Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving Thanks...

Being thankful everyday is a blessing, and in each moment there are many things that we can be grateful for. The world opens up to us when we live in a space of gratitude. When we appreciate and express gratitude, the universe glows a bit brighter and showers us with even more blessings.

There is always something to be grateful for, even when life appear to be challenging at times. When times are tough, whether we're having a bad day or stuck in what may feel like an endless funk, it can be difficult to take the time to feel grateful. YET, that is when gratitude can be most important. If we can look at our lives, during periods of challenge, and find something to be grateful for, then we can transform our realities in an instant.

There are blessings to be found everywhere. When we are focusing on what is negative, our abundance can be easy to miss. Instead, find what already exists in our lives that we appreciate and notice the change we see in our world. We start to notice one blessing, and then another.

When we constantly choose to be grateful, we notice that every breath is a miracle and each smile becomes a gift. We begin to understand that difficulties are also invaluable lessons.

The sun is always shining for us when we are grateful, even if it is hidden behind clouds on a rainy day. A simple sandwich becomes a feast, and a trinket is transformed into a treasure.

Living in a state of gratitude allows us to spread our abundance because that is the energy that we emanate from our beings. Because the world reflects back to us what we embody, the additional blessings that inevitably flow our way give us even more to be grateful for. The universe wants to shower us with blessings. The more we appreciate life, the more life appreciates and bestows us with more goodness

Thank you to our wonderful volunteers, our family, and our friends for all your loving support. We are very blessed to have you be a part of our lives. We love what we do, and we're thankful everyday for our blessings...

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Kind Regards,

Maria & Mark Haswell

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kindness to Self & Others

Self Kindness

To become kind, you must begin the kindness-habit journey within yourself. It would be so much easier to be kind to others when you're feeling good about yourself. Do one of these acts of self kindness each day for the next 30 days and notice how much better you feel.
  • Recognize one positive aspect of your body.
  • Recognize one of your positive personality traits.
  • Initiate one self-care act today.
  • Spend a full day without whining or complaining.
  • Buy yourself flowers.
  • Forgive yourself for something you regret.
  • Forgive someone's unkindness to you.
  • Meditate and be one with the Universe.
  • Learn something new.
  • Relax and read a book
  • Take a walk by yourself in silence.
  • Get pampered.
  • Buy a special treat for yourself.
  • Remind yourself throughout the day that you are loved.
  • Take a nap.
  • Self love.
  • Smile at yourself in the mirror.
  • Laugh out loud.
  • Think happy thoughts.

Kindness to those Close to You

Now that you're feeling good about yourself, doing kind acts for others will come naturally and easily. Select from any of these suggestions or create your own kind ideas.

  • Give someone a long, warm hug.
  • Call an elderly relative and chat about their day.
  • Before your grocery trip, call a shut-in neighbor or family with small children and offer to pick up something for them.
  • Tape a note of thanks to your mailbox for good service.
  • Treat a co-worker at coffee break.
  • Order pizza and share with co-workers.
  • Write a note of appreciation to a co-worker.
  • Congratulate your boss for an aspect of leadership well done.
  • Congratulate a co-worker for work well done.
  • Tell your child how much you love him.
  • Tell your child the qualities you most admire in her.
  • Tell your spouse or partner their qualities you most admire.
  • Thank your family for the routine chores they do.
  • Surprise your family by doing one of their chores.
  • Put a love note in your family's lunch, briefcase, or book bag.
  • Plan a family fun activity every week.
  • Have a weekly game night with your family/friends.
  • Have a good laugh with your family after dinner with an appropriate story or joke.

Kindness to Others

Being kind to others not only feels good and benefits other people, but it also tends to spread... Those who receive an act of kindness often pay it forward.

  • Greet a stranger with a wave, a smile, and a sincere "good morning."
  • Smile and be tolerant of morning commuters in a hurry.
  • Yield your place in line to someone obviously in a hurry.
  • Tape a note and some change to a vending machine for someone who's short of change.
  • After a restaurant meal, seek out your server and offer a generous tip along with your personal thanks.
  • Pay for the coffee or tea for the person behind you in line.
  • Pay for the lunch or coffee break of the person behind you in line at work or school.
  • Leave an inspirational quotation on your bus or train seat when you exit.
  • Greet a store cashier warmly and sincerely ask about her day.
  • Spend an hour at a senior's home reading or chatting.
  • Volunteer once a month at a facility that brings you into contact with people you would not normally interact with.
  • Leave a positive comment on a website that you enjoy.
  • Send a thank you email to the author of a book or article that you enjoy.
  • Feed a parking meter that has expired.
  • Walk through your neighborhood and pick up trash in other's yards.
  • Pack an extra lunch and give it to a homeless person.
  • Stop and chat with a homeless person who's a regular near your work or home.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Top ten reasons for being kind....

Kindness leads to many of the virtues to which we value and desire. The Talmud says "Deeds of kindness are equal in weight to all the commandments."

The Dalai Lama says that kindness is his religion.

Thaddeus Golas, the author of A Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment, comes closest to why I believe that kindness is important: "All your words and actions define the world you want to live in."

When we focus on kindness, our world becomes kinder; we become kinder.

Kindness can lead us wherever we want to go: to a happier life, to being more Christ-like, to enlightenment, to making a difference in this world, to raising loving and kind children.

The reasons for being kind are innumerable.

Here are just a few:

1. Being kind feels good. Doing something for someone else really does make us feel good. Just as running releases endorphins, so does kindness. Make someone smile and you'll feel better for having done so.

2. God smiles on kindness. Whether we are Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Buddhist, kindness is an important part of the exhortations of all these religions. Both Buddha and Christ were kind and encouraged their followers to be likewise.

3. Kindness broadens our perspective. In order to be kind, we have to pay attention to what is happening around us. As we notice more things and help others, we get a glimpse of other ways of looking at things. A broader perspective helps us to keep things in context.

4. Kindness softens our heart. When we look for kind deeds, beauty, and the opportunity for kindness, we'll find that we are more compassionate and more tolerant. As we practice empathy, it opens our heart to others.

5. Kindness brightens our world. When we are kind to people, it makes them happy. The more people who experience kindness from us, the more happy people will be in our lives. When those around us are happier, our world becomes a brighter, lighter place to live.

6. Kindness helps people feel respected and less alone. By recognizing someone's need for help and acting on it in a compassionate manner, it makes the recipient feel valued. It also makes the giver feel better about themselves and more connected.

7. Kindness makes people want to be around us. One of the most common responses to kindness is gratitude. People appreciate what we've done for them. Our kindness is very attractive, so they want to be around us and actually seek us out. The Buddha lists this as one of the eleven impacts of loving kindness, but he put it even more strongly, saying: "Loving kindness will make people love you."

8. Kindness bears wonderful fruit. Kindness begets kindness, openness, health and reduces the effects of stress on our bodies and our hearts. In many ways, kindness is like Liquid Plumber for the soul: it opens us up, clears out the dross, and dwells lightly in our hearts.

9. Kindness begets kindness. When you are kind to others, the impact of your action doesn't stop there. Many times the recipient of your kindness and others who see or hear about your kindness are inspired to be kinder. The ripples of kindness are truly endless.

10. Your kids will learn from your example. When you are kind to friends and acquaintances, your kids will be more likely to be kind as well. People often treat their children with kindness, but can be short with a crazy driver, strangers, or others outside the family. This can cause "us and them" thinking that devalues others as "less" than ourselves. Kindness breeds tolerance and understanding.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Be an Example

The gifts that are within our power to give our loved ones go beyond simple love and support. Playing an active role in the lives of family and friends is frequently a matter of serving as a gentle guide by showing them how to live more conscious, kind, fulfilling lives. Rather than lecturing or persuading people to follow a path similar to our own, we respect their right to go through their own paths while demonstrating the potential of ours, using our own actions and choices as a teaching tool. We don’t need to go out of our way to show the specifics of a concious, fulfilling life. Those we come across will notice – it will naturally create a spark of curiosity when we’re being an example rather than preaching the story. Your kindhearted and accommodating mood will provide you with a platform from which you can share your own personal philosophy with your loved ones through your behavior today.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Small Acts: Large Impact!

We often feel that we don’t have the time or energy to extend ourselves to others with the small gestures that compose what we call common courtesy. It sometimes seems that this kind of social awareness belongs in the past, in smaller towns and perhaps, “slower times”. Yet, when someone performs an act of kindness to us, we always feel touched.

By doing something simple like helping someone with the groceries and can make n impression because many people just walk right by. Even someone who simply makes the effort to look us in the eye, smile, and greet us properly when entering a room stands out of the crowd. Common courtesy is a small gesture that makes a huge difference. An important component of common courtesy is awareness and common sense—being aware outside yourself to see when someone needs help or acknowledgment.

As a courteous person, you are aware that you are walking into a room full of people or that your waiter has arrived to take your order. Then, allow awareness to lead to action.

It is usually quite obvious what needs to be done—open the door for the woman holding the baby, move your car up two feet so another person can park behind you, acknowledge a shy person with a smile and some conversation, apologize if you bump into someone.

A third component is to give kindness freely, without expecting anything in return. People may not even take notice, much less return the kindness, but you can take heart in the fact that you are creating the kind of world you want to live in with your actions. When you are out in the world, remember to be aware of others, lend your hand when one is needed, and give this help without an ulterior motive. Through these small acts of kindness, you make this world a better place in which to live.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Help Sponsor Rogelio (14 yrs old) has joined hands with the CelebrateLIFE! Community in San Francisco for a very special project. We're working together to provide an orphan in Mexico with a complete year of secondary education, including room and board - for only USD $250!

Our friend, Drew Vogt from CelebrateLIFE! told us about this project last week. For several years, Drew has been visiting the Procasa Hogar de Ninos orphanage in Oaxaca, Mexico, to learn about the kids’ daily needs, and discover new ways to assist them. Amazingly enough, the orphanage has found a way to provide each orphan with one year of secondary education, plus room and board, for only $250. Drew has already arranged sponsorships and raised the necessary funds to help five children. will be sponsoring the sixth! .

About the Orphanage

The Procasa Hogar de Ninos orphanage is located in Oaxaca, one of the most culturally rich states of Mexico . This small orphanage assists boys who “fell through the cracks”. Many are from abusive families, and have no alternative other than the streets. The orphanage and its founder are overwhelmed by the region's large number of orphans. The orphanage provides food, shelter, nominal religious training, and some psychotherapy for healing from abuse. The orphanage also helps these children learn to stretch their dreams further, by assisting them in getting an education today, so they can build a better life tomorrow.

About our Sponsored Orphan

Rogelio Bautista is 14 years old. He’s cheerful, intelligent and an attentive student. He comes from an educationally-challenged community where illiteracy is common, and the dream of a career is almost unimaginable.

Rogelio lives with 14 other orphans, and is thriving in the loving environment. He has completed his elementary education.
As is the standard at the orphanage, Rogelio has reached the age where he must move out of the orphanage to make room for other, younger orphans. For many children, this means a future without education, and a life of menial labor, or worse. has committed to contributing $250 to provide Rogelio with this much needed assistance. For this small amount of money, Rogelio will receive a year of secondary education, plus room and board.

How You Can Help

To support this effort, we’re asking for donations to help us achieve our goal of $250. No amount is too small: look at it this way…$5 pays for an entire week of education, food and shelter for Rogelio!

To donate, please go to and include "Sponsorship for Roegelio" in the notes section.

(free t-shirt for $20 or $25 donation)

Drew Vogt with 4 PH residents on field trip.

This photo shows the current 10 residents in their safe “home” and adjusting to life. Here is where they learn coping skills that may equip them to be influential fathers of their own families someday.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Let's Play BINGO w/Veteran Residents

The Goal: Our goal is to reach out with a positive loving gesture to complete strangers with whom we share this world. No strings attached.

Location: The Livermore VA Health Care System. 4951 Arroyo Road Building 90 Livermore, CA 94550

The Event: In honor of Memorial Day, we are visiting Veteran's Health Facility in Livermore. We are playing BINGO and serving refreshments for Veteran residents!!

What to bring: Bring your kindness, your happy smile, your sincerity and have FUN with the Veteran residents. We'll bring some prizes and giveaways...

T-shirts FOR SALE: We have T-shirts available for sale. Please let me know if you want to order one so I can bring it with me to the event. They are really nice!! T-shirts are $20 each. I have Black or White T-shirts for men, and Black or Chocolate Brown T-shirts for ladies. All proceeds from the sale of these shirts benefit our team to do more random acts of kindness. Your support is very much appreciated!

To view the T-shirts, visit:

We will need an exact headcount one week before the event. If you plan to bring your friends, please update your RSVP. It is very important that we have an exact headcount, so please make sure that if you plan to attend, please show up. Your kindness is very much appreciated - it's going to be a FUN event!!

Livermore VA Health Care System Parent Facility: The Livermore Division is part of the VA Palo Alto Health Care System.