If your wish list includes any of the following:

Kindness • Joy • Community • Meaning • Friendship • Creativity
Quiet time • Beauty • Connection • Family Time • Meditation
Excitement • Energy • Purpose • Inspiration

I have a kind powerful project for you!
PRINT OUT: How-to instructions for an intimate or large event (below)!

During challenging times, rather than get weighed down by things outside of our control, we must positively influence the space we occupy – mentally and physically. Then, pay it forward!  

The Kindness Rock Project immediately caught my attention because of its sentiment and simplicity. People paint rocks with pictures or inspirational messages and leave them around town. Not only does this offer all the excitement of a city-wide treasure hunt, but it brightens up the scenery with little bursts of joy! Others find them and keep them or re-hide them. It’s easy to do for all ages, meaningful to both the giver and the receiver, plus it delivers unexpected, burst of beauty. This project engages the full community!  


Bea’s original Topock Rock!

About the time I’d learned of #TheKindnessRockProject my good friend and fellow creative soul, Bea, found inspiration in a painted rock she stumbled upon while on vacation in tiny Topock, AZ! Talk about synergy! We immediately agreed on the potential for this creative venture and the potential impact on our hometown – empowering people, encouraging children, all while weaving stronger ties within and with surrounding communities! The rock group #RedondoRocks was born.

Being able to experience this project first-hand through the kind heart of the Project’s founder, Megan Murphy, really left a lasting impression with me. She, like I, lives to make connections. Sprinkling kindness and encouragement helps anonymous people connect on an non-intimidating, yet intensely personal, level and provides a boost of whatever that person needs! While each rock creates one individual connection, kindness is contagious and the excitement grows exponentially!

Some communities create Kindness Rock gardens in their neighborhoods or schools to counter bullying, and encourage kids who feel challenged while journeying through a rough spot.  It also helps center people in their lives because, truly, we all get in a grind and time flies by. But when a flash of color or a kind saying catches your eye, you are instantly anchored in that spot, in your day, feeling those emotions and getting caught up in the color or the weight of the rock. I love how a simple gesture can have such large meaning.

The #OMagInsiders painted rocks together while cruising on Holland America.  After going ashore in Alaska, hunting for hiding spots in quaint Ketchikan, I felt thrilled and rewarded. Returning to the ship that afternoon, Megan rewarded me with the news that my rock was reported “found” before I even got back on the boat by someone who worked on the ship!  Talk about a full-circle moment! Kindness Rocks also helped us connect with a specific passenger and a very direct intent that left all of our hearts overflowing!

Megan believes that the right rock always finds the right person.  Additionally, the interpretation of what power these rock groups hold and how to deliver it to individual communities comes from within them. Some groups start with an individual, a small troop of children or circle of friends painting and hiding rocks. Some kick off with a large community gathering evolving into regular rock-painting parties! Painters are first-timers or seasoned artists using pens, paints or stickers to adorn their rocks with pictures, sayings, or mascots. Then people spread out to cover their community (or represent it elsewhere) with kindness.


While Bea and I knew we were offering a fun evening for all ages at our first painting night, many secondary gifts popped up! Guests went offline. People exhaled and slowed down. Parents and kids painted together, or allowed each other the mental space to stay as long as they wanted. Folks tapped into their creative side, filled each other’s kindness buckets and painted with passion! Friends either found a new tribe or the perfect spot for quietly perfecting their craft! Plus the fun spills over from the event and carries people for weeks while hiding their rocks, posting teasers on social media for where to find rocks, or others posting when rocks are found! The power of the group’s hashtag means that the web of Kindness woven throughout the community may be felt whenever one wants it.  

A large part of this comes thanks to The Great Room Cafe who shared this vision of a kinder community and let us take over their party space while offering delicious food and fun activities for those who were done painting but wanted to linger in this evening a little longer. This was truly the perfect venue for such magic to occur!

Bea and I look forward to hosting our next painting party and helping people plan their painting events! We wholeheartedly believe that many little gestures add up to a grand statement!  The Kindness Rock Project reminds us that the power to control our own happiness, and contribute to others, was with us the whole time.

Paint it Forward!

Where to find us online:

PRINT OUTS:  How to host your painting party:
Kindness Rocks Home Painting Party

Kindness Rocks Community Painting Party

What about you?

  • Have you painted Kindness Rocks?
  • Have you found a Painted Rock?
  • Are you a member of a Rock Group? If so, list your club’s url in the comments!
  • Do you keep rocks or re-hide them? What would Oprah Do?
  • Do you have a favorite story involving Kindness Rocks? If so, please share in the comments!

#RedondoRocks #TheKindnessRocksProject #KindnessIsContagious #PaintItForward #PayItForward #Kindness #PaintedRocks #RockGroups #PaintingParty #Cruise #Party #RandomActsOfKindness #OMagInsiders #Oprah #HollandAmerica #Ketchikan #Alaska #TopockRocks #KindnessRockGarden #TheGreatRoomCafe #BoldMoves #makesmewander


Today’s life lesson comes from a friend that I worked with at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  She was an honored patient and fellow campaign manager who’d been through treatment and has been healthy for over a decade since!  Her name came up in conversation today while I was trying to contribute to others’ lives by donating blood. I sat down at the Be the Match table and they of course were eager to get me to sign up.  I told them I was already in the bone marrow registry from my time at LLS.  Turns out the gal I was chatting with also knew Kristine.

We chatted a bit about how Kristine was also one of the great success stories  in that the treatments for her blood cancer have gotten so much milder in comparison to her treatments endured just over a decade ago. She’s proof that, with dedicated individuals, progress can be made!

So from Kristine, I have borrowed this life lesson:  Life is precious. Life is short. Carpe Diem!

No time like the present – Share a hug!
Photo by HarlanH

This also was meaningful today because we lost our sweet neighbor whom we knew as “Grandma Willow.” Plus I was already planning attending a celebration of life on Saturday for someone my son’s age.  So, life is precious. LIfe is short. Life gets busy, but don’t let it get in the way of those that matter so make sure you make the time to sit with people and listen a while.  Carpe Diem! Share a hug!


Whenever I walk through my front door, the first thing I do is kick off my shoes.  How many of us can’t wait to get our shoes off because they feel constricting or uncomfortable? What if the next time you left your front door you had no shoes on?  What if not having shoes restricted your ability to attend school or exposed you to uncomfortable, unhygienic conditions? 

“No matter how convenient it is for us to reach out to people remotely, sometimes the most important task is to show up in person.”  –Blake Mycoskie

Have I ever told you how much of a huge fan I am of this guy?  Do you know who he is? Recognize his name? Maybe you know him if I say the name TOMS – as in shoes.

Comfy and cute with a huge heart! What are you waiting for? Perfect summer shoes! Pix from online shop!

You may have seen many people wearing these comfortable, colorful – even strappy – shoes.  I, myself, am not one of those people who owns hundreds of pairs of shoes, but if I could afford to, I would purchase one pair of shoes TOMS shoes in every shape and color.  Not because I would ever have enough occasions to wear them all, but because TOMS shoes operates with a One for OneTM operating system.  To quote TOMS, “With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need.”

Even his book is One for OneTM – buy the book, he’ll donate books to local underserved neighborhoods!
Pix from his book website. Click here for info…

This is where my entrepreneurial crush flourishes because:
a) Blake witnessed a problem and founded a company to change the world for the better
b) His generous business model shows that it’s not necessarily the company who makes the most money that wins
c) People are paying attention and companies are revamping their philanthropic sides or even blatantly ripping him off. (Seriously Skechers, if you were sincerely concerned, you could have done a TOMS distribution deal or special edition rather than mimic the shoes, the name and logo and trying to pull it off as your unique discovery! Boo Bobs, I really don’t like copycats!)

They don’t just do shoes either!  If you buy their shades this summer, you’ll help underserved communities get the prescription glasses or eye surgeries they need.

Guess what? You can WIN A TRIP to give with TOMS! They hold a weekly drawing to pick people to feel the heart behind the company. Details at check out! Pix from TOMS website.

Oh, NOW he looks familiar, wasn’t he on Amazing Race?!

Season 2 contenders siblings
Blake and Paige!
Pix from CBS website.


People finally won the $640 million lottery! Now we can leave La-La-Lotteryland and get back to “real life.”  I don’t feel disappointed that I didn’t win as the odds foretold this result.  I’m excited to see who did win, and hear great stories of changed lives and paying it forward.

To ground my kids as quickly as possible, I’m redirecting our focus to FUNdraising as a reminder that just because the cash bubble broke and we splurged buying tickets, let’s refocus on efforts where our money brings a better return – FUNdraising!

By putting the FUN in FUNdraising the effort stands strong despite the economy. When people get something good while doing good, it brings joy twofold.  We held a Melt Down boasting hot food trucks and bands for great Friday fun!

Side Effects burned up the stage for our Melt Down!

Karaoke events feed a musical frenzy as guests pay to request songs or singers whom, if they don’t want to sing, must out-donate the first person.

Capitalizing on things people must do, like recycling, brings joy to people’s chores and raises awareness.  Clean the garage, host charity garage sale – no haggling! Put a bin out for neighbors to leave recyclables. For greater success, pick up from their homes!  Host a car wash! I held milk/cookie stands in my yard (donated from grocery stores) and cars drove by dumping change from their cup-holder because they saw me there.

For $5 people could eat all the cookes and milk they wanted and hang out, read books, play games or just chit chat!

To fundraise without no events – INCENTIVIZE!  CupcakesbyJoyce.com sweetened the deal for my MS Walk (big button –>). For each $5 donated people get entered to win a dozen delicious cupcakes. Because cupcakes don’t mail well, if you live outside 100 miles of LA/OC/SD then cupcakes will feed Team Hope – the large group I’m walking with.  When local companies donate prizes, they get tax-deductable publicity while you raise money. HOT items – gas or coffee cards!

If you had successful or unique fundraisers, please share your ideas in comments!  Want fundraising feedback? Post ideas, I’ll share my thoughts. I live in that brain often, it comes naturally.  Your biggest goal – start the conversation. Once people know what you’re doing, they appreciate your efforts and give. One never knows until one asks and the worst people say is “No.”

PAYING IT FORWARD FRIDAY: GO TEAM! (Click to the right to help now!) –>

In 2007, after finalizing a divorce and launching myself into the rest of my life, I signed up to run the 10th anniversary race through my hometown on my birthday. The race was the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon as in 26.2 miles. For perspective, when we moved worlds away from San Diego out to the sticks in Poway – I signed up to run farther than that.

I have no idea how a marathon got in my bucket list.  I never ran as a kid, except on horseback. Workout programs followed the trends.  In college I ran around the track, while the rugby team practiced on the infield, ending up with shin splints. It was then that I attended an information meeting for a fairly new program called Team In Training.  I didn’t sign up because I lacked the vision beyond myself to see how to complete it. Then, 16 years later, the planets aligned! I signed up!

Team In Training benefits The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to find a cure for blood cancers and improve the quality of life for patients and families.  The training program molds you into an athlete and a fundraiser!  It SO thoroughly trained me, that I still remember the night before my marathon. I didn’t worry about finishing; I worried about not making it to start.  Talk about the law of attraction, when I got to the start area, I stepped off a curve, twisted my ankle, got through it and finished anyway!

Courage to start! John “The Penguin” Bingham

Beyond the event, the support I received, the mental arguments I won, and the people I met made it the most amazing experience ever.  I got to train alongside heroes!  Heroes who showed incredible bravery facing their, or a loved one’s, diagnosis, heroes sharing their stories of recovery or recurrence, heroes who blew past fundraising goals, heroes relentless for a cure.  I continue to draw on the endless inspiration from the experience so often that now my kids roll their eyes. I have done several events with the Team since and make such quality friends! If running is not your thing, they have options.  I highly recommend joining the Team for you and for them!


Today being Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I wanted to teach my kids some of his lessons to love each other, contributing to the good of humanity and that small actions yield big power. I asked each child to dream up a random act of kindness that we could do. After a few suggestions, my daughter announced plans to buy gift cards for 20 people at Bullseye. While I appreciate her generosity, I wanted the impact of the experience to linger longer. To require more creativity and effort, I restricted their choices to free gestures.

Tasty little gestures

Then the 10- and 7-year old objections flooded out. They wanted to relax and their friends get to enjoy their day off. They whined about me forcing today’s deadline and were resilient to my anxiety over having held us accountable to social media. My disappointment grew with each protest. I expressed my discontent and laid down the worst punishment for them on their sunny day off from school – cleaning their rooms!


My goal was to reopen discussions after a 15-minute cool down. Either guilt, or the calming zen of methodically going through things, took over. Both kids went through every toy bin sorting, organizing, and tossing – with minimal input from me! When my son left for music lessons after 3 hours, my daughter and I finished her room, moving around furniture with her insisting on helping push. It was a great exercise in valuing ourselves enough to sort through crap, get rid of clutter, rearranging the flow of things, out with the old, in with the new – all that. While it wasn’t the lesson I planned to teach, I love that they ended the long weekend proud of their accomplishments and with new excitement for their space.

Zen of cleaning…

We came up with random acts of kindness to do soon. We baked cookies with some recipients in mind. We bought wax paper to make stained glass crafts (and to thin out our crayon box) for sunny gifts. Since King, Jr.’s lessons were to be used in every day of our lives, the deadline proved to be less significant than the forthcoming results. Commit any Random Acts of Kindness or learn unexpected lessons?


At my age I’m climbing that flowery hill, and every birthday brings me one step closer to hurtling down the shady backside, heading straight for the briar patch. I love great celebrations with friends, but found something more my taste in a blog that I stumbled upon.  Robyn Bomar celebrated her 38th birthday by committing 38 random acts of kindness herself, and proposed to her social media followers to also each complete one act! I LOVE random acts of kindness and that this is a project that anyone can celebrate with friends. Plus, everyone leaves with a full heart, and not just bag o’crap favors.

She planned some acts and allowed the day to present opportunities as she went along.  Kindness ranged from loading groceries for shoppers, bringing in a neighbor’s garbage cans, taping change and a note stating “Free Drink!” on vending machines, buying a store gift card then handing it to the person behind her in line! For the full rundown of 38 acts click: http://www.thebdayproject.com/the-original-38-random-acts-of-birthday-kindess-post.html

A small effort can yield a wide-spread difference!

As her site points out, you share your birthday with 19 million people in this world. Think of the positive shift that would occur if a fraction of those people did just one action!  Acts multiply exponentially as people tend to continue paying it forward.  I have heard of two coffee shops overflowing with generosity.  One is a drive-thru chain started when 1 person paid for the car behind them and that chain has remained unbroken for years. One is a coffee shop where an donor left $100 to pay for other people’s coffee and still returns regularly to donate to warm someone’s heart and brighten their day.

I am compiling my birthday list but hate to wait!  Choose to celebrate your anniversary, your Merry Unbirthday or just because! I am going to celebrate MLK Day by doing acts with my kids. Just because school’s out doesn’t mean they can’t learn something.  Do one random act this weekend and share it with us!

Read about The Birthday Project at: www.TheBdayProject.com

While special attention is not what motivates folks to give back, high fives are always appreciated.  To bring anyone or any organization to my attention to possibly be featured in Pay It Forward Fridays, please email: makesmewander@gmail.com

Let’s make this world a little kinder.


After my divorce, I downsized our living space twice in 2 years and landed in what I hoped would be a temporary apartment with a garage holding the rubble of our lives.

Garage – a work in progress

Some were quick to label me a hoarder, but, I stand behind my common sense behind my nonsense:
A) I could make money: I worked at a company that yielded piles of collectables.  With feverish fanatics trolling Ebay for such goods, I “knew” that I had a goldmine.

B) My situation was temporary: Why get rid of lawn chairs when soon I will have a home that I love needing to be furnished?

C) I wanted my kids’ lives intact:  I wanted to preserve their comfort zone, in their room amongst their toys, while their lives swirled.

D) I didn’t want my dreams nickel and dimed:  Although my dream for how I’d imagined my family changed, I wasn’t ready to let go of it in a garage sale.

So, I parted with easy stuff, bought to “pretty up our home” to sell it.  Originally, I enjoyed the parting gifts, but they didn’t feel right.  While fundraising for a cause, I held garage sales and hoped my goldmine would get me to my goal!  It didn’t, but I discovered that my neighbors treasured these gems! I have since given them more collectable delights.

Along the way, we’ve grown roots.  I still don’t love my apartment, but it’s almost the only home my children remember and I value how much that memory means to them. We’ve grown comfortable in the community, we love our neighbors, and we are building piles of memories.

Now, with a moving sale and a new year creating urgency, I am again in my garage.  We are not moving, our neighbors are. As I go through boxes uncovering unused things, I realize that we have thrived without them. I also see a family, setting up a new life, whose baby may love these things. I understand that these are just things. Now their value is based on how much richer our lives are by contributing to others’ joy. The bonus – we are no longer anchored in the past by things!

Ain’t it the truth?

Share your story & you may reach the one person who needed to hear it most.


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