Summer Stories
7:30 pm
A backyard show
Info here:

It’s summer guys and time to bring the LOHK community together! Join us for a night of stories featuring Kristin Pedemonti and local storytellers Jennifer Lemons , Katie Holcomb , Susan Howson, Josh Epperson, Doug Orleski and more…we’ll have beer, s’mores and some LOHK magic all in the backyard.

It’s a free show (a kind soul gave us beer people!) and night, but bring your dollars because we’ll be passin’ the hat so we can send Kristin off with lots of love and kindness! (in true LOHK fashion)

AND you can pick up your LOHK t-shirts from the pre-order sale! Hope you can join us!

With kindness,
The Light of Human Kindness team
music by “Self-Portrait” by Jahzzar

stories of humanKIND…

August 12, 2013

binford stories


Stories of HumanKIND is a community art event on 8/17/13.
Join us as we kick-off The Light of Human Kindness mural installation by hand writing and painting the stories collected at on to the kindness wall at the old GRTC Depot as part of the RVA Street Art Festival.
Hamilton Glass will start painting the mural over parts of the stories on 8/19/13.

Feel free to come and go through out the day. We will be there with paint and markers covering the 80ft. wall with stories of dark and hope.

If you have ever wanted to be part of a mural installation, here is your chance!

For more info:
To share your story:

Kids can chalk on places on the wall while the adults/teens paint and write. All supplies will be provided.
Rain date: 8/18/2013

all the good things…it’s important to find them, or let them find you.

LOVE…we need it now. This is for you and me J.

We called these grasshoppers Louie when we were kids…this is for you Kate.

Kinfolk Manifesto from Kinfolk on Vimeo.

Life is art, art is life…love this magazine.


a dear person and her kind work in the world going viral on Huffington Post!! (i predict) SO excited for Melinda! Hug on!

a true story…

July 8, 2012

photo by Dean Hoffmeyer

Feeling humbled and grateful to have a Flair article written about my work in the Richmond Times Dispatch…you can read it here.

I always have this mixed sort of feeling about press- wanting so very much for our kindness work to move further but thinking, “Oh my lord, I hope people know what this thing really is…my feeble attempt everyday to do kindness the justice it deserves and yet sort of stumbling through. ” Ever doing the balancing act of trying not to get into my own way and being so excited that the voice is growing.

That one thing I want more than anything,  for people to know and see the power and accessibility of kindness for everyone…whether you really need it, or need to give it. It all counts….and knowing it’s so much more than being nice, it’s everything including the mess and holding tight to the one thing that guides you.

Bill Lohmann, the Richmond Times Dispatch reporter, really listened, he really heard my heart and message…and he wrote a wonderful and true story.  I am so, so grateful.

So go buy that paper or leave a comment, three cheers for the whole story and kindness. (and Bill.)

For new friends that are asking- here is where you find the Kindness Changes Everything stickers and the Soulsister collaboration with the lovely Suzanne Vinson.

special thanks to Dean Hoffmeyer for such sweet pictures too!

Seeing KINDNESS CHANGES EVERYTHING in bold is making my heart swoon this morning…my latest post for the Huffington Post made the front page of the Good News section and the main front page…and the requests for encouragement are pouring in. If you want to help write, shoot me an e-mail at patience@kindnessgirl…or if you need a note, please do the same. We may put out a call for postage stamps if this thing gets super crazy!

I am so touched that audacious kindness is working…it’s where we are headed friends. Together.

1. extremely bold or daring; recklessly brave; fearless: an audacious explorer.
2. extremely original; without restriction to prior ideas; highly inventive: an audacious vision of the city’s bright future.
3. recklessly bold in defiance of convention, propriety, law, or the like; insolent; brazen.
4. lively; unrestrained; uninhibited: an audacious interpretation of her role.

all we have to do is be brave and kind…

“I don’t do this anymore, it just isn’t part of my life…it used to be though.” I said to my dear friend Christa as we sat and watched our kids play on the beach.

“What? sit? or just be?” she replied.

“Both.” I answered.

It was an impromptu trip, an idea you say out of loud to a friend but not really expecting it to happen. You know, the “You know what we should do? we should…” …but this time I just said yes. So we booked a cabin in a Virginia Beach camp ground for a couple nights. I didn’t really have money, time or energy but all of those things are short these days and some times you just have to call it in. Since money was tight, my friend did what any good girlfriend does, she slipped me a $20 and her dear husband Cris went out and hooked us up with a mad amount of groceries…then he sent a lasagna. And with way too many bags (plus some christmas lights)

and even more children, we were on our way.

We arrived and within minutes someone named the cabin, and it turned out to be a very fitting name- The Magic Cabin. I slipped a sign on the door, one invitation of kindness and the magic began. We didn’t really have a lot planned, a little, but not a lot. I was just too tired to do all that making memories stuff, but I am starting to think the best stuff just happens on its own anyway.

It started with a failed and messy Pinterest craft…but no one seemed to care.

and a sweet dinner…with the question answered- “What one thing do you want to do before you grow up?”

then there was nature woodsy stuff…

and vacation surprises and candy…

and beach treasures and kite goodness…

…and there were visits from a kind Granny, and kid conflict, and frolicking, and eating way too many clementines, and chai tea with homemade maple syrup whipped cream, and scary bugs, and laughing so hard your side hurts, and snoring, and exhaustion from packing and unpacking and packing again…and epiphanies about your parenting.

The kind that was so gentle, and unfolded just so, so you could see it on your own, without judgement and surrounded in so much love. I could see just how much my kids need me in an intentional way to hold experiences of kindness for them, and just them at times. For so long I have secretly feared my kids will grow up and feel like they didn’t get enough while I shared and invited kindness for the whole world…and I realized how open they are and how little it takes, and how over the last few years, little by little, I have lost bits and moments of family kindness.

And it was so sweet to just be, to be in the place where it all started, and to be in the only place that matters…and to know you can always call it back and decide to be a new way…and to be a little sad for how you lost your path and yet so hopeful and happy to know what you can do to find it again.

So the last night, we decided to give the kids a blessingway. (a blessingway is a ceremony rooted in Navajo culture and history as a way to “bless the way” of someone walking into a new part of life. Women often give them to pregnant women about to have a baby.) After about the million I have been to over the years, it never occurred to me to have one with my kids.

So we made a fire and gathered a circle with candles and decorated with the left over defunct Pinterest art that Josiah made into a nest. It was perfect. We called the kids in one by one, and whispered by name, “We are glad you are here ______.”

They sat with wide eyes as Christa explained what a blessingway was and the history behind it…and how we wanted to bless them as part of our families together. Over the weekend, the kids had been learning about animal totems and trying to figure out which animal best represented them and their spirit. Some kids knew and others weren’t sure. So we gathered some items from nature to represent the animal we chose for them. We presented the items and told each child the things we saw in them and the blessings they hold.

Josiah was a deer, Roman a buck,  Lucy was a bird, Jack was a wolf…and I watched as they soaked it all in. And one we were totally wrong about and have to still figure out. It was almost as if the little guy knew himself, knowing who and what he is so clearly…but we didn’t have the match right. It was a lesson in the value of struggle and finding your way to your kids, to listening and honoring each other in the process. It was the beauty of the kid bs meter, and that it’s worth it to be real and true, whatever that looks like. (and that s’mores can right almost any parent screw up)

It was finally Lyra’s turn and Christa started her blessing. She explained how Lyra was playful and engaging like a dolphin…inviting connection and love. And I watched as Lyra nodded her head in total agreement, while she whispered “yes” as she sat in my lap and listened to Christa’s wise words. Her eyes sparkled, it was as if someone just saw all of her for the first time. I was shocked by her response and how deeply she felt the connection, even at the age of three. It was a true soul experience, for all of us. She hugged and thanked me 3 times after we were done, and asked if we could turn her dolphin shell into a necklace. I don’t think it has left her neck yet.

I walked away once again amazed by how capable kids are, in their minds, in their hearts, in their souls- the magic they are..and how much they hold and have to offer…and amazed how magic comes in so many forms, the magic of not knowing, the magic of struggle, the magic of being discovered and blessed and mostly, the magic of just being.

you can see the rest of the pictures from our adventure here.

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’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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feel the light…

December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to you all…hoping a kind light finds you and those you love this night.

I am so very grateful for your care, joy and love for me and my family this year, your kindness changes everything…may it be returned ten fold.





we are connected…

December 16, 2011

“I thought when you girls grew up you would just have happily ever after sort of lives…” my mom said on the phone one day. “I didn’t think you would have struggles, I just never thought about it I guess. Nobody tells you that…” she went on…

And then it occurred to me, I felt the same way. I never imagine my children will grow up to face hard things. It sounds almost silly to say it out loud because of course they will…but somewhere, somehow, maybe I thought I was carrying it so they wouldn’t have to. That if I tried so hard…to figure it out, to lay a path of love that they could just walk it with no harm to any part of their minds and hearts.

The ridiculous thoughts of mothers…even mothers that know there is great beauty and love in hardship, that finding our way through pain helps us really see the world and know we are alive, that kindness can find us anywhere, that each step, even the screwed up ones take us to a new place of understanding, that our joys are as great as our sorrows, that this is the human condition, that this is where we find and hold the light.

Then a few days later while putting up Christmas lights, Christmas magic descended on this mother…Lucy gave me a new perspective, something else to hold on to.

She will often randomly wish me a “Merry Christmas MOM!”, while brushing her teeth, or eating an apple or right before she shuts the car door to go to school…I wonder why we all don’t do this, like everyday of December is Christmas.

While we were stringing lights, just she and I in the dark one night, her Merry Christmas struck again.

“Merry Christmas Mom! The lights, the tree, the snow, the hot chocolate, the sledding, the love…Merry Christmas for ALL of it mom!” she proclaimed.

“Oh Luce…what a girl you are.” I replied.

“We are so connected mom.” she said very matter-of-factly while she fed me the strand of lights and I wrapped the tree.

I thought she meant the lights, my literal-teacher mind kicked in, but I threw in the deep, you know, just because that’s where I live in my head.

“We are, aren’t we? In so many ways.” I answered.

“We ARE mom, we are so connected, even in trouble, even when I have trouble! We are connected right?” she said.

“It’s true. Especially then.” I said.

And it was clear, there is no protection from life, even she knows that…but there is a love that can buoy us…and there is a shout of a Merry Christmas in the most mundane moments…

there is a place…

there is a way…

that we are all connected.

I never even asked her what her last name was. I was so lost in her story and the bright light and kindness in her eyes.

“People need to know Patience, especially black women, HIV is still out there, they need to hear our story…we need to take care of each other. Women are afraid, they are scared….especially black women, they don’t have to be afraid, this is my life. I have to keep growing, we can’t stop living because we are HIV positive…”

We sat on a cozy plaid couch in a quiet room at the Fan Free Clinic. If we had a cup of tea, it would have felt like we were in her living room but it was the testing and counseling room. I thought of all the men and women, families, mothers that had sat on that couch, alone or with hands clenched tight with a loved one, waiting to find out if HIV would now be part of their lives and future.

Darlene told me how she prayed while she sat crying on a brick wall at 3am by herself one night,  hearing the police coming, not knowing they were coming for her.

“I prayed to God, ‘Please God, please take this taste from my mouth, please, if you do, I’ll never do drugs again’. God bless those police, they took me in.”

After that night, Darlene spent 2 years in a city jail and graduated after 2 years in drug court, a program designed to helps folks struggling with addiction. It was during her drug court time that she found out she was HIV positive. Shortly after she found her way to the support and love of the Fan Free Clinic.

I was struck by her gentle strength and resolve. I asked her how she found her way through.

“This is not a death threat…I still can love you and you can still love me…I cry a lot, I pray to God, ‘It’s just you and me with this virus…I am gonna love on people’. You don’t have to be alone with this virus, just hold on – Life is gonna still be there- and you just gotta love on people…I am still here.”

HIV is still here.

Darlene is still here.

Life is still here.

And love is at the bottom of everything.

I couldn’t help but think of all the people that are still searching for what Darlene knows, all the women and men that have yet to discover what real love looks and feels like it, how it can heal your soul…and all the women that Darlene is holding in her heart, the women she hopes will hear her story,  those at risk with new and stronger strains of HIV finding it’s way back into ALL of our lives and communities, whole groups of people forgotten… it is time for us to remember.

I am so honored that I will get to stand next to Darlene and so many others on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2011. I would like to invite you to join me for this amazing act of kindness on us all.


 On December 1, 2011, something truly breathtaking in its simplicity and power is going to happen in Richmond, Virginia. At precisely 12 o’clock, 400 red umbrellas will pop open on an island in the James River to symbolize a recommitment to education and prevention and hope. At that exact moment Richmond will lead the Commonwealth and the nation in saying, “30 years is simply too long.” We will remind our neighbors near and far that the fight is not yet won and that complacency and indifference are taking precious lives. At precisely 12:00 o’clock, we will unite, reinvigorated, in the battle against HIV/AIDS.

If you would like to know more about purchasing an umbrella, volunteering or even just standing with us, visit RVARemembers or follow all the latest on the Facebook and Twitter pages.

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 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!

kindness changes everything…

November 10, 2011

Feeling so fragile these days…that usually happens when something is changing in me, or I see something I haven’t really noticed before…about myself, about the world.

So now, more than ever I see…

how much I still struggle wanting to be something I am not…

how all this is so much more than a project or missions…(even though those things are really, really good)

how I have a hard time defining or explaining any of it, because it is so deep…I usually just start to cry.

how at every turn I realize how deeply kindness has me which can be equally parts torturing and amazing…

some times I wish it was just something small, something simple, made for mass appeal, but it’s just not, I am not…

how this call is everything…

how i know on every level that kindness changes everything, but I didn’t realize all along, kindness is changing me.


…and all of that is really good, but feels a little hard today

your kind thoughts would be appreciated…

from the water she came…

November 7, 2011

The family love was thick that night…no one wanting to miss one single moment. I was touched by her grace, his great love, the delight of her sisters, her powerful entrance into the world from the water…it was beautiful. Thank you Monique and family for allowing me to capture it…

you can see the rest of this sweet, sweet birth here…thanks so much to Monique for being willing to share.

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!

the things you do…

November 5, 2011

over a 100 thank you notes about kindness from the kids at Randolph Elementary School

I don’t know why but I am so, so touched by all the things you do…the letters, the e-mails, the texts, the missions…you would think I would get used to it or it would become just part of life over here but it never does.

Every time I received a message this week with a picture of a lantern, it felt like it was for me. The light, the heart, the intention…all of it. Thank for allowing me to be part of your lives, thank you for the kindness you are offering to so many. Thank you for caring about me and my family, you are good people to be traveling through this world with. I am feeling so grateful.

Please tell me all the things you are feeling grateful for this cool Saturday morning in the comments…and here is the lantern mission if you would like to know more.


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 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 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 with a name and address.

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

jackie boy, (because that’s what we called him back then, he thought it was his actual name for forever), age 6, 2009

With another kid just turned 6, and the realization that our time with little kids is dwindling…I went hunting for memories over at the ole’ PBS Supersisters blog. I came across this little story…and I remembered that night like it was yesterday and reminded myself the truth about trouble (I kinda need it.)…whether we are 6 or 60, we can probably all stand a little more love when we are screwing up.

March 17, 2009

It was late and they were fighting again. Jack knows just how to push Lucy’s buttons to get that shriek out of her. I try to ignore it most of the time because that little girl can sure hold her own. This time however, she cried, it was the hurt feeling cry. It seemed the usual little sister and big brother bother had a little mean thrown into the mix. It was a sign something needed to be said.
“Jack, buddy, I think you’ve reached your limit my friend. I gotta take some Wii time away tomorrow.” I said.

There was a look of instant panic. It’s kind of rare at our house to have an actual punishment, lots of logical consequences but this, the Wii, it was a biggie. He started crying and it soon escalated into a full out tantrum. A tantrum at the age of six. I was kind of stunned. I started questioning my decision a little since the response was so strong and so rare for this kid. I guess maybe it had been building for awhile and a release was in order. There were so many big feelings and that can be tricky sometimes. I wasn’t sure what to do but then instinct took over.

“Jack, do you know what can happen sometimes when you are getting into trouble a lot?” I said.
“No, what?” He said while trying to catch his breath in between the sobs.
“You can forget that you are loved. And the truth is, when lots of trouble is around it’s a time when you need love the most. Do you think that could be happening to you right now?” I said.
His little face kind of changed. His eyes crinkled and his own hurt feeling cry started.

“Yeah! I need more love mom, I need more love.” He threw his arms around me and buried his head in my chest and sobbed big, heavy sobs.
“I know Jackie, I can tell. And I know you are a kind boy with a good heart, I know this about you, it’s okay. And papa is away and he is the one who snuggles you so much, I think you are missing that too.” He nodded and we sat together in the moment.

We climbed in bed, all four kids. My arms too full with babies to even hold him but he snuggled up against me. He fell asleep with a red and puffy face and a quiet sigh, the drama behind us. I closed my own eyes knowing we would all wake up to less Wii, but maybe a little more love.

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 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!!

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 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!!

birthday tattoos, one for each wrist

I woke up to 35 yesterday, so many blessing to count. After some just okay years, as far as birthdays go- I could have never imagined the doozy of a day that was waiting for me. There are years when you are sort of surviving your life, happy to at least be still truckin’ and then there are other years when you celebrate livin’ life- really living and knowing you are standing in yourself, right where you are meant to be.

This was a living year.

Around 11:30am I checked in with social media to find this on

Yesterday we shared the story of Richmonder Patience Salgado and her Guerrilla Goodness missions. Salgado, known on Twitter as @kindnessgirl, is featured in this month’s O, The Oprah Magazine for her everyday acts of kindness and today, Thursday, Sept. 15, Richmond is celebrating Salgado’s birthday by doing the good for her.

Salgado’s friend, Kira Siddall stealthily used Twitter to send out a message to all of Salgado’s friends and follower with a simple birthday request:

“Do a small act of kindness. Tweet details to @kindnessgirl. It’s her 35th bday, let’s make RVA kinder to celebrate. SPREAD THE WORD.”

Needless to say, I was floored, speechless. After such a week with so much genuine joy, love and well wishes, now my beloved city, would show their love and kindness in this way- it was overwhelming. So I went to my Twitter account and there they were, tweet after tweet after tweet, all with small acts of kindness. 200 Facebook friends shared Kindness Day on their walls and so it spread...a city taken over by kindness.

Things like:

@MDPartner:  Honoring @kindnessgirl and all births today, we played DingDongDitch at OneMonumentAvenue. Anybody hear our smiles?
@busse: drew my kids pictures to find at the breakfast table tomorrow morning Happy Birthday! #smallactsofkindness

@MolleeRVA : I mailed a tiny pumpkin and a thinking-of-you note to a friend who recently moved. #smallactsofkindness

@jenniferemiller: I bought groceries for my elderly neighbor.

@PaulaBHough: brought chocolate bars to mothers grp + xtra 2 share. Then gave bars to random strangers in your honor.

@Julie_Bondy: sent birthday cards to friends this week instead of the usual FB post. Real mail is more fun!

@johnhaydon: @kindnessgirl Happy Birthday. I’m making a donation to a local animal shelter. #kindbirthdaywish

@horhey: In honor of @kindnessgirl , paid someone’s toll this AM. #smallactsofkindness

@fyeahmotherhood: In honor of @kindnessgirl’s birthday, I’m tonguekissing everyone I meet today. Kindness for all!

@ksiddall: Happy bday @kindnessgirl! I’m guerrilla Goodnessing w/ Starbucks cards to celebrate! Be kind today RVA 🙂

@heyart: Buying extra McNuggets to share with all of my mates at work today in honor of @kindnessgirl’s birthday!

@sheenajeffers: In honor of @kindnessgirl’s birthday, I donated $50 to wounded soldiers (thank you ALL for inspiring me to be and do better)!

@gregorysheldon: In honor of @kindnessgirl’s birthday, I gave my favorite barista a $5 tip. cc: @KSiddall

@rvafamilymag: In honor of @kindnessgirl , took my CSA share veggies to daughter’s school for the teachers. #smallactsofkindness

you can read some of the rest here.

I know, I know the potential power of this thing, but to see it move, to watch people gather and find their own way to express it- well, it wakes something up inside you didn’t even think was asleep, and invites you to imagine what can come next. It makes you feel hella proud to be living together, side by side with these people…and makes you want to share and make the circle wider- so wide you can’t even see to the other side but just feel your hand wrapped around the person next to you.

So someone wrote me this week and asked if they could start a Guerrilla Goodness chapter in their town/city- With a resounding “YES!” my e-mail was returned to her through the internets. If this is something you might be interested in, please write me at I am a total mess right now, not even sure where to start to organize and plan, but I would love to help you (if you feel called) so you can join in this deep joy of living life in a kind city too.

Thank you Wren, Jen, Kira and Chad for the sweetest celebration and to The Empress (new friends Melissa and Carly) for offering your soulful space and amazing  food with us. We can’t wait to come back!

Oh, and I got TATTOOS!!! So ridiculously exciting…and a story for another day! Thank you all for making my birthday one I will never forget.

AND chocolates are coming friends, they sure are!

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!

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!!

birth bliss…

January 23, 2011

As I got home from the birth and started sorting through the pictures I kept thinking…
this is what a wide open heart looks like…
this is what it looks like to have someone really believe in you…
this is what discovering your amazing strength looks like…
this is what pure raw joy looks like…
this is the power of being loved into being…

Thank you, thank you Joni and John for allowing me to be part of such sweet, sweet experience. I will always remember your love and joy. Welcome to the world little guy!
j&j birth b&w8
j&j birth b&w18
j&j birth b&w27
j&j birth b&w32
j&j birth b&w35
j&j birth b&w44
j&j birth b&w59
j&j birth b&w63
j&j birth b&w82
j&j birth b&w90
Thanks to Joni and John for sharing something so special with us and showing us just how blissful birth can be, you can see the rest of their amazing birth here.

A few weeks ago we had one of those cozy, rain all day kind of days. These are my most favorite when you get to stay home all day, read books, watch movies and eat comfort food. The thing is, that almost never happens, we usually have to go somewhere.

On this particular day, I decided to do some Guerrilla Goodness between errands and leave umbrellas and ponchos on bus benches. I didn’t have a whole lot but it only takes a few to make it fun. I wrapped my little note in a ziploc bag and they were picked up pretty quick.

This GG was inspired by this awesome project happening in Pittsburgh! Love, love, love it! So if you can grab an umbrella today and leave it somewhere, add a little note with and lets see if kindness made the day!

It’s one of my phrases to my friends whenever they offer me help, care, or encouragement.

“SO glad I got you in my back pocket!” …like they are close by if I need them, or I can feel ya even when we are not together. It made perfect sense to me that this particular mission needed to be a friend mission… so I asked Chris of Shutter Sisters ,  Everyday Heartbeats and general Kindness Maven fame if she would be my partner to tear up some East coast/West coast kindness and to my delight she said “Yes!”.

So here we go:

My good friend Wren told me this amazing story about junior high, facebook and an old bomber jacket. She had borrowed her best friend’s bomber jacket in the 8th grade for a weekend. Before she gave it back she slipped a note in the inside pocket telling her that someday when she found it Wren hoped she would know how much she cared about her and their friendship…well 16 years later, her friend found the note and Wren on Facebook. Isn’t that great?

So the next day after I read this story, I was shopping for some pants for Jorge at the thrift store because we all know it is my home away from home. When I brought them home and gave them to J to try on, he reached in the pocket and found a $20 bill. Hello take out!!! It was awesome and instantly gave me the next GG mission idea.

It had to involve treasures to be found AND friends!

Here is your mission:

1. Call a friend right now and invite him or her to do this kindness mission with you. Kids can pick friends too! Pick local or far away, it will be fun for everyone…

2. Decide how daring you want to be with your kindness– all levels count!

3. Pick a treasure to hide. Here are some ideas: 

 a note

a $5 in a small envelope

a gift card

tiny journal

movie tickets

some stickers or silly bandz for kids!

Hide a treasure in a pocket.

4. Any kind of pocket will do– pants, shirts, bag, or even drop in a shoe. Chris had an awesome idea to leave the surprise in some school supplies at the store- pencil boxes, backpacks, etc- check it!

5. Where? you can do this just in your house in a closet near you, or head to a thrift store, mall, etc. Anywhere someone will find your love and kindness.

6. Include this new fancy square little green card (like the one in the picture) to your kindness so we might even be able to invite others to join us and pass it on. You can download the PDF here

7. Show us your stealthy goodness. Upload your pictures to the Guerrilla Goodness Flickr Pool and join our Facebook group so we can all see the kindness spread and grow!

So excited…ready, set, go!