Hope Springs Eternal in the Human Blog

Today on Momversation I wanted to talk about optimism online or more specifically, how we can perpetuate hope when everywhere we look we are bombarded with, well... nope. As a blogger and blog-reader and twitterererer, Facebook status updater, peruser of online message boards and such, I am starting to realize the effects these outlets have on me. The effects I might have on others without realizing. I'm finding it difficult as of late not to feel frustrated by the rampant negativity, meanness between bloggers and debilitating fear that breeds like rabbits offline and on until we're all wading through the pellets.

So what of the good news? The lifting one another up when we are unable to find the strength in ourselves? It seems to me, we have great power to alleviate, to spike our doubt and rampant cynicism with bursts of light.

We are the first generation online. Our voices carry. It is up to us to create a space for our children's children's children to not only feel safe but empowered, liberated, and if we can find it in ourselves, (I think we can! I think we can!) hopeful.

If we want to "write for ourselves" we should do that... in a diary. But as long as we're hitting the publish button we are writing for other people to read and even respond. We must remember that the blogosphere is not a collection of monologues but dialogues. That every time we go public with an idea or story we are inviting friends and also strangers to participate, respond, feel something.

Don't we then have a responsibility to those readers? To bring them up from time to time? In the words of George Orwell, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. But guess what? So is smiling at strangers and passing out goody bags of hope, stories where happy endings begin.

Everywhere we look someone or something is trying to talk us down. We can jump on the bandwagon of fear and cynicism or we can build our own Merry-go-rounds. Take the hands of strangers to pull us up and on for the ride. (Some of my favorite Merry-go-rounds.)

The other day I received the following comment on this post from a woman who recently posted her story on Portraits of an Economy. I wanted to share it because everything is going to be okay, you know?

I left my story for you awhile back. I wanted to share something else, some good news. The Man and I have been talking about getting married for years now. (We have been together 5 years now) But we have never been able to find the money for a proper wedding, and with the way things are going, its just not something we could do. So, we've been waiting until we could afford it.

Just a few weeks ago, we discovered I was pregnant. So, we realized it was finally time, and decided to just go to the courthouse and get it done.

Upon telling some of the friends we have been fortunate to make here, in this place-which is neither of our hometowns- they all banded together and are THROWING us a wedding.

Yes. I cry every time I think about it. It is just SO amazing. It's not a fancy ordeal, it's a simple backyard potluck style party this Saturday. Someone is making the cake, someone else is taking pictures, people are bringing food, and flowers and some have even offered to rip apart their OWN wedding dresses to make me one.

That these people, people we have only known for a few years, pulled together for us like this gives me such an awesome feeling, and I wanted to share that with you. Even without money, if you have good people around you, you are rich. And if we all hold together during this time, we will all be okay!

Flowers everywhere.

come on, get happy!

Tell me a story about something good, a shiny penny moment in your day or weekend or week and I will pick one of you at random to win this incredible Christopher Collins Collection coat (an $800 value) c/o the designer which is so gorge I can't stand it:

Contest closes Wednesday at noon. Christopher Collins Collection available in these fine retailers. Thank you in advance for sharing pieces of your happiness with me and the Interwebs.



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Anonymous | 12:56 PM

in 2005 my boyfriend (now my husband) and i lived about an hour outside of philadelphia. we had gone into the city to see the live8 concert. we stayed with a friend the night before and in the morning got up and walked to the concert. at some point my wallet fell out of my pocket. it contained a fair amount of cash, my license, a credit card and my bank/debit card. i freaked out, assumed things were long gone, and promptly cancelled all the cards.

about a week later i got a package in the mail. it was a manila envelope with my wallet inside - completely intact, not a thing missing including the cash. there was no return address on the envelope, just a note inside that said "this was found on south street in philadelphia, the city of brotherly love."

nra | 12:56 PM

i volunteer at programs for people with disabilities and my spirits are constantly lifted because it's such an environment where life and everyone (people with and without disabilities) is celebrated. as compared to the 'real world,' where one is constantly thinking about one's flaws and the flaws and shortcomings of others, this is always an experience where one gets to appreciate others and be appreciated.

Anonymous | 1:04 PM

So, in the past six months my dad has been hospitalized, my FIL had a stroke, I miscarried twice, and my husband lost his job. Sucky, right? But through all the suck, my husband and I find time to be ridiculously silly on a daily basis. Even when things are really dark, we find sunshine in a good poop joke.

Loukia | 1:05 PM

I am just at my happiest when I am with my 2 children. I love writing on my blog, and I love updating my status on Twitter, but nothing compare to just being with my kids, laughing with them, loving them and watching them in all their glory. Your blog always makes me feel good, too!

Unknown | 1:07 PM

Yay for happy stories! Our best friend's realtor just found out he has bone cancer and is going through intense radiation and chemo. The town he lives in put on a dinner and auction in his honor just last night. People in the town brought anything they could, just random stuff from home to auction off. People bought, not wanting the old blender, but doing anything they could to support the realtor of the town and show their love. I wish I was able to go and thought it was awesome.

coleen | 1:07 PM

this is my shiny penny moment.
he's here everyday & every way.
i'm so lucky to be able to work at home so i can see him all the time.

he's perfect. don't pick me for the coat, give it to someone who needs it more than i do. my husband & i are both employed (with benefits) & we are making it. give it to someone who is struggling. i just thought i'd share my love for aaron, the way you share your love for archer/fable.

(copy & paste to see my happiness)

Jess Kiley | 1:09 PM

I am writing with the full intention of losing. Yes, I need a jacket worth $800 to wear to '09 BlogHer, just to show it can be done. But I'm not a taker, I'm a giver, and that's where I originally screwed myself. No, not literally, Rebecca...you and your polyvaginous ideas!!! We have ONE, silly!

Anyway, before this turns into a rant, and not a blog post, I suppose I should ask you for some advice if I'm worth my weight in fashion, be that virtual, political, ethical, or whatever type of dealio I'm currently engaging myself in the moment.

My question is, ethical. Yes, ethical. And expect to feel some guilt arise in your loinage, that's how it works. But don't be afraid, I know you won't. But read this aloud at BlogHer if I win, which I can't.

Dear Rebecca,

The first girl to "get it" and say it out loud. If blogging and internetting is a two-way street, and not just one as previously imagined...

how will you justify to your friends that you gave this prize to a loser, who didn't even follow your rules. Is the only path forgiveness?

Confused, but self-enlightened.

~Growingupartists (aka Tina Fey's bitch, but willing to be yours)

and her alterego (because one must have two)...Reina del BlogHer

Anonymous | 1:10 PM

I've been stressing out lately about the sad state of my body..I am not in shape anymore, and things have been re-arranged, it seems. I find myself looking at my muffin top or the jiggle under my arms as soon as I get out of the shower. I frown immediately. A few days ago, when I got out of the shower, I caught my almost-4 year old staring at me as I frowned at myself in the mirror. When our eyes met through the mirror, she smiled broadly, and walked over to me. She grabbed my hand and said "Mommy, you are beautiful. Stop frowning at yourself". My baby...

Hilary | 1:10 PM

I vote for the Philly-wallet-commenter. That is AMAZING. My happiness? It seems like cheating but I got engaged on Friday. Oh, the happiness, it's indescribable!

Kristin | 1:10 PM

Thank you for this post. I too have had enough of the negativity. The world will not implode..we will all be okay...we will make it through.

My husband and I have been married 5 years. I am 5 months pregnant with our first child, a miracle child. I say this becuase my husband has had cancer twice in his short 33 years. The radiation and chemo effected his fertility and I have a VERY irregular cycle...we always thought it would take FOREVER to get pregnant. But it happened, well, without even trying. Our little miracle baby.

2nd) During my 3rd month of pregnancy my husband was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his thigh. This would be cancer #3. We have spent the last two months seeing specialists in the Big City and finally last week he had surgery to remove it. Today we found out...the mass was NEGATIVE for cancer, even though 2 prior biopsies had come back positive. But once the pathologists got hold of the entire tumor they found that it is,IN FACT, not the big bad C. Thank GOD. Now we can breath easy and consume ourselves with the joy of our growing little fetus.

The Mommy | 1:10 PM

My 6-year-old telling me, repeatedly, "Mommy, I want to be with you forever." Or my 6-year-old and almost 2-year-old each hugging one of my arms and taking turns saying, "My mommy." Nothing makes me feel more loved.

Anonymous | 1:12 PM

Being positive is something I have struggled with my whole life, in fact, I published a post a little over a month ago about turning over a new leaf and making steps to seek positivity in my daily life instead of the negative. I've found a couple blogs that lift my spirits and put a smile on my face when I need it (I still have my down days and of course no one can change overnight or even in a month!)
http://youareremarkable.wordpress.com/ and http://leloveimage.blogspot.com/ are two of my favorites along with Notes from the Universe (a personalized email from "the Universe")
Just some reassurance that there is a shiny happy side to the internet- we just need to help it grow.

Anonymous | 1:12 PM

I love this, because it is so true. Despite the sadness and despair in the world right now, there is good to be found.

My happiness?

I am a teacher, and I received a pink slip on the much hyped "Pink Friday"...but: it's likely I'll still have a job next year, I am at least paid through the end of July AND most of all, I get to share my days with 103 awesome 8th graders.

I don't have as much money as I would like, but I can pay bills.

Little miracles abound everyday. Just as I was starting to get a little concerned about money, my tax return came through. My mom covered a prescription I needed. I got an unexpected gift card.

Life is lovely...we just need to focus.

~Amy (titchblog@gmail.com)

Anonymous | 1:12 PM

Thank you for sharing my story.The happy stories are there, we just have to look for them. <3

Anonymous | 1:12 PM

My mom has battled major health problems since June 06 and it weighs heavily on my mind since I don't live near my family. Most of my friends don't think to ask me how I am doing with all of it or they ask me in passing-not really wanting to hear how I really feel.... AND on Friday-after a long week-and I was feeling down-a friend from the east coast called me and just listened to ME-and then said that she GOT IT... that she knows how it feels. It was the best feeling in the world for someone to ask and to really listen. That was my happy moment this week. You don't realize that simply listening to others can offer them such peace.

Thanks for your wonderful blog... I check it regularly!
Christine in North Cali

Jess Kiley | 1:13 PM

Oh, it's my lucky day afterall. You're choosing winners at random, I have nothing to fear, whoopie!

My chances are the same as just any (whew!) it was the fine print that threw me.

Lindsey | 1:18 PM

My husband and I used our tax return to pay off our credit card debt. Not only do we have extra money in our pocket it came just in time for our daughters first birthday so we have an opportunity to get her something nice, meaningful and something paid for with real hard earned money not put on a credit card to pay off for the next 1-2-5-10 years!

We are both just over the moon!

Anonymous | 1:25 PM

I was reaching the end of my rope with my two-year-old this past weekend. He's been getting his molars and is just crabby about everything--which toys to play with, which blankets to snuggle, which spoon to use with his applesauce at dinner. Typical two stuff.

I shot out an email to a friend of mine sharing the story of one of his meltdowns this past weekend. She has a 16-year-old and likes having the excuse to reminisce about his toddlerhood.

She shared a story about how when her son was little, he couldn't stand having his socks bunch up around his toes, and would have the same kinds of fits my son has now. She made me feel human again.

This friend of mine has been struggling with health issues lately--some chronic, but in particular, a debilitating leg injury suffered this past January that she's still recovering from. Despite her days of physical therapy, being restricted to using a walker, and attempting to cope with pain management, she could still find the time to listen to me complain about my crazy toddler and his wacky ways.

So my bright spot was reaching out through the interwebs and finding solace in a friend who, despite her own dark times, still knows how to laugh and help other people through their own crap. If anyone needs a glam pick-me-up, it's her, though I bet she'd be the last to want to be spoiled that way.

You're right, Bec--the internet can be--and is--a source for a lot of comfort.

B | 1:26 PM

I recently revamped my blog and took down many on my blogroll that I found myself clicking on and leaving in the exact state of frustration you wrote about. Silly as it may seem it has had an amazing effect on finding myself again and doing things that are nice and that I love that make me happy which is why this week I am SO excited to start my adult hip hop dance class!

Emery Jo | 1:30 PM

A friend came over last night who is really struggling- he's been trying to drown his sorrows and run away from everyone who loves him. We grabbed ahold of him, fed him good food, listened to good music, and sat and talked about his pain for hours. When he finally broke down and let his feelings come to the surface, my husband and I were there to embrace him and love on him. It was so heartwrenchingly beautiful, and reminded me how powerful friendship can be.

Anonymous | 1:31 PM

Everything sounds like and feels like the end of the world lately. I listen to NPR and I get sad. I can't sleep and I'm shaking in fear at night that everything I've worked so hard for is all going to collapse. I could list all the things that feel like they are going wrong, but you've all heard it before. My sister told me she was pregnant with her first child the other day. It hit me like a ton of bricks. She and her husband are literally glowing. The realization that there's real people out there and amazing miracles happening every moment eased my mind. My tiny little niece or nephew needs us to band together and fight for a better tomorrow. S/he needs me to do my part in my community and our world to make his/her life just a little better. My sister's miracle is my miracle too. It's everyone's miracle. It's one tiny reminder to take care of each other, be good to each other, and have hope for each other. We must remember the little joys.

Anonymous | 1:31 PM

love reading all these stories.
gorgeous coat. wow.
when i was visiting my parents last week, i was shopping with my mother and when she wanted to pay she couldn't find her wallet. there was a lot of money in there as she had just been to the bank. as she was frantically searching her bag and her pockets the cashier asked for her name. someone had dropped her wallet off in the store and not a penny was missing from it. the woman who had found the wallet in the parking lot left her name and address and my mother brought her a very luxurious flower bouquet to thank her. she loved it and everyone was happy and grateful.
my last personal shiny penny moment was over the week end. i was watching tv with my husband and i was just so thankful to be there with him and felt so overjoyed to have him.

Unknown | 1:34 PM

Funny you should ask for this, I just posted a Positive Post on my blog the other day here's the link: http://adayinthelifeofdari.blogspot.com/2009/03/my-optomistic-post-subtle-eh.html. I always try to keep a positive outlook because you never know who may need your cheer and love. Also, where does a bad attitude get you? In a bad mood, with no results! ;)

P.S. love, love that coat!

The Doll | 1:37 PM

One of my co-workers went in for a standard chest x-ray a month after having her baby because she was still getting chest pain. She was experiencing it during the entire pregnancy but everyone thought it was the baby, unfortunately they were all wrong. She was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer at the young age of 30 only 2 months after having her first child. Her family all lived over 2,500 miles away and she didn’t have enough sick time to get paid while she was out. All of us at work figured out a dinner schedule and we each volunteered multiple nights to make dinner for there family. We also donated are own vacation time to help cover her sick leave so she was getting paid. After 10 months of grueling chemo and radiation treatment she was diagnosed cancer free and has been for the past 2 years. She is now pregnant with her 2nd child and doing wonderfully.

amelia | 1:38 PM

I had my baby girl (my first) around the same time you had your sweet Fable. And I'm finally taking control of my postpartum depression. I'm seeing a professional on Wednesday, Yoga classes have helped immensely...and I can currently hear my daughter waking up from her nap and, you know what? I'm really excited to go get her.

Anonymous | 1:39 PM

My huband and I just bought a house. It was a foreclosure, so unfortunately, someone else's loss was our gain. However, that was the only way we could ever afford to buy a house in LA, since we moved here less than a year ago. Since it was an REO, the house is not in great shape, so we need to do a lot of work to make it a nice, livable house.

The shiny penny part of this story is that my family has been offering to help with the remodeling. I kept saying no since I didn't want to inconvenience them or make them do manual labor. My mother and my sister sat me down separately and basically told me that I needed to knock it off because they all really wanted to help. My family came over this weekend for the first day of work, and it was so wonderful to have them there helping us make this dump into our home.

Amanda | 1:39 PM

There are shiny pennies in the cracks of the pavement everywhere, if you can stop and take the time to find them, or sometimes they catch the sunlight and hit your eyes when you least expect it.

I don't have a specific moment persay, but I have seen random acts of kindness more and more lately.

From women smiling at my son even when he's being louder than he needs to be at the store, or a stranger picking up a bottle he dropped from the cart and handing it to me. From people giving up their seats on the bus for others. a geniune smile, or kind eyes. A compliment on your hair even when you thought it was lackluster that day, or hell, the barista at Starbucks' perky attitude that may have given you about as much pep as your latte. I latch on to these more and more these days to help bring more postivity to my day.

Recently I confessed that I wanted to get into the burlesque scene for fun but was kind of self-conscious of my post-baby body. I got four responses, and being someone who is usually wary of women, I got four responses, from women, that were all positive and encouraging. It made my week, maybe even my month. I enrolled in my burlesque class with confidence. And more than that, it helped me open up more to women, now that I knew they weren't ALL out to bash me.

I'm perpetually grateful for my in-laws who are currently paying for our upcoming May nuptuals, even after all of the generosity they have bestowed on us from the moment my fiancee and I met.

I've been seeing pennies and picking them up a lot lately. Saving them for a rainy day.

Kendra | 1:41 PM

What a lovely idea! I don't really know where to start. I've been thinking a lot, with the economy and the general ending of the world as we know it, about how we grew up with lots of role models: for business success, for good parenting (hopefully), for strength and wisdom; but none for simply being happy. So I have decided it's time to work on that. I have a job, and so does my husband. Our three kids are happy and healthy, and I'm going to become an aunt any day now. And I've begun work with a nonprofit organization devoted to helping communities in West Africa, where all the founders of the organization are from. When I started working with them, it was because they needed work done and they hired me. But after talking to the founder for a while, he said he was so touched that I would help them out (at a drastically reduced price) because it was so hard to find anyone, especially in this economy, who was willing and able to do that. And I realized I am both willing and able. And maybe being both of those things is starting me toward being a role model of happiness. So that's my nugget of joy today--realizing that the little things in my life are pretty good and that I am actually able to help some people who need it. So I can use tough times to find better truths.

PS: Though I always love to win a contest, I would end up donating the coat; so take me out of the running and give it to someone who can use it more!

Anonymous | 1:46 PM

My sweet baby girl laughed for the first time this week!

In the middle of everything going wrong in life and the world I just had to stop and smile. To remember that no matter what this sweet one is going to continue living and loving and laughing.....

Jessica Gottlieb | 1:46 PM

I ate lunch with a homeless woman who didn't know if it was night or day and reeked of urine.

I'm glad I did it, and it was more uplifting than you'd imagine.

MeganL | 1:47 PM

Please dont give the coat to me! I just wanted to say that I'm so blessed and I dont take it for granted for a second.

Lisa | 1:50 PM

My husband has a large family (his mom is one of 13 kids). There are lots of aunts & uncles and even more cousins! Because there are so many, they don't always get along. Someone is always mad or not speaking to someone else. This past Saturday, we celebrated his grandmother's 90th birthday with a huge party. Even though we are all struggling financially, we all pitched in and brought food, drinks, paper goods, etc. The party was great, and everyone got along. I was a wonderful party, a wonderful celebration of 90 years on this earth. We were able to give her the one thing she wanted; her family together in one place!

Cheers Rebecca! Thanks for reminding us to see the good!

Nicki | 1:50 PM

I recently found out I'm having some pregnancy complications, and have found some serious downer websites, support groups, statistics, and other "YOU ARE DOING IT ALL WRONG, BLAH!" things and it would be really easy to get dragged down in all of this. But here's the catch. Knowing that the people around me are great people with good hearts made me want to reach out to them for moral support during these next two weeks of anticipation over my health scare and labor induction. And they responded with more than I could ever ask for. These girls, and guys, are offering to make frozen dinners, clean my house, vacuum my car, help me prepare, walk my dog, send my husband and me on dates, and other various tasks to let us rest easy and focus on preparing for our little boy. And knowing that these people are the same people who are creating and improving the world around us as preschool teachers, social workers, psychologists, engineers, (etc etc) makes me extremely excited and hopeful about the world I am bringing my son in. No he may not have a trust fund, but he will be well taken care of. Thanks for letting me share my own silver lining. Sometimes it takes the scary to notice the serene.


Amazing. These are all amazing. THANK YOU!

B | 1:56 PM

A fire broke out in an lower income apartment complex in our community a few days before christmas 2008, leaving over 100 people without a home in the cold of a midwest winter, pre-holidays. An anonymous donor gave $4,000 to each family. What a generous gift - it warmed my heart.

I'm also inspired by the many adoption stories I read online - inspired by the gift one mom gives another in this act.

There's lots of good in the world, we shouldn't have to dig to see it. Thanks for the reminder, Rebecca.

Anonymous | 1:57 PM

What a beautiful coat. I work at a job which may end in a few months, leaving me scared for my family. Last night, I took a pregnancy test and had a faint line- I'm waiting a few days to confirm- and through all the fear of bringing a kid into this world, and weight of providing for a little being, I had a moment as I fell asleep of my two year old kissing a baby sister or brother. And it gave me such acute peace.

Anonymous | 2:02 PM

My shiny penny moment is so simple, but it made a huge impact on my life.

One night, our trash cans were knocked over by the neighbor's dogs. Two full cans of trash were spread all over our yard and blowing into the street. I was out there, wrestling trash in the wind, when a minivan pulled into the driveway. A lady popped out and said "Hello!" and then 2 children (probably 6 and 8 years old) followed her out. They began helping me clean up the trash. I thanked them, but told them I was fine and didn't need them to get dirty. The woman's words still resonate with me: "I'm trying to teach my children to be good people and help anywhere they see the need. What better way to teach them than to show them?" I was moved to tears, all over some trash. I never got the lady's name, but I will always remember her.

Christina | 2:05 PM

This week, I started running again for the first time in months. I just moved to Chicago, and I live in a neighborhood on the lake. Everyday, I run to the lake and get to stand on the beach. Today was the first day that I noticed a huge difference in the way that I feel. I'm so glad that I started running and so glad that I live in such a beautiful place.

A | 2:07 PM

Our 13 month old found her bee-bo (belly button, for those who don't know)... finally! Nothing makes me laugh harder than her laughter. On the hard days, I can always count on getting a good giggle from her tickly tummy!

Gorgeous coat, but please give it to one of the other gals--Central Texas has too few winter days to waste such sweet threads on me!

Anonymous | 2:20 PM

You know, it's all about the little things.

I am not a singer. Nor is my partner. ANd yet, for our little boy (who is coming up to a whopping 11 months now!) we frequently partake in random song singing. Poor kid. We call him Bear, for reasons I can't remember now, far more often than we call him his proper name. And, naturally, "bear" (or, if you're not his proud parent, "buh") was his first pseudo-word.

Our songs feature new lyrics to old tunes, and to the discerning listener they'd be absolute garbage ("twinkle twinkle little bear, how I wonder where's your fur? Up above the world so high, like a mammal in the sky..."). Today, whilst singing "Hey Jude" ("Hey Bear, you are a bear, you are a big bear, let's make you bigg-er-er, la la la la, biggest bear in the world...") he started to put in the occasional "bear" himself. IN THE RIGHT PLACES.

This means he's just as mad as we are. Huzzah!

Slightly more emotively, today is my first day minus PND where I have cried. And I cried at how much he is growing. How blue his eyes are. How he is him and me and his Dad and my Mum, and everyone. I came so close to losing him in childbirth, and he's here, and singing to our rubbish lyrics. It really gets no better.

I'm a facebook friend of yours - Claire Soulsby. Your statuses (statii?) occasionally make me wee a little.

Beth | 2:27 PM

We all need some happy moments these days, thank you for acknowledging that! That Fable could make anyone smile...

Here's mine: My grandparents are still wonderful and healthy and came to visit for a month, giving my children the opportunity to bond with their great grandparents. It was such a special time, I will cherish the memories and they will too. Not everyone gets the chance to know their great grandparents like this. Family can be such a beautiful thing!

AmandaG | 2:28 PM

I got called for a job interview. I've got a job, however I recently had to take a 20% pay cut. This potential new job could allow me to make a bit more than what I used to make plus benefits. Plus I don't like my current boss. So happy day!

And Kathleen | 2:31 PM

My shiny penny story is about a good friend:

I did my first Irish Car Bomb (Guiness with a shot of Whiskey and Bailey's dropped in). You have to chug it before the Bailey's curdles and I just... couldn't. I can't even chug water much less an Irish Car Bomb. The Bailey's started to get chunky and my pals were insisting that I would have to finish it.

That's when one of my best friends took my glass, half-full and curdled, and chugged it for me. She was my shiny penny this weekend.

Little Dude's Mama | 2:32 PM

Taking my time to look outside my living room window, I noticed for the first time the tiny, fresh buds on our Flowering Crab Apple tree. Proof that after months and months of a cruel, Midwest winter, hope springs eternal in the buds of tree. Humans should take note, for we're all like the seasons, too.

Anonymous | 2:35 PM

It is amazing how even the smallest acts of kindness can lift our spirits and make us appreciate the world around us.

My husband is out of town, and has been for close to a month for work. We moved to our current home not 9 months ago and have had the good fortune of having amazing neighbors. After my husband left for his work trip we sold his truck and only have my little car. As such the garbage has not been taken to the dump just yet (yes, call me prissy but I didn't want garbage in my car). This past Saturday morning there was knock on my door and when I opened it there stood one of our neighbors. After the initial greeting he simply asked "do you have anymore garbage inside?" It took about 2 seconds of comprehension to dawn across my face and then I lit up. He was on his way to the dump and had loaded our can into his truck. He knew my husband was out of town and since he was already going to the dump, he simply took our trash too.

I can't tell you how this simple act of kindness filled my heart and made me happy for the rest of the day. To know we have neighbors who are looking out for us and helping where they can, because they can, makes me so happy.

Sometimes it is just the small things that can make another person day, week, or month.

Pat | 2:35 PM

What makes me happy right now even though I lost my job while I was (still am) on maternity leave is my children. I have a 6 month old and a 5 year old and the fact that I get to spend this time with them just makes me so bubbly.. even with all the talk about recession and no job in sight. Maybe I am weird but staying home with my girls is all I ever wanted in the first place.

Brittany Kalaj Margulieux | 2:40 PM

Funny enough, my post today was bursting with positive thought.

People get caught up in negative things, gossip, trash-talk...we forget that good is news, too =]

Allison the Meep | 2:42 PM

Thank you for posting this! It's so refreshing to hear some positivity among all the snarkies and debbie downers. I don't even care about the coat, I just wanted to thank you for being uplifting.

My shiny penny is my son. The other day, he asked us the meaning of the word "benefit" and we explained it to him. He went on to say, "I benefit the earth! I hug trees, and pet daffodils." He's so full of optimism and happiness, and reminds me to live like that every day.

Becky McVey | 2:52 PM

Oh Happy Day!!

I received the best "gift" on Friday. A little background - I am a teacher of the Deaf and I teach 3 wonderful Deaf-Autistic boys. We are a family now, after 3 years together. One of my students and his REAL family were going to move to their home country in February because of financial difficulties and well ... persecution ... in the US. But due to the generosity of my colleagues, we were able to help them stay here until June. Well, Friday I learned that because of the new administration and the support we provided they have decided that the best choice for their son's future is to stay here!! I couldn't agree more and am SO THRILLED that he gets to stay in the US and get his education here, where he will be taught more than sewing and factory work. I am so honored to work with a family that truly puts the needs of their son before anything else. I am on cloud nine because of this and am excited to share it with the universe. Namaste!

Anonymous | 2:55 PM

Amidst the bad news for the collective there are millions of individual triumphs, even small ones. Like people (ahem, ME) who conquer their un-motivation and reach goals they didn't think they could. In short, I ran a 5K for the first time! And then I made a feel good movie about it, because I think putting things to groovy music makes them even more awesomer:


Anonymous | 2:57 PM

Things haven't been going well since July when my husband was out of a job (and still hasn't found one). We're strapped for cash like never before and it's our main stressor right now. We have a 1 year old. Expenses are mounting. Days feel bleak and hopeless. I try not to panic but it's hard.

This weekend we had GLORIOUS weather and we all went to the park. Theo was a joy and had such a great time on the swings and looking at the bigger kids run around (he can't walk yet but oh he wanted to!). The sun was on our faces, the breeze in our hair. It was a peaceful moment outside the apartment that I associate with stress, debt collection calls and bills.

Just when I think things were perfect the way they were, I suddenly found a check for $50 that I hadn't cashed yet and had totally forgotten about. It was from a few months ago when I pet sat for a friend. It was like the angels were singing!

A small moment of joy that was just what we all needed. A great weekend indeed.

meowsk | 3:07 PM

Everyday I see a shiny penny in my amazing husband. He has remained by my side through the thick and thin. After reading your previous post I realized how lucky I am to have a husband like that. Who adores me no matter how awful I can be. He gives me life and new reason to keep living it everyday.

Anonymous | 3:17 PM

I'm just finishing up a 6 month stay in Australia. I graduated from college last May, and decided that before I started teaching, I wanted to experience something new, and to do something I wouldn't be able to do when I got older, and tied down to things. So, on a whim I applied for an Au Pair (live in nanny) position, was offered the job, and took off for Australia. The idea was to travel a lot and work some.

I ended up not really meshing well with the family I worked for, we were just on different pages on how to do things. But, I found some amazing friends along the way, friends as good, if not better, then my friends from home, the ones I've known forever.

One example of this happened just a few weeks ago. I went up to the Whitsunday Islands for a 3 day sailing trip. Literally as soon as I got off the plane we were told that no boats were going out in the next few days thanks to a cyclone. So, there I was 1.5 hours away from "home" by plane, 20+hours away from real home, and not knowing what to do. I had texted the people I work for, and one friend to let them know my boat wasn't going out, and that I would keep them posted as i re-planned things. I ended up taking a boat out 3 days later then planned, and everything worked out. But in that period where I didn't know what to do next, i got calls, and texts from several of my friends, letting me know that if i needed *anything* they were there. They called to check up on me to make sure things worked out, to offer to transfer money if i need it, and just to talk and take my mind off being stranded.

And the amazing thing was, I'd only known these people a month or two. There aren't enough words to explain how something as small as those phone calls made me feel, not just while I was on my trip, but afterwards, knowing that i had REAL friends, friends who were there for me, the kind of friends your lucky to find in your first 18 years in your hometown, and that i had found them thousands of miles from home. They made me feel less alone, less unsure, and very well taken care of. I don't know what I would have done without them, but I'm thankful every day that I met them, and am crossing my fingers they all come to the States for a visit.

Anonymous | 3:23 PM

I just finished my first week of volunteer work with a sixth grade class and even though there are kids that misbehave, it's really fun to watch the kids learn something after they ask me for help. It's such a nice change of energy for me to be around the kids, and I think they already appreciate the extra attention I can give to them individually.

BTW, I've been reading a blog for a while that is always positive, funny, and it's really incredible that when I read her 'comments' I never see anything negataive. It's just a breath of freash air: www.the pioneerwoman.com

Michelle | 3:25 PM

My husband, who is in the military, is about to be deployed to a war zone for the fourth time. He is 27 years old. I am simply grateful for every day he is home, every time he holds my hand, every time my son runs to him and crys 'Daddy!" with joy. I know how lucky I am, and that knowledge is a shiny penny moment for me.

Anonymous | 3:28 PM

My birthday was a few weeks ago. My in-laws sent me 3 $100 bills. My husband and I left two of the kids at home and took the baby to a restuarant close to the house for a not often enough enjoyed quiet dinner. After the meal, our bill was $52. I left one of the $100 in the bill folder, intending to leave the waitress a $48 doller tip. Not because she was that great, but I like to do random nice things for strangers. My husband tried to grab the folder, saying I had left $200 in it. I told him he was crazy and to stop bossing me around. When we left the waitress tried to stop us, saying we had left too much. I told her no and we left. I realized the next morning I had left her $200 meaning she got a $142 tip. For a minute I was disappointed. But then I knew I had probably made her night, and I was still $100 richer than I had been.

Anonymous | 3:30 PM

I am graduating in April, and the job market is bleak at best. I asked my sweet, saintly 94 year old Grandma to pray for my job search, and in 3 days, I was offered an interview for a competitive fellowship, and invited to apply for another nearby. Hot damn, I didn't know the woman was so powerful. Finally it feels like the sun has come out.

Anonymous | 3:32 PM

My mom recently separated from her partner of eleven years and it's been bringing me down. And, well, I'm out of job right now. Looking hard, finding some temporary gigs, but still looking. So, this morning I got up and I made my mom a mix. I use to do this for her all the time when I was a teenager and it made us both feel really good. To share music. This time it was all uplifting songs to remind her that it will get easier and better. It just will. For all of us.

Anonymous | 3:37 PM

My shiny penny came this morning in my doctor's office. I had been waiting 1 month to get the results of my mammogram and breast ultra sound after my doctor felt something "odd" doing my breast exam during my yearly check up. In the past 2 years two members of my family have been diagnosed with breast cancer and I thought that I would become the third. I was told this morning that there is nothing to worry about....just some cysts which is normal for women my age. I had a knot in my stomach for the last month waiting for the results. That knot is undone now and I can breathe that sigh of relief. I am so thankful for my health. I know it is totally corny but I do believe that your health is your wealth.

Anonymous | 3:41 PM

This is pretty amazing! I bet you'd never thought you'd be this wise.

Erin | 3:56 PM

Shiny penny moments:
My new students saying to eachother: "Wow, her reputation is on target. She is so funny."
My son: "Mommy, lets snuggle."
My husband: "I love you."

Sweet. Simple. Keeps me smiling thru the rain.


Oh no! That makes me sad. The shoe incident was lame. I was over that like two seconds later and totally LOVE United States of Tara and have mad respect and nothing but love for Diablo Cody.

Honestly? All the press about the shoe incident was just a lame attempt at trying to bring Cody down which I now realize. The girl is crazy talented. I loved Juno. I hate that people knock on her. It's sour grapes. I love US of Tara, think its the best show on Television right now. Especially the Kate and Marshall bits.

(Another example WHY shit-talking is never a good idea. I don't even REMEMBER posting about falling out of love for DC but apparently I did and it has totally soured your experience. My apologies for leaving a bad taste in your mouth for someone who is really very deserving off all her success.)


(The above comment in response to Jessica, btw.)

And your stories? Fucking fantastic. I love you people.

Anonymous | 4:09 PM

Mayko, Tirah, and Meg - wow. Such wonderful, amazing stories.

And thanks to everyone else for sharing. Its been a breath of fresh air to read everyone's stories!

I will share my shiny penny story as well. I have been out of work for over six months, but my friend just let me know of a new job site she found that had some promising leads. This was significant because she is also out of work, and in the same field as me. So even though we would be applying for the same jobs (and that may mean I get a job she applied for), she still gave me the job site to look at, and I've already found a couple great jobs to apply for. Crossing my fingers BOTH of us find new jobs very soon!

Miss Melissa | 4:11 PM

I'm a care technician at a small hospital while I finish up my nursing degree. I love the geriatric population, which is really great because that's a lot of what I deal with on my floor. The other night I had to wake a very sweet ninety-something woman from a sound sleep to take her vitals. I did what I had to and asked her if there was anything else I could do for her before I left. She smiled, patted my hand and said "You're a nuisance. But you're one of the sweetest nuisances I've ever met."

I love backhanded compliments from spunky old ladies. :)

Anonymous | 4:12 PM

I have been reading your blog for about 6 months, though I have never commented. But I have to say that I couldn't be more in agreement with you about finding happiness and flowers in the midst of garbage. The stories posted above are amazing. Thanks for encouraging people to see the goodness. Personally, I like to take a daily picture(s) of happiness and post about it everyday.

By the way...Fable is the cutest baby I have ever seen. Seriously.

Anonymous | 4:20 PM

A boy who went to my jr. high was diagnosed with a type of cancer called Ewing's Sarcoma. He went through 14rounds of Chemotherapy from September 2004 and through July 2006. His friends drove over three hours to visit him in the hospital every weekend. They threw him parties and tried to keep him busy.
The first time he ended up losing his hair from the chemo, two of his buddies decided to shave their heads with him. That weekend he ended up having a party with over 25 friends. They just took the shaver and shaved everyone's heads. It was pretty crazy! The next week there were 25 kids at school with no hair! It was pretty awesome. They were behind him 100%

Jennifer | 4:20 PM

my 14 month old daughter can now say "happy" and she laughs hysterically when my 8 year old boy pretend sneezing. these two things are enough to take me away for a moment into a very content place.

the coat is hot!

Maria Melee | 4:20 PM

I got a big package of Emergen-C in the mail on Saturday. It sounds stupid but I was so thrilled. I wrote a review about them on my own. No sponsorship or contact with them. They found it and emailed me later offering a sample and I figured it would be a packet. Instead they sent six boxes! Since I've been super sick for two weeks it was really timely.

A nice little surprise when times are tough. :)

Hendirks | 4:27 PM

I had to take 4 weeks off of work to recover from a nasty surgery. Even though my health was completely in the gutter and I needed surgery, I kept thinking, "Four weeks! What are they going to do without me?" And then the smaller voice in my head thought, "What if they CAN do without me for four weeks?" In this economy, you don't want to be seen as expendable. And also in this economy, you don't want to miss out on 4 weeks of paychecks.

Despite fretting about work throughout my recovery, I returned to my job and found that my coworkers had donated their own paid time off to cover my sick time. And they welcomed me back into the fold where we buckled down and tackled big projects.

Whenever work gets tough (because let's be honest, it always does), I remind myself that I work with some of the best folks ever.

M | 4:35 PM

My most recent moment I will remember forever is seeing my son (31) with his firstborn, a son. D was a child, a teenager, an adult that always marched to a different drummer. His sister R has had children since she was 18, a senior in high school. Not a perfect thing, but today she and the father of that baby, Eli, are still together, married and have 3 children. Eli (11), Charlie (Charlotte)going on 5 and Lucy going on 2. D was a an individual who I thought never, and I mean
NEVER would have children. It just wasn't D. Today he has 3 week old Gabriel and my heart sings to see this undemonstrative, geeky, spur of the moment guy hold his son. It is awe inspiring. He has connected with his future, his wish of dreams has been passed on to Gabriel, he has purpose. Her loves every moment. He is a hands on Dad, something nI never thought I would see. There is love in his touch, his eyes and his speech. I always knew my darling daughter would make a wonderful mother. My son...I never thought this would happen. It is almost more rewarding to see a son be a dad more than a daughter become a mom.
Is that stereotypical? Perhaps, but D was so far off the radar, it was scarey. Gabe is 3 weeks old today. D has started a blog about him. He speaks of billiruben count, raised liver enzymes and Gripe Water being a parents crack.
My daughter is an excallent stay at home mom, but son is also a wonderful stay at home dad. he works from home, while his wife works outside of the home.

I cannot be more proud of D than if I made this up and circles it with angels and butterflies. I am content and in awe of his diving in.

Tiana | 4:42 PM

Last September, there was a concert at an amusement park in my town. The concert featured the 6 kids from a TV show that was basically American Idol for tweens. Only, Canadian.
I wanted to go to the concert desperately, but my mom didn't have enough money to spend $60 on tickets, so she said we go there and see if we could get last minute discout tickets.
We got the stage, it was packed, there were no extra tickets. A bouncer said that if there was extra space, he'd let us in, but he couldn't be sure. He also promised me he'd get a letter to one of the girls singing, someone who I admired.
We were standing in a small, crowded area, listening to the kids perform, when a woman came up to the bouncer and said "I have tickets that I can't use. What should I do with them?"
This family next to us started to grab for them, but the bouncer said calmly "This family was here first," and pointed to me.
The woman handed us the tickets and when my mom went to pay for them, the woman smiled and said she was happy to give them to us.
I cried. A woman who didn't know us, a bouncer who had no right to let us stay there, people who gave me one of the best nights of my life. I got to see my idol perform on stage, and my letter got to her. We talk frequently now and she's helped me through a lot of tough situations.

This was my story. Not much can make me cry, sad or happy, but for some reason that night made me. Music had never sounded better.

Leslie | 4:52 PM

I have gotten so many kind comments during the course of my pregnancy (I'm 30 weeks now). The best of them was from someone I barely know, someone I only "know" online, as a matter of fact. She emailed me soon after I announced my pregnancy on my blog back in November and told me that our baby was incredibly lucky to have such a kick ass mom and dad. That's the short version, of course - but those words from someone I barely knew really impacted me. I will never forget that email. It made me realize that our online interactions really do matter. Behind the computer screen, there's a person there.

MamaFeelgood | 4:54 PM

I spent much of my time at the park yesterday telling a mom new to the area about all the free things to do with her kids. All the parks, and newsletters to sign up for so that she can do things at no cost. I would have loved if someone had done that for me

Anna | 4:59 PM

In light of all this economic sludge weighing people down (and that since there's not been much work for me, a freelance photographer, I have primarily been caring for my two year old son), we have been staying in and cooking our meals. It's been really nice to spend more time together as a family. I don't regret being forced into hiatus by the economy, because I get to spend priceless time with my young family, guilt-free.

Justyn & Courtney | 5:05 PM

well it hasn't technically happened yet, but i am due may 2nd with my first child. my husband and i are young and we don't know much about this whole parenting thing but i just can't wait. people have told me how crazy we are to bring a baby into the world right now because of all the chaos but the way i see it there isn't a better time. i know that our lives are going to change in ways i can't even imagine. i'm not going to say that i'm "ready", because really, who the hell ever really is, but i know that the whole thing is going to be magical.

Daisy, Just Daisy | 5:09 PM

I graduated from law school & I'm job hunting with a huge amount of educational loan debt. I'm also planning a wedding which while fun is just plain stressful. This weekend my fiance wrote his "about me" section for our wedding website. I sat down expecting some biographical data & some cheesy line about why he loves me. Instead he'd written the whole thing about how smart & beautiful he finds me, noting all of my favorite things to do on a Sunday afternoon and just...well...being perfect. It made me stop and smell the roses for a few minutes.

stephanie | 5:13 PM

I saw this earlier today and wasn't going to say anything, because I wasn't sure I had anything to say.

My husband and I graduated from college in December 2008 (with our liberal arts degrees in Sociology) and moved to Portland, Oregon. It was a completely blind & cold move--we had an apartment, and a baby on the way (he or she is due in late May!), but not much else. We assumed we'd be able to get part-time jobs easily, and then transition into full-time work.

I was amazed at how quickly I was turned down for any kind of part time job I applied for. Everytime I mentioned that I'd be giving birth in May, the eyes of the person interviewing me started to glaze over, and I was politely told that they'd call if they were interested.

I'm also a photographer (I operate Blissed Out Photography in Portland), but business is slow since we've just arrived here and I'm still figuring out advertising. I've booked two weddings so far, and each of the deposits on those weddings helped pay our rent for a month, for which we are thankful.

My husband has been working part-time at a restaurant since January. His hours were recently cut to 15 a week. Oregon's minimum wage is nice (8.40/hour), but not something you can pay bills (let alone support a baby) on, especially with 15 hours. He's been applying for a zillion jobs, all of which he's qualified for, and, I believe, had received two calls for interviews since January.

The reason I'm now commenting is that about 30-40 minutes ago, one of the places he recently applied to and interviewed for called and said they had a job for him. We don't know all the details yet--they're calling on Wednesday and letting him know the days, and if it's full or part time, and chances are good that he'll end up working two jobs instead of one.

BUT. It's a job. It has real hours, benefits, and will enable us to pay rent, bills, and maybe do something fun once in a while. We're kind of holding our breath, waiting for the call on Wednesday, but I had to tell SOMEONE about it, and the internet is as good of a place as any.

Thank you for allowing this space.


These are so tear-jerkingly lovely. I want to patchwork a quilt of your moments and hang them in the windows. Thank you.


And casadekaloi? HOORAY!!!!!!! Amazing! Cheers to new beginnings, right? Life is good. It's true.

Anonymous | 5:22 PM

my totally vain shiny penny is in the form of my first size 6 purchase since i was 12. rocked my world to buy it. and it was on sale!

Amber | 5:22 PM

My new little girl makes me cry tears of joy and utter relief daily. She was born one month ago today...10 weeks early. I had been in labor all day and just didn't know it until it was too late to do anything to stop it. She was expected to be born with all types of problems due early arrival.

She has proved everyone wrong every step of the way. She started out weighing about a pound more than expected...and NOT needing any assistance breathing. She's had zero health problems, and all we're doing is waiting for her to get big enough to leave the NICU.

I have NEVER been very good at giving myself for someone else. Until now! She has made me more selfLESS than i ever thought imaginable. I'm with her every day because I lover her fiercely and can't imagine being away from her. She has made me a better person.

After so much sadness and depression, I now feel like my life has a real meaning. I've also fallen madly in love with her father. We've been together for 3 and a half years, with lots of fighting and too many issues to count sometimes....but after seeing him with her, I fell for him alllll over again :-)

We've all proven to be stronger than anyone knew we could be. We've grown into a real family over the past 28 days. I feel whole and happy and i owe it all to my amazing daughter Lexie :-)

Amanda | 5:25 PM

OK, this is totally ridiculous, but it made me smile all day. My daughter, who is 20 months, doesn't have a whole lot of words, but this little exchange happened today between her and my husband. He could smell that she had a dirty diaper. So he asked her, "Do you have a poop in your pants?" and she said "yeah!" and he said "Do you want me to change your diaper?" and she said "Yeah!" and proceeded to run to her changing table. If you had any idea how much she HATES diaper changes, you would appreciate how hilarious it was that she was so enthusiastic about a diaper change.

I told you this was ridiculous. But for some reason, it has made me smile a lot.

Leslie | 5:35 PM

Just recently I realized that my boyfriend is 'the one' for me.

such a big and happy moment in my life. it was just at a time when we were hanging out, but it just hit me like a ton of bricks and i just know.

you know when you just KNOW?

I know.

and it makes me very happy.

That sweater makes me OH SO HAPPY too! :)

vertigob | 5:54 PM

My husband had a tumor (you know, on one of the boys). He had surgery last Friday and it was benign (thank you). We have two children and it has been a rough 18 months or so. When the surgeon came and told me, it felt like Christmas, a birthday and our wedding rolled into one. I (we) were both so relieved to be given the best possible news.

Anonymous | 6:00 PM

I have two shiny pennies to share:

1.) My husband and I where both recently laid off from our jobs, so in an effort not to isolate ourselves we decided to volunteer at our local Second Harvest Food Bank. I was totally surprised at how much fun it is and how nice everyone is AND as an added (unexpected) bonus volunteers get to take home any extra food stuffs which helps greatly with the grocery bill being as we have two teenage daughters.

2.) One of my girlfriends called me the other day to ask me out to the movies as her treat! Turns out she had two movie passes that where given to her as a gift. We decided to sneak a couple of Subway $5 foot longs, and a couple of drinks in our purses. I can truly say that I had a great time and am thankful for having such a great friend.


moplans | 6:12 PM

I was late for work on Friday because I didn't want to leave my kids. Standing waiting for a bus a number went by that were out of service as I had just missed rush hour. One pulled over and asked how far I was going. He gave me a private ride to work. We chatted all the way there. He just made my day. It is rare to have someone go out of their way like that for you.

Anonymous | 6:34 PM

my shiny happy moment every day comes when my children wake up. no matter the day before, the night, what's coming for us in the present, they greet the sun with a smile, with a thought for breakfast, with a kiss. nothing is better. i wish i could bottle that and use it up when they are old and grown.

Miss M | 6:39 PM

To be honest, part of the reason that I read your blog is because you seem to exude a hapiness missing from many other internet sources. Plus, your babies are super cute. Oh, and you are a wonderful writer.

My piece of happiness? This baby in my belly is getting really big. I cannot wait to meet him! My daughter is so excited to be a big sister. The excitement builds every day. With my first one, i was so scared at this point because I was so unsure of my abilities, but this time it's pure excitement.

Molly | 6:48 PM

One thing that makes me really happy? Twittering @ my mom.

another thing, Last week I got to help my little sister develop her first roll of film. I spent as much time as I could in the darkroom in my high school years. She's 6 years younger than I am, so we were never there together. Watching the excitement on her face as she developed the film, made proof sheets and then prints was something I'll never forget. I love that she's enjoy it, and I'm so blessed to have been able to witness another person falling in love with photography.

plus her twitter photo is her with my camera. too cute

Anonymous | 6:52 PM

It is my seven year wedding anniversary. This past weekend my husband and I dropped the kids off with my mom and headed up into the mountains to the cabin in which we were married. We spent the next 48 hours drinking mimosas in a hot tub and over eating, laughing and relaxing and reveling in the fact that we are even better than when we started out together.

Then we picked up the kids and went straight to the zoo.

My shiny penny moment: not knowing which trip made me happier.

Kenda | 6:58 PM

Getting to wake up everyday hearing the sound of my son talking and letting me know he's ready to spend the day with me! Everyday is a shiny penny moment being a momma!

Anonymous | 7:18 PM

Wow, that woman has some awesome friends throwing her a wedding like that. And picking apart their wedding dresses to make her a dress of her own (?!): I don't know anyone that would ever do that. That is beyond generous and heartwarming. She's a very lucky woman. <3

carly | 7:27 PM

My mother busted up her knee and dog walking has fallen to me...I bitched about it for half a second until I realized how glorious it is to walk in the cold air when the sun comes up with Ella Fitzgerald on my iPod, singing along at the top of my lungs with my pooch beside me.

It was a beautiful feeling.

Superdumb Supervillain | 7:28 PM

It's been a loooong week. My 5 year old daughter is on spring break from preschool and she talks constantly, from sunrise to sunset. It's not usually too much of a problem except that her 20 month old baby brother has had a nasty cold and wants nothing but to sit on top of mommy and wipe his snot-laden nose all over her, uninterrupted by pre-preteen babbling and attention seeking. When I try to give her some one on one time, he shrieks like a tiny banshee until his gooey face turns purple. So tonight I was giving them a bath, assuming they would be at each other's throats as usual, but they sat in the bubbles, in the sweetest bear hug imaginable for almost long enough for me to grab a camera. Almost.

I grew up an only child so there really is nothing more magical to me than seeing the manifestation of true sibling love. It is a beautiful thing.

Valerie | 7:31 PM

I am very busy Masters degree student and a girl still trying to figure out who she is. I am struggling with myself every day, and it is exhausting.

Today I attended a fabulous workshop about something pretty simple (a feminist-oriented workshop on writing Op-Eds for newspapers) and it was potentially and unexpectedly life-changing. My shiny penny moments are those when life comes into focus for a moment and I feel hopeful about the future and the kind of life I want to have. I try to remember those moments in the dark times of confusion.

Becky | 7:47 PM

My shiny penny moment is that my workplace decided to enter into a work-sharing program, in which we will work a 4-day week, and the (Canadian) government will cover a portion of the 5th day of lost work. And nobody lost their jobs. Hopefully this buys the company the time it needs.

katie d | 7:53 PM

When I read your last post about the evolution of a father, I cried and then I passed it along to all of my friends and family who were thinking about having babies, were pregnant with babies, or already had babies stating that I thought it was the most honest interpretation of early family life. And then I cried again when I reread my email I was about to send - particularly when I got to the part "If it wasn't for Archer, there would be no Fable." At any rate, this weekend I we took our son to the park and I was watching my husband push our son on the swing. Watched them so deeply connected in each other's joy that I instantly thought: "I am rich, I've hit the mega million jackpot!" Even though my husband's small homebuilding company is struggling and we are holding on by his potentially dwindling salary and my meager contribution from my research job at University, we are BLESSED. And the best part is that I've realized it right now as we are in the moment, rather than looking back with regret years from now thinking: "we didn't have much, but we had love, why didn't I stop worrying about all of that other mess?"

caressa | 8:03 PM

How do I pick one shiny penny? My daughter Ella, born a month early, now a chunky, healthy, beautiful little 7-month-old love bug. My son, the 2-year-old wonder, so in love with his little sister that he's already her protector--her hero. My husband who stays home with our kids each day and works late into the night trying to build his business so he can give us the best life possible. Sure, my 401K has been cut in half, but pennies? Who needs worry when my pocket's lined with shiny copper blessings?

Desiree | 8:08 PM

Mmmm, one shiny penny moment: my daughter laughed her first laugh this week. She was smiling, we were making faces at each other and then it happened -- this beautiful emphatic exhalation! A tiny baby laugh & I'll remember that moment forever!

Anonymous | 8:25 PM

Daffodils are $1.25 a bunch at Trader Joe's.

Mutt | 8:27 PM

Dude. I've been living with my head in the depression bowl lately. I thought the World was a bleak and lonely place (sometimes it feels that way) but reading your blog makes me feel so happy.

The portraits blog makes me sad, but I LOVE hearing the good. The fact that someone out there understands she has a voice reaching so many is fantastic.

All the commenters have so much positive and it really makes me feel like standing arm in arm with you all and singing praise.

Thanks for posting the good, the funny, the adorable (Fable OMG the cuteness), and even the downer moments because in doing so it lifts someone up even if for a moment and that, my friend, is what it's all about.

Anonymous | 8:37 PM

Today my brother called my from a halfway house in NYC that he was volunteering at three months after taking a needle out of his own arm.

It made me unbelievably happy. Not only because he made the choice to be sober and help others who have travelled down the road he walked for so long, but because he called me to share in his new life.

Jme | 8:45 PM

Anytime I look at my two beauitful little boys, knowing that we're all healthy, have warm beds to sleep in at night ( even if it's a little cramped..we still have somewhere ) an amazing support system that I can vent to any hour of the day, and that my husband finishes his engineering degree in 38 days and will (hopefully)find a job, any job... that's what makes me feel happy and puts a smile on my face.

Alison aka Baby B | 8:53 PM

Happy moments lately...
Seeing pictures of a new baby girl, born into a family I babysat for.
Seeing pictures of said new baby girl on the quilt I made her (my first).
Home to see my family, before the new quarter starts.
First San Diegan Mexican food since New Year's. Oh yeah.

Liz | 8:55 PM

My shiny penny moment was tonight at dinner. I took Bubba to a pancake dinner to celebrate his good "report card" (can you believe pre-schools have such a thing?) and our last dinner together before I leave for 2 weeks.

As we were finishing up, I told him about some errands we had to run on our way home and finished with "then when we get home, I'll give you a bath and we'll read some stories before bed. How does that sound?" Bubba wrapped his arms around my neck and said "That would be perfect!"

It rains shiny pennies whenever he says it.

Loran | 8:55 PM

A lot of my blog is devoted to working on seeing things in a positive light or posting pretty pictures with inspirational quotes or something I hope will make people laugh. Sometimes I am almost done in by the negativity and fear mongering especially in the media. I stay away from rude people behaving badly--whether it's on TV or in a blog post.

My shiny penny moment today was when I heard good news from a friend of mine. Her daughter adopted a baby boy 8 months ago because she is unable to carry one of her own. Things were looking good for the adoption to go through until the birth father claimed he wouldn't sign over his rights. This sent everyone into a panic. The adoptive mother is such a sweet young woman, she maintains a blog just for the birth mother and posts pictures of the baby and the fun things they do together as a family. The birth mother contacted the birth father and told him all about how wonderful the family is that is adopting their son. He made contact and they talked for a long time. This week he signed over his rights and my friend and her daughter are OFFICIALLY mother and grandmother. We were crying in the grocery store today, tears of joy and gratitude.

And by the way, Fable IS the cutest baby in the world and I don't need the coat either. I do like it though.

Anonymous | 8:58 PM

Back story so it makes sense
Since I could remember my first Thought was my family (5 of us) and I moving, Almost 20 year's we have been in Over 30 houses and homeless at least 7 times Living with friends/car and my Boyfriends at the time (now husband). My Family have been threw hell and back threw Financial issues. My Grandfather always wished, hoped and prayed he could help but financially could not ,but passed away 2 years ago from the lack of care in a nursing home.
Poppy John your are missed greatly and thank you for forever thing. .
My(our)shinning moment Was then We got a phone call from the lawyer my grand father case this week we will never have to move again. We are going to buy our house up front Very Very soon. The tears flowed moments after the call.

Suzie | 9:09 PM

A kid I read with every day at work finished a book by himself for the first time today.
As a teacher's assistant, I've watched him struggle, fail, pick his little 8-year-old discouraged self up and go on.
He was so proud he wrapped his arms around me and said "I did it! I did it! I am actually going to be a reader"
You should have seen his face.
Love your style, blog, words, perspective. And those kids of yours. Good luck, mama!

Angella | 9:15 PM

I had only read the first paragraph of this post in my Reader and clicked through to shout out a "HECK YES!" and then saw there was a contest.

Good news?

I wrote a post on religion that I was scared to hit the publish button on and recieved emails from readers AROUND THE WORLD who told me that my wee site had impacted them for good.


Anonymous | 9:17 PM

I don't know that I have any shiny penny moments to give, honestly I have been feeling a bit negative myself, beaten down by life, but reading your blog and those of of your fellow "mommy-bloggers" is what helps me, and for that, thanks!

Anonymous | 9:23 PM

My shiny penny moment today happpened when I came upstairs to bed after a very long and trying day and there on my pillow, written on a pink sticky note, was the following from my youngest daughter, "Have I told you lately that you are the greatest Mom in the whole world? xo" Made my day!

Anonymous | 9:37 PM

My daughter (3 years) spent the better part of this morning popping out from behind anything and everything to make my son (10 months) laugh as hard as he could. It was a frustrating day with no naps and lots of tears, but that was a shining moment - my kids laughing their brains out together, the squeals of children. My tension all melted away for that moment.

Meemo | 9:38 PM

Wow, what a great story.
I don't have a specific shiny penny moment to share but both my husband and I have jobs (my company layed off 15 people last month and thankfully, I was not one of them. Knock on wood) We have 3 healthy boys, one of them is 8 months and you know how much fun that is. We're doing okay, we laugh a lot and finding happiness within my home and family is my shiny penny.

brittany | 10:11 PM

my shiny penny would be winning and having you award the prize to someone else. so if I win, pick again!

Jennifer Woolsey | 10:56 PM

My moment came a few weeks ago when my 1 1/2 year old daughter answered my "Guess What?" with "I love Mommy." No matter how bad things get; no matter how many times I seem to fail there is always that, which is way more than enough.

nicole antoinette | 11:16 PM

It's so coincidental that you posted this today, as today was the official launch of my new organization, HandsIn, an online meeting place for 20-somethings who are passionate about community service and sustainable living. It's my way of trying to make a difference and remain positive despite all the negative out there.

Come check it out!! www.handsin.org

Anonymous | 1:13 AM

Shiny Penny:

I'm a flat broke college student with four jobs and a cupboard full of white rice and peanut butter. My shining moments are when I'm at work: at a non-profit trying to raise money for scholarships for people living below poverty level (like myself when I was in foster care) or my job stitching clothes and costumes. I just love bringing something beautiful and helpful into this negative atmosphere. I'm at my best trying to make everything better.

ps- L-O-V-E that coat! Such a great find!!

Denise Karis | 1:42 AM

ohhh, I commented on this one on momversation as well - people are definitely drawn to positive people - seriously, who wants to hang around Debbie Downer all day?

My happy story from this week was hanging out with my girlfriend who is visiting from Finland. It's been 8 years since we've seen each other and now she's a mother too. So we talked about motherhood and pregnancy and relationships and it was great! Most of my adult interaction is (im sad to say) on Facebook or through blogs... it's so much better to talk to someone face to face and have a fantastic long conversation!!!

Carla | 4:12 AM

Hi Rebecca,

Sorry, no shiny penny moment from me (no pennies in Australia, anyway, only cents!). I just wanted to say thanks for your positive, optimistic posts. I find it comforting and encouraging to read your stories! I also liked last post about the early years of your marriage- thanks for being so brave and honest.


April | 4:44 AM

Just found out we're pregnant with #3. Been trying since August and we couldn't be happier. Shhhh... we haven't told anyone yet. It's like a shiny little penny hidden in my pocket. :-)


Loonstruck | 4:46 AM

When I was a young teen with all of the OMG The world is going to end today and tomorrow both! stuff, a friend told me to make a list of things I love. I did. And I carried that list around with me and forced other people to write down what they loved. Some of my favorites:

Green arrows

Getting to the top of Squawpeak mountain and watching all the people with a half hour of climbing to go

People who love Depeche Mode.

Maybe I'll make an "I Love" group on facebook so people can share all their daily joys and ongoing loves.

Prasti | 5:29 AM

as long as we're hitting the publish button we are writing for other people to read and even respond. We must remember that the blogosphere is not a collection of monologues but dialogues.

so critical to keep this in mind! i absolutely agree w/ you.

good things...
my 2nd pregnancy ended in saying good-bye to our sweet baby which we will not meet in this lifetime. but the 3rd pregnancy has been nothing but normal and we are nearing his/her arrival date! i can't wait!

my husband received a pay-cut this year (we are a single family home w/ 2 kids and one on the way). i am thankful that he still has a job and that we are healthy and happy with a roof over our heads.

Michelle | 5:54 AM

In our family, we have 3 people that have lost their jobs, a grandfather that is going to be saying goodbye to this world soon and a son who doesn't like his family anymore. But we have also had 1 birth and one more on the way. Time to reconnect and talk to each other now. Things will get better and I find myself enjoying just spending time with my girls and husband like never before, just at the park or at home making cupcakes and laughing laughing laughing!!!!

Liz | 6:21 AM

Having my two year old look at me and say with utter love in his voice, "Good morning mommy!". There's some mornings I can barely stand to get out of bed I'm so tired or dreading the day, but hearing him so happy to see me no matter what a mess I am is always a joy and blessing.

Anonymous | 6:33 AM

I am 20 weeks pregnant with my first child and am feeling my baby move a tiny bit everyday. Everytime it happens, my heart flutters and I fall more in love with this little thing that I haven't even met yet.

Being pregnant is AMAZING!


Sherrill | 6:48 AM

So far, my husband and I have been almost embarrassingly untouched by this recession stuff. But last month, it was announced that my whole building might get laid off. We have a 4 1/2-month-old daughter and hey guess what, kids aren't cheap. My father-in-law sent us an email that he had something for us at his house. When we went over there, he handed us a check. And not a $10 "hey go buy a snack" check, but a "hey this could actually cover our mortgage for a few months" check. We were floored. I was almost in tears. It was something that they had planned to do when they sold their RV. But they just sort of randomly decided to go ahead and give it to us, not having any idea how useful it might be.

And like so many other mothers who have commented, every stinking day that my kid smiles or coos or shrieks or is nourished by my body is a miracle. When she nurses, and gazes into my eyes like I am the only thing that matters...it's humbling and amazing.

Stephanie Wilson she/her @babysteph | 6:49 AM

Oh my gosh- I need that!! I have to say recently I've had more shiny moments via random acts of kindness... maybe the way of the world these days is bringing people back around. One that comes to mind is my friend who was out and about yesterday brought me Starbucks and stopped in for a visit. Who does that anymore? We don't do it enough. Why do we wait until we're old and dying to have visitors? I'm going to have people over more.


Anonymous | 7:06 AM

there is nothing better, nothing more meaningful or uplifting in my life, than going in my baby's room when he wakes up in the morning. it can be 4 am and i am mad as hell, but when i walk in there and turn on the light and sees me, he can barely contain himself. he is smiling and laughing and reaching his arms out for me. NOTHING in the world is better than waking up to that. when i look at him, or even think about his cutesy wake-up routine, there is no way to have a bad day, to feel unfilled, defeated. i don't need money to survive - but i need that little gummy grin the mornings or i would never make it through the day.

Anonymous | 7:18 AM

I moved to Detroit from Chicago last June and boy has it been difficult. The entire city is nervous and depressed. We all hear about a friend losing a job or worry about our own every day. The city seems war-torn with all of the decay downtown.

However, just this past weekend - when the sun was shining - I realized that there was such a spirit of hope amidst this near post-apocalyptic fray. I was downtown in my favorite spot (Eastern Market) with friends, a cup of coffee, and listening to the buskers on the street singing and playing music. The whole city seemed to be waking up. I think it just might have made my month.

Mrs. Melberry | 7:33 AM

My shiny penny:
My Fiancé called me up concerned when I didn't respond to his email asking me how my doctor's appointment went. It was adorable and made my afternoon that much better.

Thanks for your blog...I thoroughly enjoy reading about you and your adorable family :)

Katy | 7:36 AM

I don't have too much to add, except that the other day one of my readers commented on how I'm not as funny anymore, and that my writing has become too much "Flowers and rainbows", instead of the sarcasm and wit it began as.....

At first I wondered if I was losing my edge, and then I realized that it has all been a part of my journey to becoming a better person.

I don't have to hide behind witty one-liners and cleverly sarcastic prose. I can finally feel proud of who I am, and strong enough to show my human side, without fearing "what people are going to think".

I hate the negativity of the internet. The cattiness, the envy and the jealousy. The bloggers whose soul purpose are to hide behind keyboards to down other bloggers. The misogyny.

It's terribly sad.

I am so happy to have found your blog, and I am so thankful for everyday.

Anonymous | 7:37 AM

I sent a post to you a month or so ago for Portraits of an Economy about Hope Springing Eternal. My husband & myself were both raised in households where negative thoughts and comments were heard all of the time - like the grim reaper was always knocking at the door. We have decided that we will not be negative like our parents were before us. In order to combat our negativity, we have made up this little thing we do each night when we sit down to dinner. Each of us (my husband, myself and our 12 year old daughter) have to say at least 5 good things about our day. Some days it is hard to find 5 things that were good and others we can come up with more. This forces each of us to find happy things in our day (even if all that was happy is that we are sitting at dinner with our loved ones) and it ends our day on a positive note rather than a negative one. Instead of complaining we are forcing each other to smile and look at things bright and shiny. It might be corny or cliche but it truly works!!!

Anonymous | 7:39 AM

I'm a single mom of 5 year old twins who works as a preschool teacher. I ADORE my job, and while the hours are great and let me spend lots of time with my own children, it doesn't provide health care (the kids are covered through their grandma, thank goodness!).

After years and years of perfect health, I recently contracted a bizarre infection that required surgery and has left me unable to work for almost a month now. Faced with an avalanche of medical bills, I figured cashing in all my sick and vacation time would help a little, but I had no idea how I was going to come up with the rest of the money. On Friday, the director of the preschool came to visit with a basket of goodies the other teachers had assembled and with the news that the school board had voted to pay me for the entire month of March. I have no idea how I managed to hold it together enough to keep from sobbing on her shoulder, but somehow I did and was even able to squeak out a "thank you."

I am so incredibly thankful that I work at such an amazing school and with such wonderful people. My children and I may want for some material things, but we are surrounded by a village of people who love us and will go to bat for us whenever we need it, and I think we're going to be just fine.

Michelle | 7:46 AM

I'm going to France with two of my best friends tomorrow. It's been something I've been putting off for years, saying I didn't have the money. Well, I made it work. I budgeted and scrimped and shifted things around and now I get to spend 9 days speaking French, meeting new family and seeing new things. I get to live history and make memories and leave work behind. I get to take a real vacation (I haven't had one in about 8 years) and come back feeling richer in spirit, instead of in wallet. I get to live my life.

I couldn't be happier!

Anonymous | 7:49 AM

I have been feeling a tad lonely since I became a mom. I have lost touch with a number of my friends and it has sometimes been hard. This past weekend two of my girlfriends came over and we spent the night watching buffy and enjoying some wine. It was wonderful to get to hang out and be myself again and the best part was the next morning they stuck around and played with the baby. We got to spend the whole day just relaxing and enjoying each other's company while watching the baby explore the world. It was an awesome day and I don't feel so lonely anymore. Heck now that I think about it the past two weekends have been filled with friends reaching out to us. It has been awesome.

Paulita | 7:55 AM

I had an amazing weekend this past weekend with my husband and kids.

All of us worked out in our garden..planting new seeds for the marking of spring..harvesting our veggies that we had grown in our lil downtown backyard.

We rocked out to Rock Band 2 that night..the kids trying to kick me off the drums (hey..I thought I was doing good!)..I sang my heart out to "Today". I also introuduced them to industrial music that night on itunes (to steer them away from becoming Disturbed fans)

My shining penny of hope is that through the pre-teen angst, we bounced love off eachother and into everyone we encountered that weekend.

I also rented Who's the boss, Family Ties, and Perfect Strangers. They are loving them...and I love that

A Serious Girl | 7:57 AM

The girl whose friends are throwing her a wedding? I believe that that wedding will be more fun, more laid-back, and more full of love than ANY wedding purchased with thousands of dollars. What a wonderful thing. Thank you for sharing it!

Heather | 7:57 AM

Thank you for these comments! Wow.
My shiny penny moment is not quite as profound as some of the others, but it is equally as special to me. When I was having a super bad day last week, I came home to my unbelievable happy-with-life dog and he brought me one of his toys.
Silly? yes. Made me smile? yes.
Totally worth sharing? YES!
Have a wonderful day everyone!

the bellyacher | 8:14 AM

After weeks and weeks (and weeks) of waiting I finally received the nursery bedding we'd ordered for our first baby (due in May). :) Everything is coming together...whew!

MLB | 8:42 AM

I have three wonderful, happy, healthy kids and the best husband ever. This weekend, I became almost afraid because I felt so lucky that I thought it meant that something bad must be coming. I would like to freeze them at this moment because I can't imagine them getting better than this! (well, maybe not the 17 month old who is doing a lot of grunting and whining, but other than that . . . :)

Thank you for this and reminding us that being positive is the best thing we can do sometimes.

Anonymous | 8:47 AM

Hmm my shiny penny moment would have to be the optimism I saw on my oncologists face when he said that the chemo/radiation treatment he's going to start me on this Monday is going to eradicate this lung cancer that just recently showed up in my right lung. He has every confidence we caught it early, that the chemo/radiation combo will work and they can remove my whole right lung and I'll be good as new! At 41, I need this kind of optimism!

Katie Jane Parker | 8:58 AM

Friday night - completely unexpectedly - my amazing boyfriend of 3 1/2 years asked me if I wanted to "get hitched." (His exact words, which, if you know him is just so... him.) It was the most wonderful, surprising moment of my life, and I am still on a cloud. At first I started laughing, and then I started crying, and it's been pretty much laughter and happy tears on and off since Friday night. So that's my happy thing right now; my really really good thing.

Anonymous | 9:03 AM

When we got married, we didn't have time to plan a honeymoon. Life was busy and not a month has passed since we've married that we haven't talked about how we'll never get a honeymoon, oh well.

Last week, my husband was looking through some old papers and he found a forgotten wedding gift: a three-night stay at the Ritz-Carlton of our choice. We immediately sent in the certificate and found that it hadn't quite expired (joy!), so we made reservations at the Dana Point resort this weekend.

It will be the first weekend that we've been ALONE together relaxing and hanging out since we first met. Then, we spent a week in a small cottage in France. Not a day has gone by in the past week that I haven't though about this upcoming weekend, our "honeymoon," if you will. What an unexpected blessing, an unforeseen joy, and just when we needed it most - before this new baby, after the craziness of the past few years, etc.

I'm really looking forward to falling in love all over again =)

Amanda | 9:11 AM

My best friend from high school called me last night. We haven't spoken in years, and it didn't even sound like her.

I've been living out of state for the past 7 years and she too has had her own journeys around the US, but every now and then she'd stumble into our old stomping grounds, run into my family, inquire as to how I was doing and stumble back out. I always felt badly that we were forever separated . . . that she put forth an effort to re-connect, but I was already so far disconnected . . .

So, I took the step and invited her to my wedding.

And that is why she called. She had to leave a message, because I was again experiencing that inevitable disconnect (I was away), but the point here is that she called. . . . she called!

She called to say she will not be able to make it to my wedding, but she wishes me the best and I should call her sometime.

Now is my chance to eliminate the disconnect between us.

Birdie | 9:15 AM

I feel like I have these moments everyday...sometimes they are big, larger than life, kicks to the head that knock you on your ass and just make you SO THANKFUL...other times they are just small, minute glimpses of something so real that it takes your breath away. Today's was like that: My little red headed, blue eyed, 18 month old son reaching for me before work saying "Mama. Kiss. Mama." and planting a huge one on my cheek.
Sigh. Bliss.

em | 9:22 AM

So taking the dog out has become an epic ordeal. My 1.5 year old daughter wants to hold the leash, and then she wants to take her cup of water and hold (but definitely not wear) her hat. Yesterday we take our normal route, around the block, down Cherokee to Hollywood, Whitley and back. Past the tourists, the valets, the neighborhood homeless, the stench of the street. Jane has a melt down in front of American Apparel and throws her cup in the street and the leash goes flying. I struggle to collect the baby and dog and curse. Then someone hands me Jane's cup. Not a tourist, valet, or shop worker. A homeless man, someone I pass every day without much sympathy or humanity hands me the cup. And I want to cry for being so worked up and privileged and oblivious. But the gesture is touching and I smile and my load is lightened.

Style Police | 9:29 AM

When my aunt was dying of cancer she & her husband wanted to fly from England to CA to try a new treatment. Because she was so ill, no airline would agree to fly her, and she was uninsurable. She was so ill, many airlines were worried she would die mid-flight. In desperation, they wrote to Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic. A week or so later they got a phone call from Richard. He assured them that they could fly Virgin, that there was no problem and that if she were to die mid-flight, they would repatriate my aunts body as well.

My aunt never got to take that flight, sadly she died a few days later, but I thought that Richard's phone call was a shining example of how inherently good some human beings can be.

Jo | 9:33 AM

Last week my husband got a $500 ticket for speeding, then my one year old was playing around with my steering wheel while I vacuumed the back of my car and BROKE it. The repairs cost $350. But then yesterday the baby said I love you mama for the first time. You see, that, makes the money crap meaningless. We have health, we have each other... life is GOOD.

Anonymous | 9:41 AM

I'm really enjoying reading everyones wonderful moments...

I don't have anything super special, just a moment this past weekend in the sun planting petunias with my 1 1/2 year old son digging in the dirt beside me. Ten dollars worth of flowers and a 70 degree day with a smiling baby by my side was all I needed to chase away some blahs I had been having lately.

Anonymous | 9:47 AM

Well this is going to sound ridiculously silly, but it was a shiny penny moment nonetheless. There is nothing I want more in this life than to have a child. It has been a dream and a goal for as long as I can remember. Now that I'm 26 and married for 2 years, that dream is starting to become a reality...not pregnant yet, but decided to try this summer. And I couldn't be more thrilled! At the same time, I'm scared to death. I'm scared of loving something so much. I sometimes look at my nephews and physically ache with love for them. But then there's the flip side. What if something goes wrong and I don't love my child in the way I think I'm supposed to? What if I have built up motherhood so much that I will inevitably be disappointed?

And then I found your blog about a week ago, and that fear has diminished. Your love for Archer and Fable is palpable. I can literally feel the love you have for them through your words. You have no idea how much I've enjoyed reading your words, and in a way, feeling what you feel. It hasn't been so good for my job because all I have wanted to do is read, read, read:)
Anyway, that's my shiny penny: reading your blogs. And I commented on one the other day for the first time, and you wrote me back! You said that I would make a great mom some day. And that made me smile. I went back and read it again; and smiled again. That's music to my ears, and I hope beyond hope that you are right. Thank you for writing and being a shiny penny in the lives of so many without even knowing how much you touch them. All the best to you and your gorgeous family!

P.S. I was anonymous before, but this time I'll leave my name.

Anonymous | 10:00 AM

For me, my shiny penny moments are very simple....

I have two healthy, happy kids.
I have a husband that loves me and our kids more then life itself.
My husband has a full time job that sometimes even gives him overtime hours still.
I am able to stay home with the kids for now even though money is tight.

These things are my shiny pennies.

Anonymous | 10:00 AM

I have been buried under a shroud of self-deprecation and loathing. My work/school have prevented me from spending time with my husband and daughter which has compounded my sorrow. Yesterday I had the day off for the first time in 3 months...my almost 2 year old daughter crawled into bed with me and whispered "you pretty mama-I lub you"! My heart collapsed and my world was splashed with color again. Out of the mouths of babes...comes true happiness!

Anonymous | 10:02 AM

Oh, and I forgot to say...I bet you had no idea that taking a minute out of your busy day to comment back to me would brighten my day so much did you? And that, my friend, is the moral of the story (i.e. Fable). You never know when a simple smile, kind comment, or helping hand will change the course of someone's day. You call them "shiny pennies" and when I heard Maya Angelou speak, she called them "rainbows in the clouds". If we all tried to be someone else's rainbow in the cloud/shiny penny (even for a brief moment), the world would be a much more beautiful place. Thank you for brightening up this sometimes mean and ugly place we call the internet! :)

Anonymous | 10:04 AM

1) Wow! A lot of folks want that coat!
2) I'm one of them!
Ok, here goes it happened a month or so ago but every time I need to smile I think of it:

After pulling my 4 yo from the bath and warming him up with the hair dryer, I tried to explain the dangers of combining water and electricity.

"It's dangerous. You'll get zapped."
"Yes. Zapped."
"By the electricity. It goes through your body."
"How does it get in there?"
"Through your skin and then it hurts your heart."
"And then I wouldn't be able to love anymore?"


I have no words for these. I'm just... I'm so floored by these stories. I was just in Trader Joes reading them on my phone as they pinged me and I burst into tears in the middle of the frozen food section. Because how much decency is there? So much.


Thank you all so much. Good deeds indeed come from every corner, ever kind of pocket, person. It's awe-inspiring. Your stories make me feel fearless, proud and absolutely thrilled to be alive.

Anonymous | 10:08 AM

My shiny penny moments in the week often seem to come from blogs like this. I don't have a blog, but I love, love reading them, and find new ones all the time. To see stories like the one you published today about the wedding, and from seeing the stregnth of men and women everywhere taking what they have been given in life and making it the best that they can. It inpires me to live my life to the fullest and not waste opportunities. So thanks to you and people like you for being strong enough to share.


Oh and Adrienne? So true. So wise:

"You never know when a simple smile, kind comment, or helping hand will change the course of someone's day."

So true. We have no idea how much power we have.

Again, thank you all.

JSauce | 11:10 AM

I had a great shiny penny moment this weekend while packing up my condo for the upcoming move...

..a long while back, my aunt gave me a present, a "prayer box" in which you are supposed to write down your worries, wishes, prayers, etc. It was a cute gift, but honestly not something that I used often, and over the years it got put away into the "storage closet" (we all have one). When I stumbled upon it while packing, I opened the box to read the lone wish I had put in the box, a small scribble on a scrap of paper: "I hope I am doing the right thing."

I was, and I did. :-)

JSauce | 11:11 AM

I had a great shiny penny moment this weekend while packing up my condo for the upcoming move...

..a long while back, my aunt gave me a present, a "prayer box" in which you are supposed to write down your worries, wishes, prayers, etc. It was a cute gift, but honestly not something that I used often, and over the years it got put away into the "storage closet" (we all have one). When I stumbled upon it while packing, I opened the box to read the lone wish I had put in the box, a small scribble on a scrap of paper: "I hope I am doing the right thing."

I was, and I did. :-)

Anonymous | 11:27 AM

I have two wonderful kids and a husband who loves us all so much. I love seeing him interact with our baby girl and 3 year old son. We are so lucky to have each other.

Anonymous | 11:42 AM

Life will always be hard. Someone will always be better off than you, and someone will always be going through something worse. The important thing is to appreciate the little things. I know it's overstated, but it's true! There are so many things to bring me down right now, but I still have a husband who adores me, a child who loves me despite all my shortcomings, and a job that pays the bills. Yes, life is hard and we are always facing one challenge or another, but only I can allow myself to be happy through it all. And life is just better (for everyone) without the negativity.

My greatest happiness this week? I think I've just found a friend. One of those effortless, wonderful, "I get you" friends that only comes around a couple of times in your life. There isn't anything else I would rather have right now.

Nicole | 11:59 AM

Today, I had a student tell me that they appreciated me. This is, unfortunately, a very rare occurence at the large University where I teach. But, she did and thats all I needed to remind myself why I love this life of learning.

Amanda | 12:07 PM

This weekend I found a great book. As a new stay at home mom with a 5 month old, I'm finding it harder and harder to sneak in the time for such things and to find a book so exciting, intellectually intriguing, and stimulating to read is a "shiny penny moment" for me definitely. Saturday night I stayed up until 2am too engrossed to put the book down. When I finally pulled myself from the pages I was greeted with this sight. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_avZKR46MK5o/ScaH60Aj7EI/AAAAAAAAAXE/YcR6EgaNweA/s400/IMG_3163.jpg My son and husband sleeping so peacefully. I’m totally overcome by the simple beauty of a sleeping baby, happy husband, comfy bed, and a good library book. It cost me no money and recharged me for the next week.

HennyBeeMama | 12:21 PM

the shiny penny moments of late shine so much brighter than ever. there is so much sadness and gloom out there. close to home and far. i find myself appreciating a kind person, a smile, happy chit chat among strangers. i also find myself being much more tolerant of people who are "just doing their jobs" than ever before. i feel like i have a new awareness of the fact that maybe this person doesn't want to have this job, but can't find another because there isn't one, and maybe they're a parent like me. just trying to keep it together. my curtness or aloofness is only going to bring them down. in this small way i feel like the world can be a nicer place, especially in these times. we need to take care of each other.

Baby's Mom | 12:28 PM

I am working on my club's charity event and someone emailed me thanked me for my attention to the details in my correspondence. It sounds weird but I usually annoy folks with my barrage of specific questions and lists of information. That she thanked me specifically for that and even used that word made me feel all warm like someone gets me, they really get me!

Anonymous | 12:51 PM

I feel very lucky that I have a job that I love, I teach high school science. After having a sewer line break in the basement and major surgery for the husband, I am very happy that I have a reliable job to come to everyday.

Anonymous | 12:53 PM

My shiny penny moment is minor but this past year has brought the breakdown of a long term relationship, my taking on the responsibility of my ex's daughter, working two jobs to help my son thru University and pay the bills. I have been down, depressed and feeling overwhelmed by life.
Last night my son sent me a text saying how much he loved me, missed me and appreciated me. Simple and small. But I woke up this morning feeling like the old optimistic happy me.

Unknown | 1:07 PM

My shiny penny moment was the day after I got home from the hospital after having my son. I was blissed out just having him around but I just had to know what I weighed. During my pregnancy I got hyperemesis (severe morning sickness) and I lost so much weight that I ended up in the hospital at one point. Well on that day that I weighed myself I was overjoyed that there was a silver lining to all the sickness (besides my beautiful son)...I was 11 pounds lighter than I was before I got pregnant. It was a miserable 9 months but in that one little moment it seemed like a very small price to pay for what I got. I am even considering going through all the sickness again to have a second child.

Rachel | 1:20 PM

I work for a small nonprofit that feeds the homeless and freelance for two different websites to pay the bills and get out from beneath my mountainous credit card debt. I could work somewhere that pays more but I can't stomach not believing in what I do.

I have been feeling piss-poor these days, with never enough money, but I got a present from Uncle Sam! Turns out the 30% of my freelancing income I saved in anticipation of taxes won't be needed, so I get to keep it! I now have enough money to pay off my highest interest credit card! (The one I had paid off only to re-charge up two days later to save my dog's life.)

I can now take that payment and put it toward my NEXT credit card, which means IT will be done twice as fast!

And orange trees are blooming in one yard in my neighborhood, which means I am a little more alive for the 4 seconds I take to walk past that yard with my dog.

Lauren | 1:31 PM

This is so tiny and random that I feel silly putting it up next to all of these amazing stories above. However, I just had to share my "Shiny Penny" moment of the week. Every once in a while you have an "ah ha!" moment when you think "LIFE IS EFFING GOOD".

I received a care package from my mother in the mail yesterday; just some coasters, a candle holder, some notepads, and treats for our dog. It wasn't what was in the package that got to me, it was the fact that I have the most amazing, incredible, and thoughtful mother in the world. There is no other job ON EARTH that has more impact on the life of someone else- the impressions and love given to me by my mom for over 25 years is my shiny penny moment EVERY DAY.

Anonymous | 1:57 PM

I tend to be a ho-hum person, and I'm making a conscious effort to change that. I'm organizing a tweet-up in my area and had the opportunity to partner with a local charity, so our tweet-up will benefit the Humane Society. I'm excited, they're excited, and there are already people planning on coming. I feels good to do good.

Ellen Finch | 2:01 PM

I work in a blue collar bar in the midwest, and lately the sheer number of people coming in after getting laid off from their various factory jobs has been unbelievable. I was just complaining to my partner that I couldn't take one more night of the sad stories of all these poor people, and that night a group came in from a local factory having just been laid off.

I could tell they were worried about their future, and how to make ends meet, but one of them was going to move to Chicago to provide child care for her son, so that he and his wife could both keep their full time jobs. One was going to use the time in between jobs to volunteer at the local women's shelter, and another was opening her home to a young girl who had also been laid off and couldn't afford to keep her apartment. All three of these women's first thoughts at hearing about the lay off was how they could help someone else. All three of them were making great sacrifice to make sure someone else was ok, even though they had no idea when they would find work again. All three of these women gave me hope, something I never thought i'd find among stories of heartache and job loss.

Anonymous | 2:11 PM

Dang - now I'm crying now at my desk at work! These comments have been so inspiring. Thank you for letting us share. My bright penny moment was when my first grandchild was born on March 7. The best day! That sweet little baby reminds me that there is hope in the world. BTW - Fable is adorable!

HAS | 2:52 PM

Three weeks ago I got one of those scary letters in the mail. You know the ones. This one was from my bank, informing me that I was $130 overdrawn. Well of course, I didn't have $130 or even $1 to my name. I was terrified that they were going to close my account and all that entails. I sold a bunch of my old books and some baby stuff and managed to scrape together a mere $70 or something. I can't even remember the amount but it was nowhere near what I needed to get my account up to date. So hat in hand, and baby in tow, I went to my bank and waited in the small but very open/very public area reserved for those who need to Speak To Somebody. I was so nervous and chatted and cooed to my baby, who was sitting in his stroller quietly (thank you baby! I didn't have to worry about a screaming baby in the mix of this mess). Finally I was called over by one of the bank people and I sat down, handed over my letter, and explained about the overdrawn account, and how I only had $70 but that was all I have now but was going to do my best to bring my account up to date immediately, etc. etc. The whole time I'm talking, this lady was typing on her computer and not really paying attention to what I was saying. And I have to admit, a part of me got mad about this, but then I was kind of glad that she wasn't looking at me while I talked about finances with her. Anyway...after a minute, she looked at me and said, "I went into your account and cleared some of the fees. And I made your account a "student" account because it doesn't look like you have been able to maintain the minimum balance of the regular account. So, just deposit your money now and you should be okay." And then she smiled at me. I was stunned. I walked away to deposit my money and I felt like the luckiest person. And when I left the bank and wheeled my baby through the sunshine, I thanked the universe and everyone with a smile. And I cried w/happiness. And I thanked that lady at the bank silently for 2 whole days. Her name is Jackie Alvarez and I will never forget her kindness!

Rikki | 2:53 PM

My shiny penny moment came today. After 3 years of obesity I am finally putting myself first. I lost 4.8 lbs in my first week. If I do win that gorgeous coat, I swear to you, someday soon I will fit in to it.

Your generosity and spirit inspire me.


xoxo, collette | 3:33 PM

My 6-year-old son & I have a difficult relationship. It's just him & me. His dad died 5 years ago (when he was 18 months old), and he hasn't fully accepted it yet. Who am I kidding? I haven't really accepted it either. In fact, he blames me for his father dying (LONG STORY!)... and sometimes I blame myself for it, too (seriously, a LONG STORY).

It's hard being a single parent. My son is as stubborn as they come. He's quick-tempered & he has a problem listening (& respecting) adults (especially me!). But he's a gem! He's the sweetest little boy (when he wants to be)... he just likes to wear a tough exterior because he doesn't want people to know the "real" him. Some days, I feel like I'm a failure as a mother. I feel like I'm ruining this kid's life... like it'll all be MY FAULT (cause there's just ME) if he's turns out screwed up. Sometimes, I think it's hopeless.

But some time last year, out of nowhere, my (then) 5-year-old son said to me, "Mom, you're my most prized possession."

"What the hell? Where did that come from? And where the hell did he learn that or hear that from?" I thought to myself. Not knowing if he even understood what he told me, I asked him, "What's that mean? What's a prized possession?"

He replied, "It's something you care about and love. It's something you don't ever want to lose."

So I asked him, "Well then why am I your most prized possession?"

And he said, "Because I love you and don't ever want to lose you. I'm yours, too, right?"

I told him, "Of course you are!"

Remembering this day helps me when my son says, "I HATE YOU!" when he's angry. I know he doesn't mean it... I know deep down I'm all he has... and he's all I have.

Cate | 3:35 PM

I am 18 years old. I have barely lived a life in comparison to some people, have hardly experienced things that those with "experience" have. My shiny penny moment is nothing to do with money, nothing materialistic and happened around 7 years ago.

My cousin was born a over a month premature. He was an extremely poorly baby, and had to go into hospital several times over the course of his first year of life. His name is Lewis.

One day, when he was around 3 months old, Lewis stopped breathing. He stopped moving, turned blue and the nearest hospital was around a 20 minute drive away. My Grandmother saved him by giving him the "kiss of life". Since that day, we have spoilt him. Not with money/materials,but with love. Due to being born prematurely, his brain did not develop properly and he is very slow with learning (he is 10 years old now, but mentally is around 5 years old).

This is where my shiny penny moment comes in. It may be selfish of me, but I can still remember it, even though I was just 11 years old. Like I said, it is nothing monetary or materialistic that helped me. My parents were going through a rough patch at the time and constantly arguing. Being a pre-teen, I couldn't really handle it, and constantly felt upset, feeling that I wasn't wanted or particularly needed.

I went to my Grandmother's house, where Lewis was sitting on the floor. He was coming up to 3 years old and could only crawl. His face lit up as I entered the room, a massive smile on his face as he tried to say my name. I slumped down on the sofa opposite, and he put up his arms to me, indicating he wanted picking up.

"I can't be bothered", I said. "Walk".

Lewis shrugged and turned back to what he was doing. I got up to leave the room and he started whimpering, crying for me. My Grandmother came out of the kitchen and into the room we were in.

"You're his favourite", she said, smiling at me. I sighed, and went to the kitchen to fetch some cake. As I walked back into the room, Lewis' face lit up again. I regained my position on the couch and began eating. Lewis started to become frustrated that I was doing something without him, and once again started to cry. My Nan held him up so he was standing, and started talking to him in a hushed voice to calm him down. At that moment, I saw something click in his mind. He looked over to me and gingerly put a foot forward. My Nan stopped talking straight away and stared in silence.

Holding onto my Nan's shoulder, Lewis continued to put each foot forward until he had no shoulder left. He stumbled and fell back onto the floor. Determined, he got back up and ran/waddled towards me.

My Grandmother then rang my Aunt to see if Lewis had done this before. Nope.

He had just taken his first steps to me, making me feel like the most needed person alive. That's my shiny penny moment. It still makes me proud, which as I mentioned before, is probably quite selfish of me. As if it's MY achievement, instead of his. But it still makes me proud. Still gives me butterflies inside. :)

Megan | 3:37 PM

Last week my boyfriend was two days from leaving on a trip home to Colombia, South America. His best friend and brother had been in town and as a result, his apartment was greatly neglected due to the joy and busy-ness of guests and work projects.

The previous week, as I was quietly curled on his bed, he walked over and placed something in my hand...it was the key to his heart...ahem....apartment, "I want you to have this if you want it." I tucked it to my chest, gave a silent nod and buried my beaming face into the pillows (That was my bright shiny moment of LAST week!!!!)

With this new morsel of trust that I hadn't used yet, I was leaving work the day before he was to set flight and had a bright idea...'I'll go clean his apartment while he is gone as a surprise!!' I knew it would make a big difference for him since he still had errands, a very demanding job, and packing and laundry to tend to before he left. I hurried over and cleaned....for THREE hours. Boys are disgusting.

He called to say he was leaving work and that some unsettling things had happened at the office. I told him I was so sorry and asked if he could call me back when my minutes were free so we could talk in detail about it. It was only a ploy, I needed to get off the phone since I’m not the greatest at being secretive. He asked if we would see each other that night and I said I guessed not since he had so much to do. “Ok babe,” he said, I’ll call you back in a bit then.”--- I took off and waited in a place in the parking lot where I could see him pull in, but he wouldn't be able to see me (STALKER?!) I wanted to feel his reaction through the walls and when he called me, be there to come inside, free to spend the evening together since a majority of what he needed to do was now done. I waited, and waited and waited…and forty minutes later he was nowhere to be seen.

I called him, greeted by background noise. It turns out my abrupt hang up combined with his work situation made him sad so he pulled off to grab some dinner alone. I started laughing hysterically at our, Surprise-makes-someone-feel-like-crap-situation, which oft happens. I told him I was waiting for him at his apartment, so he packed up his dinner right there to come meet me! He walked in the door, jaw dropping and the state of his apartment and we cracked up on the floor, both utterly exhausted in various ways. Our messed up night was absolutely perfect. I would rather have messed up nights and be exhausted with that boy than the contrary with anyone else.

He is my continual shiny penny.

Maternal Mirth | 3:46 PM

I am finally meeting some L.A. moms and making friends. It's really brought a smile to my face in the last week. Also, it makes the whole AIG scandal melt into a puddles of flowers and butterflies.

Kim | 3:51 PM

Sometimes it's the simplest thing that can brighten my day. Unemployed, and spending many hours in my apartment pounding the internet-pavement, it would be easy for me to bring on the gloom and doom. But I don't see the point - I mean, it's so much more pleasant to keep the positive attitude flowing and try to enjoy myself while I look for work. I was having a bit of a rough day, and when I was grocery shopping, I "splurged" on a bunch of daffodil buds from Trader Joe's for $1.29, and waking up in the morning to a vase full of fresh blooms gave me the little boost I needed to get a fresh start!

Those little yellow blossoms of sunshine can really work wonders, and the little $1.29 splurge was a great way to treat myself to a little reminder to see things sunny side up!

Anonymous | 4:01 PM

Hmm, it seems these comments are somewhat intended to reflect on the kindness and connectivity of people. However, my happy moment this week comes in a different form-kindness of the universe?

Six months ago, September 25, my forty eight year old father found out his recently diagnosed cancer was terminal. He was given about 6 months to live.

Six months later he is doing well with palliative chemotherapy: minimal pain, good appetite, and enough energy to get him through the days and even out for a daily (1-2 hour) walk. I am hugely grateful for this, for chemotherapy, and for the support along the way. There are times I definately don't think everything will be okay, but that's when I have to slow down and take things on step at a time, one day at a time. Thanks for this, Rebecca!

Anonymous | 4:20 PM

My found my shiny penny the other day through a random act of kindness I experienced. I work for a very large hospital that has a booming maternity ward where a large number of the deliveries are considered "charity" (patients without medical insurance or can't qualify for Medicaid). Many of these patients do not speak English, so the medical teams (nurses, techs, doctors) on the floors often speak Spanish or other languages, but outside of the units, a patient may not have the same assistance in communicating what they need.

I was walking down a hallway and approached a woman in a hospital gown, crouched in a corner very obviously in pain and openly crying. I tried to speak with her, but the language barrier was overwhelming. As I am not medically trained, I was concerned initially that she might be in need of assistance I could not give. After a few moments, a member of the janitorial staff appeared around the corner and approached us. He spoke with the woman in Spanish and realized that she was out walking the halls because she wanted to "be up and about" in order to be discharged as soon as possible.

As he spoke more with her, we realized that she was trying to decrease her stay at the hospital after her C-Section because the "shame" of not being able to pay for her stay was just too much for her to bear. After she had walked a few halls and used the elevator between floors, she became lost in our very large hospital and just didn't know where to go or what to do.

In a flash, this good samaritan found a wheelchair, lifted her into it, and we brought her back to her room, safe and sound, and he even had her laughing on the trip back to her unit. He was a hero if I've ever seen one, and I will always remember the kind, gentle way he dealt with the situation.

I see people in the halls of my hospital every day that work there - in the cafeteria, cleaning the rooms, in hospital security - but are overshadowed and dismissed by the doctors and the nurses and those that “actually provide patient care”. I will never forget how this man, someone that cleans the rooms of patients and is probably often overlooked by many, made all the difference in one patient’s experience, and hopefully helped to heal her spirit – more important than any medicine she might ever receive.

Tiana | 5:11 PM

Just wanted to say (I commented before) I don't want the coat. It's gorgeous, but I have a coat already.

I just wanted to share a happy moment and I've enjoyed reading all the shiny penny moments.

I'll just be happy to see someone recieve the coat.

Reading these comments make my day. Thank-you for posting this blog. I've been following it obsessively for months and months now.
You always find a way to make my heart smile.

Lola | 5:37 PM

When my grandmother, who was like my mother, died very young and very suddenly ( I lost both parents at age 7) and my husband to be was helping me sort out her stuff. I was 26 and had to settle an estate-a small one but so emotional. I still remember being in her little one bedroom apartment that we shared-yup ,twin beds just like on the 1970's tv shows, in one room. I cleaned out the bedroom and hall closets and told hubby to be that I just couldn't do the kitchen-too many memories and I told him to just throw it all out....To this day, when i pull out the white and turquoise eclectic dishes I smile and am thankful, that he didn't listen and he was strong when I was weak.

In Due Time | 5:38 PM

My shiny penny moment, is helping take care of my niece right now. Her parents suck ass but she's 2 and I'm trying to give her the solid ground she needs.

I enjoy reading P.o.E. I hope America turns around soon.

Lola | 5:39 PM

p.s. if i win, give the coat to the 'bride to be' please

katiepaisley | 5:42 PM

I went grocery shopping today and of course as soon as i empty a bag my little orange cat jumps in and make a little nest for her self. She is never happier than she is when she has a new bag to love. It reminds me to find things in my life that make me feel like im all curled up in a plastic bag.

angela | 5:51 PM

I can't grow any kind of plant--they always die on me. My four-year-old son, however, keeps wanting to try and garden, so I bought this sunflower seed kit at Target for five bucks, thinking, there is no way these will ever grow. We sprinkled the seeds into the soil together and watered. And waited. And then, a couple of days later, my son looked out the window onto the sill and saw little sprouts pushing out of the soil. "Mom," he screamed, "they're growing." I ran over to the window, and to my amazement, there they were, about fifteen bright green sprouts, curling out of the moist soil. I couldn't believe it. My son looked up at me and he smiled, and he said, "Mom, we did it. We're a great team," and he wrapped his arms around my legs. I know this is a small thing, but it made me really happy. And so far, the plants are still alive. Thanks for this idea! :)

Anonymous | 6:06 PM

After over 4 months of looking at him with indifference, my little boy greeted his Dad with a smile this evening. It was a very happy moment - small but important.

c | 6:38 PM

Awww such great stories. My shiny penny moments happen all the time, I am so grateful for all the blessings in my life. When I feel my baby move inside me (I'm almost 7 months pregnant). When I come home from work and my husband has made dinner without my even asking. When someone at work shares their appreciation for what I do. And seeing the crocuses come up after a long hard winter.

Jessica Peck | 6:49 PM

I've been trying to get a job since graduation in 2006. In the darkest of days that I've seen the economy be in, in all of my 26 years, I finally got a job. Today. I have two beautiful babies, and a job with benefits that I can support them on. I have a wonderful husband also, but the fact that I can take care of us is amazing. I've always wanted that feeling as I grew up. Success and accomplishment and independence. The feeling of "independence" from someone else's paycheck. I finally have it!

S. | 7:01 PM

It was 6pm last Tuesday, and I'm driving through a rough neighborhood downtown, on my way back home after an exhausting day of dealing with professors, classmates, and library computers that won't work. I roll-up my windows and check that my doors are locked, just in case. As I drive past the park, I see two children who looked maybe 8 and 6 years old riding a bike, the older boy pedaling and the younger one standing on the back wheel's side tubes, holding on for dear life by the neck of his friend, both of them with huge smiles on their faces.

I relax a little at the sigh of them, and almost feel embarrassed at having been so scared just two seconds ago. I remember that even the rough parts of our souls, just like the rough parts of our cities, hold some innocense inside them. That even where's there's pain there's some space for laughter. I roll my windows down and keep driving, feeling much safer than before, and much more hopeful.

LeonaRenee | 7:01 PM

This last weekend my very recent fiancee and I saw David Bazan at a house show. There were about 45 people all gathered together in this house that a couple had generously allowed David to perform in.

The music of David Bazan marks several important events of our relationship. When we went through a rough patch and had actually broken up, we took a night drive together and he put Pedro the Lion on. He explained that he loved their music not only for David's beautiful voice but also for the religious meaning that was used in their lyrics. That night made me realize that I loved him more than I knew and that I wanted to fight to keep him in my life.

Now here we are, four years later and we are finally taking that big step of getting married. So I just sat there, at a stranger's house, holding the hand of my best friend and love of my life. I reflected on how we could go through such extremes and how this man's music will cause me to recall both at once.

It was a beautiful show. I feel extremely lucky that I was able to take part in it and be with the man I had always hoped to marry.

Unknown | 7:17 PM

Honestly, the first thing that came to mind was when I had just found out I was pregnant, and was freaking. out. I emailed you, out of the blue, and, well, freaked out to a total stranger. And you responded. Right away. And your words were so reassuring and so kind, that I really did feel like everything was going to be ok. And you know what? Everything is. He's here now, and he's great. Life with a baby is amazing, thanks for telling me it would be. I needed to hear it.
See, blogs really do help!

Christina | 7:22 PM

We've had some rough times lately, with being unemployed and dealing with making ends meet and trying to keep our marriage from failing.

But lately we've started working out together, eating better together, and trying to lose weight. Yesterday I took photos to see my progress, and I couldn't believe how great I looked! I've lost lots of inches off all of me, faster than I've ever been able to before. I've actually turned this period of downtime into something productive - changing my body.

(I'd link to the pics, but I don't want to be a link whore. You can find them at my Hot by Blogher blog, or let me know and I'll send you the link.)

Anonymous | 7:25 PM

you are my shiny penny.

Anonymous | 7:31 PM

I had a conversation with a depressed man the other day. A little history, he's 38, has been married to "the love of his life" for 15 years and has three children, two daughters, one son.

He's depressed because he's lost job after job due to medical conditions. He can't support his family as he feels he should, being the man of the house. After living comfortably for 10 years of their marriage, the past 5 years have been nothing but struggle after struggle. After listening to his story, both of us silently leaking tears, I realized it was my responsibility to help him see what he does have. Turn his thinking around. I understand things are hard, so hard. He had to realize, though, that while they're struggling, his wife is employed, she's bringing in money, enough for necessities. What he kept thinking about was the material things, the little luxuries he didn't have. I understand that. I also noticed, though, that at every mention of his children and wife, his face lit up. After a few repeated, pointed questions of "But, what DO you have?" with answers of "an apartment" or "a car" I finally got him to answer "my family". It was a beautiful moment of clarity for his addled mind. It gave me peace that night to know I had reminded him of that and gave him tips to help him remember that frequently.

We all need to keep doing this in these times, remember what we do have. Whether it's our families, our health, our pets, we need to remember that most of life's little luxuries are completely free.

Emily | 7:44 PM

holy cuteness this jacket is cute!!! my "shiny penny moment" goes like this...My Andrew has been laid off since New Years Eve, & even though he is making close to dirt he is waking up every morning & doing side jobs with anyone that will call him back from craigslist & the paper! Our relationship reminds me of that super cheesed out song..."even though we don't have money...I'm so in love with you honey...." My Andrew is my shiny penny every single day!

Thanks for the chance! *fingers crossed*

Anonymous | 8:09 PM

I just turned 30 and I feel I am starting to live life for the first time. To truly love myself, to give and feel for the very first time. To see the big picture in life that I often overlook. I feel I have been given a blank canvas and hello I have a handful of paints and a Picasso-like spirit. I've been a mom since the age of 17 and I've dealt with depression and many bete noirs that have robbed me of the true purpose of life. This year I have learned what I didn't know in 29 yrs. I've learned the true meaning of dreams and hopes. To believe and come together with strangers that share the same dreams and hopes. We are all one. I learned to truly stop for a second and stop bitching about my little nothings and have compassion for others. To smile and engage with people, even the random ones passing by me. To write down goals and dreams, nothing written is ever too crazy. The economy is shattered, unknown is all you hear. Few are these stories of love, compassion, and hope that really build us up again and you just did that with this post. I read the story and I cried.
Even if I don't win that super sweater (I have chubby arms so I can tell it may not fit me lol) I just wanted to share this cause when I talk about it it just makes it more real for me.
Thanks soo much!

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