Day 4: Summer 


We played dodge ball today. I wish I could share the photo of all the children, youth and adults playing together and the smiles on their faces. I am refraining from sharing to protect their privacy, but it was amazing. My favorite part was playing with the kids in wheel chairs, and watching them play and laugh with the group. 

In the wake of what happened in Orlando this week, and thinking about what we can do, I have the answer.

We can choose to love one another and to play nicely together, no matter what. It’s one small way to make a difference. Listen. Share. Play. Love. Be fair. Take turns. Follow the rules. Include everyone. Be gentle. Run and laugh. Keep moving. Be kind. Repeat. (Just like playing dodgeball.)

nAMaste BeLoveRs. Spread the love.

Diversity

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image credit: http://boulderjewishnews.org/

 

What does diversity mean to you?  This seems like such a buzz word and one that was part of a discussion we had today.  It sometimes feels taboo to discuss, yet sounds popular to say we welcome and accept diversity. But what does this mean?

When I was at Cal Poly, I was part of the Ethnic Diversity committee, trying to bring diversity to our predominantly Caucasian campus. Diversity was about race and affirmative action and equal opportunity and making sure that we were open and accepting and inviting others and making them feel welcome and a part of “us”.

I think the definition of diversity has broadened over the years and includes not only race and ethnicity, but also sexual orientation, life experience, beauty, knowledge base, body image, abilities, socioeconomic levels, language, religious beliefs, age, popularity, geography, neighborhoods where we live and more.

I think we need to be aware of our differences and at the same time acknowledge how we are all more alike than we are different and to focus our energy on our connections and commonalities versus our diversity. I think we need to find ways to connect through our love for one another and by being curious about each other.  I think we need to be good listeners and always be kind to everyone, especially those who are different than us. We can change the world and make everyone feel welcome and invite them to come sit with us and share lunch, a cup of coffee, or conversation.

Be curious. Be kind. Be loving. It doesn’t cost a thing and that’s how we can celebrate our diversity and oneness. One Love, BeLoveRs.  We can change the world, together. Let’s hold hands.

nAMaste.

Happy Veteran’s Day 2015


Today is Veteran’s Day and we all took the day off to remember what this day means to Americans. This year we visited Santa Clara University, where they conducted a brief program, wreath laying, and had a special celebration to mark the 240th anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps.

My take away from listening to one of the service men, was that the people who choose to serve in the military, choose to serve others. They choose to sacrifice and give up their comforts and freedom to protect our American values and to represent us and to keep us safe. They go off to Afghanistan and Iraq and other places to fight evil and to protect our freedoms. They give of themselves to give to us. Isn’t this an amazing concept?  What are we doing to serve others? We need to continue thinking about what we can do to create a better world vs. thinking about what’s in it for me?  We get to shape and live our American values through our choices.

Tonight at our children’s gathering at church, the kids and kid leaders worked together to fill over 140 lunch bags with healthy food items and love notes and rain ponchos to give out to others who might be less fortunate.



We are living our values. We are loving each other. We are making a difference, one tiny step at a time. Each child took home 1 to 3 bags so that they could give them out to people they meet in the community who may need loving and comfort. They are learning American values to take care of the less fortunate and to be giving. I am so proud.

So many people fight over religion or race or the color of Starbucks cups, but let’s remember that we get to choose because we are free. We can make the world a better place with one bag, one hug, one smile, one tour, one love. You have power. Use it wisely. Love yourself and love others – love is the great equalizer.

nAMaste and thank you, veterans for your service and for churches who bring people together to serve others.

Sometimes the Little Things are the Big Things

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Today I have three examples of how the little things mean so much, and yet they seem so trivial but really help to create those connections that make people like each other a little more. I probably have more than 3 things, but these three things come to mind first.

I made dinner tonight while everyone was away, using lots of pans and knives and cutting boards and bowls. I made fried rice and had it ready to go for everyone when they came home at different times and when they were hungry.  I chose to wash all the dishes and pans and such so that they kitchen was clean and no one else had to clean up. This is a big deal in my house. We all work together, and it’s no one’s job to do the dishes or clean up, we just do it, whoever is able and there and has the time, which usually means Jeff or I. Sometimes we just want sandwiches for dinner so there is no clean up, because we’re all busy and tired at the end of the day. Jeff was so happy that there was “no” more work to be done after dinner.  Silly, but true and such a simple way to connect.

The second thing that made Charlie happy was allowing him to stay after practice for 45 minutes longer to practice his catching skills. He wants to be a catcher, but is the youngest kid on his team and the coaches aren’t quite ready for him to be playing catcher in the “big leagues.”  I was thankful to the coaches for giving him more one on one time, and to allow him extra practice time. Charlie was happy that he got to play catcher. I stood outside freezing in my shorts and flip flops, not expecting to stay late, but the little things make life more meaningful. When I told Charlie he got to play for an extra 45 minutes, he was surprised it was that long and was thankful and told me so. More connections and gratefulness.

The last little thing, that is a big thing, is Jeff decided to go pick up the kids from the last event of the evening. I was so cold from standing outside so long (and am still defrosting), that he decided he would go out and do the last pickup, even though I was expecting to do the work. This little gesture was huge to me. He was stuck in traffic forever and had already been in the car for so long, yet he decided to let me stay home and warm up and he went out again.  The little things. I’m so thankful. And that’s BIG!

What little things are BIG to you? Did anyone make your day? Did you make anyone’s day? It’s the little things…

p.s.  Two more little things that made me happy today – Trish and Kimmy both called me in the middle of their busy school schedules. It’s so nice to be loved. And thanks to Jeff who inspired this post tonight! xo

Love this life.