Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Catching Up

Well Christmas day has come and gone, which means I have some catching up to do. I owe you all five dakband stories. I did give away dakbands everyday up until the 24th, but the truth is I cannot for the life of me remember them all. This is the truth. Really. I do remember the 23rd though.......it was an exceptional day for dakband giveaways.

Despite that neither of us were remotely close to having our shopping done, we decided to drop off a picture frame that needed a new piece of glass, thinking it would only take a moment of our time (and we really needed the space it had occupied on our buffet- for the past 6 months-for our nativity scene). This turned out to be one of the best decisions of our holidays. While waiting for the glass to be cut we struck up a conversation with the woman who was working about a fabulous framed print of Shepard Fairey's Obama poster. As a confirmed Obamaholic I was impressed. She shared with my husband and I that the store owner (Karen) had followed Obama for many years before his election as president. (Me too!). Wouldn't you know, right at that moment Karen walked into the store. An hour and half later we finally left, much richer for having met her. We talked politics, which is to say, we talked about our communities, leadership, the environment, and our collective future. While showing us more prints of the Obama campaign, she gifted each of us with a limited edition postcard of the same print that was hanging on the wall. Thankfully, I had an arm full of dakbands. But best of all, I met a kindred spirit.

Then, just a few hours later - I was still rejoicing about my Obama postcards - while standing in line at Zellers I over heard a father talking with his two young daughters. They each had a toy in their hands and he was praising them for making such good choices. The toys were for Toy Mountain (or something similar). He was asking them all kinds of wonderful questions....."How old do think the children who receive these toys might be? Do you think these toys are for a little boy, or a little girl?" Ironically I had a bunch of children's dakbands in my purse, so I turned around, excused myself for eves dropping, and gave each little girl a pair of bands (they were around 8 years old). As I walked away, I could hear the father say, "what a wonderful idea."

What an amazing day.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Only 5 days left

I'm going to do my best to try and remember the dakband tales from last Thursday until today, but being severely sleep deprived, I'm not sure I'll remember much past the last hour. Thursday evening I returned home after an evening out to find my beautiful Mojo (my dog) whimpering on the couch. An emergency trip to our vet, and a sleepless night preceded a diagnosis of a herniated disc - not good. I somehow have to figure out how to stop the dog from climbing or descending stairs, jumping up on any furniture (where he spends a good part of most days)or greeting us at the door on his hind legs! Then the next night we were just crawling into bed when the four year woke up with an ear ache.....Saturday morning we left for Kingston to pick up our other son. Despite being awake all night Friday, the four year found the hotel room too interesting to sleep, which, unfortunately, was not the case for me - except of course for the four year who refused to sleep.

So here goes.....

Thursday, December 17:

It's coming to me.....Oh yeah! This is a good one. Maryann came up to visit and we made a Costco run with the four year old in tow. We got separated while shopping because, as usual, I made it to the furthest point in the store when Garrett announces (to everyone) that he has to go pee. Have you EVER tried to race through Costco the week before Christmas? Once our toilet duties were done I decided that we would wait for Maryann with some fries and a pop, no sense starting over at that point. As the three of us were leaving the store, the gentleman who inspects the carts and receipts drew a snowman with a happy face on the back of our receipt, for Garrett. I gave him a pair of bands, despite the long line forming behind us!

Friday, December 18:

A server at the Williams Coffee Pub, after I dropped Garrett at school. Just because she brought me my double long espresso. I know this is her job and not particularly kind, but I really needed that coffee after spending the night at the vets!

Saturday, December 19:

To a gentleman who helped me put my shopping cart away because my hands were full. I got the feeling the zombie like look on my face evoked some pity.

Sunday, December 20:

Today was a dakless day, most of it spent in the car. I could give some dakbands to my wonderful husband, who is not quite as sleep deprived since the four year old jumping on the bed (beside us), pretending to snore, and singing Christmas carols did affect his ability to sleep at all. Nevertheless, he (my husband) greeted the morning with his usual cheerful demeanor, treated our family, our son's girlfriend and our daughter's best friend to breakfast, and then drove all the way home while I tried to nap - lulled to sleep by Garrett's rendition of the twelve days of Christmas....over.....and over....and over....again.....NOT!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Blah Blah Blah

A good friend, who never fails to inspire me, and whom I have blogged about a few times in the past, suggested the title for this post. I explained earlier today, over a phone conversation, that I had to catch up on my dak giveaway reporting because, although I have not posted for a few days, I have been giving away my daks! So here's the update......

Saturday, December 12: this, unfortunately, was a dakless day - and not because I didn't try. I set out with an armful of green and red dakbands, my dak radar in full force, and after a busy day that involved breakfast in town, shopping, christmas tree shopping.....I hadn't given away a single dak. I'm not sure, but I'm beginning to think it's the season.

Sunday, December 13: We didn't leave the house because our four year old was quite sick. However, my fabulous, wonderful, loving daughter gave up most of her day to help wash floors, do dishes, vacuum, etc....I gave her a pair of bands because her kindness made my day!

Monday, December 14: I was forced to drag my still ill four year old out of the house, while I picked up some groceries. Once I got him back into the car, loaded all the groceries into the back, I realized that I had to return the cart. Ugh! At just that moment, a beautiful, elderly woman, offered to take the cart but she wanted to look for a quarter for me (the cart cost a quarter - guess where I shop). I explained that I didn't need the quarter, she was helping me by taking the cart because my son was in car. You'd have thought she had won the lottery. "Thank-you, and Merry Christmas," she said. I couldn't resist....that was my first Merry Christmas of the season.

Tuesday, December 15: I ran into the store for a few things, and the cashier was so awesome, it warmed my heart. She bagged my groceries, chatted with me about shopping, and then she was patient and kind when another customer rudely demanded her attention. I love people like her!

Wednesday, December 16: I put an entire package (24 sets) in the mail for Maryanne because her Christmas letter I received in the mail today was incredible (I am going to ask her if I can share portions of it with you - whoever 'you' are). Also, she promised to come and visit me tomorrow.

Remind me to tell you about the visit I had with my Mary Kay consultant today .....

Friday, December 11, 2009

Squire Daks

Tonight we were leaving Ye Old Squire, after our Friday night fish & chips (delicious as always), and as we were leaving a twenty-something gentleman held the doors for us. I gave him some christmas daks (green and red) with my usual speel, "These are for acts of kindness in our community. One is for you to keep, the other you can give to someone else doing something kind."

His response, "Cool. I'll do that, thanks!"

Sometimes it's just the simple things.

“The best part of life is not just surviving, but thriving with passion and compassion and humor and style and generosity and kindness.” Maya Angelou

Hospital Daks

The few of you that follow my little blog are probably thinking that my 'advent dak project', as I'm calling it, is taking on a similar on-again-off-again trajectory as my attempt to blog every day for a month. But you would be wrong. My failure to post about my dakband giveaways for the 9th and 10th, was not because I forgot, or didn't give any away, or was too busy....or any other regular excuse. I was in the hospital with a little heart scare :( But looking on the bright side, I had lots of opportunities to give dakbands to all the kind nurses and staff!!

To begin, I think it is important to say that our local hospital, Joseph Brant Memorial Hosipital, although facing staff shortages, funding challenges and a myriad of other difficulties, is filled with sincere, caring, hardworking individuals dedicated to serving the people that come through the doors.

Just a few stories that deserved daks:

Being in the trauma center (because my concern was heart related), there were some pretty sick individuals and stories taking place around me. All of them were moving. However, one woman who was very sick with complications due to chemotherapy, was being cared for by her 'best friend'(that was how she referred to herself). The patient could not talk because of a laryngectomy, so her friend translated for her, was asking doctors all the right questions, simply ensuring that her best friend was being cared for. She was there for hours!! She definitely deserved a dakband.

Yesterday an orderly was taking me down for tests. He could see that I was a bit nervous. So he very kindly gave me a mini lesson in meditation and relaxation. It was great. He was so gentle, and sincere. When he took me back to my room I gave him a pair of dakbands. His reaction was so touching. He told me that in Judaism daks would be called mitzvahs. I love that. I need to do a post about mitzvahs!! I saw him in the hallway as I was leaving and he had already given one of his bands away!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Striped Egyptian Hippopotamus

Today I was mailing our oldest son a care package - an exam tradition - so I was once again in line at the post office. I had no choice but to bribe Garrett with a striped Egyptian hippopotamus (daddy speak for zebra) that he found amongst a pile of plush toys in one of the aisles. While I was preparing the package and trying to keep Garrett from playing with the striped Egyptian hippopotamus on floor (because I had no intention of buying it!)I couldn't help but notice how the clerk was interacting with all the customers.

He was funny, attentive, patient and even shared a joke with an elderly Scottish woman who was in no hurry to leave at all. He created a sense of familiarity that brightened everyone's day and made us all feel great. I wasn't sure how he would react to the dakbands, being older and male, but his reaction was sincere and he immediately put them on his wrist. It really is all about the small gestures.

Yesterday was, sadly, a dakless day. Despite my dak senses being on full alert, I did not have one opportunity to share the kindness. Dakless days make me sad.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Might be Cheating

When we overslept and missed church, I knew that I might have missed my only opportunity to give away some dakbands. With three assignments due in the next two days I was fully committed to locking myself in the office and staying there until one of those papers was finished!

So while packaging some dak orders (okay I did leave the office for a few moments), I put a few extra sets in each order! I fully admit this might be stretching the concept and intention of giving away at least a pair of dakbands a day between December 1 and Christmas Day, but I had to do something!!

I promise to leave the house tomorrow.

I leave you with this beautiful quote that reminds me of the effect of kindness:

“When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on [all] the faces surrounding him.” —Albert Camus
(1913-1960); Author, Playwright, Philosopher

I did not forget!

I did not forget to give away my dakbands yesterday, I just ran out of time to blog about it!

Yesterday was good dakband day in fact. Armed (literally) with my red and green festive bands I left the house early to start the day with my sisters kick boxing class. Perhaps it was the physical exhaustion, but I did not give any bands away at the club. Not to be discouraged I picked up my husband and son and we headed off to brave the Costco crowd. I'm sure you can image what the line ups are like three weekends before Christmas - it's not pretty. Not to be distracted we navigate the flow of shoppers, pick up just what we need and then line up to pay. It is a looong line. My husband realizes that we forgot compost bags and wonders if he should run to the back of the store to get them. My look suggests that he probably has enough time to run to the next Costco to get the bags. Wouldn't you know it, he hasn't rounded the aisle when two new registers open and now we are the first in line. I try unloading the cart slowly, stalling best I can, but there is soon a girl helping and before I know it the cashier is asking if I want this on my card. I explain that my husband went to get something we forgot. Her look pleads, This is really not a good time..... I tell her to just ring it threw, no problem, we'll forget about the compost bags. Of course, as soon as I sign the card I see James at the back of the line, well I think it's him, he is so far away it's difficult to say. Much to our relief, she invites him over and rings in the bags. Now that is kind!

We head back to our car, unload the groceries and the child, and a very kind gentleman offers to return our cart. I need to hang out at Costco more often.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Post office kindness

Of course I am somewhat biased but I love the intentionality of kindness. Whenever I am consciously looking for opportunities to give the dakbands away, for the most part, I find kindness everywhere.

Today in the five minutes I carved out of a ridiculously busy day to make a run to the post office to mail dakband orders I found myself behind twenty people mailing christmas cards and packages. My first thought was to just come back at another time, but seeing as this was my only break in the day, and quite frankly when would be a better time between now and Christmas in terms of lines? So I settled in and turned on my dakband radar.....when it was finally my turn (now there were twenty people behind me!), I put all my packages on the counter (note the audible sighs). After the clerk measured and weighed them all and told me the cost, I realized that I had forgotten my wallet at home. I am already late to pick my daughter up from the Go station, and my son from daycare......what to do I wonder. I could feel the crowd behind me becoming mutinous....

This kind post office clerk, offered to keep my packages until I could come back with my purse. So off I went. When I returned an hour and half later, she had them ready and waiting. She definitely got a pair of bands. And when I explained that they were for acts of kindness, one was for her to keep and one for her to give away, she immediately turned around and gave it to her co-worker!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ikea Kindness

We arrive at the local Ikea with only half an hour before the ball room closes for the evening - and we had promised Garrett he could play in the ball room. We quickly sign him in and rush upstairs to get some shopping done. Not fifteen minutes pass when the entire store learns my presence is required at the ballroom. Of course I am at the furthest point from the ballroom and can't for the life of me figure how to find my way back to the entrance without running the length of the entire store! I arrive to see my son walking around the playroom with his pants hanging around his knees while he tries half-heartedly to hold them up in between sprints across the room. The lady in charge looks at me and says, " That's why we called you."

Apparently, he went to the washroom and as he pulled his pants up the waistband button came undone. Because his pants wouldn't stay up he decided that he didn't need them, or his underwear. He walked out of the bathroom into the playroom commando. The ladies in charge of the playroom are not allowed to touch the children, so they had to coax him back into the bathroom and convince him to put his pants back on - which was no small feat, since he really didn't understand the point of wearing pants that wouldn't stay up!!

I thought they deserved some dakbands.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I'm sure this won't be the first or last time during this dak giveaway extravaganza, that all of a sudden I realize it is 5:00 pm, I'm going home to make dinner and unless there is a fire, won't be leaving my house for the rest of the evening - and I haven't given away any dakbands! And for some reason, the fact that it is dark exacerbates my panic because it feels like midnight. I begin to wonder if it counts if I just simply give someone a pair of dakbands, even if they haven't done anything kind? After all, it might inspire them to be kind. But then I wonder what to say, "Hi, I saw you just standing there in line and thought you might want some bands that will inspire you to be kind?" Doesn't really work does it?

So while all these scenarios are playing through my scattered brain, the cashier at Zarkey's is putting my dinner into plastic bags when I suddenly cry out, "Oh, I have my own bag thanks." There are at least five people behind me in line (groaning). But she not only unpacked my groceries, she re-packed them for me in my cloth bag. And she did it with a smile! I silently thanked the kindness gods and gave her two green dakbands!! She was almost as thrilled as I was.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I hesitate to share this, since my first attempt to blog everyday for a continuous month took me about six weeks. Yet, I am inspired by the season of Advent, the first of December and the fact that today I addressed all the teachers at a local high-school that is implementing the dakbands. I want to model for them the possibilities I speak about. Sooooo........

I am going to try and give away a pair of dakbands everyday between now and Christmas, and share the story here. I've been contemplating the idea for a few days, but was afraid that I would fail as miserably as my attempt to simply blog everyday. Yet once I made the emotional commitment the Law of Attraction kicked into high gear and I became a kindness magnet.

To start the day, I had to do some banking - with my four year old in tow. As you can imagine, this is never really the best scenario because while I am talking with the teller, swiping cards, punching in numbers and trying to keep all the business and personal accounts straight, Garrett is usually hanging off my leg, trying to help me push the buttons and generally distracting me by entertaining everybody in line. Today he was particularly impressed with all the red and white balloons that were decorating the teller area. Somewhat manipulatively he began to share with the girls, and anyone else who could hear, how much he really like those balloons. He left with a beautiful red balloon, on a stick no less, that he carried around for the rest of the morning - until it escaped while he was getting out of the car at Starbucks. I gave a whole set of pink daks to the girls. (and by the way, the Scotia bank at Walkers Line and New Street, in Burlington is the BEST!)

We walked into Starbucks, my daughter, her best friend, myself and Garrett, hoping for a moment to sit down and enjoy a delicious decaf, non-fat, half-sweet, no-whip, peppermint mocha (peppermint hot chocolate for the little guy who just lost his balloon). But the only place left to sit was a table for two....we all stood around awkwardly with our hot drinks, until a very kind gentleman got up from the corner where he was sitting alone with four cozy chairs, and he moved to the small table. I gave him two bands as we left.

If that wasn't enough kindness for one day.....while I was presenting at the high-school this afternoon, one of the teachers (who opened the meeting with a beautiful prayer!) shared her agenda with me and was just heartwarmingly kind. I used her as my part of my demonstration and gave her a pair of bands.

I think I'll start wearing red and green bands in recognition of the season, and I'll have to wear an arm full if this keeps up!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Who's There

Some time ago I signed up to receive a weekly newsletter/video from Karma Tube. I receive inspiring videos of people, projects and communities that affirm for me the power of kindness to kindle hearts around the world.

A few weeks ago I saw the video of Daniel Beaty. It isn't about kindness. It is about courage, self discovery, and healing. It is powerful. The kind of power that must be shared and experienced because it will open your mind and heart.

So although it may not be about kindness, but the kindness is in the sharing......

Monday, November 16, 2009

Kindle My Heart

kindle [kin-dl] - to light up, illuminate or make bright

As the moon kindles the night
As the wind kindles the fire
As the rain fills every ocean
And the Sun the Earth
So your heart will kindle my heart

Take my heart
Take my heart
Kindle it with your heart
And my heart cannot be
Kindled without you
With your heart kindle my heart

These are the lyrics to Kindle My Heart, the theme song from the movie The Little Princess. Simple. Beautiful. I happened to catch the last few moments on tv this evening. I remember being enchanted by the movie many years ago when my children were little, but I had completely forgotten about the song.

Isn't it true that my heart can brighten your heart, and without your light, my heart suffers. Every act of kindness kindles the heart as surely as the moon kindles the night and the rain fills the ocean. We need each other to reflect the light that kindness illuminates.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Barrista Kindness

Two mornings ago I was having one of those days, and it was only 8:30 in the morning! After dropping our son off at school I stopped at Starbucks for a much needed double long espresso. Apparently, half the community needed one because the line up was loooooong. When I finally made it inside the doors, I couldn't help but over hear the Barrista (hopefully that if a unisex title) chatting to each customer as is they were the last person on earth. He was funny, engaging, charming and everyone in line left with a smile - and it wasn't because they finally had a coffee.

When I was two people away from being served I realized my dakbands were in the car, and I wasn't wearing any (shame on me). I wrestled with what to do. I'd been in line a long time and the line behind stretched out the door once again, I'd have to start all over....I went to the car. And when it was finally my turn, I gave him the whole darn pack.

It never ceases to amaze me how someone simply choosing to be engaging, other centered, polite and kind can make my day!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Push for Votes

I know our project has only been up for few days, but I have to confess that we are really discouraged by the paucity of votes people. There are friends who have sent out our plea to 400 or more people!! Well, you know how the saying goes, when the going gets tough, the tough......get creative!

So, we have made up these really neat postcards, that we are going to handout, along with a free pair of bands, at strategic points all over Milton, Burlington and Oakville, tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday.

That isn't all.....we are also going to give away 500 sets of dakbands to any organization/community (schools included)that registers 500 votes by Sunday. After voting voters must email me and include in their email the organization with which they are associated. (eraakman@deliberateactsofkindness.com)

Yes, we have resorted to shamelessly begging for votes :)

The great thing about all this, is that we will be changing our community just by asking people to vote. Just think of all the acts of kindness associated with the bands we'll be giving away.

Please vote, and ask everyone you know to vote as well. Click on the Aviva button.

Here is a great quote that is keeping me inspired:

“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.”

—George Bernard Shaw
(1856-1950); playwright, political activist

I feel like Dorthy at the end of the Wizard of Oz, in her beautiful ruby slippers...only I'm wishing for votes.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Celebrate and Vote

We are officially celebrating the long overdue launch of our new website. Please take moment to visit and explore. We are very proud of the results and want to thank our awesome developer Sam, who has worked tirelessly all these long months for pittance. There is still alot of work to be done, and features we want to add, but it is all a matter of funding. And speaking of funding......

With the launch of our new site we have entered the Aviva Community Fund Competition. This is a competition that will award the top prize - which we have applied for - of $250,000.00 to a project that promotes positive, impactful, sustainable change in their community, Canada, and ultimately, the world. We believe dakbands do just that. However, there are three rounds of voting, and to make it to the next round we need to have at least 2000 votes! But because we believe in the power of kindness and change we want to reach 5000 votes and do it by next weekend! Round one ends in 7 days.

So PLEASE follow this link, and vote for us. PLEASE, send emails to EVERYONE you know and ask them to vote as well. We will also have a wonderful new facebook page that will be available today, so that will make it even easier to get all your friends, family and colleagues to vote for us!!

The new button in the left column will help you keep track of our votes.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I recently found this quote on the website of Margaret Wheatly (author), "Human kindness manifests only in relationship." I immediately followed every link, listened to her podcasts, read her articles, and went to Chapters to buy her book. Time well spent!

I believe however, that her quote has it backwards. I would suggest that it is perhaps more true to suggest, "Human kindness manifests relationships." The dakbands are evidence that kindness creates relationships where none existed prior to the kindness. When we reach out and offer a complete stranger a dakband (or two) for an act of kindness we witnessed, we now have a connection, a relationship and our humanity expands. We enter into community. Live Kindly. Band Together.

Day 25 of 31

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More Marathon Kindness

It may or may not be difficult to believe, but I still cannot walk quite right, and you definitely don't want to watch me navigate any stairs! While dousing my legs with liniment this morning, in hopes of making it downstairs, I suddenly remembered seeing a video of an amazing father and son team that ran marathons and triathlons together. So when I eventually made it to my computer I googled Team Hoyt.

This is a story of extreme love, and kindness, as well as, determination, strength and courage. It will inspire you to not only be kind and compassionate, but maybe even to set goals that you never imagined possible.

Day 24 of 31

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Marathon Kindness

Right now it feels like I may never walk properly again - and really that is no exaggeration. Today I started - and finished- a half marathon (The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon). Two weeks ago the longest distance I had ever run in my life was 8 km, so in preparation I did two 14 km runs. I'm really thinking right now that maybe two weeks wasn't quite enough preparation! I was okay up to 15 km, 16 km was tough, 17 almost killed me with the thought that I still had 4 km to go.......and well at 18 km I could feel the nail of my left big toe being pulled up my sock and every step was agony, I expected to see blood seeping through my shoe.

Apparently the pain was written all over my face because my running mate and good friend Lisa looked over at me, pulled out her cellphone (yes, miraculously she could still talk at this point!) and called my husband who was waiting at the finish line with our daughter, and told him I needed some encouragement. So it was by her kindness, encouragement and support that I was able to cross that finish line.

Here is a photo. The glazed, glassy eyed lady with the pink hat is me, Lisa is in the middle and her brother-in-law Ken on the end. Ken and Lisa have both done the race in the past, and I think Ken does it every year, which might account for their unstrained smiles. Thanks guys for a great day!

(I won't include a picture of that big toe!)
(my time was 2 hours 11 mins)

Day 23 of 31

Friday, September 25, 2009


A few days ago a friend sent me this article from CNN. It is about self centeredness, and it's blight on the collective conscious of our nation (it is a U.S. article, but really could be just about any country in the world). I like information/insights/opinions that are supported by research and common sense.

It may seem discouraging that a professor from San Diego State University has recently published a book entitled, The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in an Age of Entitlement; but, I think it's important to understand the root problems of issues and concerns that affect our interdependence. And the whole dakband concept is about getting individuals to push past the self centeredness and narcissism and recognize that our lives are richer when we connect meaningfully with others.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dan Reed

There are no words to describe the beauty and power of this video and music. Please watch, then take another five minutes and watch the interview with Dan Reed. I'm sure you'll become a fan....

Interconnectedness, compassion, kindness.......it is how we can change the world.

Then you might even want to go to his website: www.danreed.com

Day 21 of 31

Friday, September 18, 2009

Nature's Kindness

Harvest from our garden......

You can find kindness anywhere.

Day 20 of 31

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Our success lies in community

"Dependent people need others to get what they want. Independent people can get what they want through their own efforts. Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success."
- Stephen Covey

Stephen Covey always reinforces the concept of interdependence and community. That we need and depend on each other to be and become our best selves.

a great resource: www.stephencovey.com

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Musical kindness

My son attends Queen's University. He is studying physics and geography, but he called me the other day to tell me about a new interest. He is learning to play the ukulele. Yes, the ukulele. Where did he get this ukulele you ask? Well I asked the same question! (This comes after a year of teaching himself to play guitar.)

He proceeded to tell me about the Joe Chithalen Memorial Musical Lending Library. Anyone can borrow a musical instrument for up to a month at a time, as long as they have photo ID. This is such an amazing concept.

There isn't much information about Joe on the website, but he does have a facebook fanclub where you can learn more about this interesting and inspiring young man.

Day 19 of 31 (the longest 31 days in history:)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

From Oakville to Australia

Band # 163998
Please go to our Track your dak page and type the band number in the window that says 'dak code' - click go, scroll down

Day 19 of 31

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Yesterday I spent so much time watching, reading, googling, commemorative events honoring 9/11 that I forgot to share them with you. I don't even know where to begin. Perhaps one of the most significant events was the official declaration, by the President, of September 11 being a day of National Service and Remembrance. I'm sure David Paine and Jay Winuk were not thinking that their foundation, My Good Deed, would become a day recognized by the entire country. Please take a moment to read about the program and their story.

Another incredible program is the New York Says Thank-you Foundation, whose mission (from their website): The mission of The New York Says Thank You Foundation is to send volunteers from New York City each year on the 9/11 anniversary to help rebuild communities around the country affected by natural or man-made disasters as our way of commemorating the extraordinary love and generosity extended to New Yorkers by Americans from all across the United States in the days, weeks, and months following 9/11.

The last line on the home page, which is a letter from Jeff Parness (the founder) reads: From one day of terror, 10 years of Kindness.

That says it all. Kindness does change the world.

Day 18 of 31

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Be Nice

The Toronto Star is getting in on the kindness game. As a result of the tragic accident that resulted in the death of a cyclist last week, they have launced the Be Nice campaign.

I think everyone should contact The Star and tell them about the dakbands! Then we could really inspire change - and see it!

Day 17 of 31

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Handshake

“There is no teaching to compare with example.”

—Sir Robert Baden-Powell
(1857-1941); founder of the Boy Scouts

Various sources have attributed the origin of the handshake to Colonel Baden-Powell.

The handshake is definitely a symbol of kindness

Day 16 of 31

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Andre Agassi

As much as I do enjoy tennis, this isn't about sport today. It is about a man with an incredible vision.

This year marked the first graduation for students attending the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy:

"The Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy (AACPA) is a model charter school whose goal is to offer academic programs designed to enhance a child's character, respect, motivation and self-discipline. Located in the heart of Las Vegas' most at-risk neighborhood, AACPA was created specifically to improve skill levels and combat lowered academic expectations while creating a climate of hope among this community's most challenged children. Advanced technology, smaller class sizes and extended school hours are just some of the practices the AACPA utilizes to achieve a higher standard of education."

Every single student in the graduating class has been accepted to college. Every single one.

At an award ceremony last week, the U.S. Open celebrated Agassi's contribution to humanity. During his speech he quoted one of the commencement speakers,"She said that some who are short-sighted have labeled us as at-risk," Agassi said. "She said that was right. That we are at-risk. At risk of excellence."

You can read the entire article from the Los Angeles Times here.

Day 15 of 31 (yes I am pretending that I have not missed any postings)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses!

I hate excuses, which is why I probably have a business (Justplay) that has the following tag line: no excuses Justplay.

But I am going to explain why I missed yesterday's post. Aside from the fact that I completely forgot until 4 pm today.....I forgot because my week is crazy busy! I am currently studying for my Masters degree, which I began this past spring with University of Regina. It is a distance program that I planned to work at during all my free time (LOL). Over the past couple of weeks I have been working with researchers in Regina and the U.K. to submit a grant proposal for a very big and exciting research project involving Justplay. A private courier delivered it the day it was due. However, while working on the grant proposal, the dakband project, the new dakband website, and taking care of family life I didn't get any other work for my course finished. Everything is due on Friday. I have two papers to hand in and half a textbook to read, along with completed chapter worksheets! Oh yeah, I have two couples coming to spend the weekend on Saturday.....

Thankfully, I have loving, KIND, parents who have offered to take our beautiful three year old for a few days so I can at least pretend that I am going to get all of this done!!

Day 14 of 31

Monday, August 31, 2009


If you go to You Tube and type in kindness 16,000 entries come up. So I started scrolling down looking for some ideas. I hit the jackpot.

There are a number of videos posted about a project in the U.K. called the Kindness Offensive. I am definitely going to contact them about the dakbands and perhaps initiating a similar project here in Canada and the U.S.!!!

Day 13 of 31

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Holding each other up

I learned something so cool today. Something I wish I'd known on Thursday when I did a dak workshop for some local high school students.

The giant California Redwood trees, those majestic, awe inspiring Tolkienesque entities that can reach heights of over 300 feet use each other to stand up! Apparently they have shallow roots. Instead of growing deep into the ground, their roots spread out and intertwine with all the roots of all the trees in their community. This web makes it almost impossible for a tree to fall down or be uprooted. What an incredible analogy.

Day 12 of 31

Friday, August 28, 2009

Inspiring and innovative

A colleague sent me the link to this video about the Philadelphia Field Project this morning. My husband and I, our son and daughter and son's girlfriend just spent four days vacationing in Philadelphia at the beginning of August. It is a great city and we had an awesome time, so this project really resonated with me. It is an inspiring and innovative approach to resolving issues surrounding poverty - very similar to paradigm in The Blue Sweater Sweater.

Here is the link to their website.

Day 11 of 31

Thursday, August 27, 2009

In Honour...

In honour or Edward Kennedy:

"The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die.
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy,
1932 - 2009

Day 10 of 31

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The REAL Groovy Booby Girls

Will the real Groovy Booby Girls please stand up:

So these are the real Groovy Boobie Girls, we don't know who the women in my original post are!! And now they are also going to change the photo on their team website :)

We love them anyway!!

Day 9 of 31

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Incredible kindness

Those of you who have pets will know what I mean when I say that they are inherently kind. We have two dogs, a border collie (Damon) and a havanese (Mojo). Our border collie is almost 13 and beginning to show it, while our havanese is 4 years old and thinks he is a border collie.

There are days I wish I could give Mojo dakbands because he makes my day when I walk in the door, dragging a screaming 3 year old, exhausted from work and wondering what to make for dinner. He greets me like I am the most important person in the world, cuddles up beside me as I flop onto the couch and looks at me like he completely understands. Regardless of how frustrated, stressed, pouty I am, it melts away under the spell of his unconditional love - allowing me to embrace kindness once again.

(I really love Damon too, but he isn't the meet and greet type of dog, and he certainly can't fit on my lap!)

Day 8 of 31

We have an organization, The Canadian Association for Animal Assisted Support Services that use our dakbands!!
Anyone who leaves a story about their pet and kindness will receive some dakbands!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pink Daks

It's almost that time again, to lace up those running shoes and start training - if you haven't already - for the weekend to end breast cancer! As you might know, last year the Burlington chapter for Run for the Cure customized the dakbands and made them pink. They are used as part of their fund raising initiative. Well as fate would have it a friend in Ottawa recently asked Maryann to sponsor her team for the weekend fundraiser. Maryann being the infinitely wise and think-on-your-feet kind of person she is instantly suggested that she could sponsor the team or she could give them the value of her sponsorship in pink dakbands which they can in turn sell, to raise even more money.....what do you think they choose to do? It's a no-brainer isn't it.

Here is the team, Groovy Boobie Girls

Please check out their website.

A few notes from Colleen, one of the team members,

As I'm sure you know, you need to put the "fun" in fundraising so our team is called the Groovy Boobie Girls! Each member of my team is required to raise a mandatory minimum of $2000.00 in order to participate in the walk. However, we as a team, are hoping to go beyond our individual minimums and raise a team total of $20 000.00!
We have been fundraising since the end of June (approximately) and have already raised well over $5000.00!

I am attaching a link to our team page, from there you can click on each individual team member, some of which have chosen to share their personal motivations for participating in this walk. Ultimately, we are all passionate about the cause. We all have mothers, sisters, daughters, cousins and best girlfriends and we would LOVE, more than anything, to see and end to women's cancers in our lifetime.

Just as a side note, today myself and one other team member held a charity garage sale as part of our fundraising. This was our first event that incorporated the DAKbands and I'm beyond thrilled to report that we sold 40 DAKbands for $40.00! Instead of selling them by the pack, I decided (since all proceeds go to our charity) to try a $1 a band concept, and we sold half of the bands I have here. People, for the most part, really liked the concept. We set up a donation jar just for the DAKbands and my daughter, along with a friend of hers, did a great job selling the concept that was simple; for a $2 dollar donation benefiting the Ottawa Regional Cancer foundation (which is a kind act!) you would receive DAKbands! There were encouraged to check
out the website and be on the lookout for other deliberate acts of kindness! Out ofthe 40 that were sold, a teacher gave a $20.00 donation for 20 bands that she is going to incorporate into her classroom! Our next team event is a bake sale event in the fall (I believe it's at the end of September) and, since we were so successful today, I will use the same selling concept there as well. I will give you another update in the fall. So far, I consider the DAKbands a fundraising success!

I'll be sure to highlight any great stories that are attached to the pink bands sold in Ottawa for the Groovy Boobie Girls over the next couple of months!

Day 8 of 31

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Serving with Love

This is my tattoo:

It is the Chinese character for love (pronounced "I" or "AI"). It is two months old, and there are days I am still panicked by the thought that I can never wash this off!! It is on my left wrist and the character points outward, meaning, it is meant to be read by others. It is a permanent dakband of sorts. It reminds me to use my hands for love and service. It reminds me to reach out to others with love. It reminds me of the power of my hands.

Despite my anti-tattoo leanings (the story behind the tattoo is long and personal) I am content with my decision and once I catch my breath after my moments of panic, I even think it's cool, although not as cool (or brave) as BE GENTLE, AND KIND.

Day 7 of 31

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Kind Tattoos

Okay, I know you are not going to believe this, but yesterday morning I had a lengthy conversation with Maryanne about how I almost missed posting Wednesday evening. She reminded me that it really wouldn't have mattered if I had missed the midnight deadline, but I stressed that I didn't want to mess up so early into my commitment to blog everyday for 31 days and I also expressed that I was elated when the post posted on Wednesday. So what happened yesterday you ask....hmmmmm.......nothing. I thought it was still Thursday! So here I am, feeling sheepish and a little discouraged.

Nevertheless, I forge on.

Here are some photos of my twenty year old son's tattoos. The first photo is the inside of his right arm:

this second photo is the inside of his left arm:

To be clear, I did not encourage, promote or suggest that he permanently mark the beautiful body that I gave birth to twenty years ago - in fact I have always been a little anti-tattoo. But between you and me, if he has to have a tattoo, these are pretty cool!

Day 6 of 31