)  Leave your quarter in the cart at Aldis when you return it.  It really sucks to get to Aldis and realize you don’t have any quarters!

6)  Put a thank you note or funny card in the mailbox for your mail carrier

7)  When you stop at a gas station on off the highway, pick up a cup of hot soup, or a cold drink depending on time of year, for the homeless person at the overpass.  (side note- this one can be tricky.  Much to Keith’s amusement, as he tends to roll his eyes when I do this stuff, the last time I did this we got back to the highway and the guy was GONE!  Luckily he had just moved across the road.  Otherwise Keith’s remarks would have earned him the soup.  In his lap.)

8)  Smile.  Just smile at people.  This doesn’t cost a thing and can really brighten a day!  Repeat often 🙂  ALSO!  This applies particularly to the people giving their time to stand outside Wal-Mart, grocery stores, etc to collect for the Salvation Army, MDA, etc.  They are doing a great thing, so instead of ducking your head and avoiding eye contact, smile at them!

A smile just makes everything a little better!

 

9)  That brings us to THANK YOU!  *Hopefully* you already tell anyone that holds a door for you, waits on you in a restaurant or store, or generally helps you with things thank you.  Think outside the box here!  Those people collecting for a good cause- tell them thanks for giving their time.  See a member of the military?  Police officer or firefighter?  Thank them for their service!  Thank the cart pusher, as it would suck to have to lug the cart allll the way back to the store on a rainy day.  Thank the person in the hardware store that knows the crazy random part you are looking before you even finish explaining it.  Thank the salesperson in the clothing store that sets back the new inventory they knwo you will love, in your size, until you come in again (that really hasn’t happened for years… they can only do a 24 hour hold now)  Also, please be sure to thank the trash man, septic tank people and telemarketers (as you hang up on them is fine).  Thank the people around you for all they do in your life.

10)  Purge, then donate!  Clean out ALL of your closets.  Clean out the toy box.  The bookshelf.  The pantry.  There are so, so many organizations that will gladly take the help.  If you don’t know what to do with your stuff, contact me and I WILL find a place that will put it to use.

11)  Write a letter.  With a pen.  On paper.  Make sure you show the kids too- and for fun show them a cassette tape and a record, then cry because they have no idea what you are showing them.  Lament about it to your old friend in the letter, and reminisce over your favorite record and trying to record it off the radio on a cassette, only for the best part to get cut off because you sister put Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen on there.  Yes, they had cassette tapes before they took over the world.  Show your kids how you mail a letter.  Thru the post office.  While you are there, buy a book of stamps and ask the clerk to give it to the next customer asking for stamps.

A special note from a really special kid!

12)  Speaking of the post office- buy a bulk pack of packing tape.  Every time you go in the post office, leave a roll on the counter.  Since the fury of God will rain down on any USPS employee that tapes a package, or allows you to use their tape, there is ALWAYS someone in need in the PO.

13)  A Coke and a smile!  I once told my husband, upon him surprising me with an ice cold fountain (diet) Coke that it was a better gift than a dozen roses.  Diet coke is totally the way to my heart, and I have been lucky enough that many people know that!  This may not be everyone’s cup of tea (or, Coke) but for us die-hard Diet Coke fans, this is huge!

Um, of course I have a picture of my beloved.

14)  Compliments are always a day brightener!  Tell someone when they do a great job, that they look especially nice today, you like their outfit/hair/jewelry…  Who doesn’t love to hear their butt looks great in those jeans??

15)  Make extra.  Muffins for the office?  Cookies for your kids class?  Or maybe for your dinner?  Oh wait, no one would do THAT.  Right.  Anyway, make an extra batch.  Deliver them somewhere.  Homeless shelter, police or fire station, nurses station in the hospital, teacher’s workroom…

16)  I live in the midwest.  In the rural midwest.  Ok, basically in the middle of nowhere.  Or, in the middle of everything.  It is all about perspective.  Who else can say they are within like 2000 miles of ANYWHERE in the continental United States?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.  Anyway, part of living in the midwest is waving while driving.  The ‘ol farmers just bring a smile to my face when they wave.  Not just at me.  They wave at every single vehicle they pass.  Always.  I used to think it was a little silly, but considering how many times people choose to use just one of their five fingers to wave, I think the farmer wave is kind gesture that should be appreciated.

17)  Letters of appreciation.  A former teacher of mine put out a challenge a while back to write a daily letter to special in your life to let them know they are appreciated.  How special would it be to receive a letter like that?  When issued I knew I would never manage a letter a day.  I was aiming for a letter a week… I managed to get the first one out, aaaaaaand I am working on the second.  Or working on starting it…

18)  Put enough change in a parking meter to max out the time for the next person… or several people!

19)  Lend a mom a hand… without judgement.  Kids are rather unruly little creatures that love to go all gremilins-with-a-snack- after-midnight when in public.  If your kid is perfect and hasn’t done it, congratulations on your new baby.  Then ask your mom.  I promise YOU did as a kid.  So help the frazzled mom carry her groceries, or put away her cart… or even help her pick up the case of soda with busted cans spraying everywhere that her kid knocked over while climbing out of the cart to get the bink for the crying baby that the middle child stole and threw because the baby was looking at him.  Not that that ever happened to me.  But if it had, I cannot tell you how much a hand would have been appreciated.

20)  Leave coupons for others to use… in the grocery store, clothing stores, etc.  Easy peasy.

21)  So I am a few days late on this one, but there is always next year!  Reverse trick-or-treating.  Say wha?  A few days before Halloween, get all dolled up and decked out in your costumes and deliver Halloween treat bags to your neighbors.  No need to run off.  Say hi!  Get to know them a little.

22)  Leave a sweet message in sidewalk chalk for someone.  But check the weather forecast for rain first.

23)  Tape a $10 bill to a pack of diapers.  Those things are so darn expensive!

24)  Every time you read a book from the library (yes, some people still do that!)  leave a note for the next reader.  Something you learned from the book perhaps?  Just be sure to give a spoiler alert if needed.  It wouldn’t be so kind to completely ruin a great book!

25)  Help EVERYONE you see stranded/broken down roadside.  No, I am not suggesting you hop out and change the tire.  Just call *55 for the Highway Patrol (in MO anyway) and fill them in.

26)  Instead of the typical meal delivery for a new mom or someone recovering from an illness or surgery, take them a pack of paper plates and cups.  If you are feeling really generous, include a gift card for a local food joint that delivers or some housekeeping services(provided by you or a company you pay).

 

27)  Give of yourself, literally.  Donate blood.  To find a drive near you click here.  Sign up to be a bone marrow donor here.  I have no idea on sperm donation if your wife isn’t interested.  Google that one for yourself…

28)  Just say YES.  When asked if you would like to donate $1 at the gas station, grocery store or wherever else, for whatever the cause may be, just do it.

I stole these from an excellent blog entry that really inspired me:

27)  Tape some change in a baggie on a vending machine.  Score!  Like trick-or-treating without begging door to door in costume.

28)  Hide a few dollar bills in the toy section of the “everything is a dollar” type stores.  Some lucky kid just won the lottery!

29)  Leave a few diapers and some wipes on a public changing table

The rest of these are straight from the mouths of my babes.  Talk about random!  But I love the simple sincerity:

30)  Give a stranger a hug and tell them you love strangers.  (We will need to work on rephrasing that one)

31)  Hold the door open, but don’t slam it when they get close.

32)  Give some of our toys to kids that don’t have any.  Not just broken ones either.

33)  Work at the soup kitchen (they included with Grandma and Connie, but I am sure help would be appreciated even if Grandma and Connie aren’t at your soup kitchen)

34)  Get one of those angels off the tree at Christmas for some kids that need something

35)  Give the tree guys hot chocolate (Isabelle has the memory of an elephant… there was a crew trimming trees at our house a few years ago, on a very cold morning.  We took them out some fresh muffins and hot chocolate and coffee)

36)  Help the neighbors when their cows get out

Now you know why we have to check the gates!

37)  Tie shoes for a kid that doesn’t know how

38)  Tell someone you will be their friend

39)  Share my blankie with someone who is sad

I have some hard core blankie babes.

40)  This one just melted my heart… the kids suggested we pray for the strangers.  Really that seems like the ultimate random act of kindness to me.

The list could go on and on and on, but the point really is to DO SOMETHING.  Think beyond yourself, think outside of the box.  Think about what would bring a smile to your face.  Step out side of your comfort zone, and in doing so bring comfort to someone else.

“Never get tired of doing little things for others.  Sometimes those little things that occupy the biggest part of their hearts.”

 

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. amy craghead
    Nov 06, 2012 @ 07:29:42

    Wow! Sara you have inspired me greatly. Thanks.

    Reply

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