Awhile back I received a crowdfunding campaign message about a 2 cd album being created in support of Postcards For Peace. They are a group I’ve heard about before, I think they do really wonderful work so I checked it out and decided to contribute a little bit. That little bit got me the gift of  the cd and a postcard.

They arrived yesterday by post as promised, with a simple Thank You hand written on the flap of the envelope.

It came, as with most things really,  perfect timing. What better way to wind down the last few days of 2016, certainly in truth not my favourite year overall, and begin what I believe will be a phenomenally amazing 2017. How am I going to do that? By I’m holding onto a world of hope every minute of every day.

As I write I’m sitting here listening to We’ve Got It All by Peter James Millson and now Fiddle or a Gun by Oysterband just came on. The album is a beautiful complication of a somewhat eclectic group of artists coming together for peace. I like that idea. Breeze Redwine brought me to tears with her beautiful piece Courage. I can tell that as I listen to these beautiful heartfelt pieces, each will find a way to uniquely entwine themselves into my heart. There’s something about the cover art that just makes me want to smile and find a park to sit in for awhile. Maybe even write a post card or two… with a message for peace.

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Check it out at Postcards For Peace shopping page:

“In support of international charity Postcards For Peace, whose goal is to end discrimination and violence through education, twenty six incredible musicians have contributed songs to create a truly beautiful album.

The title, A World of Hope, comes from the lyrics to Jo Hamilton’s ‘There It Is’ (one of the first tracks contributed to the project) and it is a fitting name for an album that features 26 songs of war and peace, of hope and of love, of living life to the full, of not giving up and of having the courage to face adversity.

It includes acts that have truly earned the right to be called legends, Grammy award nominees, multiple BBC Folk Award winners, acts that have enjoyed chart success and artists that spend their lives travelling the world to get their music heard. From octogenarian Peggy Seeger to teenager Breeze Redwine, every single one of the artists has donated a track to this album because they want to help build a world in which people care for other human beings without discrimination, prejudice, violence and hate.”

Happy New Year everyone. We wish each and every one of you a most amazing 2017. No matter what it holds, or even what it doesn’t hold make it great because you can. See the beauty, live the kindness, be the change and most importantly – simply be you. Because you are truly amazing. Even if sometimes you don’t see it in yourself. Unique and human, each and every one of us and there is nothing more amazing, magical and miraculous than that. Be Flawsome embrace your flaw – know you are awesome no in spite of them, but because off them – today and everyday.

You Matter – Hope – Today and Everyday

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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As 2016 winds down I thought I’d share a story that warmed my heart as a mother and as a human being. Sometimes our kids just do that.

My son works at a hardware store and one of the things he does is cut keys and rekey locks.  The old keys get thrown in a discard bin. So one day when a woman came in requesting to buy new keys for a craft project my son offered to give her an ample supply of discarded keys free of charge.

…And being the typical 19 year old he thought absolutely no more of it.

The next day the same woman arrived back at the store seeking him out. She had a thank you gift for him, a necklace. The key was now stamped with the word HOPE  and an accompanying tag stamped YOU MATTER.

She was on a mission to spread an important message – there is hope and we all matter – every one of us. No matter our past, our present or our future – we all matter. And there is always hope.

My son was fairly blasé about the whole affair.  He came home and shared the story with a somewhat puzzled look on his face. He said he really didn’t understand why she felt the need to thank him (sigh) and while the idea was sorta neat, he didn’t really  think he’d ever wear it. And then this look dawned upon his face and he turned to me. “Mom, this is more like something you’d like…” I graciously accepted the pay it forward gift with a very big smile.

I’m far from perfect, I have to embrace my “flawsome” every single day. Somedays there seems to be more flaw than awesome, but I embrace my humanness as best I can always. Because, after all, that is what I am, human – designed, created or a fluke of nature – unique and human is all I can guarantee. And I always keep a smidgeon of hope tucked away for those days where I’ve misplaced all the rest.

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Today, I pulled the necklace out again, knowing that I would finally take a few minutes to sit down to tell the story.  My daughter noted it with an air of admiration and interest.  She knows sometimes we need to be reminded we matter and there is hope. Some of the best reminders are a little rough around the edges.

With the Pentatonix “Hallelujah” playing in the background my eyes are searching for a place where this necklace can be constant reminder of this oh so important message that strangely, so many forget at this time of year of celebration. I realized today that this necklace isn’t really mine, it’s meant for anyone who needs a little extra reminder that YOU MATTER and that there is most certainly HOPE. So like the other sets of keys in this house, it will hang accessible to anyone who may need use of it at any given moment.

Don’t ever forget….

YOU MATTER

and there is

HOPE

I promise

Don’t ever forget….

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I am honoured to be a blogger as part of the Life Vest Inside organization founded by Orly Wahba. In short, we’re all about changing the world through living the kindness life style. This month I was fortunate enough to get a little more hands on experience putting together the monthly newsletter, The Kindness Flash with Orly and my fellow blog guru Soumya.

Unforeseen circumstances had each of us stepping a little further outside our comfort zone than usual, but minutes into our brainstorming session our confidence in our ability to pull it all together grew. During those first moments of our discussion it seemed obvious our theme for December 2016 would be Humility.

I’ve always liked the way CS Lewis defined humility as “not thinking less of oneself, but of thinking of oneself less.”

We found people had their own wonderful ways of describing the quality of humility, like Rodrigo Barbosa.

For me, humility is understanding that other people are just as much “people” as you are. That the fact that you are better than them at something only makes you better than them at something, not a better person. ~Rodrigo Barbosa

We didn’t have to look far to find stories about humility either. In November LVI held the 5th annual World Wide Dance For Kindness. One of my fellow LVI ambassadors and good friend, Jeff Kuske helped organize and danced with a group this year. I think every group has their own special story and Jeff shared theirs with Orly recently.

Jeff works with men suffering from various forms of addiction, but his ability to see beyond the addiction, to see the person, paved the way for a little love, a little kindness, a little laughter, and a whole lotta dancing.

Jeff says, “DFK2016 allowed these men to participate in an event that was bigger than themselves. It gave them the opportunity to do something for others, all of them strangers.” 

A couple of months ago I never would have cared about something like this. Thank you for showing me that I can make a positive difference in the world.  – New Beginning participant DFK2016

Read the entire letter here.

I would describe humility as helping wherever, however and whenever I can, knowing that helping others is really helping myself. We all grow and bloom

What does humility mean to you?

Check out the full 9th edition of The Kindness Flash here for all the great sections including The Kind Connection, Everyday Kindness, and more.

 

Interested in learning more about Dance For Kindness check out the promotional video for 2016

 

or the 2015 Dance For Kindness Montage

 

and the video that started it all way back in 2011 that now has over 25 million views

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I’m one of “those” people who tries to live by the philosophy that if you find your passion and live it you will always be engaged. If you haven’t found your passion, then ensure you live your current life with passion because I think it’s a sure way to run head long into your ultimate passion (or hey, why stop there, let’s go all the way and say passions!)

I seem to run into a lot of people (happens when I’m seeking my passion and/or living passionately) who have defined passion in big grandiose terms. They think their passion has to make big money, have loud impacts, be colourful.

screen capture from KSL High 5 segment


The good thing about being  on this earth plane as long as I have,  I’ve learned a lot and am capable of learning a whole lot more. One of those cool things I’ve learned is that passion is nothing more than that… passion.  It’s the passion itself that is larger than life. What we’re passionate about can be very small, very quiet, subtle hardly noticeable. But when we do anything with a true passion, the differences that are made are really, really big.

How many people would consider being a McDonald’s employee at a drive thru window something to be passionate about, let alone a position that makes much difference in others lives. Let’s face it, how many times have you gone through a drive thru and thought any more about it other than did they get the order right, did they remember straws and most importantly is the right toy in the bag to prevent a meltdown in the back seat?

This week, I was fortunate enough have this wonderful story cross my path that, in my opinion, shows what a little passion can do, even in at a McDonald’s Drive Thru.

“Rick is just a ray of sunshine in our lives.”

Shara Park from KSL News did a High 5 segment on Rick, a McDonald’s employee experiencing some health challenges.  When the community discovered his plight they were more than willing to show him what a difference he makes to them each time they go through his lane.

photo screen capture from KLS High 5 segment

But what makes Rick special? In my opinion, it’s all about the love and passion he brings to his job. His daily interactions with people, giving them their fast food grub – just doing his thing his way, with quiet passion. The results of bringing his passion to his job, brought him more joy than any “big” thing probably ever could.

It’s not about being passionate about something great.  It’s about making things great by being passionate.

Think about it: Passion, Perspective, Possibilities. What are you going to CHOOSE to bring your PASSION to today?

 

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Life is filled with things that seem to make no sense yet somehow the dance is beautiful anyway and in the end, maybe there is simply one truth. A fantastic read by such an eloquent writer.

 

Everything and Life

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I think that most of my life has been a war, a really strange war.
A war between wanting to love beyond reason (and realizing that I actually can’t love people who don’t give me some form of love in return) and wanting to give up on people who don’t treat me right (but in turn realizing that I can’t ever stop loving people I once loved).
This, to me, makes no sense!
I mean, it looks like I actually somehow do both these contradictory things. If only I could mix and match my internal responses to them, maybe I could lead a slightly less confused life.
So if you’ve been reading me for a while now and seem confused, don’t worry. We are completely 100% on the same page.
I once told a boy that I would love him forever, but then years later he told me in response…

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Transformation, growth, life. Make up your mind. Make your choice. Be unstoppable. (spoiler alert: you already are! just own it for a change)

Tranquil Lives

When you drive down the highway, you can’t help but notice that there is an imposed speed limit.

When you want to purchase a home, the bank imposes a credit limit.

It doesn’t matter where you turn, there are limits.

Limits to how much you should eat.

Limits to how many days off you can take from work.

And of course, the limits imposed on ourselves by us?

Do you frequently sit back and think about what is happening in your life, what you are doing, where you are going? Or why you are where you are? I’m sure you do. That is something most of us do, occasionally at best, on a regular basis.

Did you ever consider that you deserve to be happier than what you are or get better out of whatever you desire? When you are mentally reflecting on your way of living, do you get the…

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It is always the right time for some feel good stories that remind us of the goodness in life and in people. Because even though we may be brought to doubt on occasion, it really is there. So here’s a little dose of feel good news to add some shine and pizazz to your day.

The School Bus Ride

The other day my teenage daughter came in full of smiles. She’d taken the school bus that day. She almost always comes home with a story to tell, most often it’s about one of the ‘little kids’ who sit at the front of the bus. They always seem in awe of her. When I send her off in the morning I notice their little heads peering out the window watching her, fingers grasping the edge of the window.  As the bus pulls away I see their heads turn as she walks past them to the back where the ‘big kids’ sit.

Unlike most of the big kids, my daughter usually takes a moment to acknowledge her little admirers. And it makes them virtually glow to be noticed by a big kid in a kind way on a regular basis. So the other day, one of the little girls shyly handed my daughter a coloured picture she’d done at school that day. My daughter admired it and when she tried to return it the little girl indicated she was to keep it. It was a gift!

My daughter came in absolutely thrilled, her eyes were shining and she couldn’t stop talking about how sweet everything about the experience was. In no time she had me as excited as she was and I hadn’t even gotten anything.  Well, I guess I did. I was fortunate enough to be able to share in her excitement and it truly was contagious (seriously, try it sometime).

A few days later the little girl was brave enough to finally introduce herself and proceeded to gift 3 precious gemstones. How cool is that. The picture and gemstones are on proud display and I have to admit, every time I see them, I can’t help but smile just a little.

Pulled Over

A friend shared a story with me the other day about driving home in the freezing rain. One of the hazards we often experience this time of year.  She had pulled over to the side of the road so she could take a call. Just then another car pulled up. The kind occupants wanted to make sure that she was alright and not in need of assistance.

It’s nice to know that there are people who look out for one another and exemplify the kindness lifestyle everyday.

 

What Happened to You Today?

Don’t miss the opportunity to recognize those tiny moments of kindness and goodness that happen to you today. Life has shown me even on my worst days if I allow myself to be open to seeing those tiny moments, I do. And once I see one or two, usually, I start to see more. And in that case, more is definitely better than less.

Go on, I dare you. Be open and start collecting those magical little moments and let your smile shine. You might just find it’s contagious too.

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Originally posted on Kindness Blog: Words have meaning, and they possess the power to change the world. They can inspire us to do amazing things, or to commit the most horrible acts. It’s up to everyone to understand they are responsible for wielding that awesome power. Because words cut the deepest, and yet leave no marks, they…

via These Shocking Photos Show The Scars You Can’t Normally See. And They’re Horrifying. — Kindness Blog

 

Absolutely amazing blog. Word Power. Never underestimate it. Wield your power kindly and wisely. Lives are in the balance.

 

To anyone ready to give up today I have one huge favour to ask.

 

Please don’t 

Don’t give up
Don’t be alone
Don’t hide it
Don’t feel ashamed
Don’t believe your negative thoughts or pretend

 

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Please

Do keep going
Do ask for help (as many times as it takes!)
Do be open
Do accept where you are, but be willing to change it
Do know it will get better and so will you

 

 

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We care

 

Life has plenty of challenges and it’s easy to find ourselves in overwhelming circumstances feeling alone and unworthy, not knowing where to turn. It can happen to anyone at anytime. But there is ALWAYS hope. Whether today is a day you find yourself short on hope, or with a little extra to share, check out Project Hope Exchange. It’s a unique project that enables people to share hope. Give a little, get a lot.

Think you’re alone? Think again.

 

Give hope. Get hope. All in 30 seconds! What if we could do just that and start spreading hope around the world? We at The Adversity 2 Advocacy Allianceand Life Vest Inside believe we CAN, and we’re thrilled to be partnering to offer you this unique and powerful opportunity. Through Project Hope Exchange, we are collecting, aggregating and sharing 30-second audio messages fromindividuals who have survived some kind of adversity to others who are currently facing that same adversity. And at the heart of our exchange are real human voices. We hope you’ll add yours! (from the PHE website)

 

A closing thought.

Often we are consumed by “what if’s”, all the things that we worry and overthink about.

Today…

what if…

everything you’re going through right now 

is preparing you…

for a dream bigger than 

you can imagine…..

What if……

Just maybe…

Maybe so…

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Loved this piece. Definitely The Light

Marwan's blog

Up! From my knees i rise,

Behold!

A sight so bright, the most burden heart could experience peace.

Penetrating the darkness

With it soft and tranquil beams,

Garnished with rays of hope

And new dreams.

Alas!

My restless soul has found peace.

For the dark road, the treacherous one

Has reached its revelation

My troubled days are no more,

I have been reborn anew

As new as a spring upon a mountain.

Once again, i stand tall

Stronger!

A collection of my own experience

Looking at the mirror,

I see a total stranger

Who?

A new me, mirroring back

To the man i thought i was

Impressed!

I fell in love with my pain,

Not the feeling of it

But the way it built me

A stronger me, it has molded

An improved version,​

A better me!

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