Thursday, March 26, 2015

Honoring Sam Through Random Acts of Kindness

I have been feeling convicted about the way I use my time probably since last summer.  I finished my master's degree last May, and after that, I was so unbusy (I totally just made up a word).  I was about halfway through my pregnancy with Sam, Emory had just turned three, and Harper turned two in June, so I was tired.  So many of my days were just about checking items off my to-do list, preparing and eating meals, and meeting the girls' and Stephen's basic needs.  I wasn't doing any of this joyfully or enjoying my time with my family.  I was just doing.

When Stephen and I talked about New Year's resolutions in December, I decided mine was to spend my time more purposefully this year.  This was something God has been nudging me toward for almost a year, see?

Almost immediately after Sam passed away, I felt like I needed to be doing something to honor him.  I know it will help me grieve, and I want to share his story.

So many times during Sam's hospital stay, Stephen and I talked about trying to always show kindness to people because you just have no idea what someone might be going through.  So many people ask, "How are you?" as just a casual greeting.  But if people answered honestly, I think we would all be shocked.  I'm rambling on about all of this to share an idea I am completely stealing from another mom (with her permission!) whose baby also had CHDs and is now in Heaven.  If you follow Jen Hatmaker on Facebook (and if you don't, you should!), you probably saw this post:

A Hatmaker follower was the recipient of a random act of kindness done in the honor of a little boy named Owen.  The note included a hashtag that I looked up on Instagram.  From there, I found Owen's mommy's blog.  I spent hours over a few days looking at all the pictures with that hashtag, reading Owen's story, and reading about the random acts of kindness in his honor idea.  I was so intrigued.  I felt like this was something I wanted to do also.

So, on the 22nd of every month (in honor of Sam's birthday on September 22), I am committing to doing a random act of kindness to honor Sam. I turn 30 on April 28, and I plan on doing 30 random acts of kindness between now and then, also.  I would love, love, love (love) it if other people joined me in doing this.  No act of kindness is too small.  I guarantee no matter what kind of day someone is having, whether they are walking through a valley or on a mountaintop, receiving kindness is always appreciated.  Someone in front of us in the drive-through line at Starbucks paid for our order years ago, and I'll never forget that.  You can buy a $5 gift card and leave it in a conspicuous place for someone to find.  You could mow your neighbor's yard, send someone flowers, bake something delicious and deliver it, run an errand for someone, or tape a dollar bill to a vending machine.  You can google ideas.  We will be including a small card to share Sam's story and raise awareness about CHDs.  If you would like to, snap a quick picture of your random act of kindness and post it to social media with the hashtag #samuelstephenbryan so we can spread Sam's story and raise awareness about CHDs.

You can download the RAOK cards here to print on your own.  

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