Pay it Forward 9/22-9/24

It’s almost been a year: a year since I sang her happy birthday, a year since I held her hand and kissed her forehead, a year since I lay with my head on her chest and heard her take her last breath…

In some ways it seems like yesterday, and in some ways it seems like forever ago. It’s hard sometimes to enjoy moments knowing Stephanie isn’t here to experience them with us, yet on the other hand I know she wouldn’t want us to not enjoy them because she isn’t here. So while I’ve definitely had breakdowns and times of sorrow, I’ve been trying my best to continue to enjoy each moment, because as Stephanie said, “no one is guaranteed any amount of time.” Sometimes that’s easier to do than others. This weekend is one of those times I think it may be more difficult. Tomorrow (Sept 22) would have been Stephanie’s 29th birthday. Monday (Sept 24) will mark one year since she left this world and joined Jesus in Heaven. I want to celebrate her life, yet even just thinking about it today at work I’m crying and having trouble concentrating. I should have spent the last three weeks (since September started) hearing about how it’s her birthday month and trying to figure out what gift to give her, which was always a struggle for me since she was so good at it and me, not so much. Instead I’ve been continuing to raise Sarah on my own and wishing Stephanie were still here to see how much she’s grown.

So what are we going to do this weekend? Well the one thing I’ve planned is to take Krispy Kreme donuts (her favorite when they’re “hot and ready”) and take them to the beach. We’ll release a birthday balloon and sing happy birthday. Other than that, we’re going to try to enjoy our time together and “make some memories, people” (another Stephanie quote).

The other thing I want to do is something someone suggested to me a while back (I can’t remember who, but thought this weekend was an appropriate time for it). To celebrate Stephanie’s life and how she lived, is to do a “pay it forward”. Ideally I’d like to have other people join in and have 29 acts of “Faith, Hope, and Love” to celebrate her 29th birthday. Acts can vary from big to small, from buying coffee (or donuts!) for the person behind you, to taking a meal to someone who’s homeless, to visiting a nursing home, to volunteering at a soup kitchen, to letting someone in front of you in traffic. Or anything that will help put a smile on a stranger’s face and spread faith, hope, or love.

If you’re able, I’d love to hear what you decide to do, either via a comment on this blog or a private message if you’d rather. I’d like to make a compilation of the acts of service each year, and to be able to give those to Sarah when she’s older to show her how mommy touched so many people and her memory lives on.

For Sarah and I for this year, I’m planning on buying extra Krispy Kreme donuts and passing them out to strangers tomorrow at the beach. It doesn’t compare to having her with us, but I’m hoping we’ll be able to smile about remembering her and the impact she has on us.

Pay it forward cards

Happy Birthday, Beautiful. We love you, and we miss you.

17 thoughts on “Pay it Forward 9/22-9/24

  1. I am in the Holy Land with Sean, Tommy and Vy. We have Stephanie in our prayers during our pilgrimage as well as you and Sarah. I can’t begin to tell you how much she had touched our lives. Peace to you.


  2. The Sayers family is inspired to pay it forward in honor of Stephanie. Thank you for sharing this beautiful blog post. Sending extra prayers to you and Sarah for comfort over the next couple days. 🙏🏼
    -Nike, Chelsea, & Millie Sayers


  3. My family and some friends made sandwiches to feed the homeless. I thought of Stephanie, her love for life, and her family all along!
    I choose to be more present on my daily life because of her. We pray for her soul and you guys well being. May she be singing to our Heavenly Father in heaven this special weekend 🙏🏼


  4. Dear Michael,
    We are on the Holy Land pilgrimage with Fr. Prince and lifted Stephanie in prayer at mass this morning. We gave a donation to a crippled man in Bethany in memory of your sweet angel.
    With our prayers and love,
    Jenny and Dan Crawford


  5. Dear Michael, your love ad message are so important and inspiring to so many of us. We will celebrate Stephanie ‘s soul thinking about her and doing things to honor her memory, starting with praying, forgiving and being kind to others.


  6. Dear Michael, My family purchased your childhood home in Springboro, from your parents. I have followed your blog ever since Stephanie started it. I pray hard. Especially today. I pray you find comfort and see Stephanie in sarah today. Enjoy this life and that precious baby girl.
    I pay it forward today for Stephanie.
    If you ever need anything, my husband (Jimmy Oxendine) and family just moved here. Please reach out. Meredith Oxendine


  7. I unintentionally had a sweet conversation with two customers while I was ringing them out today. Normally I’m kind and quick to the point, but we talked about our favorite drinks and what would be best on this rainy fall day, along with a few fun laughs. They left with smiles an dit turned my whole shift around. Sometimes just taking an extra few moments to connect with someone, friend, family, or stranger, can go such a long way on both ends. Always remember to be kind, and know that your smile goes a mile!


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