BoxLunch and Happy Compassion

We have a BoxLunch store at our local mall, Chandler Fashion Square.

This store is a combination of business sense, whimsy and compassion.

I’d never noticed it because I’m usually flying by unfamiliar stores at light speed on my way to Sephora. But, this past Saturday I was glancing around frantically hoping for a last little birthday present for youngest daughter’s 21st birthday. Still moving faster than is safe because I never allow enough time to complete anything, and desperately searching every store window for a glimmer of an idea, I thankfully saw what might be the perfect gift for her from her dog….A Christopher Robin Cook Book sat off to the side in the window with a sign near it that said: 

After blissfully glancing through the recipes and wisdom inside, I purchased the book and in the process donated 2 meals to United Food Bank in Mesa.

Our family loves everything Pooh related…I even knew I would marry my husband on our first date when we discovered we both loved, and felt that deep down we were,Tigger. Winnie the Pooh and his woodland friends covered the walls of our daughters nurseries and remain our most beloved connections among our family. My daughter loves to cook and the book ended up being a great gift. She loved it.

To find a store that would sell the most perfect birthday present and make a difference, not only in our community, but in every store location was a total score. Goodness exists in the most surprising of places.

Have you been in a BoxLunch store yet?

BoxLunch is partnered with Feeding America and has donated 20 million meals through their 100 locations here in the states. So cool. I am inspired to give more just because I see what is possible by combining fun and generosity. I hope you will also be inspired to do the same. Their motto is: Get Some. Give Back. I’m good with that!

If ever you need a pick me up in Chandler, stop in, your entire day will suddenly perk right up just by looking in the window. Harry Potter, BB-8, Rick and Morty, Stranger Things and Monsters, Inc. will all smile back at you. Allow yourself a moment of fun. There is energy and endorphins and silly delight waiting just inside. Then take your mood out into the world and see where you can spread this new found sense of being.

Our local store is at the top of escalators on the left as you head to the food court. If you do go in, please leave me a comment and let me know how you liked it! Click here to find a store in your ‘hood.

Christopher Robin and Donate a Meal caught my eye and brought a smile to my daughter and 2 meals to a hungry human being. Goodness is right where we choose to stop and look.

“There is knowledge, there is wisdom, the difference is compassion.” The Tao of Pooh

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.” 

Yesterday, I watched Charlene, a cashier at my corner Albertsons calmly help a frustrated, elderly woman who had never been in an Albertsons. This woman, wearing a confusing outfit in which not one plaid article of clothing matched, was fixated on how to use the key pad to complete her transaction, while complaining on the illogical placement of everything in, not only this store, but in this state. 

“Where are you from?” Charlene quietly asked with a smile, but the mismatched woman couldn’t answer, the keypad was just too baffling. In what seemed like a generation went by, Charlene, smiling the entire time, got the elderly woman successfully on her way and was still nice to the next customer in her checkout line. I think this transaction would’ve aged me.

A study, that I had nothing to do with, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed when we act kindly toward one person, that person is much more likely to be kinder toward others in the future. The researchers played a game that rewarded greed, (cool??) and found that a single act of kindness could produce dozens more. If you’re nice to John in Round 1, he’d be more likely to be nice to Kristen in Round 2, and they both would be more likely to be nice in Round 3. It was a ripple effect of kindness. It starts as a single act, but it keeps spreading outward affecting so many more.

This other guy, Edward Lorenz, in a MIT study over 50 years ago, uncovered a kind of miracle about the way nature works: small changes can have large consequences. He discovered the “butterfly effect” when he suggested that the flap of a butterfly’s wings might ultimately cause a tornado.

Charlene is nice to the lost, mismatched, elderly woman who then is a little nicer in the next new store where she probably will be lost again. Charlene flapped her wings. 

We can change the world in our own neighborhoods one smile at a time. Maybe, one kindness has the power to stop a random act of violence for at least a second. I’ll bet Steven Paddock’s world did not shower him with toast, or smiles. 

Be the butterfly. 

“Hi” never started a war.

Just start next door. When was the last time you said hi to your neighbor?

 

The Fingerprint of Second Thoughts

“Thank you for not abusing me” she said.

“You’re welcome……….it hasn’t been easy” I replied.

My daughter, Talia, is training to be a volunteer on Teen Lifeline, the suicide hot line here in Phoenix. We had the above conversation more than once after the session on abuse.

I didn’t plan to have children. They just showed up. I thought about having a baby once and then BAM! pregnant. That first one just about killed me too, not all the way to fully dead, but dented into an unrecognizable state.  I have a salvage certificate.

Six months after the first baby was born, in a moment of weakness to many, many, things, I thought about a new baby again, and BAM! same thing. I have not allowed myself to “think” since. 

Talia Hope became the second “thought.” Before she was Talia, she was 25,023,800 seconds of panicked thoughts. 24, 419,000 seconds is the length of an average pregnancy. Talia stayed another 7 days to put up shelves, it seems, in the hope of staying.

There are times in my life where I have been closer to God than others. Waiting for my second child to emerge while caring for a seven-month old was a time spent in close proximity; through prayer, pleading and endless bargaining.

At the risk of sounding crazy, when I was about 2 months into the pregnancy, I heard these words in reply to an outcry, “You’re having a girl. Her name is Hope.”

“I am? Whose hope is she? Mine?”  I replied. “Nice.”

Since you can’t name a child Hope Burns (for obvious reasons) we named her Talia Hope. Talia is Hebrew/Greek and means “Dew from Heaven.” Hope and dew from heaven are maybe too much to expect from a small person, especially since I’ve only ever hoped to keep my children alive or on good days to walk upright.

Through much doubt, I was “believing” for a pain free natural child birth while waiting for Talia to be done with her shelves. The pain free part didn’t happen, which leveled my faith for awhile. When Talia was done with her shelving project, she came hurtling out of the shoot with such a force that she broke her face and her collarbone and arrived the color of soot. Since my husband and I are not that color, it was a little suspicious…But, within 24 hours she was back to resembling us, along with a little bit of Yoda..(She still doesn’t like that comparison.) (The resemblance was striking though!)

The moment she was placed on my chest after her shoot hurtling entrance into this world, she cracked me up. She had a remarkable over-bite. ($5,000 later this has been fixed. Thank you Dr. Chamberlain!)  “This is the one that’s going to make me laugh” I told my husband through sobs and chuckling. Which has turned out to be true.

My second moment of weakness has become a person who notices “an underlying tone of agony” in humanity and is on a mission to find out why that is. And to make everyone laugh; at her, at themselves, at all the other ridiculousness in this world. It is her sense of curiosity and humor that focuses her listening so intently. Laughter and listening. Good qualities in a hopeful lifesaver.

She won’t find out if she “made” the Teen Lifeline team for another 2-3 weeks of training and finals and mock-phone calls that make her alternately break down in sobs and beam with pride. I dearly want her to pass these tests, just as I am deeply afraid that this may have too much tragedy for a tender 16-year-old to take on.

My second thought…noticed her life with us has been free of abuse,  thinks I’m cute, wants me to think this too, and is learning how to offer hope.

It’s enough to make me start to “think” again. Because one sarcastic, snarky, overly observant, sweet, clever, sometimes insecure, kind, fingerprint, maybe wasn’t enough.

Have you had a second thought that worked out better than you hoped? Has it changed your life? Or someone else’s life that you’ve had the privilege to notice?

If not, here’s mine. Maybe mine will help you find yours.

Yoda at 14.

Talia’s fingerprint:

* kindness wrapped in sarcasm.
* Compassion covered up in a contrary, perky, shell.(hence the “it wasn’t easy” comment above.)
*  is not gentle with herself, but is with everyone else.
* is love. A rescuer of precious creatures. Not the least of which is me.
 * is permanently pink, just because…

Talia, I suspect that God is giggling about His creation of you.