all we held, together…

January 1, 2013

My laptop is full…literally, full of so many moments and kindness missions. Here are a few that we held as a kindness community this year:


It was a wonderful way to start the year, to be connected to each other and offer some respect and gratitude.

the great day of garbage gratitude– thanks Joe, Lionel and BJ!

garbage love4

I started a new gig blogging for The Huffington Post– which has been so weird for me, still never sure what to write about over there and  have lots of writer anxiety about that gig…hoping I can get in the flow in 2013.


My dear friend Jen and I started the I Trust Women project…learned so much through that whole experience…about myself and voice in the world. I lost quite a bit of followers from sharing my views and heart, it was hard to know that some would disagree with my decision but also really important for my development as a person and a woman.

i trust women-2


A couple of really lovely people in my life joined me in an offer to write encouraging notes to anyone that might need it. True story: I am STILL returning the requests…so please don’t worry if you haven’t heard from me, they are still coming. I just hope it is at the right time, even so late.



I became friends the wise and soulful Suzanne Vinson and together we released Kindness Changes Everything stickers…it was so, so wonderful to watch the truth of everything we believe in with all our hearts on KindnessGirl pop up all over the world. It was humbling and so exciting!

kindness changes everything sticker


I got brave and together we hid 200 magic wands all over the city for The Magic Wand Project and The Magic Wand Project for Kids .

It was the first time I tried one of those crazy ideas I was always hesitant to try. I showed me that our city and people are so ready and open for whatever kindness our heart is calling us to. We can trust ourselves and the path of kindness.

a side note: a few initial negative comments made this article about the project by StyleWeekly go bananas… I was even grateful for those, it (and kindness of course) helped it move in a way I would have never expected. We are guessing there are about 2K wands out in the world.

Suzanne and I also learned about being Brave and Kind when we released this sweet piece of S’s beautiful art.


June brought the I Am Kind campaign after Karen Klein was verbally assaulted on a school bus. So many rallied around this woman who endured something so awful. It exposed all the goodness in the world when people poured a million dollars in care for her and gave us an opportunity to show our commitment as fellow human beings to stand in kindness in a new way in our communities.

you are loved karen

We also partnered with our dear friends from American Bear and created Kindness Captured. A nasty storm made for lots of downed trees and foiled our plans here in RVA but I hope to still get a chance to do this project in 2013.

bear flyer2 horizontal small


I felt so humbled and really grateful to Bill Lohmann from the Richmond Times Dispatch for an article he wrote about Kindnessgirl and my life of trying to do kindness work. I loved it because he really heard me and the article was so honest, he really shared my heart and hopes for this work mixed with my flaws and broken parts.

We also jumped into color and had a Kindnessgirl Team at Color Me Rad 5K…and a mini-kindness mission after. There was even a ukulele song invitation for the occasion.

color me rad after

I decided to write a book and received so much love and support from you all. After that I promptly fell apart, I was so down…and I am still not quite sure if it was the book or what…but I felt very overwhelmed and had a really hard time seeing/knowing the truth about myself and my life, and this work.


It was quiet, and I spent most of the month trying to get my head on straight again and getting my kids back to school. The sweetest part of this time was that Jorge took care of me. He was my mini-depression doula. He knew just what to do to guide me through…he knew that place himself and I felt safe in his knowledge and care. It was good to receive, and to just be needy…and to know just a little about how he felt and all he went through. This was also the month that we celebrated being married for 14 years and 20 together. 20!!!  so crazy…

gasperilla love-13


Gratitude called me back to my work and to my place in the world. When you can start sinking deep into that place, it feels like everything else sort of follows. I made a gratitude wall with my girls inspired by Kliewer family’s wall of goodness.

wall of gratitude love-4

…and there were lots of births this month which brings you back to the beginning and everything important. It was also the month when healing found my family in a most profound way.

nyc family weekend-13


Ohhhhh, it was reDONKulous….4 speaking gigs, 3 projects and couple writing deadlines all in the span of 10 days. It was the culmination of a very hectic year. I took on way more than I should have and finally learned some huge lessons.

I also launched (with some friends from Shop Class RVA) Tag, You’re It RVA!,  a city wide game of tag.

tag youre it woodsy


It was all about Soul…in November I started Soul Parenting – a Facebook page for folks to share stories and pictures about the messy love that each family holds. …because I believe we were never meant to do it alone.

lucy sweet-4


I vowed, determined, prayed that all the work was done for the year. Rest was so needed, I think I cried at the drop of a hat at that point…but the universe had a different plan. The first week of December I had 4 different calls and meetings about the development of KindnessGirl and where we are heading. It was brutal because I was asked to look at things I had been avoiding and at a complete loss of what to do.

One really pivotal meeting with Tiffany Jana, Matthew Freeman and Carra Rose from TMI Consulting started the avalanche of clarity. They approached me to help with a project and ended up helping me with something completely different. They were wise and kind. The truth of where I was at was laid out in such a way that I could finally hear it and SEE it…and myself.

An amazing plan and incredible clarity unfolded at lightning speed after all that, and I think I have a really good plan/hope/dream for inviting kindness into our lives in a new and broader way…and to start clearly communicating and standing in all that this thing holds and is about.

I was feeling so content and happy to have a plan and direction…and was thinking the work for the year was really, truly over when the Sandy Hook tragedy happened. *big, big heavy sigh* It was almost impossible to do anything, the grief and sadness were so big and so many were holding it so deeply. We shut ourselves off from the media world for our kids but I knew we were going to have to tell our kids at some point.

And the last project of the year was inspired from that talk, In honor of Emilie…and I learned once again that kindness rises in the darkest moments, that we as a people met the darkest dark with the brightest light…and that the only way to restore any hope and truly honor those lost is to be kind. It was so painful and sad. Still sending so much love to those families…may kindness hold them as they hold grief so tightly. May we continue to honor those they love with our kind acts.

emilie love-2

When I started to write this post I honestly had no idea all that was done this year. I rarely even think of the projects and the creating, crafting and promoting once they are done. Everything rises from everyday life and then we move on to the next thing. It’s good to look at it all together, and see all the paths we walked together.

I feel a deep gratitude to you all. Thank you for being part of this with me, for giving and loving, for seeking and finding kindness…together.  Your kindness to me means more than you know…

much love for 2013… it will be bold and require bravery my friends. I am excited and a little scared but very,very sure 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’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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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…

Jack’s message to the next Harry Potter enthusiast

Can I tell you I am the world’s worst library citizen? …I almost always have a late fee, I lose a book at least once a quarter, and I’m never sure exactly where my card is. Even still, the library, in all her grace, continues to let me try again. and again. and again.

We had a full day of kindness adventures, a marathon if you will, while working on a big kindness project for the fall (which I can’t wait to share!) and we found ourselves at the library. (with a gaggle of kids, dear friends and neighbors) This little outing was after the free slurpee day which meant it was almost impossible to be quiet, but we did our best- there was just mass amounts of excitement over red and blue frozen drinks and new books!

So here’s the mission:

1. Take your trusty little post-it note pad to the library.

2. Leave encouraging notes on the covers and inside of books. (my friend Jen and I couldn’t get out the self-help parenting section!)

3. Trust the universe to send the right book and message to just the right person!

The best part is, you don’t even have to have a library card, or check anything out for this mission, perfect for a library slacker like me! 

If you decide to do this mission, leave us a link to your blog or pictures in the comments…or upload the pics to the Guerrilla Goodness Flickr Pool!Check out more Guerrilla Goodness missions here!

Remember I told you about getting to lead a kindness mission for the lovely summer e-class on rest, play and the power of kindness? So very excited to be partnering with the Mondo Beyondo Dream Lab for this very special Guerrilla Goodness mission! It isn’t too late to join all the goodness going on in the lab!

It was a hot summer day 2 years ago, almost as steaming as our recent days. I was enormously pregnant and found myself with five kids picking sunflowers in a field and delivering them to random doors all over Richmond. The first ding dong ditch opened my heart to experience the power of kindness in a time when I needed it most. I hope this mission and kindness does the same for you. Let’s do The Great Ding Dong Ditch together!

Here’s how it works:

During the weekend of June 30- July 7th our mission is to Ding Dong Ditch a house (or many) with kindness. What is Ding Dong Ditchin’ you ask? Simply leave something nice on a doorstep, ring the doorbell (or knock) and run away as fast as you can. This can be someone you know or don’t know but the excitement is doing this act of kindness anonymously. It almost always leads to racing hearts, laughing hard and high fives for us. I hope it will be as much fun for you!

Good things to leave:

We usually write a note explaining it is an act of kindness so we don’t create some awful secret admirer scenario.

Any amount is fine, it’s best to put it in an envelope to keep it safe and so you can leave a note.

A Sign
You can leave a sign draped down the steps for someone to find or tape it to a porch.
Ideas- you are amazing! (it’s true)
have a great day!
believe in love!
you are beautiful!

Ding Dongs
This cupcake sort of treat can be found at your local grocery store. This is my kid’s favorite to DDD their friends.
We leave a note saying, “You’ve been Ding Dong ditched!” and then we eat some ourselves. Big hit!

other simple ideas-
Card or note of encouragement
Small work of art
Gift card or certificate
A Mixed CD

Things you should know:

This doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Something simple can mean a lot.

The best part is the mystery, I love imagining who might live in the house I am ditching. I always throw a little request out into the wind that the intention of my heart and the kindness will be well received.

If the whole idea totally freaks you out, you can start small. Ding dong ditch someone you know. You can even just leave your kindness when they aren’t home and then build to the big DDD later when you feel more confident in what you are doing and the process. DDD secret- I am STILL nervous every time, but I think that is part of the rush and joy.

If you get caught, introduce yourself and tell the person what you are doing. I have never been caught directly but have done other projects where we directly handed out flowers to strangers and had to explain. I have also had to explain to onlookers or protective neighbors. You may get a variety of responses but most people appreciate the effort and intention.

It’s best to go in pairs for safety, to have a get-a-way driver and mostly because it’s hella fun to share. Only DDD in neighborhoods and areas you are familiar with and feel comfortable in. I also do not DDD in any yard where dogs are not leashed or behind fences. I should let you know, in years of doing this, I have never had a negative experience or felt unsafe. This is just good common sense stuff to remember.

Go forth, ding dong ditch and have the time of your life! Kindness has you now!

You can upload pictures from your GG adventures at the GG Flickr Pool. Let us see all the joy!

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.

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
grocery carts
subway seats
dressing rooms
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.

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

it was guerrilla good…

September 15, 2009

We believe in you

Photo by the Koshock crew

The sky was blue, the air warm, the breeze cool…everything the weather wasn’t just a week ago. I drove with the boys in the hoopty thinking along the way,  there was  just one little un-met desire in my heart. We needed music, music makes everything better. We drove up, grabbed our basket and walked to the field in front of the Carillon steps. There, right in front of us was a drumming circle, I felt like I had just put in a short-order to the universe diner with super fast and friendly service. The bell rang- order up- everything you asked for, everything you need to Guerrilla Goodness your heart out.
Guerrilla Goodness TCG pic6
Photo by The Checkout Girl

There were all kinds of folks there: artists, mothers, kids, teens, twitter celebrities, babies, foodies, fathers, teachers, friends, strangers…almost 35 total, we hit 17 schools, all in our city of Richmond.  I was sort of tortured, surprisingly. I wished I could go with each person to each place, but instead we milled around trying to decide who would take what and wondering if we should take more. Each went their own way and then we (the kids and I) traveled around the city GG’ing and trying to catch up with the others…

We are one family
Photo by John Haddad

I was so touched to read each message, each intention, each act of kindness…and again, like always, I left feeling so undone by the  good in the world, mission accomplished.


At the last school the kids rolled in the grass, lyra helped draw(i.e. eat chalk) and I listened to the kickin’ church service across the street while I wrote.


The hip-hop was filling the air, and just then we heard a horn. A man and women were blowing rams horns, and it all felt sacred somehow. It was a perfect ending to a guerrilla good day.


Thanks to each of you that came out from RVA and our friends all over the country  who made this so special and so much fun!

GG cutie artist #2
Photo by Mary Margaret Park

Have fun Learning
Photo by Tiffany Glass Ferreira

If you have more GG adventures to share, please do so in the comments! We would love to hear about them. Thanks to all who spread the word. If you missed this one, no worries, there will be another chance soon…or even better, do your own, invite us, we’ll come!

So you might remember last year when we kooked up this idea with the Supersisters to team up to do some Guerrilla Goodness for the kids heading back to school? Well, this year, we have a special invitation for you?!

Come with US!!! You can spread kindness wherever you are but we would would like to put out a special call to all Richmonders:

We know our city is a little screwed up, well a lot,  but would you like to do something kind for the kids of our city?

Yes? Meet me and other Guerrilla Goodness lovers in front of the Carillon (Byrd Park)  at 3:00 pm on September 7th!

Here’s how it works:

1. I will pass out addresses to city schools and 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 in Richmond city for the first day of school.

3. Go home blissed out with the kindness high!

4. If you are 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.

you are fantastic by you.

We are looking for graffiti, tattoo  and other artists that might be interested in doing one crazy cool “square” at each school. All in chalk, of course. Please contact if you are interested in helping.

Can’t wait to see you there. Leave a comment if you think you might like to come, or just show up. Please, tweet, facebook and blog this too! Thanks, it’s gonna be great!

I have been itchin’ to do some guerrilla kindness, it’s a sure thing for stirring my soul and bringing me back to places of joy and wonder. I decided some flower power was in order so the kids and I (cousins included) went to pick sunflowers…

We headed to a little sunflower patch on the southside of Richmond. Mr. Reams is a kind old man, he came out to greet us and apologized for the lack of rain making this year’s crop substandard in his mind. They sure looked pretty to me and there is nothing like standing in the middle of a field of flowers.

Mr. Reams looked tired, I wondered how he still found the energy to plant for yet another year. This little patch is special, it’s the kind of place where you leave the money in the mailbox if no one is home.

The sunflowers are only .20 a stalk, you can pick a million which makes this project pretty cheap. Cheap is good these days and reminds me that kindness can be affordable too.

Jack and Carter were totally uninterested. They each picked one or two flowers and then left to play in the car. Such is life…

Jack’s contribution…

Josiah and Madeleine were totally into it…

They even found this little loveliness…

Lucy just wanted to feel the dirt between her toes…

I asked the kids if they wanted to help me make cards to attach to bouquets and then randomly leave them on doorsteps.

Madeleine: Oh, like ding-dong ditching! but good!

Me: What is ding-dong ditching?

Mad: You know, like when you knock on the door (or ring the door bell) and then hide or run away when the person comes to the door…

Me: Yeah! Totally! Like ding-dong dichin’ but for good not evil. I LOVE it…

Mad: We should do it to my dad and Jorgie when we get home.

Jack was very conflicted by such an idea, he did NOT think we should be ding-dong ditchin’ our own family.

He thought it might be okay if we brought them some flowers. They did- DDD and Jack did not participate, there were no flowers either.

Later in the day Mad and I put the flowers together and added some notes…

This one of Madeleine’s was my favorite…

Lucy, Mad and I spent the rest of the afternoon leaving flowers on doorsteps and giving them to complete strangers.

“This is AWESOME! ” Mad said….I couldn’t agree more. It was so freakin’ exhilarating. Our favorite was a woman with 2 kids, a baby and a dog who offered Madeleine some coupons in return, it was very sweet. I liked the toll lady too, she looked so surprised.

ding-dong ditching has never been so fun…