Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Reading Random Acts of Kindess

Before Christmas, Ben and I sent a letter and email out to friends and family asking them to help us fill Shyla's pink stocking with random acts of kindness.  On Christmas we read all of these acts of kindness.  It was a beautiful way to remember her this holiday and we weren't the only people who benefited from these acts, so did the recipients of each act that was done. 

I want to share these beautiful acts of kindness.  I hope that all of our friends and family were touched by doing these acts of kindness and continue to look for ways to be kind on a daily basis.

It always amazes me how people go in and out of our lives.  These letters are from family, in-laws family, co-workers, people we go to church with, girls that were my dorm neighbors in college, a fellow color guard member from college, friends of friends, random acquantances, a bridesmaid, friends from high school and complete strangers.  God has used each of them to bless me. 


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The first letter I got, was a beautiful letter to Shyla.  I believe this was their random act of kindness...

Dear Shyla,

What a beautiful angel you are in the sky!  I bet you're having a grand time in Heaven filled with joy and laughter.  Ben, Mattie and Ethan are all looking forward to meeting you one day at your lovely new home.
Please watch over your mommy, daddy and your big brother who all love you very much.  Please help heal their broken souls.
You will never be forgotten, and I wanted to with you a very Merry Christmas!

Love,
AJL and family  Barbourville, KY

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In Shyla Joy's Memory

I have donated money to the Voice of the Martyrs.  This money will go to provide aid in Vietnam, buying 5 Christmas Care Packages for children and 1 Village outreach pack.  Iv'e included a page to explain what these packs include.  I decided these could be gifts that keep on giving.

My love to you all,
Mom  Monticello, KY


Enclosed was this:



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On the Monday before Christmas, a person walked through the door of a business that I was working and God said, "Thats the person for you to help".  I knew this person was in need.  It is against that companies policy for a vendor to give money to an employee.  I spoke with the manager privately.  He said he would be glad to give the money to the employee without them knowing who or where it came from.  This has made me realize we can reach out privately and help others.  Thanks Mattie, we will always remember the "Creative Joy" that Shyla has brought into our lives.  With our Love.  May God continue to bless others through you, Ben and Ethan's efforts.

RW, London, KY

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Instead of doing Secret Santa this year, my department will be donating to the Children's Center here in OKC, in honor of Shyla.

A, and office  Oklahoma City, OK

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I hope you guys are having a wonderful Christmas.  In Memory of Shyla Joy, my best friend (A) and her daughter (H) and myself made ornament to tak to our local nursing home.

We had a wonderful time making and distributing the ornaments.  It was a great blessing to us to see the happiness and smiling faces when we gave them their ornaments.  We made 102 total ornaments, but we had some left over.  So I thought you might like to give some to your family members.

Our hearts broke for you and your family when we heard about your loss, yet I truely saw your love for God in the face of grief.

Love,
M, B, A, B, H, T, and S  Berea, KY

Merry Christmas!


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Today, I shoveled the snow off my neighbors' driveways and sidewalks as a random act of kindness, in honor of Shyla.

S.D.  Corbin, KY

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I gave a (needy) infant in the church nursery a bath and some clean jammies (that I had purchased for G {her grandaughter and my niece}), in honor of Shyla.

T.M.  Fayetteville, AR

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I hope Christmas morning is a blessed time for you.  I want you to know that I am in awa of not only your faith, but your willingness to allow others to see it so amazingly.  I have given a lot of thought to your "challenge" to honor your baby girl in some way during the Christmas holiday and I worried I wouldn't be able to find a cause worthy enough!

On Tuesday evening, we were presented an opportunity to serve others, I know that it was Heaven sent, with you in mind.  R and I were asked to help the church deliver Christmas gifts to four families that had been identified as "needy" by different church members.  One of families includes two children, a boy and girl, that attend our Kids Jam ministry that we have on the first Saturday of each month.  They often come without socks, appropriate shoes, coats, etc.  We were able to purchase clothes, coats, and toys for both of them.  You should have seen their faces when we knocked on the door.  The smiles alone were enough to bless our hearts.  We delivered to three more children in three different homes and the reactions were the same.

I am thankful for the opportunity, but more than that, I'm thankful that R got to see the real meaning of Christmas first hand.  It's not a coincidence that R's Christmas play at church was about taking food and gifts to the less fortunate.  His character did not wast to help deliver the gifts, he wanted to stay home and watch t.v.  Today, his teacher asked him jokingly, "R would you rather be at home watching t.v. today?" and he loudly answered, "This is a lot more fun than watching t.v.".  You can't learn these lessons in Sunday School alone!  We had a memorable Christmas Eve...

I pray that you have a wonderful Christmas morning and that the letters and emails will bless you in a way that only serving God can.  We love you!  Merry Christmas!

B and family (Monticello, KY)

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Oh Mattie...I too lost my baby but it has been 12 yrs in October.  I already had two boys and to loose my third was more than words can describe.  Then on my birthday, three years later, welcomed my fourth little boy...such a joy.  I will be praying for you and your family always and this year we will add Shyla Joy to the gifts we give at the mission.  It will read:

To a very special child
From two very special children

xoxoxoxo
In Memory of Brian Bo Williams
and
Shyla Joy

Love to your Family this Holiday Season
Merry Christmas
L.W.H.  Moore, OK

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Three others and myself went in together to help a fmaily with 4 children, all under the age of 5.  We bought presents for the children to help the mom because they lost their dad a few months ago to h1n1.  It was nice to help such a sweet family and a blessing for I (her son) to be a part of!  Hope you have a Merry Christmas!  Thank you for being such an inspiration and ray of hope!  God Bless you and your family!

M.B.  Somerset, KY

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In honor of Shyla, I gave my seat to a young pregnant girl, in the waiting area of a restaurant.

JW   Somerset, KY

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We want to wish you a very Merry Christmas today and oray that this same Spirit of our Savior's birthday will continue with you through the New Year.

Your example of God's love through this season has been a true encouragement and blessing to us and many others, I am sure.  Thank you for sharing your hears and faith.

In honor of Shyla, we have donated items to the crisis pregnancy center.  Today we put together a gift bag with clothes, bottles, wipes, books, blankes and other items to donate.  We hope this Spirit of God's love and care with others not just through this holiday season, but through the days and years to come.

We love you and pray blessings on you continually,

The M family  Somerset, KY

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In memory of Shyla Joy, I baked homemade carrot cake for my Pastor and his wife for Christmas, I also baked banana bread for all the computer workers at church.

Love ya,

D, T, & E  East Bernstadt, KY

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Today, outside the grocery store, there was a Salvation Army Bell Ringer.  It's a cold, snowy, windy Chicago day.  There is a Starbucks inside the grocery store.  After putting a few dollars in the kettle, I gae the bell ringer a gift card for Starbucks and told her to get something warm and have a Merry Christmas.  I think by the time I loaded my groceries, she was inside.

I just want you to know that I think this is a wonderful idea-Wishing you and yours a Happy Holiday Season.

J.C.  Chicago, IL

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On Tuesday this week, I was out finishing my Christmas shopping and I decided to stop and get a hair cut.  Just a trim, nothing special.  As the yong lady, about our age, was cutting my hair, we were chatting about shopping and Christmas and the like.  Sher mentioned that very few people had been in that night and she was going to go home with very little tip money.  Only seconds later, God brought to my mind your request for Shyla's stocking.  I truly felt that God was calling me to scatter creative joy to this young lady.  So, after I paid her for the $12 haircut, I handed her a $20 bill and said, "Merry Christmas!"  Her face was priceless with a very large smile and she simply said, "Thank you."

I know that today God holds your entire family together in His almighty hands and I'm praying that He lets you feel His loving touch.  Merry Christmas!

Love,
E. P.  Lexington, KY

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I do not know what this world would be like with Shyla.  Your lives would definately be at least one step more chaotic.  I do know that she would have been a very happy baby and her laughter and smiles are missed.  She has not been far from my thoughts this Christmas.

I helped various people I came in contact with in different ways:

Helped some find things they were looking for, even if it meant directing them to another store that I knew had what they were looking for.
Helped others reach items on a top shelf or pick up things inadvertently dropped.
Taking their cart to the cart return while it was raining.
Let many that were backing out of a backing out of a parking space know that it was clear for them to do so, especially the ones that appeared uncertain or nervous.

Once I started it was neat to see all the little things that can be done to just make something a little easier for someone.

I know each act for each of these people was not a lot to them, but it was nice to bring a smile to these people and make that moment in their day a little easier.

God bless you two and Ethan, this Christmas Season.

I love you all very much.

T. W.  East Bernstadt, KY

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For Shyla-

Papa donated the money was that was left over from M fixing the roof at his house.  M was going to give Papa what was left but he told M to use it for 2 families that were needy this Christmas.  Also if any was left afterwards put it in the Church fund.

In remembrance of your precious angel we dedicated the Christmas service at the detention center.  We made lots of treats and to watch the faces of those who will not be with their family this holiday is special.  There was a moment of prayer and sharing about Shyla and all hearts were touched.

Thinking about you all.

Love,
E. and L.  Monticello, KY

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This season we have been trying to think of all the ways we could spread some kindness for Shyla.  Every time we pass a Salvation Army bucket, K puts a few coins into it.  I love to see the look on her face when I tel her that she has helped some one have a Merry Christmas.  She gets a big smile and tells me that she is glad.  What a kind little heart she has.  The other day we gave a small donation of money to help provide a Christmas for some children in Lincoln County who would not otherwise have one.  Finally, todya we are baking bread to take to our neighbors as a way to with them a Merry Christmas.

We hope that each random act of kindness that someone has sent you brings happy tears to your eyes as we all remember Shyla's little life this Christmas.  May your fmaily grow in love and closeness through the challenges you have faced through the year.  We are going to say a special prayer for all four of you on Christmas Day.

We love you so much, have the merriest Christmas!

R, J, and K  Somerset, KY

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I just wanted to share in this time with all of you.  I admire what you are doing.  God will bless you on this day and everyday to come.

My act of kindness was taking diapers in the size they were needing to the pregnancy center in Monticello.

With Love,
R.T.  Monticello, KY

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This year, we decided to pick up two small children's names from the angel tree.  We decided that way, these kids would have a Christmas that may be a little better due to the kindness of strangers.  Shyla truely has been a blessing and has caused others to be inspired to do acts of kindness for others.

The P. family London, KY
I got another note from this same family a little closer to Christmas.

Other things we have done to celebrate your baby girl include:
Buying food for elderly people who could not afford to buy food for themselves.  We have done this everytime we go to the grovery store and buy special things for the holidays.
We have also took in a fmaily member that due to the loss of his mother would otherwise be alone on Christmas.  When I say we "took him in", we invite him to ALL of our family events.  Events that would otherwise be limited to just us and our parents.
When we cook dinner, we make enough to send to others that don't have a lot of food for themselves.
We would like to thank you all for inspiring us to do things that we should have been doing all along.  You are very dear to me.

Merry Christmas to you and your entire family!

The P. family  London, KY

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I'm hoping you will check your inbox one more time before reading the messages in Shyla's stocking.  My thoughts and prayers have been with you more than you realize, and I hope you find peace throughout this holiday season.

This year, in honor of your baby girl, my family (and extended family) has helped supply two families (seven total children) with Christmas gifts (pajamas, coats, clothes, CD's, stereos, overnight bags, and cash).

Please know that you have both been such an inspiration to me!  I honestly find peace through your peace...

Merry Christmas!

Love,
E.C.  Monticello, KY

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We handed out hot cocolate and handwarmers at the Lexington Christmas Parade to share the love of Christ with anyone there!!  In Shyla's beautiful memory!!  We love you guys and will think of you during this Christmas.  We are so proud of all you are doing in her memory!!

Love,
C. and T.  Wilmore, KY
I also recieved this in an email from this sweet couple.

Ever since you sent out the challenge to do random acts of kindness in honor of Shyla, I've been trying to think of small things to do every change I get.  Yesterday, T and I went to Newport to get a way for a night and we had an hour to kill so we went to Gamestop and played some arcade games.  We ended up getting about 50 tickets and we knew we wouldn't use them.  As we finished up our skiball I handed our tickets to a mom who looked like she was about to kill her three boys who were tugging and pulling.  She was filled with so much joy at the fact that a stranger would give her boys free tickets and I watched as all of her frustration left her face and pure joy filled in its place.
It is truely amazing to me how you and Ben have turned a tragic situation into something so magical!  God is working through Shyla.  As all these people have done radom acts of kindness, Shyla's life has created pure Joy that we know comes straight from God.  This joy isn't just in the lives of others, but in us as well!

I just really wanted to share that with you.  I hope I never forget how easy it is to do small things and be used by God to create joy.  To be used by God is a true blessing!

Love you guys!
C. and T.  Wilmore, KY

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After we recieved your Christmas card, K and I talked about it and decided to donate an umbrella stroller to the HELP Pregnancy Center.  This was the stroller we bought when KB (grandaughter) was born, but we didn't see her much during that time and never used it.  I was going to return it and get a refund, but we decided we would donate it instead.

We recieved your card on Saturday, on Monday, I went to the HELP Center, but they had closed until after the first of the year.  I will have to make the actual physical donation then, but wanted you to know on Christmas Day what we had planned.

After I left the HELP Center, I went to Walmart.  When I got in the line to check out, I had a buggy full of stuff.  The lines were pretty busy.  I lady was in line behind me, and I turned around and began speaking to her and looked at her buggy.  She did not have a lot of things in her buggy.  I thought of Christmas and invited her to get in line infront of me.  At first, she declinded.  I asked her again and she did accept.

When the HELP Center opens after the holidays, our donation will be made in Shyla's name.

Merry Christmas to your entire family,

We love you all,

Uncle K and Aunt L  Monticello, KY

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On the day we received your card and letter, we saw a news report on WKYT of four children whose mother died in an accident the night before, after being at a friends house to make candy for the holidays.

The news report showed the fmaily a year ago at Christmas that included their father who had died 8 months earlier from a massive heart attack.

The children will be raised by a grandmother who has lost two sons in previous years leaving her with no children after losing her daughter in this accident.
The grandmother is going to raise the four boys.
K (the adult daughter of the author of this letter) and I immediately knew this would be a family we would like to help as an act of kindness in Shyla Joy's memory.  She also shared this with K (the author's other daughter).
I sent a sympathy card to the family, a love gift, and a letter explaining your loss and your request in Shyla's memory.

May your Christmas morning be special as you read acts of kindness done in Shyla's memory.  I know that it will bring strength and comfort knowing others have received in her memory.
May you feel God's presence very near.

Blessings and Peace,
for the New Year,

D. K. and K.  Somerset, KY

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I think your idea of a way to honor Shyla Joy is wonderful.  I picked a few people who I would normally give gifts to but have everything they need to give the message enclosed to.  In lieu of a gift to them, I gave to a needy child at school.  This makes me feel really good about honoring these people in this way and remembering Shyla Joy in this way.  You two are such wonderful adults.  I admire you in many levels.  I know God has many blessings in store for you.  I hope your Christmas with your family is great.  I will be thinking of you and Shyla Joy on Christmas as you read all the goodness that comes from Shyla's remembrances.

Love you both,
B.H.  Monticello, KY

The enclosed note read:

In lieu of giving gifts to those who are fortunate enought to have what they need, I picked a few needy students to give gifts to this year.  I will give a gift in your honor to one of those.  This random act of kindness is done in memory of Shyla Joy Wells who was stillborn to Mattie and Ben Wells on September 2, 2009.

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I got so busy getting ready for Christmas that I completely forgot to write down the Random Act of Kindess that I did in honor of Shyla Joy. Sorry it is late, but wanted to let you know that I did and was blessed immensley from doing this in her honor.


1. I let others in front of me at the cashier line in Wal-Mart.


2. Instead of gifts for our church leaders, we gave to our church's building fund in their's and Shyla Joy's honor. We are now in the process of building a youth room above the Family Life Center which we pray will benefit many lives in the years to come. Our youth group has grown from 2 faithful members about 8 years ago to around 25. God is not only growing us in number but also spiritually! Now Shyla Joy will have a part in that for the future youth.


3. I was in line at McDonalds and Wendy's on different days and paid for the customers bill in the vehicles behind me. I told the cashier to let them know that this was an act of kindness in honor of Shyla Joy, that I wish them a Merry Christmas and challenged them to pay it forward. The first cashier was stunned and a little confused. The second one was all smiles and said that that's what it is all about.


I plan to do more as I was the one who was most blessed by doing this. I pray that you have had a good Christmas and please know that I love you, dear friend!


In Christ,


CR, Monticello, KY

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Tonight at Waffle House, this little old lady came in ordering her food to go and she looked like she literally just got out of bed to come & eat. I let the cashier know that I would be paying for her meal. It was a very cool feeling. Thanks Shyla.

TL, Nicholasville, KY


*********************************************************There was WAY too much praise for Ben and I.  This project was done to remember her.  But, it was also done to help us get through Christmas without focusing on what we don't have, but what others do have because some one took the time to give.  Give money, give time, give of themselves.




Thank you, thank you, thank you.  That is all I can say.  There are no words to express my graditute to those of you who took the time to spread joy this season and let us know about it.  I also wanted to say thank you to the 52 people on facebook who "joined" in by saying they would commit a random act of kindness during the holiday season!  I was (and am) overwhelmed!

We love you all.

5 comments:

Kelli with Love said...

How wonderful that so many participated in your request. That is so nice that Shyla's honor and love was passed around so freely this holiday season! What an honored little princess!

Karen said...

God is so good and I can see the Holy Spirit working among many lives.

Thank you for sharing. This was a blessing!

Jessica said...

This is so beautiful that so many people participated.

Heather said...

This warms my heart so much! I'm so glad Shyla was remembered by so many, and thanks for sharing!

Nat said...

This is such a beautiful idea, and I wish I had read about it before now. Its just over a week before Christmas and I'm not sure I could pull it off in the next week? I wonder??