How Random Kindness Changed Our Lives In One Week

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
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“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind.” – Henry James

Ever travel with a spirited toddler? You know, the type who resists sitting still, sees life as one endless adventure, and is pratically swinging from the car seat with unbridled enthusiasm?  Yep, that would be our daughter Naima; those eyes, filled with ebullience and adventure widen exponentially at the thought of novel discoveries.

You can probably understand my bubbling apprehension when Mom and I decided to fly with her to Arizona for a few days. Oh yeah, full on stomach summersaults about everything from keeping her occupied to lugging a Britax carseat the size of another small child from layover to layover.

Well that Tuesday evening before we boarded our first plane, the miracle of kindness began to unfold. Complete strangers offered us help, often before we realized we needed it.

I am sure we were quite a sight, Mom and I, moving hurriedly, tightly grasping luggage, exhaustion showing on our faces.

When we arrived at the airport, a young airline worker in his twenties immediately  connected with us; we started to quickly explain we purchased our package online, and he calmly said, “I’ll take care of it for you.” He promptly checked us in without hesitation.

Not long after, making our way through the security check point, we turned around to see a young woman running behind us; she wanted to make sure Mom had her wallet which was left in one of the bins.

Remember that gigantic car seat I mentioned? Well on every flight (and we boarded four total), beautiful people helped us carry our carseat on and off the plane; it all started with a fellow Mom who sympathized  with me, “I know what it’s like to travel with a little one, “she said, her smile easy and instantly comforting. “We moved across country on a plane… I’ll  carry this seat on the plane for you.”

She urged Mom and I to move towards the front of the boarding line. “No, you guys are traveling with a small child, you should board now.” I would have hugged her if I were not holding Nai.

The phrase “random acts of kindness” is such a common way to describe what we experienced throughout our journey, but I don’t believe in random. I believe in purposeful.

It’s all connected, even if we cannot see it. God speaks to us through each life challenge, nudging us into a more complete trust.

Before we got to our last plane, we looked down at the boarding time on the tickets – less than 15 minutes to get to the next plane. The boarding gate felt as distant as China. Out of nowhere an airport worker, a Somali woman with skin the color of fresh toffee, said she would find someone with a golf cart.”You will never make it without help,” she said in a matter-of-fact tone.

She called for one of her co-workers who drove a golf cart, and ferried other passengers to and from flights. Mom quickly hopped on with the luggage, and Naima and I ran behind.

At this age kids are delighted by the novel, what annoys us as adults is seen as a joyful play to them. So Naima squealed with delight as we jogged through the airport.

Miraculously we arrived in a few minutes, but had to get on the plane almost immediately. I panicked. How would we get Nai back on another plane so quickly without irritation? Mom and I began to argue. “Melda (one of her nicknames for me), she said, exasperated, “we cannot spend the night in the airport!” “But Nai has not eaten dinner,” I countered, no longer willing to mask my frustration.

“How can I help?”a man with a friendly face asked. Before we could fully digest this random blessing, this Delta pilot offered to buy us dinner, and make sure our seats were next to one another. There was such peace on our flight home, a tangible calmness enveloped us.

In the weeks since I have thought so much about kindness and how it manifests in our lives, particularly during times of fear and frustration. Ultimately kindness is courage, the determination to move from our own life experience and consider the needs of others. Only when we see with our heart, as God sees us, will we begin to embody authentic and radical love, the root of kindness.

Mama Blog Chat: Creative Spirit, Jacquelyn Phoenix Soul

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Jacquelyn Phoenix Soul and children  Photo credit:
Jacquelyn Phoenix Soul and her children, daughters Cherie-Amor, Dela-Eden, and son Malachi. Photo Credit: Michelle Antoinette Photography

I think Moms are the coolest people on the planet! Maybe because I am one now. Ha! Seriously though, we juggle motherhood with work, relationships, and just general life stuff. How many Moms do you know who effortlessly heal their kiddos when sick and then tackle the rest of life’s challenges.

Yet the Moms I am especially inspired by are those who I have something in common with, you know those cool Moms who manage not to abandon their creative passions.

Jacquelyn and her eldest daughter Cherie-Amor Photo credit: Jacquelyn Phoenix Soul

Enter Brooklyn native Jacquelyn Phoenix Soul, a singer / performer, visual artist, jewelry maker, and poet who calls Baltimore home; she is also a birth doula / post partum doula / designer at Buddha Bump. Geez! How does she do it all, I wondered?

Jacquelyn Phoenix Soul performs with son Malachi on her hip  Photo credit: Michelle Antoinette Photography
Jacquelyn Phoenix Soul performs with at Culture Coffee in Washington, D.C. with son Malachi on her hip                             Photo credit: Michelle Antoinette Photography

So I thought, why not include a regular series on the blog where we can hear from Moms like her, and be inspired by their tenacity and determination to live fully?

I hope you enjoy our chat as much as I did! We discussed everything from scheduling (you know how she manages to raise such beautiful and bright kids – Cherie-Amor, Dela-Eden and Malachi) to faith and the diversity of her children’s personalities and the rich lessons of motherhood.

Something she said particularly resonated with me:

No one can mother your child better than you…  That child has chosen you to come here through.

Check out the full conversation here on Sound Cloud .

Keep up with her amazing work:

Facebook

Instagram 

Hear this awesome song she wrote, “Be Free

Jacquelyn Phoenix Soul and son Malachi  Photo courtesy of Jacquelyn Phoenix Soul
Jacquelyn Phoenix Soul and son Malachi
Photo credit: Cherie-Amor Clemmons
                               Dela-Eden strikes a pose                                     Photo credit: Jacquelyn Phoenix Soul
Visual artwork by Jacquelyn Phoenix Soul  Photo courtesy of Jacquelyn Phoenix Soul
Visual artwork by Jacquelyn Phoenix Soul
Photo credit: Jacquelyn Phoenix Soul
Malachi  Photo credit:
Malachi
Photo credit: Michelle Antoinette Photography

 

#1 Tip to Control Your Thoughts

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
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perfectimages

Up until a week ago, I literally wanted to hang up when family and friends advised me to, “Just think positive.” Oprah, Iyanla Vanzant, Joel Osteen, all of them were truly getting on my nerves. “THINK POSITIVE?! Are you kidding me? YOU try to think positive when all you’ve had is disappointment and setbacks.”

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So, when my best friend-cousin called to chat about life’s problems, I MUST have been channeling someone other than myself, or maybe the wise “Buddha Shannon” who I doubted was still alive.

I also have to thank John Randolph Price for his magical offering, The Abundance Book. I started it again, for the third time, ten days ago… and guess what folks ? I’m thinking positive! Yup, me, the girl who wanted to marry Oscar the Grouch.

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But back to my conversation with best friend-cousin, Tee. “Tee”, I said. “What if for every positive thought we think, someone gives us $50? And for every negative thought, the same person takes $50 away. I don’t know about you but I would try to make several million in just one day!”

So, that’s what I’ve been doing! When I wake up in the morning, I tell myself, “Self, let’s make some money today.” I imagine that instantly I get $50 for each positive thought. And each time I’m having a negative thought, I quickly try to change it around so I don’t loose a whole $50.

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This might sound silly but I promise you it’s been working all week! Last night when I went to bed, I was overcome by joy. It was a bliss that was supernatural. As for my mental bank account, I add $50 bills all day. As a matter of fact, I just added another one by pausing to think about how much I love the color green.  CHA-CHING!

I hear your question, “Is this really going to manifest into tangible money and the life of my dreams”? All I can say is that I surely do hope so.

I’ll keep you posted.

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LIVE IN COLOR! – Shannon