free fallin’…

May 25, 2011

This is the look she gives me right before she takes her biggest jump off the bed into my arms. There is so much reckless abandon, more in her little finger than my entire body…and she jumps over and over again, right into love.

Lately, I have been laying in bed long enough to watch her method and take notes. Sort of checking out on the most pressing responsibilities…instead, discovering the dust bunnies in the corners of the stairs, watching sun flower sprouts pop through the dirt, going about half speed…kind of paralyzed and lost but in a very good way.

I don’t think much can happen until we are quiet, until there nothing left to do but be still, watch, wait for your own big jump.

a spirit capable…

May 22, 2011

I believe that man will not merely endure; he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among the creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of kindness and compassion. ~William Falconer

I’ve had a tight grip on struggle for as long  as I can remember. I’m not really sure of all the reasons but maybe I felt like it on some level it should or had to be that way. It would mean I cared, or was working hard…I told myself it  added to my value, or made me who I am. There were moments when all of that was (is) true but recently I’ve had a soft spoken voice in my heart and I am listening…the kind of listening you do when you are a little girl and someone reads or sings you to sleep, when your mind and heart want and are ready to rest.

It is kind and gentle, letting me know it might be okay to loosen the grip, ever so gradually…for fingers pressed white to fill with life blood, to feel what it is like to have hands start to unfold, for old callouses and skin to be nourished, to look, to see, to show, to even honor their work…to let something new fall into these hands.  

It some times feels a little scary and awkward to walk around with tired, open hands, with nothing to hold on to…yet tender and good…and something is happening, that one thing I know for sure. Something.

the secret garden…

May 15, 2011

I walked in the door and I knew this was the house…I could feel it, then I looked out the window and gasped.
“Whoa, wow…*sigh*”, no words really, just stammering.

He told me how it was a bare yard with grass when he moved in years ago but he hated grass, so he did this instead. He poured his soul into the green space with no experience really, just an artist at heart.

…and truthfully, I was instantly nervous. I had no idea how I would take care of it but I knew it was quite a gift…a garden like I had never seen, ponds,  flowering trees, a cherry tree, a peach tree, a plum tree, raspberry, blackberry and wine berry bushes, a vegetable garden, all kinds of plants and flowers, an old rusted shed, a sandbox and repurposed tires, a tree swing…little nooks and pathways…so many hours of care and love.

The first few days, I wandered, I walked around in circles, under the trellis, and on the slate path, while my wild children deliriously flew through the air compliments of the old tree and small green swing…I figured even if I didn’t know what I was doing I would find a way. It just held so much magic…so much magic. Maybe even enough to cure my black thumb.

Neighbors gathered, giving me advice, tilled my first vegetable garden, shared plants, neighborhood kids swarmed…no one ever wants to leave. Kids marveling over honeysuckle, and mud pies, mulberry trees, fairy houses and games until dark. …pretending this is our secret garden.

Now I understand how sweet it is to grow things, to be part of the process… how a jar on your mantle with flowers you knew since they were just seeds is so, so lovely, how tomatoes ripe and red are a treasure, how something green can cure your soul.

Do you know this? It was a secret to me for so long…I  so get it. …and for it to be handed to me to care for, all done, so beautiful, it was such kindness.

So just as the dear homeowners shared with me, I am so happy to get to pass it along and would love to invite you to join me…if  you have a secret garden, or are a soul gardener looking to do a kindness mission, please stay tuned…and please link to pictures of your gardens, I’m swooning over such things  these days.

You can see the rest of the secret garden pics here.

p.s. Thanks to all who wrote for the fields of kindness Ding Dong Ditch! I am happy to report we DDD’ed 8 boxes of berries, 2 of which to the wrong houses which we decided ended up being a TRUE DDD.  And 2 we didn’t get to due to tired kids…so no worries! If you didn’t get your box, they are coming next week!  

fields of kindness…

May 11, 2011

berries from Gallmeyer Farms

it’s the field…

it’s the wind…

it’s the beauty of growing…

it’s someone’s hands in the dirt…

it’s labor…

it’s bold red peeking out from a green leaf…

it’s the harvest…

it’s the Marlboro man, watching over his dog and field…

it’s long and late afternoons dancing with the sun…

it’s feeling as if the earth is conspiring to love me with her bounty…

it’s sweet, nature’s candy…

it’s memories of swollen bellies, and carrying babies on my back…

it’s my soul revived…

it’s spring returned and promises of summer…

I can’t tell you how all of me gets rearranged and made right when I go for the first day of picking berries. Because I know, it is just the beginning of a long, wonderful season. I sing the in field, I watch my children play, I feel close to the earth and my truest self, I can barely wait to give them away, I feel so connected to everything…it is the ultimate kindness to me and one I have no trouble receiving.

*sigh* I can’t even TRY to not be cheesy about it all…I am totally smitten. Here are the little giveaway boxes from the first pick. You can find the origami tutorial here. I use heavy cardstock like you use for scrapbooking- works fantastic!

If you are in Richmond…and you need a little something extra this week. Write me at (include an address) and I will Ding Dong Ditch you a small box of strawberries from the fields of kindness…for reals!

May your ultimate kindness, whatever it is for you, find you today!

the mama juggle….

May 10, 2011

s & l…

At precisely 3:52pm on Mother’s Day, fathers all over start to wonder how much longer the holiday will go on. It’s a long day starting with breakfast in bed at 6:32am because small children could barely contain the excitement. And mothers everywhere are keenly aware of the next morning’s post-Mother’s Day re-entry and all that is waiting after a day off.

We scrounge up breakfast, we tie shoes, we Febreeze stinky shoes, we clean up those awful missed pee streams around the toilet, we shop feverishly at Target for some thing cute, we marvel that early 90’s fashion is back, we count down from 5 (a lot!), we listen to tween woes and attitude, we read Eric Carle books 1,000 times and let small insistent people turn the pages, we make entire dinners with one hand and a baby on our hip, we finish work reports after everyone is in bed, we rewash the same sour load of laundry 3 times, we forget permission slips and drive them to school, we join running groups and feel proud, we cry, we say “see ya later alligator” to adults on accident…read the rest here.

She knows me oh so well…I was ding dong ditched today with these beautiful dahlias, not for me but SO for me.

My dear friend and commune member Jen left these on my doorstep, she just knew, somehow, what would bring me perfect joy on this Mother’s Day. And so we went, so spontaneously, hopped in the car with Jen and her mom to Ding Dong Ditch flowers on doorsteps in our neighborhood, we took a couple kids and even a dog. Along the way we passed Susan, in her front yard in her pajamas, so she hopped in. No holds barred like she had done this every day of  her life, she knew just which houses of mothers we should DDD. Some we knew, others we didn’t. Let me tell you, four belly laughing women, one pair of pajamas, one dog with her head out the window and tongue flapping in the wind, 2 expert kindness kids and 6 dahlias, I was so blissed the frick out… 

And this is what mothers do for each other, this is how we hold one another in kindness and love, this is how we nod with the knowing, how we live everyday together, side by side…and care so deeply, give from the deep well, how we keep going.

Everywhere I turned, there seemed to be some form of love staring back at me…and oh to be loved! I hope you felt it yesterday too…just in case it was one of the hard years, or your heart is still needing/wanting more, here are a few more messages from our community kindness project- The Great Wall of Motherly Kindness: (I’m sure one of these is meant for you…)

Be so kind to yourself today in this post-mother’s day re-entry…we all could use it.

Thanks SO very much to Sheri and Franklin Goose for being partners and agents of kindness in the world!!! Love you!

in his hand…

May 3, 2011

brown hands so big

old calluses from long hard days of work remain

toddler fingers

 chubby, wide and small

 the tips pressed white

 the grip of love so strong.

So these were some of my favorites from the weekend that made our GREAT Wall of Motherly Kindness!

Feel free to leave your I love my mom because… comments below and I will add them to the kindness blackboard at Franklin Goose!  Look for Franklin Goose’s #motherlykindness tweets too!

….and also, in other kindness news, thank you to the very kind people of Richmond that voted to include KindnessGirl in the Best of Richmond issue from Style Weekly. I have this dream that my dear middle sized city will someday be known for its’ kindness, and I am so excited that the joy of kindness is spreading in the world…and that I get to be part of it! (you too!) So THANK YOU to all who voted!


I love chalkboards, I love them so much! (and we know how I feel about the magic of chalking!) I love writing on black, that nothing is permanent, how bright or simple or strong a message can be. I keep a small chalk board on my front porch, and every month I leave a message for myself and for whoever else might be strolling by.

It is good to see over and over again, to pass by and soak in the things I am hoping to know, trust or live. So Mother’s Day is quickly approaching and I started to wonder about the messages you most need to know when you are a mom.
Some years you really need to know all you are and have held are seen…appreciated and loved, other years it’s light and celebratory, some times reflective and hard, it can be all kinds of things. Truly.

This got me thinking…I love eavesdropping on kid’s conversations, the way they talk to other kids, how honest they are . You laugh and know whatever it is, it’s the truth.
So I had an idea, I wondered if together as a kid to some mom some where, WE could write our messages to our moms or to any mom, when they read it, they will know which message was for them, no matter who wrote it. It would be a community art/kindness project- The GREAT Wall of Motherly Kindness.
I reached out to my friends at a local retail store here in Richmond, Franklin Goose and asked if they would like to partner with me. I was so happy Sheri was down with the idea, but not surprised, she is kind like that!

So here’s how you can be part of the the GREAT Wall of Motherly Kindness:
1. If you live in RVA, please go do something nice for yourself in Carytown, drop by Franklin Goose and write your message on the wall or chalk the sidewalk! Kids are invited too- kid art is the best kindness to mothers! The wall will be up from now until Mother’s Day! (May 8th)
2. If you aren’t local, leave a message in the comment section or on my Facebook or Twitter pages and we will add your message to the wall! Don’t worry, I will friend or follow back! 🙂
3. Start your own wall! Do you have a place in your community where you could put a blackboard? I bet the friends in your city or town would love to share the love! We can also use your twitter feed as our virtual blackboard by using the hashtag #motherlykindness. Or add your blackboard, sidewalk message pictures to the Guerrilla Goodness Flickr Pool. …OR even head over to your mama’s house, grandma’s house, or some one that has been a mother to you and leave a chalk message for her!
4. Check back for pictures- yours and ours, we’ll be posting them all week!

Check out the wall and the all the buzz to love:

Behind the scenes: the real kindness story

Sheri so graciously got one blackboard going and then I started working on finding an old school rolling blackboard. It is at this point I must share with you how crazy kindness things unfold in my life. I was late for an appointment and school pick up, babysitting fell through, one huge chaotic event after the other, life as usual. I knew we needed the GREAT wall (i.e. blackboard) but had NO idea where I was going to find one or get it to the store. In the chaos of the tardy pick up, I quickly asked my dear friend Jean (L’s preschool teacher) if she had one we could borrow.
2 minutes later, she rolls this bad boy out in the parking lot! I start to laugh, there is no way I could take it. I don’t know what I thought I was going to do when I asked. She so kindly offered to bring it to my house for me. When she got to my house, she let me know the church just happened to be getting rid of some things that very day and the blackboard was mine to keep! My kindness brain was exploding with ideas. After all that, she asked all the right questions to reveal I had no way to transport it and she and Don took it to the store for me.

I can’t tell you how touched I am EVERY time, it is like this over and over again…and every time I am just as amazed by the power of kindness. SO thank you, THANK YOU Jean and Don…for such kindness to me.

Can’t wait to read your messages….much motherly love to you all!