how I spent my 20th birthday + giveaway winner!

a few days before my birthday last week, I remembered an idea I had seen on a blog last year.
The Schultzes are some of my favorite photographers, and Cheyenne had done THIS post about
how for her 31st birthday, she did 31 random acts of kindness for other people.
I thought about the idea some more, and debated whether or not to actually do it...
and then decided that on my birthday I would. ;)
honestly I'm so glad I did...each birthday only comes once in your life,
and I thought this would be a neat way to remember the day I turned 20.
the night before I made a list of things I could do, and got so excited about them!
it really changed my perspective from thinking "what are people going to do for me?"
to "how can I give to others?" that day.
so I want to share what I did--and I'm not blogging this to say,
"hey! look at me, I'm such a do-good-er!"
but because I loved this idea and want to encourage each of you to maybe do this sometime.
[whether on your birthday, or any other random day]
or just to even think of one thing you can do today to go out of your way and bless the people around you!
it truly is "more blessed to give than receive."
so, here are some photos of things I did:
1) bought a $10 giftcard at the gas station and taped it for the next person who came.Photobucket
2) bought chocolate and wrote a quick note for the ladies at the bank.
they're always so helpful and I appreciate them. :)
3) made german cinnamon kuka for the family for breakfast.
it's okay to be jealous--that stuff is really, really good.
4) took time to do a puzzle with Otto.
not my favorite thing to do, but it was a way I could give to him.
had to throw this in. :P
5) put a load of laundry in before my Mom could get to it Photobucket
6) made a little treasure hunt with clues + prizes for my brothers
7) bought a smoothie for a friend! [okay, and one for me]
8) I never did anything at Christmas for the lady at the post office,
so I bought her a giftcard to a restaurant and put it in this box.
9) mailed out 3 little packages to random people to hopefully encourage and make them smile :)
10) got the boys movies at the library
11) dropped some m&m's in the drop box there.
librarian got to find something other than a book for once. ;)
12) did this giveaway on my blog!
wow, thanks for all the sweet comments and birthday wishes, everyone!
I'm excited to announce that the winner of the calendar I designed is...
[winner picked via random. org]
e-mail me [hannah@hannaheliseblog.com] to claim your prize!
[speaking of giveaways, I have huge one that will be announced sometime in February--
I'm so excited about it!]
*if anyone really wants to purchase a calendar, shoot me an e-mail
 and I'd be happy to make you one! :)
13) I was getting Otto ready for bed, and he asked for a bath.
Didn't totally feel like giving him one, but my goal was to bless others on my birthday so I did.
besides, who can resist that face?! :)
a few more things I did, but didn't get pictures of:
14) left encouraging comments on 3 different blogs
15) ordered something from some friends to support their business
16) smiled more + engaged in conversation with people I saw during the day
17) did a video on my phone for my brother when he asked.
I don't really like doing video on my phone [don't ask why! I don't kow exactly, haha!]
but it was a way I could give to him.
you can see I didn't quite complete 20 things...but I'll be doing more of them within the next few days.
overall, it was a really fun way to spend my birthday!
I felt like I was running around most of the day, trying to fit in as many things as possible on my list
and having so much fun doing it. :)
so, I hope this inspires someone else to do the same--which is the reason I'm sharing it.
people are placed in our lives for a reason, and we need to make the most of those opportunities!
I ended my birthday by watching "the ultimate gift"
...haven't seen that movie in awhile and borrowed it from a friend.
so good!
if this post encouraged you in any way, or if you now have ideas of how you can give to others,
I'd love to hear!
that's what the comment box is for. :P
happy monday!
~H. Elise
connect on


  1. Awesome, Hannah! Sounds like a great birthday. God bless xoxo

  2. That's is a great idea! I'm turning 17 in April, maybe I should do something like that! :)

    - Elizabeth

  3. Love this! Thanks for sharing, Hannah! :)

    I'll keep my eyes open for that movie. Looks really good!

    An idea of how to give to others, is our smile. :)

  4. So encouraging,I think I might do this cause I'm turning 18 soon! Thanks for the inspiration,and Ultimate gift is such a good movie!

  5. Thanks so much for sharing!!!!! I'm turning 17 this year, and you've encouraged me to at least attempt to do this "project". I have 8 months 'till my birthday, so I think that should give me enough time to think about what to do. ;)

    I'm glad you had a good birthday!!!

  6. Wow!! That is an absolutely wonderful way to spend your birthday. You did the complete opposite of what the world tells us (that birthdays are all about us) and gave so much to so many people. I'm seriously encouraged and amazed! Definitely going to keep this in mind when my birthday rolls around. :) Also.. Mail a Smile stamps? Totally my favorite. :)

  7. Such a sweet idea to encourage others... what a great idea!!, my birthday is next month, I don't know if I could find 34 things/ deeds to encourage others!! I will think I will just stick to paying for the people behind me at the drive thru!! Lol!! I hope you had a great birthday and are blessed everyday throughout the year!
    Jess Buck

  8. This is such a thoughtful, creative, fun idea, Hannah! Love the idea and I am so glad that you had a nice birthday! Blessings! =)

    I am inspired. My birthday is next month...I will do this.
    Happy birthday! :)

  10. Hannah you made my day. I woke up this morning feeling very tired and just unmotivated. At one point I started crying because I just felt so overwhelmed. I had just walked in the house from running errands when the girls handed me your letter. I thought why is she sending me a letter and then Emily reminded me about your post that I had just read this morning. So I just wanted to say that you did put a smile onmy face and I needed that encouragement today. Thank you for being obedient to the Lrod and listening to Him when He prompts you. I don't think I can express how you blessed me today. P.s. That is my favorite chocolate If I ever buy it I awlways buy it with the caramel.
    Thank you so much Hannah, you will be blessed.

  11. This is awesome. you inspire me so much, beautiful friend! and happy birthday, again! :)

  12. Hannah, BEING YOU each and every day is a huge gift/blessing/encouragement to others in ways you can't imagine! [Can I have an 'amen' anyone?] That was such a great idea and your story was such a pick-me-up! And no, you didn't seem like you were bragging. :) I'm so grateful for your friendship!
    LAE <><

  13. Oh Hannah! Love this so much. I am planning on doing this on my birthday, have been for a while. I have never met someone who actually did it though, and it is so encouraging to see that you did, and how it blessed me and many other people. How thougthful and kind! Love you girlie!

  14. Looks like so much fun! I might have to do that next year for my birthday! and I really can't stand puzzles either. And I suck at them! haha. Usually the kids are better at them than I am. ;)

  15. I just read this today. It's a great idea! Next year I turn 45, and it's on a Saturday. I'M DOING IT!


please leave a comment -- I would love to hear your thoughts on this post!! :)