Today was the day! Team KindnessGirl met to run Color Me Rad with part of the proceeds going to our friends at the Special Olympics. I originally had grand plans of kindness missions happening while we ran, team pictures*, and messy amazing color- while the other plans were foiled we did get some CRAZY color. SO much so, that I am still trying to get the blue out of my nose after 20 Q-tips…yes, 20!

…and so it occurred to me that while we often ask folks to do kind acts for others- I wondered if it would be rad to leave missions for people/strangers to find and then do on their own. We called this Guerrilla Goodness mission Color Me Kind…

Each little pack had a hand written invitation for the finder to complete one of the following missions:

Leave a FAT tip for a dishwasher at your favorite restaurant. Don’t forget a note of thanks!

Pay for a friend’s next race registration, then tell them to pass it on.

Corral some grocery carts at the store parking lot, then leave a note at the desk for the worker thanking them for all they do. You can also leave a small gift card.

Ding Dong Ditch a bouquet of flowers to your bestie with a kind note, then tell them to pass it on.

We included some Kindness Changes Everything stickers and left them on cars in the parking lot after the race. It was rad…and kind…and fun. Now to see what kindness comes.

All I could think about the entire time I ran was how much my kids would have loved it…so I picked up a few packets of color and some white t-shirts and took the party home.

Pass this mission idea on to anyone in San Diego, Vancouver, Columbus or any of the other upcoming race dates because kindness seems to be the perfect match for this rad run…like so perfect they should get married and have babies together! Thanks Color Me Rad- RVA loves you!

so very sorry to anyone that we missed at the run today…please e-mail me at patience@kindnessgirl.com and I would love to send you one of the little mission packs we gave out today! 

Have you ever been on a road trip with a small child? or children?!! There is a whole science to packing, timing leaving, napping, snacks…and yet even at your best, there will be a moment when you will have to stop because no one can take even one more minute in the car. together.

And this is the moment you need a little travel grace. and joy. and busy little hands and minds.

As we are about to take an an 18 hour car trip ourselves, I was remembering the year my mom made these awesome travel kits for a road trip to Pennsylvania for a family reunion. Every few hours we got to pull a new activity out and I will never forget the Snoopy doll with the changeable outfits- it’s burned in my kid that-was-amazing memory. While we don’t have any 80’s Snoopy figures to hand out we thought there might be a trail of kindness we can leave for harried mothers and bored children that might become part of their trip memories.

Kate over at Mini-eco made these fantastic paper beads that I have loved using for kindness projects over the years. They are super easy to make and so visually gratifying. Head on over there for instructions- they really only require some colored paper, glitter glue and a stick. My kids love making them with me.

We grabbed some clear cello bags, brown paper, string , ribbon and threw in a Kindness Changes Everything sticker (so friends could find us or pass the kindness on) and made these little project packs for kids.

I tied a little square at the end of each beading string to avoid the kid drama of making the entire necklace and then letting go of one side and having the beads go all over the car seat- never to be found again among old french fries and dried up carrot sticks.

I also included 2 strings in some of the packets just in case there was a sibling, because how much would it suck if you found this little gift and then had 2 kids fighting over it?! Kindness trip FAIL!

I wrote a different note or message on each but most said something like this:

This Is For YOU! 

Dear mother traveling a long distance with small children,

may this busy little hands and bring some joy as you travel.

Now it’s your turn to pass on another act of kindness! 

Some started with:

Are your kids going nuts yet? Are YOU? Need something to do right about now? 

If you aren’t sure what to write, here is a download for some labels to attach to your kindness project! They fit on a 3.75 x 6 inch cello bag.

Here is the tag! They fit 3 to a sheet to print:

Other ideas for tiny project kits:

stickers and small squares of paper

tattoos

small games and activity print outs

colored pencils and small homemade books

Leave these little kits at rest stops, changing stations, benches, airports, trains, gas stations….any where a family might discover them. Let your kids do the hiding! Have fun!

May you have smooth, easy, happy car rides, even in the 15th hour and lots of kindness on your travels!

My dad felt really far from me as a little girl, maybe because he actually was or maybe because when you are little everything feels big- like work travel and soul distance. I had a hard time shaking that feeling as it spilled over onto my heart over the years. I knew he loved me, but I don’t remember him knowing what I liked on my sandwich or my boy problems, or feeling a sense of relief from his care.

But every time we he was home or we were together, there was pure delight in his eyes for all of me. My teenage self could not quite reconcile the two, so I picked up brick by brick to build around my heart, I also grabbed some judgement to keep with me while I hid behind it. There was only black and white for me, no grays of life allowed…no understanding of how a difficult start in this world can shift and change you or how  hardships can make it hard to know how to connect with each other….how your cards are dealt and you play the best way you know how.

So my dad held tight to love and delight and brokenness while I held pain and anger.

It wasn’t until my own fall that I could see my dad and his love in a new way. It created a crack in my fortress. I was 19, completely in love with Jorge, and pregnant. Sleeping with your boyfriend (and irresponsibly), not to mention any sex before marriage was a HUGE no-no in my conservative growing up world, with much shame and guilt…and secrets. He may have never even known any of it ever happened, but found a medical discharge paper from the miscarriage left in the car a week later.

He was worried, he didn’t know what the medical jargon meant, but he knew it wasn’t good. I was shocked by his response.

“Oh honey, you are just two kids in deep, deep love. It’s okay, you tell Jorge I wanna shake his hand and tell him I am sorry this all happened to you both.”  …and he hugged me.

Not a hint of judgement…or even disappointment…just pure, very unconditional love. I didn’t even know what to say. I held every flaw of his so close and now he was blowing mine away with the wind, leaving only love.

The redemption was profound. …and still it took time, but it had created a small space for love and time to heal me and to really see him. He called, I didn’t always return, he listened, he called again, taking one brick down at a time…and I realized his love for me had really never changed, it was always that pure, that kind…but the way we found each other did, our brokenness lead us to the same path. He never gave up.

I don’t really know if there is anyone else on the planet that loves me quite like my dad does, no one cheers and stands so boldly and loudly behind me…I am so grateful for his persistence and sheer joy for me. …and for all  I have learned from his love and life.

So here is the mission:

Write a love letter to your dad…tell the whole story, whether it was rocky or smooth, beautiful and old, whether he is dead or alive, thank him for what he taught you both from his goodness and from his broken places…or tell him what you wish it could have been, it all counts.

If you think he needs or would love to hear it, hide the letter in his pocket or jacket, or the glove compartment or on top of the credenza…or send it to your mom for her to hide it for you…

OR if you are not (or maybe never will be) ready to for that, hide the note in a newspaper or leave it on a park bench, coffee house or the hardware store…some dad (or son or daughter) will find it and know…and sit with you in that place for just a moment.

Thank you dads for loving us and caring, we honor you this weekend.

Feel free to share stories of your dad in the comments.

It started with one friend I happened to meet in front of my house one day…over the years he brought some more friends but in the last  few weeks every day someone brings someone new. I looked out in my back yard and before I knew it, there were about 20 kids, yep, 20.

And everyday I try to remember their names and we talk about school, and their families and every once in a while kindness. These kids play with my kids, and swing on the tree swing, ask me if they can have another clementine and tell me it’s okay my house is a mess when I apologize…and some days they just come to say hello and other days they stay…they are polite and kind, funny and some times a handful…and I am working my way through meeting their families, still so many to meet….and I love how our unintentional community rec center sort of unfolded together and the light they offer to me and my family.

It wasn’t long before I asked them if they wanted to go Ding Dong Ditchin’. They were totally in and yet still a little cautious. I thought back to the first time we went, and what a dark place I was in (even though you would never know in that old post). I was desperate to know kindness could change things for me, even if my world was falling apart…it was if I knew, somewhere deep, I had kindness… it would hold my hope for me when I was doubting and scared…or maybe it was just so dang fun, I just forgot all about my troubles.

Over the years as things got better, it just represented sheer joy and a thrill…and it turned into our signature act of kindness, which I so love. Even today, I’ll hear my friends talking or say, “Oh yeah, I got ding dong ditched….!!” and it always makes me smile, knowing how far kindness has traveled, and how we turned a prank into verbage of goodness.

…and I love how nervous I get just thinking about it, how my heart pounds, how hard we laugh, how we check to see if they got it…and how the rows of houses, apartments and places goes on and on…there will always be a need for anonymous kindness…

how it checks our perceptions and preconceived ideas about the world and each other, how it invites us to believe kindness is alive and stirs part of us to pass it on. I never, ever would have guessed what would come from one day of desperation and flowers and being with a gaggle of kids…but I am so, so grateful. It feels like I always return to the message my niece Madeleine wrote on the first card we ding dong ditched…Hope is never too far away.

it is love…

February 15, 2012

dude on an electric scooter most excited about cotton candy kindness yesterday, he was awesome

My buddy Nora (age 6) wrote very simply on one of the cotton candy sticks…it is love.

And I think that said it all.

There were drive by cotton candy pick-ups.

People bum rushed by gaggles of small children so excited to pass on the candy love.

There was the most beautiful couple dressed in the most perfect vintage clothes walking away with their pink fluffy candy, like something out of a movie.

There were neighborhood kids that came back for thirds.

There were deliveries being made three streets over, valentine surprises met with so much delight.

There were meltdowns from sugar crashes, it was perfect.

It was a lovely, lovely day because…it is love.

Thanks to all who joined us and those who joined us from a far with so much love, we felt it!

GUYS! I forgot to tell you- It’s Random Acts of Kindness Week! I always forget it is a thing or a special week but we have a mission idea up for you every day over at the Guerrilla Goodness Facebook page if you want to play along!

(and thank you for all who offered me love and hope yesterday- the answer surprisingly came through, it’s a go…more news when I can share.)

from our friends at James River High School, Richmond, Va.

I’ve been meeting with some kids from the Leadership Center at James River High. I was introduced to them by their Ethics teacher Mr. Couillard, affectionately called Mr. C.

I thought I was going to share my story, inspire a bit, blah, blah, blah….but the universe pulled this HUGE switcheroo on me.

I was stunned by these kids, their heart, their intentions, their focus on kindness and change…So when I got their list of plans for a You Are Loveable campaign at their school, I think my heart just melted. The Junior class took this original idea and ran so far with it with so much soul and creativity, I was blown away.

A bunch of guys giving girls lame pick up lines to make them smile

Somebody to LOVE by Queen playing on the intercom

A post-it kindness blast in the school parking lot

Sidewalks chalked with messages of love

I have looked at the list all week, with this silly grin on my face, imagining the kindness descending on that school in a big, big way.

But then today… Mr C. sent me the picture above of the bulletin boards filled with messages- Give What You Can, Take What You Need…and I started to cry a little…realizing this is the heart of kindness, I have something to give and I need to take something too.

I thought of all the sweet things planned for today- the You Are Loveable messages all over, the Cotton Candy Kindness later this afternoon…those are my Give What You Can sort of things…and then there are the Take What You Need things swirling…I don’t think I’ve taken it and I need it today.

Today I need:

Peace while I wait to find out if a big opportunity is going to happen to carry this message so much further (it feels sort of bleak at the moment, your good thoughts would be appreciated)

Community to gather and stand in some more complicated kindness- like the kind where you have to navigate different needs and still stand in what you believe in- in this case, it’s a skate park and finding the sweet middle place of compromise where everyone is valued and heard

Protection for a tender heart and clarity to see this work and this life for all its beauty- the comparison gremlin is knocking at the door of my soul hard right now.

SO on this day of love, please Give What You Can and Take What You Need in the comments…it can be our virtual bulletin board today inspired by Mr. C and the kids.

And just imagine all those high school kids kindness bombing their school, and people finding a message reminding them we are all loveable, and some grown kid eating pink fluffy candy goodness in the park…and know that kindness changes everything.

 

 

written in 2010, but we are bringin’ this one back this year because we could all use a little love right about now…

It all started at breakfast. I told her something terrible I said over slices of cheesecake and diet coke at 10am. The dear friend laughed and said. “You’re so loveable!”
“What?!” while grabbing yet another slice.
“You are!” she held firm and told me stories of people being loveable even at their worst, not to mention half of America is wondering if they are loveable on Valentine’s Day.

and it stayed with me….so here we are at Valentine’s Day and a Guerrilla Goodness mission is born from the kind of wisdom that only comes from real love.

Let’s tell our city, in a million tiny ways that we are LOVEABLE!

Here’s the deal:

Grab a pad of post-its or other pretty paper.
Leave your message (it can be anything) of love for someone to find.
Then trust it is found at exactly the right moment by the perfect person.
Guerrilla Goodness bliss!

here are some good GG spots to leave your message:
bus stops
library books
bathroom stalls/mirrors
car windshields
atm’s
grocery carts
subway seats
dressing rooms
bars
toll booths
the gym
pant pockets
any tiny spot someone might stumble upon

If you decide to join our project in Richmond or some other city, let us know in the comments or upload a picture to the GG Flickr pool or post them on the Guerrilla Goodness Facebook Page.

All is love this Valentine’s Day and I hope you know…you are loveable.