This past Sunday, January 4th, marked two important days in our house. I turned 40 and the Infinite Smile Project turned 1. Angel and Peanuts remembered in their half sleep to tell me “Happy Birthday” first thing in the morning but they also to my surprised remembered how we spent my birthday last year – handing out the star wands around town to “make people happy”, as they phrased it. I knew it made an impression on them, but it never occurred to me that at that young age they remembered the exact day it all began.
A year that otherwise should be deemed as sort of insignificant, 39, turned out to be one of the most trying yet enlightening years I have had. From meeting people that will change my outlook on life and love forever such as Kajsa James and Erik Rees, our amazing mentors and friends, the boys at The Kindness Offensive, London, who made us laugh so hard while learning so much during our Skype sessions, to working with Wounded Warriors and building a relationship with these amazing men and woman – it was a year of surprises, learning, reflection, and one of solidifying what is important in my life.
2014 was a year of so many new things for me and my family. A new non-profit, a new set of priorities in how I teach my kids about kindness and giving back in all aspects of life and what they do, a new position for my husband at work, and finally a year with two healthy children after so many years of ambiguity and waiting. It was also exciting with so many articles written about the Infinite Smile Project, radio and television interviews, and an amazing opportunity for me to write about many of my personal experiences, ISP, and insight and advice on how I created many of my companies and/or organizations and why.
Enter January 2015 – We just returned from a great trip to Portland, Oregon, to spend a couple of weeks at my brother-in-law’s house with the greatest, most supportive family anyone could ask to marry into. The kids had a blast bonding with their cousins, sledding and playing. So if you ask me, life turning 40 is pretty awesome and I am looking forward to it.
Here we are – a new year, me AND ISP a year older, a crowdfunding campaign that was successfully fulfilled to launch our programs, and a plethora of to do items -so we are hitting the ground running again at ISP. Meetings are lined up, the updated website with our new programs are being developed in Ireland as we speak, and the we will soon start taking official applications for our Ambassadors.
So what’s next?
Here is what you can expect to see in 2015 from ISP
- Updated ISP website with more resources, our new advisory board, and store
- ISP’s new line of products including the new book (late 2015), shirts for children & adults designed by famed NYC artist, Pete Smalls. The best part? All proceeds go to charity.
- The launch of the ISP Ambassador Program for each age group: “Cubs”, ages 3-8, “Kindness Ninjas”, ages 8-12, “Jr. Ambassadors”, ages 12-14, and our ISP “Ambassadors”, our top level for high school ages.
- Monthly service projects to be done in groups or individually complete with a background of why we are doing this project, instructions for parents and kids, and reflection questions.
- The new Dylan & Delany program for the cub level with tips, ideas and resources on how to get your youngest philanthropists started in a life of kindness and charity.
- Suspended Coffees 2015 campaign launching to bring our communities closer together and offer something amazing.
2015 will be busy but great. I know we will meet even more amazing people, learn new things, grow as an organization, and continue to inspire many. I can’t wait to see what it has in store for all of us here at ISP.
So what does 40 mean to me? It means trudging ahead and getting rid of the static noise. Enjoying life and those important to me and releasing all things negative. It is arriving to a place where happiness and contentment is a choice and one I have earned. It can be a place anyone can obtain if they find the bravery to do so and the vision of the payout. That payout is clarity, happiness, and our precious time being spent in the best places.
Thank you for all of your support in 2014 for this little idea that turned into something amazing and more powerful than we ever imagined!