Last year, on 7/24/2012 I celebrated my 32 birthday by PAYING FORWARD 32 Random Acts of Kindness.
From Sun Up to Sun Down I found 32 ways to make a positive difference in the lives of those who least expected it – a few I knew, most I did not. In every way all individuals were entirely deserving & most to this day do not know who provided their act of kindness. To define how this experience changed my perspective of the World around me is indescribable, but was surely emotionally / spiritually rewarding beyond words & provided the ground floor to how I have hoped to interact within my community, not just annually, but daily.
Since then I’ve received an infinite number of emails from individuals around the World who’ve also chosen to PAY THEIR BIRTHDAYS FORWARD. The means by which regular, everyday folks are finding to make a positive difference within the lives of complete strangers, giving freely without the expectation to receive, is absolutely incredible & heart-warming.
So, on Wednesday, 7/24/2013, I celebrated Birthday 33 alongside my 2 dearest loves in life – My Kids.
With the internal batteries never more charged & my spirit ON FIRE – Cam, Ava & I completed ALL 33 RAOK (See below for a collection of photos & highlights of our day (and a sneak peek at a NEW Recipe))!! What an amazing day!
A huge thank you to those who joined along online – Your outpouring of love, kind words, well wishes, encouragement, & sharing of this messaging was so sincerely appreciated. To those who joined me in-person & the 100’s who have emailed, messaged, and/or called sharing your support & personal RAOK stories – YOU were my inspiration & the wind in my sails.
To ALL – KNOW that on this day, with the smallest of gestures, in a singular moment of time, we made a real, tangible difference. We live in a beautiful world abundant with wonderful people who posses enormous hearts – I am proud to be here with individuals such as yourself & fortunate beyond words to call you, “my Friend”.
We are not Finished, but instead JUST STARTED! With eternal Love & Gratitude, David
33 RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS – PAYING A BIRTHDAY FORWARD:
1. Breakfast for Everyone in Line @ Beltline Krispy Kreme.
2. Dollar Bills hidden in Children’s Books @ Book Store.
3. Welcome Home 6Pack – Its Hot. You’ve been Hard @ Work – Have a Cold One on ME.
4. Sneaking into work @ CRACK of dawn… Leaving Cupcakes from my Favorite Bakery as a surprise for a special group of Co-Workers.
5. Gas Card in Gas Pump – Fill up your tank & Pay it Forward.
6. Neighborhood Clothes Drive & Donation to Goodwill.
7. Sent a note of appreciation to a Mentor.
8. Donated Books to a Daycare.
9. Doughnuts for the VA Home in Grand Rapids.
10. Grilled Lunch for Kentwood Fire Department – Cherry Bourbon BBQ Chicken, Olive Oil & Sea Salt Grilled Corn on Cob & Chocolate Chip Cookies!!
11. Said a Prayer for someone who my heart has had a very tough time forgiving.
12. Picked up Trash/Littering in Park – Keeping GR GREEN!
13. Quarters on Bubble Gum & Vending Machines – Refreshing the Breath of Grand Rapids 1 Quarter at a Time.
14. Pennies on Mechanical Horse @ Meijer – Ride on Cowboy!
15. Raised $ JDRF Michigan Great Lakes West Charity – Striking Out T1D. $154.50 – Check delivered 7/25 to Grand Rapids Office.
16. Authored a letter of recommendation for a friend applying to Graduate School.
17. 23hrs of FREE High Fives – After 11p they’ll cost you a Beer.
18. Pre-Paid Coffee @ Star Bucks for the Next in Line.
19. Ice Cream Party @ the Pool – Swimming & Sweets!!
20. Offered Water to & Spent time hanging out with Homeless.
21. Honor the Fallen. Reserved Seating & Beer for a Hero @ Grand Rapids Brewing Company – Army Captain Drew Russell, 25 (Scotts, MI). Words cannot express our Thanks to YOU.
22. Called a Supervisor to offer compliments of an Employee who gave me exceptional service.
23. Filled Parking Meters Downtown… Everyone EXCEPT my Own (I Forgot to fill my Own Meter – Here’s an extra $20.00 to the City!!).
24. Drew Encouraging Messages on Sidewalks, Driveways & Parking lots in Chalk.
25. Pizza sent to Friend’s Home.
26. Brought 33 Balloons for Kids @ Children’s Hospital.
27. Shared an Un-Published Recipe with a Page Follower – Grill Onward like a Backyard BBQ Hero, my Friend!!
28. Demonstrated for a Full Restaurant – Appropriate Bull Riding Technique (Brewsky may have been a Factor).
29. Gave a Compliment to everyone I talked with for 24hrs.
30. No Shopping Cart Left Behind – Corralled loose Carts & those of Elderly Customers @ Grocery Store.
31. Date Night on Me – Movie Tickets & Popcorn for a great Employee!
32. Called someone I missed to tell them I loved them.
32 1/2. Scheduled an appointment for 7/26 to Give Blood (By the time I arrived, Donation Center had 0 openings for the remainder of Afternoon).
33. Mentored a Child: Showed my Son & Daughter first hand how to give with NO expectation to Receive.
- 3 pounds chicken legs (drumsticks)
- *Dry Rub*
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- *Tart Cherry Bourbon BBQ Sauce*
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for basting chicken
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 2 ounces honey Bourbon whiskey
- 1½ cups ketchup
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons ground mustard
- 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 3 cups tart cherries, pitted
- With a sharp knife, trim around the chicken legs, removing the tendons, additional fat and skin.
- Combine the smoked paprika, garlic powder, thyme, salt, pepper, brown sugar, cayenne pepper and chili powder in a large bowl. Massage into the chicken, liberally coating.
- Place the chicken into an air-tight container and marinate in the refrigerator for one hour or up to overnight.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce. Bring the olive oil to a gentle simmer over medium heat in a sauce pan.
- Add the garlic and onion, sauteing 3-5 minutes or until tender and fragrant.
- Add the whiskey, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, water, ground mustard, Worcestershire sauce, ginger, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring the sauce back to a simmer and add the cherries. Cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring regularly, until the sauce thickens.
- Remove the sauce from the heat, let cool slightly and puree in a food processor until smooth. Reserve.
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 20 minutes prior to grilling and let it return to room temperature.
- Preheat the grill to medium, 300-350 degrees.
- Place the chicken on the grill and close the lid, grilling 15-20 minutes, turning chicken once after 10 minutes and basting intermittently with olive oil until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees.
- Turn grill to high and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, liberally brushing on the cherry Bourbon BBQ sauce until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
- Remove the chicken from the grill and brush again with sauce.
- Place under a tin foil tent for 3-5 minutes, allowing the chicken to reabsorb its juices.
- Serve the chicken hot. Enjoy.