Friday, April 19, 2013

Where does Kindness Come from?

First and Foremost I want to send my thoughts and prayers to everyone effected by the Boston Marathon Bombing. I know it might be cliché to blog about it, but it seems to fit right in with this topic. I feel the sorrow, and mourning for the troubled of this tragic event, but I also have to say, it's inspiring, and hopeful to see all those that come to help. It's astronomical to understand the amount of courage it takes to get back up when you are directly effected by something so catastrophic as this, and then look to see where you can lend a hand. Kindness is not for pussies, everyone: It takes courage, it takes empathy; and it means you have to act!

I know a lot of nice people. They smile, say please, thank you, and generally avoid making others uncomfortable. It is so good to have people like this. However, I'd also like to point out; nice is not the same thing as being kind, at least not in my opinion.  Think about the word "kind".  Two of a Kind. What Kind of shows do you like? What kind are these?

Kind comes from the word comes from the old English word Cynd, meaning generation, or in Germanic origin : relation of kin. It's a word that recognizes our ability to relate objects (people, animals, etc) together. As if we are family-- and really, everything on this earth is our family (BTW, 'ness' stands for state of, kindness= state of being akin to). That's why I have such a strong attachment to the idea of community.

Don't get me wrong-- My kids bicker and fight all the time. I am not saying that family is the example of kindness 24/7. Heck, I even have relatives that aren't speaking to each other at any given time.  What it really comes down to is what you will do for family in general, in the name of family...because they are your kin. It means a non-judgmental supportive action from the relationship of being the same.

These people who gathered in Boston, came from all walks of life, different areas, and with different goals. But they all came to run in or support those in the marathon. The actions following bombing came from being family. The point is Kindness doesn't come from knowing where or who it's going to. It comes from inside us, recognizing that we are all, on some level, the same and creating a action that acknowledges it to the other person.

What is even more glorifying, is the fact the kindness (or anything emotionally provoked) snowballs. It may seem small at first, but with each rotation the power is growing. Just the day after the bombing, runners all over facebook pledged to wear a marathon shirt in honor of the victims.  Next year, Boston will have more runners and supporters than it will ever had in the past, simply to stand up for our kind. If you want to see the brighter side of the tragic event, it is seeing how much kindness overpowers the destruction. It might knock us down, but someone pulls us up, and we rebuild. The good news is we don't need things like bombings for us to see the kindness we have. I that's what I feel is worth finding, and encouraging everyday.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Post It Confidently

So Here's a new segment I'm calling "Post It Confident" . Quotes to purposely lift the reader's confidence when looking in the mirror. These are spontaneously placed--on local businesses ladies rest room's mirror.  I choose mirrors because it is a moment when we have the opportunity to look ourselves directly in the eye, and be honest.

Here is the first one, which I placed at a local supermarket:

Remember the odds of you being born are so unlikely. You are a miracle.

Are you a business in the Puget Sound area with an available public mirror (restroom) ? You're invited to host a Post It Confidently! Drop us a line at and we'll bring a post it to you and share it here!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Event ideas for the pet lovin community

From the dog and cats to horses and bunnies, people are finding all sorts of ways to connect by their pet's common interests. If you are seeking out ways to meet with other people in your area with a heart for your furbabies, feather friends, or the like, here are some original event ideas to keep the momentum going!

1. Nature Walks/Rides- If you have pooches and leashes getting together for a pack walk is a great socialization treat; or ramp it up for the energized dogs; Go roller blading instead! Horseback riding is also an easy activity for the horse lovers.

2. Making Pet Treats- There are many homemade recipes for your pets of all kind, available all throughout the Internet, find a few good ones and ok them with the vet, and then invite your animal loving friends for a bake treats day!

3. Guest Speakers- From the vet, groomer and trainer, these people are filled with knowledge and ready to share. If you have a group that meets regularly, these professionals might even come out and do a Q&A, you can even leave the pets at home, proving you can still bond with other animal lovers without them in tow.

3. Making accessories- From collars, to embellishing your riding reins, to making bird toys, there are cute crafts that are easy to do for your animals. Your crafty members will get to bond on two levels with this idea- pets and crafting!

4. Pet portrait/memorabilia prints- Know a local photographer? Perhaps someone that does clay impressions, or prints? Your friends will get to take home a very special keepsake at this event!

(Check out!)

5. Habitat Building- If someone in your group is looking to expand their pack/flock, your group can take advantage of it! Make a day of it by helping them building a larger kennel, or fence.

6. Fundraising for animals- From raising awareness about adopting pets, to saving the whales, any animal cause is certainly worthy of this type of group. This is another way to create community with a common interest and still keep the pets at home (if desired!)

7.  Talent Show- This can even be done virtually with sites like youtube, or facebook, but in person is always fun! If you parrot says some crazy things or your mouse runs through some tough obstacles to get to that cheese, share it with your friends in person or online.

8. Pet Parade - Whether you just stroll through the sidewalk, down the block or make it a full-fledged parade (check with city officials for requirements), dressing up your pet and placing them on a float is the ultimate high point of showing off your furbabies.
(credit to the Atlanta Humane Society)

9. Holiday Parties- Look out they have Halloween and Holiday costumes for animals too! Makes for a fun get together!

10. Pet Fair- Several Metropolitan Cities have fairs designed specifically for pets. Vendors, Samples, and activities are carefully designed with you (and your pet in mind!). A search on can lead the way, so all you have to do is grab your friends and go!!!!


Friday, April 12, 2013

Charms for Kindness!

I spent several hours this month with my fingers wrapped up in embroidery thread, making friendship bracelets. Every bracelet I succeeded in making fell short of my expectations. Also, I learned for once and for all, you can't force yourself to like something you never have. With a tight budget (a result of an underwater mortgage we are trying to off load), I wanted to come up with a way to make something inexpensive to give to those whom I catch giving acts of kindness in the city. It didn't work. I haven't been happy with it; mostly because I don't like making friendship bracelets.

So my plans with sharing my friendship bracelets with you did not work out. Nevertheless, my plan B (albeit, the 'more expensive' plan) is taking it's place, and I'm much more enthused about it.

I have always had  fascination with charms. The simplistic nature of charms has always appealed to me. Last week I purchased just over 100 pairs of them. This week, I will be making the pairs into a keychain and add on charm set. When I catch someone in an act of kindness, they will get the keychain--and I will add the identical charm to my bracelet.  It will become my little way of carrying the people's kindness everywhere I go.

I can't wait to actually get out there and start passing these out. Until then!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I dare you! Show us your closet!

Monica: " Huah?!!!.....How did you get in there?!"

Chandler: (intense giggles) "You're messy!"

Monica: "No you weren't suppose to see this!"

(Monica (Courtney cox) and Chandler (Matthew Perry), on The Secret Closet from series FRIENDS)

Oh Monica!!! How I can relate!!!!! Don't we all have these little secrets? It might be a drawer, or closet (or in my case, my car!).  Here's the thing. Isn't it wrong that we feel like we have to hide it? As if the perception the world will carry of us if they knew would change our world forever that we couldn't bare it?

The media makes it worse. From TV commercials, blogs, and internet sensations like pinterest we are exposed to this illusion that our efforts and capabilities are not meeting today's standards. We have so much to 'live up to'.  We have so much room to fail.

You want to know a secret? Pictures I take for blogs, or products do not include my carpet for a reason. (Infact I even put a little effort into my pictures I post on my facebook timeline!)It's usually decorated in trudged in dirt, cookie crumbs and most likely, toys everywhere.  The most respected blogs don't share our secret closets with the rest of the world. It is costing us, the 'normal' peeps some serious confidence.


So what are we going to do about it?! I declare, we need to reclaim normal. We need to be proud of it! We need to reclaim our confidence and feel secure to say "I don't do it all!!!" That's why I'm starting a segment "Your Shameless Imperfections". Go on. I dare you:

1. Like my facebook page
2. Post a picture on my wall: it can be your closet, your drawer, your car, your bedroom....the aftermath of project, dinner, or the state you left your home in before you left for work. Just be real, and be brave. Face your fear!
3. Check in each second Tuesday of the month for my fav pics! Give these ladies praise for being brave, and if you ever have moments like these, say so!

So what are you waiting for? I dared you; Go get your iphones and start sending me pics! :0) I triple dog dare you!

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Importance of Community: It's critial to your Thrivival!

1570 miles didn't stop me from picking up and leaving everything I knew to start a life where the only certainty came from my husband. I had no fear, and optimism on my side. By the time I left, I already checked myself out emotionally. Armed with determination, I was prepared to fight my way back home, and at the time, Spokane sounded like a good starting point.

I didn't hate Tucson. I did hate the heat, the dirt, and the lack of family. The most important memories I have is the ones created by the only community I had: my mothers group. I learned a lot about social ins and outs (You would think I learned them in school, but I suppose I didn't.) through it. It was my only consistent social outlet and my survival plan.

                             (photo of our first snow in Tucson, really made me miss home)

The importance of community didn't hit me until I reached Spokane, and the appreciation was not fully realized until moving away. Can you survive without community?

Nature already knows community is vital to quality of life. It's not just the balance of our eco-system. Michael Dowd points out that the entire genetic makeup of the universe structures itself upon community. Even when you take the smallest thing you can think of...such as an atom....and look at it from a larger scale, you can see community taking place. Atoms work together to make simple organisms, and simple organism work together to make complex organisms and so on until it makes up the various complex creations such animals, even solar systems!

Community ensures that everyone contributes to society. We all have area of expertise, and/or social standing: and those positions deserve an equal amount of respect and gratitude. While society can sacrifice one or two non-specifics, if we miss too many pieces society it will collapse. In other words the rich man would not be rich if the poor man was not poor. The doctor would not save lives if the farmer did not farm.

Survival and Thriving is not the same thing. We need community to thrive. We need it to bring us to a since of belonging, self-identity, and support. Community is why I love Spokane. It is the support of community I love the most: the friend who brought me milk when my entire family was sick (Thanks Daree!), the person who invited me to events and groups, and the support groups that helped me recollect myself enough to combat depression (shout out to Berean Mops!).

What is more, is how I saw the larger community to do amazing things. Like helping Cat, a young woman with Scleroerma, raise money to fund a stem cell transplant to save her life. It just brings tears to my eyes. I can't wait to find all the community has here in Seattle.

Can you survive without community? Possibly. But do you want to survive or thrive?

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Counted Thought

My obsession with finding those 'perfect gifts' started shortly after high school. My mother asked me to help her make a scrapbook for a family friend with pictures we had of her family. The surprise and awe on her face when she opened it got me hooked. From then on I made it a point to think more about the person when buying a gift.

It never gets old seeing how much astonishment people have when they ask "How do you find these gifts? Or how do you come up with them?" ...It's really quite simple, really. A lot of thinking, and a lot of questions. Who am I shopping for? (favorite colors, entertainment, lifestyle) What is important to them? (Family, work, hobbies)

When I do narrow down my gift possibilities.....Does this gift accurately represent my receiver? Is it personal? Is it sentimental? Is it unique?

I will admit, I have people that are hard to shop for. Particularly my husband (but it is getting easier!) because he is very basic in his interests (i.e. video games, sports, and movies {big surprise, huh?} ).

Here's where this comes into Kindness day (which is every Friday here!) : Kindness is about thinking of others. Gift-giving should be easy, but not thoughtless! Which is why I want to share ideas in a series I'm calling "The Counted Thought" (you can also find a board on pinterest by the same title!). Also, this is your opportunity to challenge me. I want to hear about that someone you're trying to find the perfect gift for, or the perfect gift that someone gave to you. It might just make it on the blog! Drop me a line at :-)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Burnt Cookies are Sweet Reminders

This weekend was a big to do at our house. Saturday we took the family to the local zoo. I had planned everything out to make it a painless adventure. I knew the tight budget delegated I would have to pack snacks, so I made popcorn and cookies that morning. I packed up a bag with extra clothes (in case of a potty emergency), my camera and accessories, and even my friendship making kit to do on the ride there (Thank you to hubby for driving!). The kids had a blast.

We spent about four hours at the zoo, and also stopped on the way home to do an errand. We were gone for a total of six hours, about..... Relieved to be home, I stepped over the threshold, dropping the items in my arms. The room smelled a very awkward smell, and my eyes watered. Immediately my stomach knotted, as I looked at my husband  who already bound his way to action and turned the oven off.. 

Here's the thing. I'm not laughing about this. I could have burnt the entire place down. I'm surprised the neighbors didn't hear the smoke detectors go off and smell the smoke. I feel incredibly guilty, and upset. I also feel as though I've been given a bit of grace. The only thing I'm left with is a lingering burnt cookie smell and guilt.

 I know that sharing this with you puts me open to be criticized and judged by many (and, yes, I am not looking forward to that). Still, I wanted to share this, specifically because I feel as though we often forget to share with each other that we are human. We're not perfect. Even with our best intentions at heart, we can still do wrong.

Please remember that you human, and you are lovable. That is why I'm sharing this with you.....because I believe that we need to remember to forgive ourselves....(and perhaps, to double check the oven before we leave).

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Working for Satan:

A few days ago, someone accused me of working for Satan. It doesn't matter what the sub-context is, because in essence, this person is accusing me of doing evil. I would like to state that I whole heartily respect Christianity (This person is a Christian) ; and the good is what I try to focus on. I will even go as far to say that there is no 'bad' in Christianity; but there is 'bad' in humanity, and it often leaks into many things (including but not limited to Christianity) and masks itself with those names. I do not count myself as Christian, and we won't go into my beliefs in this post, but I wanted to throw a few thoughts out there about this.

I have it in my mind that most people on this earth have at one time or another been accused of working for Satan or any respective evil persona, regardless of whether they know it or not. Regardless of what kind of a person they are. The individuals who concern themselves with defining who is and isn't working for God or Satan, need to know something: You are not making the judgements, or the rules. Actually, I'd like to clarify; you're not even invited to the hearing.

I would prefer to focus on being a good person, rather than concern myself with who works for Satan, or for that matter who thinks I work for him.  When we start labeling each other, we divide ourselves. When we start calling each other out for our 'evil' actions, we are not growing our numbers in a force for good. Think about it, would you join someone in a good cause you have in common after they said your approach is evil? Would you be willing to tolerate working with someone who accuses you of working with Satan?

So many people I know claim the end of times is near. They see how much evil has taken over the world and Satan is winning. Hence I ask; do you want him to win? Or do you want to grow God's army? You certainly aren't going to be successful by separating yourself from others who are trying to do the same thing in a different way.

Now what I am suggesting is NOT that you start bending your values on what you will or won't support. I am not suggesting that you start supporting questionable paths of causes. What I am suggesting is that we start trying to understand each other and find common goals. Find compromises to achieve those goals. We need to stop shaming people, companies, and organizations, and start building rapport with them. No more hating. No more separating. No more labeling.

While we may not like that someone volunteers for an organization that we don't like, that doesn't mean that we should shame them for it. When someone stands on the opposite side of you position, please, don't start pointing your pitch fork at them. Ask them why. Understand why they feel it's good. And don't challenge it. Instead, show them (don't tell them) why your motives behind your side are good. Then walk together and find a common goal. It might mean making compromises on the way, but they only way we are growing God's army is by banding together, and then praying to God that we do good together.

Maybe we need to start leaving the rule making, and the judgements to God. Maybe we need to start using a different strategy...... Working together in a godly way. At least... That's what I believe.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Kindness Project

The Kindness Project

No doubt most blog readers have heard about random acts of kindness. It’s when the blogger takes it upon themselves to spread a little kindness in unexpected places. Suggestions float around everywhere from little to big things you can do. Giving your time, gifts, and service. I love surprising my friends and people I've come into with little acts of kindness. It's just, nothing has ever made me want to blog about it.

Just a little over a month ago, I saw a woman at the grocery store. She had balanced her carry basket on the footrests of her scooter. When she turned the corner, her basket hit a table, and soup cans scattered like tiny mice looking for the nearest hole in the wall. I jumped to her aide, ushering her groceries back into basket, and set it back on her footrests. She was too proud to say thank-you, but it didn’t jar me. 

Recently, while returning my cart at a local grocery store, a man, stopped in his tracks to let me push the cart into the return cage. He gave a genuine dashing smile, and motioned he open hands towards the return area. “Please” He provoked, in a good will, appreciative manner. I thanked him, and we parted.

Chances are if the little old lady or the man ever cross my path again, I won't know it. It is enough to get me thinking. Spontaneous acts of kindness from strangers gets me more excited than planning random acts of kindness. It makes our unknown community friendly, and a great place to live.  How great would it be if people did this more often?

Then it hit me last week while watching the Ellen DeGeneres Show, what would prompt me to write about it. The show has a segment called "Cash for Kindness". It's a courageous little endeavour where Ellen sends out one of her reporters, puts them in an awkward situation, and see who spontaneously comes to help. In the end, the person who shows kindness toward the 'undercover' person in need is rewarded with cash. The last segment made me so surprised how very little amount of people came to help. I wanted to do something, even though I knew it was a ruse... Finally I received my inspiration! What if, instead of performing acts of kindness....we provoke and reward them? What if we started encouraging kindness, everywhere!!!

I’ll be going out into my community trying to catch people in the act, or provoke people to be kind--and reward them for it. I realize that I'll probably never be able to reward them like they do on Ellen, but my hope would be that we'd encourage kindness just by returning it. I am super excited to let you know, that you will be included on this too! You’ll have chances to write in, win prizes, and grow in a kinder community, because;

I believe we could all use a little more kindness.

Yours Kindly,

Whimsical Mai