She couldn’t help it. Her head knew better, but her heart was unrelenting. One day she would realize that her heart spoke from trust and her head spoke only of fear, and at that very moment all of the power she suppressed would come forth and the Earth would never be the same.
My life’s goal is an intrinsic one. I want to be unconditionally loving towards myself and others, and I want to be fearless. I know that I am shooting for the stars, but this goal is the reason I am alive. Everything else is peripheral. In essence, I would rather attain mastery of myself, than a master’s degree. I can’t tell you if its an attainable goal or not, but I know without a doubt that it is a worthy pursuit and I aim to see it through.
Recently, I read a sentence that changed everything for me. Upon reading it, I felt like I got an updated prescription on my glasses and realized what I thought was a mountain was actually a rubbish pile, and it needed to be dealt with. The sentence was simple. “You don’t have to judge this situation.” In other words, I don’t have to categorize everything that happens and everyone I meet as either good or bad. “I am free from the task of judgement.” As someone who is focused on loving people unconditionally, the magnitude of this realization was humbling. With this new vision I could plainly see that categorizing everyone and everything was not only an automatic process for me, but also incredibly judgmental. I feel like the left part of my brain was doing this instantaneously as a defense mechanism, and that the defense was rooted in fear. I was essentially qualifying and disqualifying people all the time. The good people deserve kindness and grace, the bad people can be overlooked. The good circumstances can be embraced and celebrated and the bad situations need to be avoided at all costs. This way of thinking in not only in line with conditional love, it could very well be the definition.
I want love to shine out of me onto every person and every circumstance, otherwise I am shining light on light and leaving the darkness to the dark, accomplishing nothing. The worst part is that all I have to work with is assumption and presumption which is nothing more than self righteous make believe. I am not qualified to judge because my hindered and skewed perception of a snap shot moment doesn’t know a thing about truth, the motivations of the heart or what’s to come. Its even harder with people I know because I’ve got history and experience with them, but I did not design them before time and knit them together in their mother’s womb. I’m still not qualified to judge. I cannot see into even my best friend’s soul to deduce her true motivations and don’t even get me started on what I “think” I know about my husband. My perception is skewed by lies, fear and my own insecurities. If I could see into other people’s souls clearly I would see what I see in myself…Goodness & purity held hostage by fear and deception.
Judging circumstances is a fruitless burden as well. My husband was in a fender bender at a time when we were behind on bills. I judged that situation as bad and became fearful. The damage our car sustained was minor and the person settled with us on the spot and paid several times the cost of repairs, catching us up on finances in a moment. I’ve also accepted shiny job offers with workplaces that resemble Utopia only to find out that one difficult boss can take the joy out of any job. What looks good can often bring trouble, what looks bad can be accompanied by blessings.
I am not qualified to judge. Its exhausting anyways. Every day of my life serves a purpose and is an opportunity to learn and grow. Whether I realize it right away or not, so is every person and circumstance I encounter. I am only responsible for my own motivations and choices. I can freely accept people and circumstances in the same way I accept each new sunrise… With gratitude and appreciation for the lessons and blessings they bring.
I’m privileged to tell you that I know this guy. He is a scholar, a self driven athlete, a lover of life and a relentless advocate for doing what’s right. In addition to all that he is a great friend of mine. Perhaps I should have told his story sooner, but he is leaving for 3 years to teach English in another country any day now, and I think this would be the perfect time to share it.
Justin was on a stroll through downtown Spokane with a lady friend when an act of domestic violence literally erupted out of a nearby house. A heavily pregnant woman burst from a house into the street screaming for help and a man stormed after her. Justin asked his friend to call 911 and he headed towards the mayhem. Before he could get to her, the man brutally punched her in the face and stomach. When the man saw Justin coming he moved to engage him, this gave the woman a chance to flee, but it was also a big mistake because Justin has dedicated much of his time to the practice of Judo and other martial arts. Before the man could do anymore damage Justin was able to knock him out with a clean straight right and put him face down into a secure hold until the situation was neutralized.
The name Justin means Justice and this guy lives up to his name, he is something of a warrior priest and wandering knight. Suffice it to say, chivalry is not dead and if you are lucky enough to be his friend, or unlucky enough to be a damsel in distress, he won’t hesitate to put himself in harms way to protect you.
Have fun on your new adventure my friend!
The strength of kindness is a powerful force.
In but one sweet encounter, it can change a life’s course.
Cultivate kindness within your own heart.
Be kind to yourself, that’s where it all starts.
Until you value your self, you’re of no value to others.
Before we are loved, we must be our own lovers.
Love yourself first, weaknesses and all.
I’m not too short, and you’re not too tall.
Where I am weak, there are those who are strong.
My strengths can serve others, we are different, not wrong.
Give what you have, give of yourself,
And if you are tall, help me reach the top shelf.
A smile, a coffee, a hug or a grant.
You have something to give, so give kindness a chance.
An act of kindness builds strength on all sides.
Both, giver and receiver, grow at the same time.
Push kindness forward, however you can.
Use what you’re given, wherever you stand.
You are the future, and this is the truth,
The strength of kindness, abides within you.
Recently I got wind of a story of extreme heroism. I’m talking about a good Samaritan who saw someone in trouble and without hesitation put himself on the line to rescue not only one, but five people who got swept into the current of the Spokane River. One woman screamed as she was carried away and the 4 others she was with started after her. Aaron Houston saw it coming and took off running down centennial trail to head her off. After a quarter mile sprint to get ahead of her, Aaron was able swim into the river, pulled her to safety and cautiously walked her to land over the slippery rocks and fast moving water. When they made it back to where it all started, Aaron realized that the rest of the people in her group had gotten stranded on the rocks in the middle of the fast water. Exhausted as he was, Aaron retrieved them one by one and brought them to safety. So efficient was his rescue effort that emergency help wasn’t needed. Shaken, but grateful the people left without even knowing their rescuers name.
If you know Aaron, this act of bravery doesn’t come as a surprise. He and his wife Meghan have 5 children and they see life through a lens of gratitude and joy. Kindness is their way of life and while some mothers make having one child seem exhausting, Meghan somehow makes raising 5 look like an adventurous blessing. She is the mom other mom’s call for advice on everything from whooping cough to labor! Their 5 kiddos are a wildly exciting bunch all sporting the bright blue eyes their parents share. Their house is one where children are allowed to be children but they remain respectful, courteous and delightful. They have struck the difficult balance of freedom and discipline. All in all, theirs is a family of excellence and the world needs more people like them! Happy Father’s Day Aaron, this article reveals the hero in you today, but your kids and the people close to you know that you and Meghan are superheroes everyday!
First and foremost I want to let you know that if my words were dipped in honey and garnished with gold they still wouldn’t do this woman justice. I was honestly hoping to cover a few smaller acts of kindness before trying to accurately put into words, a person who has lived a life of kindness with such incalculable far reaching effects.
Terry Cole is a mom, but she is more like a mom squared, cubed or to the 5th power. She has had 4 biological children, she has managed to adopt 8 children and is in the process of adopting another. She has fostered over 40 children, but not just any children, the children that no one else would take. The children that are born with drug addictions, the children with known behavioral problems, and the children with intense health issues that have her constantly running to medical appointments. She deserves a medal for all that stuff, but it doesn’t stop there. This woman even mentors birth mothers and works with them to get their children back, in a sense grand mothering them and maintaining lasting relationships. Some say, that after meeting her Chuck Norris stopped fighting and took up a life of quiet contemplation and rescuing orphaned animals.
This woman is a hero. There are so many people we look up to in sports, music and Hollywood. But this is the woman we SHOULD be looking up to. Thank God I had the opportunity to know her. Thank God I got to live life alongside a woman who’s response to me referring to “the terrible twos” was “The twos are wonderful.” To me, and to the people who know her she is super human. Her powers include patience, gentleness and kindness in measures that we previously didn’t know one person could contain. She has not committed an act of kindness, her entire life is an expression of kindness. My desire to succeed is fueled by a desire to give big, and my desires were inspired by Terry Cole, the biggest giver I know. This woman should be on Ellen receiving a new house/car, an all expense paid vacation, and maid service for life.. If a reality show featured her, the world couldn’t help but change. But she has already changed the world, one child at a time. Terry Cole has always and will continue to be the greatest person I know. Thanks so much to her daughter Janelle for asking me to recognize her. It was a humbling feat and I am grateful for the chance to honor such a woman.
I have experienced plenty of kindness in my life, so I will get this ball rolling. Recently, at my second craft show (after an incredibly disheartening first craft show) I fell in love with the products at the booth across from me. From end to end the table was covered with clothes for babies and toddlers that were SO cute, the fact that I have no kids was not enough of a deterrent for me to not buy them. One particular lace ruffled romper had me trying to figure out how I could get a child of my own, or at least borrow one immediately!
There were also these fabulous chunky bead necklaces that somehow were able to stand out as uniquely fabulous in an environment filled with every kind of jewelry imaginable.
After taking in all the cuteness and class in one spot, I needed to find out who was responsible. It turns out it was Jennifer Puckett, Owner and Creator of Mon Petit Designs. Her presentation was so put together I assumed I was looking at the Mary Kay of kids clothes. I was wrong, Mon Petit Designs are handmade by one sweet woman with an eye for beauty and a facebook page with well over 2,000 likes. Once I realized that, I knew I was looking at someone who was succeeding on a path that I had barely just discovered and I wanted to know exactly how she did it. I imagine that in a place so full of competition that the secrets to success would be heavily guarded. Once again, Jennifer proved my assumptions wrong. She was absolutely willing to shine a light into my darkness and give me her hard earned tips and tools of the trade. She told me what worked for her and what didn’t and she has been at this for more than a few years, so her advice is just absolutely golden. I was at a place where I knew what I wanted to do, but had no idea how to do it. She still has a lot to teach me, but her willingness to encourage and educate me in what worked for her is an incredible kindness that I deeply appreciate and its just one more example of the fact that I absolutely cannot exist without the support of the community. Thanks Jennifer! Mon Petit Designs