About a week ago my best friend Amy sent me a link to a blog* about how a woman took her kids to do 40 different acts of kindness on her birthday.  What is funny is that I’d read the blog before and loved the idea, but had forgotten about it. I reread the blog and got on with my week.  We are in the midst of packing and moving and between that, Holy Week, Baseball, Soccer, Piano, Dance…I forgot completely about the blog or anything else I’d read that week.

Everytime we’d talked about Easter except for dinner plans with friends we really hadn’t come up with something we all wanted to do.  I almost fell into my usual missing my family so bad that I’m a party pooper, so DYP and I decided to keep our plans open and decide Easter Day.  We got up bright and early and went to the 8 am mass. It was lovely. Grace fell asleep during it.  Alleluia. One more Easter Miracle.

Afterwards we came home…and were talking about our day and suddenly I remembered that blog.  Lent was Forty Days Long.  DYP gave up speaking negatively and beer on weeknights, Jonah gave up Harry Potter, Daniel gave up Chocolate, Micah gave up fighting with his brothers and sister, Grace gave up Fridays…and I gave up celebrity gossip and putting myself down in my head.  40 Days.

On Good Friday we took the kids to our church service. It had been a nightmare day.  Daniel in worst mood ever, check.  Micah throwing three huge fits and spending the greater part of the day in time out, check check.  And Grace deciding the solemnity of Good Friday at church deserved a concert/dance recital/general spunky show, check check check.  As I stood in the back not hearing any readings, any words watching the entire church pray as Grace ran circles around me I actually thought, “I don’t want to be here.  I’m not getting anything out of this.”  My biggest fear is to become complacent, to stop caring, to stop getting it.

The ultimate sacrifice, the year culmination of our faith, and I wasn’t getting anything out of it.

On Easter Sunday, Grace fell asleep, and I could actually hear the homily.  Our Priest talked about how saddened he was when someone said to him, “Well you know Easter is all about the kids.” As he continued to talk about the meaning, the redemption, everything we believe, what we should be celebrating,  I was convicted.  Deeply.

So when I thought of that brilliant blog, and 40 Days past…It came to me! 40 Days of Lent. 40 Acts of Kindness! One Easter. So I read the blog to my family.  I knew it would fill up our day, I knew it was a long shot for them to get on board…there were Easter Egg hunts we could go to, we hadn’t dyed eggs. But they were all inspired.

We talked about how the crucifixion wasn’t Random, how everything was planned and layed out for us with great purpose.  Sacrifice, Forgiveness, Redemption, LOVE. So much love.  We wanted every act to show our love for others. Because we are so incredibly loved by God…we wanted to love others.

It went something like this:

1. Micah called his godparents Amy and Steve and told them how much he loved them and prayed for them and thanked them.

2. Jonah called his godmother Mandy and said the same thing.(the kids thought of calling their godparents by the way)

3. Daniel called godparents Bryce and Angel, and said that he was praying for them.

4. The boys put together an egg and some candy for our next door neighbor Maggie, they love her so much and since she would love siblings, they treat her just like one.

5. Daniel called his godmom, and my sister Missy.  He loves her so much and misses her everyday.

6. We went and found a friend who is a wife and mother, and a police officer, and brought her a chai tea on duty.  She was away from her husband, and two beautiful kids, while we got to be together.  I’m so thankful for our hero’s.

7. I left a message for our youngest goddaughter Cabrini.  We love her so much and it is such a blessing to be a part of her life.

8. Grace and I left a message for my oldest goddaughter and her godmother Katie.  She and Grace have a special bond, and she and I have a very close relationship.  I pray she always knows how loved she is. We also left a message for Grace’s godfather “Papa.”

9. We realized that we were almost out of gas. While there Daniel gave an egg with candy to the girl who pumped our gas.  In Eugene you never really know how anyone will react when it comes to Easter…she loved it, and showed her coworker.  We told her thank you. And she said, “Happy Easter.”

10.I texted our godson Nathaniels mom(Amy) and told her to tell him how much he means to us, and that we pray for him all the time. He is still at the pushing buttons, and not giving the phone back to his mom stage.

11.We stopped at our friends the Fromm’s house and brought Easter gifts, and hugs to Stephen, Emily, Lucy, and Michael.  They weren’t expecting us but were very excited, and they are a big part of our life.  I got huge kisses from Lucy and Michael.

12. I let our goddaugther Maya know how much we love her.  She is such a great girl, who we are incredibly blessed to be able to call ourselves godparents to.

13.  We brought gifts and hugs to our friends the Yakovich’s.  I carpool Nick and Ryan five days a week, and they are some of my favorite kids.  Their Mom is one of my dearest friends.  I told her how much I loved her yesterday and she just smiled and said, “I know that.” She also gave me some amazing pink lemonade cake pops.

14.We stopped at Daniel’s friend Henry’s house, he was Daniel’s first friend in kindergarten and Daniel really wanted  to tell him thank you. He wasn’t there, but his Dad promised to pass it on.

15. I got to talk to my goddaughter Madison.  She is such a great kid, and I absolutely love her.  So I told her so.

16. Jonah’s allergies were really bothering him, so I stayed inside and played Monopoly Deal with him.  I have a list about a mile long but spent some time with just him.

17. Jonah said he knew that I had a lot to do, so in return he was going to do something for me.  He didn’t smack talk me the whole time.

18.I called a woman from my work whose husband passed away a few years ago. She doesn’t have any family in town, and never had any children.  We had a lovely conversation.

19. DYP took Micah’s training wheels off, and then took off Maggie(next door’s) too. He took the time to teach them both how to ride on their two wheelers.  And Grace was the only one who bit it and required band-aids.

20.We brought an Easter gift to one of our neighbors who absolutely loves our kids.  She seemed so surprised, but was also so sad that we are really moving.  She is the neighbor that’s been praying we’d change our minds.

21. We brought a gift to her father, who lives in a different house in our neighborhood named Guy. He is 92, and his wife of 65 years died a couple years ago.  We love him so much, and let him know.  He refuses to talk to us about our moving, but really liked giving the kids hugs yesterday.

22.  DYP was trying to sell a boat motor on Craigslist and a very nice couple came to look at it, and ended up telling him about how she’d had a stroke from a routine chiropractic adjustment and was paralyzed for months. They were the nicest couple who lost almost everything from that tragedy, and are still regaining their lives.  She is a bee farmer, so instead of paying money which for them would’ve been so difficult, we traded a boat motor for honey.

23. We gave a gift to our neighbors, who the boys feed their cats when they are out of town.  On the back of both of their cars they have a christian fish symbol, with the word “lies” inside of it.  It has been a huge learning lesson for our boys on how to love people who have been hurt by people of faith.  So we love them.  And they respect how we are raising good children.

24. We put a picture on facebook for our Jessica in New York. She used to spend Easter with us when she watched our kids. We miss her so. DYP and I love her like a daughter.

25. We gave half our honey to our friends Wayne and Liz who so graciously hosted us for dinner.  They are great friends, Liz had worked all day.  And Wayne helped DYP get the boat motor running so we could sell it. He never expected anything in return. We are blessed to know them.

26. Jonah talked to his godfather Dom in California.  He thanked him for being a hero(he’s a firefighter) and said he’d always pray for him.  They talked for about 20 minutes and Jonah smiled the rest of the day.

27. A year ago, on Good Friday my dear friend Kristie found out that her entire world was broken. As she has grieved her  amazing husband this past year, she has also given so many hope.  She prays so much, and I cannot imagine a world where she and I aren’t friends.  She is living day to day, prayer to prayer…so we called and sang “Living on a Prayer” to her answering machine. Because Bon Jovi saves lives, one song at a time.

28. Like every holiday we went to the cemetery to visit our Mary Therese.  We decorated her grave with Easter things and prayed, and then the older boys decorated some of the other babies graves with eggs.  They understand what its like to have a sister in heaven and always wonder if she’s being taken care of.  They wanted to make sure those other babies were taken care of too.

So…we didn’t get 40, but we will next year…and we are planning on this next week to reach 40 either way.   It was the best Easter we’ve ever had. And really when you read how much they did on the other blog, we didn’t do a lot.  But for the first time in this Easter tradition I think we did alright.  And we hope that the people who were a part of our new tradition know how much we love them. Because that was our only motivation.  Love.

Words that sum up this Easter: Sacrifice, Forgiveness, Redemption, Love, Gratefulness, Blessed. So blessed.  I love my family.  I love my life. I want to be here.

Thank you Jesus.  I will never stop trying to get it.

*here’s the blog that gave me this idea. Thanks again Amy.