December 17, 2012
I waited to tell her as long as I could…I knew she would take the news deep into her heart.
She is inquisitive.
She is soulful.
She is seven.
I scooped her into my arms, we climbed in bed and I tucked the covers all around us…with some false assumption that we would feel safe there.
“I have something I have to tell you Lucy…” I said. I followed the guide, trying to remember everything it said as I carefully laid out the story to her.
When I was done, she was quiet. We sat for what felt like an eternity…until she spoke. It was almost a whisper.
“Mom, that is very, very sad.” she replied quietly.
“It is baby, it is.” I agreed. Just a moment later she spoke again.
“Can you tell me the kid’s names?” she asked.
I went through the list of children I remembered…then I stopped when I got to Emilie.
“There was a little girl who was six and she loved art, she carried her crayons and paper every where she went so she could make pictures for people.” I explained.
“I love to do that too.” she said.
“I know. I am wondering if there is something we can do to honor Emilie.”
I proposed we sew tiny art coloring books like we have so many times before . The little books kept children busy in restaurants and car rides, it seems all roads lead to art in my house…and in Emilie’s. I asked Lucy if she wanted to take the books and tie some crayons up with them in packages and leave them at the park and library, places where kids could find the small gift in honor of Emilie…in honor of a fellow 1st grade artist.
Lucy liked the idea and asked me what I thought the other children liked. I said I didn’t know but maybe we could find out.
My heart was breaking, thinking of how long the list of likes must be…of simple things like art and cars and games.
…and how there won’t be any new drawings from Emilie on a refrigerator somewhere, or no more laying on her belly on the living room floor drawing pictures with her sisters, or a sweet presentation of crayon art to a grandpa or someone else she loved…but I can imagine Emilie, like Lucy would have been delighted to find a little art kit on a playground or on a bus bench.
So this is what we will do, with so much sadness and honor in our hearts, we will talk about Emilie and the others when they rise in our hearts…and we will look for ways to love and honor all the parts of them that brought so much joy to the world.
You are welcome to join us this week. Here’s how:
1.Gather white and colored paper. We used a sewing machine and the fancy stiches to bind the little books together. Kids love to sew and the bright colors make the books so sweet. (please know you can do this project with or without kids)
2. If you aren’t crafty or don’t have time, the dollar store and places like Target have great little crayon sets and drawing pads.
3. Attach the crayons and put the art kits in a basket and leave at places kids might find them. Playgrounds, parks, libraries, bus stops, the gym or music classes. You can also leave the kits places by themselves with out the baskets in random spots.
4. Leave a note with each kit saying, “In honor of Emile. She loved to draw and share her art.”
No more explanation is really needed.
If you plan to join us, you can post pictures on the Guerrilla Goodness Facebook page.
Today, we honor you Emilie…thank you for what you gave to the world.
December 16, 2012
…it’s one of those times I don’t know what to do. I just keep looking at my own seven year old with her deep brown eyes and soulful heart… and wondering how I am going to send her off to school tomorrow. I know logically she will be fine but I can’t shake the feeling of a safety gone or being undone at the core.
…and there are no words.
…and we draw closer and hold tighter to those we love.
…and we wonder and wish there was something we could do. anything. ..because the sadness is so deep and the whole world is grieving.
In the end, we just have each other, our love, our sadness and kindness. Lots of you in the Kindnessgirl community have reached out and wanted to come together in some way. I wasn’t sure I had it in me to plan anything, nothing feels like enough, and I just wanted to hold my kids on the couch and watch movies, read books. Then I realized I could lean into you all and your ideas…that our love could be simple and quiet… that even in our grief, we are in this together.
So here are a few ideas from our community, you will know the one meant for you:
1. If you are looking for something to do with kids and other family members for the Sandy Hook Elementary School Community, please send notes of love to
Sandy Hook Elementary School
12 Dickenson Drive
Sandy Hook, CT 06482
If you are wondering how to talk to your kids about the tragedy, my dear friend Ann Reavey (a school guidance counselor) has a wonderful post full of resources here.
This is also a great article for helping the victims and info on what organizations are doing what.
2. On Monday night, light a candle or leave a candle with a blue or colored bulb in your front window in love for all those lost and the people that loved them so deeply. This can be a sign of our solidarity and support. You can send a picture of your candle or your family with a light to our Guerrilla Goodness Facebook page.
3. Do one act of kindness for a child today in honor of those little boys and girls lost, and the teachers that protected and loved them…you can share your act or ideas in the comments.
3. Just wondering how everyone is feeling today….sometimes just sharing our stories draws us closer together and makes us feel less alone. Please feel free to use this as your community space to grieve and share whatever your heart is holding. The comment section is your seat at the circle today.
May kindness and love lead us now…may we hold tight to each other.
December 14, 2012
re-posting this from April 2007. Feeling so heavy and deeply sad for the families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy…I found this piece I wrote after the Virginia Tech Massacre years ago. Sending so much love to every mother that grieves tonight…as we hold our own babies a little tighter.
updated on 12/14/12 to add photo by Tisha McCuiston - Josiah today at 12 years of age
I held a boy almost too big for my arms this morning. Josiah buried his face in my chest and let out a long cry. I assured him it’s good to cry, that feelings like to be free. The ones that are bottled up hate it and find other ways to sneak out.
Today the tears are a result of being scared, afraid that he’ll never remember the 7 facts about squid. It’s been all about squid here- squid art, squid books, even pin-the-tentacle on the squid game. This is just too much for a 7 year old, a 30 minute presentation pretending to be the teacher. The burden weighs on josiah’s mind and heart.
I suggest squid power pancakes as they are magic. If you eat them you will remember all that you need to know about squid and be able to tell anyone and everyone about their amazingness. I kiss these tears and an agreement is made that it is indeed time for the power pancakes can bring.
My puffy eyed boy runs to take a bath and I start my day of 1 million tasks.
I have a hard time focusing. I imagine there is some other mother somewhere not far from me that is starting her day. Only this mother is wishing that yesterday was simply a nightmare and surely her sweet boy is anxious about a presentation he must make for his professor. Instead she attends convocations, picks out a casket, in shock and numb. How will she face today without that boy, how can he be gone?
Even further away yet another mother faces a deeper dark. Her son’s pain and action changed people’s lives forever. The weight is too great for anyone to bear and I can not pretend to know what will keep her soul from drowning.
I can only imagine that these women wish today was the day they were holding little boys almost too big for their arms. The day where pancakes heal the aches of the soul, the day where fears can be conquered with kisses and tears.
The candle on my kitchen altar still glows from yesterday. The holy mother stares at me while I do the dishes. Her face knows great pain and sadness. May she hold these mothers close to her bosom, may she come to them in their deepest dark, may she grant them comfort and peace. amen
for jarrett’s mom
December 6, 2012
When the universe has you and you know it, you see it…it feels this tender, this sweet.
I have had a whirlwind couple of weeks. I thought I was finished with projects and plans for the year and was settling in to hibernate when 2 e-mails and a few calls came in. …the kind of calls that fall into your lap and are very clearly from the universe. Before I knew it, meetings about the future of Kindnessgirl were in full force…humbling, honest conversations that asked me to look at everything and answer questions about things I have worried about and skated around for a long, long time.
Each talk and offering of wisdom revealed all that is no longer serving me, and maybe for the first time ever, I am becoming very clear about how my values will project the future around here. …and all the things that I care about so deeply are shaping a really beautiful and unconventional way of being and doing in the world.
“…because we do this for art and beauty and love.” she said.
yes, yes we do.
and the tiny voice in my head that always wondered if and how we can do this bigger dream is leaving…the fear being replaced with a deep excitement and a kind of relief that comes when you finally surrender to your heart and step into the power that has been waiting for you.
it’s good guys, really good…and I don’t mean to be so vague…but the ground swell of kindness is coming and it’s going to be bigger than any of us imagined…because we all hold it…because we all need it… because we are in it together…because kindness changes everything.
so tonight I am tired, but a good tired…and I will sleep knowing the universe is holding it and we only have to wake up and follow.
December 4, 2012
all photos by Tisha McCuiston
“I know there are no pictures with you and the kids, are there? I want to do this for you…”
I was instantly so melted. Tisha McCuiston is a one of the best photographers I know and so well loved by her clients and her friends. She reached out to me early in my photography days and extended a warmth and invited me into the community. Mostly I loved her because she never made me feel like a photography poser, and I STILL feel like one most days.
If you can believe it, we have never had any professional pictures taken. I was so excited to have her view/shoot our family love, because she holds a certain joy and steady happiness herself…I knew she would see it in a way I couldn’t.
“You know, I was thinking we should have a silly string fight for our family picture.” I wrote.
“Sounds perfect!” she replied.
I am sure most families do not request a silly string fight for their Christmas portrait but it felt completely logical to me.
She was so patient with and reveled in very wound up children. We laughed hard and went through 30 cans of the good stuff.
She took time with us, after all the rush and goodness…after it was all over, we chatted about the laundry “situation” covering my dining room table and how we hustle to make ends meet. This woman works hard and happily. I really respect that.
Less than a week later, I went to check her website and found this. Tisha’s husband Daryl had been laid off…my stomach sank into my knees. This woman who had just shown me so much kindness, the woman who lives a life of giving was now facing all this 3 weeks before Christmas. *sigh*
I was trying to think of something, anything I could do to help. Even if it was small, just so she would know there were people behind her, to offer her the same goodness she has given to others so many times before.
I thought of our community…we have something here on Kindnessgirl to share- our voice! Tisha is offering Holiday mini-sessions for $300 ( this includes 20-25 digital copies AND session fee). I can’t believe she is offering this and hope it spreads far and wide- that her books are filled. For any mom that knows the juggle to keep things going and carrying the weight of trying to keep your family afloat, please pass on this post and Tisha’s info. It would be so wonderful to me if she knew in this moment how much she is loved and how far community can travel and rally.
There are so many more good pics to share…and Christmas cards full of silly love and goodness! Hope your holiday is sweet!
You can also read Tisha’s re-cap of the day here- she articulated it all much better and has more pics! So grateful for her!
November 30, 2012
the studio and table will be open tomorrow… and there is a place for you.
My dear friend and soulsister Suzanne Vinson will have her annual Holiday Open House tomorrow as part of the LGRA Ginter Park Art Show tomorrow (12/1).
I am kinda silly excited about these:
I hope to stop by after 2pm some time, maybe we’ll see each other there. Here is all the info if you would like to meet Suzanne and take in the art of wisdom:
HOLIDAY OPEN STUDIO & LGRA Ginter Park Art Show
Saturday, December 1st
10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
3421 Hawthorne Avenue
Richmond, VA 23222
all photos by Suzanne Vinson
November 26, 2012
There is something about having an old friend in your life. Someone that knew you when you weren’t even sure who you were but still saw your heart. Then you lose touch, you go off, get married and have babies. Thanks to the Facebook gods, Marilou and I found each other again with even more in common than before. This is such a treasure to me because in so many ways I feel so very different from that girl I was before and it’s special to find someone old and yet still feel familiar as the new me.
I didn’t really have any grand plans when I started Soul Parenting, I just wanted a place to share something real and hopeful. Real in the mess and hopeful in the intent. …and in the wise words of Lucy yesterday when I was having a freak out of sorts- “Mom, I just wanna share my power so you can have hope and stuff…” …and that feels about right. I know the power of images that give us hope- hope because someone else’s kitchen is messy too, hope that really beautiful connection is happening, hope that there is another parent out there with a delightfully sassy 8 year old.
I was so drawn to Marilou’s images, because I know her and yet it’s been so many years that I don’t at the same time. Her photos make me wish we were neighbors because everyone needs a witty and kind friend next door…I wish I knew her kids because her captures of them make me feel like our kids would be buds…like we were. She has a way of showing you the soulful beauty of childhood with kids that are stepping fully into their hearts every day, so effortlessly…like we all should. This makes me want to pepper her with questions and adoration.
I know you will love her (and her work) and I am so glad she will be part of Soul Parenting. It feels so special to me to have her on this path. You can find her images on the Facebook page once a week and daily on her site here.
More about Marilou:
Marilou is a marketing manager for Corporate America. In her free time, she is a photographer and small business marketing & design consultant. She spent 15 years as a computer programmer before switching to the creative side. Her kids go to bed late and her house is a wreck. She is currently ignoring those facts, pulling from both her computer geek and photography pools of knowledge, and creating a photography workflow course for the everyday family photographer. You know – the one who uses her phone, or her fancy DSLR camera, to capture life as it unfolds around her – and then wonders how she’ll ever organize all those pictures, much less make an album out of them. You can find Marilou at
, when she is not glued to her iPad.
November 25, 2012
it was the holiday of…
a new made-up zombie game
chasing the taco food truck
another really lovely introvert’s dream thanksgiving
a feeling of contentment
but really, this holiday was all about the river…we live just blocks from the James River and everyday, we some how found ourselves by the water, rock hoppin’ or exploring Belle Isle. I figured out I may just be my happiest when I am with my family in nature…the kids were so blissed out.
November 24, 2012
her face when I asked her what her power feels like
“Mom, I don’t know how this happened but it did….” she said as she strapped her bag on like Angelina-Jolie in a super-power-kick-ass action flick.
Me: What happened?!!
Her: Well, you know how I used to not be so fast, couldn’t jump, got tired and stuff? Well, you know, that was when I was six, but I am seven now and I just feel fast and like a good hiker. I feel so much POWER, like I am a great artist and good at ballet…mom, I am hard core Parkour.
Me: Oh, Luce, that is so rad. It feels so good to know your power huh?
Her: Yeah, it totally does.
…and she ran away to hop rocks in her hot pink suede boots. I have no idea how she even knows about parkour. * …and she turned 7 months ago, so I don’t know why this was the day she called it out, but she did.
I know she felt the thrill of free running, just like those crazy, amazing men hopping across buildings in France. She saw herself just like that and every leap across the rocky terrain exposed her manifestation…her power was stacking.
She reached her first obstacle, the divide looked too big and she started to doubt because there is always a moment of doubt.
Her: Mom, I am afraid.
Me: I know…I feel like that too sometimes, but just because you are afraid doesn’t mean your power is gone. It just may take a minute for you to find it, but it’s still there.
Her: (just a minute later) Okay, yeah. I think I got it.
…and she did.
…and I seriously started to wonder if you can wake up one day and decide for something to be true about yourself …and then it is.
…that someplace inside you there is a power that will give you the courage and strength to take on something that feels so outside your reach. There is no guarantee that you will be perfect at it or that it won’t be hard but that maybe you will have the power to live and be it. …and the chance of obstacles is so high, but maybe that just isn’t a good enough reason to not do it anymore. …because you are 7 now.
It feels so, so hardcore parkour.
On our way hiking back, I was thinking out loud and said, “Hmmm, not sure which way to go.”
Her: Mom, take my hand, I know the way…even grown ups need someone to help them find their power some times.
She lead the way and I wondered what the power of 37 or 43 or 56 may be. …because today I found out my inner seven year old ain’t no joke, and has some power free running left to do.
If you feel like connecting in the comments today: What power of your age is waiting for you to call out? What one thing do you wish you could do or be? It’s never too late to find your power.
*I can only guess from 2 You Tube lovin’ older brothers, the same people I had to convince just yesterday that taking video of your baby sister (Lyra) accidentally saying “damn it” was NOT appropriate to upload to the internet. (or video for that matter) They thought it was hilarious, which felt sort of ironic to me. …and mildly funny.
November 22, 2012
November 21, 2012
It’s starting….the gratitude lists, the thankfulness trees, the season of giving. The time when we take stock of all that we have. When we weigh and score it, and go back to recognizing that our most basic needs are met.
We remind ourselves that we have food (even if it’s ramen noodles), and shelter (even if we always pay the rent late) and are healthy (or mostly healthy, except for that annoying eczema) and it’s true, it’s all so very true and good and important…
…but why is it that this time of year also reminds you of everything you don’t have and shows the craters in your heart that need filling more than you want to know. Your awkward conversations with your family drive you to liquor up for the 48 hours ahead… or that you shopped at the thrift store of food, the grocery salvage….or that it feels like everyone is in love around you and ridiculously happy…or you want to have your old family together and wish you didn’t have to travel between parents and be with your annoying stepmom…or you just wish that you had a baby to pass around or sit on your hip as you make the green bean supreme and 100 other side dishes.
It feels as though Gratitude asks us to stuff that shit or put it down completely, be GRATEFUL, damn it…and you do, you are, because we want to grateful. …but I wonder if Gratitude never asked us to choose in the first place.
I wonder if she can hold both, because she is that deep, she is that strong, because she knows all of our heart….
I wonder if she is strong enough to hold:
your sadness that your mom isn’t here to cook with you
your clarity of all that matters to you even if it’s sort of messed up
your confusion over why your family is so hard to be with or not together at all
that one prayer your dad still makes everyone pray that means so much to him
your anger for that really old thing that is still wounding you
your souffle triumph
your longing for something more, something whole, a love you haven’t experienced yet
your crazy aunt with all the cats
your frustration that the effin’ turkey is dry every year and no one wants to dress up to come to the table
your deep wish to be in another place in your heart all together
your small moment of happiness when everyone is full and happy after the meal
your kids that can’t sit still and want to bring the DS to the dinner table
your exhaustion from trying to make things special, and will maybe never been seen or acknowledged
your hope that maybe some day, you will be okay on a holiday
your grief, your messy love, your trying
I wonder if we let her hold it, it will make space for all the good things we do not see or think we are supposed to see and feel…and maybe just maybe, they can rise and sit together. Side by side, our everything hard and good…and maybe that will be okay.
…because sometimes, just okay is okay.
maybe then, we can breathe…and let her hold us too.
November 20, 2012
When I started Soul Parenting, I knew I wanted to include images of everyday life as they help us see our life as a whole. Pictures that honor the beauty and the mess. Aimee McNamee came to my mind in .02 seconds. I have admired her work for quite some time now and was so excited when she agreed to be part of this project. She has a grace and gentle depth about her, she is wise and kind…and I love her soulful view of her girls, her family and the world. Welcome Amy, we are so grateful you are willing to share your goodness with us.
You can find Aimee’s images weekly on the Soul Parenting Facebook Page and daily on the Aimee McNamee Photography Facebook page.
Aimee is a self-taught photographer and a former middle school Language Arts teacher whose life also includes stacks of books next to her bed, good food cooking on the stove, a love of art, warm friends with hearty laughs, the need to be outdoors, a glass of red wine at 9 p.m., and a penchant for road trips. She believes People Watching should be an Olympic event. Married to her favorite boyfriend of ten years and the mother to two beautiful little girls, appropriately nicknamed “Turtle” and “Rip & Tear”, she feels like a blessed woman. Aimee is available for lifestyle family/children photography, portraits, and small events. Her website is under construction, but her facebook photography page can be viewed at:
November 19, 2012
Hi! If you found us through the Kindness story by our friend Sabrina Squire on NBC 12, welcome! We teamed up with The Cheats Movement and NBC12 for a day of kindness tag. You can find out how Tag, You’re It RVA started here.
We hope you will join us in the city-wide game of kindness!
Follow along with us and read the kindness unfolding in RVA on our Facebook page here.
Happy Thanksgiving friends! We are so grateful for the good people of our kind city!
photo courtesy of Marc Cheathem
November 18, 2012
My dear friend Nicki Peasley guest posts for me today…I often lean forward when she speaks, just waiting for her wisdom and goodness. She holds space in a really tender way, you can read more of her soul magic here and here.
Listening to the Trees
I have been hugging lots of trees lately. In gratitude for their unconditional love for us crazy humans. No matter how careless we are, the trees continue to offer us their beauty, inspiration (literally), solace from the rest of the world… their lives.
Trees have no ego. While I sense their acceptance of human appreciation, they don’t expect it. They don’t need it. They are here to watch over us. Still and all powerful. Yet so very vulnerable.
Before Hurricane Sandy came through, my kids and I went around our neighborhood hugging the trees, infusing them with our compassion and wishing them strength through the storm. And once again, even on the brink of what could have been their destruction, they offered us their compassion, their strength. No fear, only this amazing sense of calm and acceptance for what is, what will be.
There are conversations among the trees. And if we listen with open hearts, we can even hear them speaking softly to us. This is what they tell me.
“Slow down. Take a moment to stop. Plant your feet in the earth. Intermingle your roots with ours. Extend your branches and feel yourself filling with the sun pouring in through your crown. Allow any leaves that are no longer serving you to fall to the ground. And hold loosely the leaves that still adorn your being. For they too will fall in time. Trust… and surrender. “
I carry the tree’s wisdom with me throughout my days. I watch the world through the eyes of our wooded friends to see the endless human race and all of its dynamics.
The champion, leading the pack with easeful and brilliant stride; those determined to be the champion, passion in their eyes; the walkers, who just keep moving, unattached to any outcome; the cheering crowd, dancing and merrymaking on the sidewalks; the injured, defeated and hopeless… and those tender souls who care for them.
We have all played each of these roles at some time in our lives, perhaps even several at a time. But unless we take time to stop (even the champion can stop for a moment) to honor the raw vulnerability of every human experience, we are missing out on the message of the trees.
I’ve had a cramp (to extend the metaphor) the last few months. And while it has loosened its grip on me, I am still not quite ready to start running again. Often, I veer off the course entirely, finding myself in the woods… with the trees.
And then I return to the streets, to the activity of living. The people run by me, toward their next achievement, their next accolade, the crowd cheering for them. And I notice the volume of my ego increasing. “Get moving, girl. You’ve got stuff to do. You’re wasting time. Make your vision a reality. This just being isn’t enough. Go. Go. Go.”
But I am quick to catch myself in this destructive pattern. And I am learning to find great contentment in being the tree. Appreciating each season of release, stillness, rebirth, and awakening. Watching and acting with intention, without attachment to ego, and manifesting simple gestures born of Spirit.
At the beginning of the month, I started a Grow Gratitude movement at my youngest child’s school. I experience gratitude as the purest and most profound way to connect to self and other. To focus on what’s right in our lives and in our world, instead of what’s wrong. To appreciate others not for a gift but for being the gift. To open ourselves up to all the little miracles of every moment.
And to see this understanding unfold at an elementary school is nothing short of magic.
Ms. Campbell’s Class, getting primed for a whole school Gratitude Gathering in which they use their voices and sign language to express the community’s collective appreciation.
On the playground making gratitude chains (to wrap around the cafeteria) and gratitude bracelets. What is making your heart sing in this moment?
A lucky ladybug joining the Lovefest.
“Fox Rocks,” hidden around the school. When you find one, express your gratitude to another and pass it on… (these rocks had been soaking up the wisdom of the trees forever… and agreed to leave the woods to spread some love among the humans)
For faculty and staff, a message attached to a love stone. (Suzanne Vinson’s amazing art work)
Love leads us to beautiful places when we allow it to. And on that journey, we are wise to stop every now and then to hug a tree and listen to the message it has for us. Then, when we are ready to start running again in that crazy human race, it will be with joy and ease and Heaven in our feet.
A meditation to do with your children on Thanksgiving Day…which is really any and every day.
Close your eyes or look down. You may place your hands on your heart or rest them on your legs. Take a slow deep breath, in through your nose and out through your mouth so that a very soft sound is made. Picture yourself surrounded by beautiful light. As you breathe in, inhale the light and feel your body filling with it. And as you breathe out, exhale all the yucky stuff that has taken up space in you—any pain, any anger, any worries.. let them all go in your breath. So that you feel completely at peace in your body, in your mind, in your heart, and in your spirit.
Now imagine yourself in a safe and happy place. Maybe you are on beach, in the forest, in a cozy room, on a mountaintop. Sit comfortably in your special place and feel the peace it offers you. Now, as if you are watching a movie that is your life…
See all the places that bring you joy (your home, your school, the swimming pool, the beach…) What places make you smile?
Now see the things that bring you joy (pizza, your bike, your computer, your favorite stuffed animal…) What things make you smile?
Now see all the experiences that you have enjoyed in your life (vacations, soccer games, birthday parties, holidays…) What experiences make you smile?
Now, most importantly see all the people you are grateful for (your parents, your brothers and sisters, your friends, your teacher, your coach…) Who makes you smile?
Allow that smile to show on your face and feel the gratitude that is bursting out of your heart. Offer the sign for thank you. Give yourself a hug. And slowly, open your eyes. May you hold this feeling of peace and gratitude in your hearts always.
Nicki Peasley is a student of life and a teacher of love. In the past, she developed curricula and worked (played and learned and told stories) with elementary and middle school youth. Now, she is living in the question of what’s next. Perhaps just being human is more than enough.
November 16, 2012
“Oh God, please tell me I am cuter than that right? right?!” …this is my standard sentence after looking at a picture of myself.
There are no full length mirrors in my house for a reason. …and I have always felt 100% more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it. It’s hard to be seen, it’s difficult to allow someone else to see you, and maybe the most challenging to see yourself.
Claim vanity or blame a completely screwed up view of beauty in the world, or maybe it is just the heinous double chin…but I am getting closer to letting it go. You see, every time we are with our friends Dan and Ashley, I just want to take pictures of them- they are dear and there is a newness about them (and their love) I feel should be documented ALL THE TIME. I see their hearts and tenderness every time we are together.
And always, it never fails, Ashley always insists that she take pictures of us. …and part of me always dreads it…and yet something inside of me (maybe it just starts in a place of wanting to be polite) decides I will just let her do it. I am anticipating seeing my belly fat, my wrinkles, a full face…because my eye has been trained to see all that is wrong with me.
…but something weird and magical happens every time she takes our picture….I see all those things, they are totally still there and part of me still cringes at first… but I have started to see something else too.
eyes that have seen all of that partner, all of the darkness and light, and are still full of love
years of struggle and joy in togetherness
a super bad hair growing experiment
people that needed that break so bad and are full of relief
friends who are eating way too much buffalo chicken dip
tired faces from finding our way through
people that have a boatload of kids and need more time alone
all the reasons we dig each other
a splash of courage to not care in the moment and may have total picture regret to put it all out there in the morning
the beauty of still not knowing how it all works
…and part of me started to let go and wonder if…
maybe your worst side is actually your best side
maybe your moment of vulnerability captured is your secret power
maybe what really is IS more beautiful
maybe how we feel and love each other is the sweeter memory anyway
maybe we don’t have to wait 30 years to be kind to our 35 year old self
maybe if we all let ourselves be seen, we may all feel a helluva lot better about ourselves and the world
maybe our lives are more beautiful than we know
…and yes, my ass was inspired to go running the next day to take better care of myself and Jorge promptly cut his hair that night…and I still feel so locked up in the ways I see myself but I also feel this tiny bit of new freedom…to let it be, and that the moments of love and goodness and doubt and ugly and triumph and family should trump it all.
I want more than anything when I am old, to remember and see how we tried to love. …double chin and all.
November 10, 2012
They sat just like this for close to 4 hours, opening their eyes only during the contractions to help find their way through. He never moved a muscle. I got home and poured through the pictures in total awe of all they held… together.
I pulled just this one picture and took it to my husband to show him…”Look at this love, THIS is a serious love.”
“I love you like that.” he said plainly. …and I knew he did, he does. I walked away from this birth inspired to try to let him and others love me in new ways. …in times that feel long like a birth and my soul is exhausted or moments when I am vulnerable, because there is incredible strength there.
Megan and Matt taught me so much in their birth, in the ways they care for each other, how they worked together…they were wise beyond their years. It was an amazing birth, I am so honored they allowed me to be there and that they are willing to share, because it was powerful and profound.
What a blessed little boy…what a sweet family.
November 7, 2012
She was unkind this week…in a way I have never seen her be…but her walk to making amends was so sweet- showing me all she holds inside.
Part of me was embarrassed and perplexed by her meanness and other parts of me knew the vulnerable place you stand when you make a decision you know is just not good. Not good for you or the other person…but sometimes you just do it anyway.
I was hard on her, she was tender and contrite…and then I took this picture of her and saw her little soul…no, her giant, too big for her body soul…and then I felt tender and contrite.
And we just aren’t that different from each other, kids, parents, families…we are all doing our best to care for each other while we make our own way in the world. Nobody knows what they are doing most of the time, but there are moments when you do, your intuition is bright and wide…and you grab the hand of the person behind you and you lead the way.
Sometimes it’s your kids, sometimes it’s your partner leading, sometimes it’s a bum on the street or the checkout girl.
I want to be a soulful parent- one that isn’t afraid to make mistakes and try to sort them out with my kids, one that can come in and save the day the way only I can, one that leans into family love, one that freaks out when no one is picking up their clothes off the floor, one that makes space and trusts others to lead the way, one that says sorry, one that is confused but cares, one that holds tight to her partner (even when we are on each other’s nerves), one that holds hope, one that makes space for everyone to be themselves, one that gathers, loves and believes.
So, I created Soul Parenting … it’s a page on Facebook for folks to share stories and pictures about the messy love that each family holds. …because I believe we were never meant to do it alone.
It’s a place to tell us about your shitty day or parenting survival, the ways you find your kid’s heart, the things that surprised you, the parts where you have failed and totally triumphed…the real deal of everyday life while holding the intention to carry each other as we seek to be soulful parents and families…together.
I am trusting it to unfold as it is meant to. I will only post when I have something to share or a question to pose…I hope you will do the same. …because lord knows everyone’s soul could use it.
November 6, 2012
November 5, 2012
I don’t know how it happened exactly, it just did….maybe we couldn’t really see each other’s heart or pain, maybe it was just too hard, maybe we needed time, maybe we were angry, maybe too much built up without the words, maybe we loved each other too much, maybe we were just tired.
Some where along the way, my family of origin sort of fell apart. The bones were there, some little pockets of connection held tight quietly, others grew…my parents still loved us deeply. It was painful and sad…because under it all, my family loved each other fiercely.
I pulled away, I said hurtful things, I showed up when I shouldn’t have and didn’t come when it mattered…I couldn’t find my voice or way. So I left, we all sort of did in our own way…and at moments that felt okay and required but after awhile you forget that you can go back or you don’t know how…and there are parts of you that are still wounded and you don’t know how that will work. …and you wonder if anyone else has changed like you have. Maybe we are more fragile than we know.
But it is this fragility and deep tenderness that holds the love, the misunderstood messy love that holds families together, even when it looks like they are in pieces. After enough time, healing, and a quiet hope brewing, a sort of courage starts to emerge. My mom must have held it or seen it in all her wisdom, or perhaps she just refused to ever let it go…but she asked me and my 3 sisters to meet her in New York City to surprise my dad for his 70th birthday.
My mom never asks us to do anything…ever. It was so easy to say yes to her…but I was nervous. I didn’t know after 2 years of almost no contact with my sisters what it would be like. Actually, I was scared….and there was never any outright fighting, it was always all the things unsaid, all the things we felt and held, and the tension of trying to love well. …and knowing we had failed each other. …but the love was bigger, we could handle anything for 72 hours for my parents (with a little liquor help), we would be on our best behavior. I thought I was on a mission of survival.
I was completely unprepared for what happened next.
My sisters, one by one, came bounding into the hotel room with an open heart…I wasn’t prepared for their kindness. It was awkward and sweet…and so very familiar. There was more space to be who we were, there was careful and calculated respect, there were a few tense moments, there was still dysfunction and the family dance, there was great healing, there was humor, there was soul relief… there was so much joy.
My parents were delirious…we all found each other again.
Despite ourselves and after probably a million prayers by my mom.
We went to the opera at the Met. We listened to the life stories of taxi drivers because this is the family superpower- strangers and everything unexpected.
We walked Bellevue and saw the spot where my dad proposed. We heard the pain and joy of all that place held. It was the beginning place of our family.
We ate crazy amazing food. We saw a Broadway show. We went on a hunt for the best street gyro. We shopped. We started a Twitter account. We partied (well, some of us did) and helped with hangovers.
I have never seen my parents so happy…and then we said goodbye and left. Not everything was back to normal, because it can never be that way again but there was a building of something new. Each of us in a new place. …and it all feels like a sorted miracle.
You just never know…
how you can grow.
where your pain can take you.
how the other person might miss you.
how deep your love went.
how much you still need each other.
how important it is to hold on to hope, no matter how small it is.
what can happen next.
I don’t pretend to know how to fix anything or how to heal…I just know you can find each other again…even when it feels like that may never happen. It can. It does. It will.
October 31, 2012
Is it weird to become friends with your student dentist? If you met Julia, this would not seem strange at all. There was never a moment in our entire time together that she made me feel crappy for my lack of flossing…but she did give me a very firm yet kind speech about the virtues of dental hygiene.
In all our afternoons together (unfortunately there were lots due to a very messed up mouth) we spoke of love and boys and faith and photography…and somewhere in all that goodness and a couple crowns, Julia found love too. Brandon is also a dentist- I can only imagine the lovely teeth their kids will have. He has a wise sort of way about him…and you know if Julia chose him, there is something very real and true about him…and good.
So my gift to my dentist was an engagement session…I have mad respect for all you portrait folks, it is so out of my element …but it’s also so sweet to get to be there at the beginning. I always feel this attachment to the babies I have seen be born. To be allowed to witness the beginning feels so sacred to me…blessings on you J & B, I think you are going to have a sweet, sweet life together.
October 28, 2012
It may be a little late, but I am digging up an old post from last year, just in case you have some anxious kids that could use a a little kindness while waiting for the storm. Stay safe friends!
message thrown in with today’s breakfast on the couch along with some cartoons for a dear and worried family member…
I was always a worrier, as long as I can remember. The other side of this sensitivity has taken me down a really beautiful path but the worry part? Well, that can be tricky at times. Here are a few ideas to help some kids in your life if they happen to be sensitive souls that tend to absorb a lot.
1. Turn the TV off! Some of us need the information to form a plan or process, most kids? Not so much. Grab your info on the internets, a constant stream of scary language like high winds, flooding and the like only revs the anxiety up. Simple explanations are plenty for kids along with a plan of action to ease the mind and heart.
2. Get your kit on! Let kids be part of the preparing process and make space for a few extras. The Spiderman flashlight is great distraction and awesome for shadow games later. Buy extra batteries so they can leave them on for as long as they want. Being part of a solution always empowers and helps us move our fear to an action place. Kit prep also gives us an opportunity to talk about what may happen after the storm so kids aren’t caught off gaurd.
3. Make a Kid kit too! Besides all the boring stuff like candles and water, have kids put together a small kit of things they love and activities for the storm and after. Now is the time for Bendaroos, small art kits, sticker books, filling up the Ipod with books, special kid snacks, etc.
4. Make a worry box or candle! Sometimes our worry is just too big to be covered by talking and preparing, sometimes we just need someone else or thing to hold it for us. Take an old shoe box and decorate it with words and pictures that bring us comfort and peace. Make a slot in the top and invite the kids to let the box hold their worries for them for a little bit, leave small squares and markers next to it. Kids don’t even have to be able to write yet, a picture works just as well. I’ve seen many adults drop a note or two in the box too!
We have a little candle on our kitchen counter with some strips of paper and a pen. The wax drips over them, reminding me I am covered.
5. Go Guerrilla with your worry! Parents- leave little notes of love and safety on bed posts, bathroom mirrors and inside the pantry. When kids are tired of talking, it’s nice to have something reminding you in a less direct way.
Kids- If one kid is worried, it probably means others are too. Kids can write their own messages and leave them for other kids to find in the supply section of the grocery store, at a park or even at the gas station. Sometimes thinking of others makes us feel less alone.
6. Party it up! Kids can only worry or hold heavy thoughts so long. Now is the time for Family DJ Dance party in the living room, or a Monopoly Marathon by candle light, movies and popcorn till the power goes. Enjoy the party and chance to be together in your home for a bit, slowing down can bring all kinds of gifts.
Do you have any ideas that work for you or your kids when the storm in your heart kicks up? Tell us in the comments!
October 26, 2012
The words on repeat in my head until I believe them…you see, I told you all I am going to write a book. The funny part is right after I let the words hit the air, everything sort of fell apart. It’s kind of hard to take on one of the biggest dreams of your life when you are exhausted, when you have painted yourself in a corner in every direction, when you still suck at saying “no” to projects and commit way over your head*…when your head is telling you all kinds of untruths about yourself, when parts of you really need some healing.
…but apparently, I am told by my writing doula Chris, that this is often how it goes…it’s the perseverance mountain climb of your entire existence and you just have to keep showing up. So I tried in the beginning but I was just still too into all the projects I said I would do…so I did them and cried a lot, and my husband (and the mother superiors in my life) helped me sort through the untruths and a really low time wondering what the hell I was doing, then a few small miracles happened… and now here I am.
Things are still sort of rocky, and I am still very soul tired…but the beautiful thing is that kindness can find you wherever you are…even the places that feel so unreachable in your heart.
A while back, my friend Kaycee offered her home to me so I could write…I jumped at her offer and completely forgot about it. Before I knew it, I was driving here…alone for 3 days- that is the longest I have ever been by myself in my entire life.
So much kindness and beauty was waiting for me here…so now I show up…for myself for a bit…in the quiet…hoping the words will come.
p.s. i have missed you all…thank you for being my friends.
*i really wanted to do all those projects…i just said yes to too many at one time.
October 22, 2012
She’s back…oh, how we need her bravery and kindness. My dear friend Nicki Peasley guests posts for me today as I recover from a crazy run of kindness stuff, just trying to follow her lead in love. You can read more of her goodness here.
Love is my favorite 4- letter word (although my children would tell you I have a fondness for many others). If I had to claim the skill set of which I am most proud, at the top of the list would be kindness, compassion, and gratitude (and the ability to share these gifts authentically and creatively with others). Yep, my whole life, I’ve been pursuing the art of being human, well on my way to becoming a master “love teacher.” (Yes, I’ve really introduced myself that way).
But as it turns out, my love train was missing a critical source of fuel. While loving others kept my engine going for a long time, I had forgotten the most important ingredient in navigating the journey through life…loving myself.
About 6 months ago, I began to spiral into a dark hole of depression and anxiety. Despite my obvious unraveling, I kept practicing Love with a vengeance, (there’s an oxymoron)—desperately seeking to defeat the spiral with kindness, compassion, and gratitude—for others. If I could just do a little more for the world, I would be ok. I would be enough. I refused to listen to the voice within that was crying out, “Stop. Rest. Eat a bag of Cheetos. Watch a Desperate Housewives re-run!”
Until Self refused to be ignored any longer. And she went on a sleeping strike. Now, when you mix a case of insomnia with a biochemical imbalance (that I’ve managed since my early 20’s), a type A personality (I can always get one more errand, one more e-mail, one more chore in before car pool), extreme tendencies toward perfectionism (Damn, I forgot a comma in that blog), an excessive need for approval (ask nicki—she can’t say no) and my own soul story (which includes a martyr, an empath, and a warrior)— you’ve got recipe for big batch of breakdown brownies.
I should share, too, that 9 months ago, I gave up my 18- year affair with anti-depressants. I thought that at 40 years old, certainly, I had all the experience and wisdom and skills and tools I needed to keep myself thriving. And, of course, Love conquers all, right? Wrong.
Back on meds, my mind is beginning to settle. I am seeing some light again—within me and all around me. And there are still times when I feel as if my body has electric currents running through it. While I once resisted this feeling with every cell of my being, I am now able to greet it with softness, curiosity and acceptance. Knowing that it will pass, just like all emotions do.
I read a passage by Pema Chodron (a brilliant teacher of loving kindness) in which she described her experience with anxiety. When she went to her teacher for solace, he told her that what she was feeling was actually a form of spiritual bliss! And its intensity, albeit painful, was nothing to be feared. And as she learned to lean into the pain, she discovered the bliss.
Amazing how a shift in perspective can allow one to hold the human condition (whatever it is) is a whole new light. Could it be that anxiety is really Love in disguise? A painfully deep and beautiful connection to self and other, to the earth, to Spirit, to the light and dark of it all? That, perhaps, there is great power in raw vulnerabilty? Hmm…I’m open to the possibility.
Like all challenges, this episode in my life has come with a huge gift. The gift of learning to love myself. To practice kindness and compassion and gratitude—for myself. To bathe in the healing energy of the sun, listening deeply to my true voice, whispering sweet nothings (that are really everythings), “May I be safe. May I be strong. May I be healthy. May I be happy. May I accept what is. May I be free of suffering. May I be at peace.“
And it is from this place of being peace that I can easily set aside my infatuation with goals and to do lists and high self-expectations. And realize that it is my imperfections that make me beautiful. That my presence is enough. That my worth is not defined by my achievements. It is defined by Love.
Love that is made manifest in the contemplation of a leaf; in the mindful eating of an apple; in a roadside conversation with a homeless woman; in a meal prepared for a neighbor; in some early morning snuggling with a beloved child; in coffee and tears shared with a friend; in the embracing of a tree; in offering a simple smile to a stranger.
And it is from my meditation for self- healing that I send on the wind loving kindness for the world. “May all creatures be safe, strong, healthy, happy, free of suffering, at peace…”
I am a work in progress. There are many times when I find myself shifting back into old and destructive thought patterns… and I have to begin again. To hold my heart with gentle hands. To breathe. And watch a mindless tv show with a bag of Cheetos.
During this season of stillness, I am learning to live in my body in a graceful and
loveful way. To trust and surrender. To hold fear and shame and anger with as much
tenderness as I hold joy and sadness. For to be an authentic love teacher,
I must cultivate the courage to hold it all. And to love myself unconditionally—in
darkness and in light.
Nicki Peasley is a student of life and a teacher of love. In the past, she developed curricula and worked (played and learned and told stories) with elementary and middle school youth. Now, she is living in the question of what’s next. Perhaps just being human is more than enough.
October 18, 2012
If you ask a pair or group of sisters any question, you will quickly get the real deal on any given subject. This is what I love about them, well, that and you can feel like one at any moment…you can feel sisterhood. Chrissy and Sarah (who are actual sisters) from Sweet Spot in Short Pump are these kind of friends. I think this must be why their candy shop feels more like a hang out…a super yummy hangout.
They are funny, sweet and kind. There are little pockets of their killer style and friendship all over the shop but I was even more drawn to their sense of community and desire to use their space for something good. I think this little shop will be a haven for kindness.
It’s the kind of togetherness that you have to live first, and then hold the space for others to experience. When they contacted me about wanting to do a kindness project for Sweetest Day (celebrated officially on 10/20), I was so jazzed. The ideas flowed and I think there will be more to come but we thought inviting some kindness magic was a really great place to start. Especially since Sarah’s daughter Maggie (age 3) found a Magic Wand that my daughter Lyra (age 3) left near the shop one day before we met.
So come join us (and the sisters), bring your kids (and their sisters, brothers too) and hang out with us as we create a little kindness magic together! If you want to learn more about The Magic Wand Project for Kids, you can check it out here. The Magic Wand Project For Kids is a community adventure where kids can discover their kindness magic can change our world!
See you tomorrow (Friday, October 19th) at Sweet Spot from 4-5:30pm at
2228 Old Brick Road Glen Allen, VA 23060
*just a little fyi, no monies exchanged in this here partnership, just a little more kindness in our town.
October 18, 2012
I met Kelly on the first day of a new school, a new direction, a new start for my family. We had just made a huge decision to pull our kids from a really stable, established, old elementary school to a brand new charter school. It was the first of its kind in the entire state. Josiah was nervous, things are always tricky with new…and then there was Kelly, his teacher, she was a force of light…and happy.
The year ended up being hard because trailblazing is, there were SO many problems/challenges in the school but Josiah was thriving like I had never seen. I knew this teacher was some kind of magic. Her positivity, her grit, her joy was contagious. The year ended and she moved on to her next act of goodness. She started Happy Camper Productions.
Happy Camper Productions exists to spread good cheer, unite the community, and help those who need it most. We work with local causes and organizations to host events, drives and collections. We host our own functions as well as energize existing programs by involving the Happy Camper Nation – our loyal members and overall do-gooders who look to make a difference, but don’t necessarily know how.
At a new beginning again, the Kelly Elias and HCP force is moving, spreading their joy and goodness from the start. The very first Happy Camper Fest is on for THIS Saturday from 12-6pm at The Canal Turning Basin. It will be an annual event held by Happy Camper Productions to celebrate everything wonderful in the Richmond area. The primary recipients of donations made through the fest this year will go to The Richmond SPCA has and Communities in Schools of Richmond .
Don’t miss the Canal Run & Walk, Dog trick and costume contests, local artists/farmers, local bands, local businesses, local food /beverages, and much more.
I am really excited because Kindnessgirl will be there with very rad kids from The James River High Guerrilla Goodness club. 2 really lovely students came to me this spring wanting to start the group after some amazing kindness stuff happened there last year…turns out 90 kids showed up at the first meeting last week.
We’ve never done anything like this before but our tent will invite folks to think about happiness and kindness together and there will be a kindness mission for everyone to take away. Also excited to be handing out Kindness Changes Everything stickers (with love from Suzanne and I) AND Tag, You’re It RVA kindness game cards!
Hope to see you all there!
October 16, 2012
Maria! Oh, don’t you adore her… and Mwanaidi the farmer?! …because we are mothers…because every mother should be able to offer her children nutritious food. Today, we bring you a love of sweet potatoes from the ONE campaign and in celebration of World Food Day.
ONE is a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, by raising public awareness and pressuring political leaders to support smart and effective policies. It was cofounded by Bono and other campaigners, ONE is nonpartisan and works closely with African activists and policy makers.
But here is why today and sweet potatoes are special:
There is a great power in the sweet potato, it is a nutritionally dense food that is helping kids gets the vitamins they need so they don’t get stunted. One of the challenges of feeding the world is making sure that bellies are not only full, but full of nutritious foods.
A billion people suffer from chronic malnutrition and more than 2.4 million children will die this year as a result. Despite major progress in other areas, nutrition is an issue widely overlooked on the development agenda. Stunting rates have stagnated in Africa over the past two decades at an unacceptably high level of 40%.
Here’s what we need to do to spread the word to help families:
1. We will be tweeting a message at noon TODAY on World Food Day, Oct. 16th that we will encourage others to tweet-
Put nutrition on your political agenda @ONEcampaign #recipe4change
2. We’re also asking folks to sign our petition.
- Write your own short message (we’ll be delivering them to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton); or tweet ONE’s ready-made malnutrition message
The kids and I were trying to think of ways to help spread the word so other kids and families can join in on helping. Here are their ideas:
1. Tell kids to “Watch the video!”
2. Let the sweet potatoes speak for themselves. We made these guys this morning…you can too if you need a little fun fall activity.
If you decide to make some talking sweet potatoes, share them on the ONE Facebook page.
Hope you can join us on this really important day! Our voices (and sweet potatoes) MATTER!
October 16, 2012
I have a thing for hands…what they hold, what they do, how wrinkled and rough they are, the stories they tell.
It is with our hands that we make lunches, rub or scratch a back, move furniture, write a letter, create something beautiful, build something new…hold the people we love close. Hands hold and make the change.
So when Hands On Greater Richmond asked if I would be part of their Hands On Day here in RVA, I quickly said yes. HandsOn Greater Richmond provides a link for folks to join together and engage in meaningful volunteer opportunities within RVA.
Once a year 1,000 people get together for one giant day of volunteering…it’s amazing and lovely. As part of the celebration after the event, I will be part of a kindness experience (along with Hands On and Art on Wheels) that will hopefully inspire you to take your giving back to the streets and neighborhoods of Richmond.
SOoooo come volunteer for a morning, then party at Hardywood, then go home with a kindness mission! Can’t wait to see you there!
When: This Saturday, October 20th from 9am-1pm THEN celebrate from 1-3:30pm
Why: because your hands can do something good
You can find out more and invite friends on the Facebook event page here.
One Day. One Thousand Volunteers. Limitless Change.
October 14, 2012
It all started with a ShopRVA class (www.shopclassrva.com) …a group of 40 new friends came together to dream up an idea to crowd source kindness. What could this small army of wanna be city changers create that would make our town a kinder place to be? I pitched an idea and they ran with it.
We decided play is always a great place to start. There is something about play that returns us to the best parts of ourselves. It reminds us of the simplicity and depth of joy, of how it feels to be free, of what we can do when the only motivator is fun. We figure if play and kindness get together, they might do a helluva bang up job.
We want to invite you to join us in city-wide game of kindness in RVA! Once you get or find a Tag, You’re it RVA card, do one act of kindness and then tag/leave for the next person!
Tag, you’re it, she’s it, we’re all it!!!
photo by emily r.
So here’s the deal:
Tag, You’re it RVA! Let’s go!
The back story: so for the first time in my kindness work, this work in the world was not funded by me…it felt so good to know lots of people were part of moving kindness forward in our city. The Soulsister Fund, which is my sweet collaboration with the lovely Suzanne Vinson from Silver Tree Art saved the day when I was just so, so tapped. Those dear stickers, *sigh*, so many stickers that you sent forth are still giving…so thank you. We are so grateful.
AND so much thanks to Liz from Signs By Tomorrow for helping us print the cards at a super kind deal!
September 17, 2012
September 16, 2012
It started with a duct tape obsession this summer. They made Minecraft figures, purses, hats, anything you could ever imagine with the new craze of colored tape. Josiah asked to be paid in rolls of green instead of money for his babysitting gig. So I asked them one day if they wanted to do a duct tape project together, they were way in. So we made a tree. Josiah covered the top with green, Jack made the cherry hearts…the girls held the scissors.
Shockingly, there was very little drama in the whole project…and you should know there is always a little in every bit of family togetherness. We wrote something we loved about each person in our family on the cherry hearts and put it in the corner. I never know what to do with such things when we are done. I only know they are important to do. This makes for very un-grown up house decor, but I don’t mind so much.
The tree sat in the corner of our dining room that now has just turned into a revolving laundry station. When the kindness tree project was well over, I was itching for something more. Something I could see, something grand…but I wasn’t sure what and maybe it had to be grand and big because my soul was in a funk, it was holding all the wrong kind of reflection. Do you ever do that? Does your soul pick up things that don’t belong there? It was desperately needing some re-arranging. It is usually around this time, when you are funkified that the universe drops something in your lap.
I was looking into storytelling photography sessions (more on that soon!) and I came across Image Bearers Photography …oh such loveliness from Sarah. She had a session with the Kliewer family (Lindsey is also a birth photographer) The session was so dear, but my favorite part was a wall of gratitude that the Kliewer family made in their home. *sigh* It held so much.
This was just the thing. The girls and I got to work, the papers flowed…as fast as we could finish one, someone else was shouting out another to add. “Did you put Myle’s animal noises on there? Those are super funny, so grateful for that!” …what about the trampoline?! Did someone add that?”
We. could. not. stop. I thought it might be a work in progress…but we just kept going until the whole wall was filled. …and we ran out of tape. I ran into the night to 2 neighbors to borrow more.
and then each person, wandered in, mid-papering…smiled, and went to bed. I was alone to finish the last squares.
…and I stood back, looking up and down each row…and started to cry. It’s hard to not be overwhelmed when you are staring at floor to 10ft ceiling holding everything good about your life. …and your soul can only see the beauty before you, literally. …and you can’t stop staring. It becomes all your soul can hold, nothing more. …because nothing more is needed.
…you have it, you hold it.