kindness activist

kindness activist

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Tea Light Kindness

A few nights after the recent presidential election, I saw that there was a peaceful candlelight vigil planned for outside the White House.  We live nearby and I have been feeling very upset and sad about the election results, so I decided that this vigil would be a good way to surround myself with like-minded people and focus on peace and love.

The White House the night of the candlelight vigil
As the event drew nearer, the organizers updated the Facebook invitation to clarify that no actual CANDLES would be allowed.  The Parks Department said they would drip wax all over, and the organizers would have to pay a fine for clean-up of the mess. Although it was disappointing to imagine a “candlelight vigil” with no candles, it made sense.  The invitation encouraged people to bring flashlights or glow sticks instead, but it really seemed like that wouldn't be the same, you know what I mean?

The night of the vigil we rushed around the house when it was time to go trying to find 2 working flashlights.  Why is it that every time you actually NEED a flashlight, the batteries don’t work anymore?  Happens every single time…  We finally found 2 lame flashlights and rushed to the vigil.  We settled in amongst the crowd in Lafayette Park (across from the White House) and waited for the event to begin.  There were quite a few people, and I soon realized that not only would real candles be MESSY, they would have been DANGEROUS, too.  With that many bodies close together, most wearing big coats and scarves, candles could have easily caused a fire.

As we were waiting, the sweetest, most kind thing happened:  a complete stranger was walking through the crowd handing out little battery operated TEA LIGHT candles.  He came up to us and offered them.  We had the lame flashlights, but his candles were SO PRETTY – they were delicate and perfect.  I asked if he was working for the vigil and he explained that he was not, he just bought a bunch of tea lights to hand out because he thought the vigil needed them.

Mystery kind man - passing through the crowd with LOVE
CAN YOU SAY KINDNESS ACTIVIST??  I snapped a photo of him, hoping to be able to do some P.I. work when I got home and figure out who he was, then interview him for this blog.  As luck would have it, another vigil attendee in the Facebook group saw my message that I was hunting for him and helped me discover his identity!  Meet JORDAN FIGUEIREDO – the kind man behind the tea lights.

Our Kindness Activist in action!
It turns out he is not even a LOCAL – he lives in the San Francisco, CA area!  He was in DC for work at just the right time for the vigil.  He told me, “I signed up on Facebook to attend the event and was reading some of the posts and noticed the Parks department said no candles because of the wax. I thought this vigil would send a much nicer message with candles so I found the battery-operated LED tealights at Bed Bath and Beyond. I ended up buying about 200 of the tealights for about $143.”  You read that right – this man spent almost $150 to hand out candles to complete strangers.  It was so wonderful!!!  I saw loads of people holding the beautiful little tea lights that he so generously shared.

A little girl on her dad's shoulders holding a tea light that Jordan handed out
I knew how happy I was when he gave us candles, but I wanted to know how other people reacted to his gift of a candle.  “It was so great to see people's reactions and hear their thank you s. Some people did look at me like I was selling something at first, but I understand that from other events and people with bags of things to sell. Mostly people were surprised and thankful and seemingly touched when they noticed the "LOVE" message on them.

Yes, Jordan had taken time to write LOVE on each of the little candles.  It made them so special!  They were beautiful.

My family - glowing with the kindness and love that Jordan shared
An unexpected side effect of doing kind things that many people don’t realize is how good doing them makes YOU feel when you do them.  Jordan said, “It felt so much better than I thought it would. I though the event just needed them and it would be nice to spread the love with the lights. It was so great to "light" the candle and physically hand it to people. I would totally do it again at another important event. I've never actually done anything like this before. I do volunteer my time and spend 20-30 hours a week (99% for free) raising awareness for food waste and ugly produce” (check out and click “press/about” to learn more about Jordan’s passion). 

Jordan told me that the tea light is a good reminder for people to bring home with them, and I know in my case that is totally true - mine is now on our fireplace mantle and it makes me smile when I see it there.  He said that writing “LOVE” on each tealight, can, “…hopefully send a ripple of hope and love with each person that receives one. It's a tough time for  love and hope in the U.S. right now but most of us value civil liberties, freedom, and our beautifully diverse and usually welcoming nation. We just need to never forget these things and  #LoveWillWin .”

Kindness and love
THANK YOU Jordan.  Thanks for the candle, and more importantly, thank you for the MESSAGE and the kindness.  Yes, let’s all work together and LOVE WILL WIN.

#UglyReallyIsBeautiful (in reference to the CARROTS, not to Jordan!!  He is LOVELY inside and out)
Be sure to “like” Kindness Activist on Facebook and follow @KindActivist on Twitter to see more inspiring stories of kindness.  The world can certainly use more KINDNESS.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Louisiana Kindness

Most of us look at federal holidays as a DAY OFF WORK.  Holidays are a day to sleep in, maybe go skiing, hit the mall, etc.

But Stephanie isn’t “most of us”.  No, Stephanie heard “holiday” and she thought something like, “Time to organize some friends, hit the road, and HELP OUT”.  Yes, it’s people like Stephanie that jump in and get things done, KIND THINGS, when they need doing.  But here’s the thing, she doesn’t want to brag about it…  She isn’t in it for the attention.  She told me, “My father taught me and my sister the importance of random acts of kindness as a daily task, a way of life - even if it’s just smiling at a stranger. It’s just so natural to me to want to get involved and do what I can that it makes me feel a tad silly that it’s considered “special” somehow, you know?”  Oh, I KNOW what you mean, girl, but I truly believe that if other people hear about your kindness, they will be inspired to get out there and spread some kindness around themselves!  So, as awkward as it felt, she agreed to let me share her story.  Here’s the scoop:

In 2005 Hurricane Katrina wrought devastation on Louisiana.  Stephanie, a Texan and single mom of 3 year old Grace, was supposed to go on a vacation that Labor Day weekend, the first one she had been able to afford in quite a while.  Only, instead of going on vacation, she took Grace with her and they volunteered at a grassroots relief organization in South Austin.  How is THAT for a model of kindness and compassion for a child?  They helped the organization work on transportation, relocation of victims, and other things that the big organizations were ill equipped to handle. 

Fast forward to 2016.  Louisiana is hit by another terrible flood.  Grace, the little girl who helped her mom work on flood relief in Louisiana from afar 11 years ago, is now 14 and has been joined by toddler sister Ilona.  Being a single mom of two, Stephanie couldn’t just write a check to help with the relief effort and call it a day (and something tells me that isn’t her style, anyway…) so she set about ORGANIZING.  Ilona would go spend Labor Day weekend with her father, and the “big girls” would head out of town to help out doing physical labor. 

Road Trip - but devastation on the side of the road
Stephanie started researching and found her friend Patty, who lives in New Orleans, was working on some of the hardest hit areas.  Well there you go – plan hatched!  Stephanie and her friend Cara (from North Texas) rounded up what she calls “10 phenomenal humans” from Texas (mostly Austin) to work on “mucking and gutting a house in Louisiana”.

Let me just reiterate here:  this was LABOR DAY WEEKEND.  The rest of us were roasting hot dogs and shopping mattress sales, and this amazing group was making an 11 hour drive to help strangers deal with an awful situation!

Wonderful people housed some of them (even people they had never met were welcome to stay), Patty housed others, and some others found their own accommodation.  Cara had organized a meeting with Hands On, a group that was, “bringing groups of people out to the hardest hit areas to remove damaged belongings and construction material from homes, provide some mold remediation and cleaning”. 

The team of amazing volunteers!  Brian, Xaviera, Scott, Patty, Ellen, Dotti, Cara Ross, Kristine,
Grace (Stephanie's daughter) and our Kindness Activist herself, Stephanie.  Aren't they beautiful??
The team was assigned to work with Mike and Pat on their place in Hammond, LA.  They needed physical help, and these Texans brought it in spades!  The flood had happened 2 – 3 weeks before they arrived on site, which meant that mold had already had time to become a big problem.  Never having been in a serious flood situation myself, I had never thought much about the after effects of mold.  Stephanie explained, “The fall out of a natural disaster is ongoing and usually long after people stop sending aid. People often don't think about how bad mold can be, and how it can cost you truly EVERYTHING (you can contaminate your new lodgings easily with mold - we had to clean everything that was salvageable several times, but honesty, most things went straight to the dump and were a total loss).  It's the mold that definitely makes things much worse. According to FEMA, mold starts forming within 48 hours (Link to FEMA fact sheet here) . Even the houses themselves have to undergo a rigorous detox process, repeatedly- one spore will just restart the process and new items and materials will be contaminated.”

So, the team of friends donned hazmat suits, respirators, masks, goggles, etc. and got to work.  The mobile home had flood saturated carpet, furniture, and appliances that all had to be dealt with.  I asked Stephanie how she thought the owners of the home felt to have so many people willing to volunteer to come and help them.  She said, “Mike and Pat won us over immediately. They were so lovely. We all took some time to sit with them and listen to their stories, their shared histories, their hopes for the future. I know they appreciated what we did and we all left wishing we could have done more.“

They weren't doing what most Americans were that holiday weekend -
they were most certainly MAKING A DIFFERENCE
What a glowing example of kindness for her teenage daughter.  Stephanie told me, “I’m sad that help was needed at all, but grateful to have a chance to work with my amazing friends, who all helped make a tough situation a little less awful. I’m glad that I was able to have the opportunity to give my Grace a chance to be involved and for all the discussions that led up to the trip and all the conversations we’ve had about life after the trip. She was amazing throughout the weekend and I’m glad we could experience it together.”
Not many people are willing to sacrifice, pitch in, and give up valuable time to help out strangers.  But Stephanie, Grace, and friends made a HUGE difference that weekend.  They not only helped a family see the light at the end of the tunnel, they showed that couple that they are valued and that someone – 10 someones – care about their plight.

Some of the aftermath - people's possessions ruined
Let’s let Stephanie tie this story up in her own words:  “Life is full of things that we have absolutely no control over. I’m very committed to finding concrete ways that I can help where I can, even if my contribution is very tiny- I know it adds up. As a single mom with two girls, I don’t always have the time or money to be able to do the things I want, to make the change I want to see in the world- but I’m determined to do what I can, as often as I can.

I try to raise my young ladies the way my father raised me and my sister; taking action every chance we get will make the world a better place. I've always been a big fan of this quote, “Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies- ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’ ”  -Kurt Vonnegut”

You certainly nailed that one, Stephanie.  God damn it, YOU WERE KIND.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Pantsuit Kindness

I’ve long believed in the concept of SHARING things that I no longer want/need.  You know, what used to be called “hand-me-downs”.  Giving your little sister or younger cousin the sweaters that no longer fit – that sort of thing.

But in the last few years, that concept has broadened to beyond outgrown clothes shared within your family to still good but no longer needed items shared in your COMMUNITY.  I love it!  I often give things away on our sidewalk (we live on a busy intersection).  I used to post things often to give away in a group called Freecycle (check it out – there is probably one in your neck of the woods).  And this year, I found “Buy Nothing”, a super local group that is organized on Facebook (my branch is “Buy Nothing Columbia Pike”, but perhaps there is a Buy Nothing by you that you can join!).

The idea of Freecycle and Buy Nothing is this:  just because you no longer need or want something doesn’t mean you should throw it away.  Instead, you should GIVE IT to a neighbor!  Did you get an extra set of measuring spoons for your birthday and don’t want two sets?  Why, GIVE that old set to a neighbor!  Replaced your black purse with a brown one and don’t want to store the old one??  I bet a neighbor could use it!  Or, your baby outgrew those adorable Nike tiny tennis shoes???  Some other mother is going to be thrilled to get them!  Instead of throwing things away or giving them to a thrift store, you are giving them to someone who lives in your area.  It is fabulous!  Once someone replies and says they want the item, you tell them your address and agree on how it will be picked up (I normally put things I am giving away on our front porch swing, the takers can show up and get them anytime). 

This fan is being given away today on Buy Nothing

These kids shoes are on offer by another neighbor

And this toy recently found a new home on Buy Nothing
Full disclosure here – I have been using the hashtag #TeamPantsuit for months.  I am fully with her.  :) So when a “secret Facebook group” (which now has millions of amazing members!) came about called Pantsuit Nation, I was thrilled to become a member.  And when election day came around, I went through my closet to find the perfect pantsuit to wear to the polls.  :)

Only, what I found in my closet that night before the election were several pantsuits that were, ummm, a bit too “snug” for me.  I mean, I had size 2 Petite pantsuits and even a 0 Petite!!!  Lord knows when I was tiny enough to wear THAT one…  So I took those tiny pantsuits, took photos of them, and posted them in my Buy Nothing group.  I put funny blurbs to accompany them (I thought they were funny anyway…).  Several members “liked” and “loved” the posts, but no one said, “Oh yes, I need a teeny tiny pantsuit!”.

Size O Petite Purple Pantsuit :)
(Here is the blurb I posted with this pantsuit in the Buy Nothing group:  "Oh my goodness, Nasty Women, this is for the teeniest, tiniest among us. I know what you are thinking, "Susan, WHEN the heck were YOU a size zero??". Well zip it, cuz apparently at one point I was, and I have the pantsuit to prove it!!! This one is seriously a size 0 Petite (who makes that???) and it is from Petite Sophisticate. It is a gorgeous eggplant color, and if it fits you the rest of us are insanely jealous. As with the other pantsuits, preference given to anyone who IS WITH HER (bonus points if you are a member of the "secret" FB group Pantsuit Nation!)."

No one wanted the purple pantsuit, that is, until Sarah, the newest Kindness Activist.  Yes, Sarah commented on the posting that she would love the purple pantsuit, the SIZE 0 PETITE.  Seriously, she is a mother of 2 and wears a 0 Petite…  But all jealousy aside, I was thrilled someone could use the pantsuit!!  So we exchanged pick-up information and I hung the pantsuit (covered with a bag to keep it clean) on our front door for her to pick up the next day.
This is the pantsuit I ended up wearing on election day.  We vote with paper ballots, then scan them.  This is me
 right after scanning. Let's just say it was lucky I was smart enough not to wear mascara that day.
Well, for members of Pantsuit Nation (and for a little over half of the country it turns out…), the next day, November 9th, was a depressing and confusing one.  Many of us were walking around in a stupor after staying up until all hours of the morning watching the election results roll in.  When I left the house for a work assignment that day the pantsuit was still hanging on my front door.  But when I came back, the pantsuit had been replaced by this:

Bright beautiful flowers where the pantsuit had hung

And this lovely note
Sarah left me FLOWERS and a beautiful note.  I couldn’t believe it.  She is a complete stranger, and she took the time to be so kind.  She didn’t need to do that – no “payment” or thank you is expected or required in the “gift economy” systems of Freecycle and Buy Nothing.  In fact, no one has ever left me a thank you (that I can remember) in all the times I have given things away. 

Needless to say, when I saw the flowers I cried.  They were exactly what I needed that afternoon. And I contacted Sarah via email to ask her a few questions for this story.  Here is what I learned:

Me:  How did you think of delivering flowers to a stranger?  What made you do it?

Sarah:  “Honestly, I don't know what made me think of this. I just had on my list that I needed to pick up the pant suit -- it was almost surreal for me to see that on my to-do list on Wednesday morning, since, on Tuesday night, when we had arranged for me to take it, I was in such a happy, hopeful place. A mere twelve hours later, it felt like a lifetime ago. I guess I just wanted to reach out and do something to brighten your day, and I had a bouquet of flowers on my table that my husband had brought me when I was sick last week, so I plucked the most brightly colored ones out to counteract the darkness of the day (both literal -- it was so gloomy yesterday -- and figurative). “

Isn’t that perfect???  I love that the flowers originally came from someone who was kind to HER when she needed it, her husband, and she managed to share that kindness with ME.  Such a seemingly small gesture, but trust me it meant SO MUCH to me.

Sarah, who has a heart filled with kindness
I think people like Sarah who are so kind usually have some inherent reason, something that influenced them.  And in Sarah’s case, one of those influences was the shooting at the school in Newtown, Connecticut, where she is originally from.  She told me, “I try to be as kind as possible in general, but I feel like the call to kindness is louder and more urgent when the world is hurting. I grew up in Newtown, Connecticut, and I (like so many others) was so devastated by the shooting there in 2012. The town's reaction and unwavering belief that "love wins" was so moving to me, and "love wins" has become something of a mantra for me. (Some days it's easier to believe than others, but I do believe it's true.) In fact, there's a "26 Days of Kindness" campaign that people in my hometown do -- for the 26 days leading up to the anniversary of the shooting, individuals perform random, anonymous acts of kindness, each one in honor of a shooting victim. I did that the first year, and I found it helpful in coping with the tragedy -- though I generally prefer for acts of kindness to be more spontaneous and unstructured, I know a lot of people find comfort in the 26 Days ritual.”

I told Sarah that, as the recipient, the flowers felt to me like a warm hug (on a freezing cold day).  She agreed that was an apt description, then added something that I agree with 100% - “I guess (giving the flowers) also felt empowering, like maybe I could do something good for the world in the face of a devastating loss.”   That is something I have noticed about kindness:  you don’t set out to do a kind act to make YOURSELF feel better, but that is often an unintended consequence.  There is a line in a song from the Broadway Show “Avenue Q” that I like, “When you help others, you can’t help helping yourself”.  It’s true.  Acts of kindness help the recipient, but they also do something to boost the spirit of the giver.

Sarah, THANK YOU for your kindness.  You lifted my spirits on a day that I need that very much.  And, as you said, LOVE WINS.  

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go pick up some brand new tights that a neighbor is giving away.  

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Scrabble Kindness

It is no secret that our country is in shock right now.  Many Americans, myself included, are walking around reeling, wondering WHAT just happened, and how they should deal with it.  I have been feeling powerless since the election results started pouring in - sad and powerless.  

But today during a very long commute, I got an idea:  SCRABBLE SENTIMENTS. 

Just Vote
Look, I know it is not rocket science.  And I know it is not going to fix the crazy mixed up American political system.  But at this point, I feel like I need to do SOMETHING to express myself, try and help anyway I can, and find a reason to stop crying.

Here's the deal - we have these light up SCRABBLE LIGHTS hanging on our front porch where we live (a house I affectionately call the "Big Yellow House" (BYH).  I have been using them to express myself.  We live on a busy corner.  Some people notice the lights as they walk or drive by.  Well, starting now, YOU can “rent” the Scrabble sign for 24 hours for your own message!!  The cost is whatever you would like to pay, starting at $5.  You choose from the list of charities below which one you would like your donation to go to and mail the money to me. At the end of the month, I put all donations together and send them in.  Charities listed are in areas that I fear will be hurt by the incoming American President.  So, not only does your message get put on the sign (allowing you to express yourself), but you are donating to support a cause that more than likely is really going to need help over the next 4 years.  Plus, passersby get to read your message!!  And, as an added bonus, I will take a photo of your sign and put it in a Facebook photo album (plus send you a copy!)

This is what is currently illuminated on our porch...  
Want to join in and express yourself?  Send me an email with your word and which charity you would like to help at .  Let’s do this!  And please share this with your friends – let’s get some donations going and DO SOMETHING POSITIVE. 

Charities you can choose from:

Planned Parenthood -
Muslim Aid USA -
Human Rights Campaign -
Friends of the Earth -
Democrats.Org –

Team Pantsuit!
Letters to choose from to compose your 10 letter maximum message:
A (5)
B (3)
C (1)
D (3)
E (6)
G (2)
H (2)
I (4)
J (1)
K (1)
L (2)
M (2)
N (3)
O (4)
P (2)
Q (1)
R (3)
S (2)
T (3)
U (2)
V (1)
W (1)
X (1)
Y (2)
Z (1)
Fine print:
-          Your message must be 10 letters or less (the light only has 10 squares)
-          Your message cannot be a curse word
-          I reserve the right to not accept your message if I find it offensive or disagreeable (after all, it IS going to hang at my house for 24 hours).  I will work with you to find a more appropriate message if I am uncomfortable with your first proposal

-          You have to commit to making the donation (no slackers) – mail it to me and I will put them together

THANK YOU KINDNESS ACTIVISTS!  Let's get some donations going and try to do some good here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Rally Behind Kindness

Today is November 9, 2016.  It is the day after the American election, the one that will put Donald Trump into office.

Kindness is the LAST THING I feel today.  I feel anger.  Sadness.  Dismay.  Frustration.  Disbelief.  Fear.  Disgust.  Grief.

I keep getting messages telling me (and the rest of the country) to "Breathe".  "Spread Kindness."  "Go High."  "Unify."  But I cannot do those things, not now.  For now, I must cry.  Cry for a country that chose hate over love, bigotry over acceptance, and divisiveness over unity.  

But through my tears I will tell you about a Kindness Activist who made a difference for me this week.  I don't know his name, I don't know his story, but I know I was thankful to him and I know he was kind.

This is him with me (snapped after the rally).

Do you see how much bigger than me he is??  I am 5'2" and he had to be 6'something".   He was smack dab in front of me at the Tim Kaine rally we attended on election eve.  We were way back in the line to get in, so by the time we got through security the place was pretty well packed, and our spots were not great, but made much worse by this large man.  We figured at least we could HEAR Joe Biden and Tim Kaine speak, even if our view was blocked.  

But shortly after Joe began his amazing speech, this man turned around, saw me, and gestured "Would you like to get in front of me?".  I hadn't asked.  I don't even know how he knew I was behind him.  But he offered, and I accepted.  I giggled a little, "Are you sure you will be able to see over me?" and took my place in front of him.

Joe Biden, Vice President

Tim Kaine, who I believed at the time would be the next Vice President

Granted, my view still wasn't great (note to the old man in the sweatshirt jacket: if you attend a public event and everyone wants to take photos, please don't bring a huge tablet with a cover that you hold open and block everyone behind you's view for a very long time...).  But I COULD see a bit, and holding my camera up every once in a while I could see better (David said he used my camera as his "view" from behind my big friend every time I held it up, too).

We will miss you, Joe.
Thanks kind stranger who let me move in front of you.  Your gesture meant a lot.  Not only did it make my experience at the rally a little bit better, but thinking about it today reminds me that kindness still exists in our country.

We vote on the side of kindness

This is Joanne.  I met her at the rally.  She is 80 years old and a has been a member of a
Hillary Clinton fan Club since Bill Clinton was in office.  Needless to say, I liked Joanne.

I swung by to visit the White House the afternoon of the election (while wearing my pantsuit of course).
I truly believed that highest of glass ceilings was going to be shattered last night.  

Friday, November 4, 2016


In the same spirit as yesterday’s Kindness Activist Kari ( story here ), who recognized that all of the negativity surrounding the election is hurting our country, may I present Vote4Kindness!  I found out about the movement when they “liked” one of my Kindness Activist tweets and “followed” me on Twitter, so I checked them out.  And wouldn’t you know it, they are pretty amazing.

Patriotic AND Kind - how about that???  :)
@Vote4Kindness is the brainchild of Nancy, who says she got the idea, “When I found myself and others in my life more sad and angry than our normal happy selves.  I felt like something need to shift and we all needed a little more kindness in our world so I started the Twitter handle.”

Well now, there is a woman who takes action!  She just set up the Twitter account in October and already has 332 followers and has been retweeted over 183 times, so I would say her movement has been a success!  Her goal is to get people to do a little extra, to go out of their way, and do one kind act every day until election day.  Guys – the election is SOON, so you better get your kindness on NOW!  The FIRST thing you should do is follow @Vote4Kindness on Twitter, so you can see her tweets and be inspired.  I love the way she put it, “Let’s make kindness outshine the election negativity.”  No matter which political team you are on, I think we ALL can agree with that idea.

Here is our Kindness Activist, the lovely Nancy!
Nancy believes, like I do, that when you receive kindness, you are inspired to do something kind yourself.  I think of it like ripples, and she put it this way, “This movement provides kindness to one person, who then thinks, ‘Wow, that was really kind…’ and then THEY do something kind for someone else, so it is worth the effort”.  She looks at acts of kindness like Dominoes, where being kind to one person knocks down that first Domino, then they just start tipping over like a beautiful symphony.  I would have to agree!  And the kind acts she is talking about don’t have to be something huge!  She has done things like put little positive sticky notes up in public places, opened doors for people, and given people compliments and smiles.  Little things mean a lot, especially in tumultuous times like we are in now. 

Look - a Starbucks gift card!!   Wouldn't you be so happy to have a stranger hand you this??
And how easy to do - next time you stop in for a latte, get one for a stranger, too.
Nancy says she feels good knowing that her acts and tweets could be making a difference in someone’s day.  She, like many of us, is feeling sad and angry about the election, but working on Vote4Kindness has become the highlight of her day.  (I can relate to that, said the woman who spends hours writing Kindness Activist pieces…)  She says @Vote4Kindess has made me her hopeful, and that just THINKING about kindness can make a person feel more positive and hopeful.  I 100% agree with that!

Nancy wants to thank everyone who has already joined the #Vote4Kindness movement (and I want to encourage those of you who haven’t to jump on board!).  And, as she says, “It’s not too late to join this kindness movement.  We can all use as much kindness as possible right now, so let’s make it shine.”

I think that social media, and Twitter in particular, can get really mean and nasty.  The idea to harness the power of Twitter and use it for KINDNESS is a beautiful one. 

Amen!  Agree to disagree (but don't forget to vote!)
Let’s finish here with a quote by Martin Kornfield that Nancy loves and really sums up her goal with this project, “If we all do one random act of kindness daily, we just might set the world in the right direction”.

If you know of a Kindness Activist, please tell me about them so I can feature their story here.  And remember to “like” Kindness Activist on Facebook so you can follow the photos and stories.

And last, but most certainly not least, PLEASE VOTE in the upcoming election.  And please, please, please spread kindness.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Kari Kindness

I don’t think anyone in America, at least anyone that has television, radio, and/or internet access, would say that this is a “kind time” in our country.  Let’s be honest – with all of the election coverage we hear much more yelling, rude comments, cross-talk, and negativity than most of us can handle.  If the actual CANDIDATES are not spewing hatred, the reporters and pundits are. 

So, in the midst of all of that negativity, I would like to share with you something I found today written by my friend Kari (who was featured in this blog in a July piece called Safety Kindness ).  Kari is the first guest writer in the Kindness Activist Project, and I welcome her words with a happy heart:

Kari's photos show us her lens on the world - sunshine and beauty

Kari wrote: 

“Long post alert :)
I commented to a friend recently about all of the negative/hopeless/depressing BS drowning our country.  I told my friend, “The division and depravity in the world makes me desperate to see the good in others and find a higher level good in myself.  The one BIG way I can make my dent in this world, to combat all this darkness, is to spread the good and appreciate the good in others when I see it.  I can AFFIRM the good, not just notice it.  The world needs to see ALL good magnified. I know so much good is out there”.

I would also like to add that I’ve been consumed lately with the thought of GOOD vs EVIL in this world, the state of America, what I can and should do about it, etc.  Even with the World Series -as I watched game 7 unfold I couldn’t help but think of how many Hillary voters vs Trump voters were in the stands.  Did it matter?  No.  Regardless of which team you are cheering (be it in politics or on the ball field), in that moment, baseball united our terribly divided nation, if only temporarily.

Kari's vision of autumn leaves
Someone let me in the flow of traffic yesterday - waves and thumbs up!  Later while trying to park, I was the one who could extend grace.  The guy ahead of me just missed an open parking spot. He stopped abruptly, half blocking the empty stall, neither of us would get the spot unless someone relinquished. I rolled my eyes and thought, “You missed it - too bad so sad…” and instinctively wanted to hold my ground.  But then I realized that I could back up and make it easy for him to get what he wanted.  The “prized” parking spot was not worth spreading more anger/bitterness/divisiveness/pettiness.  A quick attitude adjustment and I backed up willingly. It was the right thing to do.  If I want a more united, kind, peaceful America, like that one dude said  I needed to “be the change you wish to see in the world”.

Look for ways to acknowledge even the smallest gesture of kindness towards one another; if someone holds the door for you, instead of a mere thank you, how about a “Thank you for your kindness!”  Let’s amplify and acknowledge good behavior - it’s a start I suppose.  In a world where so many things feel out of control I'm really trying to open my eyes and engage in the world in a proactive and positive way.  If we all tried together how might that shift hearts.

More love, less fear and anger.”

Beautiful woman and oh so wise
Kari, thank you so much for eloquently expressing what we needed to be reminded of.  More love, less fear and anger.

LOOK for good.  Acknowledge kindness.  And for goodness sakes, be kind.

Kari and her Mamma 
P.S. – Kari, last time you nominated someone to be a Kindness Activist, but this time YOU are being crowned one.  Thank you the joy you bring to the world, the unique take on things that you are willing to share, and the KINDNESS you spread.