Posted by: ButterflyMoms | October 26, 2012

I Took My 8 Year Old Daughter To A Homeless Dinner…

I was the first one to arrive to my yoga class on the beach in Carcavelos! Surrounded by sun and surfers in late October. Cannot beat that! Plus our teacher is German so she said everything in English and German which was AWESOME!!!

Dearest ButterflyMoms,

After the yoga class we sat by the ocean sipping fruit smoothies. Australians, Germans, Portuguese, Americans and Italians… it was a wonderful mixture of love, fruit, nature and yoga! Someone pinch me! 🙂 Special THANK YOU to the beautiful Danielle for telling me about this amazing class!

I had the most amazing week of both highs and lows. I am realizing that when I am in my lows it’s because I’m no longer living in the moment. It matters little whether I’m doing something wonderful or having a car accident, as I did this week. What matters is if I’m living in the RIGHT NOW. Sounds too simple but notice it in your own life. Most of us are never taught that the way to being truly happy is to live in the RIGHT NOW. We are actually taught that “RIGHT NOW” is frivolous, lazy and unwise. We are always taught to keep our eyes on the future, always planning for something. We learn that to sacrifice the present for the future is a wise and noble thing to be praised. Well, this week I got an unexpected lesson of living in the RIGHT NOW… and about love … and about giving back… and about community… Also, ButterflyMoms readers have also asked me to include some photos, culture about Portugal and I think today’s blog does it in a fun, informative way. There is even a video at the end that is not what you expect but it is beautifully done. It is a jam-packed blog filled with LOVE, the spice of life!

Danielle is on the right who led me to the baskets. Eileen is next to her, the woman who helped organize all this, then Amy (who has a cousin in Holliston, MA) and Mary… ALL MAGICAL WOMEN! 🙂

The problem of poverty is UGLY… but the solution does not need to be. We can all do our part… Here is how we did our part this day. 🙂 Every little bit helps!

One of the BEST things about living in beautiful Portugal is meeting all the people! There are sooooo many incredible human beings here!…Many are, of course, from Portugal but there are also Portuguese who were born in other places or left Portugal very young, like I did, and have now come back. They have lived in places like Luxemburg, Brazil, America, Macao, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea, Canada, France, England, Timor and Germany. These countries seem to be the main places people who immigrated went. Well, I should not really use immigrated for some of them because for many years Portugal was a colonial power that had an incredible influence in the world, especially considering its rather initial small landmass. Up until a few short years ago Portugal still had many colonies.** Portugal has always been a magnet for people, once you come here and savor the food, weather, climate, people, nature… you can’t help but fall madly in love! Also because there is a lot of light and sunshine here (it does not get dark until much later here as compared to Massachusetts, for example) people get more serotonin. Plus living right on the ocean is a soul-FULL experience I wish on everyone… especially the more grumpy of us humans! 😉

Just some of the REALLY GOOD LOOKING volunteers… 😉 Amazing people and their equally amazing children! It was a big lovefest!!!

So far on this magical year’s journey I’ve had the pleasure of meeting my very first week here, the beautiful Eileen McDonough, who is originally from Pittsburg. She started a greeting card company called Mandamor…(Manda= send) (Amor= love). What a cool name right? She has helped revolutionize the greeting card industry in Portugal and are thinking of expanding overseas. To check out their cool designs… Today I want to write about a REALLY cool thing Eileen did.

Last year our beautiful Eileen, turned 50 and to celebrate she wanted to do something for other people so she organized a group of friends to feed the homeless. Well, it was SUCH a huge success that she did it again this year and I was lucky enough to be invited. It was something I will never, ever forget!

Everyone did whatever was needed, whenever it was needed. We all had great flow!

You see, there was an ordinary Portuguese man named Alfredo Abreu in Lisboa, whose heart broke every time he heard of someone going hungry*, so he started this special organization. He basically asks someone to bring together friends who not only volunteer but also pay for the event. Eileen heard about what he was doing and it opened up her heart as well… because that is how love works – it’s contagious!…and when you live in the RIGHT NOW you can feel the intuition hits more clearly and feel the love more deeply. It’s almost impossible to do this when you thinking about a deadline or your to do list… know what I mean? 😉  So from those 40 friends she collected about $25/person with some giving more and some giving less – it all works out. We volunteers set up the menu, shopped for the food, cooked, set up, served, did the dishes and cleaned up. It used to be outside and only a few times a year, now it’s up to once every two weeks and indoors! We also have people there who sit at each table to keep the guests happy and conversations going. Most groups even have live music… all volunteers!

To be honest when I found out about it I was not very excited. Things seemed to go against us for a while. It started raining like crazy then, on the way we had a car accident which made us later, then took the oh-so-wrong turn that meant we had to sit in traffic over the 25 de Abril bridge (you know the one that they modeled after the Golden Gate bridge) knowing the whole way that it was the wrong direction and we were now almost an hour late. ARGH! It was a wonderful exercise in letting go and being in the RIGHT NOW. RIGHT NOW. RIGHT NOW. Sometimes people think we are working to ARRIVE at a place where all will go as we wish and there will be no more “bad things”. If we are just good enough, sacrifice enough, give enough THEN we will arrive at that safe place where daughters don’t die, banks don’t take away a family’s house or people we love don’t get cancer, but EVERY situation is both good and bad… it is all about perspective. It is a very foreign lesson to most of us but it is one that is necessary if you want to attain happiness. Gentle reminder to always be checking your perspective. 🙂 I felt like we should go home but I did not, we just kept moving forward, being open to the possibilities!

In the middle of it all I asked Mia to pose so that I could give her the gift of that very special moment from that very special night! “OH MOM! We gotta get back to work!” 😉

I didn’t expect this but the second we walked in you could feel the magic, the love. Mialotta and I got table 9, that’s her luckiest of lucky numbers because it’s the lacrosse number she choose because that was also her big brother Christopher ‘s jersey number. Mia and I worked together beautifully. We knew a lot of the volunteers so it was fun running into people we had met over the last two months (almost to the day) of when we had arrived in Portugal. Mialotta and I made a pact that we were going to be the best servers in the whole world that night and we shared that with our guests. “Get ready for a lot of love!”, we said. There were parts of the night that stand out. One, was that many more people came than ever before, I believe it was over 300, so we ran out of food. It still brings me to tears the memory of having to look into someone’s eyes, someone who is obviously very hungry and tell them there is no more food for a second helping. It is savage and heart-breaking. I had to do it over a dozen times that night. The people who were there were mostly people you would NEVER expect to see there. Many are the working poor who have been caught in the crossfire of political shenanigans. There were lots of men, but also many women and children, even babies and grandmothers. One man who had MS walked for over three hours in the rain to get to this dinner. When Mialotta asked him how he did that, he smiled and said he walks a little and sits a little. Imagine having to say to him sorry no more food. Heart-breaking!!!

Mialotta and her artist friend Artur Mata. She was in heaven!

There were many heartwarming stories too. We met an incredible artist and poet Artur Mata with whom Mialotta totally clicked with! She has been an artist from birth and has always connected with artistic people. His drawings and poems are gorgeous. Someone read one of his poems that night. I’m including it here.

Our incredible Sr. Emilio and his amazing baskets… big and small.

The person who affected me the most deeply was Senhor Emilio, a beautiful man in his late 50’s early sixties who makes baskets. My beautiful Australian friend Danielle was insistent that I meet the man who makes these amazing baskets. Sr. Emilio and I locked eyes and I could see his heart. There are people who have the grace of peace in them and beautiful Sr. Emilio is one of those people. When I asked how much his baskets were, he told me a ridiculously low price. I asked why so low. He said he lives to simply make enough to get by, not to make a profit. He wants to live life simply. Eleven years ago he lived happily in Angola with his beautiful wife and two children, a little boy and a girl. One day he came home from a long day at work to find his beloved family all murdered by petty thieves who got almost nothing because there was nothing to get.

Humbling. How can there be any other word?! Wow! Wow! Wow! Seriously. It is moments like these I can feel my Sophia around me. It is not like feeling a person, more like feeling a deep love. I had the courage to ask him why he had not taken his own life. At this point we were simply looking deep into each other’s eyes. He has such kind eyes. He said that he would not killed himself, nor does he hate the people who murder his beloved family, because his act would be worse than his. I kissed and gave him one of my very best special hugs…and for those of you who have gotten one of my “normal” hugs can only imagine what the extra-special ones are like. 😉 In general Portuguese people don’t hug too much, we do more of the kiss on both cheeks, so for him to get this hug, you could tell it was not very common but that it also touched his heart. He said many other wonderful things that made me feel so amazing. It felt like I was in the presence of God… not in the religious sense but in the LOVE sense, like a huge PEACE was all around us. (sigh) Sr. Emilio asked me three times if I was coming back in two weeks… I said no the first time, thinking how very hard it was to get a babysitter… by the third time I got a grip of myself and said that of course I would come… and Mia piped in, “E eu tambem!” (and me too!) Later on the drive home I asked her what she had learned and she said that she had learned not to judge a book by it’s cover. This whole night had a wonderful healing affect on her too. I bought every single one of his beautiful little baskets, except for the special one he gifted to Mialotta. When I got home I put all my sacred stones and crystals I use for coaching and healings in them. I feel these magical baskets are made with love so when I see someone who needs to magnetizing love, I will grow the circle, the circle of love that never stops.

This man specifically asked for Eileen to thank her… turns out that he had live in America for over 25 years and now is homeless. He was very grateful to her and us for our kindness. We were touched by his gratitude.

Because of all that she had done, I gave Eileen a guardian angel medal that I bought at a wonderful HEART store in Holliston, Massachusetts called KAMALA’s! If you have not been there, go! It is a truly magical place! It is one of the things (and people – Kate the owner) I miss the most about the States. The twist I also just realized in writing this is that it is yet another example of how love moves in the world.. because the weekend I wrote my VERY FIRST ButterflyMoms blog in VT, I stopped in at Kamala’s. Kate was inspired by what I was about to do and gave me a bracelet from Tibet that I wore for a year until it broke off. She is also a part of this journey in so many ways. (Beautiful Kate, you probably think that I have forgotten but I have not!  THANK YOU DEAR FRIEND! 😉

Living in the RIGHT NOW!

Finally, at the end of the evening, after most people had left, I sat down with Alfredo who started all this from his heart’s vision. I had a lot to say, but when I looked around me and then at him, I just started uncontrollably weeping. He took my hand as he nodded his head with a peaceful smile and whispered, “Magical, isn’t it?”

Great big hugs from beautiful Portugal,

PS To see a video of last year’s dinner that our beautiful Eileen did with her friends here it is. Notice that they did it outside last year because they did not have a location. The miracle was that it was raining right before they started and started again after they ended. Everyone commented on how divine that was, how extra-ordinary. 😉  To find out more about Alfredo’s organization…

PPS Dearest Mialotta, most people don’t read this far so I just wanted to let you know how VERY VERY VERY proud I am of you! You rocked it!!!! WHEW WHO!!!!!  It was amazing seeing you that happy!

Mialotta teaches Pedro how it’s done!

*The current political policies are dramatically reducing the already meager salaries and pensions. I spoke to one lovely neighbor who had worked hard all his life and is now retired. He was expecting to live off of what they told him but they have reduced that and reduced that and reduced that amount until it borders on abject poverty. Pretty unconscionable what they are asking people to do, especially older people who literally sometimes simply die in their home alone because they oftentimes only live on $300/month and rents are the equivalent of what they are in the States. So if they pay for rent they cannot afford food and medicine or heat. If you have seen the protests they are why. People are sick of this kind of treatment from the very people who were put in office to serve the common person. (Side prayer request: Please pray for/envision that politicians around the world remember to serve the common people and our planet FIRST, and not mega-entities of unusually high money-making ability.)

This is the power of what a group of friends can do to end hunger. We did not solve the problem this night but we lived in love the entire evening by filling bellies and hearts! :)!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! We HIGHLY recommend it! 🙂

** From Wikipedia… In the 15th and 16th centuries, as the result of pioneering the Age of Discovery, Portugal expanded western influence and established the first global empire,[10] becoming one of the world’s major economic, political and military powers. In addition, the Portuguese Empire was the longest-lived of the modern European colonial empires, spanning almost 600 years, from the capture of Ceuta in 1415 to the handover of Macau in 1999 or the grant of sovereignty to East Timor in 2002. The empire spread throughout a vast number of territories that are now part of 53 different sovereign states. However, the country’s international status was greatly reduced during the 19th century, especially following the Independence of Brazil, its largest colony. After the 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy, the democratic but unstable Portuguese First Republic was established being then superseded by the “Estado Novo” authoritarian regime. Democracy was restored after the Portuguese Colonial War and the Carnation Revolution in 1974.

My beautiful friend Aida! LOVE HER! What a beautiful soul!


Hey! After such an intense blog I’m glad you are still reading! 😉

√  For those who want a coach with a lot of heart, I’m here to help you get rid of your blocks and go towards your goal. I’m living what I have been teaching clients for nearly two decades. I only take on a few clients at a time so right now I have space for three more. Whether you are curious or serious send me an email to to set up a time to get you to your first step. For those who want something to shift in their lives this is a great time!!!

The Beautiful Eileen and me 🙂 Ready for action!

√  Here is the magnificent ButteflyMoms interview on Nancy L. Cantor‘s Dream Factory Television Show… I hope you watch it and that it feeds your soul! !

√  Last year I co-authored the book ENTREPRENEUR MOM EXTRAORDINAIRE. If you have been thinking about starting a business or want to take your business to the next level this is a wonderful way to start. WAY cheaper than going back to school…and very helpful! To feed the soul of a friend, buy them a copy by CLICKING HERE NOW…  Feel part of the magic below and see where in the world people have bought this book…

THE BOOK… “Mom Entrepreneur Extraordinaire”
The following is a list of places where ButterflyMoms live who bought our wonderful book, MOM ENTREPRENEUR EXTRAORDINAIRE… Buy one so you can put your part of the world on the list, like so many other beautiful ButterflyMoms have!

“Mom Entrepreneur Extraordinaire”

Another two young volunteers who went above and beyond… Catarina and Ricardo with Mialotta! What an amazing group of young people! 🙂 Watch out world!


Anaheim 1
Fullerton 1
Sacramento 1
San Bruno 1

Cromwell 1
Greenwich 1
Yalesville 1

Fort Lauderdale 1

Seminole 1

Roswell 1

Louisville 1

Biddeford 1

Chestertown 1

Amazing poet Artur Mata who was present… this is his poem… O NOSSO JANTAR – OUR DINNER – part 1

Ashland 3
Blackstone 2
Bolton 1
Canton 1
Framingham 1
Holliston 17
Hudson 4
Medway 8
Millis 1
Millbury 4
New Bedford 1
North Easton 1
Rutland 1
Sherborn 1
South Grafton 1
Watertown 1
Westborough 1
Worcester 3
Wrentham 1

Lee’s Summit 1

Laconia 1

Scarsdale 1
Stony Brook 1

Dublin 1

Newport 1

Waitsville (Mad River Valley) 2



Good Friends Jess and Aida with founder Alfredo Abreu. What an amazing man! What an amazing vision!

“Mom Entrepreneur Extraordinaire” BOOKS SOLD OUTSIDE UNITED STATES

Wien 2

Dublin, Ireland 1

Rome, Italy 3

Tokyo  1

Santa Maria (Azores/Açores)  1

Greenock 1

Madrid 1
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
*To buy your copy Click now…

I was not the only mom to bring her daughter… Here is Danielle with her beautiful daughter Ines! 🙂 Gotta love those Aussies! 🙂

*Mark your calendar to read ButterflyMoms EVERY Friday!
*Share the ButterflyMoms blog with your beloved friends! Spread the love…

*Buy your copy of the book now at

ButterflyMoms is a community of people who realize they are souls first and human being second. They want to explore more about themselves, to find out what makes them happy and how they can lead a life of purpose. It is simply about FEEDING YOUR SOUL. Although it has the name “MOMS” in the title it is more about being nurturing to your own transformation, as the butterfly is to its own metamorphosis. This community is led by Maria Salomão-Schmidt whose transformation was ignited by the birth and death of her BELOVED thirteen month old daughter Sophia (Sophalicious), the original butterfly.

Another wonderful volunteer Henrique! 🙂

*Every Friday Morning, as a way of honoring her daughter Sophia’s soul, Maria writes the weekly BUTTERFLYMOMS BLOG. Hundreds of people read it every week to feed their souls. Maria started writing the blog in May 2009 and has written EVERY Friday since. Tell your friends… https://butterflymoms.wordpress.comand spread the love!!! FEED YOUR SOUL!!!!!


  1. Great post Mariaaaaaaa! So powerful;)

  2. What an amazing adventure you and Mia went on. Thank you for opening Mia’s heart to the World. Very Proud of you both.

  3. Very Touching Post !! You made me Smile !! God Bless you and everyone there that helped feed the hungry !! You touch my soul again !!! Never stop being you Maria !! Your just Amazing !!

  4. What a wonderful blog post! i want to go back and read it more carefully, there was so much wonderful stuff to read. I volunteer at a homeless shelter here every thursday, i work with the children of the shelter and do literacy activities with them. Poverty is so avoidable. I think our Countries should be ashamed.

    • Thank you beautiful Jennifer! It means the world to me that you reached out! You and I are connected on such a deep level. Your Sydney was one of my guides when Sophia was born. I smile when I see photos of your Sydney because she is so very beautiful! LOVE YOU! KEEP BEING AUTHENTICALLY YOU!

  5. Love & miss you but proud & happy at the same time xxx

    • WOW!Thanks for your comments beautiful Gaynor! Keep checking in sweetie pie! Life is sooooo amazing, especially when I hear from loves on this planet like you!

      Great big hugs,

  6. Great post as usual. Sounds like the girls are learning a lot about life and life in another country. Im glad they are learning so much. Sounds like you have been busy and at the same time having a great time. I look forward to the post. I love to hear the stories.

  7. Maria I have read this post 3 times now! I learn so much from you each week, and feel so blessed that you walked into my garage that rainy day to drop off the dry cleaning and found my children painting 2x4s and making forts in the garage!

    Mia, you are a very lucky girl and I am proud of you as well! What a gift you gave the people by serving to them on this special evening.

    Send love and hugs from Holliston!


  8. You are grooving, baby! So glad you went to Portugal. Seems to be your magic place in the world. Keep your light shinning and nothing can go “bad”. Maybe you could send some of that serotonin my way in Maine!

    Love, Linda

  9. HI Maria, so proud and happy for you and Mia. I do really miss those “normal” hugs. Not sure if I could survive a big one! =D Missing you, Kären

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