Have you ever been RAK’d? | Kim’s birthday giveaway

My heart in your hands

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“Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.” ~Anthony Robbins

Have you ever been RAK’d?

I have!

  • A stranger shared her umbrella with me as we found our cars in the rain.
  • My neighbor slipped a homemade cinnamon roll into my mailbox.
  • A sweet friend cleaned my house while I recovered from surgery.
  • When I ran a bit short at check-out, a smiling grocery clerk pulled twenty-seven cents from her own pocket and tossed it into the cash drawer.

Each of these simple gestures presented itself in my life as a Random Act of Kindness (RAK).

I can’t begin to remember all the ways I’ve experienced the goodness and generosity of both friends and total strangers. Some cost nothing more than a bit of common courtesy; others meant a greater sacrifice of time or resources.

These blessings happen every day, all around us. I wonder how often we miss the gift?

Smallest Gestures

Just last week, a woman invited me to go ahead in line at the grocery store checkout. I know this seems like such a small thing, but it was a hectic day, and those few precious extra minutes meant a great deal to me.

Secret Blessings

Once, when my husband asked our server for the dinner tab, she told us our bill had already been paid!

As we left the restaurant, we spotted a young family in the corner whose children had been in our toddler Sunday school class over the years. Were they the givers of this sweet gift? We’ll never know for sure, but we certainly left that restaurant with lightness of heart!

The Kindness of Strangers

Perhaps the most striking act of kindness calls to mind a November night many years ago when our new dog, whom we recently rescued from a shelter, got into some snail bait and became seriously ill. Her treatment costs were mounting by the hour, and without my husband in town to help make decisions, I told the vet how much I could afford and asked him do what he could for Casey.

As I stood in the office, a man approached the counter and said he’d seen my son crying on the steps outside the animal hospital. He couldn’t bear to see a boy grieving so, and he proceeded to tell the receptionist that he’d cover the difference in the bill, whatever the cost. Whatever the cost!

I have never forgotten the kindness of this man, this complete stranger, because Casey, now quite elderly, has been the sweetest pet we ever could have asked for—and he helped save her life.

Kim’s Birthday Celebration

Today is my birthday, but I’m much more in a giving mood than a receiving one: I’m in the mood to pay it forward!

Ever since the lovely Jenn at Daze of Adventure posted about how she celebrated her 36th birthday by performing 36 Random Acts of Kindness, I’ve been looking toward my own special day with similar thoughts fluttering around in my mind.

Providing clean water to millions of peopleSo when my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I remembered a blog post from my friend Ann Voskamp and told him I wanted someone to have clean drinking water. For just $55, our gift will provide fresh water for 68 people for their entire lives!

Next, I invited friends and family to join me in performing one RAK on my birthday to help me celebrate.

My original goal was 58 RAKs, but in harnessing the power of the Internet, with its amazing viral capabilities, I’m believing that—with your help—my mundane 58th birthday will be a vessel to impact hundreds of people, if not thousands, in our communities and around the world.

Random Acts of Kindness Ideas

There are limitless ways you can bless someone with a RAK—and they don’t have to cost a penny! Whether you have change to spare or not, here are some places to gather ideas for ways you can pay it forward.

Will you join me by doing one kind deed to help celebrate my birthday? My blog gets thousands of visitors each week, so it’s my prayer that our collective Random Acts of Kindness will rock our world!

WriteShop Giveaway

To add to the celebration, I’m giving away a gift package to one lucky winner! Each person who comments below by sharing how you “RAKed” someone this week will be entered into a drawing for your choice of one of the following WriteShop curriculum packages:

What if you already have the WriteShop books you need, or you’re not homeschooling or teaching? Choose a $25 Amazon gift card instead!

I can’t wait to see how this takes off! Are you ready to RAK someone?

Photos: Louise Docker and DFID, courtesy of Creative Commons

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46 comments ↓

#1 Angelle T on 09.10.12 at 10:28 am

I snuck a note of encouragement and love to my husband inside his work binder. he was having a rough day at work. He found it later that day and he said it made him smile and remember what is important!!

#2 Tristan on 09.10.12 at 11:52 am

Helped a young mom with her fussy baby and showed her a few tricks I’ve learned with my seven babies so far!

Took time to thank the postal worker with my kids.

Snuck into my kids bedrooms with love notes while they were sleeping.

#3 Wendi on 09.10.12 at 12:27 pm

Last evening at our small group I hugged a young mom and whispered to her what an amazing mommy she is to her children and that she is doing a great job. Then I turned to the mom next to her and shared the same message with her.

#4 Diana Baun on 09.10.12 at 12:27 pm

Last night I made homemade cookie dough ice cream (my hubby’s favorite) but I didn’t tell him I made leftover eggless cookie dough for him to snack on…he got up this morning for breakfast and saw my little treat for him in the fridge and it made his Monday morning =)

#5 Heidi D on 09.10.12 at 12:30 pm

Happy birthday Kim! I wrote two notes for some precious people that are having a rough time. One was mailed and the other will be hand delivered. We’re also making cookies for the neighbors.

#6 Angie on 09.10.12 at 12:33 pm

I offered my seat at church to a family that had a lot of kids and were sitting together sharing seats (2 per chair). So I switch rows so they had more seats to spread out.

#7 Kristi W. on 09.10.12 at 1:18 pm

Happy Birthday! I let my two oldest boys sleep in while I got up early Sat. morning and did all their chores for them :)
They stayed up late the night before helping friends of ours move and clean out their old house.

#8 Sara M on 09.10.12 at 2:35 pm

Paid for the fast food meal for people in front of me at the counter or behind me in the drive through. I always look for law enforcement or other emergency workers to pay for their tab.

#9 Nanci on 09.10.12 at 3:48 pm

I am a homeschooler and buy and sell curriculum on homeschool classifieds.com. A woman contacted me about something I had listed and she sent me a check. When I found out on Saturday after I received the check that she recently had been abandoned by her husband and was struggling to make ends meet to continue to homeschool, I ripped up her check and told her she could have the items plus anything else she wanted for free.
I have sent many items for free as the Lord leads.

Happy Birthday!

#10 Rebecca on 09.10.12 at 5:34 pm

I sent a note to a friend….just because.

#11 Carlyn Canady on 09.10.12 at 5:52 pm

I haven’t had an opportunity to RAK someone this week, but I was RAKed! As I was walking through the parking deck at church with my 7yo and 1yo, another couple was walking in with their two children. I was struggling to carry my daughter and the woman offered to hold her while I readjusted. It was hard for me to take her back because my back was hurting so bad, so she carried her to the entrance to the preschool hall for me! So very sweet!

#12 Jennie on 09.10.12 at 6:16 pm

I leave notes to my loved ones and I am making cookies for my homeschooling group tomarrow:)

#13 Rebecca C on 09.10.12 at 6:32 pm

We give our friends our veggies from our garden.

#14 Wendy on 09.10.12 at 7:08 pm

I gave an elderly neighbor a stack of books to read and took her some dinner when I found out she was getting bored (but can’t drive herself to the library) and was short on food.

#15 Gail S on 09.10.12 at 8:47 pm

I let a gentleman skip ahead of me in line at the grocery store. You’ve inspired me to look for more opportunities.

#16 Amie on 09.11.12 at 5:02 am

We are making edible bird’s nest and will be sending a bird nest package to my in-laws.

#17 Carlie @ So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler? on 09.11.12 at 6:30 am

We took some meals to a large homeschooling family to celebrate the birth of another new blessing!

#18 Jennifer Maassen on 09.11.12 at 1:25 pm

I have an extensive curriculum library, and I am pleased to loan items to people as an expression of gratitude to the Lord. A family in our co-op needed a book, and I happened to have it. I don’t know them, but I do know that their child needs a book for school. I really get a kick out of surprising people with help, particularly people in need.

#19 CHRISTINA CHIARILLO on 09.11.12 at 4:38 pm

I know we are suppose to say what RAKs we have done..but I had to say..my neighbor is always helping us with the yard. Does not ask! He dosn’t just mow..pulls weeds, cleans up bushes etc. We can’t afford the cost such services normally cost..and he just DOES it to be helpful. It encouraged ME to reach out to my neighbors more. I try to invite them to BBQs etc. and play games. So his RAK sorta bleeds into my family’s.

#20 Kim on 09.11.12 at 8:59 pm

You’re all so inspiring! Love the creativity and variety!

#21 Sarah Keery on 09.12.12 at 10:35 am

surprise hubby by doing more work in the house than he expected – meant he didn’t have any chores that night and we could relax together in front of a movie.

#22 Caroline Cordle on 09.12.12 at 1:38 pm

My neighbour had extra apples from her tree that she was giving away, so she gave us some. I decided that it would be a nice gesture to make something nice with some of them, and give them back to her. So, I found a scrummy apple cupcake recipe, and sent her over a half dozen! She was SO thrilled and came back requesting the recipe. I think that doing things like that can be a great way to reach people with the gospel, too. Showing appreciation by acts of kindness can really speak to people’s hearts.

#23 Karen on 09.12.12 at 1:45 pm

I overheard someone asking for a particular type of jewelry that was not carried at the store we were in and I gave him directions to the closest store that had a huge stock of what he was looking for. I also hijacked 3 of my friends youngest children so she could have an outing with the older children

#24 Sonya on 09.12.12 at 1:51 pm

I have sent a few dear friends some handmade cards just letting them know I’m thinking about them!

#25 Kim on 09.12.12 at 2:09 pm

I’m loving all they ways you’ve come up with for expressing kindness. Can’t wait to read more!

#26 Michele G. on 09.12.12 at 2:17 pm

We’re foster parents, and we know a young military family who have 2 small toddlers placed with them through foster care. This week, the husband had to deply to Afghanistan – his first deployment – so we took the two toddlers overnight the night before he left, so they could spend some quality moments sharing each other’s love and precious memories before he left. She said she was eternally grateful; but I cant imagine NOT doing that for them. It was such a small gesture to us, but to a young couple fairly newly-married who will now be apart for the next 9 months, they were very thankful :)

#27 Chick Hatchers on 09.12.12 at 5:55 pm

We’ve been making meals for those in our church who have just had babies or surgery. That’s normal for us, though. A good friend of ours with 5 children and expecting their 6th in a couple weeks has been in the hospital almost continuously with their 2-year old who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. We’ve been helping out with their other 4 children – taking them to parks and picnics and geocaching. Both of our families homeschool and their schedule is all haywire right now, so this set would be very useful for either one of us.

#28 Trish Thaden on 09.12.12 at 8:08 pm

Leaving my kids litte notes on their schoolwork when I am correcting it, and in random places for them to find. ex. in the book they are reading, pillow etc.
just to remind them how much they mean to me.

#29 peanutmom2001 on 09.13.12 at 2:21 am

I offered to donate my Thirty-One party commission to a hostess who is struggling after her divorce. The best part is it is just a secret between her and I and she is so excited (that’s why I didn’t use my real name). Pray she has an awesome party so she gets a decent boost :)

#30 anne burris on 09.13.12 at 8:53 am

I had taken my recycling bin outside for the next morning’s pick up and after going inside a short while later I heard the rustling of tin cans. I went to the window and saw that it was someone going through the recycle bin to collect cans. With the economy as bad as it is, my heart just goes out to people struggling. I went outside and as I approached him he said, “I am sorry, I am just trying to collect some cans.” He thought I went out to scold him, instead I gave him $20. With surprise he gave a quiet “thank you” and went on.

#31 April Collins on 09.13.12 at 2:28 pm

Gonna be keeping a neighbor’s 21 mo. old for her this Friday night so she can go with her husband and older children to a Braves’ game. Was calling to tell her I couldn’t, but decided before the conversation was over that with the help of my daughters I could.

#32 Cheryl V. on 09.13.12 at 2:49 pm

A friend was asking for donations to help a friend struggling after her husband left her. She was moving to Washington to live with family and so I surprised them by using my gate pass to Disneyland so they could enjoy one of their last days in California. Their smiles were priceless.

#33 dena on 09.13.12 at 9:55 pm

On Monday I stopped and helped an elderly gentleman change his tire on the side of the road. He really didn’t need my help much because he knew what he was doing but I did my best. He gave me a hug and thank me graciously many times….it actually made my week.

#34 Shelle on 09.14.12 at 12:11 am

My 9 year old loves to hand out “have a great day” greeting cards to people he meets throughout the day, such grocery clerks and the bus driver. He loves how much a real smile from someone brightens his day.

#35 Michelle G on 09.14.12 at 2:10 pm

My daughter and I leave coded notes for each other everywhere! Bathroom mirrors (dry erase markers make mirrors very fun), Facebook, texting, etc. Just a reminder that we are a great team.

#36 Valerie J on 09.15.12 at 4:30 am

Made fried chicken and coconut shrimp for supper last night. Family loved it. I don’t like frying foods b/c it’s not healthy, but I know that they enjoy it.

#37 Kim on 09.15.12 at 7:10 pm

Wow…I have been blessed to read all of everyone’s ideas. My bff’s 40th was Thursday and I wrote out 40 fun thoughts & memories of our friendship to bless her. My birthday is at the end of the month – you have inspired me to give it a try – and to encourage friends that’s what they can “get” me for my day! :)

#38 Linda on 09.15.12 at 7:37 pm

Not incredibly random, but I sporadically bought a small gift for my husband that he loved. He loves candles, and Airwick has these really cool color changing candles. He was happy about it.

#39 DeAnn O on 09.16.12 at 1:39 pm

Not sure how random it is, but I gave away a vacuum and a washing machine to two different strangers (I had purchased a new vacuum and had been given a “new” washer, but still had the old ones that worked, so I passed them on to someone who needed one).

#40 Jodi on 09.16.12 at 1:40 pm

Brought some chocolates to the school secretaries the other day… because of all the little extras they do.

#41 Michelle on 09.16.12 at 1:59 pm

I wrote a note of encouragement to my daughter as she makes tough decisions in her life.

#42 Fides on 09.16.12 at 2:03 pm

Saw a pregnant lady with a sign asking for monetary help since she lost her job. I gave her the biggest bill I had, congratulated her on having a baby, and told her I would be praying for her.

#43 Mariah on 09.16.12 at 2:07 pm

Well, I am not sure this counts since I’m her daughter, but I spent some time with my Mom in the hospital. Brushing her hair, helping her eat, making sure she had enough fluids in her, etc. She has MS and developed a case of scoliosis that got so bad they had to put rods in her spine. She has loopy for several days due to the amount of times she pushed the pain medicine button…

#44 Francine Ruiz on 09.16.12 at 2:39 pm

My random act was to bring my niece home from public school and begin home educating her. We have emergency guardianship of her and she has been in school since August. She wanted to be home schooled along with the boys. So after scrapping up some curriculum, disenrolled her on Tuesday. So far she is enjoying it.

#45 Debra D on 09.16.12 at 4:57 pm

My 4 girls, husband and I were returning home from an out of the country trip. A mother traveling alone with her infant son (who was sleeping) were in line for passport check. We helped her with her carry-on luggage so she could tend to her baby and then when it was time to gather her luggage before customs we helped her with that as well. It made her day and made it faster for her to leave the baggage area and get on her way home.

#46 Kim on 09.16.12 at 9:12 pm

I’ve been greatly encouraged by all your wonderful stories. Such creative ways to serve friends, family, and total strangers. Thanks for participating, and stay tuned for the announcement of the winner!

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