Thursday, April 18, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness.

If you have read my bloggaroo long enough, you know that I tend to brag on my friends.
A lot.

But they're pretty great people I tell you...

And here's a whole lot of kindness to prove it!!

was the first to jump on the birthday bandwagon, and that was no surprise to me at all.
I have no idea how her heart fits inside her body because she's truly one of those people who would give her shirt off her back for someone else.  And honestly, she probably has before.  I met her through blogging, and even though we have only met in real life a couple of times, I consider her a real friend and I LOVE her heart.
"I donated to a place near and dear to my heart, in your honor. The Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County will serve 600-700 Easter meals this year, so I wanted to help out with several of those meals. Thank you for doing this Holly. I always only takes a spark...
Great things will come from your wonderful, generous idea!
Love you friend!"

was next to complete her RAK!  She is cousins to one of Lance's friends from HS.  Someone woke up expecting to get breakfast and go about their normal day... but her kindness changed all of that!!  It's awesome to think that such a simple act from her, probably changed some stranger's entire day!
"In honor of your birthday I bought the car's breakfast behind me this morning!
Thanks again for the challenge! (I'll see what else I can do this month.)" 

Amy Lou
was next.  Our relationship goes back well over a decade as she was my brother's history teacher in junior high and then my own.  She taught me again in high school for AP history, and we came full circle to become friends in my adult life.  And here's one more fun fact::  my Nana owned the land surrounding my dad's house.  When she sold the hay fields (that I spent my childhood feeding cows, fishing and riding my 4-wheeler through), it was turned into a housing division.... where she now lives!
Anyway--- She got crafty with her act.  Quite impressive, actually!  But that's no surprise! 
"There once was a girl named Holly, whose blog always made me feel jolly.  She's turning 29, she wants not a dime.  Only random acts of kindness and folly."

is the one responsible for all of our family pictures!  Her and Lance went to high school together, and after me stalking her down a bit, she's a friend of mine too!
She was next to accomplish her act.  She even reposted it to her IG in hopes that the cycle could continue!  ...and her "victim" posted her kindness on FB. 
 And then, for my birthday, she ROAK me a photo session!!!!!!!!  Whoa!

and I have gone to school together literally our entire lives.  She ended up marrying her high school sweetheart, and hopefully will teach my little biscuits once we build on our land as she now teaches in the same town we both grew up.  Her entire life she has been known as being "so sweet".  And obviously she still is.
This is just one of 29 acts that she did!!
was one of my mom's first friends when we moved to Paradise.  I spent days playing at her house in over-sized white tutus and eating her strawberry cookies!  She ended up being my cheerleading sponsor in highschool and is now one of my niece's teachers.
"Had fun hiding these at Target yesterday! Really wanted to hang around and watch someone find one. Thanks for letting me be part of your mission!

and her family are going beyond a small act of kindness... they are collecting money, $10 at a time, to build a well for the children of the Joy Divine orphanage.  They are writing the person's name behind each bill as they strive for their goal!
She sent me a sweet little video with this message, "The first $10.00 building stone is in your name for your April days of random acts of kindness to celebrate your birthday!"
(if anyone would like to help her family's cause, I can get her information to share!) 

was quick to get started as well and I believe she, like Ashley, did 29 acts herself!
She moved to Paradise for just a semester, but because we lived kind of parallel lives with cheerleading and FFA and FHA and all that jazz-- and after becoming mommies together, we found common ground again!

and I went to school with each other our entire lives as well.  She is the kind of mom we would all be happy to be compared to!  She's a creative, and loving and God filled momma, who stays home with her 3 babes.  I love that she included her entire family in her act!

A week later, she sent me this::

"So today the kids and I went to Pronto's in Bridgeport to have lunch after church and there was a sweet little old couple there having lunch the sweet little old lady was talking to Joslin.After a trip to the restroom with Joslin I took her by the couples table and she loved on the lady. This lady was absolutely ecstatic that Joslin gave her a hug. I just really felt led to by their lunch so we went ahead and paid for it. Then the kids and I came home and my husband came home from work and told me that some random mam had given him $80!!!! Just had to share this awesome blessing with you it does prove that kindness comes back to you!!!!"

was my first real boss!  She owns the one and only cafe in my hometown.  She is known for her "no BS" attitude, her humor and her heart.  The Finish Line is as "home town" as it gets... and one of the things I truly miss about living there.  I don't know that she has ever turned away a hungry kid and we, as a town, would be ashamed to know how much she eats each year in un-paid tabs.  Still to this day, I miss that job.  I worked with my best friends, within walking distance from the school, had regular customers and it was the place that all of our friends stopped by and congregated between events! I can only hope that  my boys are lucky enough to have a job like that, with a boss like her, to teach them work ethic and responsibility... and a few life lessons too.
(PS, that is my little niece Ellie holding my name!  Isn't that sweet?!)
And I know it isn't really related to *this* RAK but when I am having a down day, Rayanne's FB will always make me laugh!  And the last time that the boys and I created a RAK day, she joined in on the fun.
Except, in true Rayanne fashion, it was priceless!  I had to share this story!
 I die every time I read it!

did not plan for this to be my RAK, but on a whim I decided to make it.
I am in a bible study on Wednesdays but can only make it about half the time due to schedule conflicts or sickly kiddos.  We, as a group, have a facebook page and one of the moms was in an urgent need for child care and posted her request to the page.  They are a military family and new to our area, with no family near.  Her son has had a very tough transition to their school and was beat up multiple times and she has not had great help from the school over the bullying issues.  I honestly, have only sat in the same room with this momma a few times and had no one-on-one interaction with her, but decided to offer myself up as childcare to her 9 year old and 2 year old baby girls one Saturday.
We had fun... and they were both so sweet!

Nana, Penny, and Ashlin 
each completed their own acts, for my birthday.  My cousin Ashlin is living the dream as she graduated from University of Texas and then moved to Chicago to work for Groupon.  Had I not chosen the married/ momma life, I believe her's sounds pretty amazing!
Nana and my aunt Penny flew to see her and move her into her new apartment, and while they were there, they spread quite a few acts of Texas hospitality around Chi-town, between the 3 of them!
"Holly, while we were in Chicago, Ashlin took Penny and I to a little restaurant that only sold hot dogs called, "Clark's Dogs" almost in the shadow of Wriggle Field. While waiting in line to place our orders, a yound dad and his two kids came in and were waiting behind us. The kids were so cute, wanting to know if they could have ice cream after they ate their hot dogs. I dug into my purse and pulled out two of the "RAK"s dollars and handed them to the little boy and told him to give one to his sister. He was so excited to run and show his sister what he had, I didn't get a chance to take his picture. I don't know if you got all the of pictures of the other ones we did while in Chicago. It was so cold and rainy most of the time we were there I didn't get a chance to do as many as I wanted to.

Here is a list of the ones I can remember:

Restroom at DFW, Friday morning

Return luggage cart rack at O'Hare airport, Friday morning

Restroom at a little cafe, lunch Friday

Parking meter station, Saturday

Restroom at a pizza place called the "Pie Hole", Saturday night

Tucked inside the menu at the "Pie Hole", Saturday night

On a gas pump at a Shell Station, Sunday afternoon

The two children at "Clark's Dogs", Sunday afternoon

Restroom on the hand dryer at "Bob Tail's" Ice cream parlor Sunday night.

We were standing outside there when Ashlin took our pictures for Face Book.

Taped one to the seat on the "L" train headed to O'Hare airport Monday morning early.

Yesterday I ran to the "Dollar Tree" in Lake Worth where a homeless man was sitting on the sidewalk in front to the store. I handed him one but he scared me a little and I didn't even try to take his picture.

That makes 11 but I may have missed one or two.

I leave Wednesday morning, April 17, on a bus tour to Washington DC with my friend Susie and her mom. We will be gone a week and I plan to do some more if I have the chance. I will send you pictures if I can. My phone doesn't take very good pictures, or maybe it's just the photographer ;-)

I am sending you and Beckham your birthday cards a little early as I will be gone on your birthdays. April 22, is our 18 anniversary and I will miss that as well. I sure hate that, I will miss our big anniversary dinner at "Jack in the Box".

I hope you have a good birthday and tell Beckham "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" from Grandpa Mike and Nana. Give Maddox and Beckham both a big hug from Nana. I am putting a $5. bill in your card to give Maddox on Beckham's birthday.



is Amy Lou's sister!  She is also a fellow blogger and FB friend.  I met her once in real life, and proved to be socially awkward as I stuck out my hand to shake hers!!  What woman does that?!  Mrs. Jones, aka: Mrs. Thurman aka: Amy Lou tells about her sister's heart often.  And from what I have heard, this RAK business is not new to her!  As a matter of fact, she turned her one act into 2!
"I want to thank you for the challenge...even though I was late getting it done it has been continuously on my mind and I hope I can make it less of a random thing.
Hope your birthday was fantabulous!!"
Her note, like her creative sister, was a rhyme:
once there was a girl named Holly... With a heart made of gold and a spirit so sweet... For her birthday she chose for others instead to receive a surprise treat... So hope you enjoy some CFA and enjoy a wonderful day.

and I met last soccer season, when her daughter, Sofia, played on our soccer team.  I kind of fell in love with Sofia's blond locks and spirit of a butterfly... and I just loved her sweet parents from our first conversation!
"Better late than never! Happy belated birthday! I love your heart, and took great joy in explaining your birthday wish (for your friends to do acts of kindness in lieu of gifts) to my kiddos. Great inspiration!"   
Little did she realize, she wasn't late at all!   

is my friend Vince's momma.  Vince and I go back a decade of memories... and he and Lance go back at least a decade before that.  She used her act of kindness to send a basket full of sunshine to a momma of 2 on a new journey of freedom!   

was my first babysitting baby.  Although she wasn't really a "baby"... but more a sweet-sweet-pretty little girl, with a rotten little brother (just kidding Caleb!!), and a protective big brother. Those Read kids will always be special to me because I kind of got to watch them grow up.  I think I was 14 when I started watching them... and when they became old enough to watch themselves, I still hung out to swim sometimes in the summer and got a Christmas gig each year to decorate their house!
Kendra is now married with a beautiful baby girl of her own and her husband was recently deployed.
She bought the meal for the car behind her at Burger King when she realized it was a friend that she hadn't seen in a long time.  She did not get a picture, but this one will work!

and I worked together at BKays for a few years while I was in nursing school.  Lance and I still leave her voicemail recording to each other, because she could say any word and somehow and make it sound sexy!  I wish you could hear my impression on here... but you can't... so... just take my word for it!
She had one little love biscuit back when we worked together and now has another, the same age as B.  Thankful to IG and FB we still get to stay in touch, 10 years later.
"Monday while headed into CVS, I noticed a mother & daughter coming out & the daughter began to fall. I ran up to her and let her fall back into my arms, she couldn't speak English too well, but I just kept telling her to breathe & asked her to tell me where it hurt. She couldn't answer me, so I propped her against the brick wall, ran inside & got her a 7up (bc she had said no to water). When I came out she was vomiting and all she could say was thank u so much for my drink. I asked if she wanted me to sit with her & she said no that's ok, so I went into CVS & by the time I came out she was gone....does that count?? Lol"   

and Lance went to school together.  I kind of creep on her, because she is everything healthy and granola that I would love to be, but know I never could.  ...And she is athletic, and buys good shoes... and her kids are cute.  What more could you ask for?!  Her story made me cry... 
"Well. I completed my random act of kindness today and was incredibly foolish for thinking I would be able to leave with a dry eye. I decided to take a stack of coloring books and crayons to Cooks as a donation. While I was aware that I would be unable to actually come into contact with any patients I felt comforted by the fact that I wouldn't have to hold it together. Boy was I wrong. The ladies who greeted me and accepted the donation were thrilled and so sweet. As I was taking their picture a little boy in a wheel chair and his two siblings came up to the counter and peeked their little eyes over and said "can we please have a coloring book?". Welp that was it for me. I scooped up my monkey and ran to the car with the huge lump in my throat. As we were driving off I saw the windmill display that I posted on Instagram saying cooks treated 1,502 victims of child abuse. Then the flood gates opened. Now I have to pull it together for our appointment with the allergist.
Thank you Holly for sharing your kind spirit with others. You are a blessing.
XoXo Jenn"

is the mom of a girl that I went to school with.  Her daughter is now living in Bangkok, teaching, and spending her days on gorgeous beaches with her fiance.  Awesome, huh?
Tammy's ROK got to me too.  The lady that she anonymously gifted has had a very hard year.  Her son (who graduated with my brother) was in a terrible car accident and was hospitalized for a long time with major burns.  I do not know many details, but I can imagine that Tammy made her day with this letter.  I really hope that she did use this on herself. 

Asked me to not spill the beans on her identity.  And if I give any details about how incredible this gal is, you would all know who I am talking about... so I wont.
"Hey! I did mine it was so fun I'll do more. Thanks for getting me started! Took scones and coffee to a sweet teacher friend having a bad day, dropped scones in the teachers lounge at another school, and took granola to several other teachers boxes......taped quarters to the vending machines at work and left bath salt in several people's mailboxes at work. It all took less than an hour and I can't wait to do it again! I loooooove doing stuff anonymously! I didn't want to post it because I want it to stay anonymous! On all the notes I just put rak for holly's birthday- I think that will make them smile too........ Such a goooooood idea. Think I will take ***** next time I have her. There are so many easy, cheap little things you can do to make somebody's day better and it makes your day 100x better just by doing it!! Thanks again- and happy birthday!"

is crazy.  She is fun and cute and loves to have a good time and knows all the cool places to go... and she's one of the 2 people that I would try and hook my husband up with if we weren't married.  (Safe Haven style; yeah, my husband and I have had that conversation)  She reversed my plan and turned this whole gig around on myself.  I was completely shocked when I checked the mail, and my first thought was to gift it forward... but my husband reminded me that I always use money and gift cards on bills or things for the kids and I should use it on me.  Like I told her, I ended up buying $90 worth of other things in the Target trip and 2 purchases were gifts for other people... so if I get to feeling guilty about buying my beach-waves crimper-thing with her GC, I will claim that it went towards one of those!!

also went to high school with my husband.  I owe my nursing license to her, as she offered all her notes and care plans to me, years ago-- when I was just "Lance's girlfriend", and I had only met her a couple of times.  That alone, tells you about the person that she is!  I LOVED her RAK.  And I think I am going to do the same thing with my kids one of these days.  
"We handed out flowers at a nursing home in Decatur. My son loved it, he was even going into people's rooms!"  

and I became friends this year through playdates with Candace.  Coincidentally, one of her girls goes to Maddox's school, so we get to say hi a couple times a week in passing there since we have slowed down on water-parking it, playing at their church or picnicking it at the park!
"Not the best, I tried so hard the other day to pay for a little old lady at the beauty salon, but she left before I could get to it. So today I paid for someone's coffee. I would admit the person in front if me paid for me first and then I paid for the person behind me, but his was twice the cost of mine. I wanted to get you something before your birthday, but I plan on doing something better."
What she didn't mention in this little blurp above, is she was the SIXTEENTH car in a row to pass the kindness on!  Is that awesome or what?!

again, also went to school with Lance.  She also is a patient of my practice and after the first time that I saw her in our office, she became my friend in my head!  By accident, we had dinner with her and her boys one night at Pizza Inn and then she randomly stole my number off FB one day to ask about my boys shoes, and it was then that I knew we were real friends; and obviously both creepers!!  She is pregnant right now with her 4th baby-- and after perfecting being an all-star boy mom-- select baseball 7 days a week, mud, dirt and rowdy... she is having a GIRL!  (who is sure to be spoiled!)
"So ours kinda just fell in our lap yesterday...a situation that I normally would have just passed on, but thought about this when approached.
Nolan and I had just left FWP Henderson Office and were Downtown headed home when I noticed my gas light was on. So I pulled into the 7-11 at the corner of Henderson and Belknap. I filled up my tank and gathered some trash out of the car to toss and then got back in the car to head on our merry way when a sweaty woman motioned to me to roll down my passenger window. This is the moment where I normally would have just politely waved and drove off but I decided to see what she wanted.

She told me she was homeless and just walked from the bus station and asked if I had a couple dollars or spare change so she could get something to eat at the Taco Bell across the street. Well I don't carry cash usually and my kids drain my change every time they spot a candy or bouncy ball machine so I knew I couldn't help her there. So I told her if she wanted to follow me to taco bell I would buy her some food. She asked if she could just wait there and if I would bring her a chicken chalupa and a water. Off Nolan and I go across the street to Taco Bell and I explained to him what we were doing. While we were in the drive-through waiting he said, "Mom, I don't know about this!" So then my anxiety started getting the best of me... Children have the best intuitions, right? What if we got back and she hopped in my car and had someone else waiting to attack with her? Why am I putting my child in this situation? SHE IS GOING TO STEAL MY BABY!!!!

I ordered the food anyway and told myself that if I didn't feel comfortable when we got back to 7-11 where she said she would wait then I would just drive off. I hid my purse, made sure all doors were locked, gave Nolan the phone and told him to take a picture when I gave her the food. Luckily when I pulled back up to 7-11 there was a FWPD car right there next to me so suddenly I felt relieved, handed her the food through the passenger window, she was grateful,  I told her to have a nice day and she walked off. Nolan and I talked a little more about people not having homes and how we made her happy as we headed back to Boyd."

and I once worked together at FWP.  She has now moved to another company and I work from home so I don't know all of the front girls like I once did...
I embarrass my husband often, by complimenting others-- but Schelly and I both know that people love to raise hell when they've had poor service but it is rare for people to go that extra step to praise someone's good deeds.  And there is nothing that makes my day more than a positive word from a patient, so I know that she made this chick's day!
"I wanted to let you know that i believe your idea to do random acts of kindness was right on time. I mailed my letter on Friday and found out today that the sweet lady i wrote the letter about lost her brother to a heart attack. I am very happy i sent that letter. I could have spent money on something but this has made my heart smile. I just wanted to thank u for a great idea. I think i want to do something at least once a week. You are truly inspiring!"  

is my cousin through marriage.  We honestly only see each other about once a year, when we stop by her house trick-or-treating.  My sister sees her often though, and through FB we keep up with eachother's lives!  I am so happy for her to have found happiness an an amazing marriage!  She deserves it!
"Ok I have succeeded in pay it forward! I was getting an ice cream cone at McDonald's and a guy in his early twenties, beat up old ford bronco, and looked like he works hard for his money, pulled up behind me. I waited to pay for mine till he was done ordering and paid for his too. The cashier was surprised and said well his is $7.57, is that ok? Lol I said yes ma'am and paid and pulled forward. He pulled up and she told him it was paid for and he was ALL smiles! Made my day! Then when I was getting my cone all the workers were looking at me, I think this was the first time something like this has happened there...which is sad. So I defiantly will be doing this again!"

is Josh's husband.  Josh is one of Lance's best friends from highschool and his other wife over the past few months!!  ;)  Denise's life is parallel to ours-- although she handles the stressful times for far more grace-- and I tell myself often to be more like her! She is so sweet and genuine and has the cutest little boy!
"Holly, this was my random act of kindness. I got flowers for my very sweet coworker Sallie that I have worked with for 5 years.
I hope Beckham is feeling better and that the rest of your house didn't get sick. Happy almost birthday!!"

and I go way back.  From being sorta-neighbors, to cross country, to cheering, to family vacations-- to floating my car down a river once... we have stories.  Hilarious stories!  I could have told you that Jenna would do great things in her life 15 years ago, when she was ejected from a car and wheelchair bound for a bit.  I came over to "jenna-sit" and she did not let me do anything.  I remember trying to take the trash out, and she demanded that she do even that task, on her own.  She is 1/2 of the make up for The Crocking girls, and recently went back to sewing and creating adorable clothing and accessories for her own line, Junebug Couture. 
"This album is inspired by my friend Holly Erwin! She is a great writer that makes you feel like you have known her forever, makes you think about life, and also inspires you to be better! For her birthday she asked for no gifts, but to gift to OTHERS... read more about it here: I have decided to carry on this birthday wish with a monthly act of kindness, and I am inviting you to join in with me! I will post a few items in the RAK album and have an auction once a month giving the money made to someone in need. I will post each month who I will be giving to. I will post the pictures with starting bid amounts and you may comment "SOLD for RAK" and leave your paypal address and amount of bid. Increase per bid noted on the photo. THANK YOU FOR JOINING ME IN GIVING TO OTHERS!"

and I are nurses together at FWP.  She is one of the sweetest and most inspiring people I know.  We laugh and cry and and everything in between when we work together!  She is kind and honest and smart and an incredible mom.... and nurse... and runner.
When the bombs exploded in Boston, she is the first person I called.  I knew she wasn't there,  but it still had me thinking about her and all of her races.
She chose her RAK to run for hope and peace and unity for the Boston runners and their families.

was my first best friend in life.   Not only did I have her as my best friend, but her brother and mine were best friends as well.  We could talk for hours about pranks on our siblings during sleepovers, making up dances, growing up together in sports (her good-- and me-- not), cheerleading, high school days (some nights we aren't proud of), working together, boys, marriage, and us having our babies-- both boys-- and both just weeks apart, and the few GNOs we have taken over the years that are always memorable!  I love Mandy and will always cherish her and our years of friendship!
"Ok... I ran out of time... so I took your advise!  The boys helped and it made me feel good that they got so excited about doing something for someone else... thanks:)!"

and I went to school together.  She was younger than myself but we were still often in the same crowds.  After highschool she had a baby... graduated college... and married... ect.  She and I have laughed, along her journey of life, that I am way more interested in her life, or tattoos, or outings, or relationships than the normal person-- and I have promised her that if she ever puts it into a book, I'll buy the first copy!  
It’s in typical “Ashley” fashion of me to wait until the very last moment to complete a task. So, I apologize for the lateness of getting my Random Act of Kindness to you.

As soon as I read your birthday request, I instantly knew I wanted to incorporate children into my act. But it’s taken me a few weeks to finally settle on how to do that.

I am an extremely emotion person. I cry at the drop of a hat, at the silliest things, it seems. I often make fun of myself for being like this, and I personally think I’m crazy for the things I get emotional over. But there’s one thing that I will never be ashamed of holding deep emotions for – and that’s children.

Especially those children who’ve been dealt a life of sickness, sadness and pain.

And that’s where my Random Act of Kindness comes in.

For years I’ve wanted to start donating to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. But one characteristic I possess – that I’m not proud of – is my lack of determination in doing things that I’ve always wanted to do. That went out the door the second I had children, and I always find myself procrastinating WHEN I will start donating to St. Jude. “I’ll have more money next month… I need to buy this and that instead… I’ll start donating when I’m making more money and have extra to spend….” I always said.

But the truth is – I’ll more than likely never be rich. I’ll always have bills due, mouths to feed, and unexpected expenses arise.

And that’s where YOU came in the picture.

Your selflessness in asking for kindness, not gifts, inspired me to finally sweep the dust from under the rug. It’s time to do what I’ve always wanted to do. Give to a cause that is so very dear to my heart – children.

In your honor, a donation has been made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This is just the beginning of my long career of donating to help sick, precious, children who were dealt a bad hand, but are dearly loved.

Thank you for inspiring many to give. Like me, I know a lot of people have great intentions of doing so. But it takes a little push sometimes. And that push was your selfless love for everything good in this life we live.

Thank you, Holly.

Your friend,

Ashley Slentz"

has been in my life since I was a small tyke and we pretend to be family.  We were kin through marriage once, and our moms are great friends.  Coincidentally, he grew up with Lance too-- as Lance and his older brother were BFF in HS-- so we are linked in many ways.  I love Kaleb, and I love even more that he was the only male who assisted in my RAK wish!
"As you know my first attempt failed and I didn't really know if I was going to have time to get one in before the deadline. Then, this morning on the way to get on the train I had a guy ask me if I had change for a twenty. He had forgot his wallet at home and luckily had found a twenty dollar bill in his car to pay for his train fare. Unfortunately I did not have the change that he needed but stepped up the plate and gave him a total of $6 to pay for his trade ride for the day. It wasn't much money to complete, but I like to think that this simple act of kindness from a random stranger hopefully made his day. I am currently sitting at the office hoping that my simple $6 donation to him may actually convince him to do another act of kindness for someone else. Who knows we may have a domino effect on our hands. At least that is what I am telling myself. We all know that after the bombings in Boston this week a little piece of human decency could go a long way. I didn't get a picture with him or anything like that. After typing this, regardless if this has made his day it has honestly made mine. You feel better about yourself after helping someone in need, thank you for throwing this idea out there. Now I will just need to do them more often."  

also went to school with Lance.  She recently had to move away from all of her family and friends to follow her husband's job.  But even there, she was able to spread her kind heart with some people who desperately appreciate it. 
"Yesterday we ( Heather & I) baked chocolate chip & oatmeal cookies for the every single resident at Retama Manor Nursing Home. Today we delivered them, passed them out, and even some ladies put the ribbons in their hair.  We helped  them  play bingo. Painted their nails, took them outside for refreshments, and most importantly just listened. Mr. Beck & Mrs. Luz's have no family that visit  and were very appreciative to know someone cared. We got tons of hugs, some kisses on the cheek, and even some flirted. ☺ We got I love you's, thank you, & God Bless.
Mary, Glen, Billy, Ernest, Luz, Joyce, Donna, & Jane ask us to please come back. So without hesitation we filled out a volunteer sheet for once a week. These sweet people are full of stories and laughter and we enjoyed every minute of our 6 hours with them today. 

Happy Birthday Holly and thank you for today's amazing experience."

has become one of my favorite people ever.  Her husband was one of my best guy-pals in highschool and he married a real gem in her.  We talk almost daily through Voxer, IG and FB... and called her "my friend Erin" long before I had actually met her in real life.  I love her RAK.  She's very creative!
"I chose three random baby registries and bought each of them either diapers or wipes from their list."

is one of my mom's friends from Louisiana that she met through her vintage camping club!  I have never met her before, but my mom just loves her.  I think it is awesome that she felt compelled to take part in the challenge.  ..and she's right, God knows! 

is my sister from another mister, my gal that is my pal, my soul-mate and BFF for life.  I could write a book on my love for her and how much she means to me.  Kindness seeps from her pores.  I can prove it, with a thousand stories-- but one that comes to mind is when Lance lost his job and Maddox was a tiny baby-- she handed me a card with a gift card to get his pictures done.  She knew that we would be cutting out all of the 'extras' while we tread through that fragile time, but wanted to make sure that we had documentation of him in pictures.
If I were gay, she' be my wife.
But I'm not, so she is my best friend instead.   
She is now a school nurse and gets to work with an array of people and personalities.  She has fallen in love with a little boy in the special needs class who amazes her with his creative talents.
She used her RAK to buy puzzles and legos for his class.

is a fellow blogger friend.  (who rarely blogs anymore!)  We have never met in real life, but she went to college with my pal, Kristen, and we claim to be friends in real life and promise to meet each other soon!  (like this summer!)
She paid for the 2 cars behind her at Starbucks for her RAOK!
"You are truly inspirational & I look up to your kind heart & spirit!!  Keep it up Holly, there are big things planned for you in this crazy life!"

was my night clinic partner for 4 years.  We have spent a billion hours laughing until we cried... crying until we laughed... and pretending to know what we were doing when critical kids came through-- both scared to death!!  She's a great friend to have and always there when you need her!  She's a rock star nurse-- and perfect mommy!  I love that chick!
She took our favorite cookies to the Benbrook FD!

is my sister's room mate in Lubbock!  She was also my shopping partner this year on Black Friday!  She is a sweet girl and it says a lot that she was willing to give to others, on a college kid's wallet!
"Hey Holly! HaPpY BiRtHdAy!! Sorry it has taken me so long to get this to you, I hope it isn't too late! I went ahead and sent you the pictures I took and the collage I made, in case you'd rather have one or the other. I put $5 Starbucks cards on these slips of paper and wrote: "Take a break from your busy classes and enjoy a treat-- on me! You deserve it! Don't worry about who this is from, just be kind to others! WRECK 'EM!" I hung three different cards around the English building on campus (where I work). Anyway-- Let me know if this is okay!! Thanks for doing such an awesome project for your own birthday! You're so kind and truly inspiring!"

and I go way back!  She is a sweet and beautiful girl, inside and out!  Our families were great friends and we even took a few family vacations together!  She is now busting her way through nursing school at Tarleton... and will soon make an incredible nurse!
She did 2 RAOK and made herself a promise to do one a week!
and I met in our apartments, about 8 years ago.  I stalked her out-- because I knew we would be friends-- and then together, we stalked out all of our neighbors (and made up stories about each of their lives)!!  She was there on my wedding day... we had babies together... and though her husband now travels for his job-- we still keep in touch often... and even flew to VA to stay with her for a week last year!  I love her and I knew we would be life long friends from the day that she ate 1/2 my log of raw cookie dough!
Now in Austin, she and a friend passed out cookies and Gatorade to the crossing guards and construction workers.
Chelsey, Lacey, and Lesa
did a joined act... that made me cry!
Lacey and I were friends in highschool.  Lesa is her momma!  We spent many, many days at their house... and many many nights riding around in Lacey's truck listening to "Jazzy Hoes"!!!  We too have more stories than we have time to tell... of both good and bad.  She, like myself, has 2 boys and I love seeing her pictures and following her life on IG and FB!  Her brother married Chelsey, who I also went to highschool with.  She was younger than me so I didn't know her well back then, but she has always been beautiful.  It wasn't until we were adults and mommies, that I realized her beauty is through and through.
"So we completed our act today! Yay! I set up weeks ago to take lunch to the Ronald McDonald House Ft. Worth. This place is so near and dear to our hearts because sadly, we spent 18 days there when my son was just born and at cooks, having surgery at only 4 days old. The people there were so kind, and to spend your every waking hour in the hospital wishing it was all a bad dream is so mentally and emotionally draining. Having a place to go that is not only as close to your baby as you could get, but also having a meal waiting on you when you got there, no matter what time, from people you don't know, absolutely made what was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, just a little bit easier. So that's what inspired us! We, my MIL Lesa Skiles, and SIL Lacey Smart decided to just do pizza, salad, cupcakes and brownies. We also made muffins for the next morning. Lace and I dropped the kiddos off at MDO this morning (my MIL had to work so couldn't make it) loaded up my car and headed that way, not even to Boyd yet Jax's school called and said he was running fever :(. So I turned around and took Lacey to her car and loaded it up and she set out all on her own! I'm so thankful she got to go, although I was so disappointed I didn't get to. It was a rough morning! But everything worked out perfect! And we'll do it again!

(But what really irritated me was Jax didn't have a fever) I didn't get many pics and didnt ask if Lace took any or not, but here's what I have! Happy Birthday!"

...thanks to all of you who joined in on this!  (and for all of you who lied and made me sound like a rockstar  --because we all know the truth!!)

I loved getting each one back... and in true Holly fashion, I cried a few times!
I will certainly remember my 29th birthday!!
Thanks guys!  :)

The RAOK are still coming!

is Rayanne's daughter.  Like her mother, she's hilarious!   She won one of Jenna's auction items and Jenna called me early this morning in shock!!  Her kindness will blow your mind!
"I had every intention of completing a RAK for your birthday. But I kept thinking, oh I'll do that later. And I failed. As I was reading your blog, every story I felt more guilty.
I bid on Jenna's rak camera strap not really thinking about what the money was for, I just thought it was cute and I'm impulsive auction lover. I ended up winning it. I got her email after I read your blog on how to get her the cash and get the camera strap. I was already trying to figure out what I could do to redeem myself for my self. I decided on my way to work(I worked for ken all week cause her kiddos were sick) that I would donate all the money I made this week to the lil boy she made the camera strap for. So I sent her 230$ to give to his family. I am now guilty of hijacking her rak. So happy belated birthday. Sorry I'm a complete failure. And we all know as much negative I put out there, I should do more rak just to balance it out. You are inspiration to me to be a better person. And you know I don't give out compliments very often!"

(I had Jenna steal a few pics and make us this collage!)


  1. Love this and YOU, to pieces.
    What amazing friends and family you have.
    I read through it twice to make sure I didn't miss anything. I have so many new ideas now. Life is beautiful and people are so GOOD.
    Happy Birthday Holly.
    You are a treasure to many!

    Boyd asks us each day,
    what is bigger than the universe?
    and we say, what?
    and he says, love.

    Love is truly alive here.

  2. Holly this is so wonderful that you did this!! a couple of these made me cry as well. Thank you for the kind words you said about me, you can ask Josh how well I handle things and he will disagree. :))