lighting

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Hand Painted Christmas Kitty

Henny sat.
She saw something I could not see.
We were later than usual for our morning patrol…late enough that neighbor Tony was out walking Golden Retriever Addie.

“Mind if we walk with you guys?” I asked.

“Yeah, I mean…no, I mean…yes, walk with us,” he replied.

“I’ve been wanting to tell you how much I appreciate your outside decorations — beautiful! Henny and I have been taking an extra evening walk just to look at the neighborhood’s bling. Can you believe how many houses have their peaks lit this year?”

“Right? I told a co-worker that one of…


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Christmas Pears

“Doesn’t she have an uncle named Howard?” Calliope asked.

“Yes!” Urania snipped, “We wrote about him once…he came home from WWII with tuberculosis and his life was saved by recently discovered Streptomycin. How could you forget that one?”

“He wasn’t her uncle,” Thalia said.

“Yes he was!” Urania nearly shouted.
Did she need some coffee? A donut?

“Well, Howard was her grandmother’s brother. Does that make him a grand uncle? A great uncle? An uncle once removed? I can never remember how that works….lighten up Urania…do you want one of these pears?”

“Too healthy,” Urania replied.

As sweet as the…


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Photo and Story Credit: Julie Lopez

A month or so ago, I received a gift of gifts, from a dear friend. In the envelope was the opportunity to share kindness, through the shared seeds of kindness project she and a colleague developed.

The concept is simple, yet profound.

The envelope contained three cards, designed to thank people for their service, with a simple note in which you add some money and can personalize it for the individual you give it to.

Here is my story of planting a kindness seed…

Miguel is an unassuming man, with a ready smile. He is always eager to help. My…


You’ve Received the Gift of Shared Kindness

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Hello Magician!

As an agent of change, you’ll delight in sharing treats to uplift those who treat you with care.

Step 1: Store your magical Above&Beyond cards in a space that travels with you: purse, glovebox, console, backpack, fanny pack (do people still use those?)…you get the idea. 😉

Step 2: Tune your awareness to those who serve you: waitstaff, teachers, pet groomers, drivers, landscapers, photographers, delivery drivers, mail carriers, health care workers, trash collectors…the sky is the limit!

Step 3: Gift Above&Beyond cards anonymously or hand-to hand.

Doesn’t giving feel great?

Step…


inspiration for a new way of connecting

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What happens when we lift each other up?

Once upon a time…
a daughter wandered store aisles searching for a gift. Candles, shave kits, cologne…sigh. What to give a father who doesn’t want anything?

The Inspiration Fairy lit upon her shoulder and whispered in her ear.

“What about a gift he can pay forward? Give Dad a card filled with envelopes that are stocked with random currencies — money, gift cards, an inspirational poem? He can give them to servers who spark a connection in him — waitstaff, drivers, his barber? A surprise…


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Photo by Fabian Møller on Unsplash

Fingertips clawing the floor, shoulders rooted into their sockets, hips raised and heels descending, I took in a long deep breath and then, let it go like honey pouring from a jar, slow and sweet.

The Sunday morning, semi-self led practice opened with ten sun salutations. At the end of each salute, we paused for five breaths. Why five? I don’t know. If our instructor Sarah ever told me, I’ve forgotten.

I break the five breath rule every time.

Do I have abnormally large lungs? Am I a laggard?
Again…I don’t know.
And it doesn’t matter.

I break the rule…


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Photo by Jeremy McKnight on Unsplash

As I shifted from drive to park, I caught movement in my periphery.
Coyotes?
I hesitated to open truck’s door.
And then, I saw a human head — two — three!
The coyotes were people! — my neighbor and his two kids.

I hopped out of truck to the sound of laughter.
They knew they’d surprised me.

“What are you guys up to?” I asked.

“Sledding down the ditch! Want to have a go?” he asked while extending his sled.

I did want to have a go, but I was dressed in thin pants and dress boots.

“Nah, not dressed…

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