First, let me apologize for taking FOREVER to update you on the remaining acts of kindness before J’s birthday. There are a lot of them, so for the majority of them, I’ll just list them, and possibly post a picture, IF I remembered to take one. My memory, what’s left of it, seems to be slowly returning to me. And, to be honest, most of the time, C and I were caught up in the act we were doing, and really weren’t thinking about pictures. After all, I think that’s how it’s really supposed to be.
9. Sent gift card and well wishes card to a personal friend in Arkansas who is suffering from a rare and aggressive form of cancer. I pray for this sweet lady and her family daily.
10. Donated to our police department’s “Shop With a Cop” program. Selected children get the chance to shop for their holiday wishes with a uniformed officer. I have always felt that officers needed more positive interactions with little ones in order to prevent possible negative interactions later in life.
11. Wrote a letter and gave gift cards to the nurse who was with us the night J died. I have said time and time again how God placed the right people in our lives, and still continues to do so. Tiffany was a Godsend that night. She is the epitome of grace and respect. She explained each step, and what we should expect. She informed us of decisions we had to make, and was present when we needed her, and a silent worker in the background when we needed that as well. I can’t imagine anyone else being with us that night. Each of the three nurses J had were perfect fits for what we and HE needed at that moment. I can’t imagine doing what Tiffany did that night, but I thank God nightly for sending me her on that night and in that exact moment.
12. Donated to Heroes at Home at our local Sears store. J had a love and passion for the military, and would have joined if his health had permitted. He passed that love and passion on to my son, who at 3 years old declared he wanted to be a “Navy Rescue Swimmer.” Helping veterans has always been a cause close to our hearts!
14. C had a wonderful time poking his own saved money into the Salvation Army’s bell ringer bucket.
15. C picked an angel, a 5 year old little boy, from the Angel Tree. He personally shopped for most of the items we picked out for him.
16. We mailed Christmas cards to wounded soldiers at Fort Sam Houston in Texas.
17. We showed love to our ORANGE family by providing a much needed sugar rush the INSANE day before Thanksgiving break. Really, a holiday AND grades were due. I felt your pain ladies and gentlemen! I hope our candy helped give you the energy to push through!
19. Donated Starbucks coffee to the fire company who came and mowed our yard while I was away planning J’s funeral. That day they took C and his friend for a ride in the firetruck, and allowed them to spray the hoses. C was so happy that day, and for that brief moment of happiness in the worst of our storm, gentlemen, it was the least we could do. Thank you for you and your family’s sacrifice!
20. Donated to Wishing Tree. A non-profit organization started by Texas High School senior Amy Tran.
21. Paid off the layaway for a random family.
22. We are working on the plans to provide dinner for the ambulance crew who worked on and transported J the night of the hit and run. If anyone can help me arrange this, please let me know.
23. Donated dog and cat food to our local animal shelter.
24. Donated clothes that C outgrew to a local charity.
25. When C and I were in line in a drive through, we would buy the meal for the person behind us.
26. Purchased a stuffed dog from www.target.com to help support St. Jude’s.
27. Left money on random vending machines with a note explaining J’s sacrifice, and our rationale for acts of kindness.
28. Bought dinner for random police officers when we saw them in public.
29. Decorated a “Blue” themed tree in the police patrol room. These guys and gals are working hard and long overtime hours away from their families during the Christmas season. I thought it would be nice to spread some needed cheer!
31. Went to Texas Roadhouse, and had a conversation with a young waitress who was simply having a bad round in life at the moment. Again, God places the people we need to meet in our lives when we need to meet them. I had planned to leave a larger than normal tip, but I was grateful for meeting Sara, and I hope she knows I pray for her daily!
Each time we finished an act of kindness, I felt J close to me. It just seemed like such a fitting way to honor his memory. Each act that C helped with not only brought a smile to his face, but HE STILL talks about ways to fill other people’s buckets. This makes my mommy heart happy! Small steps to raising a grateful and selfless young man! The day before I came home to celebrate J’s birthday, I visited his grave. C had decided we would leave J funfetti blue cupcakes because he LOVED it when I made those. It seemed more than fitting to continue the tradition of baking for daddy and delivering him cupcakes.
On November 30th, we were surrounded by our closest friends and family as we celebrated J’s memory. Thank you to all who came out to celebrate, and thank you for all of you who support the cause to give back to our communities, and to be a part of the good in the world. I know each act helped take away some of the pain and bitterness that seems to have consumed my heart recently. I pray that you too can find the joy and peace giving to others will give to YOU. Please join me in my effort to make the world a little bit better. Please help us continue to walk the line and be a part of the good in the world! While our acts helped change people’s lives, they changed my heart even more!
We are beginning to schedule meetings for volunteers after Christmas. Please be looking for updates on the meeting times and places. I have lots of ideas in mind after things settle down in the new year.