Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pay It Forward {inspiration}

This past month I had one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.  Definitely goes down as a "Top 5 Moments" in my life.  Here is how it unraveled...

Before we get started you have to meet Elisha, my BFF {picture on the left} and yep, thats me on the right.  Circa, geez...  maybe 1996? 1997?

Friday night, BFF calls....
"Let's have a sleep over with the kids and after church, do 54 selfless things for in memory of our parents birthdays."
My BFF and I have both lost a parent.  We both know the heartache that comes around in October when their birthday comes and passes.  However, this year is the start of a new tradition.  The beginning to an end.

Of course, I fell in love with the idea to do a selfless deed for every year of our parents birthday.  We got our children involved, their homework was to come up with different ways we could help others as well as make them feel special and loved.  We talked about our Sunday adventure and came up with different ways we could "pay it forward."  In our discussions, we came up with the idea of writing scriptures and affirmations on a deck of "pink" playing cards (since BFF's mom died of breast cancer) and we would hide them different places for strangers to find.  To see the anticipation in the kids made this even more worth my wild.

To inspire someone. To make them smile. To pay...
To inspire someone. To make them smile. To pay it forward. #payitforward #breastcancer #cards #chance 
We didn't peek. We hid them for others to find...
We didn't peek. We hid them for others to find and gave them to strangers. #payitforward via fishsmith3

Saturday night....

We somewhat prepared Saturday night for our next day outing.  We made a list of all the different ways we could do something for someone else.  Then we made a list of all the different places we needed to go and ways we could help others at every stop.  Simple things like compliment a stranger, return a cart, leave spare change in the drink machine, etc.

A #list to #payitforward via fishsmith3
A #list to #payitforward via fishsmith3
On the 7th Day....

On Sunday morning our first stop was the grocery store.  We had all our cards ready to hide and a list of goodies that we needed to purchase; flowers, cupcakes, cookies and mints.  However, before we could make it inside the kids were leaving "inspiration cards" on car windows.

Without any "cuing" they ran up to strangers asking if they could return their carts.

Train a child up in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.
Proverbs 22:6

We made our way into the grocery store and between four kids we went through a deck of 52 cards in no time at all.  Our love notes were left everywhere from behind cans of vegetables to in the dairy aisle.

We pulled out of the grocery store and headed to McDonald's were we patiently waited for a drive-thru customer to pull up.  And when they did, we hurried to the "window" to pay for their breakfast!  It was gratifying watching their expressions as the lady in the window told them they didn't owe anything for it.  They waved and all the kids stuck their heads out the windows screaming "Have a good day!"  It was an ahhhmazing moment.

The rest of our afternoon was filled with:

  • Delivering cupcakes to the fire department  
  • Going to the Dollar Store and hiding $1 bills in the kids section
  • Handing out flowers to strangers.
  • Letting others out in traffic (this was HUGE for me, I have major road rage!)

Last stop of the day....

Visit the #elderly #love them. #hug them. #one...
Visit the #elderly #love them. #hug them. #oneday you may need it in return. #payitforward via fishsmith3
We took the kids to a rest home where they passed out the remaining flowers and cookies to the "grandma and grandpa's" staying there.  As we walked down the hallways and watched the kids interact I couldn't help but cry.  This simple act of paying it forward was making the hugest impact.  An impact you could see on their faces when they smiled from ear to ear.  They loved their hugs just as much as our kids enjoyed giving them.  It was like a wave the love that was passed from room to room.  This was a moment I knew my kids would remember forever.  The moment they learned "why" we give with our heart, not expecting anything in return.  The reason why LOVE is so important.

This day stirred an emotion in my heart and I started to ball.  I couldn't stop crying and thinking, how fortunate I am to have family and friends that surround me.  How I should live in the day and be happy in the moments, RIGHT NOW.  Not tomorrow, not next week but RIGHT NOW.  We are guaranteed nothing in this life.   As I just learned from a beautiful speech it's the dash in the middle that counts, not the beginning or the end but the middle. 
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  1. Thank you, Alena. What a wonderful tribute to your father, while teaching your children how to love your neighbor.

    I enjoyed reading this, and especially appreciate it on a day I'm feeling low.

    Thank you, Sandi

  2. Alena & Elisha,
    You girls amaze me in the selfless acts you do for others and the traditions and life values you are teaching your children. Thank you for sharing such a powerful message to all of us. You are both beautiful Moms and while I call you "girls" because I sometimes still see you as those pretty little blonde children, you are both an inspiration to all of us in your "adult" years and your children and husbands are lucky to have you as a guiding light in their family.
    Love to you all!

  3. This brought tears to my eyes just reading it, can't imagine the joy it must have brought you to see your kiddos take part in it! What a blessing, thanks for sharing!!

  4. Alena,

    This was beautiful and such a creative and meaningful idea to share with your family! Thanks for sharing and I'm glad you blessed others as much as you were blessed by the experience!