Friday, December 21, 2012

26 acts of kindness

I woke up this morning, just like I do every day, to the sound of Beckham yelling "momma" from his crib and Maddox squished up next to me as if I were his only source of heat.

We made our search for Shimmer, started eating powdered donuts and milk and then I went on to searching social media while the boys watched Nick Jr in their pjs.

Originally, today was going to be spent at the Omni theater watching the Polar Express with our friends.  But the movies were sold out so I had already decided that Friday was going to be laundry day-- all day long.

Then I scrolled down to Nicolle's post on instagram and saw her hashtag #26acts.
Nicolle is always up to something good, so I knew I wanted to know more!
I clicked the hashtag and started scrolling through all the selfless acts of kindness that these people were doing for random strangers and I knew I wanted in on it.

Nicolle explained to me that this was started by Ann Curry.
I found the facebook page which states:: "Newtown's heartbreak has a lot of us asking, "What can I do?" Thinking about this, Ann Curry took to social media and asked people to imagine what would happen if all of us committed to 26 acts of kindness to honor each life lost in Newtown.

Here is the website if you would like to know more.

I am a planner.
So against everything that I am made of, I scooped the boys into the car and me made our way to purchase a few treats to spread our joy.

First stop was to see Mamaw at the rehabilitation center.  Mamaw knew who we were when she could keep her eyes awake, but she spent the majority of her day today, sleeping.
The boys and I walked the halls and handed candy canes to nurses, CNA, clerks, therapists, janitors, and anyone else we saw in uniform.
Maddox wished each of them a Merry Christmas and went on about his hunt for the next worker.
We headed to Chili's afterward for lunch and to meet up with my sister and mom.
As we were heading in, we saw two brothers coming out.
Maddox and I darted back to the car to grab a couple of toys, to which we offered the brothers.
Their mommy cried and thought it was the coolest thing.

 Popcorn and soda to the White Settlement Volunteer Fire department.

Maddox finally found a boy who wanted his Spiderman toy after being turned down by 2 boys before.
(I was most proud of him for this one, because I knew he really wanted it for himself)
I bought 4 lottery tickets at a gas station, which I gave the first one back to the attendant as an act... and placed the other 3 on random pumps across Fort Worth.
While checking out at Old Navy, I was writing the note for the ball machine.  We discussed why one coat rang up on sale and the other did not and she said it was probably just because they were different colors so I asked her to put it back.  She then asked me about the cards and once I told her what I was doing, she grabbed the coat out of the stack and said, "it's the least I can do."  She also gave me an additional coupon on my purchase, which brought my purchase of a vest, 2 winter coats, a pair of jeans and 4 shirts (all for the boys) to $42!!
I gave her a cup of candy!
 A hidden note, paying for the next newspaper.
We saw this sweet little man checking his mail, and we had to stop. 
He politely declined my gift, but I think he thought I was trying to sell him something!

We treated this fella to some candy... but I think his treat was really our time out on the couch, chatting.

A treat for a random printing company.

Stalking a man who was surprised with our lotto ticket.
And that's as fussy as he got.  Which was impressive since we were stop and go-- for hours-- no stroller-- no naps.

 A surprise for our favorite neighbors.
 A cup full of candy to two ladies at the fountain.
A surprise for our mail lady.
We treated a woman in fatigues and thanked her for serving our country.
And we treated a couple of biker dudes too.
The police department repaid Maddox with seven pencils.
I know, because he counted them!
He was so impressed that she gave him so many!
And seven hours later, we were finished!

When I called Lance this morning to tell him what we were doing, he wanted to be included.
He told me that he read part of a eulogy to a little boy this morning and it made him sad.... helpless... and mad.
So he donated to the Salvation Army and bought a stranger's lunch and even though we weren't together today, we made it a family effort.

I also wrangled my mom and sister into the antics and had so much fun sharing this with them.

After looking through some of the others, I felt guilty that all of ours were such small acts.
Kind of embarrassed, really.
Lance and I talked about doing this again next year, on a bigger scale-- and he agreed that we could do more.

But tonight, I feel full.
Maddox had the best time today and told me he wanted to do it every year. 
Every smile, "Merry Christmas", and skip from him when we pulled off another gifting....
The tears, puzzled looks, smiles and moments of gratitude from complete strangers...
And being able to do this all, in the company of my mom and sister-- made this day one of my favorites!

Maddox told me that today was "generous".
And I guess I agree.


  1. Oh sweet Holly! I just love everything that you did. I love seeing your pictures and reading your words here. DON'T ever think any act is too small. I am going to commit to doing more small acts, more often. Seriously, taping the money on the ball or candy machines will have made someone's day. Thanks for all of the good ideas. I want to bless more random strangers next time, just like you did. You are inspiring to me! What a great day. I was on a high yesterday that I've never felt, and I know that is what giving is all about. I'm so happy that you had such a wonderful day. That is how God repays us, with a lot of love and light in our hearts. Merry Christmas to you and your precious family.

  2. And, I love that your mom and sister were with you and the boys too!

  3. I loved reading through this post holly!!!
    And I agree with Nicolle that no act is too small!!!
    I know you commented to me about your acts being on a much smaller scale, but not all of mine will be as big as that one! In fact most won't. I loved many of your ideas! Loved the hidden note and dollar for the next newspaper. Clever. It really is the little things. I love that your boys gifted those brothers and that the mom cried. That's so sweet. Doing this really does fill your heart.

  4. I just want to say...
    This particular blog has had 220 hits in 12 hours.
    I only point that out to say.... if only a tiny percentage of those people feel convicted to join us-- let's say 1 in 10-- that's over 500 acts of kindness in memory of these little lives.

    As an empathetic person, I can't fathom that there's anything that anyone could do to heal the hearts of these grieving mommas... but I imagine them hearing stories of the greater good (in the name of their children) has to be a start.

    {{my friend Wendy was just inspired and donated her hair to locks of love!! ...I hope I can do another post of other acts by my friends, and watch the chain of love grow!}}

  5. holly, that is so awesome!!! even better that you included your boys, such a special time for you and them as well. thanks for sharing ~ leslee

  6. I loved reading this!! We have had some stuff going on here with people in our life and this just restored my faith. I wish I would have read your post back on Wednesday. I think doing something like this would have helped me let go of being mad. Maybe next week? My kids would enjoy this as much as I would.
    Merry Christmas Holly!

  7. I love every single one of your acts of kindness Holly! I read your post a couple of days ago but didn't have time to comment. Such an awesome thing to do with your boys. We are doing our 26 acts of kindness today on Christmas tie it in with something Brady did last year. I am giddy this morning thinking about blessing so many others today!
    Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family!

  8. hi holly...poppin in from nicolle's blog. (again!:)
    love all of this and your heart.
    your boys are blessed and you and nicolle have inspired me....again.:)
    have a happy night and merry christmas