emilie love-2

I waited to tell her as long as I could…I knew she would take the news deep into her heart.

She is inquisitive.

She is soulful.

She is seven.

I scooped her into my arms, we climbed in bed and I tucked the covers all around us…with some false assumption that we would feel safe there.

“I have something I have to tell you Lucy…” I said. I followed the guide, trying to remember everything it said as I carefully laid out the story to her.

When I was done, she was quiet. We sat for what felt like an eternity…until she spoke. It was almost a whisper.

“Mom, that is very, very sad.” she replied quietly.

“It is baby, it is.” I agreed.  Just a moment later she spoke again.

“Can you tell me the kid’s names?” she asked.

I went through the list of children I remembered…then I stopped when I got to Emilie.


“There was a little girl who was six and she loved art, she carried her crayons and paper every where she went so she could make pictures for people.” I explained.

“I love to do that too.” she said.

“I  know. I am wondering if there is something we can do to honor Emilie.”

I proposed we sew tiny art coloring books like we have so many times before . The little books kept children busy in restaurants and car  rides, it seems all roads lead to art in my house…and in Emilie’s. I asked Lucy if she wanted to take the books and tie some crayons up with them in packages and leave them at the park and library, places where kids could find the small gift in honor of Emilie…in honor of a fellow 1st grade artist.

emilie love

Lucy liked the idea and asked me what I thought the other children liked. I said I didn’t know but maybe we could find out.

My heart was breaking, thinking of how long the list of likes must be…of simple things like art and cars and games.

…and how there won’t be any new drawings from Emilie on a refrigerator somewhere, or no more laying on her belly on the living room floor drawing pictures with her sisters, or a sweet presentation of crayon art to a grandpa or someone else she loved…but I can imagine Emilie, like Lucy would have been delighted to find a little art kit on a playground or on a bus bench.

So this is what we will do, with so much sadness and honor in our hearts, we will talk about Emilie and the others when they rise in our hearts…and we will look for ways to love and honor all the parts of them that brought so much joy to the world.

emilie love-3

You are welcome to join us this week. Here’s how:

1.Gather white and colored paper. We used a sewing machine and the fancy stiches to bind the little books together. Kids love to sew and the bright colors make the books so sweet. (please know you can do this project with or without kids)

2. If you aren’t crafty or don’t have time, the dollar store  and places like Target have great little crayon sets and drawing pads.

3. Attach the crayons and put the art kits in a basket and leave at places kids might find them. Playgrounds, parks, libraries, bus stops, the gym or music classes. You can also leave the kits places by themselves with out the baskets in random spots.

4. Leave a note with each kit saying, “In honor of Emile. She loved to draw and share her art.”

No more explanation is really needed.

If you plan to join us, you can post pictures on the Guerrilla Goodness Facebook page.

Today, we honor you Emilie…thank you for what you gave to the world.

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


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!

Lucy’s Father’s Day card

The Magic Wand Project for Kids continues to grow so we thought it might be fun to invite all the kids that have already found or made wands to keep the goodness going by offering a few kindness challenges this summer.

What’s our first challenge you ask?! Kindness to DADS! Tomorrow is Father’s Day but we thought we could keep the love going for the whole week. 7 days of Kindness Magic for our dads.

So here is how it works:

1. You find an old or recycled jar and make a label for the front.

2. Download our Kindness Magic for Dads! cards, cut them out and drop them in the jar.

3. Pick one each day to do for your dad, grandpa, uncle or some other kind friend that has loved you (maybe even your mom if she does both jobs!) 🙂 . Here is a funny card from the challenge- it’s a love bomb for dad that involves pictures. Make signs that say… “We love you when…”, then leave the pics all over the house for your dad to find!

4. Have fun and send us picture of kindness or even just a picture of you and your dad at The Magic Project for Kids Facebook Page.

We LOVE you Dads and can’t wait to share our kindness with you!

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.



photo by Sandra Culp Marr

I love it when a mission is so simple and small that it holds its own kind of beauty and unexpected power, maybe it is the kind you just stumble upon. I think  when we connect to our most basic shared humanity, magic always unfolds.  Two weeks ago, we invited folks to join us in thanking Garbage Collectors around the nation for their important work and place in the world…and boy, did you ever. Stories and pictures came tumbling in each day.

The kind people at GOOD helped spread the word, kids in schools all over made cards for their garbage man and school custodians, and lots and lots of people passed the word on to family and friends. The mission traveled further than any we have ever done…and while numbers aren’t totally in yet, we are estimating close to a 1,000 friends joined us.

Some garbage friends were so busy they didn’t even see the signs, others stopped and chatted, some even came back to thank us…and now more than ever, we are longing to be connected in new and meaningful ways. Kindness is growing bigger and moving faster than I have ever seen..it’s so, so good.

Thank you for being part of this with me…and thanks to all our new garbage collecting friends, we are grateful for you.

And a special thanks to Vejay, Lionel and Joe for taking the time to talk to me and inspiring this mission, we hope you know and feel our respect.

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What do you think the most thankless job in America is? I had my own idea but decided to take an informal poll among friends, family, and of course Facebook. It turns out, garbage collectors won by a landslide. I can’t say I was surprised. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, we create an additional one million tons of waste, which is a whopping 25% more that our collectors have to pick up and haul away.

These are people that are part of our lives, in our backyards or front sidewalk, taking away all our decay, the stuff we don’t want or no longer serves us. Yet even though these guys are in my living space every week, I really had no idea what they might look like or what their names were. I started to wonder so I woke up early one Friday morning and waited for them to roll down my alley.


I must have looked like a total loon waving my hands and carrying my camera but they stopped the truck and hopped out at my back gate. I introduced myself while Vejay, Lionel and Joe pulled off work gloves to shake my hand. We chatted for a moment and I told them I was interested in doing a kindness project for garbage collectors. I asked them what kind of kindness they thought was needed.

Joe leaned against the garbage can and said, “You know, we just need a little respect.”

“Yep, pretty sure everyone needs and deserves that, huh?” I replied.

“Yes, they do. Yes they do.” Joe said.

The kindness mission was sparked. What could be a more lovely and simple message of respect than saying, “I see you, I value your contribution to my community and I thank you.”?

Sometimes it is the smallest act of kindness that makes the greatest impact on a person. Meeting a basic human need may be all it takes to make a change. All I could imagine was Joe lifting can after can with notes of gratitude attached, throughout an entire neighborhood, maybe even a whole city.

So I asked the kids in my daughter’s kindergarten class if they would like to join me in writing thank you notes since they had just been learning about community helpers. The kids were stoked to take the mission on and the kindness started moving. Word traveled and seven more schools wanted in.


awesome thank you note from the kids at Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts

Here is the kindness mission, if you would like to join us:

1. Write a note of thanks to your garbage collector sometime from now until February 3rd.

2. You may want to include a gift card for coffee from your local coffee shop or gas station.

3. Attach it to your garbage can on pick up day for your collector to find.

4. Take a picture and send it to patience@kindnessgirl.com or upload it to our Guerrilla Goodness Flickr pool.

5. Tell us in the comments what city you are from so we can see how far our garbage gratitude is traveling. If you invited your school to join us, let us know the school too. Some schools are including their custodians in on the thank you note kindness too!

6. Hit the Facebook or Twitter button below to share or like…we all know Facebook and Twitter rule the world!

Can you imagine if there was a wave of gratitude across an entire nation? Garbage collectors may get kicked off the top of that most thankless job list. I imagine Joe would be just fine with that.

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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!

hurricane prep for kids…

August 25, 2011

message thrown in with today’s breakfast on the couch along with some cartoons for a dear and worried family member…

I was always a worrier, as long as I can remember. The other side of this sensitivity has taken me down a really beautiful path but the worry part?  Well, that can be tricky at times. Here are a few ideas to help some kids in your life if they happen to be sensitive souls that tend to absorb a lot.

1. Turn the TV off!  Some of us need the information to form a plan or process, most kids? Not so much. Grab your info on the internets, a constant stream of scary language like high winds, flooding and the like only revs the anxiety up. Simple explanations are plenty for kids along with a plan of action to ease the mind and heart.

2. Get your kit on! Let kids be part of the preparing process and make space for a few extras. The Spiderman flashlight is great distraction and awesome for shadow games later. Buy extra batteries so they can leave them on for as long as they want. Being part of a solution always empowers and helps us move our fear to an action place. Kit prep also gives us an opportunity to talk about what may happen after the storm so kids aren’t caught off gaurd.

3. Make a Kid kit too! Besides all the boring stuff like candles and water, have kids put together a small kit of things they love and activities for the storm and after. Now is the time for Bendaroos, small art kits,  sticker books, filling up the Ipod with books, special kid snacks, etc.

4. Make a worry box or candle! Sometimes our worry is just too big to be covered by talking and preparing, sometimes we just need someone else or thing to hold it for us. Take an old shoe box and decorate it with words and pictures that bring us comfort and peace. Make a slot in the top and invite the kids to let the box hold their worries for them for a little bit, leave small squares and markers next to it. Kids don’t even have to be able to write yet, a picture works just as well. I’ve seen many adults drop a note or two in the box too!

We have a little candle on our kitchen counter with some strips of paper and a pen. The wax drips over them, reminding me I am covered.

5. Go Guerrilla with your worry! Parents- leave little notes of love and safety on bed posts, bathroom mirrors and inside the pantry. When kids are tired of talking, it’s nice to have something reminding you in a less direct way.

Kids- If one kid is worried, it probably means others are too. Kids can write their own messages and leave them for other kids  to find in the supply section of the grocery store, at a park or even at the gas station. Sometimes thinking of others makes us feel less alone.

6. Party it up! Kids can only worry or hold heavy thoughts so long. Now is the time for Family DJ Dance party in the living room, or a Monopoly Marathon by candle light, movies and popcorn till the power goes. Enjoy the party and chance to be together in your home for a bit, slowing down can bring all kinds of gifts.

Do you have any ideas that work for you or your kids when the storm in your heart kicks up? Tell us in the comments!

It was part of a 3 mission marathon, a simple one- give balloons away to kids at various parks… Who doesn’t love balloons? This one was suggested to us but I must have picked the worst possible day to try. The heat index was like 110. We went to pick up balloons right before lunch when everyone was a tad grouchy and hungry.

We didn’t realize that taking the balloons from the cool store to the hot car would make them pop…24 balloons, it was a sea of color with little faces here and there, then they started to pop, so very loudly. *sigh*

I made these little cards to attach which was great but then made the strings all tangled when we tried to give them out.

We kept pressing on, we lost a few until Lyra figured out you can’t let go. When we finally got to the previously packed park, it was almost empty. Just 2 families were there but we decided we should try anyway…and then to my utter disbelief, the school age kids had absolutely no interest in the balloons. They didn’t want them.

A kind mom saw Lyra’s dejected face and prompted the kids to change their minds but we were okay. Kindness is meant for those who need and want it, it’s okay to not need or want it. Still, it is quite the buzzkill, so the only thing to do was to go get a slurpee- it just happened to be free slurpee day- lick our wounds and strangely colored ice and head home to the old tried and true- our neighborhood park.

We found our good friend G, a toddler and all around good guy. He was thrilled with a red balloon. Someone else accidentally let one go but it strangely delighted everyone. SO it became a balloon release, and we hope the little kindness cards attached found some other dear soul, and not the birds- the eco-girl in me was trying to be cool with it all…because sometimes nothing goes right and everything goes wrong…and you have to let it be and get up tomorrow and try again.

because kindness is worth it.

It’s been sweltering, that Virginia kind of southern heat. All I can think about when things are so sticky is

1. I think Virginia might even be hotter than Miami.
2. Somewhere right now Ashley Judd is makin’ a movie with her glistening self with magnolias in the background. I wish I glistened, but we pretty much sweat around here.

We were hankerin’ for some popsicles so off we went to buy a ridiculous amount for both ourselves and Monroe Park. Monroe Park is sort of a haven for homeless folks in our town but is also right next to a university and smack dab in the city. Lots of people that might be interested in some fruity frozen sweetness.

We didn’t have any guerrilla goodness cards with us so Josiah made that awesome sign to stick on the box and MacGyver-ed it with a band-aid at the top. See it? It’s amazing what you can find in the glove box in a pinch, if only there had been some wipes in there it would have been awesome!

I do not really think about what we are doing when we go on kindness adventures, I don’t think about the impact or the purpose…we just sort of go and be in the moment, we meet people, collect stories, play…but this day it was almost as if I was just observing, watching over and it all hit me at once.

My little girls had no fear once we got going, nothing holding them back to connect with folks, offer what we had, become friends. I realized they had absolutely no idea that most of the people they were talking to probably had mental health issues, or struggle with addiction or even that they were homeless…it was just about popsicles, like you would pop a squat with a friend at preschool or tell your dad’s co-worker all about your new stuffed animal. This kind of touched me, seeing their innocence that comes with their age but also realizing, they have done this so many times, met so many people, they don’t really know any different…this is life, a hot summer afternoon.

I felt sort of proud, in that mother look-at-my-babies kind of way… hoping that when they get old, they will be able to make friends anywhere, feel at home in the world and in their heart… see, appreciate and know the beauty of love all around.

An adventure for you:

It’s hot almost everywhere!! Take a box of popsicles to the playground or park and pass them out.

Have fun and tell us how it went in the comments if you decide to play!

*Disclaimer*- go at your own risk- go to a place you are familiar with and feel safe! Not everyone feels safe or comfortable mixing with strangers or a public place, it’s okay! You can take a box to the office, or your play date/group, or even the neighborhood!

(I also noticed how much I did NOT want to take pictures of this one, it felt weird…you don’t always have to document, sometimes it’s better to just be.)

“It’s like WE are the Easter Bunny!” Lucy (age 5)

It’s so true, it’s so lovely to get to be a magical mythical figure, even just for a tiny bit. A day before leaving for an Easter weekend camping trip (which, btw, was so comical for us city folk), we got together with our partners in kindness crime on our block to do some sweet guerrilla goodness for the kids at our local park.

We wrote our messages and stuffed them along with treats into good ole’ plastic easter eggs and hid them at our neighborhood park early one morning before Easter. Some friends wrote their own and I’m not sure actually had full complete words, but the intent of kindness was just the same so we put them in.

I have to tell you, I was in the grouchiest mood on the filling day, it is always a wonder how kindness can melt you, no matter which side you find yourself on. Just looking at these pics of dear children finding their kindness way pretty much carries me as long as my heart needs.

And then there was one, who just thought the entire thing made no sense at all and held tight to her egg, which was just fine with me…sometimes the whole orchestration is just meant for us to receive.

Thanks J and crew for all the sweet energy you always bring to every kindness project we do together!

Oh how was your Easter? Hoping kindness found you too…

Lucy: (in total kindness and candy triumph) yelling “Cotton Candy Kindness!! We did it!!”

I think we may have reached kindness nirvana my friends! Today our street gathered together to do a little neighborhood guerrilla goodness on our block and at our local park, it was so, so sweet. Someone lent their yard and power, somebody else got supplies to make signs, one family made the raddest side walk chalk…and then all together, we handed out the mother of all Valentine’s treats-COTTON CANDY!

110 servings to be exact. To kids, the skate park crowd, the passerbys, the basketball players, people driving by in their cars. It was ridiculous fun!

Small children making signs and distributing kindness candy love may be the greatest thing ever.

The drive-thru cotton candy was fantastic!

I’m not sure who enjoyed it more, the kids or adults, but we decided we MUST do it again!

Happy Valentine’s Day! May kindness find you in all the ways you need to know love!!

balloon delivery kids…

September 20, 2010

“Mom, I think the kids should go by ourselves.” Josiah said with a handful of white ribbons attached to bright balloons. It’s one of the perks of your dad being in the event industry. Every once in awhile he has a just a little helium left over and any good event guy has a pack of balloons somewhere in the trunk of his car.

Jorge asked the kids if they wanted to take Stella a balloon since she hadn’t been feeling well all day. The kids were all over it except the idea grew in about a second when they decided they should deliver balloons to all the kids on the street. After they delivered the first balloon, those kids wanted to come along. Before we knew it there was a whole gaggle of kids and balls of color racing down the sidewalk in total bliss.

The only thing better is an awesome adult playing monster and kissing you all over your face…

or a yellow balloon combined with a rad vintage Batman shirt (that was your dad’s when he was a kid) to make you run super fast…and it totally worked, you were like the wind.

Oh, the simple joys…

photo by the Koshock crew

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

here’s the deal:

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 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 Flickr Pool.

Other folks chalkin’ it up:

Everyday Heartbeats

Holton Elementary School- Mrs. Hooker’s First Grade Class
Swansboro Elementary
Munford Elementary
Gordon Elementary
Richmond Montessori
Clover Hill Elementary
Crestwood Elementary
Bellevue Elementary
Legacy Elementary- Ashburn, Va
Montross Middle School

Washington D.C.
Los Angeles
Days Creek, OR