“Acts of Kindness”

I recently read that teachers in Connecticut schools are asking their students to do “26” acts of kindness during the month of December.  This is a beautiful tribute to the innocent children and teachers who lost their lives during the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in Newtown, CT.  Tomorrow (December 14th, 2015) is the third anniversary of the infamous day that shocked us all as a nation.  The season of grief for this event is still not over.  Yet, we are to acknowledge the parents, family members and teachers who pursue change in our society as the Sandy Hook Promise and change in our culture of kindness as a legacy of their beloved.    

As new playgrounds are built in the state of Connecticut, they are being named after the children and teachers who lost their lives during this tragedy.  I visited one in Watertown last June and it was a very moving and emotional experience.  I could not help but feel ache in my heart and can only imagine the loss, the sadness and grief that still exists in the community of Newtown every day.

To all the Sandy Hook Elementary school children and teachers that are not with us December 14th, 2015 – please know that we honor you all and we will never forget the gift and contribution of your lives.


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“You Raise Me Up…”

This is a dedication to those who have provided inspiration through love, through kindness or acts of community service.
“When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary
When troubles come and my heart burdened be
Then I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me
You raise me up so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be
There is no life – no life without it’s hunger
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly
But when you come and I am filled with wonder
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity
You raise me up so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be…”
                                                                                                                        Josh Groban
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“Service with a Smile…”

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After publishing the husky puppy photographs in recent posts, some friends asked for current photographs of my beloved Siberian Husky – Nikki.  Well, here she is with her beautiful smile to share with all of you.  She is my loyal companion and was really quite resilient during and after the September flood here in Lyons.  In fact, I can say that she has been extraordinary with a new change in her behavior.  As most know, we were displaced from our homes for two months.  Once we returned, everything was changed:  the landscape, homes and people’s lives.  It seems as though Nikki sensed the change in her town and stress for everyone here.  Consequently, she has created a new “job” for herself.  She wants to walk on Main Street every day and greets everyone that she approaches.  She looks at people, flashes her smile and then waits…  Of course, people are enamored with her beauty and immediately stop, compliment her and start to pet her.  Nikki cuddles with everyone that she meets and before the interaction is over, they are smiling too and I think Nikki realizes this as well.   It seems as though she has become one with her soul purpose to bring comfort and joy to the lives of others with the pure essence of her personality.  She is being compassionate, caring and a source of inspiration and peace even for a few moments in someone’s day.  My Nikki is a role model for service to humanity … and, she does it with a smile!

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“My Personal Heroes”

McDonald’s Creek

It is time for high school graduation ceremonies and I wanted to take time to acknowledge my former high school students who remained as middle school advisors for community service this year. When I retired from teaching last year, I was unsure if my middle school community service program would continue. However, my high school juniors decided to dedicate their senior year to working with a “new” teacher to assist her throughout the school year. To me, this was amazing and I am honored and humbled by their acts of kindness and dedication to service. So, I wanted to use this public forum to share my respect, honor and love for each of “my” high school students.

So, to all of you, this is my graduation speech for you…

I wish you the best in all your future endeavors and please know that you will always have a special place in my heart. You are my personal heroes and a constant reminder to me of the far-reaching effects of compassion. I am so clear now that the people you serve receive your love and you are empowered by the experience of making a difference in our world with your actions. Ultimately, just as powerful, are the observers of your service. We, who look at your actions for the good with awe at your incredible aliveness, are blessed a hundred-fold observing your actions of love. We become inspired. We become hopeful. We become whole with humanity. You change our actions for the good by being role models for us.

I have always called you the peacemakers of the world as you are our future leaders. It was all of you who inspired the name of my inspirational art photography endeavor – PeacemakersArt.com. So, to each of you, I send you my love forever and my admiration for your integrity to “be” the change in the world that will bring peace.

With special love,

Ms. Gaia

flanders nature center

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