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

RED STARBUCKS CUP (inspired by Toby Keith)



Inspired by Toby Keith’s

“Red Solo Cup”


Now Red Starbucks cup is the best receptacle

To fuel me through work-days, ball games and festivals

And their coffee is strong but some say they lack testicles

To Decorate Merry Christmas


Hey Red Starbucks cup is trash, inexpensive

In all my years, ain’t seen folks so offended

And unlike most gripes it’s something NOT printed

Folks seein’ red ‘bout missing holidays



Red Starbucks cup, I fill you up

Order a grande, why not a venti?!

I love you Red Starbucks cup, I lift you up

Why’re they so whiney? Had too much caffeine!


Now I’m cracking up how you’re taking a stand

But I don’t relate, these’re First world problems, man

Cause you’re pouring your passion into the wrong plan

Am I wrong, it’s just a cup


But the “Merry Christmas” name campaign ain’t that hard-hittin’

All’s lost anyway when barista fouls the name written

On you with a Sharpie when they get real busy

Take a sip, steamed milk hit… relax




Now I’ve seen you in white and I’ve seen you in green

But only you, Red, will do for this coffee queen

Cause you are the palette on which I scribble scenes

To bring the real warmth of the holiday


Red Starbucks cup, your season won’t last, it’s

More than a color, you’re contents – fantastic!

And believe me that I’m not the least bit sarcastic

When I look at you and pray:

“Red Starbucks cup, you’re not just Winter (No, no, God no)

Stay all year, yea (Year-long)

Thank you for bringing me cheer”






I couldn’t help it, I had this rolling around in my head since the issue started simmering in the press.  Now it’s hit a boiling point with politicians chiming in and competitors taking the chance to do it better.  Without pointing out the obvious – if this is ruining your hoilday, the cup ain’t the problem.  Ellen said it best with a hand-crafted dose of holiday humor.

For real holiday cheer, buy someone who’s not expecting it a warm Starbucks drink and see how THAT makes you feel! Warmer than a Quad Latte in winter!



Did you know that March 26th was Make Up Your Own Holiday Day?! Hallmark didn’t warn me! What a spectacular opportunity to name and define a best day ever!

My daughter immediately wanted to do “Free Day!” Perhaps this is her way of saying that she really needs an allowance. The first thing she’d stock up on are free Pokemon cards. She also wanted to celebrate with the wind blowing through her hair, riding her bike – for free!

My son wants 24 hours of Girl Scout cookies! He’d fuel his morning with a wholesome burst of peanut butter Tagalongs, add roughage with coconut-filled Samoas and finish with simply minty Thin Mints. For dairy, a serving of ice cream sprinkled with fresh cookies on top! I’d implement March 27th as Vegetable Day to counteract the sugar.

My holiday focuses on all children –a day to pay close attention to what they say, their challenges, what they want – not just from the toy section. One interaction might change a child’s life. Take them to college sporting events to build larger dreams! Take kids to Disneyland to show what’s possible with imagination! Introduce them to the arts in local museums, even coffee shops. Make them feel like they matter thereby administering large boosts to self-esteem. Don’t have a kid, get one – your family or friends would love your offer to babysit and you get an excuse to recapture childhood excitement!

My informal survey yielded inspiring responses to follow our fancy! Relish our mochas! Eat rainbow sherbet slowly focusing on the joy it brings us, not just the sweet-tooth satisfaction! Celebrate individual victories – especially milestones! There’s only one “First time” before it threatens to become ordinary. Celebrate each morning you wake up to make a difference in the world! Most important – celebrate YOU! It’s not selfish to treat yourself or spend the day alone getting in touch with your wants and needs and figuring out how to get back on track if you’ve strayed.

We say we’ll do this regularly, but the grind gets in the way. At least once a month pencil in Make Up Your Own Holiday and celebrate! It’s a fun excuse for some unadulterated fun!

Make a wish and share it with the world! Love it!
I’m considering equally as romantic options to balloons though…


I boldly committed to writing 365 words a day for 365 days, and leapt onto the page, typing enthusiastically until the screeching realization about 10 days into it, that 2012 actually has 366 days! Dang it!

I could write 366 words for 366 days, or write 366 words every 4th posting. Perhaps I should blaze through the first 365 days of the year and take New Year’s Eve off. Then it dawned on me that Leap Year threw me for a loop, so for Leap Year, I would leap into something new!

Grab my hand and let’s leap!

I cruised through the blogosphere enjoying the scenery and feeling for some inspiration and found it on Smile, kiddo. The blog introduced this 101 in 1001 project, shared their list and experiences. In a nutshell, the goal stands to complete 101 goals in 1001 days. Smile, kiddo referred to Day Zero Project for a pile of ideas and suggestions for one’s lists. The fact that it was called Day Zero meant that really, I could still call it 365 days of 365 words since a zero doesn’t count.  I’m a little OCD like that.  Even if you don’t do a list, it’s a fun site to browse to see what occupies other people’s wish lists.

It took longer than expected, but I finally compiled my list of 101 things:

I’ve always wanted to do but never made time for
I loved as a child and couldn’t wait to share with my own children
That made me sweat a little because they test my usual comfort zone
To allow me some time for introspection and growth
To allow me to connect with others That are completely random and wacky
That I’m leaving up to YOU! Leave a comment on the list page to suggest what you’d have me do and when we get a bunch, I’ll do a random drawing to pick out the activity!

I will indicate on the list as things are completed, or link to the blog posting about my experience.  I hope some of you will come along and consider making your own lists as well, and wander off with me for some exciting adventures!


For this Philanthropic Friday I am sharing the words of an amazing woman!  I went to high school with her, but have only recently really started getting to know her (that is the great gift of attending High School reunions, so attend yours!).

I never even know how much she was dealing with while we were just so worried about what boys liked us or not, was our clothes cool enough, our hair high enough…

This cause means a lot to her personally so check out her page to learn why she walks.


The summer of 1984 we moved from San Diego to a town that originally served as a stagecoach stop between San Diego and Los Angeles. Moving to this po-dunk dustbowl instantly set me into withdrawals for “big city” energy. That summer huge things squeezed my teenage heart: The Outsiders. Wham UK. and Ricky Martin joined Menudo. I forgave them for their Theme Park-esque costumes and feathered hair and instantly ranked Ricky as the cutest one in a Michael Jackson/Jackson 5 sort of way.

Menudo earned extra cuteness points with Ricky

I have always loved anything with a Spanish flair – architecture, clothing, food and music. The romance language set to music sounds so passionate. Even my ex-husband was Quarter Rican. Although being newly married, I dismissed Ricky mostly because I didn’t love his long hair or his soap opera – superficial, I know.

Then the 1998 Grammys audience’s and my hearts stopped when Ricky Martin shook his skin-tight black leather-covered bon bon (hips don’t lie!). Between his tight gray sweater and carrying himself bigger than the cup of life, he instantly won me, and the world, over! Having just started my new job at the record label that put out Ricky’s soap’s soundtrack and finding out that my exes’ aunt was a radio star in Puerto Rico I hoped for a breathtaking introduction some day! I figured on the tiny island, a star that big would glow and if I couldn’t find him myself, I’d follow the auntie who must be familia.

LOL! I think Madonna wanted them both – Mad Men!

For years the speculation about his sexual preference ticked me off. I don’t care what people do in their own lives and it’s not our business. When he’s on stage – he’s larger than life. His powerful message, generous spirit and incredible movements drew me in! I can’t help but dance and my mood improves upon hearing his music – even after the millionth time. I still haven’t met him but I can dream!

Tonight, I got distracted by two Sneak Peek videos for Glee: [one] [two]. I got sucked in by videos which led to iPod downloads. I even downloaded LMFAO’s Sexy and I Know It, which I dislike, because I LOVE his version! That’s the power of Glee productions and Ricky Martin!

Yes, please be my guardian angel!

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!


Field Trip Today!

Field Trips created the best school days – leaping outside the lines and learning by accident. At one job, we took a field trip to see their latest film at a public theatre – with popcorn!  I started another job when the taste of their outing to an exhibit, with lunch and an event Tshirt still lingered!

The Artist’s Way speaks to creative souls!

I love Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” books, especially one heralding Artist’s Dates. She encourages weekly sightseeing trips into our towns. While hers implies a solitary effort, the goals remain the same:

1)    Top off your tank, tap into creativity – Exposing your self to surrounding energy opens you to great gifts and experience to draw on.

2)    Catch a new buzz –Even textbook business strategy involves creativity applying it to your product. Leave the stale boardroom and breathe the benefit of fresh air. Exist for a while in the heart of your target audience.

3)    People that play together, work well together – Employers take note, a small gesture of a few free “stolen” workday hours treats employees in a huge way! I don’t mean leaving early, as most people return home to more “work.”

Coffee Shop Conference Room

I took a field trip to step away from lists, hear different conversations, lose myself in a latte and melted brie, and not wash dishes afterwards. My perspective shifted within 10 feet from the door.

A woman talked to the barista – whom she knew.  When he stepped away, she said hello to me and offered me the messenger bag on her shoulder to carry my laptop.  I gratefully declined explaining my month-long home purge. She commiserated with me saying that in her van, things get crowded for her and her bed, which she shares with her dog.  I chuckled saying no matter the size of our containers, we fill them.  The man returned with her ice bucket, she bid me a good evening and left.  As I ordered, I bought a gift card for the man to save for her next visit.  Rather than assume whether she needs help or not, I hope she, too, may treat herself to a meal, frothy drink and someone else to clean up.

Share your favorite field trips!


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.

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


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