Anyone you’d love to surprise?

I’m posting this from Columbus, Ohio where I spent 24 years of my life and career before I moved to the East Coast in 1996.

I return to Columbus at least twice a year because I love Columbus and my many amazing friends and extended family there (including my beloved dentists Drs. Tom and Cheryl Hoffman, who I refused to give it up just because I moved hundreds of miles away ;-)


Hugging my best friend and Woman on Fire Jan Allen (Photo by Nancy Lambert)

On this trip, however, I couldn’t tell anyone I was coming to Columbus.  For months.  I had to keep a secret!

You see my best friend and Women on Fire leader Jan Allen turns 60 on November 21. And, her husband went to great lengths to plan a BIG SURPRISE party for her early enough that she might not suspect it.  And, he pulled it off!!

We had a ball last Saturday night and she was truly surprised!

So much so that when she walked into the room and more than 100 of us shouted HAPPY BIRTHDAY, she backed out the door because she thought she’d walked in and spoiled someone else’s surprise party!!  That is so sweetly Jan.

All the months of secret planning opened my eyes to the joy, excitement and giddiness that comes from creating a surprise for someone else.

Jan’s husband Curt planned every detail to what he knew Jan would absolutely love.  The people who were in the room. The food. The music. All for her. A big part of the fun was watching his excitement in the planning!

I found the energy of all the excitement was so uplifting.  And, it reminded me of the joy we get from creating a perfect surprise for someone.

While you don’t have to spend months like Curt did in planning an elaborate surprise, what would it do for you in your life to create a surprise for someone you love?

*  A phone call to someone who’d appreciate hearing your voice instead of an email?

* An offer to take kids on a play date with you!

* A invitation to treat someone to lunch at their favorite place — for no special reason?

Jan’s surprise party inspired me to create some more surprises for others in my life. So stay tuned.  You never know if you might be the “surprisee!”

  • http://www.eileenmcdargh.com Eileen

    what a lovely element. Surprise! We kids did it 4 times since Mom turned 60, She’s a  a Leap Year baby. You’d think she would have caught on by now. At age 84, we gave her a surprise 21st B-day. Literally carded her before she could have the champagne.

    Now–with 96 her next birthday and on hospice in a memory care unit, these “surprises” are precious memories for us.

    Thanks for writing.

    • http://www.debbiephillips.com Debbie Phillips

      Eileen ~ I love it! Thank you so much for sharing. This is truly inspiring and beautiful. What wonderful children your mother has!