I wanted to share with you guys a little recap of our 2016 Kindness Advent / 25 days of kindness project that we did! So many of you loved it AND participated. I loved seeing pictures on social media, I loved getting emails from you guys, the comments, etc. I loved seeing how so many of you were encouraged and I loved seeing the kindness spread!
This year, we partnered with ABC 11, a local news station, to spread the kindness throughout the whole triangle area of North Carolina. It’s amazing how much people loved it and how much it caught on!! I hope we get to do it again next year with the whole community.
Anyway, I thought I’d share with you guys pictures from each day along with the “recap” of what we did that day!
In case you didn’t get to see the news story… you can watch it here.
Day 1: Making care packages for people experiencing homelessness <3 We love to do these seasonally and put things like food, toiletries, gift cards, etc. in them. For the winter, gloves, hot hands, hand sanitizer, snacks, etc. for when the temps get cooler. Anytime we see someone in need, we hand them out! Lilly is so excited about doing this project again this year. Amos was just excited about picking everything up and trying to put it in his mouth.
Day 2 of #trikind25! Today’s mission is to leave change taped to a vending machine! Sometimes the littlest things can make someone’s day!
Day 3 of #trikind25: we made dark chocolate almond bark and peppermint bark and wrote little notes and took them around to some of our neighbors! We even met a couple of neighbors we hadn’t met before and introduced ourselves. Lilly was so excited about riding her “bi-ski-bull” to all the houses and ringing the “ding bell” and saying “Merry Christmas!”
Day 4 of #trikind25 – paying for someone’s gas or bus fare! It was very rainy and dreary today, hence why we didn’t get a great pic… But we went to our usual gas station, got a gift card for gas, and waited for the first person to pull up… They got out of their car and headed in to put money on the pump and Lilly walked up to the man and said “Merry Christmas! Here’s some gas!” He was super excited and looked like he’d just won the lottery!
Day 5 of #trikind25: today is one of my favorite days because we wrote cards to service men and women who are currently deployed serving our country. This is one that is especially near and dear to my heart since my mom served in the Vietnam War and I remember her telling me how much it meant to get cards and letters around the holidays. She instilled in me a great respect and admiration for our military… And I want to instill that in my children even though my mom is no longer with us.
Day 6 of #trikind25: we had to be a little flexible today and things didn’t work out like we’d planned so we moved some stuff around… SO today we did tomorrow’s task which was to leave money and popcorn (and an encouraging note) on a Redbox machine! We hope and pray this little thing makes someone’s dreary day a little brighter!
Day 7 of #trikind25: putting back rogue shopping carts. My friends know this is, strangely, one of my favorite days because one of my bizarre pet peeves is shopping carts that haven’t been put back. 😂😂😂 So, we go around the parking lot of the grocery store and Target and push them all back to the front of the cart corrals! Please tell me I’m not the only one with a weird shopping cart pet peeve?
Day 8 of #trikind25: pay for the person behind you in line! We did a little twist on this today, actually… We had lunch with a friend at @chickfila and since we were inside, we decided to pay for someone in line in the drive through… That way they’d have no idea who did it! This is one of our favorite things to do to bless someone!
Day 9 of #trikind25: candy cane a parking lot! We’ve had to rearrange some things this week, and today we just wanted to spread a little bit of joy to people who are out shopping. We also left random notes on a few cars with words of encouragement!
Day 10: #trikind25 Today. Was. Awesome. I’m honored to serve and volunteer alongside the amazing men and women who are a part of Transforming Hope Ministries, an organization that is fighting to bring an end to human trafficking in central North Carolina. For the past nine months, Transforming Hope, in different capacities, has been serving one of our area’s most vulnerable communities. Through local missions trips to this community, we are building relationships, building trust, loving and serving them, and working to shine the light of Jesus as a part of our overall human trafficking prevention program.
Over the past month, Transforming Hope collected over 350+ toys (our goal was at least 100! God thought that goal was funny…) and today we took the toys to this community to give out to kids and families who need them most this Christmas. I love getting to be a part of loving on them and the joy on their faces was awesome. No, one event with Christmas gifts and hot chocolate isn’t going to be the end all be all solution for ending human trafficking, but the more we develop meaningful, positive relationships with them through serving and partnering and showing them their worth in Jesus, the more we help prevent things like human trafficking from happening to our kids in our community.
I have been a part of Transforming Hope for five years now and I’m so proud of this organization. If you’d like to partner with us or support us (either with your time, talents, or money) in 2017, we’d love to have you.
Day 11 of #trikind25: donate food to a local food drive, food bank, soup kitchen, or someone in need in your community! We went through our cabinets and pulled out extra canned goods and other non-perishables that we know can get put to good use! Lilly kept saying, “The bag is so heaaaaaaaaaavvvvvvyyyyyyyy.”
Day 12 of #trikind25: donate to or visit a local children’s hospital. This one was EXTRA special to us today, because over the past six months or so, we’ve been gathering, collecting, and buying toys and books to donate to Duke Children’s Hospital in honor of SugarBear’s Toy Box started by the sweetest (#flawless) little girl named Molly. Not only does she have an awesome name, Molly is the daughter of my dear friend Chelsea Gray, and Molly (nicknamed SugarBear) happens to have epilepsy. One time, when Molly was undergoing treatments, she was scared and so she was given a teddy bear to comfort her. Well, Molly wanted to give back to other kids who might be scared, so she started SugarBear’s toy box, collecting donations and toys to give to other kids who are in the hospital.
So, we’ve been collecting stuff in honor of sweet Molly. For Lilly’s birthday this year, instead of bringing presents, she asked people to bring a toy for SugarBear’s toy box! (We talked to her about this beforehand and she wanted to do it!)
Anyway, today we finally got to take stuff to the hospital and it was awesome. We had two HUGE boxes filled with probably 40 books and 20-30 toys. We pray that each book and each toy gets into the hands of the right little boy or girl who needs it at that moment.
If you would like to donate to SugarBear’s toy box, you can do so here: https://www.gofundme.com/sugarbearstoybox
Day 13 of #trikind25: today we left encouraging sticky notes for people in random public places! For this one, I asked Lilly, “What would you say to someone to make them feel happy or what is something kind you like to say?” And her actual reply was, “You are beautiful! And you have great hair! Merry Christmas!” So, I thought it’d be fitting.
Day 14 of #trikind25: thank a teacher / caregiver. We actually switched today and tomorrow and are combining a few things for scheduling purposes. But yeah, #details. Lilly drew cards and made cookies for all her teachers at school! She has been so blessed by some amazing teachers and we really want to thank them for all they do!
Day 15 of #trikind25: today we went to visit the Morrisville Police Department. This police department has totally taken on the December kindness challenge and has been doing AMAZING things in the community. I’ve been loving how they really are giving back and spreading kindness like crazy. We made cookies for them and Lilly made them a card and then we got to take a tour of the department, meet Scruff McGruff, AND play in a police car! We had the best time and we are so thankful for these men and women who serve our communities every day!
Day 16 of #trikind25: leave a thank you note and a treat for the postal worker! Our postal carrier works SO hard all year long, but especially this time of year, so the least we can do is thank her!
Day 17 of #trikind25 is raking a neighbor’s yard! It’s time we take better care of each other and a do a better job loving thy neighbor.
Day 18 of #trikind25: clean up trash in a local park or common area. I didn’t get a chance to post this yesterday because I was coming back from my trip… But daddy and Lilly headed to a local park to play and also do a little work cleaning up trash!
Day 19 of #trikind25: put the neighbor’s trash cans back for them. This is actually something we love to do all year long. It seems so small, but is actually so helpful! We started doing this last year and it actually started a ripple effect and everyone in our culdesac takes each other’s trash cans in for each other!
Day 20 of #trikind25: today WE were actually recipients of not one, but two random acts of kindness. First, I had to take my car into the shop (which I was dreading) and I was praying it wasn’t anything serious. We’ve had to put a lot of money into my car this year and we weren’t looking forward to spending any MORE money on it. Well, in the end, it ended up being something easy and the dealership comped the whole thing and said, “Don’t worry about it. It’s on us! Merry Christmas!” This was such a blessing.
Then, when we did a Trader Joe’s run, the cashier was so sweet, kind and engaging with Lilly. Lilly was having a hard time and he immediately encouraged her and got her to help him scan all the groceries. She loved it! To top it off, he literally gave her an entire roll of stickers. Her mind was blown and her day was made! (We paid it forward and handed the stickers out to kids we saw the rest of the day!)
But something even more awesome was the conversation we had with the cashier at the store. He was a black male in his 50s or so. I’m a white female in my 30s. And even through the simple process of buying groceries, we just listened to him share about where he grew up, where he was from, and his perspective on life. We started talking about kindness and race and the meaning of real community. We talked the about the importance of raising up a generation of kids who treat each other with dignity and respect and want to earnestly learn about other cultures and traditions. We talked about how it’s all about loving one another the way Jesus loved us. Because love always wins. No matter what. That is the true meaning of kindness. Taking the time to get to know someone to listen to someone who is different from you can teach you (us all, really) so much.
Day 21 of #trikind25: today we seized the opportunity to do something simple to bring a smile to people’s faces. Lilly actually had the idea to hold the door open to the main entrance of the mall (she’s a pro door holder because she’s had that “job” in her preschool class). I told her that was a great idea and let her take over from there. She stood at the doorway for about 15 minutes just holding it open for anyone and everyone that would walk through saying, “Merry Christmas!” Sadly, a lot (and I mean a lot!) of people either just shrugged at her, blatantly walked through a different door, or just ignored her altogether. We definitely got a few people who would smile at her and thank her and give her a high five, but they were definitely in the minority. Lilly even said to me, “Mommy, why does no one want to go through my door?” I told her it was okay and that sometimes people just need a little extra smile before they’re comfortable and that we should help people anyway, even if they don’t thank us or smile back. And truthfully, the thanks isn’t why we do this project anyway, but it was an extra lesson for me as a parent – to teach my kids that kindness, a simple smile and a “thank you” really can go a long way in making someone’s day.
Day 22 of #trikind25: today Lilly went through her books and found books that she no longer reads (and I did the same!) and we took them to our local library to donate them. Lilly looooooooooves the library and she was so excited to share books!
Day 23 of #trikind25: today we went to visit and bless the staff of Durham Animal Control. So many people this time of year think to donate to the shelter (which is awesome!), but the officers who do so. much. hard. work to help so many animals (and people!) in our community need a blessing too!
Our dear friend Melinda is a sheriff with Durham Animal Control and so we brought dog treats, dog food, cat treats, and notepads to the office to help the officers. They can use the food and treats to help trap stray animals, etc.
And, since the offices were actually closed for the holidays, Melinda, in turn, blessed our kiddos by giving them a private tour of the shelter! Lilly and Emma were SO EXCITED to see all the puppies and kittens (no goats this year 😂). They were so excited, in fact, that we had to pry them away!
Thank you to Melinda and to all the officers for all they do to keep our fur friends safe!
Day 24 of #trikind25: today we decided to bless our local fire department and EMS with some donuts! It’s tough for them to work over the holidays so we wanted to bring them just a little treat as a thank you for all they do for our community! In turn, they gave Lilly a tour of the fire station and she got to climb in the fire truck!
Day 25 of #trikind25 was to call people you love and tell them how much they mean to you! I wasn’t able to get a picture of this one, but it was so great catching up with some people we so dearly love. <3
Looking for random acts of kindness to do ALL YEAR LONG? Check out my post from last year with 366 (yes, 366!!) random acts of kindness ideas!