Sunday, October 9, 2011

28 Acts of Kindness :)

A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.
~Amelia Earhart

 I recently came across a blog entry where a Mom chose to do 35 random(ish) acts of kindness for her 35th birthday. Genius! So for my 28th birthday this year, I planned to do the same.

Now I know this is a blog for Lea, but believe me, this all ties together. I have decided that in order to ensure that she grows up to be a loving, compassionate and contributing member of society, I must lead by example. I want to be the best role model I can be for my girl, so I dedicated myself to committing these 28 random (and some not so random) acts of kindness by the time my birthday came.

Aside from setting a good example, I also wanted a way to show God how thankful I am for all that he has blessed me with. What better way to show my thanks to Him than to do a few good deeds for His children? So with that... I set out to do some good. Below are my 28 acts of kindness:

1. Mailed a handwritten note of gratitude to someone that has touched my life.

2. Donated blood. Student nurse = OUCH.

3. Left a large tip for my server at a restaurant. We could tell it was his first day, bless his heart. He was hustling... he totally deserved it.

4. Left a stack of books I was done reading at a coffee shop for customers to read.

5. Left some quarters in a vending machine for a thirsty passer-by.

6. Left a gift card outside of a coffee house for someone to find and purchase them-self a cup of coffee.

7. Brought some home-made cookies to my co-workers. Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies to be exact. YUM!

8. Paid for the person behind me in the drive-thru. I actually got to watch this one go down in my rear-view mirror, and it was really fun seeing the guy smile as the woman handed him my "Random act of Kindness" card and told him his meal (and his friend's meal) was paid for. He waved at me with a big grin... it was too cute. 

Lea and our new tree.
9. Planted a tree in our front yard. Yes, this counts! Trees help control the climate, filter the air and help to beautify the Earth. Therefore planting a tree is my way of giving back to the environment AND my community. Thanks to my sweet hubby for doing the majority of the work! Lea loves her tree -- I think she's going to be a botanist when she grows up.

10. Created a T-shirt design (free of charge) for a group walking in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. 

11. Pledged a donation for a child participating in a Boosterthon Fun Run. The Fun Run helps to raise money for the child's school while teaching students about fitness, leadership and character.

12. Gave away a $25 coupon at Gymboree to a woman in the check-out line. I cannot STAND to waste a good coupon, so this act might have been just as satisfying to me as it was for the woman I gave the coupon to. (hehe) She had a pile of clothes, and walked away with a bill $25 less that it would have been :) Side note: Yesterday as I was standing in line to check out at Victoria's Secret, a woman handed me a $10 off coupon she wasn't using. Tell me karma's not real!

13. Gave away a massage appointment to someone who could use it more than I could.

14. A day of no road rage / riding people's butts / honking. Yes, I admit it. I can be quite the agressive driver. However, I have made a valiant effort in driving more cautiously and less aggressively. The ride to and from work has become much more pleasant because of it. Plus, I don't want Lea picking up on that habit.

15. Brought sweets to the fire department. They were very thankful, and Lea even got to sit in the fire truck.

16. Cleaned out my closet and donated a bunch of clothes, shoes and purses to Goodwill.

17. Smiled at people. How simple, right? This act of kindness is awesome, because it instantly changes a person's mood. Lea is really good about smiling at everyone she passes, and she is already learning that giving a smile will more than likely get one in return.

18. Adopted a soldier. is an awesome website, where they link you up with a soldier stationed overseas. I mailed my soldier a care package filled with everything from soap to socks to double-stuffed oreos, as well as a thank you card expressing my gratitude for his service to our country. I definitely plan to continue to send care packages until he is home. Also, the website recently had an influx of soldiers sign up, so if you are interested in adopting a soldier, now's the time!

19. / 20. Got my truck washed by a group of kids raising money for their church. They did such a great job, I also donated some extra funds for a round of snowballs.

21. Gave a meal to a homeless person.

22. Brought a bucket of candy and popcorn to the nurses on the Labor and Delivery floor where I delivered. When Lea was in the hospital, we constantly brought treats to our NICU nurses... but I neglected to ever bring anything to the nurses that took care of me after my delivery. Here's making up for lost time! 

23. Made a donation to help fund a surgery for a dog that had been rescued from an abusive home. (All of the money has been raised, and he'll have the surgery he needs to begin a new chapter in his life with a new, loving owner.) 

24. Brought a bag full of baby food and formula to the Second Harvest Food Bank.

25. Dropped off some dog/cat treats and a ton of plastic grocery bags for "poop-scoopin" at ARNO (Animal Rescue of New Orleans).

As you can imagine, doing 28 random/non-random acts of kindness takes a lot of thought, and as I neared number 28, it got harder and harder to think of kind things I could do. I kept my eyes open for opportunities... but I saw none, so I prayed. I asked God that if there were someone is this world who could use my help in any way, to please guide me to them.

I'm not sure why I still get surprised when God answers one of my prayers in such a blatant and obvious way... I know He hears me, and I have full faith is His actions, but when I ask, and he delivers almost immediately, it never ceases to amaze me.

On the same day that I prayed for someone to help, I got a facebook message from a friend who has a friend who is soon going to be delivering a preemie at the very same hospital Lea stayed, and that she could use someone to talk to that's been through the same thing. If there is one thing I KNOW I can do in this world, it is to give support to a preemie mother in need. So with that, my number 26 was cake.

26. Befriended a fellow preemie mother-to-be. 

27. Donated to Kidd's Kids. This is something I regretfully have never done until now. For those of you who are not Kidd Kraddick listeners, Kidd and his team take a large group of chronically and terminally ill children and their families to Disney World every year, all expenses paid. The trip is funded mostly by listener donations. To find out more about Kidd's Kids, click here.

And finally...

28. My final act will have to wait until this coming Saturday, but Lain, Lea and I will be participating in "Skip for Tripp 5k run/walk," benefiting Tripp Roth. Most people I know are well aware of Tripp's story, but if you're not, you must go here to learn about this miraculous boy and his saint of a mother. And let me just say, acts of kindness aside, I would do anything, at any time if it meant I was doing something to help that sweet little drummer boy.

So there it is: 28 acts of kindness for my 28th birthday.

And to my Lea, I look forward to the day that we can read this blog entry together and plan your very first acts of kindness adventure. I love you, and thank you for making me want to be the best person I can be.

My sweet family 10-9-11

To download a FREE printable sheet of the Random Acts of Kindness tags I made and attached to my gifts, please click here!


  1. Jessica, this is a wonderful project and I commend and admire you for what you have done. Lea is blesesed to have a mom like you. And you both have made the world a better place by being in it. God's blessings on your birthday and always!

  2. Loved reading this entry, sniff sniff. I am so proud you are my daughter and my friend. Lea is so lucky to blessed with you as her mommy. Thank you for being an inspiration and an example of how God would want us to act. Love, Mom

  3. Amazing Jessica. You are such an inspiration!

  4. Happy Birthay Jessica! And so many more.. You've been a great friend, thanks for always listening. ~Melisa~

  5. From your words, I learn.
    From your actions, I respond.

    I am honored to know you as a person, Jessica. I am blessed to have you as my one, my only daughter. It seems such a short time ago,when as a child, you giggled in my arms, laughed at my silly
    stunts...fell asleep in my arms.
    With profound happiness, I have watched you emerge as a person of the highest morals, as a person dedicated to her family. A person I am so proud to call my daughter.
    At a certain age, we as humans tend to wonder what we will leave behind. We
    wonder if we will still make an impact in the world.
    I stand here before you, feeling a hundred feet tall, that a small way I have.

    ..and that reason is you.

    you, Jessica

    With all my heart I love you,

    You make a difference....



  6. Love this Jessica! Very inspiring and I hope it inspires more people too!

  7. Wow... thanks for the ideas... I found your blog from pinterest.... our family is praying for the Holy Spirit to show us who to do some wonderful random acts each day until Thanksgiving. I will pray for your family... Thanks for the Random Act cards... Luke 9:23...

  8. Thanks for the free printable for the cards to pass on. I can't wait to use them, and to give some to my kids so they can use them, too! What fun way to teach kids about serving others.

  9. these are adorable. thank you for sharing your joy with us. ♥

  10. I plan on doing the same idea for my 40th birthday this Wednesday! Thank you for sharing these adorable tags!!

  11. I am thankful to God for your inspiring, creative and generous ideas! Thank you!

  12. I clicked the link for the free printable s and was directed to just a picture and was unable to print them. I am doing something wrong or going to the wrong place?

  13. Hi Amy,

    When you click the link and it brings you to the picture, right click the image, and hit "save as." Then you can save the image to your computer and print!

    - Jessica

  14. Hi Jessica! your story touched my heart, and so did the acts of kindness you performed on your birthday. No wonder your mom and dad love you that much. Love from Buenos Aires

  15. love it, using your printables at my bday party next's a casino themed putting a bowl out saying "Take a Gamble" and pick a

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. Love it!! I also saw the blog about the 35 on her 35th birthday, just a few weeks ago, awesome! Our little family tries to find ways to do service and as a mom I want them to love it so I try to make it not only rewarding but fun and your printables and ideas will help with our RAOK this summer. Also, I read about your little preemie baby girl. My little boy is now 7 months, 3 months corrected age. He was born at 23 weeks 6 days and spent 5 months in the hospital. He has been home almost 2 months now and is still on oxygen but other than that is awesome!! Your pictures are so familiar to me. So great to read your story and see your adorable little girl! Thanks for sharing!
    Heidi @

  17. I typed 28 random acts of kindness on google and came across your blog with that headline. It's nice to know someone is trying to do the same thing. I've been at it since August (my birth month). It's weird that I too turned 28 in 2011 like you, but I haven't completed my 28. I wrote down the list of things I did too with the intention of creating a blog to hopefully inspire someone, but I've been so busy working 2 jobs. If you could help me by reposting this, I would really appreciate it. It's almost August again so I'm trying to complete the 28. The following was my effort on Craigslist to spread the word:

    Hi Everyone!

    I'm trying to do 28 random acts of kinds. One act for each year that I am alive. I'm trying to reach my goal before my next birthday in August. Currently I'm on #22: Help my friends David and Trang win a wedding photo shoot by getting them enough likes of their picture on Facebook. The other couples in the running are ahead by about 800 likes, so I'm spreading the word however I can so my friends would be in the lead. Every like (vote) counts, so please help the young couple.

    This is their story on her account: "Three years ago, I met this guy I couldn't seem to remember his name after several encounters through mutual friends. I was at a stage in my life where I felt lost and unaccomplished where relationship was probably the last thing on my mind. When I first hung out with him and his friends, we drank pretty heavily that night enjoying every moment of it. I can't seem to remember much from that night except for feeling so hot and sweaty. As I woke up feeling so hot, I checked out my surroundings and realized that we were parked right in front of my house. I was completely covered from head to toes with a bunch of jackets and sweaters in the passenger seat. I tend to get extremely cold when I drink alcoholic beverage, which is probably why all those jackets were on me. As I peered over to the driver's side, David was sleeping in fetal position shivering since he gave me all the jackets and sweaters he could possibly find is his car. This was the first moment that my heart skipped a beat feeling so cared for by a nearly stranger. From then on after, David joked about how we barely met, but had already slept together. It was an inside joke that kept us where we are today. I can go on with countless stories for days where I felt so happy and loved. These are stories I use to tell and still laugh about today. They are like fairytales that you only see in movies. Those fairytales do exist and we are living proof of those happy stories. I must admit, I never thought I could love someone this much nor could I be this happy. We have that kind of relationship that is so genuine that you wish for all your family and friends. I am truly blessed that we even crossed path and can't wait to start our happily ever after."

    This is the facebook link to that picture so please like it for them:

  18. I wanted to share my list with you =)

    1. Made floral arrangements at Silverado Hospice for the elderly

    2. Volunteered three times at an Urban Farm at LA Academy

    3. Paid half of a little girl's rollerskate

    4. Help one-armed man push a cart of stuff and gave him all the change I had in my wallet ($13)

    5. Filled 10 blue and pink backpacks with school supplies and passed it out to random kids in south central Los Angeles

    6. Sent prayers to a girl's dad that past away

    7. Gave $20 to a man selling papaya on the street

    8. Help grade another Teacher's Aide's work to help her take a load off

    9. Donated $150 to Cathy's 5K walk

    10. Volunteered with Reading Partners for a semester

    11. Feed stray kittens

    12. Contributed money to a friend's funeral

    13. Gave money to a man selling avocadoes on the street

    14. Contributed money to a jobless college grad who posted "will work to get a moped for transportation to work" on Craigslist

    15. Contributed to Women's Educator Organization

    16. Bought food for a student

    17. Gave money to a man to buy in front of Target

    18. Praying for a friend's baby's passing

    19. Praying for a co-worker who is trying to have a baby

    20. Tipped 100% of the bill to a lady with a young child

    21. Bought pepper spray for a Teacher's Aide for her safety

    22. Help Trang and David win a wedding shoot

    #23-28. In progress

  19. Just have to say that you are an inspiring woman. I saw this on pinterest just to glance at it and read the whole thing. I really want to do this! Such a sweet Idea. This is how God wants us to treat eachother, how much better would the world be??? I say we try and find out ;)

  20. Wow! I just read your post, and I'm surprised by how many similar items you and I had on your list. Great job, and keep up the good work!! Your daughter will definitely learn by your example. You can check out mine here...

  21. I just did the same thing for my 40th birthday. It was wonderful and when I was all done doing my acts of kindness it was bitter sweet. Glad I was done because I was exausted but sad because it was so much fun.

    I am now hearing how some of my friends and even strangers are doing it. Such a wonderful thing to do when we live in a me, me, me culture.

  22. I love this idea! I especially love including the printables with the items so the person knows it was intentional. Thanks for the printables.

  23. You are amazing! I'm going to do this too, and since my kids are 11 and 16, I'll also get them to do a version of their own! What an awesome and fun project for our upcoming summer vacation! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  24. LOVE this! Thank you so much for sharing your kindness project! My shorties and I are working on our list. :-) Love your printable too! How can I get it to print clearly? For some reason, it prints out fuzzy and I'd love to use this for our project!

  25. Sorry about that Heddy! The link should be fixed now. Let me know if it works. Thanks!!

  26. I tried to print your cards but got the following message:
    You (account name 'mcduffie25') have just tried to access a document in another KeepandShare account 'jessicacgorman'. To view it you need to ask the owner of the other account to set the Sharing controls to give your KeepandShare user name 'mcduffie25' rights to view the document.
    I really like your cards and want to print them to use to complete our list.

  27. So sorry!! I don't know what's going on with this link, but I think I have it fixed now. Please let me know if this works for you, and if not I can just e-mail you the file. Thanks!

  28. Thank you so much for the beautiful printables!! One of my dearest friends and I (along with two of my children) are headed out on a Random Acts of Kindness birthday adventure tomorrow and I am excited to use your cards!!! Thanks again!!

  29. Thanks so much for your beautiful printable cards! I hate to even ask this, since you offer them for free, but is there any way for you to create spaces between the cards for cutting purposes? I'm so excited to put these to use! I'm going to have them laminated so that people may be more apt to reuse them to pay it forward. Thanks again!

  30. Hi Sarah! Send me your email address, and I can email you a new version of the printable cards!

  31. Hi Jessica
    I've have read and been really touched by your blog, I showed this post to my husband and he decided that as his birthday was coming up, he really wanted to do this (he's 28 as well!)
    And we did!! We even used your beautiful random acts printable cards (I hope you don't mind) I'm about to blog about it now and thought I would let you know that you were the inspiration to us doing it on 12.09.12 in Cambridgeshire, England.
    Thank you x x x
    Bea Francis-MacRae

  32. Ahhh... you just inspired me! I will be turning 50 in January, and now I know how I am going to be doing it. Thank your for the inspiration, and the free printable cards. I would love to have the version with spaces inbetween...
    Thank you, again.

  33. 27Jack, 50 is AMBITIOUS!! Please update us on how it goes! You can email me at, and I can send you another version with spaces in between if you'd like! The version now just limits the amount of cutting :)

  34. This is a wonderful idea! I work at a hospital and daily try to walk patients to the appropriate place if they are lost, pay for a drink or give change if they don't have enough. I always feel so fulfilled when I help other people. Life is about the little things sometimes <3 I am turning 40 next July and I am up for this challenge!

  35. Thank you for sharing this and the print-out !
    Turning 25 in a week and have been looking for this sort of inspiration :)

  36. Thank you for your printables. We are starting a new tradition in our family. The week of our birthday we will perform the number of RAKs of the age we are turning. My daughter who is 11 this week has a few ideas, one is to leave some pool toys at a hotel pool!

  37. I came across your blog a few months ago while searching for random acts of kindness for my 32nd birthday celebration. I used your Random Acts of Kindness tag printable. They were perfect and made me feel at ease that the recipient of my "acts" would know it was an intentional deed and that I didn't just drop my lottery tickets or change, etc. Thank you! I am just, like just yesterday, trying my hand at my own blog. Still don't know all the tips and tricks, but I linked to your blog as I posted about my birthday celebration and your wonderful tag printable that I used. Hope you get the chance to stop by my blog too! Have a great New Year!

  38. Thank you for the printables! I'm in the process of doing 32 for my bday. I am having so much fun with it. My daughter and I are finishing up tomorrow. I'll link back when I blog about it!

  39. I too am going to use your beautiful printables for my 50 random acts of kindness to celebrate my 50th birthday this Friday January 11th. and you are right 50 is ambitious but I planned my day well and should be able to finish in 6 hours. intentional kindness what an amazing gIft.

    Debi in illinois

  40. My friend just got one of these and posted about it on facebook! I can't wait to print out mine and start making a difference, thanks for the beautiful printable and the incredible idea!

  41. Thank you for sharing these ADORABLE tags for RAK! I am using them this year! :) I shared them on my blog.

  42. These are beautiful tags. I used them for my birthday RAoK this year. You can see pictures and the story behind my RAoK on my blog, if you'd like. Thank you for sharing them. I could never make anything that lovely!

  43. I am looking to print your cards. What a beautiful site! I went to the link but it doesn't appear to be active. Can you repost the link?

  44. The link should be

  45. Thank you so much! My 3 year old and I are doings RAK's on Sunday's. Kindness is our "religion" :) You little one is perfection! Thank you for the print outs!!!!

  46. We have had so much fun with your RAK tags. Thank you!!!

    Our crew used them as intended, but I also tweaked them into greeting cards, large decorative signs, and even ice-cream topping labels. Take a look at all you inspired:
    I included a link-back to you as the original source, and know that if you have any objection at all to me posting the revised images I will remove them.

    Thanks again for the fantastic inspiration!

  47. I was looking for ways to do some random acts of kindness in my teaching workplace and loved #18. I know you posted this awhile ago, but as one of the board members for Adoptaussoldier, thank you! :)

  48. A Great way to celebrate 28 years! Loving your pictures and the simple and beautiful way you have put your story across - you're an inspiration and I am following your journey - awesome work!

  49. First I want to wish your mother belated happy birthday. Your mom has taken a good decision on her birthday. Very nice thought we must learn from them.

  50. Thanks for sharing information.Your blog has always been a source of great tips.
    Acts of Kindness Ideas
    Pay it Forward Stories

  51. thanks for sharing , nice post

  52. Love your post! Thanks for the cards, I'm giving them to my students with a little treat - we are very into kindness in our school!