Sometimes when there is too much around me and I am just not sure where to start or what to do in my life, I head to the vault. It’s a collection of pictures, a group of moments I keep buried in my files waiting to be held, processed, finished somehow…At times the vault tortures me as I can never seem to get to the task and at other moments I think of it as the vessel where little bits of treasure rest, where stories wait to be told or the reminder of how sweet things were resides.

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I often wonder how many small moments of our lives are still there waiting for us, hanging out in the back of the vaults of our hearts…places for us to escape back to with a more gentle and kind view of our lives…maybe this is the best part of leaving things undone, unfinished, and not exactly having it organized the way we think we should.

As I looked through the pictures of Lyra’s birthday last September, all I could see was what it looks like to be loved and adored.

The love started by Jen offering her back yard for the party and I was reminded that no mother should ever do birthday parties alone… and how love doesn’t always look like a Pinterest page and is often more of a modge podge of simple kind offerings.

Things like…
One princess tent already infused with joy from a birthday of another dear girl earlier that year was lent for fort goodness.

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One old slip n’ slide that gave many a never-ending slide was shared to double the awesomeness of the new mega slide.

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A last minute decorating job to a store bought cake made mermaid cake dreams come true.

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…and each person shared what they love about Lyra on magic rocks that she will keep in her own heart vault to pull out when times are rough, or she loses her way, or just to know what it feels like to be loved and adored…again and again.

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And it isn’t so much about perfect parties and picture moments but how each little part, each little offering adds up to something bigger …and that when we love each other and share whatever we have, the circle of love and adoration grows wider and wider, including us all.

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birthday tattoos, one for each wrist

I woke up to 35 yesterday, so many blessing to count. After some just okay years, as far as birthdays go- I could have never imagined the doozy of a day that was waiting for me. There are years when you are sort of surviving your life, happy to at least be still truckin’ and then there are other years when you celebrate livin’ life- really living and knowing you are standing in yourself, right where you are meant to be.

This was a living year.

Around 11:30am I checked in with social media to find this on Richmond.com:

Yesterday we shared the story of Richmonder Patience Salgado and her Guerrilla Goodness missions. Salgado, known on Twitter as @kindnessgirl, is featured in this month’s O, The Oprah Magazine for her everyday acts of kindness and today, Thursday, Sept. 15, Richmond is celebrating Salgado’s birthday by doing the good for her.

Salgado’s friend, Kira Siddall stealthily used Twitter to send out a message to all of Salgado’s friends and follower with a simple birthday request:

“Do a small act of kindness. Tweet details to @kindnessgirl. It’s her 35th bday, let’s make RVA kinder to celebrate. SPREAD THE WORD.”

Needless to say, I was floored, speechless. After such a week with so much genuine joy, love and well wishes, now my beloved city, would show their love and kindness in this way- it was overwhelming. So I went to my Twitter account and there they were, tweet after tweet after tweet, all with small acts of kindness. 200 Facebook friends shared Kindness Day on their walls and so it spread...a city taken over by kindness.

Things like:

@MDPartner:  Honoring @kindnessgirl and all births today, we played DingDongDitch at OneMonumentAvenue. Anybody hear our smiles?
@busse: drew my kids pictures to find at the breakfast table tomorrow morning Happy Birthday! #smallactsofkindness

@MolleeRVA : I mailed a tiny pumpkin and a thinking-of-you note to a friend who recently moved. #smallactsofkindness

@jenniferemiller: I bought groceries for my elderly neighbor.

@PaulaBHough: brought chocolate bars to mothers grp + xtra 2 share. Then gave bars to random strangers in your honor.

@Julie_Bondy: sent birthday cards to friends this week instead of the usual FB post. Real mail is more fun!

@johnhaydon: @kindnessgirl Happy Birthday. I’m making a donation to a local animal shelter. #kindbirthdaywish

@horhey: In honor of @kindnessgirl , paid someone’s toll this AM. #smallactsofkindness

@fyeahmotherhood: In honor of @kindnessgirl’s birthday, I’m tonguekissing everyone I meet today. Kindness for all!

@ksiddall: Happy bday @kindnessgirl! I’m guerrilla Goodnessing w/ Starbucks cards to celebrate! Be kind today RVA :) http://t.co/oeMlHVGU

@heyart: Buying extra McNuggets to share with all of my mates at work today in honor of @kindnessgirl’s birthday!

@sheenajeffers: In honor of @kindnessgirl’s birthday, I donated $50 to wounded soldiers (thank you ALL for inspiring me to be and do better)!

@gregorysheldon: In honor of @kindnessgirl’s birthday, I gave my favorite barista a $5 tip. cc: @KSiddall

@rvafamilymag: In honor of @kindnessgirl , took my CSA share veggies to daughter’s school for the teachers. #smallactsofkindness

you can read some of the rest here.

I know, I know the potential power of this thing, but to see it move, to watch people gather and find their own way to express it- well, it wakes something up inside you didn’t even think was asleep, and invites you to imagine what can come next. It makes you feel hella proud to be living together, side by side with these people…and makes you want to share and make the circle wider- so wide you can’t even see to the other side but just feel your hand wrapped around the person next to you.

So someone wrote me this week and asked if they could start a Guerrilla Goodness chapter in their town/city- With a resounding “YES!” my e-mail was returned to her through the internets. If this is something you might be interested in, please write me at patience@kidnessgirl.com. I am a total mess right now, not even sure where to start to organize and plan, but I would love to help you (if you feel called) so you can join in this deep joy of living life in a kind city too.

Thank you Wren, Jen, Kira and Chad for the sweetest celebration and to The Empress (new friends Melissa and Carly) for offering your soulful space and amazing  food with us. We can’t wait to come back!

Oh, and I got TATTOOS!!! So ridiculously exciting…and a story for another day! Thank you all for making my birthday one I will never forget.

AND chocolates are coming friends, they sure are!

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