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.

Just Because

My last blog post, Life We’re in It Together was a story about a friend and neighbor, Helen, who is beyond thoughtful and empathetic, she’s ‘empathoughtfulmaster.’ That word is soon to be an actual concept. Helen just senses the human experience of others and sneakily follows through on her phenomenal ideas.

Jennie Lee, one of my favorite people in forever, had her own sneaky idea. Out of the abundant goodness of her heart, she followed through on an idea to pay a kindness forward, in reaction to Helen doing more “Just Because”

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”

Funny Can Equal Kindness

This Giraffe is looking for a little action. Why a giraffe? They are unlikely and, in my opinion, hilarious. That’s it.

Kindness tip of the week:  

look for the funny in everything and life is easier to handle.

For example!

The-Very-Patient-Husband accompanied me to a doctor’s appointment on Friday. It was a serious appointment, we were both a little nervous and became even more so when the nurse greeted us. She seemed a bit peeved about…perhaps, the idiocy of our world, the people in it, and most likely her job specifically (I’m just guessing). Maybe she hadn’t had any coffee yet, I know that would do it for me. more “Funny Can Equal Kindness”

How To Change The World

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It can be as close as next door. 

On October 1, 2017, Steven Paddock had a psychotic break in Las Vegas and unleashed a string of bullets onto unsuspecting country music fans across the street from his hotel. No one saw it coming and no one knows why. Our world seems lost and out of control.

Ten years ago, I had an idea during a fabulous weekend retreat. The Walk To Emmaus. http://azemmaus.org/

On fire with a thousand grand ambitions when I got home, I started showering my children with affection, “Hannah, I made you some toast, my precious child of God.”

Hannah liked being showered with toast, and so I branched out and experimented with various cashiers in our neighborhood stores. I just said, “Hi” to them though. No toast. The feedback was instantaneous; my kids were surprised, “What happened to you?” And more than once at Wal-Mart, cashiers remarked, “Your kindness does not go unnoticed. It makes a difference. Thank you.”  more “How To Change The World”