BRANCHES OF KINDNESS

Blog Branches of Kindness

Guess what I did this past weekend? A ton of manicuring went on in the yard Sunday and there is much to go. As you can imagine, my muscles are reminding me of my overzealous actions today (and will tomorrow and next day and the next). Based on the image above and the mosquito bites I keep discovering on my arms and legs I think I am pointing out the obvious.

What is not so obvious is there is a random act of kindness mixed into this pile of limbs.
As I was trimming branches along the public sidewalk outside the iron fence, a young woman walked up and was waiting at a distance for me to notice her presence. When I finished clipping a high branch and followed it to the ground I made eye contact. A bit startled I said, “Oh, hello!!” She stood there unsure if she should continue or not. “I’ll have all of this cleaned up by the time you walk home,” I said laughing because the path of grey concrete was completely covered in a sea of dark and light green. With the removal of one earplug from her headset and a backpack full of possessions centered between her shoulders the young woman wearing a sundress replied with an accent, “I’ll just walk this way.” She headed out towards the curb and proceeded. We smiled at each other and I grabbed my cutting tool and looked back up at the tree.
As I finished the same motion when I noticed her, I looked down the sidewalk where she was headed. I expected to see her halfway down the block jamming to her music, but that was not the case. What I saw was a random act of kindness. She was picking up the branches from where I started and was gently bringing them together into a pile. Not a word did she speak as she did this even when I kindly thanked her and told her it was not necessary. She even brought me the small walkie talkie I had set down in the grass and said, “I found this.” I took it from her hands and thanked her for the help. She and I exchanged another smile without words just as we had on the side of the concrete where we first interacted.
It only lasted about five minutes, but the act of kindness is still alive and well in my heart. While I wished I had asked her name and where she was from, I now know I know all I am supposed to know about her – she is a good and kind soul.
I went back to work replaying that moment in time and eventually removed all the heavy limbs and branches from the sidewalk and pulled them through the gate. A friend saw this happen as well from a distance and we both talked about how nice it was for her to do this on such a hot day.
I did not see her walk back by. But, just in case she returned along the same path she was going to have the smoothest walk in front of the house as possible. I took a broom and was diligent in brushing away all the tiny sticks and anything else lying on the sidewalk – it was the least I could do for the stranger who warmed my heart on Sunday.
How will you warm someone’s heart through a random act of kindness? Think about it.
In health and happiness,
EP
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Humans of Gratitude – Meet Dancing Charlie

Dancing Charlie

Without a doubt, Dancing Charlie knew what he was grateful for…

1.) Friends.

2.) Dance lessons & dancing.

3.) I’ve worked hard my whole life and I have lived a good life.

 

Who knew I was going to meet such a vivacious gentleman one Monday morning when I sat outside drinking a cup of coffee and asked him, “Is the day a beautiful one for you?” Without hesitation, he walked over and sat across from me and struck up a conversation. What a charmer and complete delight!

 

“I was married for 30 years to a woman and, then, she dumped me!!! Now, I find out where the ladies are and go dancing. Dancing Charlie is what they call me – even the young ladies come up to me and want me to dance with them. They may not be as popular, but I wear a bolo tie and red fedora when I dance.

 

I’m 85 and my doctor says I could knock off 15 if I wanted to. I’ve never smoked a cigarette and think this has helped. I watch friends walk around with oxygen machines because of smoking, not me. And, I have only had one beer in my life.

 

I’m a pack rat , BUT I’m a happy pack rat!! I’m retired – I have all the time in the world. The dumb stuff doesn’t bother me!”

 

(When I asked him if he would be the first person featured in my Humans Of Gratitude project and may I take his picture, he said yes and immediately posed stating, “I’ve learned you should pose without looking into the camera.”)

 

My Humans of Gratitude project is one I have envisioned for some time now. Look for more gratitude and human interest stories on EPD – join my newsletter to stay in touch with these stories, new art and designs, and so much more! Thank you for being a part of my EPD family!!! If you liked this story, you might also like A Conversation With Mona and Sweet Love & Loom Bracelets.

 

In health and happiness,

 

EP

 

 

 

 

The Process: Working with My Clients

Over the years, I have found a special place in my heart for all of my customers. Every person I have encountered is unique and I am forever changed by their presence. Custom clients are no exception. Over time, I have been sought out and trusted to create one-of-a-kind pieces of art – an honor I am humbled by.

So, what is my process when working with custom clients? I have been asked this many times and, if you will allow me to, I will share the timeline of one in particular.

Beginning

Mandy has been a customer of mine for a few years now and we have talked about her desire to have me create a custom piece for her several times. About a month or two ago she sent me a message stating, “Hi Erin, We’d talked earlier about doing a custom necklace mixing some of the pieces I have from a copper necklace with some of your acrylics. Are you still interested and would you want to meet up to look at the material and talk design?” I was quick to respond and set up a meeting with her.

At the coffee shop where we met, she presented me with a 3-piece green patinaed necklace. She loved the necklace because the copper came from the State Capitol of Kansas’ copper dome renovation, however, she felt the necklace laid out like Mickey Mouse along her neck. Immediately my mind started to create. I had my notepad and pen ready to start sketching. “This is what I am seeing and I can send you progress images to keep you up-to-date,” I said. What she expressed next put me in a state of awe. “I don’t need the progress images. I trust you and know you will put your ‘good ju ju’ into it. Surprise me.” I am not sure if I blushed on the outside, but my heart was warmed by her trust in me.

Then, I started to ask more questions. What makes you happy? What kind of music do you like to listen to, etc.? Mandy told me everything I needed to know to create an environment in the studio that would be all about her. Just the essence of her would have been enough – she is so beautiful inside and out!

I digested our conversation and took time to reflect several times so, when I woke up one morning I knew it was Mandy’s day and I was in the right place to design her necklace. Every movement throughout the morning was to prepare me. Nothing was going to get in the way of connecting in the deepest way to her trust in me as a designer.

Her favorite music is Blue Grass and Celtic. I started to play a variety of these after I spritzed the studio with my angel spray from Angels with Fran and meditated. I asked Spirit and my angels to watch over me and help guide me throughout the design, then let go of all control and surrendered to the trust I have in my beliefs. I must say, the studio atmosphere shifted into an even calmer and peaceful state after this. I was ready!

Acrylic PiecesMeltingCooling

Since Mandy was inspired to reach out as situations in her life were shifting and growing professionally, I visualized the number 8 for abundance. This is how I came up with the eight hand-sawed, sanded, and filed acrylic pieces. Because I wanted a consistent look among all eight, I individually melted them in an oven and watched carefully to take them out at just the right time. Once cooled and sanded again a small hole was drilled at the top of each acrylic bar. From here I arranged them in proper order and reworked the three patinaed circles and added a sterling silver Bali bead at the end to make it a cohesive unit. Placing each component on a sterling silver chain was the final step making sure it was the proper length. All of this took place while the essence of Mandy I spoke of above was a constant in my mind. The flow of everything was quite beautiful.

When it was finished I will admit there was a slight twinge of nervousness within me. I loved it, but would Mandy? Again, I had to let go and trust. I packaged it up and lightly sprayed the Angel Spray again and blessed the necklace. Then, I wrote a personalized note indicating everything I had infused into the creation.

Letter from Me to You

Mandy was unable to receive the package in person, but sent me a note stating, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE IT!!!!!!!! It’s art!” My heart did a happy dance and I was filled with joy!

It is my wish for Mandy to wear it in health, happiness, and much love. This is how I feel about all of my customers, custom or not.

Finished Product

There you have it! The process of designing and creating Erin Paige Designs goes way beyond just the necklace or painting – it is my purpose. If you would like to work with me, I would be an honor.

As I end this blog, I send you an Irish blessing…

“May God grant you always…A sunbeam to warm you, a moonbeam to charm you, a sheltering Angel so nothing can harm you. Laughter to cheer you. Faithful friends near you. And whenever you pray, Heaven to hear you.”

In health and happiness,
Ep
If you liked this blog, you might also enjoy Kansas City Fountains, My Childhood, & His and A Conversation With Mona. Thank you for being here and don’t forget to join my newsletter!

 

 

Kansas City Fountains, My Childhood & His

 

Fountain Day Pic

Happy Fountain Day! April 14th has proven to be a fabulous day in Kansas City to turn on the fountains for all to enjoy. I was able to swing by and listen briefly to the lovely sounds (and at times a misty spray) of the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain on the Country Club Plaza. There was a ceremony earlier and the crews were breaking down the festivities, but the joy of people watching was still in full swing. People were sitting on benches eating their lunch talking and laughing and mothers were pushing strollers while little ones watched the water in wonder.

The fountains located on The Plaza have always been special to me. When I was in the 5th grade my family would load up on a Friday and head to Kansas City for the weekend from Andover, Kansas, so my mother could take treatments for an autoimmune disease she suffered from. This happened every Friday for many, many months. Because of her disease was related to food allergies, we often found ourselves on The Plaza for a Mexican dinner at Annie’s Santa Fe. As a family, we became fond of the area and, of course, the fountains. And, yes, many wishes were given to these water monuments with the flip of a penny!

Foundtain with L and Me

My son also has memories of Kansas City’s fountains, especially when he was little. He went to a Montessori pre-school near The Plaza and would often ask if we could walk around after school and toss wishes into the water. Other times while at home, he would suggest we go down to the “horse fountain” and sit. Since he is a teenager now and time with mom is not at the top of his list (lol), I still find myself detouring on occasion to enjoy and reminisce. I am grateful for the framed image I have in my art studio with us sitting on the edge of the “horse fountain” one evening many years ago – I can still remember the way the sun was setting and my sister taking the photo…this memory makes my heart glad!

If you are from Kansas City or come to visit, please make sure to stop and experience these beautiful water sculptures. You can find a map of all the fountains through The City of Fountains Foundation website.

“A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles.” – Washington Irving

In health and happiness,

Ep

*If you liked this post, you might like There Was Amazement & Wonder In Their Eyes or A Swing Set & Being Present…You Are Loved. And, while you are here, subscribe to my newsletter at the top of the home page.

Jewelry Designs, Puzzle Pieces, & Life

Puzzle Pieces

When I design, I feel it is just like life. I create unique pieces, unique to me. Some pieces turn out exactly like I envisioned them and others not so much. I rarely toss out the components which do not seem to fit the design I am working on, because I always end up finding a place for them in time. It’s kind of like putting a puzzle together – I have all these shapes and sizes and I have to wait for the right time and place to fit them in. (Maybe being a lifelong lover of puzzles is paying off!)

Isn’t life similar? We are presented with different moments and lessons which come in various shapes and sizes. Some fit, some don’t. On occasion, we have to let a moment go because it does not serve us and the life we are living. It is how we choose to react and place these lessons into our lives which creates a story – our own unique pattern. Sometimes we have to take a situation and put it in a safe place until the right moment in time comes along and, then, we know exactly how it fits into our timeline.

In my opinion, life is simple. Love with all you heart, have faith, speak your truth, and be willing to look at each capsule of time as a puzzle piece. Eventually, if you go with the flow and are open to learning along the way, everything will come together as it should. Just like my designs.

In health and happiness,

EP

*Don’t forget to join our newsletter while you are here.

If you liked this post, you might also like: Words: They Matter and We Are Connected – Meet Simone and Tuyet.

We Are Connected – Meet Simone & Tuyet

It is no secret I love meeting new people and feel we are all connected. There is an opportunity to meet new people wherever you are, so while I am on vacation in San Francisco it has been no surprise to my son I would find a few new friends. I would like to introduce you to two lovely souls.

Please Meet Simone…

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I was drawn to Simone Guimaraes’ booth while walking around the San Francisco Farmer’s Market on Saturday, March 14th because of her artwork. It was colorful, spirited, and I noticed her portraits of Fride Kahlo, then cats. I said, “Good morning” with a smile and she responded, “Good morning! How are you, my dear?” I responded by saying, “I’m wonderful!” She stumbled over her words because she said, “I’m sorry. Most people don’t use the word wonderful, they usually use words like “not so good” or “not great”, so I was taken back by the word you used.” This set us up for a super conversation and discussion about her artwork.

Simone is from Brazil. She has one daughter and, now, one grand-daughter. They all live together because her daughter’s husband is in the military and was “shipped off” to serve in Afghanistan.

While she kept sharing and I listened, I picked out two pieces of artwork – one painting of a mama cat and a kitten sitting on her head which (to me) represents this vacation with my son and the other of a heart. Both pieces have a map of San Francisco in the background. When we talked about her artwork she informed me she left her job to follow her love of creating art. “This is my passion,” she said. “I hit 50 and said to myself ‘I really need to live differently’, so this is what I do.” Wow, how inspiring! This pulled me in even more. I told her I was an artist as well and we swapped stories. “I see my work in my dreams.” “Me too,” I said ethusiastically! It was like I had known her for much longer than 10 minutes.

I knew I needed to share her with you and asked her if I could take her picture. She agreed, but first she needed to change her hat. “This one is not as good as this one. See the artwork? I made it. It is not for sale.” She changed her hat and I took the photo. We shared a handshake and blessings.

Check out her artwork at www.SimoneGuimaraes.com. Below are the pieces I purchased as my souvenirs.

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Now, Meet Tuyet (too-wet)…

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After a long day of walking, my son and I decided to treat ourselves to pedicures and not eat as fancy on March 12th. We found a salon not too far from the hotel. As we hobbled down the street (yes, our feet hurt that bad), I called the nail salon and a soft voice answered. I made my request and the answer was, “We very busy, but come at 6:30.” It was 6:00, so we walked on and decided to wait.

As we sat there in silence, no music, and not a ton of conversation between the technician and her client, I began to wonder if this was the right place to be. I even whispered to my son, “I am getting an interesting vibe about this situation. Maybe we need to go somewhere else.” Something made me stay.

I could feel the stress and anxiety of the tech. I felt she didn’t know what to do with two people wanting pedicures at the same time. She asked me to come over first and began soaking my feet. Still I could feel her tension. So once she put a small fan on my feet to let the polish dry and asked my son to come over, I decided I would talk to her.

“Thank you. I love the color I picked out. It is prettier than I thought it would be,” I said. Her response was, “Yes, it is a pretty color. I like it.” Then she said, “Is this your only child?” I reached over and touched my son’s arm and said, “Yes, he’s my only one and, of course, he very special to me.” I returned the question and said, “What about you? Do you have children?” She shared with me she had one daughter who was 25 and was studying finance at San Francisco State. Her English was not great and she apologized for it. I told her it was no problem and to take her time. “I always want a son, but I am over 50 now so it will not be,” she stated.

The whole atmosphere shifted as we talked. She became more relaxed, opened up to me and even smiled a very soft and delightful smile. “What is your name,” I asked. “Tuyet,” she responded. I asked her to spell it for me and pronounce it one more time, then asked what it meant. “Snow,” she replied. “What a beauitful name!! Very special.” I also found out that she is from Vietman and has lived here for five years.

The salon closed at 7:30 and she finished my son’s pedicure by 7:25, I pointed this out and it seemed she was a bit relieved she would be able to go home on time.

I wished her and her daughter all my best as we left. As we walked out the door, I knew I had made the right decision to stay. With a little bit of kindness, I was able share this moment with a very shy woman.

Everyone has a story. I am so glad I had an opportunity to meet these two women and learn their story, if only a small part of it. Embrace each other. We are connected.

In love and happiness,

Ep

Money Is Money. Pick It Up!

Penny Pic

One Friday morning and I was running into an office and noticed a penny on the ground. I was going to pick it up, but my arms were full and, because I was a bit rushed when I left, I forgot about it until I was already driving down the street. When I went back to the same office the following Monday, the penny was still there! I was amazed and thought, “Mr. Lincoln really wants me to take him home!!” I promptly picked him up and was grateful for money (in any amount) being laid at my feet.

Many of you grew up learning the rhyme, “Find a penny pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck.” or you heard the debate on whether or not to pick it up depending on “heads up” or “heads down”. I was always told to only pick up the pennies with Lincoln’s profile facing up. But, as I got older, I thought, “Would I only pick up a $100 bill if George’s face was gazing into my eyes?” HECK NO!! I would be fast and furious and President Washington would get to be my happy dance partner in the middle of a public sidewalk. So, I see no reason not to give Abe the same enthusiasm.

I asked Robyn Stevens of Robyn Stevens Feng Shui how she approaches this money matter. Here is what she had to say:

“Find a penny, pick it up! Regardless of heads up or heads down. Who cares! It’s money and should be respected, appreciated and joyfully received.

As an expert in feng shui, many clients come to me because they want to increase their flow of prosperity. They make changes in their homes and offices with that specific intention in mind.

Found pennies are unexpected flows of prosperity coming your way; a confirmation that your intentions are creating new abundance. The Universe (or Spirit, or money fairies, whatever works for you) has put money in your path, pick it up with a heartfelt and joyful “Thank You!”

Just a penny you say? No such thing. When you pass it by you are telling the Universe, ‘no need for money here’ and the flow dries up. So, in this feng shui practitioner’s humble opinion; find a penny?  PICK.IT.UP.”

So there you have it. I’m glad this is settled! Wishing you a lovely and fascinating day!!

In health and happiness,

Ep

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No, We Aren’t Married Anymore…

Me and Lincoln

We may not be married anymore but, we are bound together as parents for life. The journey from newly divorced in 2004 to this moment in time has not always been easy. They say time heals all wounds. So does owning up to your 50%, realizing life does move on and you need to embrace it or it will pass you by, learning to love the other person for who they are even if this does not match up with who you are, and many more. My son’s dad and I are the same people we were when we married and divorced, but we have both grown as individuals and I believe we both embrace each other differently because of this growth.

I am in no way stating we live in bliss in two separate homes. Absolutely not. We still do not see eye to eye from time to time and have an occasional tiff. But, how we handle these moments is much different. Our approach is different. We listen more. We actually call each other more often and work through the muck. And, yes, sometimes we have to agree to disagree which is fine.

Since we are parents for life, we must continue to grow together. We are a family first – this includes his new family of a wife and little one. Without this, I know my life would feel unbalanced and unhappy and this is not good for our son.

Because of hard work, forgiveness, and love, this moment happened…

I had been working in Emporia, KS (south of Kansas City where we all live) one morning and was heading home when I realized my ex-husband and son would travel the same highway on their way to their annual hunting trip. So, I picked up the phone and asked where they were. They were just outside of KC, so we exchanged mile markers. This gave us a gage of where our cars would passed on the highway. I was SUPER excited and I could tell his dad thought it was fun too. So, we said we would touch base in one half hour and hung up. When I called back they had stopped at a gas station to get a drink and I was just a mile or so from same exit.

I walked into the service station and said, “There they are!!” I walked up to my son and gave him a huge hug. To his dad I said, “How fun is this?” He agreed. It was five minutes of connecting as family and as friends. Plus, I was able to see my son one more time before his mini vacation and take the picture above.

A sense of appreciation came out of this moment. I know many divorced parents who would never be able to have a moment like this. Each couple has their issues and conflicts and story, so I am not here to give advice or judge. It is my hope that by sharing my story, it (just) might allow you to see things differently. We started with baby steps and maybe you can too.

In health and happiness,

Ep

If you liked what you read above, please subscribe to the EPD newsletter. You might also enjoy reading Dreams Enclosed and A Swing Set & Being Present…You Are Loved.

Coffee Talk Leads To New Vision

Susan Righter and Me

I am always amazed how a simple cup of coffee can lead to aspiring visions. This is exactly what happened when Susan Righter and I met today. Susan is an artist in Kansas City. Her paintings are on display around the metro and her studio is in InterUrban ArtHouse located in Overland Park. We met for coffee to connect and learn more about each other and what we found out is we have much in common and a similar vision for life.

This is a quick teaser to let you know you will be hearing more about us. That is all! :)

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I am proud to showcase her “Moving Through Hearts” in my home.

To view more of her work and learn more about Susan, click here.

In health and happiness,

Ep

The 3 “V”s & A Ton of Passion

Dr Rogers Cottey College

Finding Your Voice: Insight on Ways to Grow Your Leadership Skills

This was the title of today’s Central Exchange event over the lunch hour. With joy and gratitude I went up and shook Cottey College for Women’s President, Dr. Judy Rogers hand. While the room was full of leaders and business women, I am quite sure each one took away a piece of new information and/or was reminded of what it takes to be a leader and business owner.

I wanted share Dr. Rogers 3 “V”s:

Vision – You must have this because it gives your business or project a future.

Voice – You must give your vision a voice.

Values – Stand up for yourself and your values. “Draw a line in the sand, if you have to.” Sometimes, this means you will have to walk away.

And…you must mix these with passion!

You could say Vision, Voice, Values, and Passion can be applied to any aspect of life. Would you agree?

To learn more about Cottey College for Women, please click here.

In health and happiness,

Ep