Little Letters #38

Paul Chappell Peace Leadership Training

It’s my favorite post of the week, again!!  Every week, I try to make it a point to explain why I chose the photo I did for that weeks Little Letters but, really, if you follow the blog, you probably already know this face pretty well. For those that don’t, this urhmazing man is Paul Chappell. Paul is the Peace Leadership Director at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and has written four books (of a seven book series) on war, peace, and waging peace. You can catch many of his lectures over on YouTube.

I had the opportunity to fly out to Santa Barbara, California this summer to spend a week at Peace Leadership Training with Paul and, let me tell ya, it was life changing. And, last night, I picked Paul up from the airport for a series of lectures he’s giving at my university today. I have no idea how a hero has turned into a friend or how my life has gone from art student to peace leader, but this guy had a lot to do with it. SO, on to Little Letters:

Dear Paul, Thank you SO much for all of the work you do! Learning from you has been an inspiration, and I have learned just as much about myself as I have the world. When I saw your picture on the back of a book two years ago, I never expected to not only meet you, but form a friendship. It’s an absolute honor to have you at KSU today, and I’m really sorry I get lost in Atlanta. :P

Dear PSA Students, I love being at a University where students have such open minds. Seriously. I can’t imagine getting my degree with another group of people. Some of you are graduating at the end of this semester, and I sort of want to choke you. But, you know…pacifism. You rock, though. Really. Even if you are leaving.

Dear S&S,

Dear Crystal, Thank you for the help this week. It’s such a huge relief to have someone who has my back. Just remember I always have yours, too!

Dear VH, Seriously, you saved me this week. I want to sit under a mossy tree with you this weekend and just breathe a big sigh of relief that this week, however positively chaotic it may be, is over…and I couldn’t have made it through it without you. P.S. You make a really great crafter. <3

Dear Coffee, You make a trusty sidekick.

Dear Italian, I take it back – I do not hate you. P.S. Does it really work….attracting flies with honey?

Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Peace Cranes- Tutorial and Link-Up!

While in Santa Barbara last week at Peace Leadership Training, I was exploring the retreat grounds and discovered a Sadako Peace Garden. The Sadako Peace Garden, erected by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, is one of many memorials located throughout the world to commemorate the story of Sadako Sasaki and, in turn, promote peace.

Sadako Sasaki

Sadako Sasaki memorial in Seattle (via) [Read more...]

Little Letters #27

Yes, peace



Dear Rice Pudding, You are so much better with coconut almond milk. I do believe you and I shall become great friends.

Dear NAPF, Thank you so much for the incredible opportunity to be trained as a Peace Leader this summer! I know I can make my deadline and finish raising funds to fly there! (Sidenote: If you’d like to help, donate a couple of bucks to my fundraiser!)

Dear Friends, Thank you for pushing me to keep moving, without encouraging or telling me to move on. Your ability to be unbiased and supportive has always been great, but recently I’ve discovered just how astoundingly beautiful each of you are.

Dear Ninja, Holymotherlovin’TerribleTwos!!!

Dear ArtistChild, I’m so glad you’re having fun at art camp this week! I am now the proud owner of the brightest, most colorful birdfeeder on earth, and cannot express how much I love it.

Dear Fish, I miss you both something fierce.

Dear Mom, Showing up at my front door with flowers and a gallon of milk for the toddler absolutely made my day. I love that you know that doing little things to my life easier and flowers are the two biggest ways to my heart. <3

Dear MoreLoveLetters, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Just, for existing.

Dear Routine, Camp and work has thrown you off and I feel a little stressed. It seems I have an issue balancing two jobs, three organizations, kids, and cleaning. We’ll figure this out! I obviously cannot clean all day and stay up all night working. I have to sleep, at some point. One day at a time, I’m getting better.

Dear Wingman, I miss you.

Remember, I’m accepting both submissions as well as subscriptions for the Yoga + Meditation Challenge coming up in July, AND I have a fundraiser going for the last bit of my Peace Leadership Training!

Wild Sister of the Year Finalist!!

Wild Sister of the Year

Helllooooooo!!!! I am super excited to announce that I am one of six finalists for the Wild Sister of the Year award over from the ever-increasingly-awesome Wild Sister Magazine. The five other finalists are inspiring women who are changing the world in ways that motivate and inspire them – from saving elephants to giving women in developing countries a voice, they touch the lives of others. I am truly awestruck to be in such great company!

As you know, I am currently in an ongoing challenge to become a peace leader. I started (and continue) as an eco-friendly lifestyle blogger who helps and encourages others to live peacefully with the earth a little bit at a time. Over the last few semesters, I’ve started helping others find their voices, literally and figuratively, while providing both moral and developer support in getting their blogs and networks started. I love helping people help people, so even if I don’t win this thing, I’m thrilled to have introduced my readers to 5 more wonderful women!

For those that follow me, you know I’ve spent the past two semesters facing my fear of public speaking and have almost defeated it. I’ve given talks on sustainability, peace, and social media marketing, and have already started booking talks for the Fall (woohoo!!). All of these have been for free, as will most of the talks in the fall.  This summer, I will be among 24 others in attendance at a Peace Leadership Training workshop with the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and will be trained by some of the best in the art of waging peace as well as (you know it’s my favorite!) public speaking for peace. Also this summer, I am working on building a peace organization that reaches out to campuses worldwide in order to build a large network of peace organizations accessible by our young adults. In the future, my talks as well as an Etsy shop (full of handmade goodies from sellers I adore, of course!) will fund the organization’s growth.

I have a dream, and a plan (useful, when tackling a dream), and I would love for you to help me make those happen!

You can go here to read about the other 5 nominees, as well as to vote! 

Thanks so much for all of your love and support throughout my last year of growth!

Shai <3

You’re Not Wrong – Just Different.


My poor mother swears I’ve always been a hellraiser and, while I guess I probably participated in my fair share of shenanigans as a kid, I really was never much of a rebellious type. I wanted to fit in with the cool kids, or keep to myself. I was either dressing like everyone else and trying to please the crowd, or hiding in a corner with my nose in a book (quote often, my second or third book that day).

Raising hell was not in my arsenal of weapons. 

As I found myself in my college years, a new mother and wife instead of a college student, I started rebelling against society in a number of ways I never expected. I looked around and saw things differently than anyone I knew. I saw, from being raised by a large handful of very different people, that there are very few absolute answers in this world…but lots of opinions and perspectives. I saw that compassion is a wondrous thing. I saw that combining the realization that my truth isn’t going to equal someone else’s truth with the act of compassion changes relationships for the better.

Ten years later, few things offend me. I don’t like being told I don’t have a job (I don’t have a boss – huge difference. Anyone who thinks I don’t have a job is free KMA). I don’t like being told I’m nearly thirty – not because 30 is old, but because I want to enjoy every year I have and not rush myself past two more years. But, most of all, I get a little offended (unintentionally) when people tell me I’m wrong.

Unless we’re talking about a matter of fact, like mathematics or scientifically backed data, much of life really is about perspective. Just because I disagree with my dad about the role of the military and police in the world doesn’t mean I’m wrong, or that he’s wrong, it just means we have different opinions. These opinions have different outcomes, one of which is okay with him and one of which is okay with me. All this means is that neither of us would like to live in the other’s view of how things should be. Big, big difference from either of us being outright wrong. 

If your best friend thinks Journey is the best band in the entire world (They are, by the way :P), and you think The Rollingstones are the best band in the entire world, are either of you wrong? No. You have a difference of opinion. When I went vegetarian and everyone I know suddenly attacked me for not eating meat, was I wrong? No. It was my opinion that I shouldn’t eat meat. It was their opinion that they should eat meat. Neither actually had anything to do with the other.

I’m writing this to challenge you to look at the conflict around your life – your inner hostility, worries, concerns, arguments, etc. How much of those are based around matters of opinion?