Ever since I found out I was going to have a little girl, I’ve been beyond excited for the moment when she would learn to ride a bicycle. I clearly remember my dad racing behind me as I pedaled with all my might and all my courage, terrified that he would let go, yet giddy with the idea that I…
When we heard that the children of Sandy Hook Elementary would return to their new building in January surrounded by thousands of snowflakes made by people all over the world, we had to help. My daughter (who does not know about the shooting) and her friend spent much of the day making snowflakes. All she needs to know is that it her contribution will brighten the day of a child her age when they come back from winter break.
We’re sending a little love.
Here’s more on this sweet project: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/katelyn-darroweystad/post_4254_b_2339750.html
I’m the spokesperson for the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association. The thing that makes AARDA special is that it looks at all autoimmune diseases as a category of disease rather than a group of single diseases.
I’ve had many people in my life affected by autoimmune diseases and feel honored that I can raise awareness and research money on their behalf.
There is a Christmas tradition in my family and it involves cookies with frosting shaped like Santas and stars. My mom has been making these cookies since I was a year old! I’ve continued the tradition with my daughter. We make these and give them to neighbors. They are without a doubt my favorite cookie on the planet and they’re too good not to share!
Living in Southern California is pretty awesome in the winter. Even in January we can go for hikes in the mountains around here and not take much more than a sweatshirt. With all the noise of modern life, it’s essential to get out into nature and just turn off the world. I’ve been trying to teach my daughter how important the natural world is to our sanity and happiness. The Children’s Nature Institute has been an important part of that lesson.
“The Children’s Nature Institute (CNI) is dedicated to providing young children with the opportunity to explore the natural world through hands-on, educational experiences. We use nature as a tool for fostering creativity, discovery, independence, personal development and improved social and academic skills. Through our programs, including the award winning Outreach Discovery Program, Tykes on Trails Program, Kids Leading Kids, and Family Walks, CNI connects nature to the everyday lives of children by incorporating parents, grandparents, and teachers into the learning process.” - ChildrensNatureInstitute.org
Today for ExtremeGiving, I signed up at CNI as a volunteer. I will assist on future hikes, helping the kiddos learn about trees and bugs. Sounds like a blast!
If you have a baby, you need baby gear. Stocking up on that gear is one of the exciting parts of preparing for parenthood. But for a lot of families out there, buying it can be a financial hardship, and that’s where organizations like Baby2Baby come in.
When the founders of Baby2Baby, who are all moms, found themselves with more kid stuff than they knew what to do with, they decided to create an organization that would collect new and gently used baby and toddler gear to distribute to poor families around Los Angeles. Since 2006, Baby2Baby has been helping some of the over 130,000 poor families with children under the age of five.
For more information on Baby2Baby, visit Baby2Baby.org
Day 17 #ROMP4good Aviva Family & Children Services
Maggie and I spent the evening filling mason jars with markers, gems, little stars and small bottles of glue. A jar full of creative possibilities for the impoverished children helped by the Aviva Family and Children’s Services. Aviva is a non-profit social service organization with a mission to provide therapeutic and educational services to abused and neglected children and their families. This Los Angeles-based agency serves over 8,000 children and families..all of whom live below the federal poverty line.
While Maggie filled the jars with craft items, she decided that there was something missing. She asked me to write little messages on each jar, offering Maggie’s words of encouragement to the children—just to send a little love along with it.
I’m a treehugger. Trees make life in a city a lot sweeter.
TreePeople is a fantastic nonprofit that is dedicated to expanding the tree canopy thereby creating a sustainable future for Los Angeles. Their mission is to “inspire, engage, and support people to take personal responsibility for the urban environment, making it safe, healthy, fun and sustainable and to share the process as a model for the whole world (TreePeople.org).”
My daughter is going to grow up in this city, and it’s vitally important to me it be a healthy, beautiful and inspiring place to live. So today I dedicated three trees to a friend through TreePeople. Hopefully, I’ll raise my daughter to be a treehugger like her mama.
my daughter visited Children’s Hospital Los Angeles last year with a broken arm. I was overwhelmed by the care and attention she received—the same care and attention every child who walks through their doors receives, regardless of whether or not they have insurance. I’m grateful that this hospital exists and cares for so many who need it.
team ROMP donated a toy for a child at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. if you’d like to learn more, volunteer or make a donation, visit: http://www.chla.org/site/c.ipINKTOAJsG/b.3476085/k.CC14/Giving__Donate__Volunteer__Gift_of_Life__Hospital_Events.htm
I wish we could go back in time and erase yesterday. There are no words right now to describe what we are all feeling in the wake of the shooting, and that is nothing compared to the families directly affected.
What I did to give back yesterday was pray. That was my offering, my way to help.
May we all move forward with a little more awareness of those around us and love in our hearts.
Sometimes when saying thank you, words are not enough. Our soldiers and the families who support them give so much of themselves on a daily basis without asking for a thank you.
My daughter and her friend spent the afternoon making holiday decorations to brighten a soldier’s day. We’re sending these gifts to Operation Gratitude, a nonprofit volunteer-based corporation that works to put a smiles on the faces of soldiers, veterans and their families. Operation Gratitude welcome letters, pictures and care packages. It just takes a moment to say thank you, and you can’t imagine how much it means.
To find out more about Operation Gratitude, visit: operationgratitude.com
So our little pencil drive for a school in need has grown! We just received a few hundred pencils, colored pencils, erasers and sharpeners from our friend Kelly and her sweet son (photo below). Thank you!! And team ROMP member, Kiran, just picked up a box full of pencils from her cousin. We are so excited that this elementary school will be set for awhile! Again, if you want more info on this lovely organization, go to thePencilProject.com.
Here’s my blog on The Pencil Project: http://kelliemartin.tumblr.com/post/36987092422/the-pencil-project-romp4good
In 1998 my family spent a few months at UCLA medical center. My 19 year-old sister was diagnosed with lupus and admitted a few days later with one of the worst cases they’d seen in awhile. Our time there didn’t end well, and, as many of you know, my sister died from complications of lupus.
I know that miracles do happen at that hospital, and I’m hoping that the young man we are “adopting” through the UCLA Health System Auxiliary Adopt-a-Family Project this holiday will be one of those miracles. He’s in there for the long haul and he’s got a battle to wage. Here’s hoping that our holiday gift brings a smile to his face. We’ll be thinking of him.
Here’s more information on this fantastic program:
This morning I hauled myself out of bed and out into the chilly (but still Los Angeles) weather to run in the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run. I’m very involved in autoimmune disease awareness and arthritis hits close to home for me because it affects my mother-in-law. The thing that touched me most was seeing those kids who live with rheumatoid arthritis on a daily basis out there walking or wheeling along the course, excited to participate and celebrate.
To lean more about the arthritis foundation, visit: arthritis.org
A friend’s 6 year-old son has asthma and frequently needs to be treated at the ER with a nebulizer machine. She had mentioned that she wished she could afford to get a nebulizer for her home.
Here’s where a good idea hatched:
My nephew has a nebulizer he no longer needs and when we inquired, he was happy to pass it along. Here’s hoping my friend can avoid long waits at the ER and have a little peace of mind knowing that they have an extra line of defense when dealing with a scary asthma attack.
Sometimes the best laid plans get derailed. I had planned to give blood today. Just a pint. Apparently, I wasn’t adequately hydrated because my body decided that it only had 20 ccs to spare : ( It wasn’t an argument I was going to win. So, I tried … and I’ve got a pretty pink bandage to prove it. Sigh.
This morning Maggie and I brought a holiday gift from ROMP for a child at Hillsides.
Hillsides, the Episcopal Home for Children in Pasadena, provides care for children who have no family or who cannot live with their family (often because of abuse and neglect). Hillsides creates safe places for children by treating abuse, neglect and mental illness; strengthening families; providing special education; and advocating for children’s rights.
The House of Justice or Bet Tzedek provides free legal assistance to people who would otherwise not have access to the legal system. They work with issues including elder abuse and neglect, patients’ rights, and Holocaust reparations. Today’s ROMP4good is in support of the work the lawyers and volunteers do to help the needy and impoverished of Los Angeles.
I made a donation in honor of my friend, Kevin, who is a big supporter of the organization.
My daughter’s amazing former preschool does a shoebox project each December. Not only do we miss her old school but we wanted to continue the tradition of stocking a shoebox full of goodies for a child. Teachers, Miss Suzie and Miss Karina go to Mexico each year and bring these boxes to kids a an orphanage in Mexico. This year we put a little art kit together with colored pencils, crayons, blank board books, and beads. I love thinking of the creativity about to happen!
Team ROMP recently visited the Foster Children’s Resource Center in Northridge, CA to find out more about their needs. This organization is run by the sweetest ladies! The FCRC provides children in foster care a chance to “shop” for toys, clothes, books, toiletries, and so forth. The merchandise is bought by the volunteers for the children. As part of this month’s ROMP4good, Team Romp donated some toys to the Foster Children’s Resource Center. If you are looking for a place to volunteer with your child, FCRC has opportunities for you and your family! To learn more about giving to FCRC, please call (818) 701-0506.
PS: this is team ROMP member, Kiran’s, daughter helping bring the toys over to the center!
'tis the season, so we thought we'd get a tree! Huge bonus: all proceeds from our church's Christmas tree lot go to benefit the organizations pictured below. So, ROMP4good just fell right into place today. I love it when others make it so easy to give!
We’re starting our month of giving with the simple act of providing pencils to a needy school. The Pencil Project, founded by Maria Vick, believes that “education is the only sure way out of poverty.” On a trip to Africa, Maria realized that many of the children at a village school didn’t have the basic tools needed to attend school. The few pencils she saw were broken or unusable. The Pencil Project was born to provide the world’s children to the tool needed to do a math problem, write a story or learn the ABCs.
If you’d like to participate go to thepencilproject.com, let Maria know of your interest and she will match you up with a needy school in the US or elsewhere (someplace close to your heart). A pencil drive is the perfect holiday project to do with kids. Providing a pencil to a child that doesn’t have one is a simple act of kindness that resonates with children of all ages.
I’m issuing a challenge to all of you for this holiday season: Do at least one thing each day during the month of December that gives back to your community, brightens someone’s day, and/or makes the world a better place.
This is something I did 2 years ago on my own, and this year I’m doing it with the staff of my kid’s online boutique, ROMP. So, most of what we do this month will be all about helping kids.
Post your ideas, photos, videos, thoughts and accomplishments here on my Tumblr blog, my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kellie-Martin/264549759630?ref=ts), or my Twitter (@Kellie_Martin). Use #ROMP4good on Twitter. I’ll reblog and retweet a bunch of your favorite charities and ideas so we can all get inspired.
Remember, it can be anything like writing a letter to a soldier serving in Iraq, baking some muffins for your neighbor, giving a donation of food or clothing to a local shelter, or singing someone a song. Seriously, anything!
In a bit I’ll post my plan for my first day of giving.
This could be such a cool way to teach our kids about giving at the holidays. Will you help me?!
When I was a kid we didn’t have an Earth Day. Although, I suppose if we had it back then, we might not need it today.
I didn’t know anything about recycling until I was in high school, and then it was just the crazy neighbors down the street who recycled soda cans to make some extra cash. In college I started using the scratchy recycled paper tissues and cleaning my dorm with vinegar and lemon. Thankfully, being earth-friendly has become a lot more user-friendly, so much so that there’s really no good reason not to do it.
Try explaining that to a four year old.
My kid loves to turn the hose on in the afternoon on a hot day and just let it run, spay the dog, wash her swingset, you know, basically burn though Southern California’s scarce and precious water. Oh, and she loves to grab as many paper towels as humanly possible to clean up the tiniest of spills. This might shock you, but saying: “Sweetie, California is experiencing a drought,” or “Honey, think of the trees,” doesn’t work like a charm.
So how do you get even the youngest kid on board with living responsibly? Not sure I know the answer, but I’ll tell you what works for me.
Teach your child to live responsibly in all aspects of her life. First and foremost that means taking care of herself: things like brushing her teeth, dressing herself, and getting herself a snack. Then teach her to take care of others: feeding the dog and cat, making birthday cards for friends. Taking care of others requires respect and compassion, and if you can treat a friend with respect and compassion, you can do the same for the world around you.
Give your child the tools they need to directly impact their little world in positive ways. Before you know it, they’ll grow out of their little world and be smack dab in the great big world. If we all raised mindful, responsible kids, think about what Earth Day could look like 30 years from now. Maybe we wouldn’t even need an Earth Day in 30 years. I doubt that could happen, but a girl can dream….
I am the spokesperson for Autoimmune Diseases Association because autoimmune disease has touched my family and friends. I’m hosting a series of walks around the country to raise $ and awareness please check out this link and tell your friends! thanks! xo kel
I still have my favorite stuffed animal from childhood. He’s a raggedy, strange, little dog named Poppy. He was (and is!) one of my most cherished possessions. He was by my side all through childhood, and even when I went through tough times as an adult, there was Poppy, happy to listen and snuggle. Yes, I did bring him to college with me. Don’t act shocked, he learned a lot at Yale.
My daughter has a similar obsession with a little stuffed dog that she got at FAO Schwarz in NYC. She is a little Dalmatian puppy named Ruff Ruff Stella Barkley (a grand name for a grand dog, n’est pas?). Ruff Ruff is already looking a bit… er, rough, so I’m hoping she’ll survive until my kid needs her at college. But in the event, that she get’s lost or loses her stuffing, it’s nice to know that her likeness has been forever captured in a beautiful portrait by First Friends.
It’s pretty brilliant, you just email photos of the favored stuffed animal, doll, blankie—heck, there’s even a few Matchbox cars up on the site—and Erin Chainani will create a hand-painted, framed portrait that your child can have forever. It’s a brilliant gift for the child who really doesn’t need another toy.
Do you remember when you were in school and had a required summer reading list for the summer? Call me crazy, but I really miss it. I remember sitting under a tree barefoot scaring myself half to death over my latest Nancy Drew book. Or hiding out in my room all day, no one bothering me until dinnertime, reading The Catcher in the Rye. It was kind of a luxury, that required summer reading list. A mandatory escape from a hot, boring summer into other worlds full of possibilities.
My daughter’s only 4, so a required summer reading list doesn’t seem appropriate yet, but a trip to our local library makes perfect sense. We spent about an hour searching for some fantastic books (three for the kid, one for the mom), got our library cards (my daughter’s first), and headed home to hunker down under a tree with some lemonade and read our brains out. Fun.
Oh, my daughter chose Sophie’s Window by Holly Keller, Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard, and The Inside Tree by Linda Smith and David Parkins. I chose The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Even though my book has fewer pictures than my daughter’s selections, I’m enjoying it immensely.
Ever since I found out I was going to have a little girl, I’ve been beyond excited for the moment when she would learn to ride a bicycle. I clearly remember my dad racing behind me as I pedaled with all my might and all my courage, terrified that he would let go, yet giddy with the idea that I could do it all by myself. It is one of the most important and poignant moments in a child’s life.
Today we bought our daughter a beautiful pink bicycle complete with streamers hanging from the handlebars and a zippy (and already overused) little bell. I can’t precisely pinpoint the moment at which my daughter changed today, but she did. Once she got onto her bike, she glowed with confidence and anticipation, and I saw her focus like never before. I tried to run alongside every step of the way, but quickly, she went ahead. Brave and eager.
I try very hard not to be overly sentimental, but today, watching my daughter, I was a bit of an emotional mess. Helping her lean to pedal and steer a bicycle then ride on her own just smacked me in the face as what a parent’s job is all about: teach them well, then let them go. I found this day, and more intensely that realization, startling. I really wasn’t ready to let her go but was relieved and grateful that she was prepared and excited to make her own way… albeit down our little street, then back again.
I love anything French. I love croissants, the Eiffel Tower, champagne, Degas…. And I so hoped that my daughter would aspire to be a little Francophile too. Of course, like any proper 4 year old, if I said let’s read “Le Petit Prince,” she would insist on “Clifford,” and if I suggested an éclair, she would insist on—actually she’s good with éclairs (who isn’t?).
My family is full of English-speaking Americans, and I’ve always thought my friends who had to speak another language at home were really cool. Then I went to college where I had friends who spoke 4, sometimes 5 languages. They were able to go to countless other countries and feel very much at home. Cool. So my husband and I decided that when we had a kid, she’d be introduced to a foreign language at a young age.
But it wasn’t until my daughter met Miss Sophie that she began to fall in love with all things French. Miss Sophie teaches French through the most delightful songs that she sings with her own children. You don’t have to speak the language to love listening to Sophie’s album “Bonjour,” but my guess is that you and your child will know every word by the third time though.
Thank you for your work on behalf of those of us with autoimmune disorders. I am in the unfortunate situation of apparently having those genes on both sides of my family, so I guess I was kind of doomed to develop at least one (or the 4 I have developed). Once I knew the extent of what was going on with my health, I was relieved that my only child is a boy, given how predominantly autoimmune disorders tend to affect women. I felt like at least I might not be passing all this on to him to deal with. The joke was on me, though, as my son was diagnosed last year, at the age of 6, with type 1 diabetes which is believed to be somewhat autoimmune in nature.
Autoimmune disorders still do not get the kind of widespread attention they should (at least one of my conditions gets a confused “what’s that?” reaction if I tell people I have it). And I’m very grateful to see someone using the public profile they’ve been given to bring attention to them. So, again, thank you for doing your part to help get attention for this issue. It’s a lot more widespread than most people seem to realize.
Growing up at my house we made my mom’s frosted sour cream cookies for every holiday; we just altered the decorations and cookie cutters depending on the occasion.
Today, my daughter and I continued the tradition by making some delicious Easter cookies. They are so good and remind me of my childhood. Oh, and don’t tell my mom, but I’ve improved the frosting recipe. Shhhhh!
Kellie’s Mom’s Sour Cream Cookies
3 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla
½ cup sour cream
- Combine flour, soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a mixer mix the butter, sugar, and egg on a medium speed for about 2 minutes, until smooth.
- On low speed add sour cream and vanilla to butter mixture.
- Add half of the flour mixture and mix for about 1 minute. Turn off mixer and add the rest of the flour stirring with a wooden spoon (you may not need all the flour)
- Roll dough out to ¼ inch thick. Use cute cookie cutters!
- Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes (do not allow the cookies to brown)
Frosting for Kellie’s Mom’s Sour Cream Cookies
2 egg whites
2 ½ cups powdered sugar, divided
½ cup butter, room temperature
½ tsp vanilla
- In a stand mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, about 5-6 minutes; slowly add in 2 ¼ cups of the powdered sugar (make sure all sugar is incorporated before adding more); set aside and clean mixer bowl
- In clean mixer bowl, beat butter and ¼ cup powdered sugar
- Slowly add the egg white/powdered sugar mixture to the butter mixture (I find it easier to do this by hand)
I have a major obsession with pasta, probably because I can always get my kid to eat it. Even when she’s tired or grumpy, put a little pasta in front of her, and presto. Lately I’ve been experimenting with combining vegetables that my kid claims to hate with her favorite pasta shapes.
So, the following recipe is a happy marriage between cauliflower (not a fave) with adorable bow tie pasta (a fave). Who says you can’t dress up cauliflower….
Bow Tie pasta with Artichoke hearts, Arugula and Cauliflower 1 small head fresh cauliflower, broken into small florets 1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided salt and freshly ground pepper ½ lb. baby arugula, rinsed and spun dry 15 kalamata olives, pitted and halved 4 ounces freshly grated parmesan cheese 1 lb. bow tie pasta
- preheat oven to 400 degrees - place artichoke hearts and cauliflower on separate baking sheets; drizzle each with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ a teaspoon pepper - roast artichoke hearts for 20-25 minutes - roast cauliflower for 30 minutes - bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta and cook per package directions; once cooked, drain pasta then return to pot - add 3 tablespoons olive oil and the parmesan cheese with the warm pasta; add roasted artichoke hearts and cauliflower, kalamata olives and arugula; finally sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste - serve warm or at room temperature
Ever try sneaking out of the house without saying goodbye to your kid? Just don’t want the waterworks, the tantrums, the “you said you’d never leave mes?” Yes, saying goodbye, even when you’ll be gone only 20 minutes, can be a rather unpleasant affair. I get it. I didn’t want to do it either, but just recently, now that my daughter is 4 years old, I’ve started reaping the always-say-goodbye-to-your-kid benefits. Yes, it took 4 full years.
I wrote on this topic a year ago (“When You Gotta Go…) and this is an update of sorts, more results of this little experiment called Parenthood. I was told by a very wise mom to always say goodbye. Start when your child is an infant—when they give you that blank stare—and continue on when they’re toddlers—when the stare becomes a roof-raising scream. Stay the course, keep saying your goodbyes.
A year ago my daughter was pretty good about letting me leave; her bottom lip stuck out a bit and she usually cried for 5 minutes after I left. Not bad at all, but the guilt of her sad goodbye ate away at me. Last weekend my husband and I escaped for 24 hours while Grandma stayed with the daughter. When, with our bags in hand, we told her goodbye, she threw her arms around us and told us to have fun then went right on playing.
Wow. I guess it finally sunk in: “mama always comes back.” No waterworks, no “you said you’d never leave mes,” just “have fun.” And… we did.
My husband & I moved our family to Alaska 21 years ago and the girls grew up on Kellie Martin movies. I have tried to get every DVD that you were in sometimes to no avail. Do you have any suggestions to where I could purchase all of your movies? When the girls come home we always curl up with our blankets and a Kellie Martin movie.
That is so sweet! I’m honored! As far as I know, Amazon.com is the best place to find my shows.
I’ve made this bread 3 times and am finally getting it right. This recipe is super straight forward. Make sure all your ingredients are fresh, especially the yeast. Seriously, the smell of this homemade bread just makes you happy to be alive!
This recipe is from an amazing cooking/baking teacher, Carol Cotner Thompson. Please check out her fantastic blog http://carolcotnerthompson.blogspot.com/ for more recipes.
Rosemary Olive Bread
3 cups bread flour 1 tablespoon sugar 1 tablespoon salt 1 egg 3/4 cup warm water 1 tablespoon active dry yeast 1/4 cup olive oil 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary 1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
- put yeast into a bowl with warm water until dissolved (about 5 minutes) - add egg, olive oil, sugar, rosemary, and olives to yeast mixture; mix gently with spoon - add flour 1/2 a cup at a time and mix until smooth and can be worked on a flat surface - knead, continuing to add flour (you may use more or less of the 3 cups; dough should feel “tacky” but not “gooey”); knead about 8-12 minutes - place dough in a bowl lightly greased with olive oil; cover and place in a warm spot to rise for 30 minutes - gently punch dough down and knead a few times; place back in bowl and let rise again for 30 minutes - place dough on a baking sheet covered with parchment, cover loosely with a towel and let rise a final time for 30 minutes - slash a 1/2 inch deep line in the top of the bread dough - bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes
Around the time of the New Zealand earthquake, we started putting together our earthquake kit. Way overdue, I know, considering we live in Los Angeles.
I hadn’t planned on including my 4 year old in the kit preparations. Why scare her? Did I really want to sit her down and tell her that sometimes, out of the blue, the ground beneath her can start shaking… violently? It seemed like worry that I didn’t need to place in her happy, carefree mind. So, we just told her that the kit was full of things we might need in an emergency, like if the water and power ever went out at our house for a few days.
Then the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan.
We knew she was bound to hear about it. It was time to address it. My husband and I wanted to give her enough information so that she could begin to process. Of course, her first question was: Can it happen here? Ugh. I knew that would be the first question. We answered her honestly, but then we told her about all the things we can do to make sure we stay safe at home and all the things she can do to stay safe at school.
Her next question was: Are all the people okay? The truth is, there are a lot of people—too too many—who are not okay. We decided not to elaborate on this subject but to leave it at: “Some of the people are not okay. The police and firefighters are working hard to help the people who are hurt and scared.”
There is a fine line between telling kids too much and giving them enough information. By that I mean, useful, constructive information—information they can actually do something with. The last thing I want to do is create a little worrier. I’m a big worrier, and I don’t recommend it to anyone.
Life is going to throw each of us a ton of curveballs. I hope that I can prepare my child to take all things in stride, never panic and live each day to the fullest.
PS: In my earthquake kit research, I found a really useful website: http://72hours.org. Just in case you need to build a kit for your family.
“Maggie, Dr. King’s Birthday is More Than Just a Day Off School”
I asked my daughter if her teachers had spoken to the class about today’s holiday. She said: “No, but I don’t have to go to school. Yay!” I was about to launch into a “this is why we need to know about Martin Luther King Jr.” speech when I paused because I didn’t know how to explain his impact to a four year old. To explain the importance of Dr. King, I would have to tell her about what our country was like before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and I don’t think that’s something she can process at her age.
I told her that Dr. King dedicated his life to making sure that all people were treated with respect, dignity and given the rights that they deserve. Telling her why his dedication was essential is a more difficult task. When is it that we tell our children about prejudice, hate and injustice? The ideal is to keep it away from them for as long as possible. But that isn’t the way the world works.
So, I told Maggie that Dr. King changed our world for the better (she nodded) and that he studied Gandhi (she gasped). Maggie is a big fan of Gandhi. Always has been. Something about him really speaks to her. I’m hoping it’s his belief in non-violence and not just his circle glasses and sandals.
For now, I’ve decided to leave the subject of today’s holiday to a day of celebration—a day to remember one of our bravest, most eloquent, and most important Americans. I suppose I’ll tell Maggie a little more about Dr. King each year. Because, it’s a story that has to be told.
Having muffins with my family at our local coffee shop this morning, I noticed a homeless woman looking through the window. She seemed to want a cup of coffee, which we were happy to get for her. As I moved to the door, a man approached the woman and gently led her inside. He had the same idea. At the counter he asked her what she would like to order. “Just a cup of coffee,” was her reply. “And what would you like to go with that? A muffin? Bagel?” She looked at him with wide eyes then shyly said that she’d like a blueberry muffin.
When all was said and done, the woman left with three bottles of apple juice (“It’s good for you, so take a few.” He had said.), a cup of coffee, two bagels with cream cheese, and a bag full of muffins. The woman beamed as she left with her breakfast… lunch and dinner.
My guess is that the man didn’t run home and blog about his giving for the day. He bought the woman food just because he wanted to. No agenda. This month during ExtremeGiving, I had moments where I was desperately searching for ways to help others so I could report back to you. I sometimes forgot the point of the exercise. What I watched at the coffee shop today reminded me to live with an open heart each day (not only during the holidays) and constantly observe and learn from the kindness of strangers.
We went to a beautiful church service on Christmas Eve. It was quiet, filled with candles and was a nice time to stop for a moment and remember why we celebrate Christmas. I’ve been so caught up in baking and shopping and the stress of this holiday season that I often forget to really count my blessings. So on Christmas Eve I stopped to pray—to give thanks and to ask for a few things that our world needs.