a turkey love bomb

I looked at the archives… “Do you know I’ve been ‘tired and overwhelmed’ in the November posts for like 6 YEARS?!!”  I told him. “I’m sorry, THAT must have been exhausting for you.”

But can we help it really? The season is beginning, it is equal parts overwhelming and wonderful. I have dear memories of cooking many a Thanksgiving turkey with my sisters and mom (we always named the bird) and at the same time being so very fried, me, not the turkey. We have so many expectations around the holidays and lots of family goodness and dysfunction, and a helluva lot of work. We want it to be special and meaningful (dare I say, magical?) and I can’t even imagine how the retail folk feel at the end…I wondered if there was a mission in the middle of all that somewhere…for everyone.

So Lyra and I went into our local grocery store and post-it/kindness bombed it…with all the things I could imagine that mothers, friends, stock boys/girls, the last minute Melvins may need to hear…or know. We thought you may like to join us.

It’s pretty simple, here goes:

1. Grab a pad of post-its.

2. Write encouraging messages to harried mothers, tired checkout girls and strung out foodies…any kind message will do.

I am grateful for all you do.

You can skip something, the holiday will still be sweet.

Your mashed potatoes are the best I’ve ever had, thanks for making them every year.

All the little things you do matter.

It’s only one meal with your crazy family, you can do it.

Your turkey will be FANTASTIC! ( and not dry at all)

3. Take the pad to your local grocery store and stealthily leave them all over the store- extra points for iphone pics. Or just tell us what city and store has been kindness bombed and we’ll mark it off the list.

4. You have from now until Thanksgiving day and send pics to patience@kindnessgirl.com or post them on our Guerrilla Goodness Facebook page.

I can’t wait to see your holiday kindness in the midst of love and craziness and a mean green bean supreme!

Please share this link on Facebook and let’s see how many stores we can hit!

The weather is changing where I live, it feels like the dark is moving in fast. A little faster than I expected. I find myself wanting to hibernate. It is a lovely time, to go in and be closer together with people we love. The only tricky part is that sometimes we still need a bit more and if you don’t have people around you or you are facing something big, you can start to believe you are alone.

It’s easy to lose your way in the dark…or forget the warmth of light. It seems like lots of dear folks around me right now need a little light, or need someone to come into the cave, or stand side by side, a little closer.

So I wondered if there was a little reminder we could offer each other, a small, but bright light we can share.

day of the dead lantern

The kids and I have been making these little lanterns over the years. I’m sure it was like a 3rd grade art project but I love them so much…they are colorful and sweet.
Here’s my idea:
We all probably know someone who feels a little lost, or low or just in need of some love and light? I thought the crafty folks and the rest of us can just channel our inner third graders and make lanterns. We can leave them on a door step for the people we care about with a little note. Even in the coming cold and dark, we are together, and no one has to do it alone…and kindness changes everything.

Here’s how:

1. All you need are some old jars from the recycling, glue, a foam brush, tissue paper, tea lights and wire.

2. Mix the glue with water with a 1 to 1 ratio- half water, half glue, you can make it a little thicker if needed. I use Elmer’s glue ALL, this mixture is similar to Mod Podge.

3. Brush on the glue and lay the tissue paper. Let it dry and then add one or 2 more coats of the glue mixture over the entire jar.

4. The tissue paper ink runs, so it’s good to use a foam brush.

5. Wrap the wire (ceiling wire from the hardware store works great) around and loop around the lantern handle to secure.

6. Leave a tea light in the lantern- we love the LED fake kind of tea light for deliveries so we don’t have to worry about fire safety.

7. Attach a note of love or a quote on light.

You can send your pictures of your lanterns to me at patience@kindnessgirl.com or post them on our Guerrilla Goodness Facebook page. Also, can you do a favor for me? In the comments, can you include some quotes on light or even your thoughts of things you need to hear in the dark?

AND if you are in Richmond and you could use a lantern of light and hope, I have 4 lanterns that the kids and I will be Ding Dong Ditching…we would love to bring one to you. E-mail me at patience@kindnessgirl.com with a name and address.

May warm nights and lots of light find you as the winter comes…

I want to think again of dangerous and noble things,
I want to be light and frolicsome,
I want to be improbable and beautiful,
as though I had wings.

-Mary Oliver

I love the idea that messages are left in the world for us to discover. I was reminded of this one via my friend Jaime, I’m not sure she even knows she passed it to me, but she did…that Mary Oliver gets my gut and heart every time.

I bought some register tape (about 2.5 inches, maybe less) for the kids as part of our art studio and stumbled upon it the other day. It’s wonderful when something can go on and on, even longer than you imagine. I realized the paper is also the perfect size for in between the chain link fence- my guerrilla mind exploded!

So here’s the mission:

1. If you could leave the world a message, what would it say? OR maybe you need to leave one for yourself? What would leave your heart full or give you courage to take a next step? (whatever that may be)

2. Buy some register tape- any old office supply place has them.

3. Write a quote or a message to the world, yourself, a friend…leave a few. They also work on wood fences but need more space for the words and are a little trickier to thread through.

4. This mission is a little harder to do with out getting caught because it takes time to get it securely weaved.
Plan it for some one when they aren’t home (and NOT on the neighbors fence!) or go early in the morning to a park, or other public space- night may get you in trouble. Also be sure to pick up your trash in a week or two, or after the rain.

5. Take a picture!!! Whip out that trusty iphone or droid, share your message with US!!! We wanna see and be inspired! You can post the pic on the Facebook Guerrilla Goodness page or send it to me and I can do it for you!! patience@kindnessgirl.com

Have fun!

Oh! and don’t forget, our Dinner with Jimmy Mission ends on October 18th! You can still e-mail me your pics to be forwarded on to Dolores.

ETA- I think the register tape would work around trees and poles!!! oh, the kindness ideas never end…

lots o’ dinners…

October 11, 2011

We had our first dinner with Jimmy by candle light last night….my, was it lovely. Jen made to die for manicotti and salad, Vic and I made bread. Lillian (age 7) proclaimed that she only loved our cooking, the mothers in her life. It was joyful and sort of peaceful, even in kid chaos. There is something about intentional gatherings, bright orange pepperberries at a pretty table and comfort food on a fall night. We ate way too much, I think Jimmy would have been happy by the fullness all around.

…and your moments are coming in, daughters coming home from college for meatballs, the sweetness of preschool grand daughters who still can’t say the word spaghetti, homemade marinara being stocked up for the winter,  large casserole dishes of lasagna shared with gaggles of kids and friends…thank you for joining in on this kindness mission. I think it may be one of my most favorites yet.

Our simple love and kindness holds so much…

You can still join us!! This mission ends on October 18th! Send us a picture of your dinner with Jimmy to patience@kindnessgirl.com or upload on your facebook page and tag Guerrilla Goodness, or put it on the GG page- any way you want to share! All pictures and messages are being forwarded to Dolores and her family.

Hope you are enjoying your fall with the ones you love!

Kindness for YOU starts on October 31st so don’t worry if you haven’t signed up yet or were wondering where your e-mail is, it’s COMING!!

I love school supplies…there is nothing better than a new set of markers, a pretty journal or super sharp pencils. But what if you got a new back pack AND got some ice cream after?!!! In honor of our good kindness friend Chris and her kindness mission, we thought we would do it over on our little part of the country.

If you are last minute school shopping this weekend, get some fabulous and inspiring supplies and leave a little treasure behind for another kid to find.

Here’s the deal:

1. Baskin Robbins sells $2 gift certificates, which is exactly the cost of a kid’s size cone. Perfect, right?!

2. Buy a few, and attach a little message with a post-it.

Some ideas for messages:

Have a great year at school! Have a little treat on us!

Kindness found you! Enjoy this treat!

Hope you know how sweet you are! Here’s a sweet to remind you!

3. Hide your ice cream treasures in back packs, pencil boxes, thermos canisters, and notebooks at your local store!

4. Grab an ice cream cone for yourself and enjoy the kindness high!

Tell us your story and share pictures if you decide to take on this cool mission…

Check out these cool pics from Kelly and her crew chalking for the first day of school!

It’s back! It’s time for the sidewalk chalk love again friends! You may remember when hundreds of folks ALL over the country headed out with sidewalk chalk to encourage the kids of their cities and towns on the first day of school. Well, we are doin’ it again and would love to have you join us!

I don’t know about you, but I could never sleep the night before school started. I wondered what my teacher was going to be like, who I would sit next to, what the work would be. It can all be a little overwhelming. Everybody could use a little encouragement, just a little reminder that you are loved!

So here’s the mission:

1. Grab some bright sidewalk chalk.

2. You head out with friends, family, kids, dogs, grandmothers, artists, whoever…and write positive messges to kids on the sidewalks in front of the elementary schools (or any schools, universities, etc.) in your neighborhood, or even your own sidewalk for the first day of school. Here are some things you can write:

Have a GREAT first day of school!!

It’s going to be a awesome year!

You look fantastic!

We believe in you!

if you want more ideas, check out the pictures of what other people have done here.

3. Go home blissed out with the kindness high!

4. If you are a kindness kid, be super quiet when you are walking to school the next day and everyone around you is talking about the cool art out front… and smile.

5. If you are a Richmonder and want to participate, reach out to your local school administration and send them a link to this post for permission. If just the idea makes you tired or sweat, contact me and I’ll do it for you! patience@kindnessgirl.com

6. If you decide to do this project or blog about it, please leave a comment so we can highlight your kindness work and watch it grow! Don’t forget to send me pictures and I’ll post them or simply add them to our GG Facebook Page.

Also, if you want to learn about school kindness trees, my friend Chris had this awesome idea!

*go at your own risk…be safe, go to familiar places and with others, ask permission if needed, be smart and respectful. It’s more fun that way!

Jack, February 2011

This boy and his bike…there was a deep love. I completely get it. The wind blowing on your face, going faster than your legs can take you, all of boyhood in its perfect freedom. I knew it was gonna be bad. I came home late Monday night to find our gate wide open, 2 boys bikes gone. They hadn’t been locked, I guess we felt so at home, guards were down….or maybe there were never any guards up and we are at home in every way, I dunno. I told him gently but he very dramatically ran to the porch just to make sure it was true. He burst into tears…it was the saddest cry from an 8 year old you’ve ever heard.

“I just don’t understand mom, why? Why would someone take my bike from me? I loved that bike so much mom, it was the one I learned to ride on. We had so, so many good times…” he went on remembering. His view of the world was rocked.

I didn’t care too much about the bikes, they were thrift store specials. One really good find (a Trek) but even that bike was too small for him now. My head goes straight to – the need must have been great to take them, on whatever level. And it’s just stuff, right? This is the story I tried to tell my boy to soothe his wounds, and he looked like he was trying to take it in…but it doesn’t change the fact that you are sad and disappointed.  I didn’t even try to take that away, because so often grief is a friend to us in times like these. It means we care and love…even for simple things like bicycles and memories.

I looked at the sidewalk art Lyra and I made on the morning the bikes were stolen. This Way To Love… and maybe my invitation was clear, if this was what someone needed- love, in whatever form. Every now and then I start to wonder if I live in a Kindness Wonderland (a la Alice), a place I have created in my head and heart. The one that Pollyanna dances in, far from cynicism and darkness, one that believes over and over again the good, that kindness can be found, no matter what. Sometimes, this way does require you to believe 6 impossible things before breakfast…and then there are moments when I start to wonder if I just fell down the hole, I must be mad.

Mad or not, my children will have to decide for themselves, and even I couldn’t blame them for any conclusions they were making that day. We walked to the park but that just reminded him of more riding adventures. We came home and he cried some more, it was so heartbreaking.  Less than an hour later there was a knock at the door.

I opened the door and literally gasped. The whole street, men, women, kids, babies, with the same gates wide open and gathered ’round stood there with two new bikes…and now I was the one who burst into tears.

They said they wanted Jack to know the world was still good. …and my world was rocked. That people would love my family this way, that the impossible thought of great kindness was real, that we would be humbled and so deeply touched by it…over and over again, that any shred of doubt would be replaced with such assurance, stronger than before. The fact that we get to live next to these people, side by side, every day- this is the greatest kindness.

We didn’t know how we could ever thank them, although Jack suggested ding dong ditching them his entire savings, we settled on some homemade chocolate chip cookies and thank you notes. When all was said and done, Jack told me he thought in the end maybe everyone got what they needed- the person who took his bike, his lesson about the world and his new bike, and our family.

…and I’m pretty sure I know the way to love, thank you to our street for reminding me, it’s all right here, Wonderland and all.