Great Article….

December 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

Monica Yant Kinney: How to do good with this year’s resolution

By Monica Yant Kinney

Inquirer Columnist

I’m not going to shrink my hips or grow five inches in 2011. I didn’t in 2010, 2009, or 2008, despite my penchant for making New Year’s resolutions that defy common sense and human physiology.

The only thing more depressing than a personal pledge unmet is one so unrealistic it couldn’t be kept even if plastic surgery was free. That’s why this year, I’m following Chaz Howard’s lead to turn New Year’s resolutions inside out.

“What if,” he asks, “we made resolutions that were about serving and caring for others?”

What if he and his merry coconspirators challenged strangers to “put more good out there,” publicly and passionately declaring their intentions no matter how modest?

What if they told just a dozen plugged-in “connector” types about the movement’s website,, and Facebook page,

How fast would the word spread, and where? What would people pledge? Would anyone care?


That’s fresh

Chaz is the University of Pennsylvania’s chaplain.

He’s a soft-spoken clergyman who describes grand plans as “fresh,” a 32-year-old Ph.D. who teaches “hip-hop and faith” to seminarians, an occasionally frazzled father who laments bad news – like a child’s case of strep throat – as “whack.”

Howard’s typical resolutions? Eat less, exercise more, get up earlier.

“I’m not sure I ever made it out of January before he,” says the chaplain, affectionately patting his soft middle, “comes back.”

Last year’s blown diet led to this year’s achievable dream when Howard hatched with his friend Len Matty, along with an altruistic music producer, a classmate-turned-web designer, and a Penn student who speaks social media as a second language.

“It started as a casual conversation among friends about how we could do more,” explains Matty, a Malvern father of three who works in pharmaceutical marketing.

“It’s foolishly simple, pitifully basic,” Howard adds over tea in his art-and-book-filled office on Locust Walk. And yet, he knows many people may be intimidated by the call to “discern what means a lot to you and make a commitment to do something about it next year.”

To ease those fears, there’s no hard-sell, no money involved, no following-up, no organization. If people post their goals, great. If they’d rather lurk on the site and swear silently, that, too, is “fresh.”

Spreading the word

How news travels at the end of 2010: A Native American Penn grad working in China hears about the resolution revolution at Thanksgiving and tells Facebook friends around the planet.

“He was the most quiet and solemn kid in class,” Howard marvels. “He didn’t even make a resolution, but he’s pumping this thing up.”

The viral experiment generated 500 hits a week before Howard’s essay in Friday’s Huffington Post. Those resolved are a mix of young, ancient, spiritual, and dreamy.

A high school student wants to collect shoes for the needy in Haiti. A set of twins will stage a 5K run to benefit Philly homeless shelters. A California couple will adopt.

One stranger with a day job in insurance and a night passion for poetry slams asked Howard for help choosing to be resolute. Eventually, the young man decided to write one piece a week to perform.

“He recognizes he’s not mentoring a child or raising money to build wells in Sudan,” Howard explains. “But he’s good at what he does. He inspires with his art.”

I tell Howard that I’m moved by the teacher who says she’ll attend more of her students’ extracurricular events. She’s giving those kids the gift of self-worth just by engaging them outside the classroom.


Read more:
Watch sports videos you won’t find anywhere else

Reach me at or 215-854-4670. Visit my Web page and connect on Facebook and Twitter at Read my New Year’s resolution – and make one yourself –


Read more:
Watch sports videos you won’t find anywhere else



New Years St Barths’s Vanilla RUM

December 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

I love Vanilla rum specially from St Barth’s. Now I don’t get to visit that often so to keep my fires burning for St Bart’s, and my memories in tact well I learned how to make up some of that fabulous rum.. You can add many things to rum but I love the vanilla rum and because I am close to Mexico and I can get great vanilla beans.

Here goes.

I use about 6 large plump vanilla beans and slice them down the side.

1 bottle of dark oak aged rum

1/2 cup sugar-vanilla sugar is also good, and water enough to make a simple sugar syrup-you be the judge. I do this by sight and consistency.

melt the sugar syrup, let stand.

separate the rum into two containers

add vanilla beans sort of squashing out the insides into the rum as you go. add the sugar syrup to the containers and let sit. Okay you may have to wait six months before you want to sip or you can wait a month but the longer you let it sit the better it is. I have some old aged bottles and they are quite tasty….quite!  Also it is a good idea to use cheese cloth at the end of the sitting period to catch the vanilla bits and pieces and strain into  another container for your sipping pleasure.

The sketchbook project

December 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

Wonderful things are Happening

December 28, 2010 § 2 Comments

feeling guided feeling blessed
sometimes don’t you just feel like a presence is watching over you? I do and I can’t explain why..but I just do. It seems to come when I am still or I ask a question I can hear an answer within. It is that quite space or when my mind is quiet and maybe I am walking, or making art that I hear the still small voice the most. When do you hear wisdom? How do you hear wisdom. I would really like to know.

Ideas for a better world

December 27, 2010 § Leave a comment out this link for ideas for a better world. What ideas do you have? Here is my list:
1. We have solar, and rain water catchment-If you don’t install some-it will save you in the long run.
2. do an act of kindness a day-whatever comes to mind in any situation that becomes available to you during the day. Check out,and
3. send everyone and everything a blessing when you think about it.
4. start your day with love in your heart.

answered prayers or not?

December 27, 2010 § 2 Comments

It really depends on who you ask. If you ask me yes my prayers were answered, if you ask my daughters well no their prayers seemingly were not. So here is my prayer…Please keep my sweet daughters and my kind father in law safe in their travels and get them home safely. My daughters prayers were- to get us to NY tomorrow-meaning today. Well… with the winter storms they are holed up in Midland Texas in a hotel room actually having quite a fun time with grandpa. They are relaxed, watching movies.. I am sure eating tons of junk food and just having a grand old time with no mom and dad rules. They will fly out of Midland safely tomorrow amidst sun and warmer temperatures in the northeast-we hope. The roads should be cleared,and of course the girls will always remember the two days spent with grandpa alone in Midland Texas. So yes, I really guess all of our prayers were answered and they will still get their trip to New York just two days later and much safer. SO thanks for my prayer answered…

Think it so

December 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

What we think determines what happens to us, so if we want to change our lives, we need to stretch our minds. –Wayne Dyer

Tip of the Day:
In a world that prizes medical science and blames illness on factors such as genes, viruses, bacteria or poor diet, certain perplexing cases stand out. Consider Mr. Wright, a man whose tumors “melted like snowballs on a hot stove” when he was given an experimental drug that he believed would cure his cancer, but was later declared to be worthless by the American Medical Association. His case is just one of several that underscore the idea that the mind matters in sickness and health. In “The Cure Within,” Harvard Professor Anne Harrington proposes that we’re persuaded not only by science but also by stories, especially a key set of narratives that humans have told about the mind and body through history. These narratives give vocabulary for complex experiences like discontent and hope. “Stories can do things that science can’t,” she observes. [ more ]

Be The Change:
Practice meditation daily to gain awareness of your thinking patterns as the first step to change negative habitual thoughts.

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