Monday, March 28, 2011

30 Random (or not so random) Acts

agape: selfless love of one person for another.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3,4

This verse was my motto for the day, and my "random acts of kindness" could be better described as "calculated acts of agape". While some were actually random, most were not. I planned out 30 acts, but hoped that some things would just pop up. A few did, but I stuck with the list for the most part. Here's the list and I'll wrap up with how it went. :)

1. Chandler has been obsessing about this camera he wants, even though we have at least 28 cameras. Okay, so maybe not THAT many, but still.....SEVERAL. I surprised him with the camera of his dreams. :)

2. Sent my mom flowers

3. Sent my dad and step-mom some goodies

4. Woke up early and took Lucy, my crazy, people-hating dog for a walk. I know ~ this should be something I do everyday, but sadly it's not. She doesn't like anyone but me, so taking her for a walk rarely happens now that I am busy with my other little Castles. I'll work on this, though.

5. Placed seed packets with a "Happy Spring" label in my neighbors' mailboxes

6. Left a treat for our mail carrier. She left me a thank you note with our mail. :)

7. Went to Love's Kitchen to serve breakfast to the hungry. I will be better prepared next time. I showed up in flip flops and they sent me home to get closed-toe shoes. I completely knew better, but just wasn't thinking. Anyway, I got back in time to serve a couple of people and then helped prepare hamburger patties. They were expecting 200 for lunch. I didn't realize how many people in Meridian need that place.

8. Left surprises for a few of my favorite people. I was going to be vague about this one, but I'm pretty sure they all figured out who the culprit was! I also left some of these in random yards. Bet those people are REALLY wondering who it's from. :)

9. Went to my MOPS (moms of pre schoolers) meeting and brought donuts for the nursery workers

10. Gave the guy at the donut shop a large tip

11. Brought a bag full of baby food we never used and put it on the MOPS swap table

12. Gave yummy whoopie pies to the ladies in my MOPS discussion group

13. Read a book to Charlee's class and gave them all jellybeans ~ Aren't they cute? :)

14. Left a Scholastic free book coupon for one of the teachers

15. Walked into Cater's Market and gave a giftcard to an old man who was ordering his lunch

16. Gave a replacement part for a Pampered Chef chopper to the lady at the bank who I had heard needed one

17. Dropped off diapers to the Center for Pregnancy Choices

18. Brought cupcakes to our church staff

19. Brought cupcakes to the local fire station

20. Brought cupcakes to the staff of the Anderson Cancer Center

21. Passed by the big fire station in town and gave lemonades to a few firemen who were walking around the block.

22. Left two bottles of laundry detergent at a washateria. One of the ladies inside looked very shocked that I was doing this!

23. Gave a lemonade and a whoopie pie to my sweet, sweet sister-in-law who joined me for half of the day. Somehow, she seemed to get away without me taking a picture of her!

24. Took coloring books, crayons, and puzzles to pediatrics at Anderson. My cute Charlee bug helped deliver these and was scared to death that she was going to the doctor! Ha!

25. Bought three gift cards at Books-A-Million and hid them amongst a few of my favorite books. I'm going to go sometime this week to see if they are gone yet. :)

26. Taped bags of change on vending machines at Wal-Mart.

27. Gave a bottle of water and a whoopie pie to a homeless man.

28. Gave a $5 off coupon to a lady shopping in Bed Bath & Beyond.

29. Took crossword puzzle books, word-search books, and activity books to a nursing home.

30. Mailed letters of appreciation to a few special people who have impacted my life.

31. (AND ONE TO GROW ON!) Let my sweet kids skip their bath! Haven't decided if this is an act of love toward them or my husband. You see, sweet Chandler gave ME 30 acts of kindness, too. His include 10 times of doing the dishes, 10 times of giving the kids a bath, and 10 times of getting Barrett to sleep. I only have 30 days to cash in, though (so the fine print says). I'm not wasting any time on cashing in!!

It truly was a fantastic day, and I was humbled by the joy that God filled my heart with. I prayed a lot about the day. I really didn't want it to be about me at all. Because of that, I tended to run into the places and drop stuff off quickly and without explanation. That's just me, I guess. I also had a lot of places to go and things to do so I didn't want to get bogged down anywhere. Trust me ~ my 3-year-old couldn't have made it to one more place! I was so happy she was able to go along with me. I was also blessed to have Kimbry with me. She was a tremendous help, and it was so great to have her company for most of the day! Thank you, Kimbry! :) Chandler took the day off to watch the kids in the morning and take Charlee to school. He also stayed home with Barrett during his naptime. I couldn't have done it without him ~ I can guarantee that Barrett would NOT have lasted the entire day!

I told all of my family and friends that I didn't want a gift and wanted them to just do a random act of kindness for my birthday. They don't really listen very well, but I guess I already knew that! Ha! Chandler got me a yummy cake, candy, a book, and two journals along with my get-out-of-chores cards. I never told him I wanted the journals, but I've been meaning to buy one for a while now. He's just good like that. :) He also took me to Zack Garvin's in Newton for some delicious blackened catfish. Mmmmmmmmmm.

My sweet friend Shar'Lee made my day when she sent me this text:
"Well, I took this verse Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. And put it on 5 sheets. I went to mcD's and bought 8 ice cream cones for all 8 people there. One elderly couple, one young couple, and 3 women and a boy. I had the cashier deliver it. It made me nervous but I knew that I wanted someone to be ministered by that verse today."

My prayer is that by sharing the events of my 30th birthday, you will be inspired to do something kind and selfless for someone else. It can be a bit intimidating, and it's definitely out of the norm for many of us, but God calls us to love Him with all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our mind, all of our strength. When we do this, loving others just comes naturally. This is the greatest commandment.

He answered: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Luke 10:27

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7

Enjoy this:
Hehe ~ :~)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

WHEW!!! What a perfectly wonderful day! Can't wait to share it with you all........ :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I'm sorry I don't remember who posted it, but one of my friends on facebook posted a status update a while back that read something like this ~ "What if you woke up tomorrow and the only things you had were the things you thanked God for today?" Such a profound and thought-provoking statement. It has really changed the way I've prayed lately. I thought about this again this morning and wanted to post a snippet of my blessings of the day.

* Okay, ALL of you reading this, please do something for me. Put your computer, phone, whatever you're reading this on down and go outside. Breathe in.......Breathe out....... Now, if you heard birds chirping, saw not a cloud in the sky and the beautiful hue of blue, felt the glorious sun warm your skin, and smelled the fresh fragrance of spring, then please do me a favor and thank God for this fantastic spring day. I don't know about you, but I don't want to even imagine waking up tomorrow and not having this beautiful weather anymore or ever again. I take it for granted far too much. If you are not being blessed with this awesomeness in your neck of the woods today, then thank God for whatever you're experiencing, because Romans 8:28 says, " And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. " So, God is working something out with your cold weather or your rain or whatever. Maybe it's simply to make you appreciate the beauty of Spring when it comes your way. :)

*Today, I am thankful that I have been blessed with a sweet, precious, lovable, inquisitive (times 10) little 3-year-old healthy girl. Her "why's" can get a bit annoying (just being honest), but she is so innocent and just wants to learn and have an understanding for everything. I'm also thankful that her fall yesterday only yielded a scraped up knee and that she was fine after a bit of cuddling and loving on. I'm so incredibly blessed to have her in my life!

*I am also thankful for my sweet little 14-month-old blessing only having RSV and an ear infection instead of something much worse. I am super-thankful that I live in a country and time where I can get the proper medication to treat him so that he can have relief and healing. Another often-over-looked thing. This little boy is such a delight ~ his smile lights up the room, and he smiles at EVERYbody he comes in contact with. He is a fiesty little thing with mounds of personality and believes he can do ANYthing and wants to do it ON HIS OWN with NO help, unless it's from his big sister. :) I'm so blessed to have him in my life!

*I'm also blessed with a wonderful husband who is my best friend and who is the best daddy these kids could ever ask for. (I don't want to get tooooooo mushy here, just want to tell you what I'm thankful for!) He has been very busy with work lately, and for that I am also thankful because it gives us a sense of job security.

*Today, I am thankful for a St. Paddy's Day born Mother-in-law. We celebrate her birthday today, and I am so blessed by her being in our lives.

Okay ~ just a snippet, I said. There are a million other things I am thankful for today, but let's face it ~ you don't want to read about how wonderful MY life is. Go make your own list so you can see the beauty of your own!! :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dogs, Babies, Life and Such

I forgot my sweet dog Lucy's birthday. :( She may be ferocious to the rest of the world, but she is still a sweetheart to me. And I forgot her birthday.... It was March 3rd, and I finally realized it around the 7th or 8th. I know what you're thinking ~ who cares? It's just a dog. She doesn't know what a birthday is. Or some of you may be thinking ~ oh my! I can't believe you forgot that poor dog's birthday! Ha! The thing is, before I had kids, I treated my puppies as my own babies. Everyone always told me that would change drastically when I had actual babies. Nah. Not for me. I LOVED that dog. She was my "first born". Ha! Sounds pretty ridiculous now. Yes, I still love her, but it is quite different, as it should be. When I first got Lucy, I would bathe her once a week. No, I didn't take her to a groomer. I'm cheap. Make that 'frugal'. I hate spending money on things that just don't make sense to, and it just didn't make sense to pay for someone else to bathe her when I could. (I should mention here that I DID end up taking my dogs to the groomer once a week after Charlee had been here for several months, but only because I got a good deal!) So, I gave her a bath once a week. The same day of the week, every Tuesday. When we got our second puppy, Bailey, I continued the weekly ritual. Then......along came Charlee.......and......guess what flew out the window? Yep ~ you guessed it! Working full-time AND having a new baby in your life doesn't exactly warrant extra time to give your dogs a bath every week. It was more like every other week. Sometimes longer. My smart Lucy, though, likes to be clean. We had a doggy door at our house in Houston, and she would go outside and literally wallow in the mud or dirt (or sometimes poop ~ yes, I know I could have left that out. Sorry!) and come back in and just look at me as if saying, "Okay, now you HAVE to give me a bath!" Crazy, smart dog. I had flashbacks of those times last week. I was getting Barrett out of his highchair and turned him around where his back was against my chest. He blew chunks EVERYWHERE. Prayers immediately started because I did NOT want this to be the stomach virus again. We've been there and done that and don't want anything to do with it ever again. Luckily, it was a one-time puking. Anyway, the second thought that crossed my mind was that Barrett was trying to tell me, "Hey, Mom, you seriously need to clean this highchair. And the floor? We all know it could use a good mopping." :) This one instance is how I remembered I had missed Lucy's birthday. She has unconditional love, though. Well, most of the time. So she forgives me. :) I've been trying to make it up to her by giving her left overs from dinner the past few nights. I think that'll help.

I have a little over a week left in my twenties. That just seems crazy to me. I think this is the fastest decade of my life so far. And yet, when I look back at where I was in life at 20 compared to where I am in life now, things are drastically different. Mainly the responsibility factor. I mean, 10 years ago, I had zero responsibility. Okay, so in reality it was probably 0.05. I was in college, so there was some responsibility to go to class, I worked to pay my expenses, etc. But, in hindsight, that was the year that I didn't go to class and ended up withdrawing in the middle of the semester, sooooooo. Probably back to zero responsibility. :) Those were the days..... And now? Well, now, I am awakened earlier than I ever would've had to wake up for my first class. I rarely get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Two little lives depend on me not just some of the time, but ALL of the time. I can't just get up and go whenever, wherever I want. Would I change any of it? Nope! Not in a million. Sometimes I think back to how much easier life was back then and I miss it, but then I look at all of the wonderful things and people I have in my life and am fully aware of the way that God has used the added responsibilities and changes in my life to draw me closer to Him. On the verge of turning 20, I thought I could do anything I wanted. I had the world ahead of me and had every belief in myself to accomplish whatever my little heart desired. Now, on the verge of 30, I have been humbled by marriage, kids, jobs, being a stay-at-home mom. You see, I could do none of these things, not even the least of them without God. It is not me who accomplishes ANYTHING, but He who does it ALL for me and through me. I can't even fathom what God will bring me to by the verge of 40..... If he chooses to bring me there. We will see!

So, birthday next week means my day of 30 random acts is quickly approaching! I've got a list made up of my acts, but I'm hoping that some authentic "random" moments will come up. I'm excited, nervous, and anxious about the day. I'm trying to be very careful about directing all of the glory to God. I want to record my day through pictures, but I don't want it to be a "look at me and what I did" montage. I definitely don't want to forget any of it, though. And, I want to share it with you guys ~ all 13 of you :) ~ but I don't want it to be about me. I'm praying about the best way to do that. Anyone that asks what I want for my birthday gets the same response ~ "What I really want is for you to do a random act of kindness in honor of my birthday. No gift. Just email, text, or post a comment telling me what you did." I would ask the same of all of you reading this. It would really make my day if you would think of something to do to brighten someone else's day. You can share it with me, or you don't have to. I can't remember if I ever posted my inspiration or not, but my idea is a total ripoff from this amazing lady over at MixMingleGlow. Her website seems to be down today for maintenance or something, but be sure to try it again later. I hope you'll join me by doing something kind for someone else on the 24th. Or the 23rd, 25th, 30th, whatever day you can. :) Have a fantastic week!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Don't blink...

So, Barrett finally decided he wanted to start using his feet for something other than grabbing toys. About a month ago, at 13 months, he finally started taking his first steps. Charlee started walking at 11 months, and Barrett has always been a little behind where she was developmentally. I wasn't worried about him at all ~ he is a boy afterall, and boys are just slower, right? I knew he'd get around to it in his own time. I also knew that as soon as he started walking, he'd take off and not look back. Any extra amount of time that I didn't have to worry about chasing him was fine by me. He's been almost sprinting all day today! More like my sprint, so, not very fast, but still running. Ha! He is so stinkin' cute! He idolizes his big sister, and it is so much fun to watch them play together. He does have quite the temper, though (I'm pretty sure that's a Castle trait he inherited), and he will SCREAM if he doesn't get his way. Take the remote away from him and it's over. Silly kid! He has been talking a lot ~ when the garage door goes up, he hurries over to the kitchen door and says, "Da-Da, Da-Da, Da-Da!" He says "Ma-Ma" when he's in his crib and ready for me to come get him. He also says, "Look" and "That" almost constantly with his little, fat index finger pointing up. Soooooo sweet! This week, he started saying, "Uh-oh". I'm pretty sure that's my favorite to hear him say. I love it! :) Barrett is still a mini-Chandler, but I am starting to finally see some glimpses of me in him. For a while there I wondered if I was really his mom. Ha! B's hair is still orangey red. I think it's a little brighter than Charlee's was at that age, but not much. I think I hear at least one person tell me everyday (at least when I leave the house ~ ha) that he/she loves his hair. I've almost memorized my response ~ "My 3-year-old's hair was the same color and is blonde now, so we don't know if his will change or stay the same." :) The hair that grew into his bald spot is a lighter, blonde color. We shall see! He definitely has the fiery temper of a red head ~ at least that of SOME, not all redheads ;)

Here is Charlee when she was 14 or 15 months with her bright red hair! She still loves nail polish, too. :)

Charlee bug is growing like a weed! Her 3T jeans are all getting too short, so I'm pretty sure she's grown taller since the beginning of the winter. Slow down, baby girl! Oh, I'm sorry ~ Slow down, BIG girl! She always corrects me when I call her "Baby". I have to remind her time and again that she'll ALWAYS be my "baby big girl". :) She is just growing up way too fast! Don't blink, right? She absolutely loves school and loves her friends. Her little brother will be joining her at school next year, too! It can't come soon enough ~ that boy gets MAD when I drop her off and don't let him stay and play! Ha!

Here are Charlee and her friends at her best friend Jillian's birthday party.

I'm getting very excited about my 30th this month! Crazy to be excited about entering an older decade, huh? I'm trying not to think about THAT part of it. You're only as young as you feel, right? Well, I still call my peers "girls" and still feel weird being called a "woman", so that translates to me being about 21, right? I'll go with it anyway! Ha! Oh how different life was in THOSE days! I was reminded of it a bit this past weekend at a sorority reunion. It was great to see some old friends, and it was also great to be of the YOUNGEST women in the room! Ha! A decade worth of pledge classes were invited, and mine was the youngest. So, who says I'm getting old? I'm not saying it. I've started making my list of the 30 things I'll do on my birthday. I'm still thinking of what to call my day, though. My acts won't really be "random", since I'll have them calculated and detailed for the most part. I guess the receipients will be random, though. Most of them anyway. I can't wait to tell you some of the things I'm going to do! I can't yet, though. It's a surprise to a few special people! SHHHHH ~ don't tell! ;)