29 February 2012

Beauty is in the Heart of the Owner

You know what is absolutely beautiful to me: difference; wisdom; love; openness; compassion.

None of these things can be seen and they are not attributed to any physical features.  

These insights are learned and come from experience.  They cannot be injected into your brow, and they cannot be obtained by whitening your teeth.

Ladies!!!  Throw out these notions.  Reject what media sources and money makers want you to think about "beauty."

Beauty is something much more potent, but way less obvious:

Empathy; kindness; tenderness; optimism, humility--  these are the fibers of "beauty."

They are the wrinkles woven into spirits and souls.  Not skin.
These beautiful traits manifest themselves by blessing outwardly, and [as if by magic (or karma)] are sooner or later returned to the giver ten fold.  

This post was inspired by my good friend Brianna (the amazing woman below), who, earlier today, shared a little nugget of wisdom (second picture below).  

Bri happens to simultaneously be outwardly beautiful AND possess the aforementioned qualities that demonstrate true beauty.  

Definitely a marvelous human indeed.

Shout out: Thanks Bri, for always being totally beautiful!  Love you!

Kindly and with HOPE~


A Favorite Song: Uncle John's Band

Well, the first days are the hardest days, 
don't you worry anymore.
When life looks like Easy Street, there is danger at your door
Think this through with me;
Let me know your mind.
Wo-oah, what I want to know
is are you kind?

It's a Buck Dancer's Choice, my friend, better take my advice.
You know all the rules by now, and the fire from the ice.
Will you come with me?
Won't you come with me?
Wo-oah, what I want to know,
will you come with me?

Goddamn, well I declare!!  Have you seen the like?
Their walls are built of cannonballs, their motto is Don't Tread on Me.
Come hear Uncle John's Band by the riverside.
Got some things to talk about 
Here beside the rising tide.

It's the same story the crow told me; it’s the only one he knows.
Like the morning sun you come and like the wind you go.

Ain't no time to hate; 
Barely time to wait
Wo-oah, what I want to know,
where does the time go?

I live in a silver mine and I call it Beggar's Tomb.
I got me a violin and I beg you call the tune.
Anybody's choice,
I can hear your voice.
Wo-oah what I want to know,
how does the song go?

Come hear Uncle John's Band by the riverside.
Come with me or go alone.
He's come to take his children home.

Come hear Uncle John's Band playing to the tide.
Come on along or go alone.
He's come to take his children home.

Choose LOVE!


28 February 2012

Angel in the Clouds

I have to share this!!  Although it's a shame I didn't have my actual camera on me for this one; I wish I did.  

Last Friday, after a long and exhausting week, this is what I saw on my way home: 

The pictures hardly do it justice.  

I was taking them with my blackberry camera which, again, doesn't have a FLASH!  Don't get me started... 

It was absolutely beautiful, as the sun was setting with fiery oranges and royal purples and midnight blues, this HUGE cloud was painted in front of my eyes.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing... I actually teared up a little bit. Okay, okay... I'm a crier anyway.  

It still gives me goosebumps to look at it.

I remember taking it as a signifying visual; one of comfort and joy, comfort and joy.  It made me feel that despite all of the stress and chaos in my life and around me, there is still peace to be found in quiet moments and there is still a reason to believe in the power of miracles, and wonder, and magic!!! 

While some may tell me I'm nuts for thinking this (they're right, but that's beside the point), and while some might have a different perception of this apparition in the sky... I am going to go the route of faith and say:  It was my angel, one of them, at least.

Kindly and with WONDER~


Silver Linings

 "The beauty of life is, while we cannot undo what is done, we can see it, understand it, learn from it and change.  So that every new moment is spent not in regret, guilt, fear or anger, but in wisdom, understanding and love."

"Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood."

Even if it's only for today, I beg you, be kind to yourself and know that although everything may not happen for a reason, you can MAKE a reason for everything.

Kindly and with LOVE-


24 February 2012

To: Someone, From: Someone

Randomly, Bren brought home a new bottle of perfume for me last night.  Sweet man.  

It ends up, though, that he didn't actually buy it for me.  It was given as a gift from a regular customer where he works to his manager, and she for whatever reason did not want it.  He offered, then, to kindly take it off her hands and give it to me.  

From Dubai India, I think.  Someone check me on that.
It was unopened, untouched, unsprayed, unsmelled.  And it was just for me.  What started as a random act of kindness turned into a generous gift to me.  And the best part is that it actually smells good and I will be inserting it into my perfume rotation, starting today!

What is really weird about this is I had just bought a card and a chocolate bar as a small gift for someone... anyone... a total stranger.  I sat in my car for about 5 minutes writing an anonymous message of kindness in the car before heading home. 

The card said: "If I had 8 arms and could give you a hug with all of them without freaking you out, I totally would.  Hugs to you!"

I brought the card and chocolate to work with me today and I am just going to leave it somewhere on campus that is totally neutral and accidental.  Like in the elevator.  Or on a bench or a shelf.

As I said a few posts ago, I plan on using this blog to highlight some of the ways I express kindness to myself and those around me.  Mainly to hold myself accountable and keep myself thinking of creative ways to give back.

I am following a blog called 366 Random Acts of Kindness.  He has some really awesome ideas for spreading the love.  I know of a couple that I will definitely be trying.  Check him out!

Till next post!



23 February 2012

Father and Son

Last night, after putting down my baby boy (Collin), I happened to come downstairs at the perfect moment:  

I saw my husband and my oldest son (Liam) in the sweetest embrace.  

Such a tender moment between father and son; such a nice change from the usual wrestling and running and "I can burp louder than you!!!!"  

Being the opportunist that I am (at least in photographic terms), I snapped a picture with my Blackberry camera (whyyyy doesn't it have a flashhhh!!!) and was instantly taken back to Liam's baby days.  In particular, I was reminded of a picture I took at the hospital only days after Liam was born.  

What I love about these two pictures is that even though time has elapsed, there is an obvious and undeniable bond between these two special boys.  It brings me endless joy to be witness to their love.

Thanks for listening to me gush!



22 February 2012

Note to Self

Give yourself a BIG BEAR HUG!!! 
 That's right!  Just like when you were little and all your friends giggled because it looked like you were kissing yourself.  Little did you know (way back when) that it is perfectly acceptable to give yourself a little LOVE!

 As important as outward kindness is, the same is true for practicing love toward yourself! 

Self-love, (yes, even that kind), is Healthy with a capital H.  

There are times when you need your own love and kindness more than you need it from anyone else.  There are times when the most important reminder you can give yourself is to "Be Gentle."  

Be gentle with your emotions and feelings, be gentle with your thoughts and ideas, be gentle with how you move through the day(s)... Be patient with yourself.

.... in bed .... ;)

 This ends up having an outward effect; yes, in fact, the attitude that you adopt toward yourself will ultimately radiate in waves to those you have regular contact with.  But it begins and ends with you... the "self."  

It is so easy to forget, to overlook, to sacrifice, our "selves" to tend to external obligations, including relationships.  It is so easy to get caught up in "life" and skip over the part where your own needs are being met.  

But let's face it.... no one is going to meet your needs for you without your own participation!  You need to involve yourself in your own LIFE!!
Next time you are looking for solace or reassurance, maybe before or after you have confided in loved ones, make it a point to be still with yourself and fill the voids with love.   

You have to start somewhere with this whole self-love business.   

One way or another, you're going to have to face yourself.  One way or another, you're going to have to begin to love and respect yourself enough that you settle for nothing else from anyone else.  

If nothing else, try looking in the mirror, and as awkward as you may think you look, just smile.  And smile BIG!



Let's all treat ourselves to some affection from time to time. 

20 February 2012

If you don't have anything nice to say.....

"No power in society, no hardship in your condition can depress you, keep you down, in knowledge, power, virtue, influence, but by your own consent."  
~William Ellery Channing~

We are a social species, and we have a tendency to allow our self-images to be rooted in the opinions or (mis)conceptions of others.  

It is far too easy to become trapped by labels and "definitions" that others place on you.  

While it is nice to be aware of your affect on those you love, and it is important to be mindful of how you might make others feel, it is also important to try hard not to base your self-worth and dignity on external opinions.  

To be a good person, to  be honest and kind to yourself and others, and to make choices that will lead you with happiness; these are the measures by which I have learned to base my moral and personal pride.  

I have started to narrow down what makes me most happy: To be kind--- all around KIND. 

While this may seem to contradict my above statements (on not defining yourself by others standards), it is (also) is a decision I made for myself.  Because being kind to other people is what makes ME feel good.  Also, it is something that my family, in particular my mother, taught me, and I find it to an invaluable characteristic to pass down from generation to generation.  

I have two sons who motivate me daily, and are a huge source of inspiration to be kind and treat people nicely.  I hope they learn from me what I have learned from me my Mom.

I hope to make this more of my focus on this platform, my blog.  I hope to chronicle the special ways in which I display random acts of kindness. 

This was inspired by quite a few people, but most recently, I have rediscovered a global campaign that I find to be absolutely beautiful.  It's called Guerilla Goodness, and if you follow that link, you can read all about it.  I hope you take the time to do so, and I hope it finds a place into your heart as it has with mine over the last 3 years, and mainly within the last few weeks.



10 February 2012


Opportunities to help frequently come in such ordinarypackages that it's easy to let these precious moments slip through our capable fingers: 

How manytimes has someone tried to hand youa flier on your way into a grocery store? How do you respond?  Do you takeit and read it, or perhaps transfer it to the nearest trash bin?  Do you simply give an unreceptive “no thanks,”using your hand as a fleshy barrier between you and what you assume to be anunsolicited marketing ploy?  But what if itweren’t just a pushy attempt to get you to fill out another Sam’s Clubapplication form?  What if it were, forexample, a list of basic food items that families across your community urgentlyneed but cannot afford?  Would thatchange your knee-jerk reaction?

This past weekend,Northern Virginia community members had a chance to do something for a cause byparticipating inStuff the Bus- a Fairfax County initiative to collectdonations for the most vulnerable citizens in the area: those living in poverty.

Food for Others, a local nonprofit, maintains that while NorthernVirginia is regarded as one of the nation’s most prosperous areas, the regionhas a poverty rate of about 5%. While that number may sound inconsequential,this equates to 90,000 poverty-stricken people living in NorthernVirginia.  What’s more, an astonishing 30%of that number is made up of children.  This brings us to a tragic reality: Over 25,000 helpless kids are livingin socioeconomic distress in this exceptionally wealthy jurisdiction.  Still sound inconsequential? 

The Stuff the Bus event was held at a Giant Food Store inthe distant and incredible land of McLean, Virginia, where massive castles linegolden streets, where dogs the size of rats wear crowned jewels and velvet robes,and where 6-year-old children have iPhone’s surgically implanted into theirhands.  iPhone’s are just a modern day riteof passage.

The Giant parking lot was ironically tiny, and had troubleholding the hoards of luxury cars, all competing for a front-row spot.  The sky was misting, that barely-there rainthat will totally negate any hair product you attempted to use before leavingthe house, and the ladies had to be extra mindful not to have their perfect tressesmessed with.  Now are we clear whythese front row spots were in such high demand?

A gaggle of geeky tweens were manning the front doors withunimpressive authority, timidly trying to hand out pieces of neon pink paper.  The poor kids were so unsure of themselvesthat they couldn’t even stutter “hi ma’am” without either drooling all overthemselves or breaking out into nervous hives.  

The neon paper that was so readily being dismissed was aninventory of essential items that were needed to replenish the community’s foodpantries.  It was a roster full of simpleitems that are usually taken for granted. Things like ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise: staples for hamburgerlovers, who will gratuitously and instinctively drench their quarter-pounders inas much sauce as they can.  But askcountless families across Northern Virginia, and these commonplace condimentsare considered a scarce indulgence.

The store was packed like a family station wagon, readyingfor retreat.  It was filled to the brim withpeople, yet no one was talking to each other! Most people shuffled from aisle to aisle without so much as a glance atanother human being.  Is the Zombie Apocalypse upon us already!?   

Most people didn’t have a CLUE what the pink papers were,and might not have cared anyway.  Like“long multicolored fur coat lady,” who was obviously aging and in denial, withdyed blonde hair that more closely resembled straw than locks.  She and her rigid husband were stifflypushing an over-flowing cart, full of frivolity: Ten pairs of shoelaces, themost expensive coffee in the store, and most importantly, refrigerated dogfood.  God forbid Fifi goeswithout her gourmet meals!

Giant provides 6 types of carts for shoppers to conveniently choose from:

*        There was a tiny green cart for 3-year-oldchildren whose parents allow them to do their own shopping.  Forget teaching them manners andkindness; just teach them how to grocery shop! 
*        There was a smaller cart made for an adult whoonly needs a few things.  The handheld baskets are too laborious. 
*        There was a basket on wheels that shoppers couldtow behind them.  Very wagon-like. 
*        There was a normal sized cart… complete with a cup holder, in which sat a Venti Starbucks drink forevery 2 out of 3 people. 
*        There was even a cool gadget (a portable scanner) at the front door thatallowed you to completely control your shopping experience by price-checkingall of the items.  Price tags don't exist anymore?

Do I need to continue?  

It was painfully clear that the masses, on the whole, were completely consumed inself-indulgent, self-fulfilling behaviors, and they seemed to be completely outof touch with one another. 

Ironic, don’t ya think, given the context of thecircumstance.  All of this glamor, allof this glitz, all of this MONEY, yet outside stood a group of young volunteers, some ofwhom might struggle with poverty, but who had little way of reaching the peoplewho have the means to support their noble cause, and sadly have absolutely nowillingness to acknowledge it.  Ignorance is bliss.

On a brighter note, there was about a third of the shoppers had that pink paper in theirhands, and were intently focused onfulfilling the rations spelled out for them. These special few were the only people smiling and making eye contactwith one another.  They, collectively, werea compassionate and considerate breath of fresh air.
Best part of the event: Overhearing a mother asked her [about] 4-year-old son,“Do you know why we are here?”  

To whichhe replied, “To help people and do the right thing.” 

And THAT is where change starts.

"Sometimes a man imagines that he will lose himself if he gives himself, and keep himself if he hides himself.  But the contrary takes place with terrible exactitude."  -Ernest Hello 



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