in case you forgot…

November 29, 2011

how awesome it is to wear sparkly things and the first time your mom let you try make up on…

what little hands do…

November 28, 2011

pastels on bark

A crack and a thud left a huge limb on our sidewalk on Thanksgiving eve. I love how trees can just drop what is no longer serving them.  As we were picking it up to move it, the kids started gathering the fallen bark. They noticed some really cool patterns on the inside of the bark. I went in to get some pastels and paper to make rubbings, but when I delivered them to the kids (which now included the neighborhood kids too) they just started coloring the bark instead. I think the best kid art unfolds on its own.

hearts are everywhere

The kids then decided to ding dong ditch their art which sounded like a great idea to me but may have been confusing to the recipients to open the door and find a piece of bark on your step, but you know…our neighbors are probably used to the crazy and random acts of even weird yet sweet kindness by now.

So I’m thinking if you are trying to get something done, like the list of 57,000 holiday to-do’s, some bark, leaves, rocks and pastels might be just the trick to keep little hands busy. I love when nature, art and kindness collide.

a few of the urban nature artists

Got any other simple kid projects to share?

“You mean NO one is coming over?” he asked.

“Yep!” I replied.

“And we aren’t going anywhere?” he said, clarifying the entire plan.

“Nope!” I answered.

“It’s going to be just us! Niiccceeee.” my dear introverted child said. Some times I wonder how that poor child survives in this family.

I have to admit part of me was sad, I missed cooking with my mom and sisters, being with friends, but there was this kind of deep relief also. This was the Thanksgiving when:

When your mate helps you make the turkey (and the entire meal) and for the first time in Thanksgiving history the bird was juicy, done on time with zero stress. He made Thanksgiving dreams come true with the togetherness.

When your child decides 2 minutes before dinner that he must come to dinner as a pilgrim and is rifling through boxes in the basement to turn halloween capes and a pirate hat into a suitable and proper costume.

When you have to tell little girls that they can not slurp the very exciting treat of blue Gatorade served in vintage green goblets with spoons and straws at the dinner table.

When you got ding dong ditched the most amazing pumpkin spice cake which sort of saved the day because the pumpkin pie you bought molded and you were already bummed you had to buy one in the first place. This cake dominated 73% of conversation the rest of the weekend just trying to figure out what was in it.

When laziness rules.

When you all go to see the Muppet Movie and cry over endearing Muppets and your childhood.

When you realize the amazing and very beautiful family love and connection you hold was born and has grown from an old and deep pain, and you feel kind of grateful and sad for this all at the same time. …and how you can always count on the holidays to bring such epiphanies.

When you know how deeply you are blessed and loved.

 

Oh, please share your holiday with us…what were your highs and lows? even better, give a link or a picture. This extrovert would love to know in the comments…

this week…

November 24, 2011

well, last week, but you know…

happy thanksgiving friends…hoping you are feeling full and happy today.

 

I go to her work to be reminded of everything true. She has a magical way of showing it to us,  even the things that are hard are full of beauty. Her honor of living all of life is palpable and rich. I am honored to have my dear friend Cynthia Henebry share her art and life with us today. 

This guest post is for Patience, in honor of the darkest time of the year. Darkness is essential to our noticing the light.

“To go into the dark with a light is to know the light
To know the dark, go dark, go without sight
And find that the dark, too, blooms and sings
And is traveled by dark feet and dark ways”
-Wendell Berry

Girl in the woods

Brothers’ hideout

Looking for stars

After the bonfire

Early winter moon

Cynthia Henebry can be found at www.cynthiahenebryfilmphotography.com and also on flickr at www.flickr.com/photos/cynthiahenebry.

this week…

November 6, 2011

well, last week, but you know…

spoken words of truth, dancing, kind notes, long days waiting for a very loved papa, saying goodbye…

Can you do something for me this week? If you are doing or have done some kind of kindness as a result of something on KindnessGirl, can you tell me what city you are in (in the comment section)? You don’t even have to tell me what, just the city is fine (but we love a good story if you have the time! :)) I’m trying to figure out how far and wide we are spreading this work…and kindness. Have a wonderful week!

I know I’ve told you about our little street commune…it’s the sweetest community. You can read about some of the magic here, here and here. Well…one of our own is leaving, and we are so, so sad. Billy is playful and so kind, Heather is tender, open and giving…and it’s no surprise that my children adore them. I got a chance to spend a little bit of time with them before they left to take all that goodness to Louisiana…boy are those new neighbors so lucky! We’ll miss you guys!


Liamstein

It was dark, pouring down rain and cold no doubt, but the kids just kept going. “The NEXT one!” Lyra would shout and on we went. Those kids  sure worked for that candy.

Even in the dark, the kids were still coming together because nothing brings children together like Halloween, costumes and candy goodwill.

“What are you?” the small child, no older than three asked.
“I’m Frankenstein!” Liam answered.
“Who is that? A scary monster? the little boy said.

“Actually, he was no monster, he was gentle and very misunderstood.” his mother piped up.

All I could think about is how we are kind of all the things…

Written in 2008-

You are not so small to be just one idea, thought or emotion. You can be pissed and grateful, brave and scared, tired and hopeful, sad and yet full of joy…you can be all the things. There is space for all the hues, dark and light. When we try to be just one, we quiet something else.

Let it flow…and everything starts to make sense.

…maybe part monster, maybe part gentle soul, maybe part scared or misunderstood. This thought or concept has brought me so much comfort over the years and taught me so much about family life. It took me forever to figure out, my kids could be grouchy, or we could have a rough family outing and *I* could still have a good time…that I could be kind of annoyed yet still give myself permission to enjoy a moment or have my own experience entirely. It sounds small but was so big for me.

I have found myself in new ALL THE THINGS territory this week…somehow it spilled out onto forgiveness and conflict, which is so very hard for me. I don’t like being wrong because for so long I worked so hard at being “right”, thinking of it from every angle, trying so hard…making friends with my humanity has been a long struggle-caring so deeply, not wanting to think I have been unkind or thoughtless, those mistakes feel so deep for me. I end up justifying behavior or explaining a reason for my actions…when really I am still all the things.

I realized I can be sad, disappointed or even angry in a conflict and still own my part, be sorry. I can be wounded and make space to forgive or be sorry little by little, I can be wrong and a little bit right, I can honor each part. Then the light moves in, giving you the kindness you need for yourself, the kindness you can now offer. It doesn’t feel so big, so deep anymore…

…and once again kindness changes everything.

this week…

October 31, 2011

well, last week, but you know…

</a

lots of hands, and helping, and banana phones this week…

if you found your way here via Oprah, this might be a good place to start! …it explains the breakdown and breakthrough of this kindness life. 🙂

this week…

October 22, 2011

well, last week but you know….

Breathe it all in, Love it all out art idea piece is compliments of this rad diy project and blog…and vintage card catalog compliments of some thrifting, yard sale-in’ besties who shared their double score. Best present ever.

i swear…

October 14, 2011

We were on a staycation this week…well, it ended up as a bit of a disaster, I’m calling it the workcation, but there were some truly lovely lazy moments. I swear some of the best family times happen on lazy mornings when everyone congregates to one bed and hangs out…doing a whole lotta nothin’. (except the climb-over-the-rail and fall on the bed trick)

her first, totally, completely self carved pumpkin:









There is this sort of evolution to discovering you can do something yourself. I know it sounds super trivial or simple, but I feel kind of like a little girl every time it happens.

Something presents itself- usually pretty organically.
An idea pops into your mind.
If you’re me, you wonder if you indeed can do it.
You gather your tools and courage. (for some of us or for the biggies, this can take FOREVER!)
You make many, many phone calls to trusted advisers and dear friends that serve as beloved shrinks to be sure this is indeed a good idea.
You sort of fumble around in the beginning.
A tiny misstep here, a major screw up there.
You scratch your head, or wail- depending on how big the required course correction.
You feel like it may not happen or you dig in, deeper than ever.
You look at it from all the angles.
You finally realize, you were meant to do it all along. You had it, deep in your heart you know it.
You hold it up to a light.
You did it. YOU did it.
You worship it…and yourself. (maybe just for a minute or maybe for a really long time)

You bliss out…until the next something presents itself. But every time, you hold a bigger piece of yourself.

Thinking of you today, for whatever something is waiting for you discover- you are doing it.

this week…

October 6, 2011

well, last week, but you know…

the ordinary jazz hands…

September 20, 2011

My life sort of feels like a musical at the moment, of the Maria Von Trapp, High School Musical variety. The moments of climbing mountains, finding dreams or just trying to get my head in a new game are bountiful, oh, and there are LOTS of jazz hands.

I have moments of being paralyzed, just in awe of the swirl of recent goodness, wondering how I ended up here exactly and overwhelmed by what to do next. Then I glance over at the dishes piled up in the sink, or a small child insists on a princess cup, or you sit with your best friend at the kitchen table listening to stories of her artist amazing mom who passed away too soon, or an old neighborhood kid needs a ride home because he missed the bus and it is now raining, or you obsess over what words you should say to make something right to a friend, or you head out to a bereavement photography session, or you realize there is no milk for the cereal in the bowl…and life rolls on, as it should.

And you realize the magic of your life lies somewhere between the jazz hands and the ordinary. That great joy and hardship (along with with the mundane) almost always exist together. I always thought it was one or the other, forcing you to choose. It is when we honor and allow both to be that we find peace.

Your beautiful and messy life, the great successes and all the ways you can barely keep up, it is a gift to the world and to yourself.

this week…

September 18, 2011

well, really last week, but you know…

If you are a new friend from the O Magazine…here is a good place to start! So happy to have you…

this week…

September 9, 2011

well, last week…but, you know…

lyra grace

Her eyes alone can tell you she is almost three, ready to take on the world with the waffle headband and cherry boots she’s been rocking all summer. I have looked at this picture about 1,000 times this morning, mostly because she is making me crazy and I need a little reminder that I am actually in awe of her. She’s demanding and passionate, insisting that everything be done just so and now. She’s completely irrational.

For months I’ve had my eye on getting some big kindness work done, calling into being the ideas and dreams I’ve held close for quite some time. Something so exciting coming just this week (stay tuned) became a sort of deadline, the spark needed to set the roaring fire going. I’ve known for months, feeling the weight of the time approaching and still I procrastinated. It’s like almost impossible for me to work any other way, not to mention my kindness ADD where I am constantly distracted by the never ending opportunities surrounding me every where I go.

As I was gearing up my inner three year old this weekend, to call in all the help I need to pull something grand off, the flu descended upon my house. Well,  upon Jorge actually.

The flu, THE FLU. We went from pulling all nighters, throwin’ back the redbulls and high fivin’ in the morning over the amazing work done to please, please oh God, please don’t let it spread, massive amounts of Emergen-C, Lysol is now your best friend, hazmat quarantine, I can’t believe he is more than man-sick and HOW AM I EVER GOING TO GET IT DONE? …and I was mad, so mad because I thought it was going to be my time,  mad that I procrastinated, mad my children were needier than ever, mad that my poor husband had the flu.

How can you be mad at someone who is deathly ill with the flu?! Hello irrational thoughts…

The weekend went by, I gave impeccable care to Jorge with almost no bedside manner, barked at children and was generally grouchy and miserable. So this morning I woke up, threw on a waffle headband and some running shoes, prayed that Pandora would hold out and not stutter and freeze on my crappy phone and ran.  And for some strange reason, the Girl Talk channel spoke to me, the Universe conspired and played the exact right song after song until I reached the park where I promptly sat down and cried. …and I felt better.

On the way home a wise friend told me I may want to make friends with those irrational thoughts, sit in the humanity for a bit…so I could let them go (and not resent my dear family or treat them badly).  …and she was right because even when you are 3 or 34, you really just want someone to hear your rant, hold you and tell you all will be fine…whether you can’t have ice cream for breakfast or your spankin’ new kindness website won’t get done in time.

It’s really all okay… because the ice cream and website will be super sweet when the time is right. and you will get it…because you have your power headband on…and your cherry boots.

this week…

August 24, 2011

well, it was really last week…but, you know…

we should all…

August 14, 2011

we should all do some more couch diving…with brightly colored head bands on.