(excerpt taken from youtube)
"Chris Picco singing Blackbird to his son, Lennon James Picco, who was delivered by emergency C-section at 24 weeks when Chris' wife Ashley unexpectedly and tragically passed away in her sleep. Lennon's lack of movement and brain activity was a constant concern for the doctors and nurses at Loma Linda University Hospital, where he received the absolute best care available. During the pregnancy, Ashley would often feel Lennon moving to music so Chris asked if he could bring his guitar into the NICU and play for Lennon, which he did for several hours during the last days of Lennon's precious life. One day after filming this, Lennon went to sleep in his daddy's arms.
For more information please visit: http://www.piccomemorial.com"
I can't believe he was able to sing at this moment in his life. I'm losing it over here and he is singing this beautiful song to help his son and countless strangers. Chris Picco, you're an amazing human being. I can't imagine the loss you must feel. Thank you for sharing this with the world.
Meditating this morning on what it means to lead and what it means to be an individual wanting to be connected to a whole.
Simon Sinek's TED talk touches on how the more safe a group feels (safety is created by a leader), the more they will come together and fight the "dangers" surrounding the group. If an individual in a company, a family, or any relationship does not feel safe, they will be operating in fear - an emotion that takes away from productivity and enjoyment of life. He contemplates the actions and attitude a leader must take in order to create an atmosphere of safety.
Kare Anderson speaks about our fortunate obligation to create opportunities for others. She states that we should be constantly connecting other people in our networks to help them create something bigger than what they could ever accomplish on their own.
Simon Sinek: Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe
"You know, in the military, they give medals to people who are willing to sacrifice themselves so that others may gain. In business, we give bonuses to people who are willing to sacrifice others so that we may gain. We have it backwards. Right? So I asked myself, where do people like this come from? And my initial conclusion was that they're just better people. That's why they're attracted to the military. These better people are attracted to this concept of service. But that's completely wrong. What I learned was that it's the environment, and if you get the environment right, every single one of us has the capacity to do these remarkable things, and more importantly, others have that capacity too."
"The closest analogy I can give to what a great leader is, is like being a parent. If you think about what being a great parent is, what do you want? What makes a great parent? We want to give our child opportunities, education, discipline them when necessary, all so that they can grow up and achieve more than we could for ourselves. Great leaders want exactly the same thing. They want to provide their people opportunity, education, discipline when necessary, build their self-confidence, give them the opportunity to try and fail, all so that they could achieve more than we could ever imagine for ourselves."
"We call them leaders because they go first. We call them leaders because they take the risk before anybody else does. We call them leaders because they will choose to sacrifice so that their people may be safe and protected and so their people may gain, and when we do, the natural response is that our people will sacrifice for us. They will give us their blood and sweat and tears to see that their leader's vision comes to life, and when we ask them, "Why would you do that? Why would you give your blood and sweat and tears for that person?" they all say the same thing: "Because they would have done it for me." And isn't that the organization we would all like to work in?"
Kare Anderson: Be an Opportunity Maker
1. Keep honing your top strength
2. Become a pattern seeker
3. Get involved in different worlds than your own so you are trusted
4. Communicate to connect sweet spots of shared interest.
"The world is hungry for us to unite together as opportunity makers and to emulate those behaviors and to re-imagine a world where we use our best talents together more often to accomplish greater things together than we could on our own."
Came across Tillman's new single. This man was already a musical inspiration of mine, but this set me over the edge and down the deep ravine of musician love. Love it.
How many people rise and say
"My brain's so awfully glad to be here
For yet another mindless day"?
I've got all morning to obsessively accrue
A small nation of meaningful objects
And they've got to represent me too.
By this afternoon, I'll live in debt
By tomorrow, be replaced by children.
How many people rise and think
"Oh good, the stranger's body's still here
Our arrangement hasn't changed?"
Now I've got a lifetime to consider all the ways
I've grown more disappointing to you
As my beauty warps and fades
I suspect you feel the same
When I was young, I dreamt of a passionate obligation to a roommate
Is this the part where I get all I ever wanted?
Who said that?
Can I get my money back?
Just a little bored in the USA
Oh, just a little bored in the USA
Save me, white Jesus
Bored in the USA
Oh, they gave me a useless education
And a subprime loan
On a craftsman home
Keep my prescriptions filled
And now I can't get off
But I can kind of deal
Oh, with being bored in the USA
Oh, just a little bored in the USA
Save me, President Jesus
I'm bored in the USA
How did it happen?
Bored in the USA
Watched an interesting documentary by Spike Jonez that made me think a lot about creative works for children.
I got to this documentary by researching about Dallas Clayton who penned this book/series focusing on being awesome, giving thanks, and loving others. You have probably heard about him from the Google Chrome commercial that came out a few years back. That thing really stuck with me. So I checked out his Wikipedia article, his store (with tons of amazing and positive designs!!), and somehow ended up on a page about Spike Jonez and his work on this documentary about Sendak. The internet.
I'm grateful for authors like Sendak, Silverstein, and Dahl for writing honest pieces that don't sugar-coat the truth and grit of the real world. I am sorry my list does not include any women, I will work on finding some lady authors that fall in this category. I'm grateful for authors like Clayton who are working to share positive ideas with children, and who are equipping them with the psychological tools they will need to succeed in the world.
As I am trying to figure out my values and what I want my life to be about, focusing on impacting the lives of children is a priority for me. It is a time when we are more open to different opinions; it is a time when we haven't yet learned to discredit others based on our preconceptions of the world - the things we squeeze ever so tightly as we gather days on the earth. It is a hopeful time, and a time where change is the most possible. I envy that about kids, but, then again, maybe our mindset doesn't ever have to change.
"The mind of a child is a beginner's mind, and for them, every idea is fresh, stimulating, and leads somewhere surprising." -Kermit the Frog
Here's to keeping an open mind, and to being silly and honest to our kids!
Love and positive vibes to you and yours,
Showing some love to beautiful people. It would be awesome if our generation revived the postal industry. I'm sick of getting credit card letters in the mail.
Put a letter in the mail if you think humans should keep interacting in the good old ways!
Love and Peace,
Today I invited my grandparents over for lunch and tea. I've realized that I haven't thrown nearly enough dinner/lunch/brunch/food parties in my lifetime. There's something magical about sitting around with food and people you love. We talked about forming habits and I asked them if there are any habits they've kept their whole lives. Things like brushing their teeth, helping others, contacting family, making their bed in the morning, etc etc.
Coming out of the gathering what I've learned today is that I should make an effort to help others and treat myself right every day. Exercise and small acts of kindness should be an everyday occurrence. The old fashioned way of cleaning all the time and taking care of my possessions and body is good. It's imperative to form good habits. Now all I have to do is pick the habits and stick with them.
Do good in the world to yourself and others. Peace and love.
Until next time,
Here is the second project I completed in this refurbishing journey of furniture love and happiness. While at the Goodwill, we spotted a pair of bar stools. They seemed in fairly good condition, although the fabric was in bad shape. Upon further inspection we noticed that the footrest on one of the chairs was completely split in two. Too much work to repair that - so we set them aside.
We continued to search the place, not really spotting anything fancy, until wait, is that guy sitting on another one of these bar stools?? YES! Success! He got up and we ran over to collect the thing. We discarded the broken chair and took the pair of Coaster bar stools home with us.
My aunt walked into her fabric room that we jokingly call "the factory" or "the abyss" (the room is covered from floor to ceiling with fabric and creative materials) and pulled out a blue plaid. She says it is easiest to find a fabric that you like, and then match the paint to it once you've decided. Blue plaid on the seat made us think that the wood could easily be spray painted navy blue.
I removed the seat by unscrewing 4 screws underneath. The fabric was held on by staples again! So easy! So I took the staples out and removed the fabric. I took the plaid material and cut it to the same shape as the old fabric, and stapled it on in no time flat! We bought a pneumatic stapler that you hook up to an air compressor and it makes the job EASY PEASY. I highly recommend it.
I spray painted the chairs navy blue with Rustoleum 2x primer/paint and blue myself like Tobias in Arrested Development. It was hilarious because I had to be at a fancy event for work the next day so I was scrubbing off the paint from my skin vigorously that night!
I put the chairs back together and my aunt deocrated this cute hat from her store with matching fabric and here is what they look like now!
Project two is done, photographed, written, and now awaiting a new home. Thanks for reading! I'm off to make refrigerator soup.
My Aunt Mary is a creative freak.
While I'm living with her, she suggested that I start refurbishing furniture as a small business. It appeals to my creative side, and it gives me a few extra bucks at the end of the week. I've been working on pieces for about a month. I have just been horrible at posting about them.
SO, here is the before and after of my very first haul from the Goodwill.
We found these three beat-up chairs under a pile of junk. The trim around the upholstery was torn off, the fabric was stained, and the wood had been worn away from years of use. My aunt saw the potential, and couldn't believe the beautiful hand-carved details in the legs and arm rests. I trusted that she knew what she was talking about, so we took all three chairs
I have never upholstered ANYTHING before this project, and was a bit intimidated. However, once I started ripping the fabric off the chair I realized that most upholstery is just fabric stapled to wood. Surprisingly, it's not that hard. It is especially convenient when your aunt used to create Victorian style dresses as a side business and still has tons of fabric just lying around the house.
Fast forward a couple weeks after learning various basics of furniture repair and voila! Three classic masterpieces. Three pieces of junk that were a few hours from being sent to the dump. Three beautiful chairs that will hopefully fill someone's home with love and happiness.
This is really fun, people. There is sad furniture everywhere just waiting patiently to be loved. Next time you need something in your home, consider the endless possibilities of refurbishing and GO FOR IT!
Go tear something up. You're gonna like it, I guarantee it.