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Inspiring Teen Refuses To Let Her Dreams Go Up In Smoke

11 Mar
Joy Graves, in her firefighting gear.

Joy Graves, in her firefighting gear.

The girl beneath the helmet...

The girl beneath the helmet…

When you ask most young girls what they want to be when they grow up, you might expect to hear things like “An actress”, “A Veterinarian”, maybe even “The President”.  If you ask Joy Graves, a 19-year-old from a small, rural county outside Williamsburg, Virginia what she wants to be when she grows up, you just might be surprised when you hear the answer.

At 5’2″, her petite frame appears more suited to pom poms than a fire hose, but the young Ms. Graves is a testament to the old adage ‘Never judge a book by its cover’, because her dream is to become Continue reading

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Intent: The Hidden Power of Speech

21 Sep

Last night, I posted my first YouTube video, and while I was hoping to share a relaxation technique with others that I find useful, I also learned a lesson from it myself.

In the video, there’s background music, but for the first six minutes or so, I’m talking.  First, I’m explaining the process, then I’m guiding the listener through it.  While listening to it post-production, I noticed a jarring difference between my voice (and its effect) when I switched from ‘instructing’ mode into ‘guiding’ mode.

While (in my opinion) my voice isn’t abrasive in the first half, when my tone changes for the second half, the difference is undeniable, and it made me realize just how much the ‘intent’ behind our words impacts what we say; that even when there’s nothing necessarily ‘wrong’ with our tone of voice, a simple change of intent has the power to transform our words and, potentially, all of our relationships that involve speech. Continue reading

Point Me In The Right Direction?

17 Aug

Hi, guys.  I’m sorry to put this out here on you, but I really don’t know where else to turn.

As you see, I just posted about my art and my decision to donate 25% of my proceeds to charity/acts of kindness.  What I need your help with (in the form of suggestions, tips, pointers, etc.) is how to get people interested enough in my artwork to want to purchase it?

I figured already that I would need to have matted (at the minimum) copies of several pieces to show prospective buyers, but what else can/should I be doing to help generate more sales?  My town doesn’t really have a lot of festivals and things where starving, unknown artists can set up a table and peddle their wares (or if they do, they’ve kept the secret really well!)  I already plan to create a website, also, as soon as I (again!) make enough sales to cover the cost of a domain name and the services of a website designer.

So how about it?  Anyone have any ideas on how to help me generate sales?

Acts of Kindness – The Forgotten

13 Aug
Random Thoughts of Kindness Barnstar

Random Thoughts of Kindness Barnstar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is going to be a really quick one, as I let time slip away from me and I’m falling asleep at the wheel.  Well, keyboard to be precise.

These last few days I’ve been posting about Acts of Kindness.  Today I’d like to mention a sub-chapter of this that I haven’t really touched on so far.  Acts of Kindness toward ourselves.

Most of us speak to and treat ourselves worse than we would ever treat anyone else on the planet.  We deprive ourselves of sleep and good nutrition.  We talk to and about ourselves like we were the lowest of the low, usually holding ourselves to standards that would be unthinkable in regard to any other person on the planet.  We curse ourselves for not knowing things we couldn’t possibly have known, hold grudges against ourselves for things we couldn’t have possibly prevented or known the outcome of and eternally carry resentment for the slightest mistakes.

Today, I’d like to challenge you all to take a moment and commit an Act of Kindness toward yourself, with the true spirit of kindness.

Here’s a little list to get you started: Continue reading

Bring Random Acts of Kindness Home

12 Aug
The Great Kindness Challenge Logo

The Great Kindness Challenge Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We often forget that Random Acts of Kindness are not limited to strangers. While yes, it is always a good feeling (as the giver or recipient) for one stranger to help another, we should not forget that those we know are often the ones most in need of AoK from us, specifically.

The old saying ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ is true in the fact that we often tend to take for granted those that are closest to us.  We come to expect to be treated a certain way, or have things done for us, or begin to forget to go the extra mile because we don’t need to ‘make nice’ to those who are around us all the time.

Sometimes it means the most to those we’ve personally neglected, or those who have always taken care of us.  These people can include our parents, our children, our spouses, and our closest friends.

A perfect example of this is the A.o.K. that my Love committed that I shared in this post.  If anyone else had done this for me, yes, I would have appreciated it.  I would have been grateful, said thank you, and had a smile on my face all day, but it wouldn’t have been able to compare to the joy and happiness I felt by that unexpected and yes, random, act of thoughtfulness coming from the man I adore.  Nothing could have compared. Continue reading

The Sentence For Committing Acts of Kindness? Good Karma

11 Aug
kindness lane

kindness lane (Photo credit: sensesmaybenumbed)

Kindness is one of the few things that rarely happen accidentally.  Being unintentionally nice to someone else just isn’t one of those things that occur.  Sure, sometimes you’re driving a little slow and some yahoo pulls out in front of you, then waves like you’ve just done him a favor, or you stop to give one last check down your grocery list and some woman dashes into the line you were aiming for then turns and says thank you but, in general, kindness is a deliberate, intentional act that we make a conscious effort to perform.

UN-kindness, on the other hand, is often performed unconsciously.  Many times we are rude, hurtful, and inconsiderate without even registering that it has occurred.  The woman walking into Macy’s in front of you didn’t deliberately shut the door in your face, it just didn’t occur to her to hold it open for you.  That guy on the freeway didn’t deliberately block you from merging into traffic, it never occurred to him to let you over in the first place.

So often, and I am guilty of this myself, we instantaneously assume that the other person is deliberately being inconsiderate but, more often than not, that’s not the case at all.  As technology has increased, so has our level of self-containment.  As everything around us speeds up, our ability to keep up has decreased, forcing our attention to the next appointment, the next errand, the next thing that has to get done, leaving little room in our thoughts for the here and now, which includes the people who are in that here and now with us.  We’ve stopped seeing people as neighbors, and started seeing them as obstacles, slowing us down in the sojourn from point A to point B. Continue reading

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