Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday on Facebook yesterday. So many blessings to count!

Last week I wrote about my plan for my 35th birthday. It didn’t end up being exactly the way I imagined it, partly due to some time constraints. But what I ended up doing was pretty amazing anyway.

I wrote 35 separate notes, all of which began with this paragraph:

Today is my 35th birthday, and I decided to use it as a day to bless others. At first I was thinking about baking cookies and taking them to places like the police station, fire house, post office, etc., but then I remembered that I don’t really do a lot of baking and also that we only do gluten-free at my house. That makes for some expensive cookies, and for gluten-eaters, not very tasty ones. Plus, while I am thankful for all of those who serve the community, I realized that my goal for today was to be intentional with showing kindness and gratitude to others. And since I enjoy writing, and I rarely take the time to thank those in my life who have made a difference, I am writing this series of notes. This paragraph is the only one in this letter that is not personal to you, and only because I can’t see writing the same explanation over and over again. But you are receiving this because you’ve made a difference in my life, and I wanted to say thank you for it.

I linked some of the notes back to my original blog post, but others I didn’t because I knew the person already had read my blog or knew the story. Some notes were written to individuals, others to married couples, and one I shared with a group of pastor’s wives that I’m part of through PLI (Pastoral Leadership Institute) – there are four others in that group with me, plus a mentor. So in all I know I reached out to over 40 people on my birthday, with each note personalized to say thank you to many who have made a difference in my life, in ways large and small.

I didn’t get to everybody. In fact, in making my initial list, I only got 1/4 of the way through my list of Facebook friends. So I may have to take this up again, though probably not for a little while. I loved writing each and every note, believe me, but it required digging deep emotionally and by the end of the day, I was pretty tired!

Here is the unexpected part for me – the responses I’ve received have been amazing. Some reciprocated and shared with me their appreciation. And a few wrote back telling me that my timing was from God, that they were having a bad day/week/month/year and needed some encouragement! I love it when that happens!

Some have not responded, and that’s ok by me. This wasn’t about me hearing from the person, but blessing them. I do hope everyone sees the notes, but I am aware that a few were written to friends with whom I only have a connection via Facebook and I rarely see them on it. One response did include a personal email address, which was nice because it will allow me to better stay in touch in the future!

All in all, my birthday turned out to be a great day. It started with breakfast with my husband and a trip to the Pregnancy Care Center in town to take our nursery furniture and a bunch of clothes. We had previously talked to them about the furniture donation, and they always have new moms in need of these things. They also have a resale shop for clothing, which supports the ministry, so we were able to doubly support them.

After that I spent most of the afternoon writing notes, followed by presents and dinner with family, topped off by an ice cream cake my husband bought for me. I finished the day with the last of my notes, and headed off to bed, unaware that my husband’s cousin had given birth to her firstborn son that day. He gets to share my birthday – what a lucky little guy!