Friday was my 45 th birthday. One would think that after this many birthdays they would either be conveniently forgotten, I would have started counting backwards, or I would be too old to declare a single day the “Best. Day. Ever!” … None of which would be true. Here’s why: I’m grateful for every year every day the Lord has given me.

As you know, I’ve been traveling a lot (for me anyway) and on my birthday I wanted nothing more than to spend quality time with those whom I love and to glorify God by whatever we opted to do. At midnight on the 30th, God graciously reminded me of my 7:30 a.m. breakfast date with 3 treasured friends. I was a bit spaced out having just flown in from Little Rock, AR, so I’m so glad He reminded me! Upon arriving home from my breakfast with friends, the kids and I declared the start of our big day.

Can I tell you that I had a moment of sheer genius a week or two earlier when I told my kids that on my birthday I wanted no gifts, but that instead I wanted us to spend the day on an adventure looking for opportunities to do Random Acts of Kindness. They were so excited! Even Kadi (16) asked that we not start without her while she was at PSEO at the local college. We promised.

The Rochester Post Bulletin helped us immensely when they posted a 2-page detailed documentation of “wish lists” for local not-for-profit organizations and ministries. I took it with me to Little Rock and spent a great deal of time studying and marking the list while I sat in airports on Tuesday and Thursday. With my red circles marking the pages and my memo-pad on my iPhone, I created a game plan. The first half of our day was well-orchestrated. When Mike met up with us after he finished work, our plans were a little less organized.

Before I tell you any more about my Best. Day. Ever. I wanted to say this. This was not about me … my sharing it with you is not meant to bring attention to me. Are there things I need? Yes. Are there things I don’t need, but would love to have? Absolutely. But here’s the deal … this year, though we have had a number of bumps in the road, we have also had a keen awareness of God’s presence in our lives. His faithfulness has been palpable. I wanted to demonstrate my gratitude to Him for that and for the countless ways He is gracious with me.

It also just happens that my birthday is on the last day of November and on the first day of December we would be starting our Advent Hanging Garland Calendar (Blog post coming on this later this week!). I so desperately want my children to know that Advent isn’t a countdown to the arrival of a man in a red suit who spoils them with things they may not even be able to name in 2 weeks. Rather, I want us to keep Christ, the incarnate God who came to save us from our sins, at the center of our Christmas. With that in mind, I chose to set the stage by having us love on others in tangible ways.

I could tell you how amazing this day was for me … but it just so happens that Kadi wrote about it before I had an opportunity to do so. She has given me permission to share it with you. Also, one of the recipients of our loving also posted on their Care Page, so I’m going to share that as well …

From Kadi~

So today was my mom’s birthday! Instead of us going out to a fancy restaurant or getting her expensive presents, she wanted to spend the entire day doing random acts of kindness for other people. Sort of a “Pay it Forward” idea.

We dropped off “wish list” items to ARC, The Boys and Girls club, a homeless shelter, and other places too. We helped a homeless man that we saw on the street. We gave all the change Mom had in her purse to the Salvation Army red kettle.

Then we picked up Inta Juice, a big dolphin balloon, toothpaste (her favorite, it’s all she wanted), and a new fuzzy blanket for 8 year old Natalie who has been battling Leukemia (She’s been back in the hospital a couple of times recently. Please join us in praying that she will not have a recurrence.) It was so great to stop in and talk with her and her mom. 🙂

   [INSERT: Here is a note Natalie’s Mom wrote Saturday on her Care Page:

Natalie has been fever free for 24 hours now. Her labs will be drawn shortly and hopefully be good, so we can leave right away. Everyone knows Natalie has a birthday party today. She finally ate and started drinking yesterday. She is off IV fluids. And she is feeling much better.

I ran some errands yesterday and forgot to get her special toothpaste, but didn’t have time to make another stop since lunch was coming late already (her favorite request curry chicken from Kasson Buffet King). But I was saved when someone called to see if I needed anything. Weird request right???? But not for Natalie she has to have a special one that she usually tries to hide and keep to herself. She was also was blessed by someone who was completing Random Acts of Kindness for her birthday. And as a family they were out blessing others instead of receiving gifts for herself. What a neat idea! Anyways Natalie got a soft Christmas blanket that ended up keeping her warm last night because she was cold and her blanket she brought got something on it. And she got a dolphin balloon that she played with before going to bed! Natalie was blessed and beaming ear to ear while swimming around the room.]

(Back to Kadi ~)

We also picked up some other balloons and ended up just giving them to some little kids in the hospital. These little boys were ADORABLE.

“Um, um, can I please have the gold star, please? Thank you! Thank you!”

… and “RED IS MY FAVORITE COLOR! Dad, it’s red! It’s red!”

🙂 🙂 That definitely brought tears to all of our eyes, just seeing how happy these little boys were to get some balloons.

Taco Johns for supper (Mom’s favorite) … we got there and the whole place was dead (on a Friday night … ) … and then right after we walked in, a single mom with a little boy walked in. Mom went right up to her and asked if we could buy their supper for them (her boyfriend ended up coming in too) …they were absolutely shocked. The look on her face was priceless.

This was the coolest thing. Something I would love to do more of. Seeing how happy these little things made people … wow. I think it meant more to us than them even!

… and finally. My present to mom.

I’ve only been waiting to give this to her since August.
🙂 I sent out emails to ALL of her friends and family, even friends back from when she was a kid, and asked them to send me a letter of their favorite memories or thoughts of mom. The response turned out to be pretty amazing. I wasn’t sure if anyone would respond really, just because since I am such a procrastinator, I figured everyone would be too! But I was truly amazed at all the amazing things that people said about my mom. Very cool. People were dropping the letters off at midnight, sneaking them to me in church, or even mailing them to “Kadi Elder”. 🙂

When I handed the 31 matching coral envelopes (wrapped in twine! yes!) to mom tonight … the look on her face. She was shocked. She couldn’t believe I had pulled it off! I think she said “seriously!?!?” almost 10 times.

We just spent the past hour reading through all the letters … laughing and crying right along with her. It was really, really special.

Glad the surprise is out and a BIG thank you to all who wrote to her 🙂

Me again …

I would be totally remiss if I didn’t give props to my dear Mike who made me the most amazing German Chocolate cake. It was a masterpiece to look at and delicious to devour.

Friends, the memories that were made with my family on November 30, 2012, are priceless. They will forever be imprinted on all of our hearts. We were blessed to be a blessing. We did it as a family who feels rich in that we love and are loved. We have our health, our home, our church, our friends and extended family, and each other. Most importantly, we each have a personal relationship with our Father and we delight in delighting Him.

And THAT is why this was the Best. Day. Ever!

Do tell! What was your Best. Day. Ever! ??

Has anyone ever done a random act of kindness of which you were the recipient? Is there something you’ve done as a random act that you’d care to share?