Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thirty-Six for Me, A Giveaway for You and a Feast for Us All!

I admit I'm excited to be 36. Along with the added wrinkles around my eyes and gray hairs on my head I've got another year with the fabulous man I married who continues to make me a better person, and two girls whose growth and love are new presents for me every day. Besides all that I'm making candy apples today, one of my all-time favorite treats, with those I love most! Now that's a happy day.

perhaps not the best photo aesthetically,
but exactly how I feel at thirty-six :)

Now for the giveaway! You tell me about a kind or generous thing someone (a child, husband, friend, anyone) has done for you - something that inspired you and filled you with gratitude. Leave your comment from now until Friday at 12PM Pacific Time. One per person, please. I'll use the Random Number Generator to select the winner on Friday afternoon. The winner will receive a custom-made outfit from yours truly, from any of the selections below. (Note that the samples pictured here are examples of outfit design only. Fabric selection will be determined by me and the giveaway winner upon contact.)

The choices:

a skirt and top....
a pair of pajamas...
a dress....
or a peasant top/bloomer set
(above combo in different fabric with a sash)

Now for those of you who don't have little girls or just want something for a sweet little boy, I'll do an adorable set of boy pajamas - think gnomes with red hats on a pale blue background. Too cute!
~
Good luck everyone, inspire me with your stories, and Happy Feast of the Archangels!
~

66 comments:

Right Said Red said...

After my daughter Therese passed away, I had a dear friend give me a gift. I opened her gift and found a box with small stock cards. Each card had a bible verse, and her own words explaining how she would be praying for me on that particular day. She gave me about 2 months worth of specific prayers, and each day it was a comfort to open the box, read the next days card and know she was praying.

And, I freely admit, I am only sharing this for a chance to win one of those great outfits! You are so talented Kristen.

Celeste said...

Like you, I am an adoptive mother, and I am so very grateful for the generous gift my son's birthmother blessed us with in giving us her son to become our own. It is a privilege to raise him, to know him, to love him, and I owe that privilege to God, of course, and to her. And now as a biological mother myself (I have two daughters and one on the way), I find myself even more in awe of her choice. God is good, isn't he? :)

Sarah said...

It was one of those days- the kids were grouchy, I was feeling tired and overspent, and my dh called to say he'd be home late from work. It was nearing dinner time, so I hung up the phone, looked wearily at the neighbor with whom I'd been chatting through the fence, and mentioned digging through the pantry to find something edible for dinner. Ugh. Needed to go shopping.

Next thing I know, she's calling to my kids: "C'mon guys! Come on over!" I looked up, surprised. What was she doing? I needed to feed the kids dinner and get them baths and....

"Go out for coffee, Sarah," she tells me with a smile. "I'll feed your kids dinner. You can come get them in an hour or two. Go get yourself something quiet to eat. I love ya."

Have you ever been given a gift such as that *right when you need it?* That was the best hour I ever spent- I came back refreshed and ever-grateful for this friend who knew exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it.

Oh, and she had just had a baby, so at the time she had 4 kids aged 5 and under. It was a selfless gift, to be sure!!!

Jamie said...

Happy birthday Kristen!!! many blessings to you, what a wonderful feast day to have a birthday! (you are so young!)

I have to say my story is from this past year, in March when I broke my right leg, pregnant with baby number 5, my Catholic Women's book club got together and put together a calendar and had a meal every night for 7 weeks, some of the women came and took my kiddos to the park, some played with them in our backyard, some drove me to the doctor. It was humbling and amazing all at the same time. I still get teary eyed just thinking about the generosity and charity of these wonderful women!

I have 4 girls now and would love to be entered and am amazed at the wonderful prize you are offering!!

I'll pray for you extra today, have a wonderful birthday!!!

Anonymous said...

My dear sister in law called on Saturday morning to ask if she and her husband could spend the night at our house and watch the kids so that my husband and I could have a date night. She showed up a few hours later bearing a bucket of tomatoes from her garden, freshly picked wild flowers, and a couple home grown pumpkins for the kids! Then she pushed us out the door for a date!

It was totally unexpected, but very much needed as we had just ended a very difficult week and a date night was in order. An answered prayer for sure!

Summer Anderson

Anonymous said...

Kristen:
First of all, you amaze me! Second of all, Happy Birthday & I am so glad you were born! My story: When my husband and I first started dating I was doing volunteer work in a group home for mentally/physically disabled girls. I decided to throw a birthday party for one of the children and mentioned to Chris that I wished I could "tape" the celebration so that she could enjoy it over and over again. The day of the celebration Chris showed up at my work with a video camera that he had rented just for the occasion. (This was before everyone owned a video camera and when they were so big you had to mount it on your shoulder!!)It was thoughtful, unexpected and brought joy beyond measure to an eight year old girl. Joy & Blessing, Kelly

Mrs. 2nd Lieutenant said...

Happy birthday!

Even though I only have a little boy, I would love a "Kristen" original :)

My generous act is my parents taking us in - despite the inconveniences, annoyances and tightness of space (they live in a townhouse), my parents have very generously had my son and I living with them since August while my husband is in basic training for the Army.

Not a cent has changed hands, despite the costs, I'm sure, and we are welcome as long as we need to be here.

Doesn't get much more generous than that :)

Lucy said...

Happy birthday! I just turned 35 a day or two ago, and us late September babies are just the best! The generous act I would like to share is something my husband did for my birthday - he made me a prayer bench! He knew how terribly painful my knees get when I kneel, and how while sometimes it is a good act of penance, at other times the pain distracts me from prayer. And doing so much floor time with the children for their learning was also agony for me. So he used his limited free time at work to hand craft me a gorgeous prayer bench. It is as beautiful as he is!

Anonymous said...

So many people have been so generous to me over my life. I feel priests are amoung the busiest people and one year when I had to work Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I discovered that Catholic churches don't as a rule offer evening Mass on Christmas day.
I could find none in my area or in my work area and a Dear Priest offer to come to my home to offer Mass. He inspired me to fins a Mass outside of my area.

I too admit I am entering to win some of your beautiful handy work for my niece.

Love Carol

Laura said...

After a horrendous experience in trying to buy the house we are living in (two other houses we lost, having to move out of our house and stay in a friend's house because we were supposed to close on ours only to find out on the day we had to move out of our friend's house that we weren't closing on ours and having to move in with my parents and then almost losing this house because of it...)we finally closed on this house during the middle of the week. With great enthusiasm and joy, friends and family alike joined us on a Wednesday evening, after work, to unload our semi-trailer of stuff. A friend made food for everyone and they all helped us set up our beds so that we could collapse into a blissful, exhausted slumber. I'll never forget everyone's incredible generosity!
God Bless.

Anne Marie said...

Happy Birthday to you!!! How cool to share the day with the Arch-angels feast day!!

My random act of kindness is small but meant a lot to me.

This past weekend I went to a Holy Spirit seminar on Saturday and had to leave the house at 7:00am, a really, really early hour on Saturday for this not really a morning girl kind of gal.

I planed to grab some coffee and a parfait from MickyD on my way, but when I got downstairs my hubby of 19 years had a travel mug of coffee, a protein bar and a hard boiled egg, pealed and salted all ready for me to just grab and head out the door.

It’s the sweet little things, especially after 19 years that let me know I’m loved.

On an unrelated note, I would like to ask everone for prayers of discernment as hubby and I considering adopting a second 9 year old boy from foster care.

Please pray for this child and his birth family too.

sarah haliwell said...

Happy birthday!! Your weblog has such a gentle, beautiful feeling to it ... I wish you a gentle and beautiful day.

Thank you for the generous giveaway offer. I've always thought your clothing was lovely.

I have a terrible memory, and am feeling bad because I can't remember any specific act of generosity - although I am blessed with a very loving and generous child. However, I can and happily will say that God has been generous to me, over and over again, even when I don't deserve it. I know that's not a very inspiring story, but since I used to be a rabid atheist maybe there is some hope in it.

Erin said...

One that recently comes to mind....when my husband's work went on strike for over three months we had an anonymous basket delivered to our house. With two little ones we were struggling to make ends meet etc. This basket contained all kinds of cards from friends adn family memebers. It had gift cards to grocery stores, gas cards, cash some homemade goodies etc. It was such a huge blessing and even more the friendship and prayers that they gave us helped us through a tough time!!!

Happy Birthday and I love your blog!

Melissa said...

Happy Birthday!

My parents recently divorced after 30 years of marriage and I have had a difficult time dealing with this reality. My husband decided I needed a night out a few weeks ago and planned an extravagant date night that included a stay a local hotel. He even had candles and bubble bath waiting for me at the hotel! I felt so loved!

angie said...

Happy 36th birthday Kristen! I'm a regular reader, but your give-away is just too scrumptious to pass up. :)

When I think of generosity, my mind goes immediately to the year that my husband was deployed to the Middle East back in 2004. We were a National Guard family, and deployment was completely off our radar. Our third child, a daughter, was born only five weeks earlier, and one minute we were blissfully happy, the next we were really scared.

The list of good deeds thrown our way is endless, but some that I remember most clearly are my parents having me and the kids over for dinner constantly, brother #1 mowing our lawn each and every week, brother #2 filling in on all that "dad stuff" for our two boys, brother #3 (a young man with a busy life of his own) coming to visit us each week and throw the baseball with my oldest son, my neighbor across the street babysitting our kids every single Sunday so I could go grocery shopping ALONE (sigh!), friends "borrowing" my children for the afternoon, people at our church coming up to me to tell me they were praying for us, and the neighbor guys coming over and putting up our Christmas lights. It was a long 14 month deployment, but the love and kindness of all of those people really helped get us through it. My husband came home safe and sound, and thankfully has been able to stay home. We now have five children and never take the fact that we are all together for granted.

Blair said...

One of the kindest things done for me recently was done by a sweet mother of 6 with a newborn, and whose oldest passed away in a swimming accident last summer. After reading my article on Faith & Family about struggling through unemployment, she sent us a generous grocery gift card and some pizza coupons. It really lifted my spirits on a very bad day during a very difficult time. I know she has touched other ladies even during her own time of grief. What a generous soul!

Oh and how I'd love a nice church outfit for my oldest who is running low on mass skirts that aren't too short! I've got to learn to use my own sewing machine soon!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!

Melanie B said...

A Very Happy Birthday, Kristen!!!

I have been so blessed with so many generous loving friends and family that I could fill a book.

But I am very often ungrateful. My mother has dropped everything to come across the country for the birth of each of my children and has stayed for several weeks each time. While here she does my shopping, buying the groceries and not expecting us to pay her back, she also does the cooking, cleaning, laundry, caring for the children... And deals gracefully with all my crankiness and bad attitude at not being in control as I recover from major surgery.

I confess, I'd love to win one of your outfits for my girls.

the momma said...

I have been having a tough time lately. Dealing with things with big kids and little kids and the kids in between. getting back into a school routine with a baby who isn't overly fond of school. Lack of sleep. Overly busy life; but nothing left to cut out. That sort of thing.

Completely out of the blue, a friend (who had no clue I was struggling!) showed up at my house last Friday (she had to google my address to find out how to get here - it's not like this was a regular occurrence...)with dinner. Just because she wanted to bless me.
AND my baby had just nursed, so I was able to get away for an hour and go grab a Sonic drink with her.

It was such a blessing to me to know that someone cared about me. NOT because she felt sorry for me, because I was going through a rough patch - but just because she loved me & was thinking about me and wanted me to know it in a tangible way.

Hope you have a very happy birthday!! (Mine is tomorrow ~ but I'm a few years older than you :-)

Sew said...

Happy Birthday Kristen, I'm a blog lurker....Your sewing amazes me! :)

When I found out I was pregnant with my first pregnancy after 4 yrs of IF, a blog friend of mine had sent me medals and two holy cards wrapped in a napkin. (I've never met this very kind woman)

A few days later I started experiencing cramping and bleeding. So I called the doctor and had to get directions to his office. As I was hurrying to jot down the address, I unknowingly wrote the address of the dr. on her envelope.

We ended up being 25+ miles away, low on gas, and I was sobbing. There was no tissue in sight and I was a mess. I knew the inevitable was on the horizon.

I looked down at the envelope in my hand and a tissue peered from it, so I grabbed it and out fell all of the medals and holy cards she sent me.

In my time of desperation, not only did God make known He was with me, but if my blog friend wouldn't have been so kind to send those items to me, I wouldn't have had a tissue or comfort of the Saints on that very sad day!

In the midst of grief and choas, I was comforted by a friend I have never met.

Grace in my Heart said...

Happy Birthday, Kristen! I hope your day has been filled with joy and love!

Here is a story I'd like to share:
After our failed adoption, a friend of mine showed up at our doorstep with a beautiful plant and a sheet of paper rolled up with a ribbon around it. I untied the ribbon and on the paper was a "Spiritual Bouquet." All of our friends had given us "gifts" of rosaries, adoration hours, and personal sacrifices for the coming days ahead. It was the most thoughtful and beautiful gift I'd ever received. I was so touched by it that I promised to pass on this idea and make "Spiritual Bouquets" for any of my friends going through a difficult time.

P.S. As much as I would LOVE one of your adorable outfits, I'm still waiting for my little bundle of joy, so there's no need to enter me into the contest! I did want to share a story though! :)

Kelly J. said...

Happy Birthday!
I stumbled onto your lovely blog one day as I was searching for some inspiration on minimalist catholic living -- which leads me to my generous act story. Last Friday night my neighbor came over and helped me sort through an entire room of clutter. (We have a little storage closet that has become the dumping ground for so much... ) Just knowing what a mess that room has become has made me feel more depressed than I could have ever imagined! I had been so sickened by the thought of doing this project myself, and out of nowhere my neighbor appeared and offered to keep me company (and give much need moral support)as I weeded through lots of clutter. It was such a wonderful night - and the start of great friendship!

Jennifer @ Conversion Diary said...

Happy birthday!

This past weekend my mother watched all of my children -- four under age six! -- so that my husband and I could get a much-needed overnight break. Her generosity was such a gift to me.

Rosebud said...

Happy birthday! And indeed, what a blessed feast day to share.

Unfortunately, due to long and drawn out medical sagas we are not only unable to have more children, but I'm also completely incapacitated with a migraine every month - just to add insult to injury. (Or perhaps to give me more to offer up in union with Christ. It depends on how self-centered I'm feeling that month.)

Each and every month, my 8 year old daughter and 6 year old son "put me to bed". She makes sure that breakfast and lunch are made, he brings me drinks and painkillers throughout the day, and she oversees the schoolwork in their folders. They are both so careful and gentle with me, making sure to come in and tell me that I am loved - and to get and give the necessary hourly hugs - and to make sure they aren't being too loud or hurting me.

They are such blessings to me! I am truly blessed among women to have children such as these.

Jodie said...

I have been very blessed in my life and it is hard to pick just one thing! But I am going with the most recent one! A friend of mine one day just cooked me a nice dinner and dropped it off at my house! It was so yummy. and she did it for no reason at all. It is so great to have good friends who know when you need a pick me up and show up at your door with dinner!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Kristin!

I have so much to be thankful for! Here are two recent acts of generosity: My dear parents have made possible for my oldest son to travel to Washington DC with his American History class. I am so grateful to them for this opportunity!

I recently reconnected with another old friend, who knows my love of books and reading. This friend sent me a copy of a book written by a friend of hers, with a personalized inscription, which has been a source of inspiration to me as I continue with my own writing. :_

Your outfits look adorable, but my boys are 11 and 13-I think that are other, worthier recipients. :)

Beth said...

Right before I had John Paul my mom came over and cleaned my house top to bottom. She scrubbed my bathrooms and my floor on her hands and knees! And she cooked for us and took care of Madeleine while I was in the hospital. She is the best mom and I hope I can be like her someday!!

Shivaun said...

A short while (2 weeks?) after my fifth child was born, four of my girl friends told my husband that they were coming to visit me. One brought dinner for our family that evening, and all of them cleaned my whole house! They vacuumed, cleaned the bathrooms, scrubbed my kitchen, chatted, sweat and laughed as I held and nursed my newborn. I will never forget it.

Happy birthday, Kristen!

KC said...

This past January, when I lost my baby, a dear friend gave helped me so many ways. She bought a small box and made it beautiful so that we could bury our sweet Mark in it. She also brought me a meal and provided food for after the little burial service. And, she always prays for me.

Happy Birthday, Kristen.

Evelyn Grimm said...

Happy Birthday, Kristen!
Love the photo with the girls.
A generous act...hmmm...I would have to say when my older children take over the meals and toddler care during my last month of pregnancies when the couch is my nearest and dearest friend. The kids are very dear and compassionate and capable.
Blessings,
mary

K said...

Hi Kristen! Your blog has been such an inspiration to me. I am very grateful you came back!

I have been very blessed with wonderful parents and in-laws. Both watch the kids often (of course for free!) and bless us with small and large gifts. Recently my mother-in-law bathed my girls while we were on a date (baths are sometimes hard to accomplish with their younger brother crawling around). A small thing, but it was a big help to me. My parents do so many numerous things that bless us as well. One of the biggest I can think of is paying for my college education. Because of it, I am able to stay home with my kids since we don't have huge college debts.

Hope your birthday goes well!
Kristin

Anonymous said...

A few years ago my husband was going through a period of under-employment. His salary did not even begin to cover all of our living expenses, even after cutting back to a bare bones budget.

One morning I was going to take a shower and I realized we were out of shampoo. We were out of body wash. I sat on the bathroom floor and cried. I knew that we had no more money (not even pocket change) until the 15th and I would have to wait 7 days to buy some. Household sundries were a luxury to be stretched as far as possible. I felt like I had let my husband down.

Later that day I went out to our mailbox and there was an unexpected letter from some good friends. I opened it and there was the most beautiful card assuring us of their prayers, encouraging words and a $100 gift card to Wal-Mart. I burst into tears of joy and that evening we had the most delightful time in a Wal-Mart anyone could have. I have never been so grateful for shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste and other sundries we were out of.

Our friends had no idea how well-timed their generosity would be. I have never looked at a bottle of shampoo the same way again!

KB

Anonymous said...

My sweet mother and father have been a tremendous source of help and love at this busy time of my life. My husband and I have four young children and my parents have been wonderful about babysitting so we can have an occasional night to ourselves (or just some time to get chores done around the house!). I have also just started a part time job, and they are helping me with the kids during that time. They are truly amazing and I love and appreciate them for all that they do for us and for the special relationships they have with my children.

And, Kristen, I love your blog and think you are an inspiration!

Mindy McBride

kimberly said...

My goodness, Kristen...happy birthday...you are beautiful, inside and out!

A story of generosity...just one? I've been on the receiving end of such generosity, it's difficult to choose...

Here's one...actually an excerpt from a piece I wrote called The Poverty of Inconvenience:

The night we realized there would be no breakfast the next day, there was a knock at the door. A good friend had stopped by his father’s house and was given several bags of groceries to deliver to our family. Not just any groceries. Breakfast. I remember saying in prayer: “Lord…we have nothing for breakfast tomorrow. The children will need breakfast…” Don’t ask why I didn’t say food or lunch and dinner, I simply prayed for breakfast. What a breakfast we received! Juices, eggs, danishes, fruit, sausage, bacon. A lavish breakfast! This dear friend, seeing the tears of joy and obvious relief of the family, later returned with several days groceries.

As I said, just one small example of the beautiful way in which God provides, using friends and families as His Holy Hands...

Thanks, Kristen, for allowing all of us to share these wonderful stories...a lot of uplifting reading here in the combox!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!

My wonderful husband brings me coffee in bed every morning. I love that!

Melissa D.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I married young, before we went to college. During those first couple of years, we both earned just above minimum wage. We had a strict budget for groceries--$40 a week. Imagine my horror when the cashier totaled our purchases and the amount was
over our budget. All I had was $40 in cash, so I scanned our food items, trying to decide what to put back. All of a sudden the woman behind me, a complete stranger, offered to pay the difference. She was an angel, and I still think about her to this day.

Jennifer Frey said...

When I miscarried our third child, my Mom showed up while I was in the hospital and stayed up all night cleaning my house for me and praying. She then took the kids for a week and a half while I convalesced and grieved. All without even asking, of course.

Rosemary said...

Happy Birthday! I have long admired your handiwork - wouldn't miss this contest. . .

My friend whose husband has cancer sent ME flowers (lovely blue irises) for being a good friend during his illness! What a surprise that was!

gretchen said...

Kristen,
Oh my goodness! Those outfits are darling and the blog comments on kindness, inspiring.
Our 7th child was critically ill after birth and our entire church got together to bring us meals, visit us in the hospital, and clean our house. It was such a beautiful church community. I miss it so much since we were relocated to a new state.

Carmen said...

Happy Birthday Kristen! You look beautiful and you're right 36 looks good on you!

A generous act...My hubby is awesome and just way more selfless than I am. Recently, I've just been overwhelmed and burned out and he's taken over laundry and never ceases to make the kids breakfast on Saturdays just so that I can sleep in a little. He runs errands for me during his lunch hour knowing that I have nappers and can't get away. I strive to be more selfless!

Heather said...

How generous of you to give such a great gift on your birthday. Someone will be very fortunate, indeed!

My story happened just recently when my husband was hospitalized with viral meningitis. I had to take him to the hospital ER at 10:00 in the evening. Since I don't have family in town, I called a neighbor to see if I could drop off my three young children to spend the night. She was alone with her two young children, while her husband was working out of town, but she didn't hesitate to take them in. She watched them, drove them to various activities, etc. for me over the next few days while I was with my husband at the hospital.

Also several other neighbors pitched in to help as well. It was so comforting to know they were well cared for while I stayed by my husband until he could come home.

Mrs B said...

Hi Kristen! What a great day to have a birthday! I hope you had a blast! As for my moment of gratitude - here goes:

It has been a stressful few weeks at work and a lot of stuff going on outside of work as well. I have been unusually tired and crabby. I am huge fan of all things Saints and Angels related and as a present for my own birthday back in August, a dear friend arranged for a mass to be said in my honor at my home parish yesterday - the feast of the Archangels.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend the mass as I had a morning meeting at work. I planned to go to mass later that night at a different parish, but I was feeling kind of sorry for myself that I couldn't attend the one in the morning, while my husband could and it would have been nice to go together. Anyway, when I came home from work there were flowers on the table and a card from my dear husband that said "To my Angel, on the feast of the Archangels" and feelings of immense gratitude and joy came over me. I am blessed to be married to such a wonderful man! Thank you God! It was just what I needed. I did make it to the evening mass at the other parish and the homily was awesome and just what I needed.

God Bless!

Faith said...

My father at the ripe age of 68 has helped us pack and unpack four times on the last few years, without a complaint, without a request for gas money, etc. He is a truly generous man, and is always ready with a helping hand, and few words.

My seven year old daughter, Avila, would love the bloomers! With three little brothers she is a bit too "rough and tumble" without their benefit! My husband is always saying; "we need to get her bloomers!"

Margaret said...

My husband has an extremely stressful job and yet is unfailing generous when he is home with me by helping out with housework, dinner prep, etc. I am constantly in awe of his patience.

Mrs. Mike said...

Happy birthday Kristen! What a blessed day on which to be born.

When we were in the process of our second (international) adoption, but before we could bring baby home, a dear friend of mine hosted a shower for me. But not just any shower...it was a prayer shower.

You see, our first adoption was tumultuous from beginning to end and while we eventually did bring our first son home, the experience nearly completely devastated us. This friend invited several close friends and surprised DH and I with a literal spiritual bouquet of paper flowers. On each flower a family wrote down what they committed to pray on our behalf. Rosaries, Divine Mercy Chaplets, Masses, trips to adoration and lists of daily sacrifices were offered up for us and for the intention of a smooth adoption journey the second time around.

Indeed, our second adoption experience couldn't have been more smooth or our son's presence in our lives more precious.

MBCW said...

Happy Birthday!

Just yesterday, a dear friend knows that I've been feeling a bit burnt out with three kids under three and stressed out about money. She and her husband offered to let my husband and I get away for an evening to their cabin on our anniversary. Just the break I need, and I can't wait!

jordin said...

There are been so many times that i have been on the receiving end of generosity! I have had people take my kids on a whim. I had a person stop at my house and pick up all my laundry when my husband was gone for three months and i was in my third trimester with our youngest child. Or the kind and wonderful women of my moms group starting bringing us food every other night and doing our dishes, at the same time when my husband was away.

I hope i might get to bless people as much as i have been blessed in my life.

Amy said...

Last winter I was on bedrest after complications with my pregnancy. My daughter was turning five and had talked for months about having an all girl tea party (she has 3 brothers). My very dear friend knew how much turning five was to a little girl and sent her a party in a box complete with pink table cloth, flower centerpiece, pretty flowered plates and cups. She was beaming when she opened her box and I felt so loved during a very difficult time!

Jenny said...

Happy Birthday, Kristen! Many blessings to you in the coming year!

An experience of great kindness happened this summer. I was in the hospital after having undergone a serious surgery and losing our second baby. It was early one morning and no family had come by yet-- and my mind and heart were aching. My phone rang and it was my dear, dear friend calling. Her kindred heart and understanding were just what I needed.

The thing was, first of all she was all the way across the country- on the east coast while I was on the west and wanted so much to be able to comfort one another in person. At the same time I was enduring my loss she was at the bedside of her own dying father, but had stepped away for a few minutes to be with me in my own suffering- and also allow me to share in hers. There was lots of grace and I was so moved by the power of love, friendship and the grace of the cross in the midst of our sufferings.

We talked for just a short while, but my spirits were renewed. She however went back to the side of her father who died only hours later. Yes, you expect your friends to hold you up when you are down, but she was suffering as well but still reached out to me greatly-- not only through that phone call, but all the time. I'm so grateful for her and for showing such beautiful compassion.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Kristen - what a wonderful day to be born!

One afternoon, two of my girls, ages 8 and 10, turned their bathroom into a "spa". They invited me up for a pedicure, complete with soaking, lotion and polish. They tried very hard to make it realxing for me, and it was. To top it off, when the polish was drying, they brought me a plate full of all things chocolate. (They know their mother well!) What a treat it was :)

I so enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for the fun contest!

Kelli Halsell

Jill said...

I am imagining my daughter in that precious skirt and top!!

I am a frequent shopper at Target, and embarassingly the cashiers actually got to know me. One cashier in particular was always very kind to us and very sweet and patient with my little ones when we came through. His English was not great, but he always enjoyed talking with me, and always told me that I was a blessed woman to have so many beautiful children.

When I was pregnant with my twin boys the cashier happily followed the pregnancy and was excited for the boys to be born.

It took me awhile to get back into Target, but when I did we came through Moses's line and he met my two little babies. From behind the counter he pulled out two little Target gift cards that he had purchased for them. Each one was $5 and he had written, "To each special baby boy- may you enjoy together your special bond of twinhood."

Mary said...

When a friend of mine entered a convent, she left behind many hand-made projects that were incomplete. One day, her sister showed me one of the projects: a handmade quilt with each block framing a handmade Civil War Belle - hand embroidery accessories and all. There were summer dresses, winter coats, and even a wedding dress in the many designs the seamstress had created herself. Her sister told me that she had been working on this for years and wasn't able to finish it before she left...

Fast forward a few years and religious life in this particular convent was not meant for my friend due to health issues. On the birthday I celebrated after her return home, she sent me the very quilt mentioned above - completely finished with thousands of hand stitches. Attached was a note, thanking me for being her being her friend and helping to see her through the difficult time of her life.

This was the nicest and most generous thing someone has done for me, and I will treasure the quilt always.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Kristen!

I usually go on an annual retreat every summer for about 4 days (during the week). My sister will so generously provide babysitting for my children while I am away, as she lives close to the retreat center. This year, she had recently delivered twin girls, and along with her 3 older girls, adding my 3 of my kids would be a bit much to handle this year.

I asked my husband as to what I should do. His vacation days were dwindling and he had many project deadlines approaching. He suggested we pray about it, which we did, and then we left the issue alone for a bit. He later came to me and told me to book the retreat -- he was going to take time off from work to watch the kids so I could go. He told me my spiritual needs were important, and he felt that I should go! So he cared for our young children while I was away. I am so grateful for a husband who recognizes the significance of my soul and desires holiness for our family.
God bless you, Kristen...thank you for being an instrument of our Heavenly Father's grace, beauty and joy.

Annette A.
(my daughter Gianna is near the same age as your Gianna...she'll be six this month...she has enjoyed seeing pictures of your daughters....)

Kathy said...

Happy Belated Birthday. It sounds like it was a wonderful one:-)

My story is of when I lost boy. It involves people on the internet most of who I never met, not only sending me flowers and a beautiful wind chime with his name engraved, but in sending us gift cards for meals. While many people that we know in real life, do reach out, it still amazes me the connections we can form on the internet.

You are very talented btw. Those outfits are all adorable.

eve said...

hi kristin,

we've always had one car. it was never a big deal until my fourth daughter was born and my oldest daughter started school, and then all of a sudden, one car became seriously inconvenient. we could not afford to buy even a cheap, junky car. so my husband's friend gave us his perfectly good minivan, for no other reason except that he is a really nice guy.
i have 4 girls, mind you, so one of those outfits would get worn at least 4 times!
hope you had an awesome birthday! your blog is such fun to read, by the way!

Shawna said...

Happy Birthday Kristen. I will offer sacrifices for you on Friday (not a bribe, honest!).
I've been thinking about this ever since you posted and it shouldn't be so hard... there are so many people who have blessed me.
This one stands out:
2 yrs ago my mom was diagnosed with aggressive lung cancer and given about 6 months to live. She made it 6 weeks. I found out I was pregnant with baby #5 two days after she died. My mom had always been my major source of help with pregnancies, births and life in general. I was floundering in depression and pregnancy malaise and one of my friends, a mom to 7 herself, made herself available to help me out with childcare, cleaning and made her son available to mow my lawn.
So happy birthday and what a charitable mission you have going on here. Thank you.

Jenny said...

Hi, Kristen,
My husband and I have been preparing to be foster parents for the past year. Last November, my sister-in-law, Ellen, asked if she could give us a foster parent shower. It was set for November 30, right after Thanksgiving. She made beautiful invitations on which were drawn, my husband, myself, our dog and two little "future" children. So many people took time out of their busy holiday schedules to come to our shower and not only give us gifts, but to pray with and for us. I still tear up thinking how generous people are and how humbled I am in the face of their love for children in need.

Michelle said...

Happy birthday, Kristen (a day late, but still hearty wishes for a fantastic year for you).

About 5-6 weeks ago, a woman I know from church took my older boys to the pool with her boys and left her 13 year old daughter to watch my girls and younger son so I could "do whatever." I was able to mow the lawn, which it needed very badly. Her and her daughter's generosity were much appreciated.

Shauna said...

Happy Birthday Kristen! I love your blog!

My son was hospitalized for pneumonia 2 weeks ago and my dear friend brought us diner and then lined up 5 more meals for us from our homeschooling group. The love and generosity I felt from her and the other mom's is something I will never forget.
My son is 100% better now...Praise God :)

Ouiz said...

A little bit late, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY! May the Lord bless you with many, many more!

My story: Many years ago I was in a horrible situation and found myself simply existing day to day. On top of that, I got hit with some financial difficulties, and I didn't know what to do. My dear friend and prayer partner called me that evening and asked if she could bring a few things over "since her husband bought too much at the grocery store."

She brought over BAGS of food. BAGS.

My horrible situation lasted a few years longer, but it showed me in the midst of it all that the Lord knew where I was, and was still there watching over me.

Margaret in Minnesota said...

I made the deadline! Hooray!

Kristen, you were born on such a beautiful feast day, and I am looking so forward to reading all these comments. What a great idea, and what a generous giveaway.

I have many stories of kindness and generosity but here is one that just popped into my head. I was on a train in Ireland (traveling solo) and for my lunch I was eating three "Food Tabs". (A healthy but not very filling meal replacement plan)

A beautiful Irish woman across the aisle was mortified that I should even think to call that lunch. She marched me right down to the dining car and paid for a meal for me.

And that's my story of kindness!

Irish blessings,

Maggie :)

Megan said...

Last night as I was crawling into bed after my husband, I was so pleasantly surprised to find warmth by my feet. The house was a bit chilly, so I noticed it right away and welcomed the warmth. My husband had heated up a microwavable heat pack for himself and also one for me! It was such a kind act and warmed my heart as well as my feet! :)

iajadn said...

I am currently 9 months pregnant and awaiting the birth of our 4th child. My husband has been so kind and generous with the housekeeping and playing with our children. He is sweet and truly filled with charity. He has shown me how to an authentic Christian in all matters big and small.

Domestic Accident said...

My son was in the NICU for a month and some made an appt and paid for me to get a pedicure the day before he came home from the hospital. Just the right selfcare before bringing home a special needs child.

Dave said...

Nothing like the last minute, I do LOVE your sweet sewing creations, so I can't resist entering. I have been traveling and so did not had a chance to enter earlier. Anyway, traveling is the subject of this recent act of love and kindness done for me. I am petrified of flying since I had a terrible experience flying about a year and a half ago. I couldn't even think of a plane without feeling panicky and a bit nauseated. However, as my family lives 3000 miles away from us, traveling by plane is sort of a necessity, (especially with two little ones,I think the car option is out for sometime). Anyway, I had asked for prayers from pretty much everyone I had encountered the month before my flight, but had assumed as it was such a silly fear, people might not have taken the request too seriously, perhaps they had prayed, but I know there are a lot more important prayer requests out there than to pray for someone with flight phobia. However, once I arrived at my destination, I received two emails from friends telling me that they had been thinking of me and praying for my trip the whole day I was flying. I was so touched by this and my fear of flying actually was greatly diminished during that flight. Whew! I think I can make it back home now. ;)
Happy belated birthday, Kristen! I so enjoy your blog. Thanks for all of your entertaining and often inspirational posts!

--Adrienne

Bessers said...

My husband travels frequently for work. He is trying to minimize this and maximize time with family, but for now it is just a reality of his career. Many of the guys that he works with relish these trips as a chance to get away from home and enjoy a "break" when they can do as they please without the responsability of a wife and young children around. However, whenever possible my husband brings us along. His coworkers give him a hard time about it, but we know that he truly enjoys being with us even though it is more stressful.

We just returned from a slightly more than 2 week trip accompanying him to Germany & France. Earlier this year we were able to accompany him to Puerto Rico. Our children ages 1 (almost 2) and 4 have been exposed to four different languages in the last few months! While I know it adds to his workload, I so appreciate that rather than taking a break from the work of parenting, he enjoys the work so much that he spends the time and money to bring us with him. He inspires me to be a better wife and mom.

E Caughron said...

Happy Belated Birthday Kristen! Everybody's stories of others' generosity let us all know there is plenty of hope left for this world - no? The story I wish to share is of one of my little boys. Seeing how tired and sleepy I was after lunch one day in the first trimester of a pregnancy, but the youngest just having awakened, he offered to watch the little guy so that I could take a nap. Seems like such a small thing, but knowing that it was usually his computer time for 20 minutes, now that school was done, I knew the true sacrifice - and OH, how good those 20 minutes of shut eye felt!!! I am sure there are many other occasions of generosity I could share, but just having moved and after four weeks of sick kids, sleep happens to be on my mind...

Love you!