The RAOKs Results Are In

I began my birthday yesterday thinking about giving gifts of kindness to the world. After spending the last few years hearing about all the negative stuff in the world, I was done. There seemed to be too much negative energy, and I was ready to put some positive back out there. I had recently read on a friend’s Facebook page how one of her friends spent her birthday giving back and doing random acts of kindness. She was turning 32 and did a RAOK for every year of her life. Sounded like a wonderful idea to me. I thought what a great way to start another year on this planet… giving back unconditionally. I, however, turned 32 many moons ago. The challenge in front of me was to do 45 RAOKs, since that is my magical number. Well, I did accomplish my goal. Some acts were truly random, and some were just kind acts period. The intent overall was to send out good energy and keep it going. The following list is not necessarily the order of how my day went, but it will give you some idea of what my day was filled with.
1. Launched positive blog-
I had attempted a blog in the past with various themes; moms reentering the work force, how to reinvent yourself, how to bring creativity in your life. They just never took off for me, as soon writing had become a burden and full of pressure (coming up with something worth talking about) or I didn’t have time to write due to my busy family schedule. Well, yesterday I put time aside to write (that in itself is a kind act—for someone who doesn’t put herself on her own list). It’s in its infancy—but it’s out there, with links to more resources that can help you find the positive side of things in this world. (I am posting this on Face book and the blog… check it out)

2. Shared positive quote with the world on Face book. Here it is:

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he
who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.
~Saint Basil

The next few acts involve donating. We donate regularly, to the Salvation Army. But this time—I looked for specific organizations that provided resources specifically for people in need:
3. Donated children’s books to 4s ranch library. They told me not all may end up on the shelf. They may sell some at “the friends of the library” store, and have the proceeds go toward funding their community programs.

4. Donated women’s and children’s clothes and toys to Saint Claire’s Home in Escondido. They are an emergency resource for battered women and children.

5. Donated sheets and comforters to Interfaith Community Services in Escondido that
offers transitional housing for families that have been homeless. They provide furnished apartments complete with bedding and the like.  When a family moves out of that housing into traditional housing—they get to take all the stuff with them. Hence, they are always in need of donations.

6. Donated towels and blankets to Humane Society- Escondido. This org is always looking for donations to help with washing and keeping the animals warm.

7 & 8. Donate care packages to a homeless woman and man in Carmel Mountain. I purchased reusable grocery bags and filled them with deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, vitamins, socks, bottles of water, and healthy snacks (protein bars, fruit, etc). Both the man and the woman I found on the street, holding signs saying “Homeless—struggling to survive”. I hope they were not offended that I gave them what was inside. I figured if they are homeless they may not have money toward the essentials—to keep them healthy. They were actually hard to find… I had to search for them. When I handed the gift over, they thanked me with their words and eyes. And I was touched…

The next few acts dealt with being kind to our Earth. Some I practice regularly, some I do not (but will start from now on):

9. Recycled plastic bags at Ralph’s and purchased more reusable bags.

10. Recycled dry cleaning hangers at Premiere dry cleaning.

11. Recycled bottles and cans. Gave to a woman looking for them at a gas station.

12. Grouped my errands and acts together so I would drive less, pollute less.

13. Dropped off star bucks for friend.

14. Dropped off a diet coke to a friend

15. Bought meal for person behind me at Chick-fil-A… for lunch. There was a woman buying a couple of meals. Imagine how surprised she was when she learned she did not have to pay.

16. Dropped off cookies and milk to Fire station on 4-Gee Road. They were pleasantly surprised and sang me an accapella birthday rap!

17. Allowed others the right of way on the road. I did this more than once…on the freeway and on the general road. In fact, this was my motto all day on the road. I must admit, I was less stressed driving today as a result.

18. Held door open for people behind me. I generally do this, but sometimes not consistently due to my nature of being in a hurry. I did this all day, starting at the library. By the end of the day, I was very tired of doing this, and was thankful when someone did it for me.

19. Let all jay walking pedestrians have right of way. They take a risk when they bolt out of places that are not deemed crossing walks. However, their lives are more important than getting to that next place.

20. Engaged in positive conversation with coffee barista at Starbucks. He was commenting on how busy they were and how coffee houses have changed from a place where everyone hangs out to talk at, to a place where everyone is off to the next thing. No time for conversation. It was nice to take a minute and listen to what he had to say. Reminds me that everyone has a story, and if we only took a minute to hear each other, our world would be so much better.

21. Wrote a thank you note to someone who inspires me. Sent it off in snail mail. How often do we get a handwritten note these days? Added the personal side to communication.

22. Gave a thank you card and chocolates to school attendance taker at Del
Norte. While I was getting the cookies for the fire fighters at Vons, I saw the Valentine’s Day chocolates out. I picked one up and dropped it off to this gal as I was picking up Bailey early for physical therapy. She was ecstatic and said chocolate makes her day.

23. Called my mom on the phone and gave the gift of music- singing. Sang a few of her favorite oldies and harmonized with her… Dream a little dream for me, Mr. Sandman, Back in Your Own Backyard and Chattanooga Choo Choo. Very fun 15 minutes… especially since I love singing and have not been able to for the last month due to laryngitis. My voice is on its way back!

24. Thanked the grocery cashier, Howard, for a his thoughtfulness and help—enabling me to purchase milk for the firefighters without having to go to the opposite end of the store.

25. Put a stray grocery cart away. (it was dangerously teetering next to a car that was not mine).

26. Said good morning with a smile to everyone all day, from at the Interfaith Community Center, to people at Vons, etc. It’s amazing what a smile and nice words can do for people as we are passing them.

27. Took my dog for a small walk, and helped her off the curbs. She is having trouble transitioning from side walk to street. It’s probably her arthritis. It was clear she needed some extra help yesterday, and from here on out.

28. Offered people at the physical therapy place a piece of gum. Had only one taker after all, but the smiles it brought were fantastic.

29. Hugged my husband, kids, friends and dog throughout the day. It’s interesting how a little contact can take us so far.

30. Helped a friend with little league volunteering- sorting registration forms. She has a lot of stuff on her plate right now, and appreciated any help I could give her.

31. Medicated and fed my dog pasta, chicken broth and fat free cottage
cheese 3x today. I do this every day. It’s not a random act, but it sure is an act of love. Her pancreatitis can flare up at any time and smaller meals help her digest better. She also cannot eat regular dog food due to the fat, and has done very well on this diet over the past 6 years!

32. Gave attention to and adored two Australian Sheppard’s. These dogs are so loving and giving. Very playful—this is different from my geriatric puppy.

33. Gave chocolate reesees hearts to my kids

34. Picked up a bouquet of flowers and brought it to the dance studio to share Mother Nature’s beauty.

35. Appreciated and acknowledged compliments and birthday wishes on Face book and phone with gratitude. Wrote individualized thank you to each and every one!

36. Took neighbor’s garbage cans in. I know it can be a hassle to bring up cans. So I brought up cans for a neighbor who’s extremely busy with her kids.

37. Congratulated my kids on their efforts in school. Riley specifically improved her test scores in maps (measure of academic progress) in math, reading and writing. Bailey got a 94 on her hero speech (still claiming that she is not a public speecher – pun intended), and Parker is spending time trying to figure out this math thing called Algebra, putting effort in. Sometimes we are too busy in life to notice these things…

38. Complimented a parent about their child… and how she is improving in dance. I think every parent (especially dance parents) wants to hear these words.

39. Wrote a special person a letter, letting them know how important and valued they are in my life. Thank you Jim, once again for all your support.

40. Offered forgiveness to myself, for little mistakes (and big ones) I make along the path of life. Sometimes we are very hard on ourselves. Letting a little of that go makes room to do so much more—with a lighter heart.

41. Rested. I usually don’t give myself much time to rest, but at the end of the day I found I was very tired. I think this is why I have been sick a lot lately (flu, colds, laryngitis). I don’t give myself much time to rest. I know Gretchin Rubin, in her book, “The Happiness Project,” talks about how important sleep is in having a happy life. How our body rejuvenates with the down time. I’m going to try to practice this act much more in the future.

42. Encouraged Jim in playing the piano with tons of applause. This is not a random act, but it is one of kindness. Jim is getting back into playing again and, thankfully, shares his talent with us most days. Sometimes he does need that encouragement to keep playing, even after a full day of work and then family.

43. Took a few minutes to take phone calls but put real life first. I was very busy on the road and trying to slow down. And at times when the phone rang, I was talking to someone in person or merging or doing something where I had to put the phone as last priority. But I did manage to call people back, and thank them for their kind birthday wishes. Putting people who are physically there first acknowledges their presence and the importance of face to face contact.

44. Prayed for those who take care of people and animals in need. Prayed for their health, strength and dedication to be able to continue doing what they are doing.

45. Kept a positive attitude all day; smiling, stopping to smell the roses (literally—Jim gave me a bouquet of reds), and appreciating the life I have. Bailey has a friend who recently lost her mother, whose death was unexpected. When we hear real life stories like that, we are reminded that every day is a gift—really. At any moment it can all be taken away. Living our days to the fullest each day—with appreciation for that day—is vital. And I thanked God for another chance to live through one more day of celebration.

To summarize my day of RAOKs and general acts of kindness, I want to acknowledge—while some of these acts are not random, all of them involve kindness. The problem that I see with kindness and our world is that it does take some time, and the pace of our world does not match with what kindness needs. I am guilty of the same… taking life quickly. My day spent slowing down and giving back helped me see it could be more beneficial for everyone—family, friends, the world and yes, even myself—if I just slow down a little bit and remember the human side of being, or the being side of human. Either way, taking back the reigns and resetting myself on a slower track is necessary. And it starts today….

Happy Birthday/Anniversary World! We’ve been together for 45 years. Looking forward to seeing you positively through more to come.



12 Comments on “The RAOKs Results Are In”

  1. Nadine says:

    Merry I am happy to know you and have you in my life and my daughers life. So happy that you shared RAOK with the world! You oxoxoxNadine

  2. Enjoyed reading your blog, Merry! In return, I will share something in return.

    I read recently that if you hug someone for at least 6 seconds, that you will connect on a deeper level…based on science…release of endorphins and serontonin levels… So, I have been getting my “6 seconds” daily with my husband and kids (and yes, we count and it is fun and silly). Who knew something so simple could have such an impact. Not random but definitely kind to take 6 seconds out of often crazy days to cherish someone. : )

    • beingmerry says:

      Thanks for the post Jennifer! You know… there’s a lot of scientific evidence that is supporting the benefits of kindness, gratitude and happiness. Gonna get into that research in my next post. Thanks for starting it off… Kindly, Merry

  3. […] If you’re in the mood for a little inspiration, check out Merry’s post on performing 45 random acts of kindness on her birthday this past week. (Did I mention she’s an overachiever?) If you feel inspired, […]

    • beingmerry says:

      I wrote on your blog– THANK YOU for the promo. I feel blessed to have made it to your blog under the Pay it Forward Friday page. As I mentioned, I’m going to beef up the content to begin to include why it’s healthy for us to carry out kind acts… win/win situations for everyone! Thanks again!!!

  4. Kristina says:

    Hey, LOVE this post. Check out some more ideas for RAOKs here:

  5. melissa gray says:

    I was referred to your blog by Good Juju – and I’m so happy to discover you! Absolutely loved your 45 RAOK and am inspired to do the same in July (although I have to add 5 more to my list, lol!). I’m often saddened by the lack of kindness in our society these days – it seems so simple to take a moment to be kind, but is often easier said then done. I’m so very grateful for the wonderful, inspiring reminders! many blessings, Melissa

    • beingmerry says:

      Thanks for the KIND words Melissa! Glad the post helped you think about your special day in July. Wow, 50! Good for you (and for this world)!!! Can’t wait to read about it. Getting ready to post on gratitude– and where we need to start with kindness– in our own hearts. I look forward to reading your blog as well. Here’s to the positive! Cheers, Merry

  6. Kristen says:

    Hey Merry. Wow what a great list. It’s cool that you didn’t forget about nature and yourself.

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