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Well, I'm not sure if you check this far back, but you left me a comment, which made me curious, so I checked your blog and stumbled across this one. Love the topic! Honestly, these little things have made my day in the past:
*A smile from a stranger
*A teenage boy holding the door for me
*Someone remembering something I told them was going on in my life, and called me to see how it went!
* A teacher's care pack during the sick season given to me by a coworker
*A note of appreciation for the hard job I was doing at work

I don't know if you watched Oprah's The Big Give, but one contestant bought out a flower stand, and stood at a red light during rush hour, giving out flowers! I would LOVE to do that sometime.


This incident happened to me, and I pay it forward as often as possible, and I do it frequently.

I was at the grocers, early in the AM, picking up odds and ends I needed for my store. I hadn't brought store petty cash with me, so I was using my cash, and this was in the olden days, before debit cards. I was a dollar and change short of funds for my Total. I was deciding what to put back, when the woman behind me gave the cashier what was needed. I was in my neighborhood, but didn't know this woman, and she wouldn't give me info., so I could pay her back.


I like to give also. Have always been that way. From a smile to a stranger or a craft I've made. It gives me great pleasure to surprise someone and see the smile on their face.


Yes--I love helping and giving too, it seems to make my day!! More people need to give it a try, it'll bring a smile to your face and their's.


I am going to look for my letter at my parents place. I totally had it... at least before I moved to CA. Can't just throw away a picture of Val Kilmer, much less a great gift!


I'm bad at this, I don't think about it as much as I should, and I rarely follow through with anything. Maybe this is my kick in the butt.

jenny's mom

a couple weeks ago i was at the post office picking up a card my sister sent me because it needed more money to send it to me. get that i had to pay more from the post office to receive it, like 13 cents, wow. anyway there was 2 tellers and one of them was having coffee with the lady he was talking to i swear, any way the people in line with me were getting kinda sick of waiting. the older man behind me said "i just came here for 1 stamp." i told him i had a stamp and gave it to him, he was going to pay me for it and i told him to forget about it. that was my good deed for that day, it felt good to help him out and not expect anything in return. i love making other people happy, just wish i could make you laugh with me too honey. i love and miss you honey.~mom~


I love love love this topic. I too also get so much joy from giving to others, but I would like to get more creative, meaning more ideas that are so unexpected. One thing I try to do is out of the blue when I go over to my cousins house (she's a single mom), I clean her entire kitchen for her. I am trying to get more creative though with things that don't cost a lot of money, but a lot of thought. I'll send ideas your way as they come to me! Again, love this post! Can you send me your address?


I remember one time I was getting coffee at McDonalds and the guy in front of me paid for my order. Every once and a while, I still do this for others. I just remember how it put a smile on my face all day long. And from a stranger no less!!


Wow, there are a lot of generous and big-hearted people out there. Apparently I'm not one of them:) J/K...I do like to send cards to people. We don't get enough "real" mail that's good these days, and everyone enjoys a surprise in the mailbox. As for me- I LOVE being surprised. I would love it if my husband bought me a random card for no reason, or some flowers on a whim. However, that NEVER happens. And I can almost always predict exactly what he'll get me for a gift-giving occasion. He's a great gift-giver, but usually I know what he's getting me ahead of time. Some others have mentioned dinner invitations- I agree that everyone loves being invited over to eat t a friends' homes(so they don't have to cook!).

This is a great post, Jenny. Maybe you could set up some type of blog pay it forward thing...:)


i love this post and i looooooove to do things for other people!

when we were in san francisco i bought extra food and tried to give it to the homeless on the street. they turned up their noses! humph!

i don't like to do this when i'm alone for safety reasons, but when hubs and i are driving in our car and see someone on the side of the road in need, we always stop, if not just briefly to make sure they've at least contacted help.

i was involved in setting up care packages for the troops a couple of times.

at christmas time we try to get involved with working at the local soup kitchen or adopt-a-family. last year we wrapped gifts for the needy.

i paid for the guy behind me at a drive-thru. it was lots and lots of years ago and he was cute. that counts as a RAK, right??

Sarah S.

I too like giving. In high school one of my friends was moving out of state and I wanted to do something special for her so I made a patchwork quilt. It certainly wasn't perfect because it was my first ever, but she enjoyed the thought and effort I put into it. I've also made scrapbooks reflecting the time we had together through college or whatnot. Most recently we've invited friends over for a meal. A couple weeks ago we had a missionary and his family visit our church from Zimbabwe and they have a 2.5 month old son so I came home and grabbed a few things from Matthew's clothes containers and gave it to them just because I wanted to be a blessing.


Oh, and I guess you were fishing around for personal ideas?....
Let's see... Gosh, I don't really know. I just like the unexpected things. My husband has always been really good at out of the blue leaving me a card somewhere I'll find it during the day just to say he loves me or thanks for something. I love that.
I know it's cliche, but it really is just the thought that counts. It doesn't much matter what it is that surprises you, just that someone went out of their way to let you know they were thinking of you.
But I guess "things" like some cool bookmark, a teeny little gift card somewhere just treat myself to a magazine or nail polish or a frappucino that I wouldn't normally buy myself. Or something specifically special between you and that person, or something they know you'd been needing or wanting or some creative alternative to that thing. Something to make you laugh or smile.
And snacks are always nice! :)

It's fun to read all these other comments!!


What a great thought this week Jenny!! Love it!
This is something I looove doing... and wish I would have it more in the forefront of my mind to do more often.
Some of my favorite RAKs in the past have been:
-In the winter I'll randomly stop through Starbucks or somewhere and get hot chocolate to take to people in the cold outside... I did it for my daughter's preschool teachers as they stand outside (in the below zero temps) taking kids to and from cars in the pick-up/drop off line. I've done it for school cross walk guards, and also just for a couple people downtown who I knew probably hadn't had a warm bed of their own to sleep in, let alone a warm drink, in quite awhile.
-I send almost all of my IRL friends Mother's Day cards... kinda silly, since they're obviously not my mother, but just a note to let them know I'm thinking of them, that they rock at this "job" called MOM and that they're kids are blessed to have them. Encouraging other moms is a big thing for me. We all know how hard it can be sometimes.
-Just inviting someone over for dinner unexpectedly. I think these days in our culture, we don't take time for friends like people used to. I try once a month to invite someone we don't know that well, whether it be someone from church or someone in the nieghborhood, or a family at school, to come share a meal with us in our home.

But most of these are examples of things with mostly people I at least kind of know. I'd love to think of more things to do for strangers. I think even just making eye contact and saying a genuine hello or complimenting them on something, helping them out with an extra hand real quick... I think those little things always have the potential to make a big difference in someones day. Or at least their view on mankind these days!!


I like sending my sisters care packages. I also like sending care packages to people I've met online who are going through a rough time.


I love doing this too. Some of my favorites are:
- On very hot days I'll go to the bev mart and buy cold waters and gatorades and then bring them to the lawn crew at my complex....all of these guys work so hard and at multiple jobs.
- When I get my oil changed I bring donuts.
- The neighbor kids all play games in the courtyard in the summer and I love bringing over a box of the really good Nutty Buddy cones by Drumstick.

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