step in with your heart

family mornin’…

April 24, 2013

family morning family morning-2 family morning-3 family morning-4 family morning-5 family morning-6 family morning-7 family morning-8

this week…

February 24, 2012

actually from this week…shocking, I know.

this week…

December 17, 2011

well, last week, but you know…

“No matter what the world, cruel world does to you, never lose your faith. If you don’t know what you believe for your self you’ll be what every one wants you to be. God bless you. “-JS

given to me by a very, very kind drunk boy (stranger kindness) in a bar years ago…


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…


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. 🙂

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.

kindness is…

September 19, 2011

Kindness is not being nice, it is the act of seeing the human soul.

Kindnessgirl makes the October issue of O, The Oprah Magazine! I know, holy heck!!

About a year ago almost right at this time, I was a giant puddle on the floor. I was struggling so deeply with my kindness work, well, not my kindness work, just myself. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get out of my own way. I knew this work and way of life was meant to be shared and become a community in a new way but I was stuck. So many fears, mostly of being seen, being afraid of the power of it all and my long list of inadequacies, petrified of putting my heart and self completely out there, trying to figure out a way to do it safely. The big truth was, there was no safety, and deep down I knew it and then I sort of melted.

Sometime after that, I just started to find little bits of courage, to peel back the layers and be this sort of beautiful mess that I am in my head and heart. Slowly but surely, I could see I was always meant to believe and stand in this work fully, and just be the girl I am. Over and over again, like a broken record, I told myself that was all I had to do…live my life, follow each idea, call and say the words I know and am learning about kindness…and let kindness lead the way.

So, and I can’t even tell you how…but here I am. All I know is that I feel whole when I am in each moment of kindness, even the broken kind. A million of these moments, all added up and pieced together are the joy of my life. …and maybe my some kind of Wonderful. So I guess it was my breakdown that brought my breakthrough…and now to be seen and get to share my work and life in the O Magazine* is humbling, incredibly humbling…that despite myself, kindness finds me again.

If there is something hiding around in the back of your mind or heart, now is the time my friend. Everyone is just waiting for the goodness you are holding, it’s bigger than you anyway…it’s time. Anything, anything is possible…

and from the home front:

The lovely thing about children is that they have no idea or really care that you are in O Magazine, Lyra thought the mag would make a good hat. …or the lovely elderly woman we asked to take our picture with the magazine at Barnes & Noble was more concerned that I know my husband was very handsome and I should be nice to him…and she said she was too old to take any pictures. We ended up talking about her life for quite a bit…it couldn’t have been more perfect.

Lucy was obsessed with putting this bouquet together from the backyard garden flowers for the host of the football party we were late for. …and then I came home to this, I had been ding-dong-ditched by my good buddy Nora- with a picture of all the people on our street. And all the excitement over O and everything simple and true just sort of mixed together, and that felt so right. So very right.

So I have some things for folks to do to get their kindness going very soon, but until then, if you would like to know more, the guerrilla goodness page is a nice place to start, and here are a few stories about us finding our way…

Kindness is Magic

Sitting in Kindness

Of Mice and Lice

The Cycles of Great Kindness

If you think we should be Facebook friends or Twitter geeks together, please friend or follow, it would make my day!

And now about you…please tell me what has melted you this year in the comments, I’d love to hear.

*very special thanks to Joan Tupponce for writing the article and to Judi Crenshaw for sharing my story. ..and to my dear friend Meghan McSweeney for taking my picture in the article!  SO much gratitude to you all!

kindness with a punch…

February 6, 2011

you a- PEEL to me!

I love making inanimate objects talk. Like pretending the wet towel on the floor is begging you to be picked up, my kids are almost at the point of rolling their eyes but they still laugh. Creative kindness in your home is always the best place to start weaving your kindness life.


i heart dirty clothes! (on the hamper) ::you are freaking awesome! (on a very dirty mirror)

I was way excited to discover this conversation bubble punch at the discount store today. All I could think about the whole ride home was what funny things a banana could say.

so hung up on YOU! (on the coat rack):: can you give me a lift? (on the toilet seat)

How is it that the simple ideas always end up to be my favorite? …my labels and super punch may be following me into the city tomorrow.

i love your lego heart! (on a lego creation):: sweet dreams! (on her bed)


this kindness life…

February 5, 2011

Things are shifting and evolving for me…I’m thinking so much more about kindness as a way of life. Missions, projects, random acts invite us to try on kindness in the most beautiful ways, they help to shift our perspective, sometimes even ignite deeper thought about how we want to live our lives.

Even still, the last few years kindness has pulled me further down the rabbit hole, sometimes showing me her silly side, her strength, her dark, her play, her reflection, her grace, her truth…all of it has revealed my own stumbling heart, my brokenness, my determination, my passion, my resilience, my power,  my despair, my hope, my truth…this kindness life.

SO once a week, I want to share with you what unfolded…and invite you to join me.

in this kindness life:

::mud pies and sand cakes returned

::her first tooth came out, then another

::this required 1/2 hour shrink session/crying/letting go of the beloved teeth (her, not me)

::discovery of tooth fairy joy

::outside bliss moments of warmer air which made kids a crazy kind of happy

::came up with one AWESOME commune neighborhood kindness idea

:: which said idea carried me through lots of work struggles and teary moments

::thoughts about corporate kindness

::thinking about managing people vs. building relationships

::trying to figure out a way to turn problems on their side

:: sweet bread deliciousness

::a full pantry once again

::a reminder that kindness is magic

::finding connection and mending hearts through pure girlieness

::the excitement of being “styled”

::feeling pretty again after a long time

::being pulled completely out of my comfort zone at Zumba

::having enormous fun being terrible at Zumba, laughing so very hard

::trying hard to believe/remember that grace and kindness can find me, no matter what

Do tell me, what happened this week in your kindness life? The comment section is waiting, just for you. (or leave us a link to your blog post)