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.


Liamstein

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…

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

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

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


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!! patience@kindnessgirl.com

Have fun!

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

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