Thursday, January 17, 2013


This morning, I hustled into Starbucks to get a gigantic cuppa joe and a little nosh. Today I chose the low-fat berry cake. Because when you're lucky enough to go on an almost-all expenses paid Hawaii trip because your husband's client was selected to play in the Pro Bowl, you know full well you should be doing everything you can to drop 25 pounds in 7 days. Because you have January Body, which means most of your outer self looks like raw pizza dough. However, aside from maybe losing a limb, that 25 pound goal isn't going to be met, especially if you have that cake, which is what I was thinking about when I looked up to see a little girl and her Mama in line a couple people ahead of me.

I see these two every time I go to this store, so I assume they are there every single morning. The other day she was in full cowgirl attire, complete with red boots. Today she opted for a red silk two-piece China girl pantsuit, but wisely kept the red cowgirl boots in rotation. She already knows red is her color. Which means she obviously has a better fashion sense than I, because I am wearing yoga pants. To work. And I don't work in a yoga studio. I attribute the yoga pants to the aforementioned overage in pounds, and I attribute her stylish attire to her being British and worldly, with her chocolate milk and her little scones.

In any case, I was checking my email on my phone, and glancing up to see if it was my turn or if I should move up because I know how people hate it when you steal hours (come on) away from their life when you don't take that half step forward as soon as you can. I saw her Mama encouraging her to do something, but I didn't know what it was. The two women in line ahead of me seemed to know both the Mama and the little girl, so I thought maybe she was helping her shy little one be brave and talk to her friends.

Instead, the red boots walked over to me, and handed me a small envelope with a $5 gift card inside of it. I smiled and said, "Thank you sweet girl...but are you sure..." thinking maybe she thought I was someone else, but not wanting to embarrass her for giving me - a perfect stranger - one of the little cards she was carefully holding. That's when the woman in front of me in line said "You have to turn it over and read it.", so I did.

Here's what I saw:

And of course, that's when I teared up and had to choke back a sob, because I cry at commercials when people I've never met are emotional. So imagine how I felt with little brown eyes and little red boots standing right there in front of me?! Oy.

I then watched as she handed two more cards to the people who walked into line behind me, and learned that she'd also handed cards to the two women in front of me. They weren't already friends of the Mama and the red boots, but they were certainly endeared to her as I was after them. Turns out the Mama had a birthday recently and she gathered up her kids and said, I don't need any gifts this year. Instead, let's do 39 nice things for other people...what can you think of? So the little dove who sits at Starbucks each morning before she takes her boots to preschool said, let's buy coffee for people at the coffee shop. Her son said how about we drop off food at the local animal shelter. Another child of hers said let's give the postman something special. 

Small acts. From the Mama on down. Thoughtful and from the heart. Very random. Uncalled for and unexpected even. So, so, SO genuinely heartwarming. And ovary trembling. I mean Jesus, the sight of that little one had my eggs popping all over the place.

And because they asked nothing more from me than to pass it along, I shall.


I will forgive my former employer for lying to me, and intentionally hurting people I love for personal gain.

I will walk the 125-pound puppy today and patiently let him sniff all the mojo he wants.

I will surprise Eight by getting her posterboard before I pick her up from school and encourage the excitement she feels for her Black History Month project on Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to go to space.

I will play tetherball with Ten instead of saying no when she asks me (even though she beats me every time).

I will let people cut me off on the freeway. I will give the traveling husband a foot massage without begging asking for one in return. I will remind a heartbroken friend that she is strong enough to do hard things, while acknowledging she is at her weakest.

I will be kind to myself. And remember that inside this dough-boy body beats a good heart, and a clear conscience and a strong, loving soul from which friends and family and children can launch themselves into their day, knowing they will always find a safe place to come back to in me.

Think of how $5 could change your day. Imagine those brown eyes were looking up at you from those red boots this morning and how you would feel, then find a way to pass that feeling along. 

We are all soul-boosters and peace-lovers and happy-finders, we just forget sometimes. We are cherished and necessary and powerful. I challenge you (all six of you who read this blog) to take a big, deep breath today, stand strong and tall, and go love somebody up in your own way.

Peace and coffee and cowgirl boots, people. Pass it along.