My mom is an angel. Harp included.

mom harp angel

She doesn’t go floating around in a white robe proclaiming that virgins are going to have babies or anything, but she does play the harp.

My mom spends her time making prayer quilts for people who are sick, and baby blankets for practically all of our childhood friends who have had a kid. She volunteers at the library. She’s a nurse. And she’s probably an organ donor. So, she’s pretty close to angel status.

And she had enough love and forgiveness in her heart to write a letter to my friend who is in prison, which somehow gave me permission to finally write my own letter — at least two years after I saw on the news that my old friend had been arrested. Longer than I should have taken to reach out, even if I will never be able to wrap my head around what happened. I’m grateful for my mom’s example of compassion.

I went to see her play harp at her church Sunday for their Christmas service. It is the only kind of church service I can stomach because there is no preaching, only music.

And I was moved by the experience. Hearing all of the voices harmonizing and the orchestra with the Timpani and  the horns and violins all coming together brought a tear to my eye (not actually too difficult a task). I don’t particularly believe in the story they were singing about but it was clear that they did, they were feeling it.

I had a moment where I was able to get outside of myself and acknowledge that it was real for them, and that their belief resulted in them making something beautiful — no matter my opinion of the subject matter. How nice to be able to just accept and appreciate something for a minute, without having to judge it.

How much lighter would I feel if I allowed myself more of those moments of non-judgement? How much looser would my shoulders feel if I could just relax and take stuff in without having to classify it as “right” or “that sh*t ain’t right”, according to me?

You see what happened here, right? I accidentally had a spiritual experience…in CHURCH! Ohhh, the irony. 😉

Thank you, Mom, for being a bad-ass harp-playing angel.

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Random Act of Kindness #2

Random acts of kindness

This week’s RAOK was sponsored by my boyfriend, sweet Dave McKinlay. When I told him about my holiday RAOK intentions for Callie he got really excited and immediately gave me money for the cause.

It turns out that he and his mom already have a long-standing RAOK tradition of their own. He told me that the only gift his mom asks for at Christmas is for him to do something nice for someone else.

So, his doing something nice got multiplied this year since he shared his gift to his mom with me, Callie, and the two migrant families that Callie’s class is buying presents for this year. Each family had 3 kids and we were able to buy a gift for each of them.

And the added, legitimately random, part of the shopping trip occurred when I attempted to use a $10-off coupon. The cashier had a difficult time with it for some reason, took several minutes trying to get it to work, and finally had to switch on the blinking lane light of shame to call the manager over for an override and a small helping of public chastisement.

My face was burning at this point because I felt bad for the people who had the misfortune to get stuck in line behind the lady with the coupon issue. I’m so not a coupon person and this is why, it’s a pain in the ass. But it turned out great because when the cashier finally handed me a ten-dollar bill I just passed it on to the woman behind me in line and said, “Merry Christmas, sorry for your extra wait.”  It was never my ten dollars anyway. 🙂

Thank you to Dave and Dave’s mom for the help with this one!

random act of kindness #2

Random Act of Kindness #1

Random acts of kindness

Random acts of kindnessThis year, for the first time, I’ve decided that my daughter and I are going to do a “Random Act of Kindness” once a week (at least) from Thanksgiving weekend through Christmas. I want her to absorb the idea that Christmas should be more than just getting presents, plus I’ve just always wanted to do something like this.

I discussed it with her this morning and gave the example of putting money in strangers’ parking meters. (Except those seem to all be credit card kiosks now, which kind of takes the magic out of it.) She was immediately on board with the idea.

By the way, I know it would be better if I didn’t broadcast this and just did it anonymously with her, but writing about my life is kind of my thing, and this looks to be a fun endeavor already, so please forgive me. I’m not bragging/showing off/shaming/looking for approval—just sharing my excitement about getting to do this with Callie.

Today we did our first random act of kindness (RAOK). After visiting the Children’s Museum, we walked to lunch downtown at the Taco Bus. On our way there we passed a group of homeless men. She whispered to me, “I just want to give them stuff.”

So, while we ate we decided that we would buy lunch for them and deliver it on the way back to our car. And we did. And the men were polite and thankful and it felt good.

What I hadn’t anticipated was the immediate change in Callie’s perspective. When we left the Kid’s Museum she had been pouting because I wouldn’t let her have gelato before lunch. (I know, I’m a monster. Go ahead and call child services on me.)

But after we bought lunch for those guys she said in the car on the way home, several times, “I had so much fun today. That was fun giving them lunch!”

I felt the same way, it totally made my day.

For our next RAOK, we’re going to make holiday ornaments for our neighbors and anonymously (except for me writing about it here) hang them on their doorknobs.

I’d like to do more of these for people who have less. I don’t have a ton of money to spend though, so we’re brainstorming more ideas that don’t cost a lot. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Guns pointed at my head all weekend..but only tattoo and piercing ones

I don't think this looks particularly scary, do you?

It was kind of a rough weekend as far as getting needles stuck in my face/head area goes. And I had it all done on purpose!

I bought yet another benignly masochistic Living Social deal that required needles to be stuck in me. (See my post about acupuncture). This one was for permanent eyeliner. Saturday I went in to get my permanent eyeliner done. Which means that I got my eyelids tattooed. That’s fairly badass, right?

What a strange experience. I took Tylenol beforehand and the makeup/tattoo artist
smeared lidocaine on my eyes so it wasn’t too terribly painful. But still . . .having
someone pull and stretch my eyelids for a couple hours and seeing that tattoo
gun coming right for my eye . . .it wasn’t the most relaxing experience I’ve ever
signed up for.

But worth it, totally. I have tiny eyes that really need the definition of eyeliner. So now I have that all the time! Rad.

I also got my upper right ear pierced on Sunday. My intention was to do it in solidarity with Callie, who thought she was finally ready to get her ears pierced.

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My Big Brother, Tales of Younger Sibling Survival

snap n pop photo

My older brother sparked (no pun intended) a memory the other day when he forwarded me this image.

Ahhhh…good old snap n’ pops. One time he made me eat one. I’m not kidding.

He is three years older than me and as a kid I always wanted to hang out with him. He, understandably, was not as thrilled to have his little sister always trying to tag along with him and his friends. He was passably nice to me most of the time but he was prone to bouts of big brother bullying. He was a boy, that’s what they do.

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My Big Brother, Tales of Younger Sibling Survival

snap n pop photo

My older brother sparked (no pun intended) a memory the other day when he forwarded me this image.

Ahhhh…good old snap n’ pops. One time he made me eat one. I’m not kidding.

He is three years older than me and as a kid I always wanted to hang out with him. He, understandably, was not as thrilled to have his little sister always trying to tag along with him and his friends. He was passably nice to me most of the time but he was prone to bouts of big brother bullying. He was a boy, that’s what they do.

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