Be The Good: Celebrating 50 Years with 50 Good Deeds

The “why?” to my 50 good deeds was posted two weeks ago and I am ready to share my experience!

I am officially 50 years old, or affectionately “half-a-hundred”,  and I have toasted the completion of 50 good deeds. It took one week to complete, but left me with memories I will have for my lifetime. The week was fun, inspirational, busy, intimidating at times and always amazing.

If asked would I do it again, my answer would be “in a heartbeat.” If asked, “what now?”

I would answer, “I will continue to Be The Good in my day-to-day life. I will look for and take opportunities to help others and to thoughtfully extend kindness and compassion.”

The joy (for lack of a better word that encompasses all my emotions), I experienced celebrating my birthday in this way, is far greater than ANY birthday present I have EVER unwrapped. Each deed felt like someone was giving ME a gift. Amazing how that works!

To get started, I decided 50 deeds would take some time to complete and I knew I would need all of the 4 weeks I had given myself to come up with my ideas and get organized.

The first thing I did was send a few emails to see what kind of interest and support I would have. It was easier than I imagined. I was overwhelmed with donations of time, money and things. I was supported in so many ways, it didn’t feel like work. It became a mission and a passion.

I decided to divide my deeds between my husband and children, friends and neighbors in Atlanta, and childhood friends and family where I was born, St. Louis, Missouri.

I chose to do 10 deeds with my kids and husband, 30 with friends and neighbors and the final 10 during a weekend trip to St. Louis. I chose to use the slogan, Believe There is Good in The World, with the emphasis on BE THE GOOD. I designed a little “logo” to help me communicate to others what I was doing. The message it sent struck a cord with me and it quickly caught on with others as well.

With input from family and friends, I made my deed list.

Day-by-day the details fell in place. I asked for voluntary donations and divided and budgeted them among my list of deeds. I also took suggestions and by doing so, I made the deeds important and personal for those who helped me. What follows is quite a read, but that’s what happens when you turn 50!

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I did a lot of work here and there throughout the 4 weeks leading up to my birthday week. The day before the deeds began, I scheduled a work day where friends stopped in to help sort, package, and organize by day. I tried not to get overwhelmed with getting it all done. If only I had done this when I turned 30 it would have been a lot easier- ha, lots of things are easier at 30!

Anyway, with so many offers of help and support, I focused on saying yes to contributions and looking for special skills my friends each had and asking them to contribute something they were expert at. There were women who loved to cook, photographers, jewelry makers, organizers, cheerleaders and creative thinkers. They each brought their special talent to the deeds and allowed me to do more than I could have ever done on my own.

I love the writing and the “gifty” part of giving because that is what I do, but I needed all my other experts to put it together. If you are so inspired to celebrate your birthday with deeds, ask for help. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the team you build.

By the way, the purpose of this blog, my hope and goal in documenting what we did is to inspire others so the good deeds continue.

Like a pebble thrown in a pond, the waves and ripples spread. I was inspired by a blog and hope I can send the same message to others wanting to celebrate in an incredible meaningful way.

Now on to Deed Week!

On each of the three deed days I had a wonderful group of women who volunteered to come along. Many took off work and went to great lengths to rearrange their family schedules to be part of the experience. My car was loaded with gifts and donations, but also tons of warmth, enthusiasm and heart. I loved the car rides too!

Day 1

Deed 1: Mother Earth

My family kicked off the week by picking up trash in and around our neighborhood pool and tennis area.  We weren’t sure what we would find, but there were more bottles, cans and paper than we could have guessed, not to mention tennis balls and more tennis balls. We left the tennis balls on the courts for others to use, and sent the bottles and cans to the recycle bin.

The kids weren’t sure what their Mom had gotten them into, but by the end they wanted to continue collecting trash, as there was more to do. This is a job we will do again. Seeing what we accomplished in a short time, they all felt they had done a good deed.

Deed 2: You’re so Tweet

I wanted a way to celebrate the week and to thank all those who had generously helped me. So we baked and baked…cookies and cupcakes! We delivered these sweet treats to over 30 wonderful friends and neighbors.

I would have loved to have done more for each of them.

One of the greatest joys of the deeds was the 4 weeks of planning it took to put it together. Days were filled with calls, emails and texts – kind words, donations, and ideas. There were daily joys in my inbox, and they deeply touched me. My treats were a little thank you for some acts they may have considered small, but were BIG to me.

Deed 3: Shopping Cart Quarters

We put a note and a quarter on shopping carts at a local  Aldi grocery store. The note asked the shopper to use the quarter and then pass it on. We watched as our quarters made shoppers smile! Not a big deal, but a happy little convenience on a rainy day. We did learn the best deeds are the ones where you speak to people face-to-face.

Deed 4: Hairs to You

We wanted to thank the women who have cut our family’s many locks of hair over the years. We tipped them generously and went on our merry, well-groomed way.

Deed 5: Toy Dollars

My kids favorite deed of the day. The assignment was for each kid to find a child in Toys R Us they wanted to give $10.00 to.

First, my 9-year old son picked a little boy he overheard talk about getting a skateboard- a subject close to his heart. The father was very gracious, and initially questioned if we were sure we wanted to pick them. I assured him they were the ones. He was a big man with a big smile, solid handshake and numerous thanks and happy birthday wishes.

My daughter picked a little girl begging her dad to buy her a doll. He appeared confused when we explained our offer, but took the money and we said our goodbyes. About 10 minutes later he found us in the store and apologized for not wishing me a happy birthday and thanking us properly. He said he was in shock and it took awhile for our deed to sink in.

My oldest son found a little boy in the Lego aisle. He was there with his Aunt who was rewarding him for a great job in school, so we sweetened his reward. Our last deed was given to a young mother and son. The mother immediately hugged me and my son, and the little boy hugged me too. She said the money was a blessing and it did make a difference for them that day.

Deed 6: Gumball Dreams

We filled all the rides and vending machines at Toys R Us with quarters and left the store. There were lots of free gumballs that day!

Photo courtesy of Curran Harrison Photography.

Deed 7: Appreciation Letters

Everyone in the family wrote a card or letter to someone special of our choosing.  I chose a woman who helped me when my kids were younger and was such a big part of our lives. I know I said thank you over the years, but I never really spoke what was truly in my heart and mind. I wrote it down and sent it to her.

She called me that week.

She said it was the nicest note she had ever received in her entire life. Why had I not told her before??

The lesson I learned from this was when you feel love and appreciation in your heart, ACT on it.

Day 2

Deed 8: A Cup of Joe

This was the first deed with friends and neighbors, as I saved three for my family to do before heading to St. Louis later in the week.

All of these would not have been possible without my friends donation of things, time and money. I know I said it before, but from the first email to the last day spent packaging and staging, I was never alone.

The first morning started at 6:45am, a rainy Monday morning. We went to the local Starbucks and paid for a man’s coffee in the drive thru, while we were inside ordering a “to go” container for our next deed at the elementary school.

Deed 9: Carpool Kudos

We brought  hot cups of coffee  and signs of appreciation to the teachers working early morning carpool at the elementary school. They were so appreciative!

One teacher has worked this duty for 12 years and said no one had ever thanked them, and certainly not delivered fresh hot coffee. They said it was like winning the lottery, especially on a rainy Monday morning. We shared the extras with the office staff, and they too were thrilled. I am now known at school as the “Birthday Mom”.

Photos courtesy of northsidewoman.com

Deed 10: Teacher Letters

While we were at the school, we presented the assistant principal with letters written to many of the teachers the mom’s have come to love and respect. The letters let them know the impact they have had on their students and their families.

Another one of those daily things we may carry in our minds, but putting it down on paper and giving it to someone puts a thought into action and creates an unforgettable impression on those you share it with. I guess that is why I have always loved the art of writing letters and sending cards.

It is one thing I hope technology never replaces.

Deed 11: School Supply Box

One last deed at the school. We gave the teachers a big box of school supplies. They are always running low on many everyday items as we get into the school year, so we had glue sticks, scissors, dry erase markers, construction paper and more. We also gave them a box of beanie babies, and other little items they could include in their classroom treasure boxes. They were so happy, it was a really great start to the week.

Deed 12: Volunteering

Off to North Fulton Community Charities to volunteer in the thrift shop for a few hours. We helped straighten, organize and move things around in the store, getting ready for a little remodel.

This charity is one of the most amazing organizations, helping 100’s of area families in time of need- from food, to clothing, household items and financial assistance. We all want to go back and help again, not to mention shopping for fun items like books, records and accessories. We inspired one of the managers there to celebrate her upcoming 50th birthday with deeds as well!

Photos courtesy of northsidewoman.com

Deed 13: Firehouse Books

We delivered books to a local fire station who developed a monthly reading program with one of the local elementary schools. They were very appreciative and will be able to bring the books to their next meeting with the kids.

Deed 14: Birthday Tip

With such an early start to the day, we stopped to have a birthday lunch and had a great time talking about our morning and planning the days to come.

Our server was wonderful and helped us celebrate with a  song and a complimentary dessert. Our deed was to tip him very well!

Deed 15: Books and more Books

With 10 big boxes of used books, we went to our local library and donated them for resell at their monthly book sales, with funds going to library programs. It took two cartloads!

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Deed 16: Rainy Day Deeds

With the rain coming down, we found bus riders and walkers in the rain. We handed them a rain poncho if they needed it,  a water bottle and fun Valentine lollipop, just to make them smile. We went to a local thrift store and spread the joy there too.

We met one woman who was so taken by our deeds, she shared her story with us. She was turning 40 and thought deeding was something she could do to give back- another ripple and another lesson.

Being “Good” inspires others to do good as well…movement and effect are possible by even small gestures.

In one of the below photos, we gave waters and lollipops to two men working in a yard and when we later returned, they had put dollar bills in the top of the water bottles to give back to us what we had given them. We think they realized what we gave was a gift, but they returned the gift and so we passed those dollars on to others.

Deed 17:  Wheels on the Bus

Getting our kids safely to and from school is always close to our hearts, so we wanted to recognize our neighborhood bus drivers. We packaged up cookies, chocolates, gift cards and flowers and presented them to the drivers at drop off.

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Deed 18:  Rain or Shine!

My actual birthday is today! We started the day with sunshine and optimism, despite a forecast of rain and cloudy skies- we couldn’t believe the morning.

We put out a bucket of snacks and good wishes for the trash men and hoped they wouldn’t mistake our good deed for trash.

A handmade poster from my son told them we appreciated what they did- rain or shine!

Deed 19: Safe House Donations

We collected boxes of clothing, toys, and household items for a local safe house for battered and abused women. We also included some special bracelets designed and donated by a neighbor with a jewelry company- Inspired Designs.

We wanted to include something as gifts to the women who were looking for the strength, courage and inspiration to change their lives for the better. We hoped the bracelets would be a positive reminder for them.

The charity came that day to pick up our donations and we left a little bag of treats for the driver as well.

Deed 20: A Little TLC

We all went to visit a wonderful friend who is often helping others, who recently lost her father and was recovering from surgery.

We brought her delicious homemade bread, soup and brownies made by another friend who herself had recently lost both her mother and sister. I thought she would find healing in doing something for another woman who was also hurting.

I think the experience brought joy to both of them. Both are loving and talented cooks and often comfort others with their thoughtful ways and wonderful food. We also gave her an ornament to remember her dad- he was such a presence.

We spent an uplifting 45 minutes laughing, sharing and supporting with hugs and tears all around.

Deed 21: Lottery Anyone?

Giving out lottery tickets is a lesson in itself. Skepticism greeted us as most people thought we were selling something, handing out pamphlets or perpetrating a scam. But it did not take long for hard stares to soften to, “thank you, what a great idea.”

One woman, after asking numerous questions, finally asked me what I got out of it. When I simply answered- “to feel good”.  She immediately smiled and accepted the ticket.

We realized the typical reaction was a product of our society today, and to be cautious is a modern day necessity.

Deed 22: The “Closet”

What a great place! We donated women’s clothing and accessories to Drake’s Closet which resells gently-used women’s clothing at remarkable prices in a boutique setting.

The funds support homeless families with the goal of helping them become independent. After making our donations, we couldn’t help but visit the boutique and contribute by making a few purchases of our own.

We will definitely be heading back to support the Drake House!

Deed 23: Food for the Firehouse

We had a great visit with the firefighters at Milton Fire House 42. We brought them a homemade dinner, complete with sides and desserts donated by several women in the neighborhood.

The firefighters were so welcoming and invited us for a tour and a photo-op with the engine. They shared what life is like living at the fire house, their schedules, meals, living quarters, call process and more.

It was interesting and eye-opening to learn what they do for the community and have far some of them travel  for their job. We found out ways we could continue to support them in the future.

Deed 24: Expectant Mom Delivery

We chose an expectant mom who could benefit from a little help with preparing for a new baby due soon.

We put together a gift basket including some gift items, outfits and a gift card to help with the many expenses. She was very surprised and said she was truly blessed.

We were thrilled to have made her day brighter.

Deed 25: Cancer Care

This was a deed which hit close to home. We learned about a very recent cancer diagnosis of a mom many of us know.

We wanted to support her as she began a tough battle against an advanced stage of breast cancer. Many of us had family members or dear friends affected by cancer- some survivors and some we lost.

We added gifts to the basket we felt would empower her with knowledge, and also help her care for herself physically and emotionally. We also made a donation to the Cancer Society on her behalf. She was very touched by the basket and we will continue to pray for her.

We couldn’t help giving an impromptu Valentine’s basket to a helpful security guard who made it possible for us to deliver the basket.

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Deed 26: Dollar Store Dollars

This was a fun thing to do. We visited a local Dollar Store and gave out dollars in cute little envelopes my daughter had made. We handed some to shoppers and tucked some into products for others to find. We met some very thankful shoppers and shared a few stories.

One woman thought doing good deeds was the perfect way to celebrate her upcoming 60th birthday. She survived a recent health scare and it changed her perspective on life. She was joyful, grateful and ready to give back.

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Deed 27: A Blessed Employee

This was one of my favorite deeds and something simple that all of us have the power to do everyday…change another person’s course. I had taken notice of a particular employee at a local Dollar Store over the past several months.

She always greeted all the customers, held pleasant conversation, and when asked how she was, she always answered, “I’m, Blessed.” Clearly some days she wasn’t feeling great, but her attitude and answer never wavered.

I decided to take my thoughts about her and turn them into action. I gave her a handmade glass cross we sell and wrote a sentiment just for her. It said “I’m Blessed” and thanked her for always being so pleasant and touching others with her attitude.  I also wrote a letter to Dollar Tree Corp on her behalf. I thought they needed to know she was an unsung hero for their business.

When I presented her with the gift and told her what I had done- I changed her course. It turns out, she really needed it that day. I don’t know what was happening in her life, but she thanked me with one of the most sincere hugs I’ve ever gotten.

It was a great way to end the deeds on my birthday day.

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We did stop at a nearby urgent care center on the way home to donate some new stuffed animals we had not given away- we were on a roll, so I guess I will count this as one to grow on!

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Day 4

Deed 28: Postmen Surprise

I had a lot of neighbors volunteer to put a gift out for the postman this morning. When he delivered the mail, he was also picking up gifts for himself such as letters of appreciation, gift cards, cookies and chocolates.

Perhaps a bit confused, but a happy confused!

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Deed 29: Flowers from the Heart

We have a friend who lost her husband last year and we wanted to make sure she received flowers this year for Valentine’s Day.

We left them at her door and hoped they would lift her spirits.

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Deed 30: Raining Cats & Dogs

On another rainy day, we headed to a local animal shelter where one of the girls had gotten her dog. We wanted to support this local no-kill shelter, and collected some donated items from their wish list.

They were happy for the donations and it was tough to leave and not take a dog home with us!

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Deed 31: Grocery Bills

We went to a local grocery store with the intention of paying for someone’s groceries. We knew we wanted to find someone we could really help. We walked the aisles and met some people with very special stories.

I approached a woman carrying a basket full of baby formula. She looked a little tired and I thought she was probably a new mom. I stopped her and offered her $50.00 to cover her grocery bill.

She told me she was shopping for her 4-week old twins and the formula was being covered by WIC vouchers, but she was thrilled to be able to now afford to buy needed groceries. She apologized for her tired appearance, but as a mother of twins myself, no explanation was needed!

The shared experience made all the girls laugh. Was it serendipity or something more? I was excited to have found someone I truly knew could use the help and support and a little luck (?) that day.

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While I was talking to the new mom, one of the girls struck up a conversation with a man named Joe. Joe was a 93 year-old WW II veteran who had flown over Berlin. He was slowly pushing his cart through the store and stopped to talk.

Joe was hard of hearing, but panned that it was his way of getting the “purty ladies” closer. He would not allow us to pay for his groceries. Instead, he opened up his wallet and handed me $5.00 to wish me a happy birthday.

Initially I was embarrassed and ill-prepared to respond. I thought I should graciously accept his gift, just as I was hoping those I was “deeding” would graciously accept mine. However I wanted a way to treat him, without him relinquishing any pride. One of the girls suggested we spend the money and buy him a box of Valentine’s chocolates and I thought that was perfect.

We met him as he left the store and wished him a wonderful Valentine’s Day.

What a man!

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Deed 32: The Money Jar

That day we were traveling with a money jar- not quite sure who we were going to give it to. Our initial idea evaporated with the rainy day, so we were keeping our hearts open for an opportunity.

We met Tina at the same grocery store and decided the money in the jar would help her.

I had a little money leftover because of sweet Joe, so I offered to pay for her groceries, although it didn’t quite cover the bill. When I asked her if I could help, she let out a deep sigh and said, “oh good, I wasn’t quite sure where the money was coming from to pay for this.” She told me she was out of work with no insurance and was a diabetic and epileptic. She and her mother lived together and did the best they could. I went to the car and got the money jar and gave it to her.

She couldn’t thank us enough.

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We left the store feeling like we had accomplished what we had intended. The lesson I learned was that even everyday errands present us with many opportunities to help, as everyone around us have their own stories and sometimes we can be the ones to help.

Deed 33: Joshua Rocks

There is a middle school boy in the neighborhood who was having a hard time at school with friends and bullying. With the help of my middle school son, we did a little surprise “feel good” gift for him.

My son made a poster that let him know he “Rocked.” A friend also made him a really sweet Valentines bucket and we put all of it, along with some helium balloons on his porch. He had a great surprise waiting for him when he got off the bus that afternoon.

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Deed 34: Missing Dad

A local family recently lost their dad. He was the primary care-giver with three children. The wife and mother was struggling with her health at the time and the family needed lots of support. They are now getting better every day and we wanted to show them some extra care this Valentine’s Day.

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From a text we received, they were delighted with the Valentine’s baskets and flowers left at the front door and it did make their day.

Deed 35: Tennis Anyone?

We stopped at the local park and tennis courts and left some extra tennis balls for anyone who needed them.

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Deed 36: Senior Center- Cake & Flowers

Next we visited a local senior center and shared birthday cake with residents in the memory care ward. They sang “Happy Birthday” to me and that was a treat. We then went to the dining room and handed out flowers. The residents were so kind and many took the time to talk with us.

Dorothy below always used to get carnations from her husband on Valentine’s Day. By chance we gave her a yellow carnation and she was delighted. Yellow was her favorite color as you can see by her sweater.

One woman told me I was just a baby and she had loved being 50. I’ve loved being 50 so far too!

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Deed 37: Art Supplies

Our last deed- so bittersweet. We collected art supplies to donate to the art program at the new high school. We unloaded the trunk and wheeled them in.

And with that we ended three amazing days. I will always have a deeper connection to my crew of friends- it was an incredible experience to share.

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Off to St. Louis

With a decent night’s sleep I was up on Valentine’s Day and ready to head out of town with my 9-year old daughter. We had a few family deeds left to do on the way…

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Deed 38: Thank you Boys

We first left a Valentine’s candy and a gift card to the movies for my husband and boys, who would be having a boy’s weekend, as we took our girl’s weekend away. It was also a thank you for their hard work and support over the previous month.

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Deed 39: Pay the Toll

We headed to the airport and along the way paid the toll for the car behind us. I was a recipient of this good deed about a year ago and thought it was a really nice surprise.

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Deed 40: Pay the Toll Collector

In addition to paying the toll, we also gave the toll booth worker a box of Valentine’s Day chocolates. She had a wonderful smile and said, “For me?!!”

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Deed 41: Thank you, my Friends

Taking my deeds to St. Louis was an incredible treat. It was where my parents were born, met and married. We lived there until I was 10 years old.

My St. Louis friends, my sister and me share a unique history, as we have known each other since birth. We were a group of young girls who were thrown together because their parents were friends, but we chose to be friends too.

To this day our parents remain close and so do we. It is one of those rare friendships you never have to reinvent. When you walk in a room you pick up where you left off. We so enjoy each other, and this weekend was no exception.

My sister and I are a year and 4 days apart and she was instrumental in helping me coordinate and organize our friends and events from afar. My parents, daughter, niece and 98-year old grandmother were also huge parts of the weekend. We were going to combine our good deeds with a walk down memory lane and revisit some places from our childhood.

Here is some of the gang from many years ago!

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My first deed was to thank them all for taking the weekend to join me and for donating items for our deeds. I gave them each a scarf with a pretty metal heart pendant as both a souvenir of the weekend and to identify us as a group. It ended up becoming a great symbol for us.

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We shared breakfast, loaded cars and headed out in a caravan for the day.

Deed 42: Long-Lost Cousin

Well not really, but we had not seen him in years. We checked with his wife and made sure he was going to be home and we converged on our cousin Jeff’s house as a surprise.

We grew up spending so much time together- our family with 4 kids and his family with 5. There was never a dull moment. We visited and met his 3 boys and in the spirit of good deeds, I presented his family with $50.00 to use to do some good deeds themselves.

We hope it won’t be so long before we see him again and I can’t wait to hear about their deeds.

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Deed 43: David’s Birthday Surprise

David was a neighbor of some of the gir’s growing up. He has cerebral palsy and is currently in a wheelchair.

The girls reconnected with David as adults over Facebook. Modern technology has allowed David to communicate as he was not able to as a child. He is turning 50 this month too and the girls arranged to bring him a special birthday box.

His parents still live in the childhood neighborhood they grew up in and everyone had fun going through old photo albums and visiting. From David’s constant smile I think the visit was very meaningful and special to him.

I thank my friends for thinking of him, because that is the kind of women they are!

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Deed 44: Grandma’s House

My Dad’s mother passed away in 1972.

It is the last time I was in her home, which was sold shortly thereafter. We have driven by the house on a number of occasions and I thought it might be fun to “deed” the current owners with a beautiful plant and let them know how much the house meant to our family.

I put together some photos and information and my dad and I knocked on the door. (I was nervous doing it, but thought “what the heck!”).

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A man came to the door to see me standing on the stoop and a group of women standing in the street. He told us he thought we had the wrong house. My dad told him we knew where we were and I explained what we were doing.

We couldn’t believe he was the original owner that bought the house from my dad when he sold it after my Grandma passed away. He has owned the home for 40 years and he remembered my dad by name.

Now, WHO was surprised!

We had a great conversation and left him with the plant and note to share with his wife. The house looked great, it was wonderful to see it had been well-cared for over the years.

A home is like family.

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Deed 45: A Tribute

We stopped for lunch at several of the girls parent’s home. It is the same home where we grew our friendship and our parents still frequent when in town. Mary Ann made a delicious lunch and we used this time to pay tribute to our parents.

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Each girl emailed me a few sentences on what they learned about friendship from watching our parents, and I blended it into a tribute for them. We also gave them gift cards to a charity called Living Water that purchases clean drinking water for countries around the world. They could go online and put the money toward the country of their choice. A special guest also arrived prior to lunch.

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I was called to answer a knock at the door. My mind did a quick inventory of friends and couldn’t imagine they could have a surprise for me, but they did. My sister had contacted my best friend of 35 years from Ohio (where I lived from 10 years-old to post college) and she flew out to surprise me.

The trip was like a big fat wonderful dessert as it was, and she just put a big cherry on top! Jamie joined us for the rest of the weekend and fit in like a glove- WOW, WOW!

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Deed 46: The Arch & Me

The Gateway Arch and I were “born” on the same day- February 12, 1963. It is the day construction began on the monument, so we decided to go to the arch and celebrate.

We brought lollipops to give out to other visitors and browsed the Arch gift shop where I made a donation to the arch fund. People were friendly and happy to accept the treat.  We met another woman there with her family celebrating her 50th!

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Deed 47: Goodies for Grandma’s Place

Next we drove across the Mississippi river into Illinois to visit my grandmother at her senior home. She will be 99 in a few months and is the oldest resident in independent living. She gives me hope that a healthy, productive second half is possible.

She is helping my Mom ice brownies below and was so excited for this birthday celebration.

We put together several baskets of stationery and paper products, snacks and some personal care items and with the help of my daughter and niece, we gave them to the residents.

They all loved the special attention and they returned the kindness by singing “happy birthday” and giving me cards addressed to “Nell’s granddaughter.”

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Deed 48: Homecoming Flowers

Just as we visited my paternal grandmother’s house earlier in the day, we chose to visit the house we grew up in. We took roses and a letter with photographs about our experiences in the home for the current owner.

We were the original owners when the house was a model home for the new subdivision.

Now 40 years later, the current owner has lived there for over 30 years. She was so kind and gracious and thought her grandkids would love to hear our story. Some of the things my dad did to the house were still visible.

It was a bit surreal go back in time and try to put memories back in place.

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Deed 49: Back to School

While in the neighborhood we also visited our old elementary school. Because it was a Saturday, my sister had contacted the school prior to our visit and let them know what we were up to.

The principal was so helpful and welcoming. He met us at the school on a Saturday afternoon and gave us a tour. It was fun walking the halls and seeing such a vibrant school still going today. We donated some books and money to the PTA.

My sister put together a little information sheet on where our and our brother’s educations had taken us over the years.

She then issued a challenge for each student to do one act of kindness as the principal was planning on sharing our visit and using it as an educational lesson for his students during their morning announcements. We even gave him copies of our report cards- yes we both still had them!

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Deed 50: A Gift Basket & Toast

The FINAL deed. Exhausted, happy and satisfied in so many ways, we all sat down to a great meal together and toasted to our journey. We invited my nephew and his fiance, who were recently transferred to St. Louis from Ohio.

A bit of a full circle for our family, as one of our own goes back to where it all began.

We welcomed the couple to the city with a basket for them to enjoy, including homemade foods and information and guides on the new city they will call home.

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Where to go from here?

Back home to catch up on work, laundry and carpool…but there is more to do.

My Grandmother will be 100 next year, and I think I have an idea up my sleeve…

To see a video of Be The Good, take a look and share!

33 thoughts on “Be The Good: Celebrating 50 Years with 50 Good Deeds

  1. I love getting to read the whole story! Lots of great ideas Teri! As you said, some of them are so simple, why not Be The Good!?!

  2. What a wonderful celebration and recounting it here adds up to even more good deeds for all of us reading and truly inspired by your acts of kindness.

    However, I’m not surprised by your decision to gift to others vs. yourself because you ARE the good in the world.

    Happy 50th Birthday, Teri!!

  3. Consider me a ripple of a ripple. Barb B./Tracy H./Beth B. told me all about what you did and I have a 40th coming up in a few years and I plan on making this a reality. Thank you for the inspiration!!

  4. Hi Teri,
    What beautiful thing you did. I don’t think any of us can even phathom the love that is now branching off because of what you did. Thank you so much for what you did.

    • It was so great meeting you, not to mention your two adorable girls. It was a great week and I hope there are ripples happening!

  5. Teri, Thank you for making the trip to St. Louis and including us in your fantastic plan! What a day! What a memory! Friends I will always cherish and lots of laughs along the way! I was so happy to include my daughter n law, Nicole, and grandbabies for breakfast in hopes of carrying on these friendships with my girls too! I’m so lucky to have you and Our Gang in my life! Happy Birthday once again!!
    Love, Kim

  6. It was wonderful to read through your “Week of Good” and it was a privilege to be a small part of it. It made me feel so good to help someone who had also lost a loved one. Having just recently lost my sister, I was filled with such sadness and grief. And then I got your email. It was so uplifting to read about your “50 deeds” birthday idea and I wanted so much to be part of it.

    I hope your friend and her family enjoyed the meal and a night off from cooking! It warmed my heart to help someone and in doing so I think I helped myself as well.

    Thanks for letting me be part of this experience. May each of your 50 deeds inspire a thousand more.

    Liz

  7. When your parents told me your plans, I had no idea the work and planning involved. Fantastic jobl.

  8. Teri,
    You are wonderful, I am proud of you! You are truly the GOOD IN THE WORLD, a lot of people are feeling special because of your generosity.

    It’s hard to believe you are 50 years old, years spent becoming a beautiful person.

    Love to you, your family and friends,

    Aunt Jo (dad’s sister and cousin Jeff’s mom)

    • It was great to see Jeff, Amanda and kids. He was a great sport about our surprise. I would do it all again if I could.

  9. this narration of 50 “countless” kindness is the most awesome idea for a birthday I have ever come across. I say “countless” because as they say, we’ll never know how far little deeds of kindness will go,..how they ripple into a multitude.

    bless you wonderful lady and all those you love for having the heart for giving. May your kindness find many more avenues for action,.and I particularly invite you to join the crusade against child abuse,..to save precious little children suffering (tortured to death) right in their own homes: http://rainbirdfoundation.org/takeastand

    blessings!

  10. Hi Terri!
    This was a great idea and a fabulous adventure! Very inspiring and looks like it was a lot of fun!
    For my 50th… ahem… 5 1/2 years ago, I threw a big party with several live music acts, tons food and a presentation about “Women for Women Intl.,” an org that I have supported for years. So, it became a fundraiser and a wonderful way to enter my next “1/2 Hundred.”
    I usually travel, but couldn’t afford it that year, so…
    I do love your slogan and logo. As a Delta Gamma in college our motto for DG was Do Good, so this makes so much sense to me. Really well designed to emphasize the Be the Good.
    Congrats! And I assume you have been doing great (and good) with you biz all these years as well??
    Love, Connie

    • Connie- So great to hear from you. I don’t know where the years have gone! Your celebration sounds like it was amazing too, you always had a way of doing things! Yes everything is good (great)- busy, crazy, amazing life. Teri

  11. i absolutely love this and am so excited by it. for lent this year i decided not to give anything up but to add things to my life and random acts of kindness was one of the main things. for the last 6 weeks i have been doing random acts of kindness both locally (roswell) and for family and friends in my hometown of pgh, pa. i cannot tell you how excited people are by just small tokens – paying for someone’s breakfast at chick-fil-a, dropping pretty notes cards in the mail to a friend. the cost or value of the item isn’t what is important it is the act. and it is contagious! i just told my sister i wasn’t stopping just because easter is here. it has been an amazing blessing to me and now i read this! i can’t wait to take on more! thank you for sharing, thank you for your kind heart and beautiful spirit!

    • Leslie, what a wonderful idea for Lent. I think you should share your story with your Church for next year. That would be a great act of kindness. I should have another post up in a few days about weaving thoughtfulness into your everyday. If you have tips, I would love to share them.
      Teri

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