Saturday, April 28, 2012

Avoiding reality :)

   Last Thursday I hit a new milestone in my life...turning 30. EEEK!! Haha! People react so differently turning 'thirty' but I honestly didn't mind, it's just a day right? I am lucky enough to be surrounded by many individuals throughout my work day that remind me that "I'm just a pup" or "Oh, you're still a baby" (I work in cardiac rehab and my patients typically have a few years on me :)), they always know how to make me feel good, even though that's supposed to be my job, haha. 
   My 30th birthday was amazing from start to finish. I will say that every time I think about it I smile with pride, gratitude and sincere love for everything and everyone I have in my life. 
  I decided a long time ago that I wanted to do something special for my birthday. I am not one that loves attention from others ( My better half takes on that role, sorry babe, but you know it's true, haha :)) and I wasn't into having a big party, but we'll get into that a little later.  I thought about going to the crisis center or the food pantry to help out but knew I wanted to do more. I wanted to find a way to help people realize that there are still a LOT of good in the world and that we can and should show kindness towards one another. 
   A few months prior to my birthday I was on Pinterest and  'pinned' a blog from a woman who did random acts of kindness (RAK) for her birthday and thought that was the coolest, most selfless idea I've ever seen. I've also looked into the Shine Project as a wonderful resource who also provides RAK and tracks these acts to see how many people were reached from just one RAK. 

I have been asked many times what I did, so I thought it might be easiest to let you know through our blog :)
I'll take you throughout my day but I would love to know if you have other RAK that I couldn't think of :)!!!

1. Dropped off shampoo, conditioner, body wash, baby lotion, soap, diaper rash ointment and diapers to the Women's Crisis Center.

2. Took food to the food pantry. We were told that they see over 400 people a week. These people are only allowed to come to the pantry once a week. ONCE A WEEK?! Broke my heart. Let me remind everyone that we live in a town of about 12,000 people. 

3. Hit up Goodwill. They have one of the easiest drop offs and they come and get it from your car. We pulled in the wrong way and didn't trigger the bell so we did it ourselves, which was fine with me! 

4. Off to Wal-mart. I had a gift card to use up and bought candy and other items I needed for the day. The l had some left over money on the card so I gave to the woman behind me. She was speechless, really didn't know what to say as she just looked at me with a strange face, her daughter chimed in with the 'Thank You!!!' which was more than I needed. 

5. While at Wal-mart, my hubby helped a woman with 40lb bags of salt and put it in her cart and then helped her put them in her car. 

6. Hy-vee, our local grocery store, was our next stop. I bought gift cards to Chili's restaurant as well as a $10 gift card for Hy-vee. As I was about to leave and the couple behind me were checking out. I handed them the $10 gift card and a little card that I handed most people that said "For some reason today you were chosen to receive a random act of kindness, please pay it forward as you can." They were sweetly surprised and thanked me a few times as I was leaving the store.

7 & 8.) I stopped by the Post office and mailed cards to my grandmothers and my mom. They are such amazingly inspiring woman and I honestly give them full credit for making me the woman I am today. They are touching, determined and simply kind souls. I also sent my mother a birthday card.

9.) Next was Starbucks for 2 reasons, I knew I was going to need a coffee to keep me energized for the day and the other was to buy the car behind us their coffee for the day.

10.) Every morning there is a woman who opens the door to the hospital for me with a smile and a nice gesture to have a great day. She was deserving of something!! I gave her a bag of treats and a little quote!

11.) Before I left the house in the morning, I cut flowers from the back yard and put them in a vase, not knowing who I would run into but knew I would find someone deserving of them and I found my friend Cathy!

12.) I work with many physicians as well as their very hard working nurses. Last week I think I contacted them about one thing or another re: my patients over 20 times. I'm sure I got annoying! They were overly deserving of cookies. 
The night before, I made about 5 dozen cookies. This is a huge feat for me, ask my family, I DO NOT BAKE, but this whole day was about others not me so I bucked up :)

13.) I left a bag of dark chocolate in our lunch room at work for my coworkers to enjoy. Chocolate is good for your heart right?!  The balloons and decorations were all them. They decided to have a little party for me the day before...stinkers!!

14 & 15.) Next, I was off to the University of Iowa's Children's hospital as I made super capes. If you read a few blogs below, my super shirts were part of this cape inspiration. I donated 2 capes one for a little girl and one for a little boy. These kids are so deserving of something for being so brave.

16.) While I was there, I was informed there was a girl celebrating her 13th birthday in the hospital and wasn't really happy about it. I gave her a HUGE bag of candy (with permission), I hope it helped cheer up her day!

17.) I also donated a check to the Children's Hospital, 20% of our "Super Shirt" profits from Marie Grace Boutique. See below for the reason we did the Super shirts.

18.) I taped $1.60 to a vending machine for someone to use to purchase a pop. I walked by about 45min later and there were people standing there looking at it but no one took it :) I stopped back the next day, it was gone, thankfully!!

19.) Just walking in the hospital you run into many lost worried souls. I stopped and helped 4 people to their clinic visits. 

20). I handed out 2 Choose Joy bracelets while at the hospital to people that looked like they needed a little guidance. We always have a choice. Ashley from Lil' Blue Boo, was also an inspiration for me to make sure I pay it forward because you don't know what people are going through and you could make their day just by smiling or saying hi!

21.) Parking is a huge issue at our hospital and people drive from all over the state to get their care here and it can become QUITE costly. I placed $3.00 in an envelope and put it on a car from a county in Iowa I've never heard of, which makes me think was a ways away :) Although it probably didn't cover their parking fees at least I could (hopefully) put a little dent in it.

22.) Next stop downtown Iowa City. I went into our local organic foods store to use the restroom and there was a struggling new momma in there needing help as her new baby had an accident all over the car seat and  let me tell you it was EVERYWHERE, ha! I asked if I could help but at that point she had control over the situation so I handed her a bag of chocolates and told her she deserved everyone in there :) 

23.) We have to pay for parking in our downtown area, like many cities and so I decided to plug someone's parking meter to help out. I have now been scolded as this is illegal, I guess and I could have gotten in trouble. I think that I karma helped me stay out of trouble on this one :)

 24, 25, 26.) I gave 3 random tables at Chili's $10 gift cards. I just walked in and put the card on their table and said "I hope this helps, you deserve it" and walked away.

27.) Our friend just had a baby boy, and we stopped by with a handmade gift I made for him. I don't know if this was a RAK as I really wanted to see one of the most adorable babies I've ever laid eyes on. So, although I list it, take it as you wish :)

28.) At Wal-mart in the morning, I bought some bones for our neighbors who have the sweetest chocolate labs. I waited to give the bones to them until my daughter was home so she could do it, they are her favorite animals and gets so excited to see them everyday. 

29.) With my left over baked cookies I hit up 4 neighborhood houses.

30.) I also hit up a new neighbor's house who just had a baby with another handmade gift. Again its one of those things that turned around on me because I was so lucky to see an adorable little man and get to hold him for a little bit! He was PRECIOUS!

So, there are my 30ish things :) 

That evening my husband and I had dinner plans so my MIL came in to watch our little darling. We hit up Red's Ale house in North Liberty for a drink. As I was ordering, my friend Matt came up to me and ask that we join him at his table. I said sure why not. As I walked into the room where I thought he was sitting, I saw my friends huddled in the corner shouting SURPRISE!

I HONESTLY had the best birthday of my life that day. I want to thank my husband and my friends for making it so special!!!