365 More People Pictures - Week 20

Hello! Sorry.  I got a little behind with the blog post from the previous week.

This is week 20 - which was Christmas week, and we'll catch up on Sunday with the subjects from this past week.

Day 133 - Andy


This is Andy, my Step-Sister-in-Law.  We celebrated Christmas with my husband's family a few days early.

"Family time, and lots of it," Andy answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

I asked Andy if she's recently performed an act of kindness and she explained that she delivered dinner to a family whose mom had recently passed away.   Andy takes turns with a few other families and provides meals to this family, who lost their mother so very young in life.

When I asked Andy if she has a personal mission statement, Andy answered, "it's pretty simple; to be a good mom, good wife, good daughter, and a good friend."

I asked Andy something about herself which she would consider to be a success, and she could have easily answered that she's successful at being a good mom, good wife, good daughter and a good friend.  Andy answered, "being able to juggle home, child, work and fun."  Andy feels like she's able to somehow able to fit it all in, and still manages to have enough time for fun.

Thank you, Andy!

Day 134 - Spencer


This is Spencer.  When I asked Spencer about the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he first said that it was a tough question.  He then answered that he was looking forward to hosting a Christmas get-together with a bunch of his orphaned friends who don't have family in the area.

Spencer's recent act of kindness is that he helped a friend get a job!

"To feed people and promote equality," Spencer said, is his life's purpose.  I told Spencer about Kate, who was a subject just a few days prior and explained how much their life's purposes were aligned.  I met Spencer less than a block away from where I had met Kate, so I hope their paths will cross and they can join forces in doing the great work they're doing. Spencer used the phrase, "unorganized philanthropy" to explain the unconventional methods he's employed in helping to make sure people are fed.  I love meeting and learning more about people like Spencer, Kate, and all of the other do-gooders we've met in this project.  They inspire me to want to do more, and to aim higher.

"I'm still standing," Spencer said, is something about himself which he would consider to be a success.

Thank you, Spencer!


Day 135 - Michelle


This is Michelle.  We met at the bus stop...yes, that bus stop. The one that gives me so much grief!  Again, I was challenged by the spot and failed to do Michelle the justice she deserved.  She reminds me of a classic movie star, but with modern style.

We only had time for two quick questions before the bus took her away.

"My new boyfriend," Michelle answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.

Michelle said that her life's purpose "is to contribute to the greater whole."

Thank you, Michelle!


Day 136 - Leslie


This is Leslie. We work together.  It was Christmas Eve and although we got off work early, I was concerned about trying to find a subject on the holiday.  I'm so glad Leslie agreed to be the person of the day!

When I asked Leslie the happiest thing happening in her life right now, she answered with a huge smile, "I met a guy."  We've only worked together for a little while, but long it's been enough for me to know that he's one lucky guy!

Leslie's recent act of kindness is that she donated to her friend's fundraiser to help her friend meet her financial goal so that she'll be able to study abroad.

"To give back," Leslie answered, when I asked if she has a personal mission statement or life's purpose.

When I asked Leslie something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she answered, "I'm motivated!"  I see a bright future for Leslie.  She is motivated and determined and because of that, I often forget that she's still quite young. She has the maturity of someone at least a decade older.

Wishing you lots of success, Leslie!  Thank you!


Day 137 - Janet


This is Janet.  She's a friend of my friend, Debbie,  and now she's my friend too.

"It's Christmas and my family is all together," Janet answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in her life right now.  Janet said she's having a great time with her kids and grandkids, and the icing on the cake is that her son just graduated art school and already has a job offer in his field!

This picture was taken on Christmas day.  If you've been following along for a while, you probably remember me mentioning Project Brown Bag.  A few years ago at a Christmas gathering, our friend Debbie presented us all with brown bags.  We thought she had violated our rule that we were no longer exchanging gifts - but when we opened the bags, they weren't gifts, but rather, they were sack lunches.  Debbie went on to explain her vision that we would all carry around "brown bags" to give to homeless people and people in need.  She hoped that through our efforts, our other friends and our friend's friends would also do the same and that our little ripple could create a big wave of help to people who need it.  We also get together a few times a year in a more organized effort to distribute brown bags.

This was our third year spending Christmas day together, distributing brown bags, hot cocoa, soup, coats, blankets, hats and beanies to homeless people in Portland.   Janet and her daughter and granddaughters joined again this year, and knowing that Janet had just spent the past few hours handing out food and clothing to homeless people, I was well aware of her recent act of kindness.  But, I also know Janet's beautiful heart and I knew she must have performed another act of kindness.

Oh, and before I tell you about that - Janet also organizes a big canned food drive at Halloween.  She's the Clark Griswold of Halloween and she goes all out  decorating her house.  Practically the entire town swings by Janet's house to check out the halloween decorations and the annual dance performance of "Thriller."  In return, all of the visitors bring canned food which Janet collects and then donates to the Food Bank.  The woman is pretty amazing!

Janet's other recent act of kindness is that she struck up a conversation with a woman at the mall who was in line with Janet while they were waiting their turn to purchase Joe's Carmel Corn.  They started talking about how much they loved the popcorn and how long they had been customers.  The woman could only afford to treat herself to a small size, so after the woman made her purchase, Janet then secretly bought her another bag and proceeded to try to sneak it to the woman in the mall.  Janet wasn't stealth enough, and the woman caught her trying to slip her the popcorn. The woman was so thrilled and touched by Janet's kindness that she hugged her.  Janet, in turn, was completely touched by the woman's hug - she felt like she was actually the recipient of the act of kindness and not the other way around.

When I asked Janet if she had a personal mission statement, she answered, "to make life yummy!"  Janet explained this is a saying of the Sweet Potato Queens.  Until talking with Janet, I didn't know that the Sweet Potato Queens are a national organization with local chapters.  I just thought it was something Janet started in little ol' Battle Ground, Washington.

Janet explained to me that when she was in school, the girls were weighed and measured and then selected for the Portland Rose Festival princess court based on those measurements.  That sounded horribly superficial when she explained it, but back then, she said there were weight limitations on parade floats, so there was actually a reason why the girls could only be a certain weight.  Janet didn't fit the criteria and wasn't considered for the Rose Festival court.

The experience stuck with Janet and she decided she didn't like it, and she wanted to do something about it.  Janet said, "we're always waiting and waiting and waiting...waiting for someone to ask us to the prom, waiting to get married, or waiting for someone to tell you you're good enough to be a queen."  Janet decided that any woman who wanted to be a queen, could be a queen!  Janet needed her queens to be seen, so she entered a float in the Battle Ground Harvest Days parade, and filled her float with any woman who wanted to be in the parade.  They were all queens!

After doing some research, Janet discovered the Sweet Potato Queens and realized her ideas were in line with the mission of the national organization, and now she heads the local chapter of Sweet Potato Queens.  I love how Janet is always building up other people!   We all need someone in our lives like Janet - someone who tells you you're a queen and then builds you a float to ride in the parade.  And, if we're not fortunate enough to have a Janet in our lives, I hope we learn to be like Janet by building people up and helping to coronate anyone who wants to be a queen!

When I asked Janet something about herself which she would consider to be a success, Janet answered, "My kids - all three of them."

Thank you so much, Janet!  You are a good person and I'm glad to know you!


Day 138 - Mason


This is Mason.  He's the son of my friend, Anne.  Mason is such a handsome young man and I'm so mad at myself I totally blew the lighting on this.   Luckily, I know I know that someday down the road, I can get a do-over.

"Having a long relationship with my girlfriend," Mason answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.   Mason is in college and still dating his high school sweetheart!

I asked Mason if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness.   Mason's fraternity just raised $2000 for ALS/The Steve Gleason Foundation.  On the receiving end, his grandmother gifted him with plane tickets so he could fly to Florida to watch his brother, who plays football for Southern Oregon University,  play and win the NAIA football championships!

I asked Mason if he had a personal mission statement or about his life's purpose.  Mason answered that right now, his purpose in life is "to get good grades, graduate, family, and success."

Something about himself which Mason considers to be a success, is that he's maintaining a 3.5 GPA in college!

Wishing you the best, Mason!  Thank you!


Day 139 - Matthew


This is Matthew.  We met outside of a strip mall.

The happiest thing happening in his life right now is that he had just found out that his sister and nephew are moving back home!

I asked Matthew if he's recently performed an act of kindness and he explained he tries to be giving.  He had recently given money to a homeless person.

"Live today like it's your last day," Matthew answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement.

One thing about himself which Matthew considers to be a success, is that he's able to connect with people and make friends easily.

Thank you, Matthew!


Here's a summary of the personal mission statements and life's purposes of the subjects from this week:

  • To be a good mom, good wife, good daughter, and a good friend."
  • To feed people and promote equality
  • To give back
  • To make life yummy!
  • To get good grades, graduate, family, and success. 
  • Live today like it's your last day

Thank you!  See you very soon when we catch up with this week's subjects!