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


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Domestic Daks

Most mornings my husband brings me a steaming cup of coffee in an attempt to rouse me from under the covers. It always works. It is a simple gesture, a subtle token of appreciation, that makes my day - every day. These little expressions of love and kindness are the narratives of our relationships. The details that make our marriages rich and thick and delicious (clearly I'm still thinking of Julie and Julia with the metaphors!).

I think of them as domestic daks. The consciousness, the intention, is what makes the gesture so valuable.

So, yesterdays post........I almost didn't make it! I was in bed, reading my html for dummies and suddenly I remembered that I hadn't posted. It was 11:55, I jumped out of bed, almost breaking my neck on the way down the stairs, turned on my computer....11:56......waited for the internet to hook-up, Firefox to load....11:57....waited for the website to load......signed in to my blog and realized I couldn't possible write anything in one minute.....11:58.....looked for a quote, typed furiously, pressed 'publish'....looked at my clock which said heart sank, after only 3 days I had failed. BUT, by some miracle the post still published under Wednesdays date (my clock was 2 minutes fast!!).

You'll be pleased to know however that all this html reading lead to my very first webpage today - simplistic would be an understatement, but it's enough to get some content on this new site of ours.....well soon anyway.

Day 5 of 31

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


If you want to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. --Dalai Lama

He deserves some dakbands!!

Day 4 of 31

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Some People

Just the other day I mused about how some people enrich our lives simply by their being in the world. I have blogged about my good friend Maryann before because she is such a person, although she would deny any such tribute. What is especially inspiring about Maryann is that she is not satisfied with simply being, she is a doer. She walks the talk, as they say. Which is a great thing for all of us because she has two young sons who are being raised with this inherent understanding of giving, serving and compassion. Two more souls who will know how to be the change the world needs.

Maryann and her two sons, Ethan and Colin have been growing their hair for a year. Last week they each donated their hair for wigs for people with cancer. Here are their ponytails. Maryann's is the dark one in the middle, and the boys are on either side:

Here is the before and after:

Oh yeah, the young man in the red shirt is the family's Fresh Air Friend, Jovan, who is back for his second summer visit as part of a program that helps children in New York City and suburbs experience life outside the city.

Thank-you Maryann, and family!

Day 3 of 31

Monday, August 17, 2009

We Are ALL Connected

I just finished reading The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of the Acumen Fund, a not-for-profit global venture fund that uses local entrepreneurs to help resolve local dilemmas associated with poverty in such countries as India, Africa and Pakistan. It is a fascinating adventure of personal growth, wisdom, passion and vision, and it all began with a treasured blue sweater that Jacqueline received as gift when she was a young girl. When she was finally forced to donate her beloved sweater with the zebras and snow capped Mt. Kilimanjaro on the front to the Goodwill, she did so reluctantly.

Fast forward 12 years, Jacqueline is jogging through Kigali, Rwanda, while there to help set up a microfinance institution for poor women and she sees a young boy wearing her sweater. Imagine what both she and the poor boy wearing the sweater were thinking as she ran up to him and searched for her name written on the tag. He must have been terrified by the crazy white women, while she must have been trying to fathom the connection that spanned so many years and thousands of miles. This is just the beginning of journey that is conscious and filled with deliberate acts of kindness.

The blue sweater must have some amazing stories of its own, can you imagine the children that have treasured it over the years and miles. Wouldn't it be wonderful to know some of those stories, to learn how it journeyed from family to family, country to country, the tears, the laughter, joys and sorrow of childhood. It reminds me, of course, of our dakbands, and how wonderful it is to be able to share and read the stories of their adventures as they travel from person to person, community to community, country to country. We are all connected, although it is often difficult to see those connections created by choices we make each and every day because a choice is just a decision, a moment in time. Yet, the outcomes of those choices are profound, especially when it concerns the opportunity to choose kindness.

Day 2 of 31

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I've not only been inspired, but am feeling little abashed at the same time. My husband and I went to see Julie and Julia last night, and we are both still talking about it (despite his initial resistance). The stories of the lives of both women are wonderfully entwined, full of passion and completely enchanting. However, Julie Powell's commitment to cook and blog about her project every day for a year put my blogging efforts to shame. And as someone who faithfully follows a few blogs, I have to admit to the daily scan for new news, so how could I be so lackadeaisical about my own blogging? I can certainly offer up a few excuses and as good as they may be they'd still be excuses, so I will resist.

Instead I am going to make a commitment to blog everyday for the next month (I know that 31 days is measly compared to 365, but I have to start somewhere and a month I know I can do ). Although it likely won't be about mouth watering french cuisine (unless someone kindly makes me some!), it will be about moments that change lives.

While approving stories today I came across a dakband (100493) with this story attached to it:


I love it. It makes me wonder who this person is, this person who was given a dakband for simply being herself (or himself!). I smile to think of the people I know who deserve dakbands for simply being because by being they just naturally enrich my life and the lives of people around them. These people have a consciousness that doesn't seem to be constrained by ego, but gently and compassionately reaches out to embrace, without judgment, those around them.

Day 1 of 31

New website update: learning how to use HTML, on top of editing content, is not easy despite that the book I'm using is apparently for dummies! I hope to have the new site up this week - I'm working around the clock. zzzzzzz......