Monday, December 20, 2010

holiday joy.

I know it's been a while since I've written.  There's really no excuse except for lack of time.  

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, a group of truly amazing friends/family and I ended up adopting 6 families in need this holiday season.  We provided the families with necessities such as shoes, coats and blankets as well as toys, games, books and a complete holiday meal.  It took an army of volunteers to shop, wrap, organize, label, package and deliver, but worth every minute.  So much time was consumed by our efforts that I forgot the most important thing, taking care of myself.  I ended me up in bed with a flu for a few days.  

While I was sick I visited an Acupuncturist in town, Eyton Shalom.  Eyton asked me how I got the flu so I shared the story about our efforts with the adopt-a-families.  He then asked if we personally donate the gifts to the families.  I replied that we prefer not to donate directly so as to prevent the families from feeling any discomfort, besides, it's not about us.  We want the kids and the family to enjoy Christmas in the purest form without feeling like "charity cases".  Eyton then applauded our group by saying something that has stuck in my mind,  
"the true act of charity is giving anonymously".  
He then went on to explain that when charity is done anonymously, there is no room for self gratification.  I agree with him.  Our efforts weren't about us- every ounce of energy we put into it was for helping the families in need.  For me, it was all about bringing joy into homes that may usually be surrounded by stress, struggle and sorrow. 

It's an amazing feeling to volunteer and give 100% of yourself to something/someone else without expecting anything in return.  As I look back on the past few weeks of experiencing the adopt-a-family project, I can't even put into words the joy that I got from it.  People that we didn't even know stepped in to volunteer/donate.  Distant friends and family reached out to help.  Local friends and family took time out of their busy schedules to volunteer their time to help.  And I will never forget the kid in Home Depot who walked up and shook my hand thanking me for our efforts or the cashier at Sears who said, "You guys are great. I wish they had a program like this when I was in the foster care system."  Priceless memories and ones that I will cherish forever.  As I reminisce, I have goosebumps all over from sheer happiness and a full heart.  

I hope you will take a moment this holiday season to think about all of your blessings. 

Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Gift of Giving.

The lights are sparkling, the tree is adorned with beautiful, sparkly ornaments and the holiday cards are sealed and sent. Ah...the holidays are here!  It's a wonderful time to celebrate with friends and family and the perfect opportunity to reflect on the many blessings we have.  A few years ago, as I was running around frantically looking for the "perfect gift" for everyone on my list, I realized that my true holiday spirit and the true gift of giving had been replaced by stress, mall traffic and grumpy fellow shoppers.  At that moment, I decided to make a change.  I wanted my favorite holiday back and I wanted it to mean something more to me than gifts and greed.  

Last year, my good friend Kathi and I took the leap and decided that we were going to adopt a family in need for the holidays.  We really had no idea what we were getting ourselves in to.  We found a great local organization call Community Housing Works and I knew they were the right fit when I read their mission statement, "Community Housing Works is a San Diego non-profit that helps people and neighborhoods move up in the world by providing a full range of housing options combined with training and support."  This organization is literally saving families from living on the streets and helping families re-build their lives.  Once we received our family wish list we immediately reached out to our friends and loved ones for donations.  We knew we had great friends and family, but we had truly did not expect the outpouring of support that we received.  So much support was coming in that we felt it was only right to spread the holiday joy to more families.  We ended up adopting 3 families last year!  We provided each family (and each family member) with necessities like jackets, shoes, clothing, blankets and fun gifts like family games, toys for the children and books.  In addition to providing these gifts we also provided each family with a holiday meal.  Each gift was beautifully wrapped and upon our delivery of the gifts to Community Housing Works, our hearts were fuller than ever.  Full of joy knowing these 3 families were getting the Christmas of their dreams and full of love from the amazing outpouring of generosity from those nearest and dearest to us.
I never expected the impact that adopting these families would make on me and others. It's a wonderful feeling when friends asks, "hey are you adopting families again this year because I want to help again!"  The overwhelming response from last year is what has driven us to adopt again this year.  We are currently in the thick of accepting donations and already my heart is filled up with the holiday spirit and the love of friends & family.  The long hours of planning, shopping, wrapping, packing & labeling are all worth this wonderful feeling of joy.  

If you want to help with our efforts, we would love your participation.  No matter what, I suggest you consider thinking of those in need this holiday season and do your part to help give them the Christmas that they too deserve.

Peace. On. Earth.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Leftover Love...

I bet you have a fridge full of leftovers and if you have one more bite of turkey you might just burst.  Well, don't throw all that food away!  There are lots of hungry folks on the street who would gladly accept a nourishing meal.  Here's how you do it:
  • Supplies You Need: 
    • Ziplock Bags- Quart Size is good; Plastic Utensils; Napkins; Old Plastic Grocery Bags; Bottled Water
  • To Do: 
    • Fill the Ziplock Bags with layers of various leftovers- mashed potatoes, then stuffing, then turkey, then gravy or cranberry. Lock up the bag and place it in the plastic grocery bag along with utensils, a bottled water and napkin.  TA DA! You have an instant picnic.  
  • Delivery: 
    • Get in the car with your delivery bags and seek out some common neighborhoods where homeless live and hand out the leftovers.  I find it helpful to have a helper in the passenger seat to help with the hand out.
It's as easy as that.  You just helped provide a wholesome meal to someone in need AND cleared out the fridge so you can start up your diet tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Liquid Gold.

One thing that I'm really enjoying about this blog writing gig is the conversations that I've been having with friends/family about their own "good" efforts. Today, I'm featuring a guy, whom I've never met, but I do know his proud sister who shared his story with me.

Todd Flaming recently set off on a dream surf trip to Nicaragua.  In addition to packing his necessities like sunscreen, swim trunks and a toothbrush, Todd recognized that he was venturing into a poverty struck community with limited resources. Fresh water, which we typically take for granted (the U.S. uses about 346,000 million gallons of fresh water every day), is not readily available to many third world countries. Knowing this ahead of time, Todd purchased 4 water filters ( and packed them in his suitcase to take along on his vacation.  

Once Todd arrived at Nicaragua and started exploring the area and talking to locals, he quickly discovered that it was not going to be difficult seeking out families in need of clean water- most families cannot afford clean, fresh water.  He gifted one water filter to a very poor family with 4 children who lived down the beach from the resort he was staying at. Sadly, the family could not afford to buy bottled water so Todd's gift costs them nothing and they are now set up with fresh, drinkable water. 

Todd was staying at the beautiful Buena Onda Beach Resort, were he discovered that the employees get paid only $5 per day. It was clear to him that he didn't have to go too far to gift out the 3 remaining filters.  Word got out quickly to the employees that these 3 filers were going to be gifted from a lottery system.  The excitement from the staff quickly illustrated a large demand for water and more filters.  

Todd has returned from his trip and is now planning on working with the owner of Buena Onda to get future travelers to bring filters with them to continue helping provide fresh, drinkable water to the community.  Todd's selfless efforts are a good reminder to all of us of the simple ways we can help those less fortunate, globally.   Your efforts ARE making a difference.

Todd, you rule. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010


It's been quite an emotional and fulfilling week.  I'm sad that this is the first opportunity that I've had to write to you to share all of the good things that have been going on- part of me has been too busy to write and part of me has simply been too emotional.
Last Sunday a group of close family and friends participated in the Save A Life Walk to celebrate our dear Cassie's life and to help bring awareness of suicide.  The walk route took us through the beautiful gardens at Balboa Park and it was a beautiful, sunny day- we could feel Cassie there with us. The event was an amazing opportunity to support the many families and friends who have been affected by the loss of a loved one to suicide.  I left the walk feeling a great amount of love and support within my circle of friends and a stronger desire to be available to anyone in need.  A special thanks goes out to Kim Saunders for making beautiful posters and bracelets for "Team Cassie".

Monday night I hosted the Angels For Hearts Silpada Jewelry fundraiser at my house.  I've told you a little bit about my good friend Kim Kaufman in an earlier blog post- she's amazing.  Kim started Angels For Hearts to provide toys for pediatric heart patients all while Kim is facing her own health challenges as a congestive heart patient. When I told Kim about the fundraiser she was so excited that she generously sent us Angels for Hears "swag" (i.e. shopper totes, t-shirts, etc.) to have available to gift to guests at my party.  My friend Lori (whom I hadn't seen since college 14 years ago) was our Silpada expert and a great personal shopper.  What fun we had sipping wine, eating delicious treats and playing "dress up" with endless amounts of beautiful jewelry.  It was a special night that we dedicated to Kim and thanks to the generosity of my amazing friends, we raised over $400 for Angels for Hearts. It was so special to me that my friends donated to this cause without even knowing Kim- I have great friends, really.
 Tuesday, as I was sitting at the airport to depart on my business trip to Dallas, I received a text from Kim.  She explained that she had been put in the hospital on Monday and didn't have the heart to tell me on Monday because "she didn't want to mess up the party."  A rush of emotions took over-  concern, sadness, loneliness and the thought of flying away from where she was was extremely difficult.  Kim was admitted in to the hospital for extreme pain- her heart hurts.  And it breaks my heart to know the pain she's going through. 

In spite of IV's, probing, doctors, nurses, medicines and pain, Kim has texted or called me every day since she's been in the hospital.  We talk about what's going with our days,  what we've eaten (it seems we both have a love for food), she asks me how Louie is doing and she tells me great stories about her family.  During a recent call, Kim told me she loves my blog and she has shared it with many of her friends and family.  I am so honored- I honestly didn't think anyone read my blog.  Since then, we've had great conversations about "kindness" and the other day Kim told me about her own "act" while in the hospital.  An elder patient kept asking for a banana and nobody would get it for her so Kim asked her mom to bring a banana during her next visit to give to her.  The elder woman was so appreciative of the banana- it was all she wanted. Kim's willingness to share an act of kindest all the while being laid up in a hospital bed is truly inspiring.

Kim's love for my blog is now my driving force and this blog will forever be dedicated to Kim.  Almost every time I speak to her she says, "there's a reason I'm still here".  I know the reason- she is teaching many of us to live, love, embrace your friends/family, be kind and do good.

As this week comes to an end and as I reflect back, I can safely say this was a tough, emotional week, but I wouldn't change it for the world.  I have learned so much from so many of you and  the lessons that I've learned have energized me. LIVE. LIFE.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A true angel.

We met in August 1993 at a Delta Gamma pledge function. Her bright red curly hair and contagious smile were hard to miss and I just knew that she would be a fun girl to hang out with.  From that day forward, Kim and I (and several other girls in our sorority) put all of our energy into making the best of our college experience.  What fun we had spending afternoons at the campus bar instead of studying for mid-terms, dressing up in costume to attend fraternity dances and singing Four Season's "Oh What A Night" at the top of our lungs til the wee hours of the night. Those were some great memories.  Sadly, once we all graduated, we parted ways never to look back, but I often wondered what Kim and many of my other college friends were up to and how their lives shaped up.  
 Thirteen years later, in early 2009 as I was beginning to re-connect with old college friends on Facebook, I received an email from a sorority sister.  The email was letting a group of us know that Kim was not well and needed our support.  I couldn't believe it- I always thought we were invincible and how could any one of us be sick if we are still so young?  Without hesitation and without knowing what was wrong with Kim, I reached out to her.  We initially reconnected via email and it was as if time never lapsed from our college days.  The difference now is that Kim is not well.  In 2004, Kim was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and a few months later received the news that she was not a heart transplant candidate.

While most of our lives currently revolve around marriage, raising children, careers and paying our bills, Kim's life is about comfort and survival.  Kim is not afraid to tell me the reality of what she's going through- she sleeps most hours of the day and is in constant pain.  When she is awake and can muster up the energy to get out of bed, she must carry an oxygen tank wherever she goes.  Did I mention that Kim is only 36 years old? 

After months of emailing, Kim and I recently connected by phone.  I'll never forget that first conversation where really, she was giving me a therapy session on how to deal with her dying.  Amazingly, Kim is at peace with what her future holds and so it's really her friends and family who are left trying to figure out where she gets her strength and how to cope with her declining health.  I remember telling her, "Kim, you sound normal- you don't sound sick."  She replied with a chuckle, "What does sick sound like?"  I am awestruck by her courage and her ability to put her own problems aside to ask how I'm doing.  She's often reminding me that my problems are no less important than hers.  

I could stop this blog entry here knowing that I gave you a really good idea of the amazing woman that Kim is, but there's more.  Kim refuses to sit and let her illness overcome her- she just told me the other day, "there's a reason I'm still here."  In 2006, after undergoing several surgical procedures and spending a lot of time recovering at Stanford University Medical Center, Kim felt the need to offer support to the many children she saw who were undergoing similar heart procedures.  Soon thereafter, Kim and her close family & friends started Angels For Hearts, a non-profit organization that provides pediatric heart patients with Christmas gifts. In 2009, Angels for Hearts received $15,000 in donations to buy gifts for local pediatric heart patients. In 2010, the goal is to raise $25,000 to bring smiles to the faces of very young heart patients at some of the top pediatric hospitals in CA to include, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.  
I'm a believer that whomever crosses my path has a lesson to teach me and in the short time that I've reconnected with Kim, I've learned about patience, courage, selflessness and strength.  I encourage you to connect with an old friend or at the very least open your mind to the lessons that you can learn from those already near and dear to you.  Life is too short.

If you wish to donate, I know it would mean the world to Kim: Angels For Hearts

Monday, November 8, 2010

Yo! What's the big hurry?

So a few months ago, I pulled up to an ATM Machine and as I was turning off my car, another car pulled up and parked behind me.  As I got out of the car and started walking the 10 short steps to the ATM the guy (who parked the car behind me) literally RAN past me to cut in front of me and use the machine.  Really?  He couldn't tell as I was 2 feet away from approaching the ATM that I was going to actually use it? Was he really in such a big hurry that he couldn't wait 1 minute while I got my cash out of the machine?  

I'm not a confrontational person but this guy was such a doof that I told him so and as I got back into my car, I began to wonder, are people in such a hurry that they don't care about being rude and affecting others?  Don't get me wrong, I'm not from the 50's where I expect a stranger to lay their rain coat over puddles for me, but it is nice to be treated nicely by a stranger.  "Mr. Hurry" was a poor example of someone with manners...

Fast forward to the other day- same neighborhood.  I got out of my car and as I started walking toward the entrance of Starbucks, I noticed a 19-20 year old guy was approaching the same entrance from the other direction.  Who was going to reach the door first to win the closer spot in line for their coffee?  I was expecting the worst (flashbacks from the ATM episode), but was pleasantly surprised that this young guy sped up to hold the door for me.  I thanked him and told him that he could get in line in front of me (since he gave up his spot for being polite) but he declined.  AHA! There are still polite, patient people in this world (at least on the Starbucks on 5th Street) who are willing do so something nice for a stranger.  

So I leave you with this reminder- the next time you're in a big, insignificant hurry, stop and do something nice for someone you don't know. Your small acts of kindness will not go unnoticed.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Unmentionable.

SUICIDE. The word brings chills up my spine.  You may wonder why I even dare say the word and it's because sadly, my close friends and I were affected by the loss of our beautiful friend Cassie this past summer. 

FACT: In the United States a person dies by suicide every 16 minutes, claiming over 30,000 lives each year. 

Cassie decided to take her life at the young age of 20 years old.  Cassie was a lovely, intelligent young girl who had so much talent and potential in this life and she left us all too soon.  My dear friends and I often ask if there is anything that we could have done to prevent Cassie's tragedy.  I don't have an answer to that and probably never will, but I have learned a great lesson from Cassie- awareness.  

I have learned from Cassie that it is my job and the jobs of all of us to bring awareness to suicide and make this word less taboo.  If more people were aware of signs and causes of suicide, maybe just maybe we can help save lives. As part of our attempt to continue the healing process of our great loss, we are marching on behalf of Cassie at the Safe A Life Walk. I invite you to join Team Cassie and walk with us on Sunday, November 14th, 2010-Team Cassie. If you can't join us, I ask you to please try to bring awareness your family, friends and community.  

If someone you know is reaching out to you for help, listen to them and be there for them.  For immediate help- Suicide Prevention Lifeline

R.I.P. Cassie. There are a lot of people in this world that love you.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Value of Karma.

So, today's post is actually about yesterday's actions.  My friend and I agreed that my actions weren't necessarily an "act of kindness" BUT it's worthy of posting for the mere fact that it scored me some pretty good karma points. 
My friend and I were grabbing some lunch before the Chargers game at a local burger place when suddenly in my peripheral view I saw something green flutter to the floor a few feet away from where we were sitting.  I directed my full attention to find that a $20 bill had slipped out of the pocket of a fellow Charger fan with a very large afro wig (the game was on Halloween so of course he's got an afro wig on, silly!).  

For a millisecond, I thought up what I could do with that $20, but my gut instincts told me otherwise.  I grabbed the $20 and handed over to the rightful owner.  He was understandably happy that I handed it back.  Although I didn't have the $20, I decided the value of karma was plenty.  In fact, the value of the good karma was probably worth more than the $20- it scored the Chargers a win!!

The bottom line is it's really about doing what's right...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Don't be a dummy.

Today's post is a simple request:

Please do not drink & drive.  

Every minute, one person is injured from an alcohol-related crash.

I urge you not to be a statistic.  If you have a few cocktails with friends, call a friend or a cab for a ride home.  Don't drive.  Leave your car where it is and get it the next day.  If I live nearby, you can always call me.  Life is too short to ruin with an irresponsible act.

Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hello. How Are You?

Ok, I'm going to say it.  Our social skills are taking a nose dive.  Unless you live in a cave without any electronic devices, then my finger is pointing at you too.

With facebook, texting, instant messaging and email we think that we are no longer required to actually speak to another person.  Admittedly, I'm guilty of sending a text or email vs. picking up the phone to speak to someone.  However, I also work all day in complete isolation so when I am around other humans, I can appreciate the simple joy of laughter and conversation.

Today, I decided my "daily act" mission was going to be to interact with strangers.  I had a staff meeting and a couple of errands to run around lunch time so it was the perfect opportunity to put my actions into place.  

Mission #1- a neighbor (whom I don't know) stepped into the elevator wearing a cute designer dress and heels.  Upon her entering the elevator I said, "cute dress".  She returned the compliment with a thank you and even said "have a good day" as she excited the elevator.  I promise, it wasn't a creepy interaction, I was normal and nice and I think she appreciated someone noticing the cute dress that that she probably spent WAY too much for.

Mission #2- while the Rite Aid cashier was ringing me out for TP and Cat Liter, I asked her how her day has been.  She stopped in her tracks, looked up with a smile and said in a tone of surprise and enthusiasm, "Great, it's beautiful outside. Thanks for asking."  

It's highly likely that I'm over analyzing the results of my missions, but please don't rain on my parade.  As I see it, everyone needs a compliment, a hello or a simple acknowledgment from time to time.   I frequently remind myself that you just never know what a stranger may be going through.  By simply being kind and reaching out to someone you may have changed the direction that their day was going. 

And so I leave you with a quote from Uncle Billy, "You attract more bees with honey than vinegar."  Be kind to others... 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Chotchkie Queen.

My recent donation of blankets and jackets to the Rescue Mission inspired me to do more cleaning around the house. We live in a small place so stuff builds up quickly.  And "apparently" my friends think that I'm a chotchkie collector.  What's a chotchkie?  Well, according to Urban Dictionary, it's a "A small piece of worthless crap, a decorative knick knack with little or no purpose."  To me, each and every chotchkie in my home has sentimental value thus the enormous collection of stuff.  

With the holidays approaching that means gifts and more chotchkies will be entering the home.  What better time to organize and clean out old, unused household items than now?  So, this past weekend, I "de-chotchkied" the house, packed up the old stuff and today I dropped off my treasures to the nearest Goodwill.  Not only does today's act give me "good points" for donating items, but the hubby is very happy about the clutterless house and the tax write-off!  So, it's a win-win.  

If I can leave you with any advice it would be, don't just throw those old treasures in the trash- donate them.  There are many organizations that will take those goods and many people out there that will get good use out of your treasures.  

For a Goodwill near you:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Holiday Helpers

An old friend recently asked me how to find volunteer opportunities for the holiday season.  I took this as a great time to share some really handy sites that list volunteer opportunities.  I think one of the biggest misconceptions with volunteering is that it has to be a long-term commitment.  The reality is that many organizations are looking for help for a specific event or for temporary time frame.

I personally love because you can choose long-term or short-term opportunities, you can search by a specific organization and they will even list if a particular opportunity is kid-friendly.  If you aren't in the San Diego area, I'm sure there's a similar site in your area.  Simply search for volunteer opportunities + (your city or zip) for local sites.

Here are some handy sites to help get you started...

Please let me know if you decide to sign up for a volunteer opportunity.  
I'd love to join you!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A True Act of Selflessness

I recently ran into my good friend Stacy and I immediately noticed something different.  Her hair!  She used to have beautiful long black locks and now she has a smart, sophisticated bob.  I asked her what inspired her to make the big change and the story is truly amazing.  Here's Stacy's story...

In March 2009 I got engaged to be married. Along with thinking about a dress, flowers, and wedding cake, I had to think about the hairstyle I wanted for my “big day”. I decided to begin the process of growing my hair out so I would have more styling options on my wedding day. Little did I know then, that my dream of having long locks for the wedding photos would turn into something much more meaningful.
A few months after the engagement, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Luckily it was stage one and treatable - early detection saved her life! My mom bravely endured chemotherapy and radiation treatments. In the scheme of things her hair loss seemed minor, but she was still concerned about how she, as the “mother of the bride”, would look in wedding photos.

When my wedding day rolled around, less than a year later, my mom was grateful to have a natural looking wig to wear. Even though she’s beautiful with or without hair, her mind was at ease knowing she’d have “cute hair” on my wedding day.
Stacy with her Mom on her wedding day.
After the wedding and honeymoon had passed, the time came to for me to get my hair cut. I had been growing it out for a year and I was ready for a new look. I had heard from a friend about a program called Pantene Beautiful Lengths ( which takes donated hair and uses it to make wigs for people fighting cancer. I knew what I had to do… my extra eight inches of hair would be cut and donated to a great cause!

It’s been a month since I made the cut and donated my hair, and I’m so happy I had the opportunity to do so. I hope my donated hair will help make a wig that another brave women can proudly wear... maybe even to her daughter’s wedding!


Stacy, thank you for being a true inspiration.  My hope is that your story will inspire others to make sacrifices for the good of helping those in need.  By the way, your new hair-do looks great!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Be Kind to Mother Earth...

Today my act of kindest is in honor of our dear Mother Earth.  It's very simple.  I went to the grocery store and I used my recycled grocery bags.  
Plastic ends up in landfills and sadly, many plastic grocery bags end up blown into rivers, lakes and the sea. Animals then eat the plastic bags or get caught in them resulting in the death of many thousands of animals, fish and birds every year. 

As an animal lover, once I read that fact, I never looked back.  Here are some great reusable bags that are both stylish and functional:

If you use your recycled grocery bags at Trader Joe's, you get to enter into a raffle for a free shopper tote and a $25 gift certificate.

See! Now you have no excuse. Recycle & Reuse.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Cold, Wet Streets...

I awoke this morning to the first good rain in San Diego this Fall.  I love rain.  I love the drops hitting against the window of my office and the feeling of comfort and shelter.  

So, as I rolled out of bed and I turned on the news.  The first segment of the news was this:

I was immediately struck by the young, pregnant woman in the news segment.  Sadly, she lost her job 3 years ago and has been on the streets ever since with her disabled husband.  I could tell that she didn't want to be on the streets, but was left with no other option.  I was heart broken and immediately asked myself what can I do?  

I may not be able to single-handedly get this couple off the streets, but while our city is dealing with bureaucratic B.S. and stalling the set up of a temporary winter homeless shelter I decided that I can at the very least help keep some people warm.  Over lunch with my husband, I shared the idea of going through our closets and donating old towels, blankets and jackets.  He loved the idea and collectively, we went through closets seeking out old items.  

While it isn't much more than a few blankets, towels and jackets, it's something and I feel a small sense of comfort knowing that I'm doing my part to help some people stay warm this winter.  

If you have items that you can donate too, Google {homeless shelter + the name of your city} and drop 'em off at your local shelter.  If you're in the San Diego area:

Monday, October 18, 2010

What are YOU doing?

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to spend quality time with great friends.  Over some delicious wine, we started sharing "what's new" in our lives.  Maybe, I'm just fortunate enough to have some really amazing friends, but I discovered an interesting parallel in each of our lives-each person in our group had recently "done good"- whether it be running an errand for a friend in need or walking in a philanthropy walk, good is being shared.  I think if we recognize the good that we all do, we will want more.  It will become contagious, but in a really good way.  

And so, I ask you, what good things have you done lately?   Keep up the good work.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cancer Sucks!!!

A little over a year ago, my best friend, Kathi, shared some very sad news with me.  Kathi's childhood friend Catou was fighting for her life battling brain cancer.  Catou is only 36 years old.  
Kathi and a group of friends (old & new) have rallied around Catou over the past year and cheered her on during her treatment process.  Christmas parades, slumber parties and nights out all in an effort to keep Catou's spirits high during a typically dark, difficult time of illness, needles and endless doctor appointments. Catou's fight continues and her support group is growing by the minute.  

In the United States, over 575 people are diagnosed with a brain tumor every day.  I repeat, every day. 

This is unacceptable.  We have got to fight in honor of innocent victims like Catou and put an end to this horrible disease.  Kathi and friends are joining Catou tomorrow morning in Huntington Beach at the Southern California Brain Tumor Walk.  In honor of Catou and others affected by brain cancer, I ask you to please donate now.  A $5 or $10 donation will make a difference.

Please donate.

Thank you.  Your support is the ultimate act of kindness.

Friday, October 8, 2010


I know that I've only been writing this blog briefly, but I already have to excuse myself for a few days.  I'm headed to "Sin City" for 6 days of business.  Sounds fun and it is, but it's also a lot of work.  Realistically, I don't think that I will have time to blog while I'm there so I decided to temporarily say farewell!  I'll be back next Friday with lots of "good" things to talk about.  xoxo

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lean on Me.

Be present. Listen. Support. 

I remind myself of these simple words all the time.  The reality is, these are the most challenging things for me to do.  Life has been really busy lately- out of control busy and when life gets like this, these words become less familiar and more distant. 

Lately, my "busy life" has consisted of carpet swatches, paint colors, travel plans and work.  Last night I received an unexpected phone call that I believe was a message from the universe reminding me of what's really important. 

My neighbor called to invite me to a party that she's calling the "stop me from jumping over the balcony party"- this neighbor is a bit eccentric so the name of the party didn't surprise me.  What did surprise me was this friendly phone exchange and an invitation to the party since I'm accustomed to her yelling at me for accidentally dripping water on to her balcony from watering my plants.  Five minutes into the conversation, she  admitted that the party is to celebrate the birthday of her late husband who passed away unexpectedly last Spring.  Ugh. My heart sank.

I immediately became more attentive- she needs someone to listen to her and to support her. At that moment, I realized that the ultimate act of kindness is simply being there for someone else. 

Being present. Listening. Supporting. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I'm starting to feel a little uncomfortable about writing about myself and you're probably sick of reading about me so I figured why not start sharing other people's acts of kindness too!  

About a year ago, I re-connected with an old junior high school friend, Juliet, on Facebook.  I was immediately drawn to the amazing family unit that she has and the wonderful, thoughtful things that they do for each other and others in their community.  This past summer, the Marshall's started fostering animals and so I thought it would be wonderful to feature them for today's blog.  Meet the Marshall's...
What can I say about the Marshall Crew? We are very active, happy and friendly family with 4 kids ages 7,10,13,14. We moved from San Diego 4 years ago where we were raising our 4 kids and 2 dogs in a townhouse that had no yard. We literally had 200 sq ft each in that house and it was suffocating. Moving was the best thing we ever did. We are now in Colorado and the kids and dogs can run and throw the ball as hard as they can and it still won't go over the fence. This yard we have was perfect for our active labradoodle Ruby. Sadly, she died unexpectedly by swallowing a rope chew toy. We were all so upset that getting a new puppy sounded painful. How could any dog be as good as her? She was perfect.

Early in the summer we all went in to Petco looking at turtles. The cutest group of puppies caught our eye as did the adorable little southern lady Debra who was answering questions about how to adopt them. With 4 kids in tow, of course we stopped to hold them and get a whiff of that delicious puppy breath.
 After talking with the puppy lady, we learned that PupSavers rescues puppies from kill shelters in New Mexico and Kansas. The shelters are in low income cities and simply do not have the budget to hang on to dogs for extended lenths of time. She told us that for every puppy you foster, you actually save 2 pups. One you foster and the other has a spot to be rescued. We immediately decided that fostering would be something we'd love to do.

What's the commitment when fostering?
Puppies are driven from NM to petco where you pick out your puppy on Tuesday night and keep them until adoption day on Saturday morning. The pups would have been put down on Wednesday had they not been taken on Tuesday. This is a big deal for them. They provide food, meds, kennels, collars, etc. You provide the TLC.

One of the hardest and rewarding parts to fostering go hand in hand. When the pups arrive they are covered in poop, pee, and throw up. They are tired, scared and thirsty. Some are covered in scabs, ticks, sick and super skinny. This part is horrific and heartbreaking. BUT.... you get that puppy home. You give him a bath, food, water and within one hour... the puppy is different and so are you. This is the moment you realize what you've done for this puppy and for your kids. Everyone's hearts grow.

After a few months of fostering neighbors would go on their nightly walks and my front yard was the hot spot to stop. We'd be outside with a different puppy or two each week to visit and gush over. Towards the end of August, I got the email from PupSavers we were short fosters. It was Tuesday morning and we had 10 puppies who didn't fosters. I put a small blurb on my facebook we needed help at 7 pm and to go to Petco if anyone could help. I couldn't believe my eyes! 6:45 and in comes my friend Karen, then I see Sharon, Kelly Tammy and Rochelle. They each took two pups! They have all been consistent fosters since. Gone are the days of Gymboree, it's all about the puppy playdates now.

Is it hard to say goodbye on adoption day? Sure, until you see the faces of the young couple who has been waiting for a puppy. Or the family who is ready for their family pet. Or the truck driver who wants a co-pilot. Or the lady who lost her pet and is finally ready for a new one. We adopted our 7th foster puppy. He has been a blessing to us and I often think how lucky we are that Debra put him in the van. To think he would have been put down.
Fostering is a gift to everyone involved and I strongly recommend you find a local rescue to foster for. You won't regret it. 

Thank you Juliet and Marshall Family!  Your acts of kindness don't go unnoticed and I'm sure those adorable furry friends appreciate all that you do.  If there's anything I can leave you with, it's to remember that doing good for others can be fun and rewarding!    

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The wheels are turning...

It's Day 2 and I'm already having a mental block as far as what "act of kindness" I can do today.  Maybe I'm putting to much pressure on myself or my expectations are too high.  I mean, does it count that I got up at 5:15am this morning to take my husband to the airport? Or do I always have to be doing something that is life changing for strangers?  I work from home so some days I don't even leave house!  Ok, ok.  Let me rethink this.  Kindness is kindness and no matter what it is or who it is for, if it's a selfless act then it counts.  Whew, pressure has already been lifted.

Although I may not accomplish an earth shattering act today, I have recently done some planning to set myself up for future acts of kindness.   The wheels are turning!

First, I contacted the local Community Housing Works ( to make sure that they are hosting the annual holiday adopt-a-family.  I just received an email back that they are and that I'm on the list to get future updates.  Last year a group of friends & family collectively adopted 3 families and provided them with Christmas gifts and meals- it was one of the most rewarding holidays that I've had in a very long time.  I'm really looking forward to this year and my hope is that we can take on another family or two.  Sadly, there are a lot of families out there in dire need. 

Second, I'm considering joining a friend to help with Meals On Wheels.  The only catch is there's an orientation and I'm going to be traveling for business when the next orientation takes place.  Hopefully, I can attend the one at the end of the month as I would really like to get involved with this great organization.  I learned as a child (when my church group used to sing holiday songs at the homes of elder "shut ins") that there are many people out there who are unable to care or provide for themselves.  Often they are forgotten.

Last, and most near and dear to me is Angels for Hearts ( My dear friend and lifelong sorority sister started this amazing philanthropy to help bring joy and happiness to children with heart illnesses.  If you read the story about Kim on the website you will quickly understand why she is truly an inspiration to me. 
The organization is based in Sacramento and with our college roots being in San Diego, I have volunteered to help raise money and/or collect gifts down here.  A West Coast Ambassador of sorts.  If you want to help me, email me or call me.  The more gifts we can collect, the brighter smiles from the kids! 

Well, at least I have some volunteer work in plans. I think I'll give myself an "E" for effort...

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Magic of the Brussel Sprout.

I'm a little unsure at this point if I will be able to pull off an act of kindness each and every day. I mean, I think I do nice things, but to be nice every day can be difficult (especially when I'm in a MOOD). That said, I plan to ease into this process.  Today, which is officially Day 1 of my adventure, I have already completed my one act which makes me think that I can probably sneak in a couple more by the end of the day...
So it all started with the dreadful brussel sprout.  Who would think that the strange-looking vegetable that turns the noses of many would have a hand in any sort of act of kindness but it did.  I was entering the produce section at my local grocery store when suddenly a produce bag full of brussel sprouts exploded out the bottom of a bag carried by an elder gentleman.  With brussel sprouts all over the floor, the gentleman immediately panicked and proceeded to look for help from a grocery store employee.  As he was asking a man if he worked there, many other patrons were stepping over the sprouts and staring as if they had never seen a mishap or a spill at a grocery store before- it was the first time that I had noticed how useless people can be.  Perhaps they were embarrassed to step in and lend a hand or perhaps they just don't know how to begin helping or perhaps the world we live in (i.e. the bubbles we live in) don't allow room for us to get off of our soap boxes to help a stranger.  I immediately realized this simple, minor incident was a great opportunity to step in and help.  

As the elder man stepped away to seek help from a grocery store employee, I bent down and started picking up the brussel sprouts and placing them back into the display area.  After staring for a moment, 2 other patrons stepped in and started helping too.  Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but it was almost as if they were waiting for "approval" to step in and help.   

Eventually, the elder man noticed that we had cleaned up the spill and headed back to his cart.  As he approached us, he expressed his gratitude and explained that he was unable to bend down to pick up the mess himself.  I acknowledged his gratitude and went along my way.  

It was a very simply act of kindness, but it felt really good to help someone in need and to see how well others responded.  I think I'm going to learn a lot from this blog...

The virgin blogger.

This is my first blog entry....ever.  

For many months now, my husband, has encouraged me to create a blog to express the endless ideas and thoughts that pass through my mind.  I have always enjoyed writing, but didn't want to write without a purpose. This past weekend, while awaiting our order at a local Mexican restaurant, I announced to Louie that I have finally found my purpose.  Welcome to The Daily Act.

I have philanthropy in my blood and was raised volunteering throughout my childhood whether it be holding post at a bake sale with my brownie troop to raise money for a local organization to singing holiday carols at a senior daycare center, I love helping others.  This love for helping others has carried with me and so I have decided commit to a least one act of kindness daily.  This sounds simple, right?  I mean, it's easy to be nice to people, but often we forget to go out of our way for someone in need or a complete stranger. That's my plan- to help others and share my experiences.

The purpose of my blog isn't to guilt you into doing things that you don't want to do, but my hope is that my acts will naturally encourage you to do good and help others.

And so here it goes...