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Month: January 2011 (page 1 of 2)

smiling mindfully

“A smile is the beginning of peace.”

Driving the other day I saw this saying on a sign of a local roofing company that always posts different quotes/sayings. I thought this to be a serendipitous sighting that fit nicely with my life lately. Many of the books that I’ve picked up to read recently focus on mediation and mindfulness, and many of the exercises within these books incorporate the act of smiling.

“A smile is the
beginning of peace.”

IIt is amazing how this act of a simple smile can help bring a sense of peacefulness inside yourself. I have found this especially useful when life’s stresses start seeping in or when my passionate and very spirited seven-year-old challenges me (yes, I’m trying to be positive here). FYI–this also works for situations with other individuals you may come across, such as judgmental, nay-sayer adults. While it is not always easy to “put on a happy face,” I have found that just breathing and thinking of this word “smile” can start a domino effect that brings you back to being more present and mindful, along with filling you with a positive sensation inside.

Try it. Stop. Take a breath in and as you exhale say to yourself the word “smile.” When you think of this word you find that the corners of your lips start moving upward and a smile slowly emerges on your face, and that your face, your muscles, and all your insides just start feeling soft and relaxed and, well, peaceful. It feels good.


earth scouts: saving soles, saving lives

During December our Earth Scouts group participated in a service project of collecting shoes for Share Your Soles. You might think–why shoes? To be honest, I never really thought about the importance of shoes, but after learning more about this organization and exploring this issue, I now see how very valuable shoes can be–sometimes even life-saving. Share Your Soles is a local, non-profit organization that was started up by one woman after a trip to Central America where she saw many children without shoes and learned about the issues that arise because of the lack of shoes. Here’s a short video that sheds some light onto the situation:

At our meeting in December the kids decorated a big drop box to be left at the library where we meet, and then went out and left notes and bags at area houses asking for new and gently used shoe donations to be brought in. It was wonderful to see how eager the kids were to deliver the notes to the neighbors and arrange the shoe drive. [singlepic=847,275,275] Earth Scouts canvas the neighborhoodIn addition to leaving notes for area residents, the kids also collected shoes from their family, friends, and their own homes.

I have to admit I was a bit nervous coming back to the library to see how many shoes would be in the drop box (this probably stemmed from the fact that when we did a food drive a few months back in our own neighborhood we only received food from 10% of the houses that we left notes at). But, when we arrived in the lobby of the library, I was happily surprised to find that the drop box was filled to the rim with shoes. [singlepic=848,275,275] Shoes save lives!It was awesome to see, and even more awesome was hearing my son express such gratitude for all the shoes!

This full box, along with all the shoes that the kids brought in from home resulted in a huge pile of shoes–so many shoes that we needed two cars to take them home from the library! I was so proud of all the hard work the kids did. And it was wonderful to see how happy and proud the kids were of themselves, knowing that they were making a big difference in the lives of many people.

snowshoeing in big bay

Today we all headed up towards Big Bay to check out a 40 acre square we’ve got our eye on. When our realtor told us we’d need snowshoes to see it, we decided to make a day of it. So, after a quick breakfast, we battled the crazy lake effect snow and drove northwest–very slowly at times with limited visibility. Once we located the parcel and scooted the Jeep gently into a snowbank, we donned the snowshoes and took to the woods. Chris snapped a few photos to commemorate the fun. (Keep in mind we are all snowshoe virgins.)

We had a good time of it, made it out of the woods before dark in time for dinner and some time by the pool. But we’re still not sure if this is the parcel for us. We’ll keep looking over the next few days–and doing some more snowshoeing along the way, of course.

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