28 October 2009

MISSION: Feeding Our Neighbors

Well, the holidays are right around the corner, and if you've been paying any attention at all to the news, you know that many, many people are going to go without this year. And I don't even mean "without gifts." I mean, without FOOD.

That's where you come in. How many times have you just popped in to your favorite coffee shop and ordered a nice warm drink and a baked good for yourself? (I've done it too many times to count!) Would you be willing to give that up for just one day in the month of November? Or maybe for a couple of days? So that someone else could experience that little luxury?

That's what November's missions are going to be all about: feeding our neighbors.

For the month of November, I'm asking that your missions center around the idea of feeding your neighbor. Think gift cards to fast food restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, grocery stores, etc. It's amazing what $5 can get you at these places. Sometimes an entire meal! Also, think about getting one of those earth-friendly shopping bags and filling it with $5 or $10 worth of non-perishable food and leaving it at a food bank, Secret Agent L's business card attached. :) Or maybe you could leave a box of tea somewhere. Maybe you like to bake and would be comfortable leaving some of your tasty treats somewhere at work, never disclosing that you were the kind person who made them.

If you're like me and live in a big city, you know all too well the reality of people in our communities who are hungry. Perhaps you know where these individuals spend time. Maybe you could just leave a gift card to a nearby food shop, convenience store, or gas station for them. And maybe those of you in smaller cities and towns see this sad reality as well. It's everywhere, even if we don't see it.

Be creative. Be generous. Be kind. I know you all will.

Also, I'd love it if we could do some side missions for November that focus on Veteran Appreciation. Think of V.A. Hospitals, or even contacting the Department of Veterans' Affairs to see what you can do to help. My grandfather was a POW for nearly three years during WWII. I have the deepest respect for those who serve our country and want to give back in any way I can. I hope you do, too.

Now get out there and spread the kindness that I know each of you has in your heart! (And thank you for doing so!!)

23 October 2009

MISSION: 21 not-so-secret-details

Okay, okay. Secret Agent L has been a Very Bad Secret Agent. Life has gotten so busy! So, until she and her cohorts can get their heads back in the game, here's a little ditty to keep you interested.


The Not-So-Secret Details of Secret Agent L!

Secret Agent L:

1. Has a favorite color. It's green.

2. Loves to see people shake hands, hug, or kiss. It just makes her think that kindness and connection are possible.

3. Could eat her weight in Dunkin Donuts' donuts. Like, in one sitting.

4. Enjoys having a cup of tea. Or several. Um, all the time.

5. Can't stomach caffeine.

6. Is obsessed with Netflix. Particularly because she can rent period films. Those are her favorites.

7. Holds an M.A. in English Literature with an emphasis on 18th-Century British Theatre.

8. Has lived in London.

9. Is a professional model and actress in Pittsburgh.

10. Is nearly 6' tall.

11. Is a big supporter of mental illness awareness and is involved with her local NAMI branch.

12. Prefers a martini bar to a loud club.

13. Plays the piano, cello, and flute.

14. Once dreamed of going to Juilliard for piano performance but chickened out.

15. Really, really, really loves donuts from Dunkin Donuts. Like, RULLY.

16. Loves the shows Chuck, Samantha Who?, Friends, and anything on HGTV.

17. Wears heels whenever she can.

18. Has an older brother.

19. Loves Boston Terriers. Like, more than shoes, handbags, and clothes.

20. Is a vegetarian.

21. Loves you. Yes, you. :)

18 October 2009

MISSION: Community

This Amazing Affiliated Agent knows how to warm the hearts of those around her.  She has spread kindness the country over much longer than she's been an affiliate of Secret Agent L.  We are grateful for her heartwarming missions.  I, speaking as myself, Number Two (aka Affiliated Agent V), know this agent as a personal inspiration in my own life.  

I have been affected by Domestic Violence. I spent three years in a relationship that was verbally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically detrimental. With strength and courage I forgot I had, I was able to get out with my life. Many are not so lucky.  This is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I urge you to take note of the women in your life: tell them how much you care and keep each other close. Domestic Violence hides in plain sight and you never know when your acts of love and kindness can give someone the faith she needs to find her way to freedom. I would not be here today, I am certain, without the love and help of three special women.  Please visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline website for more.    

DATE: October 11, 2009

TIME: afternoon

LOCATION: warm and sunny Arizona

She reports:

"Disciple-Elf of Secret Agent L had an interesting week. She just moved to Arizona and the block she moved to had a 'tragedy' occur recently. A woman lived on her street with her roommate, Mindy. This certain woman living with Mindy was going through a divorce, was dating someone new and her estranged husband stopped by the house one night, angry. He ended up taking not only her life, but his own...

She was part of the Police Force...

Disciple-Elf of Secret Agent L knows about this type of situation from her own, personal experience. Her former spouse was also extremely violent and although she did escape with her life, her former spouse ended up taking his own life in Dec of 2008. Well, needless to say, she realized she moved on this block for a reason. Recently, Mindy moved back into the house she shared with her deceased roommate and the neighborhood had a block party to welcome Mindy back. Disciple-Elf of Secret Agent L knows how people will rally around someone for a short time, but as time passes, they tend to disappear. So, after waiting a few weeks, she dropped off a goodie bag on Mindy's doorstep full of things in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to let her know the community is still thinking of her. 

Disciple-Elf of Secret Agent L is a Wellness Coach, so she is ALL about disease prevention. It is a proven, scientific fact that fruits & veggies, essential oils and certain stones keep our cells healthy and cancer never attacks a healthy cell! It only attacks weakened, mutated cells. She put apples, essential oils & ancient stones in an earth-friendly bag for Mindy to come home to.

True community is created through unification, not simple connectedness, and one event that seems tragic to so many has unified two women. Personally, it is not seen as tragic whatsoever to these two women. We see every situation, dark or light, as a chance to unify...and we chose to do just that. :)

'Where two or more are gathered...' :) "

MISSION: Breast Cancer Awareness: Beautiful Pink Scarf

Secret Agent L is so honored by her Affiliated Agents' selfless, creative, and thoughtful acts of kindness, especially during this, Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Affiliated Agent D of Oregon never fails to bring a huge smile to Secret Agent L's face and, I'm sure, the faces of all the readers and finders-of-her-treats. Affiliated Agent D, we are blessed to have you in this world!

Date: Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Location: Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, Corvallis, Oregon

Time: Agent did not specify

Affiliated Agent D states: "Well, I FINALLY got this mission completed!! A few weeks back I ordered an adorable crochet scarf pattern off of etsy (I'm addicted!). I made it up in the softest pink yarn I could find...for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

"Today hubby had an appointment for a CT scan at the hospital. I decided that would be the perfect place to leave it, so when we left, it stayed behind in the Nuclear Medicine waiting room :) Hopefully it brightened someone's day!!"

Affiliated Agent D, that scarf is GORGEOUS! And it looks so soft and cuddly--perfect for the sensitive skin of someone undergoing radiation and/or chemotherapy. You are an angel. Keep up the excellent work! THANK YOU!

15 October 2009

MISSION: Expressions of Hope: Allegheny General Hospital

Are you ready for this? THIS is THE MISSION that Number Two and I did (yes, Secret Agent L will be speaking in first-person for this post, because it's really important to her) on Saturday at Allegheny General Hospital's Expressions of Hope Cancer Awareness Expo. Needless to say, we were both moved. To tears. Literally. As in, leaking eyeballs.

Date: Saturday, 10 October 2009

Time: between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.

Location: Allegheny General Hospital, North Side, Pittsburgh, PA

The artwork was so, so incredible. To think of what these cancer patients have been through, and then to create through art their experience so that others would have a glimpse into that world inspired us with awe, humility, and a deep sense of reverence. The human condition is truly, truly amazing, and we both felt honored to be let in to such private moments for these courageous individuals.

One of our favorite pieces was the "Inspiration Chair."

There were different colored markers sitting under the chair, and everyone who came through the exhibit was encouraged to leave something on the Inspiration Chair, especially if they'd been touched in any way by cancer.

Even Number Two participated. Who hasn't been touched by cancer in some way? Nobody I know.

While some of the artwork portrayed anguish and suffering, others portrayed a sense of hope or joy. This piece spoke to me.

And other pieces were so striking that you couldn't help but feel as though you were right there with the patient, truly experiencing their vulnerability...and their courage.

This piece drew me in, as flowers have always signified the circle of life in all its forms: birth, growth, beauty, and death.

And now on to the fun stuff! The mission itself!

Number Two and I came armed with bags of goodies to leave all over the hospital. And we didn't look out of place at all, because as soon as we arrived at the exhibit, we were handed reusable shopping bags for all of the materials we would pick up at each of the informational stations. Nobody was the wiser that our bags were filled with treats and surprises to leave behind!

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, everything was pink and/or comforting for the recipient.

(Water fountains are great places to leave things!)

A BIG thank you to my girl L. over at Operation Smiley Face, who graciously donated a couple of these wonderful pocket mirrors, complete with the Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon! LOVE these! Thank you, L.! xoxo

Tea is always so soothing, especially if you're ill, and especially during cold, damp, and blustery days like we've been having recently.

We left a box of chamomile tea in the cafeteria at the hospital. (Sorry the photos are so blurry--there were a lot of people around, so I had to move quickly!)

Another great item we left behind as surprises are these inspirational window cards from Compendium. Their HOPE line of products is specifically geared towards cancer patients, and these HOPE window cards carry a lot of, well, hope in them!

Since I'm a girl, as is Number Two, we often find ourselves limited to purchasing products for women, particularly because of the ease of leaving our little gifts in the women's restroom. But we thought a Target gift card would be gender-neutral, and we even left it in a unisex bathroom! Brilliant!

And finally, my favorite piece of the entire exhibit:

This painting (yes! painting!) spoke to me so deeply. There is something so serene about this woman's face: her eyes closed, perhaps as she prays or meditates; her hairless head still so beautiful; her head titled upwards, as if towards light, towards hope, towards healing. I could not take my eyes away from this piece.

It is my hope that this mission will inspire all of you to do whatever you can to bring joy and peace to those suffering from cancer, to raise more awareness, to donate your time and financial resources, and to always believe in the power of hope.

This was, without a doubt, my favorite mission yet. For all those we have loved and lost to cancer, for all those we love now who suffer from and continue to fight against this disease, and for all those who will, someday, be affected by its touch--this mission is for them.