Category Archives: Pick me up

Dignity for Christmas


This video is simple – asking people what they want for Christmas and giving it to them. The only catch is that these folks are homeless. In my experience, what homeless people lack, isn’t just a house, it is also the social constructs of dignity with which we treat each other.

Next time you see someone on the street,  look them in the eye and talk to them like a person. Don’t avoid them. Acknowledge they are there—a person with a past and a future just like you. Talk to them the way you want to be talked to. Treat them the way you want to be treated. The golden rule always comes back around. Thanks to the Random Altruist for this beautiful video showing us how it’s done. Continue reading

Good Peep #3 – The Beckster

Becky dancing in Anchorage. Photo by Gutierrez Photography

Becky dancing in Anchorage. Photo by Gutierrez Photography

I was halfway through my Sophomore year when I met Becky in early 2002. I walked into your typical college party with a friend of mine, who was on a mission to have a not-so-friendly chat with her ex-boyfriend. As we walked past one of the bedrooms, my friend went in, shoved a woman out and slammed the door in the woman’s face. The new woman turned around and looked at me. Our eyes wide with shock, we both burst into laughter and she said, “Hi. I’m Becky,” with her hand outstretched. Continue reading

Run, Mommy! Run!

Photo by Dave Meier.

Photo by Dave Meier.

Being a Mom is tough work. It is a 24-hour-job that is often thankless. You are teacher, chef, counselor, cleaner, nurse, and more, all wrapped into one. You oscillate between the guilt of not spending enough time with your kids and the regret of not having the career you trained for. You typically have no idea what you are doing, but you go ahead and do it anyway.

Running takes a bite out of all the things that make this stage of life so tricky. Continue reading

Ask for Generosity


Photo by Meja Petric, courtesy of

This Christmas, we decided to do something different. It was my husband’s idea. He was inspired by the images of refugees fleeing war and the contrast between those in need and the oncoming glut of excess that seems to follow Christmas. He said, “Why don’t we have a party where the whole idea is about giving to others?” We decided to call it a Giving Party. We had no idea if anyone would be interested. It is a busy time of year and folks are already stretched thin with their time and wallets. We gave it a go anyway. Continue reading

3-D Printing for a Cause

Albert Manero and 6-year-old Alex Pring.

Albert Manero is a Fulbright Scholar, a doctoral student in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Central Florida and a keen inventor. He’s recently been in the news because in addition to that, he has a big heart. After hearing a radio story about a man in South Africa who used a 3-D printer to make a prosthetic hand he decided to put his talents to work. His creation: a low-cost bionic arm for six-year-old Alex Pring, who was born with no arm from the elbow down. As soon as Albert met him, he was inspired to help. Continue reading


Mark Bustos is a high-end stylist that gives trims to homeless folks on his day off.

Mark Bustos is a high-end stylist that gives trims to homeless folks on his day off.

Meet Mark Bustos. Mark is a barber at a high-end salon in New York City, with clients like Norah Jones and Marc Jacobs. He works six days a week but on his day off, he voluntarily works some more. He walks around New York City befriending homeless people and giving away free haircuts.  Continue reading

Venus Rising

Sandro Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, c. 1486.

Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, c. 1486.

My husband and I have two young children and, for several years, we just were not exercising. For a pair who used to run marathons, play rugby, and climb mountains, this was a big life change. But, it was not conscious one. Sure, the thought of getting fit crossed our minds, but that happened rarely—we were simply too busy wiping bums, cleaning up spilled milk, and trying to get two small humans to sleep through the night. Often enough though, it bothered me when I couldn’t fit into pants I’d worn before, or could but questioned whether or not they were too tight. Those moments chipped away at my confidence in my own body, but I trained myself to keep pushing them aside or focus on something else. Getting out of shape is like that—it creeps up on you like a silent cat waiting to pounce.  Continue reading

Make Hope— Not Fear

Just a tiny bit of proof that the world is full of quite a bit of happy. Warning… this video is actually a Google ad, but it is one of those ads that makes you tear up like you’re watching a Hallmark movie.

Where have you seen happy this year?

I believe in kissing.

I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
—Audrey Hepburn

Just Dance.

Dancing is a universal language, and things like that are really quite special. When you don’t need to know another language, or understand cultural references, you can just revel in the beauty that results from human beings joining together for a common experience.

This video features Matt Harding, a guy who made a video of a silly dance that he did in locations all over the world. For his next video, he organized folks from all over the world to meet him to be in his video. The world is not so very big after all.

For more about Matt and to see his previous video, click here.

Be cheerful

I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.
—Martha Washington