Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lessons in Names

Brought to you by The Cheesecake Factory.

Her name is Arden.  Did you know that?  And did you know she has a really cool job and the dress she wore yesterday was this beautiful fitted black thing, the kind you wear when you want to act like you don't want people to look at you but you really want them to look at you.

I didn't know any of that.

Her name is Arden.  And for all intents and purposes, she hated me.  Every encounter we had at one of my events was negative.  I was always asking her to leave the jacuzzi since we still had to tear down an event or take her alcohol outside because our caterer does not permit outside alcohol.  She used to just roll her eyes and walk away and then, one day, recently she stared at me with what could only be described as hatred.  I looked at her and said, "You really don't like me, do you?"  It's a rare thing for a person not to like me. 

Annoyed?  Sure.  Exhausted?  Of course.  Needing a break or vacation from All Things Cole?  Definitely. But not like?  That stings in ways that get to the heart.  I'm someone people like.  I'm a person to know.  Not in a fancy papparazi block my eyes from the cameras way but in a knowing way.

My birthday came around and the whole Cole's 38 Mitzvah Project thing started and Arden stayed on my mind.  Truthfully, I couldn't get her off my mind during this whole project.  I'm not okay with people being at odds with me, especially when my hearts intent, it's song is to love on people.  I kept trying to think of a way to talk to her but didn't know how or what to do. 

It happened.  As naturally as if it was ordained.  I was sitting in my office and looking at a gift card my family gave me and Arden walked by which she never does.  I asked her to come into my office.  The first thing I did was:

1. Ask her name.  How many people do we interact with and don't even take the time to know them by name?
2. Apologized for not knowing her name and for not getting to know her. She only knew me as the "rules" woman and not the woman.
3. Told her a little about me.  Engagement goes two ways.  If you want someone to let you in, you've got to let them in, too.
4. Ask forgiveness.  For being all about work and not about people.  For not doing this sooner. 
5. Gave.  I gave her the gift card and asked her to please have lunch on me. 

This sweet girl who had so much anger towards me...melted.  Literally melted.  Her shoulders dropped.  Her countenance shifted.  Her voice went from aggressive to soft and sweet.  She realized I was human and she realized I knew she was one, too.

There are a million reasons why our first reaction is anger or hurt or aggression and it takes time to sort through that, sure.  But when, if, you have the chance to push through to the side of love, I challenge you to do it.  You might get eye rolls or the silent treatment.  Or you might find an Arden with a soft, soft heart waiting for someone to find it.

Much love to you this early Summer day,

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cole's 38 Mitzvah Project: Turned 40!

Brought to you by....you and your brilliant levels of generosity.

The Project continues through the weekend.  Here's the link if you want to read more and participate Cole's 38 Mitzvah Project

Here's what you had to say:
  1. Took an extra day for a coworker that had to leave early.
  2. Paid for a slurpee the kid behind me in line was going to buy.
  3. I paid for the guy behind me at the drive thru at McDonald's the other day.  (don't judge it's my once a week brekky treat)  Brekky being Aussie...we went international, baby!
  4. Donated a car.
  5. Head of security for a company that is generally mean decided to be nice for one day.  Only one.
  6. I forgave a friend who said really hurtful things to me when intoxicated one night.
  7. I'm making a meal for my friend who just had a baby.
  8. I'm bringing soup and movies to my friend who is bedridden after surgery.
  9. I'm making several meals-to-freeze for a friend who is having a baby tomorrow, as well as going over there to do chores next weekend.
  10. I'm helping out a teacher friend who is switching classrooms - so much stuff to move in a short amount of time.
  11. I bought groceries for a family in need.
  12. Making dinner for my sisters family tonight.
  13. Helped a lost little boy.
  14. Bought a special set of cookie cutters that a family really wanted but couldn't afford and shipped to them.
  15. Purchased a significant item for someone to start their business.
  16. Let Cole go without a ticket since it was her birthday: Newport Beach Police Department.  (My new favorite police department...this week anyway)
  17. I decided some money I had set aside was better spent on someone else's need.  So I decided to help that person.
  18. I did something for someone unto you (and Jesus) today..and think the dude was blown away.  Thanks for the idea!
  19. I gifted in honor of you today.
  20. Handing out lottery tickets randomly today. Happy birthday weekend to @PreMiddleAge for suggesting random acts of kindness. :)
  21. Let someone cut in line after waiting 30 minutes which meant I would wait another 30 minutes.
  22. Bought breakfast for someone and didn't wait for a thank you.
  23. My mitzvah in your honor - I donated $5 in your name to Skip1.org. I skipped a latte for you and donated that money to help underprivileged children in a 3rd world country.
  24. Happy Birthday!!! I did cover a coffee for an older gent behind me today at Bucks.  May your evening be wonder-filled and janky-free.
  25. Happy Birthday Cousin! Bought the men at the hockey game water in your honor. They're grown ups now so they don't have their mommies reminding them to bring their water bottles. Hope you have had a great day!
  26. We brought cookies to a friend who is home on maternity bedrest.
  27. I gave money anonymously to a guy who lost his home in a flood here in Texas last week.
  28. I bought my sister a refrigerator.
  29. I give Gatorade to homeless people.
  30. I gave money to a kid going overseas as a missionary.
  31. I donated to a charity bike ride by driving my truck doing SAG support for a bike ride instead of participating in order to give back to the cycling community that I have enjoyed.
  32. I volunteered at a Women's triathlon (which I admittedly considered a form of speed-dating). (27-32 all being the same gent.  sexy, huh?)
  33. Tonight at (a) restaurant I paid for everyone's dinner in honor of your 38 Mitzvahs.
  34. A tired mom at target forgot to pay for the wipes in the bottom of her cart.  I added them to my order.  She hugged me saying, "No one is kind!"  That is both the sweetest and saddest thing to hear someone say.
  35. Bought lunch for three women that, for various reasons, couldn't be with their dads on Father's Day.
  36. Bought a Sprinkles cupcake for a lady in line who was about to meltdown from the wait.  She proceeded to tell me how she helps "The Mexicans", not realizing "A Mexican" bought her an effin cupcake.
  37. Someone liked my necklace and I told them to stop by my house and pick up the other one I bought.  Someone else liked it, too, so we went to the store and bought another one. 
  38. Gave a grip of drinks to a family sitting at the beach that didn't have any. 
  39. Gave a gift card to a woman that couldn't stand me.
  40. I forgave my ex-husband for being himself. This was a real milestone that I have been working on for years. your note reminded me that forgiveness is Not a Feeling, it is a Choice. Thanks Cole.
Beautiful ways you have shown love to people. 

Much love from a very warmed birthday almost forty year old but not quite forty year old heart,

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

38 Mitzvahs: Cole's Birthday Project

Brought to you by the numbers: 1, 16, 37 15/16 and almost forty!

It’s that time. That time when I turn another year closer to middle age but remain pre middle age. There are more wrinkles. More lessons. More bruises. Certainly more age spots. And for those of you that attempt to call them freckles, they aren’t. They are the same ones my Mamma had. Admit it.

I love it all because it means I’ve another year under my belt in being humbled and humiliated and humored. Another year of lessons and love and life. Another year of learning and listening. Another year of setting down stones instead of throwing them.

Growing up sucks sometimes but if it means when I’m 83 I’ll finally be nice and graceful and kind and perhaps a bit wise, well, then, what the hell…I’m in.

Rather than getting presents, I’m requesting and challenging you to perform ONE MITZVAH, one act of kindness, by June 16 in honor of my birthday. My goal is for 38 acts of kindness to be performed. Really, I’m hoping for many more but I like themes. (I’m an event planner.)

Some things people did last year for our project:
Bought a homeless woman breakfast. Put an extra special snack in their kids lunch. Babysat for a couple so they could go out. Gave money to a charity. Bought coffee at Starbucks for strangers. Paid an elderly couples dinner tab anonymously. Forgave. Asked forgiveness.

Join me? Forward this link to your friends? Giving everyday is beautiful but if you’d give for my birthday that would really bless me and bless someone else and probably bless you, too.  Share and we’ll post what happens from Twitter, My Blog and Facebook.

Much love from an almost forty year old
(37 15/16 sounds so much better),
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