Friday, September 20, 2013

Lesson 261: #ajo

Erieites, do you recognize this?

How about you New Yorkers?  Word is spreading.
Floridians, you too?  
The crazy thing about word in 2013 is that it travels fast.
Really fast. 
I bet you've heard of #ajo (hashtag ajo) all the way to Slovenia.
Ste jo placal naprej, Slovencem?

To find out more about this girl, whose life ended too soon,
and the impact she's had on the widespread kindness that has spread as a result,

you must wait until the end of this post.
Eloise always saves the best for last.

Onto other hashtaggable news from the week:

But first, let's clarify what a hashtag is.  
It looks like this:

 It is simply the pound sign used to precede text on Twitter or other social media.
Here is the web definition:

  1. 1.
    (on social media sites such as Twitter) a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic.  It is a form of metadata tag. Short messages on microblogging and social networking services such as Twitter, Tout,, Tumblr, Instagram, 


I snapped this of Kenyan, my speedy fast sister, while on a run with her through the woods.
I was chasing her, making scary zombie noises.

We both love running, but view the activity differently.  Kenyan is competitive with herself, always looking to beat her last time.  Eloise doesn't even own a watch.

Kenyan does some atrocity called Speed Work.
I measure my progess in Sky Work.  Eloise runs with a camera and loves to photograph nature.

Every so often, our running worlds collide, and we have time to run together like we did Wednesday evening.  Big Sis and Little Sis.  I think it's obvious who is the juvenile.

After 5 miles, 22 pictures, and 3 shoe ties, we stopped for some grapes.
Family produce thievery continues.
Thanks for the Concords, Billy!  
They need another few days yet.

Thanks, Bart!  The Niagaras are ready.


I found my cell phone, MIA since July.
The phone was only two weeks old when I lost it. 

Many people told me to pray to saint someone (Eloise is not a Catholic).
I didn't feel right about doing that, so I just kept looking.
A few of my friends said they prayed on my behalf.
2 months later, phone phound!
Tucked away safely in the blingy purse pocket.
The purse with the cross nonetheless!


 These are the folks of my workout group, Team Adrenaline.  
We were supposed to be making a heart formation, but that didn't work out too well visually.

No matter, because these people are ALL HEART.  They don't need to make a shape.
Come join us on Tuesdays and Thursdays and feel the love.
(And maybe a little soreness on Wednesdays and Fridays).


My tribe stormed Happy Valley last weekend.

We went to see the Nittany Lions play Central Florida.

This year's team has heart,

but didn't have quite enough to pull off a win.

But we had fun anyway.  
Plus a big stadium is a B-rated amateur photographer's dream.
Eloise had lots to keep her busy.

I got good seats and had a great vantage point.
We arrived in State College with only two tickets, and had to find three more.
Tickets found with relative ease. 

We had to split up.  It was boys versus girls in Beaver Stadium.

I can see you through my lens!

Look to your right and wave!

Phones and zoom lenses come in handy when families separate.

The girls and I ended up in really good seats.

On the random ticket purchase, we got my favorite numbers!

The band looked great!

So did the cheerleaders.

What was really cool was the student section.
It was a white out game.  All the students are asked to wear white.
This was my shot from across the stadium.

Does your eye see things like Eloise?
Did you notice the hints of color every now and then?
I spotted the orange guy.

His orange appeared to be intentional.

That appears to be an awareness ribbon.

Here is one student who missed the memo.


Even Tender Heart Care Bears cry when we can't capitalize on the opportunity.

No worries Care Bear.  There is lots of sunshine and rainbows in Care-A-Lot.

And Tender Heart.....when you do go to Care-A-Lot, can you send Cheer Bear to this grumpy medic?

He was seated a few rows in front of Eloise, yellow vested and ready to handle any crowd emergency.
Just remember to stand 100 meters back.

Glad he brought a book with him to read DURING A VERY EXCITING GAME!

Eloise had to see what was such a page turner.

Do you recognize the book, Readers?
Neither did my me or my seatmates.  After awhile, those seated around me asked to see what I was taking pictures of.  I proudly showed off my quirky collection.  The lady behind me remarked, "You're fun!"
You don't know the half of it, thought Eloise.

The game proved to be one of the most personally liberating experiences I've had in fifteen years.
Eloise entered the stadium HANDS FREE!

No purse!

Still, I had more things shoved into crevices on my person than anyone else in the stadium.  The lady behind me sneezed and I offered her a Kleenex.  Later she remarked she had a headache.  I offered her some Advil.  
"Wow!  You're fun AND you come prepared!" she remarked.  
You don't know the half of it, thought Eloise.

I did come prepared to share a message, sent out to the whole world from Erie, PA.  I paid it forward for #ajo.  Because this story has soared through social media, you can find more about the life of Alyssa Josephine O'Neill by simply googling her name.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Blogger....all of them have stories about a young girl and a pumpkin spiced latte.  Eloise recommends "liking" the facebook page.   You will find the details of her story there.  

Instead Eloise will show you how she paid it forward.  I couldn't find a Starbucks, but they were selling Pumpkin Spiced Lattes at McDonalds outside of State College last weekend.  

So I bought one for myself, and another which I gave to this family, also headed to the game.  They had not heard the story of Alyssa O'Neill.  Eloise told them her story, and asked if they would continue the chain of kindness in Alyssa's name.  They assured me they would.

People all over are sharing.
Matt Kleck, aka Clicky, my photographer friend shared.

My friend Amy was the recipient at Wegmans.

After a crazy week and some heart wrenching news about a good friend all I wanted was a quick, easy dinner... Wegmans was the answer! While getting our dinners a woman and a little girl came over and offered to pay it forward! She paid for all of our meals! Kindness does win!

Kenyan paid it forward, too.

Went to star bucks for a pumpkin spice latte. I paid it forward as it was for me!#AJO. God bless her family.

And CJ from 10,000 feet!

Some of my students paid it forward.

And more from around the world.

Photo: #AJO Worldwide Alert, another new country on the map! Greece <3

Photo: In honor of your little girl.  Paid it forward to co-workers here on Kadena Air Base, Okinawa Japan.  Born and raised Erie girl...parents still there.  God Bless your family.

Photo: #AJO Worldwide Alert! All the way to us from Bermuda.  Looks like a beautiful view for some AJO'ing

Photo: #AJO Worldwide Alert!  We made it all the way to Mumbai India today.  Thanks to @megtrooper for sharing this.  It's amazing how far kindness and caring can go.  AJO making the WORLD a better place.

To the family of Alyssa Josephine O'Neill, 
the world thanks you for sharing your daughter with us.
We will all be the better for it.

Be a pioneer, Readers, and find a way to pay it forward.  If you can't find a pumpkin spiced latte, find a new way to pass along a random act of kindness to a stranger.  

I chose the song Pioneer by The Band Perry for this week's photos.  It is the title track to their newest album.  It is a beautiful song with lyrics you'll be singing for days.   Click on the video below, or CLICK HERE for a direct link to my youtube account and all of my photo videos.

Share the love,

1 comment:

Al Roa said...

I Googled #AJO and came across your blog. I paid it forward here in Palo Alto, CA, at Starbucks. Great pics! Btw, we have a limited size bag policy out here at Stanford Stadium, but if you bring one it's searched by security.