35 Acts of Kindness

To celebrate my 35th birthday, I decided to do 35 acts of kindness. This was for sure the best way to celebrate a birthday and I think it has really helped permanently change my life in some ways.

Today, I thought I’d share my list of acts and two lessons I learned with this little project.

My 35 Acts

I shared each act in more detail on my Instagram page (@LittleHouseBigLifeBlog). To be clear, I don’t share this to brag, but to offer ideas in case you have the chance to spread kindness in your own life.

  1. Donate toiletries to a homeless shelter.
  2. Send box tops to my former high school.
  3. Mail Halloween candy to a soldier.
  4. Take dinner to a friend recovering from surgery.
  5. Send a card to a little girl in the hospital.
  6. Buy a raffle ticket to support youth hockey.
  7. Send a care package to a friend undergoing cancer treatments.
  8. Take dinner and pictures from the kids to a friend recovering from an accident.
  9. Leave coupons in the store with the products for someone else to find.
  10. Give a gift card to the bank teller.
  11. Cookies for our house cleaner.
  12. Donate used toys to Martha’s Home.
  13. Give a gift to a teacher moving away.
  14. Buy blankets for a homeless blanket drive.
  15. Pay for the car behind me at Chikfila.
  16. Give my lunch to a woman holding a sign on the street on a cold day.
  17. Offer prayers to a little boy I have never met.
  18. Send a care package to a friend having a hard season.
  19. Send cookie care packages to Law students studying for finals.
  20. I sent a cookie care package to another law student.
  21. Visit a new baby in the hospital.
  22. Give away hand-me-down kids clothes.
  23. Participate in the Hearts for Elliott Toy Drive for OU Children’s Hospital.
  24. But drinks for the parents of a screaming baby on my flight.
  25. Leave a 100% tip.
  26. Donate to a children’s coat drive.
  27. Send an encouraging note to a friend starting a new chapter.
  28. Send a book to my friends’ son.
  29. Donate to a backpack and blanket drive for the homeless.
  30. Share coupons with people in line.
  31. Bring home cookie sandwiches for my family.
  32. Deliver Christmas cookies to the cotton gin.
  33. Pray a Novena for someone else.
  34. Donate to adopt a family for Christmas.
  35. Fund Snack Pack for Kids for one child in our town for the next year.

Lessons Learned

First, I decided sometime ago to never doubt that giving is right.

It’s easy to be cynical and talk yourself out of doing something. “They’ll probably just use the money to buy beer.” “What if they don’t really need the item I am donating?” “What if my money just goes to pay the CEO and not to really help?”

When I give, I do not pass judgment. When I give, I do not question motives of the recipient. When I give, I simply trust that God knows my heart and will use my gift for good. Maybe that doesn’t look like I think it should, but I just trust that somehow, He will use it for good. Being a cheerful, faithful giver–I think that’s all that is called of me in this situation.

Second, there are opportunities for kindness all around us if we look for them. As with anything, when you go looking, you will find it.

For example, if you keep a gratitude journal, you will live your life looking for things to be grateful for. If you are doing an Acts or Kindness project, you live your life looking for opportunities to be kind.

And maybe this is too pie-in-the-sky, but think about how much better our lives would be if everyone lived looking for those chances to be kind. Imagine what the world would look like.

So while my small acts may not be much, but they’ve changed the way I look at the world and interact with others. Maybe they’ve done something to change the recipients too. Heck, maybe in some small way, these acts are making lasting changes in the world, one care package or chicken nugget at a time.

I can’t think of a better birthday gift.

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