Kind Bean

We believe the world needs a little more kindness and a little less chaos. It’s our promise to you that you’ll find that at Kind Bean every time you join us.” Jen and Clay, the owners of The Kind Bean  Coffee with a purpose

Have you been to The Kind Bean in Chandler yet? (They have more than one bean…) This family owned business is on the NE Corner of McQueen and Pecos Roads.

Dave and Colleen Specht, of the family owned ImprovMania in Downtown Chandler, brought me and my husband to their favorite coffee place on this past, very toasty, June 1st day. We had very icey coffee and Vegan pastries that literally melted in our mouths, but melted in that good way, from sheer delishishness, not from the desert heat. (Delishishness doesn’t appear to be a word, but I like it, so it it is, as of now, a word. Might even be my favorite word replacing the previous favorite word of kerfuffle.)

Excuse my wordy departure just above…back to kind beans and kind people and food that is kind to animals and the planet. This is a little piece of idealism and heaven right here in our hood. There are Vegan and Non-Vegan treats so if you have a Vegan friend, yet you are not, here’s a place to make both of you happy!

When you’re driving through this intersection in any direction, glance over to the NE corner and decide to stop in. Tell Jen, Clay, or their daughter that Here On The Cul-de-Sac sent you in for a kind word combined with a good jolt to your day through caffeine, yumminess and the feeling of being welcome. That feeling of being welcomed isn’t everywhere, so I like to notice it when it exists.

What Kindness is Menu
This hangs on the wall to enjoy while you order. I’m taking it like a menu, “I’ll have some selflessness please!”

It’s time for a little tectonic shift in how we embrace strangers into our midst. This precious place is doing more than their share – they are spreading goodness with every cup.

Please take a minute to check them out and let your encounter there frame the rest of your day with energy, openness, and a little sugar high that could make every interaction at least entertaining, if not life-changing.

Here is the story of how their business came to be. It’s a good story.

Side note: I’ve been gone from interacting with the world via blogging for almost 5 months due to many kerfuffle’s that leveled me and my family both physically and emotionally. By taking this step today to write about people doing their best to change the world, it says to me that I’m on the mend…Phew!

Thank you for reading.

Inside Kind Bean ordering good things
Local celebrities, Colleen and Dave Specht, owners of ImprovMania and my husband, Keith, an ImprovManiac ordering delishishness.

 

It’s a Wonderful, Dented Life

I bought my husband a bell for our 25th wedding anniversary last month. Thinking we could keep it up all year long and ring it whenever we needed to be reminded that we live a wonderful life, despite how it might seem sometimes.

The first bell I bought didn’t ring. It was a Polar Express bell that only rings if you believe in Santa Claus. Hallmark just doesn’t get grown up children.

The second bell I bought on Amazon seemed perfect. Until it arrived. It’s a bell that announces It’s a Wonderful Life, has an angel wing and rings! I couldn’t believe such an awesome thing existed. But, it wasn’t perfect. It’s super cheap and was dented during its travels. more “It’s a Wonderful, Dented Life”

Kid in The Corner

Do you know someone who feels alone? Do you have someone in your life; your child, your student, a friend, a partner, or someone you pass by occasionally, that you can tell is suffering?

Last weekend I had the honor of performing at a benefit for Kid in The Corner and I MUST SHARE their mission and message of kindness, inclusion, community, and hope. This organization exists because of one parent’s worst nightmare.  more “Kid in The Corner”

Lyft, More Than Just Convenient When Fireball Wins

Our vision was to reinvent cities around people, not cars. That vision originated with one of our cofounders, who spent his life in Los Angeles, sitting in traffic and thinking to himself, there has got to be a better way. 

Melissa Waters, VP Marketing at Lyft

Gize gave me a ride from San Francisco to the Oakland Airport. We shared our philosophies on human interaction and connection. I’d been considering starting a blog on kindness during this trip to Northern California while helping out with some fire victim’s in Santa Rosa in 2017. Observing the enormous outpouring of resources and genuine desire to ease suffering during the couple of days I was helping out, started me on this idea. It’s a bummer that tragedy seems to be required to bring kindness into the spotlight, even though kindness is everywhere you look, always.

When I was done in Santa Rosa I spent the night with a friend, Beth, in San Francisco. Beth arranged for a Lyft, like a nicer Lyft, almost a limo, to get me to the Oakland Airport. Beth, not surprisingly, lives on a hill. Beth was on her hands and knees with her head under her car in her garage when the Lyft arrived. I set my rolly suitcase down on the sidewalk and went to say goodbye to her under her car. As my suitcase started to roll into the street, Gize, like a superhero, maybe Spiderman, jumped out, scooped it up and put it in the back of his car/limo/fancy ass car. I noticed the rolly escapee at the same time. It was a near pileup between the two of us, which involved a little scream from me, and was the first of at least 20 times we genuinely laughed together. I took him over to meet Beth under her car. Beth does not care to be viewed in this position…

Gize and I had a bit of a cultural divide, but only due to growing up on different continents, otherwise we’re the same person. He missed his original country with the overwhelming support and connection between all of their citizens, unlike here in America where we end up divided by demographics and wrapped up in our safety seals of steel cars, mostly alone.

Gize is doing his part beautifully to bring the kindness of his home country and spreading it around the San Francisco Bay Area. When he set my suitcase out on the curb at the airport, where it behaved and stayed in place, we shared a hug and I felt I’d just been in the company of one of the best people I have ever met. Gize helped to change me for good. I started this blog partially inspired by our encounter. I’ll never forget that ride.

A couple of days later, Lyft emailed me this: 

Hi Karen,

Five years ago, we started Lyft to spark moments of human connection – sometimes big, sometimes tiny. And now 2.5 million people come together every day in Lyft rides across the country, proving that people from all walks of life can positively impact each other’s day.

I believe Lyft, and drivers like Gize, have found the better way.

Did you know:

Lyft gives free rides to cancer patients to and from treatments

Through their relief rides they give free rides during crises, for example; after the mass-shooting in Las Vegas, they gave rides to blood banks and hospitals, in the aftermath of natural disasters, and to veterans and low-income individuals.

In underserved communities they provided free rides to and from the polls on election day, and 50% off rides to companies that support voter turn out

You can round up and donate the cost of your ride to a charity of your choice with every ride you take and to date Lyft has donated over $10 million dollars

Lyft supports your local non-profit organizations through their community grants program

During this holiday season if you loved grandma’s Fireball laced eggnog a bit too much, think about calling Lyft first. You stand a chance of at least meeting another human being doing the best they can, right where they are.

A Kinder and Gentler Nation

I see history as a book with many pages, and each day we fill a page with acts of hopefulness and meaning.

Former President George H.W. Bush

I remember when he asked for a kinder and gentler nation, and for all of us to be a thousand points of light by volunteering in our communities. He leaves behind a legacy of service and a reminder for all of us to bring hope to those who may have lost it.

Don’t you miss living in a time when our leaders said things like this? A time when more of us looked to unite, instead of to divide?

I mostly remember the kinder, gentler, points of light thing due to Dana Carvey’s impression of Bush on Saturday Night Live, and through my friend, Woody, who could impersonate Dana Carvey impersonating President Bush PERFECTLY! Which pretty much sums up what I was doing in 1989…I was laughing.

HW was a modest man who never did a victory dance. He was a man just following advice from his mother. A good mother!

A huge crevice exists between this Bush-man and our current government leader. Even if it was only the speech writers who were inspiring, it is still a devastating loss that this call to kindness no longer defines our nation.

There is mourning indeed. I wish I knew how we got so far from unity as a whole.

Let’s try to follow this example of humanity as we traverse our new normal.

Mothers, Gratitude, Regret, and Wishful Thinking

Tomorrow on our cul-de-sac we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving. A 24-pound turkey, Al, will not be thawed by tomorrow. Dinner may be late for our small gathering this year of 15. I am thankful to have a warm, welcoming home for 15 people to sit down together and laugh more than we cry -or drink.

My mother passed away this past Nov. 6th at 7:30 AM. My alarm went off at 7:30 and as I rolled over to hit snooze I noticed I wasn’t coughing up small hamsters from my lungs for the very first time in 3 months. When I stood up from my all too comfy bed I was hit by a weight of depression I hadn’t been experiencing for the last couple of months, so I noticed.

I got a call at 12:10 PM. letting me know my mother had passed away a bit unexpectedly. It was nice of her to take my cough with her. I’m sure it’s just a weird coincidence. But, still, it’s weird.

When my husband, the-very-patient-man, and I decided to have children I vowed to do everything I could to give my children a different childhood than mine. I succeeded and failed.

Now that one is in college and one a recent college graduate living her dream life in California, I have too much time to miss: their magical imaginations, shopping for their food and entertainment and education and positive reinforcements. I miss the few and far-between moments of my own mother’s attempts to do the same for me. My ‘nows’ are often made up of ‘thens’ and the wishful thinking that I could have done better, at everything.  I miss the way our life was, even in the midst of loving the way our life is. more “Mothers, Gratitude, Regret, and Wishful Thinking”

Life, We’re In It Together

Last Saturday night about 9:45 the husband and I returned home from dinner at Bandera in Scottsdale (Go sometime! It’s fantastic) and had just settled down to see if the season premiere of SNL was streaming early. It wasn’t. But just as we cuddled up together and began a search for something that might make us laugh, our doorbell rang two times in rapid succession. Sounded like the way UPS rings the bell, I didn’t think the delivered so late, The Husband graciously went to answer the door. “Who is it?” I bellowed from deep in the couch when I didn’t hear anything at the door. “Nobody. Just a white car flooring it from the curb.” He replied as he handed me a dozen lavender roses. No card. more “Life, We’re In It Together”

10 Ways To Be Kind You Didn’t Think Would Count

You don’t have to do big things in every moment of every day, even simple, small things will change the world.

10 things you can do this week to feel better about yourself and maybe set a good example to someone…your child, your mate, total strangers, squirrels.

1. Put your grocery cart in the corral, even when no one else is around. I do this because I’m trying not to be an asshole. Putting your things away is the nice thing to do. AND! 10 minutes ago, when I started to return my cart on this rainy day (sprinkling lightly, it’s Arizona so we think even humidity counts for rain), a perfect gentleman came over to me and said, “I’ll take that” and he took it! He returned it to it’s little corral where it snuggled up next to its fellow carts. I am not a feeble looking woman. I assume he was walking by and thought, “I’m going that way anyway.” It surprised me, in a good way. Note, to self, I will do this someday too.

more “10 Ways To Be Kind You Didn’t Think Would Count”

Tell Me Something Good

This poster hangs outside of one of my classrooms. It inspires me daily.

What can you tell me about your good stuff?

This blog is a place for good. But, good often comes out of struggles, pain, evil, lack, and on and on. Disaster gives us a chance to rise up and be better human beings and doings to make a difference.

So many heroes rose from the ashes of the terror attacks on September 11. In every hurricane, tornado, storm surge and firestorm comes hundreds of volunteers giving their energy and sharing their resources selflessly. In my hometown of Santa Rosa, California, I’ve witnessed kindness in the form of millions of dollars of donations, back-breaking labor, and open arms bringing in newly homeless victims while this town tries to recover from last October’s devastating firestorm that leveled most of its buildings and homes. more “Tell Me Something Good”

How to be Beautiful, Part 1

Beauty Tip #1:

Lovely, right?

Our beauty, or lack of, is always, merely the reflection of where we are directing our gaze. 

For example:

Beaming with pride for someone else.  I am photographed often in this particular state. I’m a wife, mother, teacher, general “lover of all things sweet and beautiful and good” and I look better when I observe anyone doing even remotely well, and  smiling with every cell. It is a selfless moment, it is a reflection of where I am directing my attention. Beaming with pride looks like this on me and my very patient man: 

In Haiti when we learned how to take a selfie!

more “How to be Beautiful, Part 1”