Kindness rocks.

by Kristen DeLap


Playing at Maggie Daley Park, my oldest son happened upon a painted rock. As an avid "treasure" hunter, this made his day. He loved it, and when he showed it to us, already had the idea to paint rocks for others.

About a month later I came upon a write up of the Kindness Rocks project in a magazine. So, we decided as a family to participate. To maybe make someone's day by giving them a chance to find a treasure. Using some old acrylic paints left from college studio days, and some Sharpie paint pens, we went to work one Saturday - painting on smooth landscaping stones

The kiddos had a great time getting messy, and creating messages. Todd and I had fun putting some thought into each stone that someone might come across. There is now a box of hand-painted stones in our mudroom. So when we visit a playground or a park as a family, we take a few with us. We drop them or hide them where others can find them (some easily, some not so easily!) It's a small gesture, but one that was rewarding to make and hopefully is joyful to find.

 

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"I love rocks."

"I love rocks."

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Stand tall.

Stand tall.

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Hiding his first rock. "Camofluage!"

Hiding his first rock. "Camofluage!"

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One of my favorites.

One of my favorites.

Above all else, be kind.

Above all else, be kind.


The Wrong Way to Save Your Life

by Kristen DeLap


I am lucky to be a part of a group of intelligent and thoughtful women who want to challenge themselves and have hard discussions about important matters. The way we do that is with a monthly book club. This past month we read The Wrong Way to Save Your Life: Essays by Megan Stielstra. I haven't made this many notes from a book in a long time.

The series of essays explores her life through a number of fears - from the seeming inconsequential to the life-halting. She's humorous and engaging, and being a Chicago writer, I appreciate the local connection. Some of her clever lines border on Mark Twain-esque : "I am a midwesterner: we always worry about everything" and "Nothing is as awful as doing something you hate to pay for a waste of your time." She is beyond transparent. You feel her emotions - you are scared with her, you grieve with her, you savor life with her. But what struck me the most is how she cataloged her own growth and development about the way she sees the world. She laid open her own prejudices and inadequacies, that we may find similar ground, and also grow.

A huge topic for her is race and privilege. She lays bare her own ignorance, when she first learned some of the real stories of the LA race riots: "'Why didn't I know about this?' I said, incredulous, not yet understanding that it was my responsibility to look." This resounds with so much of what I'm experiencing lately - finding ways to educate myself on an entire world that was obscured to me. Stielstra says, "At some point our education no longer belongs to our teachers. It belongs to us." I've been attempting to vary the media I'm exposed to, and the stories I surround myself with. I've intentionally sought out diversity in my Instagram feed (Rachel Cargle is a saint and tremendous resource!) and my media (Dear White People streams on Amazon Prime). White people must do this work ourselves.

Stielstra asks, "When do you think about your privilege?" and this is a question that cannot be asked enough. Because once you recognize it, you can begin to use it. She says:

I teach writers. It's on me to show them the weigh of words, how they can perpetuate or elevate. 
Privilege isn't blame or shame or fear.
It's responsibility.

Petitioning us (not only her students, but us as readers) to use our platforms to make change, no matter how small, is a reoccurring theme. As well as listening, and looking.

I cannot recommend this book enough - and not just for anxiety-prone white Midwestern women who like literature. The content here is universal.

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The tide will turn

by Kristen DeLap


Harriett Beecher Stowe was likely talking about abolition or women's rights when she wrote this, but it feels prescient to any task requiring effort. 

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Darling Media

by Kristen DeLap


I stumbled across Darling magazine a few years ago. Looking for a more "grown up" or nuanced woman-centric magazine with a feminist lens, I subscribed. Though somewhat of a luxury, due to the expense, this quarterly is worth it's very hefty weight. One of the tenants is that no woman you see on its pages, in original content or advertising, is retouched. It seems so simple and yet it is so bold.  

Recently the magazine founders launched an entire media company with the same ideals, to spread their messages beyond print. I'm excited to be a founding investor in Darling Media. And the below is part of their mission statement

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Diversity of features, models, and content are part of the overall empowerment message of the magazine.  

Diversity of features, models, and content are part of the overall empowerment message of the magazine.  

The mission statement appears on the back of every issue, instead of advertising.  

The mission statement appears on the back of every issue, instead of advertising.  

#shelfie :)  

#shelfie :)  


30 letters 2018

by Kristen DeLap


One of my favorite months! The #write_on challenge has begun for April. I love that this month ramps up my handwritten correspondence. I love assembling the supplies almost as much as dropping a thick stack of envelopes in the box.  

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See some previous years work here and here.  And stay tuned for outgoing mail! 


Support, Defend, Celebrate

by Kristen DeLap


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On this International Womens Day, we must remember those of us with the harder fight. Those who so often are our voice of reason. Remember to stand up for black women's voices; let those voices lead us. We are all sisters, and there is much we can do to hold each other up