Friday, December 17, 2010

Mission Green Blessings

For this holiday season, as I travel to the bitter cold of the east coast from the warmer airs of Southern California, I am looking to take stock of my blessings. My green blessings to be exact.

All of those blessings, simple and valuable, that bring joy and fill me with gratitude.

This holiday season, take time to look around and see what blessings and joy you have in your life. From family to friends, to clean air and trees, from love to compassion, there are blessings everywhere. Happy holidays and see you for more green joy in the new year!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Daring to Taking Action

The ringing in of the new year is a clear and nearby sound, so close I can feel it. I have felt this melodious warmth most of the year as I have laid the foundation and worked tirelessly toward a brand new beginning. This transition in my life has been met with the grace and blessings of mentors, newfound friends, a set of skills I never knew I possessed, and a healthy dose of humor and humility.

For fifteen years of my life I had what my sister calls a "servant's heart." I still do, but am looking to serve in a different way. I worked in community mental health as a social worker, therapist, advocate, director, supervisor, problem solver and morale booster. I loved every moment of it. I loved every crisis I helped to manage, every person who grew stronger, and sharing compassion and hope everyday. This is who I am. This is my soul and essence.

So, it was a surprise to me when I decided that I simply needed more resources to help more people. I had never thought about this concept before. I had always thought that hope would be enough, that caring would be enough. And, indeed it can be, and it was for the thousands of children and families I was honored to help. It was my clients who taught me the real lesson though. They helped me more than they will ever know. When we lost our program for adults and had to close their services within two weeks, it was their tears that left me with more wisdom. When we lost a program for children and parents based in the community that they could actually access it was their tears that left me with even more wisdom. When both of these programs, and several others during my career, closed due to budget cuts, it was the tears of gratitude from the children and parents that left me wiser. They did not blame. They only cried in thanks. They were the strong ones. They were resilient.

I began to think last year, how can we give those who are struggling in poverty even more of a chance, even more resources, even more to work with and grow from? All of these hundreds of clients were able to survive and thrive everyday in circumstances that most of us can't even fathom let alone have the strength to endure. Most of these children and families took any and every resource and opportunity they were given, no matter the length of time, and learned as much and grew as much as they could. Imagine what would happen if these and the millions of other families challenged by poverty were provided tools such as more education, community resource centers, job training, and more!

So, I started two businesses, both aimed at raising money to fund communities. The aim is to fund community and school gardens, to fund community resource centers for job training and basic needs, to fund schools to have enough teachers and resources for every child. The first business, Green Queens and Kings, focuses on the power of our children to change their planet and their community in eco-friendly ways, and the sales of an app I created called Green Quest will help toward funding community and school gardens, as well as green job training. My second business is focused on day trading, getting in there with the crowd of movers and shakers of the financial realm to claim some cash for people who need it. This second business has had its challenges, but any and all profits go toward a fund for my vision to strengthen schools and communities.

By raising enough money to fund these efforts, then I will not have to tell families that budget cuts have closed down their services. I am blessed to be a part of providing even more resources to resilient and strong children and families, one community at a time.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network blogging program, for a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Oprah Winfrey NetworkThe New Oprah Winfrey Network

Mission Green Heart Thursday!

The final stretch before the end of another amazing year! Let's celebrate with our green hearts by practicing patience today.
For some this may seem quite easy and for others, such as myself, this may be a challenge. The point of patience is to get us to a quieter place, a place of calm where we are more grounded.

So, whether you practice patience while waiting in line at the toy store or grocery store, or practice patience while managing a traffic jam, or practice patience by simply going off to sit beneath a tree and meditate, try it and see how you feel. See if it fills your green heart with meaning in the middle of this holiday hustle and bustle.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mission Green Heart Tuesday

Consider gifting with your green heart to schools in need!

This great website links you with any school or project you would like to donate to. Know that this holiday season you will help students to achieve greater learning with this gift!

Click here!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mission Green Heart Monday

For those of you who are familiar with the phrase, Green Heart, skip to the next paragraph. Having a green heart means having a heart of compassion, joy and generosity. This week's focus will be on ways to share that green heart with others.

For Mission Green Heart Monday, generosity is the goal. No excuses on this one because it is possible for us to be generous in thousands of different ways. Find a soup kitchen to volunteer at, old clothes to donate to the Goodwill or Salvation Army, or give the generous gift of time to an elderly neighbor living alone. Look around and see how you can be generous today!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mission Green Gift Friday!

Give the gift of clean air!

There are many ways to do so - ride your bike to work or to shop if your destination is local, or walk instead. Plant a tree to help boost the oxygen levels, or put a plant in your house for cleaner indoor air. Of course, the cessation of smoking cigarettes helps as well. Take a deep breath in and think creatively about how you can contribute to cleaner air in your part of the world - it means cleaner air for the whole world!

For those able to do so, electric cars are also here!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mission Green Gift Thursday

What a week of gift giving!

Lots going on in life and it is only getting busier! So, to make it really simple, for Thursday...

give the gift of cocoa!

If you live in a cold climate, drink a nice big warm mug of cocoa! You can make it with soy milk, or cow milk, or goat's milk, with whipped cream, extra chocolate or any way you want! If you don't like cocoa or live in a warm climate, choose a delicious beverage you love, kick back, sip away and enjoy a break!

Some organic cocoa here!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mission Green Gift Wednesday

Absolutely, totally inspired by my experience today in helping to save a hawk! There are so many organizations out there that work very hard to save beautiful animals everyday, and they do so with limited resources.

Whether you choose to donate to the National Wildlife Federation or the World Wildlife Fund or a local wildlife center, try to donate a small amount of money or volunteer time to help our furry friends.

As I discovered today Wild Wings of California is fabulous!

The Bunny Bunch is excellent as well!

But, truly, find a place that speaks to your heart. Volunteer time is always needed so if you don't have the money and have a little extra time, head on over to help to feed, clean, or take care of your local animals in need.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mission Green Gift Tuesday

Tuesday's Mission Green Gift giving is super easy!

Go outside for at least 15 minutes today and breathe! It is that simple! Give your lungs and your mind a chance to take in the gift of air and space.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mission Green Gift Monday!

A green gift is really just a present that keeps us in the present. An experience that we can have with a loved one which we can look back on and smile about.

Think back to some of your fondest memories from when you were a child. Did they involve baking cookies (and eating them) with your mother? Or, sleigh riding with your brother? The consumer products we received for the holidays that led to experiences were the ones that created the best memories. The ice skates that led to a wonderful afternoon of falling, getting back up again, and laughing with your father. The Mystery Date game that resulted in hours of fun dreaming and giggling with your sister. All of these were really green gifts because they created that time of togetherness with your family.

It is not necessary to spend any money on any products though to create those shared memories. For today, think of one way you can gift green without spending any money. Perhaps you can have a sing-a-long with your children tonight, or build a new holiday story together, or go outside to make snow angels.

Whatever you choose, know that this "green" experience alone is priceless.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mission Kindness Friday!

Can you believe how fast this week went? And, how much fun it was to spread kindness all week long?! Just because Friday is the last day to complete this mission that doesn't mean you can't continue to spread kindness in any way any day. Keep it going and keep feeling what a difference it makes in yours and others lives.

For Mission Kindness Friday we are going to go out in style, green style that is. To honor and celebrate Kwanzaa, Hannukah, and Christmas, as well as all festivities this holiday season, your mission is to find one "green" gift to give to a friend or family member.

This green gift can be a simple seed, a delicious home-baked bread, or a dried flower arrangement. This green gift can be a tree planted in your friend's name or a fresh hand-made lavender sachet for your mom. Whatever you think of is great because it comes from your caring green heart!

Congratulations on embracing your green power this week to complete Mission Kindness!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mission Kindness Thursday

Show kindness without words to fulfill today's mission -

how is this possible you may ask?

Music, art, flowers, gardening, dancing, cooking......the list is endless!

Time to be creative!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mission Kindness Wednesday

Hoping it was fun for you to choose one way to be kind to the earth on Tuesday!

For Mission Kindness Wednesday, choose one family member and do something sweet and special just for that person. It is up to you to be as creative and kind as you want to be!

Does your hubby enjoy cherry garcia ice cream? Does your son love Pokemon? Does your daughter enjoy hearing you sing? Maybe your mother loves chocolate?! Leave a note in your wife's purse telling her how much you love her could be a hit! Try any ideas you can think of specifically tailored to one or more family members!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mission Kindness Tuesday

Hopefully being kind to one person for Mission Kindness Monday wasn't too difficult! What I noticed is that people are actually in the holiday mood and extra pleasant as of late. I tried to fulfill Mission Kindness Monday a few times by holding the door open for people, but found this near impossible because people continued to gesture that I should go through the door as they held it open for me! Finally, I was able to show kindness to one woman today as she became upset about her coffee taking "forever" to be provided to her at a local cafe. I cracked a joke, she laughed, we chatted, and then she didn't seem to notice at all that another 5 minutes went by. She even thanked the newly hired young man as she was given her coffee. Mission Kindness Monday completed!

So, what else can we do on Tuesday to complete this mission?

Let's look at the green theme, that ultimately, being kind to each other and the planet is beneficial in every way. For Tuesday, be prepared to be challenged - to show kindness to the earth in any way you choose.

Perhaps you plant a tree, a flower, hang a birdfeeder, make peace with the yappy dog next door, decide to stop using that hairspray, or eat an organic apple. The options are infinite!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mission Kindness Monday

A Green Queen or King is one who values the earth, nature and others by showing kindness. Thus, in looking to the holiday season and to the root of green power, this week will be dedicated to Mission Kindness.

For Monday, the Mission Kindness activity will be simple and fun and can be tailored to all ages.

Simply, be kind to one person today.

For example, perhaps your child shares a set of crayons with a friend at school or offers a child sitting alone to eat lunch with him.

If you are an adult and notice a person struggling to open a store door while holding bags you can get the door for her. Or, maybe you know your neighbor is going through a rough patch so you bring her over some cookies.

Perhaps you have been busy with work so you decide to share 60 quality minutes with your son or daughter playing her/his favorite game.

Maybe just maybe you haven't been very kind to yourself lately, so you can share some positive self statements.

The list is truly endless if you are on a mission to notice and complete this joyous act of being kind to one person today.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Quality of Time

This Thanksgiving, as the world swirls around us, turkeys seeming to fly through the kitchen and pumpkin pie disappearing in nanoseconds, let's remember that our children will take these moments with you to heart and memory. They may only have a fleeting moment here and there with you as you juggle those questions from your mother-in-law and those horrible jokes from your uncle and those nieces running around with crayons. Yet, if in those fleeting moments you are present, joyful, and WITH your child, your child will have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Don't let the chaos get to you. Know it will happen, just as it always does, and set it aside for those moments you look into your child's eyes and hold your child's hand.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Win this eco-friendly tote!

Do you need a holiday gift that is cute and eco-friendly! This green tote encourages you to share your power to change the world as you set out on your Green Quest everyday! Share the joy this season!

It is easy to enter the contest, just follow these steps:

1. Like Green Queens and Kings on Facebook

2. Become a follower of this blog.

3. Leave a comment sharing what you are grateful for this Thanksgiving

You will then be eligible to win!

Love it!

The winner is announced on 12/1, and we will have more contests for the holiday season!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fabulous Friday!

Oh my, oh my, how far you have come
If you complete this one, you have officially won
You have helped the planet each day
In small, but significant ways
Your last little action to complete Mission Green Home
Is to think of and do one way to green your home in a way that is your own

Comment below to let us know if you completed Mission Green Home this week to win the green prize!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday!

You are on your way to Green Royalty status indeed
Get a little pot that fits on your kitchen table and plant at least one herb seed.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday!

For Wonderful Wednesday, this is an easy green one..

Turn off the tv or computer to have some fun
Get outside today for just one hour to enjoy the sun

Monday, November 15, 2010

Time for Tuesday

Time for Tuesday's adventure to achieve Green Queen status:

Yes, where you are it may be cold,
put on a sweater instead of turning up the heat- be bold!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Green Home

This week's Green Quest mission is not a difficult one to do.
If you think that the Green Queen or King crown is meant for you.

Get ready for Monday's first step toward completing Mission Green Home.
Simply turn off the light after every room you roam.

Come back tomorrow to see what the next task for Mission Home will be
that is if you are up for the challenge, I guess we shall see.

If you complete each task this week every day,
comment below and a prize will be on its way.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Gotta love Mamapedia!

Check out our blog featured on Mamapedia! Great resource for parenting ideas, advice and more!

Click here!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Green Books for Your Kids

Are you looking for books to teach your children more about how to help the environment? These books below for children ages four through eight and eight through twelve are a good place to start. These books are meant to provide a starting point for discussion with your children. Please be sure to read these books with your children as they will have questions and perhaps concerns about the world in which we live. You know your child best, and so if you feel that one of these books may contain too much detail and not enough positive solutions, then choose another book that would better fit your child. The aim is to empower your child to action with positive ideas, creative solutions and fun and simple activities.

Books for Children Ages 4-8

This book adds some humor via the comments from the students which helps kids to relate to and engage more with the characters of the book. A classroom of students is seen learning together. An understanding of how to better recycle is gained by the end of this book.

This very cute little monster will thoroughly engage your children into learning how they can help the environment.

Includes tips for parents and activities for kids - very well done for this age group.

Books for Children Ages 8-12

A simply fabulous book!

Very interesting, and advanced - glance through it first to see if your child will be able to grasp all of the information.

Great kid-friendly projects and activities and quizzes to test their knowledge as well.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The new color this Halloween is GREEN!

These are the times that I love the age of the internet!

Check out this fabulous website chock full of info about having a green Halloween!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Foundation to Create Your Own Team of Little Green Queens and Kings

Children are born curious. Each child shows her own interests and passions early on. Did your baby gaze up at a musical mobil above her crib and today plays an instrument? Did your toddler kick her legs wildly and today lives for her dance class? Did your infant spend time crawling through the grass and today identifies more than one hundred types of trees?

These interests and passions are so important for us to honor, nurture and encourage. From a child’s natural curiosity develops creativity, self-expression, identity, and confidence. To embrace a child’s individual talents is to be a green parent.

A green parent looks to raise confident, self-assured, and powerfully positive children by doing the following:

1. Allowing their child time to discover, play, and explore the world around her. A ride in the stroller followed by a picnic in the
park set with the scene of a loving parent, fresh air, trees and sky can do wonders for a child’s sense of safety and curiosity
for the world.

2. Praising their child in specific and understandable ways. When your child shows interest in music by taking piano lessons,
praising her about her effort, dedication, and interest is just as important as praising her for the beautiful sounds she makes.

3. Providing unconditional love. Even though you have set the stage for a safe foundation to explore and with specific praise to
instill self-confidence, your child will encounter challenges. Rather than mistakes, these can be reframed as learning
opportunities. If seen in this way, it is possible to provide your child with constructive feedback that won’t stunt her desire to
continue to explore, grow and try new things. Do you remember how you bounced back up from a fall easier as a child when
your parent was there to hold out her hand and help you to learn how to not fall again in the future? Often we forget to hold
out our hand to our children when they “fall” at different points during their growth, to get them back on solid ground and
then tell them what they need to learn to avoid falling again. Soon, your child will learn how to support herself with
unconditional love all on her own - now that is a gift.

You may wonder, “what does this have to do with green parenting?” The green parent looks at getting back to the roots of parenting. The green parent looks to raise children who are compassionate toward people, and toward the earth. The above steps will help to raise your child as a confident, loving and positive force in the lives of people and in nature. These steps lay the foundation to help to raise a little green queen or king who is able to use their positive power to help to strengthen others and the earth.