In September I went horse whispering in California with my wonderful coach, Katherine North. 

I caught sight of one horse, and I walked over to him and laid my hand on his forehead, right between his eyes. 

The horse pressed his head into my hand as I pressed my hand into his head. 

Time stopped. It seemed that we stood there for eons. 

I’d had my arm outstretched, and I stepped in closer. As I pressed my hand into his head and he pressed his head into my hand, I experienced an infinite loop of giving + receiving. 

When I finally turned around, Katherine was crying. She and the horse whispering coach told me that they could feel the ripple of energy coming from me and the horse. The energy, they said, was as palpable as the aftershock of an earthquake.

Here’s what I understood from that wordless, endless moment with that horse:

When we cut ourselves off from receiving, we don’t have as much to give. 

And when we cut ourselves off from giving, we don’t have as much to receive.

What I see now is that we are meant to receive and to give in an infinite loop of ease and flow.

Today is my birthday. And I am so grateful for all that we have already received. 

I’m so grateful that Niall and I have the opportunity to raise a family with this business as our sole source of income.

I’m so grateful to have a team. It’s a privilege to be supported by my team members, and it’s a privilege to offer them work to support themselves and their families.

And I’m so grateful for the many projects we’ve had the opportunity to complete, in which a huge part of the gratification is making something very beautiful for our clients to enjoy day after day in their homes. 

From this wellspring of gratitude and joy, I want to give. 

I want to help people make a new life and a new home, and make that beautiful. 

To that end, I’m initiating a birthday fundraiser for Welcome Home Jersey City, a nonprofit that helps refugees and asylees make a new life in Jersey City.

Will you give $10 or $5 to help a refugee family make a new life?

My goal is a super doable $5,000. 

All four of my grandparents came to America as refugees. I would not be standing where I stand today without the generosity of their friends and neighbors who helped them start over in a new country.

And from that joy of all I have received, I give.

Can I count on you to stand with me and donate $10 or $5 today, in honor of my birthday?