Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Guest Post: Birthday Blitzing; Using Your Special Day to Bless Others

Birthdays are just wonderful, aren't they? It's a day when all your friends and family stop to recognize you and bless you with tokens of their affection. Some make a BIG deal of their birthdays; others let the day come and go with barely a mention, noted only by the closest friends and family.

But what about making YOUR special day special for others

Just recently, a long-time friend of mine, Jennifer Holstein, posted on Facebook something incredible. She chose to make her birthday a time to go out of her way to make others, those she knows and those she will never even see, feel special. Here's her list and some pictures of what she did for others:

Birthday Blitz- the complete list!

1. Made brian breakfast and walked Lucas so he could enjoy it.

2. Left a treat in the mailbox for the mail lady.
3. Left popcorn on the Redbox
4. Took goodies to my long time doctor and her nurse.
5. Took treats to our babysitter.
6. Goodies for the bank teller who was SO nice.
7. Paid admission for 5 people at Wannamaker Park.
8. Gave a goody bag to the kid work
ing the booth at Wannamaker.

9. Bought a sweet old couple breakfast.
10. Left encouraging notes on cars at Trident Cancer Center.
11. Left congratulation card on cars at the Birthing Center.
12. Left nice notes on the mirrors in Target dressing rooms.
13. Drove to work and left a note on my mom's car.
14. Taped quarters to a soda machine at Tanger.
15. Left a note that said "you're a great mom" in Tanger's nursing area.
16. Left quarter on ride toys.
17. Treated a little boy waiting with him mom to a ride on the merry go round.
18. Took a goody bag to this sweet lady at Sam's who always remembers my name.
19. Took dog toys, cat toys and human treats to the Charleston Animal Shelter.
20. Left a 100% tip on my lunch.
21. Fed about to expire meters downtown.
22. Left pennies for wishing at Waterfront Park fountains.
23. Gave some lost tourists directions.
24. Surprised Brian at work.
25. Left a treat for the massage therapist who fixed my back. 
26. Encouraging messages in certain subjected books at Barnes & Nobles (weight loss, self help, parenting)
27. Left a happy note on the B&N mirror.
28. Wildly applauded the little boy who was singing in the kids section and got treated to a little concert.
29. Took treats to all the workers at the West Ashley Red Cross.
30. Let tons of people into traffic all day.
31. Left quarters in grocery store toy machines.
32. Picked up Lucas early- which he loves.
33... and my favorite- Brought flowers to a brand new mom who just had her baby today. ♥

So after seeing this, I asked Jennifer if could share where she got her idea, the reactions she received from those she was blessing, and any future plans. Here is her response: 

"I read this article {read link} over the summer and was absolutely inspired by it.  He mentions another person who did something similar and I read that too.  I thought it was a fantastic idea!  I’ve always loved my birthday and 3 has always been my husband’s & my lucky number.  Since this was my 33rd birthday, I wanted to do something really special.

I decided that I wanted to do the same thing for my birthday.  So I started to make a list.  I thought of people in my day to day life that are kind to me, that never get acknowledged like they should.  I thought of inexpensive ways I could leave kindness for strangers.  I thought of organizations that I care about or places that just plain make me happy.  And I left some blanks for places where I was just inspired by the day.

I had a handful of ideas.  I made gift bags full of hershey’s kisses and I made little tags that said “Today is Birthday…and I’m celebrating by giving to others” with a space to write a personal note.  I made some for specific people- my doctor and her nurse, the humans at the Charleston Animal Shelter, our long time babysitter, a lady at a store I frequent who is so nice, our mail lady and the folks at the Red Cross (I’m a long time blood donor).   I made a bunch more to just have as the mood stuck me.  I also made dog and cat treats for the animal shelter.

I took a bunch of the cards and wrote little messages on the back- just encouraging things that would make me smile if I read them. 

My car looked like a mobile office- I had pens, tape, markers…  If you want to do this yourself, be prepared!  I wish I’d have packed some water. 

I planned out my day to begin in Summerville, where I live.  All of those were planned stops.  I needed to hit the bank and my teller was so friendly and sweet, I sent a treat bag with a note back through the tube before I left- that was my first unplanned kindness.

I had a free drink at Dunkin’ Donuts, so I get my drink and a $10 gift card.  While I was doing this, an older couple came in behind me. They were talking about what to get for breakfast.  When my drink was done, I turned around and handed them the card and wished them a great day.  They were so surprised and pleased. 

Most of the things I did- I never saw the people who received them.  I just liked the idea of someone coming across it and making them smile.  The handful of people who I did something for directly (the little boy on the merry go round, the lunch tip, the boy at Barnes & Noble, the Red Cross folks, the nurses at the maternity ward) were so surprised and almost taken aback.  It so strange to think that we go so long between acts of kindness that it is almost shocking when it happens.  I’ve always believed that the best way we can live is to simply look out for others… smile at a stranger, hold a door for a mom…  be kind to each other. 

It was without a doubt the best birthday I’ve ever had.  I felt so blessed, like the universe was just filling me with positive energy and I’m so energetic about what this 33rd year of my life will bring."
So my challenge to you, dear reader, is this: 
How can you bless others? For your birthday, for Christmas, for Veterans Day...for no reason at all, how about take the time to make someone else's day brighter. 
It doesn't have to be expensive, time consuming, or even anything that takes a lot of planning. I am thinking of making this one of my New Year's Resolutions for 2013. How about you? 

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