How I Spent My 31st Birthday

The Schultzes


It was Monday night – just a couple of days ago, Monday – that I was catching up on some blogs that I follow when I came across THIS POST from photographer Drew B, which chronicled how she spent her 31st birthday.  And being that I was about to turn 31 in just a couple of days, my interest was piqued.  
Basically, she spend her birthday doing 31 random acts of kindness for others.  After reading through her list, I found my way over to the originator of “The Birthday Project”.  From there, I was totally inspired, totally excited.  I spent the rest of the evening scheming of things that I wanted to do.  
Coming across this project was such a blessing – at a time that Geoff is insanely swamped with work (from Easter being in just a couple of days) and knowing that I would be on my own for my birthday, this was a great way for me to NOT feel sorry for myself and to experience real joy by serving others.  And really, this birthday ranks up as one of the “best-ever” birthdays – I had an amazing day! 
Without further ado, here’s how I spent my 31st birthday.  πŸ™‚
1.  Frank Walk.  After waking up, I took Frank on a walk so Geoff wouldn’t be late for work.  Unfortunately, he was still late, as when I came back from the walk, I found Geoff in Boone’s room dealing with a poop situation.  Apparently, when Geoff went into his room, he found Boone standing in his crib – in only his pajama top – pointing to his poopy diaper he had taken off and thrown on the floor.  Nice.  Suffice it to say, he will no longer be wearing 2 piece pajamas.  
2.  Smile more.  I made it a point to make eye contact and smile with those that were out walking around this morning….it’s a small thing, but it still felt nice to do.
BirthdayProject2012_0002.jpg3.  The Lady at Target.  After breakfast and a shower, Boone and I were off to Target to pick up some supplies for the day.  As I drove there, I prayed that God would open my eyes to opportunities to help/encourage people that day.  
My kind moment at Target was when I engaged in a conversation with the checkout lady.  Again, a small thing, but it’s something I normally don’t do.  
4.  Trail Mix.  At Target we bought two packages of some hearty trail mix to keep in my car for when I see someone down on their luck and asking for food.  
5.  Chocolate for Doctors.  I had a doctor’s appointment this morning, so right before I went to leave, I handed a box of chocolates and an encouraging note to the receptionist for the practice.  She was excited.  I was embarrassed.  I don’t know why.
* Boone didn’t really care to pose for me with the box of chocolates.  He was more interested in throwing it down and pouting.  Ah, such is life with an almost 2 year old.
BirthdayProject2012_0003.jpg6.  Go Ahead.  Before we checked out I let a very pregnant woman (with 2 kids in tow) ahead of me in line.  Poor thing was struggling!
7.  Starbucks – Take Me!  I was planning to hand this $5 Starbucks gift card to the parking booth attendant on the way out of the garage at the doctor’s, but he/she wasn’t there.  So, I grabbed a pen, wrote a note and left it on the booth window for the next car that would come through and see it.
BirthdayProject2012_0004.jpg8, 9.  Big Tips and Bacon.  From there, we headed to Amelie’s for some lunch – I gave a big tip and then I shared my bacon that was on my sandwich with Boone.  If you know me, you know how I LOVE my bacon…so this was a big deal to part ways with some of it.  πŸ™‚
10.  Salted Carmel Amazingness.  After lunch we picked up a TON of salted carmel brownies, one of which I had boxed up individually and gave to a man who had just finished his lunch.  He was excited….obviously….those puppies are good! (And, I’m sorry, but how pretty are those macaroons?!).
BirthdayProject2012_0005.jpg11.  Brownie Break.  It was then off to Geoff’s office to deliver the brownies for the creative team at our church (Geoff got a special one…because he’s extra special πŸ™‚ ).  They have all been working SUPER overtime to prepare for Easter this weekend.  Elevation Church will have 33 worship experiences across our city Friday-Sunday – if you are interested in coming, go here to get a {free} ticket!
BirthdayProject2012_0006.jpgBoone had a little playtime with daddy before we got on the road again. 
BirthdayProject2012_0007.jpg12.  Birthday Girl.  Drove out to my friend Ashley’s house to deliver a brownie to her….for her birthday, which is also today!
BirthdayProject2012_0008.jpg13.  Redbox is Better with Licorice and Popcorn.  From there, we hit up Harris Teeter.  First, I left a bag of popcorn and some licorice on top of the Redbox machines with a note.
BirthdayProject2012_0009.jpg14.  For You.  I then bought a $25 grocery giftcard and once I had paid, I handed it back to the lady who checked me out and told her I wanted her to keep it….just because.  
15, 16.  Spray Roses and….and Other Flowers I Don’t Know.  I played my hand at being a florist today.  Not too shabby for a photographer if I do say so.  πŸ™‚ &n
bsp;I brought a little arrangement and a note to two of my friends who had helped me through a rough time the past couple of months. 
BirthdayProject2012_0010.jpg17.  CPA’s Need Chocolate Too.  After filing for an extension last month, I FINALLY got all of my tax information in to my CPA.  I left my stuff with a box of chocolates and a thank you note to be given to my accountant.  
18.  Let Them In.  Through all of this driving all day, I let numerous cars in when they needed to be let in.
19.  Cupcakes Cure Crying.  After a stop at home to walk and feed the dogs, we dropped off some cupcakes from Polka Dot and a note to our new neighbors who just had a baby.
20.  Need Water / Have Water.  On the way to drop off some more cupcakes I spotted this guy broken down on the side of 74 during rush hour.  Usually I don’t stop when I’m by myself and have Boone with me, but on this day, how could I not?  I had prayed that God reveal people that needed help.  So, I stopped.  He was on the phone with a towing company and was frustrated.  The truck needed water.  Turns out, I had a gallon of water in the trunk of my car.  This might be my favorite one from the day.  
BirthdayProject2012_0011.jpg21.  Landlording.  We then drove over to our former landlords house (our former house) and dropped off some cupcakes and a thank you note for landlording us for the past year.  It was at this time, Boone fell asleep.  Poor thing was WASTED tired.
22.  The Blanket.  This morning when I was walking Frank by a church near our condo I looked down a stairwell and noticed a homeless man, sleeping under cardboard boxes.  When I walked back by the stairwell on the way home, he stuck his head out and apologized if he scared me….he was just trying to get some sleep.  At the end of the day I decided to buy a blanket for him and leave it in the stairwell in case he came back again tonight.  So, unfortunately, Boone had to be woken from his slumber to go buy the blanket (which I scored from Dollar General for THREE dollars! It was a nice blanket too!).  Boone wasn’t too happy, so I bought him a big red ball as well.  Frank will likely destroy it tomorrow, but that’s okay.
23.  FACT: Gum Makes People Happy.  Before leaving the dollar store I left packages of gum with notes on a couple of random car’s window wipers.
24.  Moving is Easier with Takeout.  Lastly, I stopped at Cantina to get a giftcard to give to some friends who are moving this weekend.  I didn’t have time to deliver it, but will tomorrow.
A couple other things I was hoping to do, but didn’t have time (I will be finishing these up over the next couple of days!):
{25} Leave 5 positive/encouraging comments on blogs that I follow.
{26} Write a note to my friend/mentor.
{27} Put together a care package for my far-away and newly engaged friend.  
{28} Handout bubbles to kids in the park.  
Side note: my son was SO well behaved today…especially for being hauled around in the car ALL.  DAY.  He barely made a peep – I couldn’t believe it!  I had intentions of letting him run his heart out at the park, but didn’t make it in time.  So, I’m going to declare one full day a Boone day….all fun things for Boone.  πŸ™‚  
{29} I was going to call an animal shelter and ask what kind of supplies they needed – I think I’ll just donate financially to local shelter Project Halo instead.
{30} Load quarters in the gum/candy machines at the grocery store.  Was going to do this, but couldn’t get my ATM card to give me cash back!
{31} Pet my dogs for more than 30 seconds.  Haven’t done this in ages.  Ellen will get extra love, as tomorrow is her birthday!  
Lastly, I feel the need to note that I am not blogging this with a “look at how great and selfless I am” attitude.  Not only did I want to blog it so I could remember how great my 31st birthday was in detail, but I wanted to share the idea with others.  I wouldn’t have thought to do this without finding the other blogs.  That’s all.  πŸ™‚
Thanks to everyone for all of the birthday wishes – I am so loved!  

Cheyenne Schultz

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  1. It’s the small things that sometimes make the biggest difference. Thanks for sharing your inspiring day!

  2. Mary says:

    You are the absolute best. I LOVE this, and my birthday is coming up! I’m inspired!

  3. Nicole Haley says:

    Thank you for sharing this, it’s a GREAT idea and I bet you made so many people happy. It’s so nice knowing there are kind strangers out there. Happy birthday. πŸ™‚

  4. happy birthday!! it’s so amazing that you did that. it sounds like it was a great experience!

  5. Melissa Tuck says:

    Heart of gold! I’m eventually going to do this on one of my birthdays – DEFINITELY. Thanks for sharing!

  6. This is so beautiful! What a perfect day loving and serving on others. Thanks so much for sharing this brillant idea. Happy Birthday Cheyenne!!! xoxo!

  7. Chris D says:

    Your interest was “piqued”, not “peaked”. Happy birthday.

  8. Brooke says:

    Thanks for making me smile today. πŸ™‚

  9. Sarah says:

    Such a great idea, spreads so much positive energy in a struggling world!

  10. Matt Keener says:

    I know it’s tough to spend a birthday on your own, but it sounds like you turned what could have been a dreary day into something wonderful and memorable. That’s such a great idea, and a testament to your character. πŸ™‚

  11. Ferris says:

    This is amazing Cheyenne! It sounds like you had an incredible birthday and I’m so glad you shared this. Happy 31st birthday! Love you πŸ™‚

  12. Hannah Elise says:

    what an amazing idea! I absolutely love all the things you did…so true how when we give to others we get the greater blessing. πŸ˜‰ sounds like your birthday was wonderful–hope you have an amazing next year of your life! β™₯

  13. Jennifer says:

    What a fun day! I love these ideas πŸ™‚

  14. Jenn Davis says:

    Brilliant! I love it when you said you got embarrassed and didn’t know why. This happens to me often and my bright red face gives it away! Happiest of Birthdays to you! xoxo

  15. I love you. You inspire me. And yes, you are an amazing florist! I am LOVING my flowers. They remind me of our wedding day with the hydrangea and the hypericum berries : )

  16. Happy belated birthday, Cheyenne and thank you SO much for sharing. Imagine if we all spent our birthdays this way.. beautiful ideas (and sweet moments) PHENOMENAL!

  17. lindy says:

    happy birthday cheyenne! you had an inspiring day and i absolutely love this idea. i started donating to each year at my birthday, i pick my favorite classroom and share some birthday love with them… i can’t wait to add this to my birthday tradition on my 31st : )

  18. Ginger says:

    What a wonderful way to celebrate your birthday! I love this idea! And I imagine that several of these people will ‘pay it forward’ so you not only blessed 30-ish people, you blessed many more πŸ™‚

  19. Reida says:

    Seriously I was tearing up at #14, #20, and #22. What a wonderful way to spend your birthday! After reading this blog no one can say to you “hope you had a great birthday” because we KNOW you had an absolutely amazing birthday! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  20. Chris D – thank you for that! When I wrote it last night I second guessed myself, but was too lazy/tired to check. Fixed now. πŸ™‚

  21. Margaret Lomax says:

    Cheyenne you dont have a selfish bone in your body!
    Ive watched you girls grow up from the time you were in 3 rd grade..
    I think what you did was great! I shall do the same thing on my next B Day. Im off to Chandler for Marcus’s 2 nd B- Day party and Easter with Jackie. Love you and miss you next time your here i know you get busy if you have a chance love to see you and Boone

  22. Asha says:

    Very cool! How can I not do this on my birthday coming up?! I’m going to try. Thanks for the encouragement!

  23. Julie Stepp says:

    This is soo amazing, you are amazing. Love the story of the man who needed help with his car! BIRTHDAY SUPERWOMAN!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Happy Birthday beautiful Cheyenne! Sounds like an awesome day, these are all great ideas of doing small things that make a difference in a person’s day. Boone is such a champ! Thanks for sharing; I love seeing snippets of your life from far away πŸ™‚ xoxo and wishing you guys a blessed Easter!

  25. Frances says:

    hi again, that anonymous is Frances Bean btw πŸ™‚

  26. Lisa E says:

    Happy Birthday Cheyenne! I had no idea you were so close in age to me πŸ™‚ I turn 31 on May 1st πŸ™‚ What a great way to spend your Birthday. I have to admit, sometimes I feel my birthday should be all about me, since it is the day I was born. There has been times where I was so down b/c I had no one to spend it with.. but I should have been serving others instead. Thanks for sharing! I am glad you had a wonderful Birthday!

  27. Marla says:

    I love this idea! You’ve inspired me to do this on my next birthday. You made many people smile on your day. Happy happy birthday to you!

  28. Jackie says:

    Mama Chey Chey, I love this! And I am inspired as well!!! I’ve got about two months to plan a list of pay it forward gestures as well. πŸ™‚ Love you! xoxo
    And I’m going out on a limb here, but I am thinking this may have topped the parking lot birthday! πŸ˜‰

  29. Lara Kay says:

    Thank you for the flowers and the sweet sweet note! They were a bright spot in what has truly been a rough week. Love you more than you know, friend!

  30. Bette Walker says:

    What a brilliant idea…I hate burdening people to celebrate my birthday every single year, but this is the perfect way to fill your day and feel great about it. I will be doing this!! Thanks for the inspiration πŸ™‚

  31. Lisa LaBute says:

    What a gift of a day! I work with your mom in California and we are FB friends – she posted your day and I read it – really touched me!!!

  32. lindsaynelson says:

    love, love, love this. i think anyone who knows an ounce of you would know you didn’t post this for “look how great and selfless i am”. i followed your instagram yesterday and had a hunch it was something like this. πŸ™‚ glad you shared in detail!! happy 31 to you!

  33. Cheyenne,
    This is so incredibly inspiring and encouraging! What fun, unique ideas that are bound to put smiles on strangers’ faces! This makes me so happy that you were able to find joy and spread joy on your special day. I can’t wait to share this with Al and see how we can incorporate more of this in our everyday lives. One of the fun things that we’ve started doing is keeping “Blessing Bags” (thank you, Pinterest) in our car, with food, snacks and Bible verses, to hand out to homeless people begging for money on the streets of San Francisco. Their responses are always overwhelming gracious and it always makes me smile inside. Thank you sincerely for sharing – and in such detail and captured through photos πŸ™‚


  35. Sarah says:

    WOW! I really love this idea! Thanks so much for posting; I’ve booked marked it for future use!

  36. lou anne says:

    love this idea, you are so kind!

  37. Deena Deusenberry says:

    I really enjoyed your birthday, and hope to give it a try on mine. Boone has turned into a little boy very quickly, he doesn’t look like a baby anymore. You probably don’t remember me, but your grandma Audrey and my grandma Mary are sisters…I have seen Boone growing up on your moms FB. Thanks again for sharing !!

  38. Cassie Hirsbrunner Faust says:

    Happy birthday Cheyenne!!! You are such an amazing blogger and what an inspiring story to blog about. I absolutely loved this idea. Thank you so much for sharing this story and what a difference you must have made in so many peoples’ day. Wow, you are truly such an amazing person!!! Wishing you and your family a blessed Easter πŸ™‚

  39. Hannah McKay says:

    This is beautiful. I love the birthday project idea! May have to steal it for my birthday at the end of May πŸ˜‰

  40. Monica Reid says:

    wow you are so amazing and I have no clue why this made me cry but it did and Now I wanna do more things like this! LOVE it, Love you awesome heart! XO

  41. This is, perhaps, one of my favorite blog posts in the history of the blogosphere.
    I know I’m 8 different levels of emotional right now, but the one where you stopped on the side of the road to help the gentleman with the broken down truck? I cried. I bawled. Someone recently did something similar for my Dad, and when he told me about it – it meant SO much to me that someone would extend that kind of grace and kindness to my Dad. So, thank you for being one of those people.
    You are amazing.

  42. Lindsay Maddox says:

    Oh, and in my mush-fest above, I forgot to wish a belated happy birthday!!

  43. DrewB says:

    Happy (belated) birthday! I hope you had as much fun as I did!
    PS Your photography is awesome!

  44. I love this idea! I saw it a few months back on another blog and intend to do something similar on my birthday. You photography is inspiring. I just started back and I really enjoy looking at all of your beautiful pictures.

  45. Emily says:

    I love, love, love this. Kudos for being a “team player”!

  46. Cea says:

    Hi Cheyenne, thank you for inspiring me to do the same thing on my birthday…today! πŸ™‚ You are one of the few photographers I look up to when I was still starting. Continue to be an inspiration to others, not only with your beautiful photography but also with your great personality. All the best! πŸ™‚


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