This is my entry from last night (due to a few WIFI issues and the failure of my mobile app). The Museum trapped me away from the technology I needed to upload, making it necessary for me to upload in daylight hours. What’s the Museum? Read on and you’ll understand.
12:03am: Just settling to write today’s entry. I’m in the strangest of places. Where? Chilling in the lobby of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles (NHMLA). Where exactly? Right under T-rex. Seems a few of us sleepless parents have found the first moment of catch-up to finish our week’s business. With baggy eyes and motivated by the teamsmanship of Vanessa, another dedicated parent and co-night owl sharing this only place of 3G signal, I turn on my trusty iPad to give you this entry.
But why am I here at this time of morning? Remember the key words I used above. “A few of us sleepless parents.” Sleepless is an understatement. Starting at 1pm today my family and I began our preparation for this evening: a sleepover at the NHMLA. I can’t say what the day was for my typing friend Vanessa, but I’m sure she has experienced similar set-up for this night.
Best part, all who are attending (looks like about 200 of us) are locked in the building until sunrise. So, with my mind and body fueled by cookies and lemonade, and the sounds of unknown families sleeping in congregation echoing off the marble walls, I write my 71st 365 entry.
Sorry to say that Vanessa is not my entry this night. Although she is charming, she is knee-deep in her catch up of the day, and I have already interviewed my friend of the day. But who knows, I have given Vanessa a card and perhaps she will join us as a 365 follower.
Without further delay, let me introduce you to today’s friend: The most lovely and inspired Monique.
There are too many families to count, Boy Scout troops to the left and right, a girls’ school across the room and numerous organizations of educators everywhere. The opportunities are overwhelming and I’m keeping my intuition open as I say my hellos to all I converse with. The second I meet Monique I know she is gifted.
Gifted is a word I use cautiously, not wanting to overuse it or diminish its impact. But gifted is the only word that comes to my mind after spending only 15 minutes with Monique.
There is a spirit about her that is genuinely good, and rightfully so. Her life is dedicated to education and in helping others reach their full potential – so much so that she has formed an organization to fulfill this mission, amer-i-can.org.
It’s early in the morning now. I won’t lie, I’m a touch toasted, and by the look of it I am the only person left awake. Vanessa has retired. The halls are silent and I realize that I have lost track of time in visiting the amer-i-can.org website. Its scope is way too broad to justify in my writing. What Monique does is wonderful and I will be bold enough to pitch visiting her site and challenge us all to do our part in reaching out. I promote it with purpose and feel that doing so does not breach my commitment to you in keeping my blog free of commercialism. What Monique does has zero links to commerce. I am wholly impressed.
What else impresses me about Monique is her presence: humble, soft-spoken and confident. We talk of the economy, spirituality and the importance of education. Grand topics for a short, 15 minute visit. We share a common thread of perspective for the world around us. Even though there are so many obstacles dividing cultures and people, there is still so much good and opportunity for those who reach out, think of others and press forward wit hope and charity.
We talk of motherhood and the importance of parenting, linking their role in child development and of a healthy self-esteem.
Monique is a rock star of talents, and it is obvious she is doing what she is for a reason.
I quote her, “I was called to be an educator. I had no choice but to listen. We are all here to be in alignment with God’s will.”
She expands, “Everyone has the potential to do good. Like diamonds get pressed into gems, so too can we all become better beings.”
I can tell that Monique lives what she proclaims, and from being in her presence for the 15 short minutes we talk, I can honestly say that she has influenced me to be a better person.
Her thought for the future, “To help the world on a Global level.”
Monique, a privilege to meet you!
End Note (From Terri, my wife): When Richard showed me his 365 portrait for today I exclaimed, “Yes! I knew she was who you were suppose to meet today.” Monique was part of our assigned museum group, the “Coyotes.” As we followed our children from activity-to-activity throughout the night, I made eye-contact with her a few times and was taken in by the gentle, peaceful “magic” about her — the kind of person that can make you feel good just by sharing her smile. I don’t really try to sway Richard toward who to shoot, so I just thought to myself, “She would be a great 365 for tonight” – and guess what? Richard thought so, too.