Love among Us

Tracey Larsen and LoveAmongUs.com is Making a Difference

With November 26th fast approaching, the holiday season will inevitably be different this year. So many of us feel vulnerable and in need of some goodness, some kindness.  A few months ago, Tracey Larsen emailed to congratulate us on insidewink and, in doing so, she shared that she, too, founded a “kindness website” called LoveAmongUs.com. Her main goal was to, “change the mindset of people who believe our world is ‘falling apart’ by showcasing all the love and kindness that exists in our world.”

When we took a deep dive into her site we realized that we were kindred spirits. We love featuring people who move through the world with an open heart, dedication and gratitude, so here’s Tracey:

Janeen Steel, Founder and current executive director of Learning Rights Law Center

“I’ve learned no matter what the situation is, when things are at their lowest, opportunity for change are at its greatest. It can feel overwhelming right now, but what that means is, there are opportunities for improvement and to make a difference in someone’s life.   And, helping others is the best way to pull yourself out of a negative mindset.”

—Tracey Larsen, Founder, LoveAmongUs.com

Love Among Us

It’s What’s Right With The World

Tracey, you are the founder of a website that promotes kindness – could you tell us how you began this endeavor?

I have great friends! And when I say “great”, I don’t just mean fun, or even kind.  I mean they are people who strive to make a difference in the world.  From feeding the homeless, to leading youth groups, to fostering children, or just volunteering when needed, they make the world a better place. And, my friends are just a few of the many, many people making a difference in the world every day. 

So when I hear people say things like “The world is falling apart” or “People only care about themselves nowadays”, I feel compelled to share how much “good” actually does exist. The goal of my website is to change the mindset of people.  To make people realize, and to hopefully inspire them to be a part of, all the love among us.  

What did you do before starting LoveAmongUs.com?

I have always worked in Sales but behind the scenes. I provided sales teams with the tools, training, and communication materials they needed to be successful in their jobs.  Although the LoveAmongUs website is not directly influenced by my work experience, my knowledge of communications, provided me with the insight to develop the site.

Do you have a daily routine? 

I’m still figuring out my routine right now.  I think a lot of people’s lives have changed dramatically as a result of Covid-19. More of us are at home and finding different ways to be productive.  For me, personally, Covid meant the loss of a job. My husband and I found ourselves home together, day-in and day-out, for the first time in our 33 years of marriage.  The time together has been nice, and we’ve definitely taken time to appreciate it, but we’ve had to get past that feeling of obligation to spend every moment together just because we’re both at home.  We’re learning to go our own way, even though we are both in the same house. It has been a little awkward but we’re figuring it out.

Did you face any challenges in launching your Love Among Us website?

Getting the word out about my site has been the biggest challenge. Even though LoveAmongUs has a corresponding Facebook page, it does not drive the number of visitors to my site that I’d hoped for. I’ve just recently joined Instagram and am hoping that helps.  I am definitely still learning.

How do you get your stories and articles?

There are so many stories about love and kindness circulating right now.  I think people are desperately craving good news.   When you pull yourself away from all the negativity stemming from the political unrest, you find more than enough stories of people helping people.  Also, I follow a lot of Facebook “kindness” groups and “kindness” podcasts, and I follow other positive websites, like InsideWink.

Can you tell us who or what inspires you?

My family, my friends, inspirational music, books and movies all inspire me.

Stale Wind Brings Good
My grandmother used to say ‘There’s never a stale wind that doesn’t blow some good’ meaning good things always come out of bad situations.

—Tracey Larsen, LoveAmongUs.com 

What is your greatest achievement? What are you most proud of?

Long before launching LoveAmongUs.com, I founded the website FirefightersWives.com.  Being the wife of a firefighter, I was aware of the difficulties firefighter’s wives uniquely face, and I wanted to provide a means of support.  I was still building the site in September 2001 when 911 happened.  After being glued to my television for days, learning about the number of first responders who were killed in the line of duty, I realized I was sitting on a website to support firefighter’s wives.  I quickly did what was needed to upload the site to the web.

One of the features of the site was a chat room where multiple wives could login at the same time and have a live, group texting-like session with each other. The evening of my first chat room event, the very first firefighter’s wife to login was a NY Firefighter’s wife.  I think my heart literally stopped. I still get goosebumps when I think about that moment.  I eventually shut down the site in 2005 but I still feel it is one of my greatest achievements.

That being said, my family is, hands down, what I am most proud of. I’ve been married 33 years to my husband, Keith, who is retired from the fire service and is a wonderfully caring and humble person who has led our family, by his example, to be better people.

My two children have both grown to be amazing adults.  My daughter, Kate, teaches 8th grade Language Arts in a Title 1 school while also earning her master’s degree in school counseling.  My son, Kevin, is the founder of Cold Coast k9, a dog training service that teaches obedience, behavior modification and foundational skills for service and working dogs. He is engaged to a great girl, Taylor Cahill (my future daughter in-law!), who works in the schools as an Occupational Therapist.

Sometimes I take a step back to look at my family and am overwhelmed with pride on who they have become.

What have you learned about yourself doing this work?

I’ve learned I don’t do enough to help others. Since starting LoveAmongUs, I’m always reading about random acts of kindness and am overwhelmed by how many there are…  it’s made me realize, I need to do more too.  It’s funny, the mission of my site has worked on me.  Hopefully, it will inspire others as well!

WHAT’S VAL KILMER’S NEWEST PASSION? Read About it Here

What’s coming up for your website?

Since publishing the site in April of this year, I am constantly redefining what’s needed.  I want the site to be inspiring, but also a resource for everything love and kindness, such as:

  • Resources for volunteering – a listing of charitable organizations across the country, with various causes
  • Organizations making a difference and how to support their initiatives
  • More tips for teaching children how to love others
  • Feature more inspirational music, books, movies or TV shows
  • Is there anything else you’d like the reader to know (this is a great spot to plug anything you are doing)?
  • I’ve just recently created a LoveAmongUsWebsite Instagram account to further connect with followers. Look for that to become more active.
  • Also, our Soul Retreat Blog, which is managed by my good friend Kelley Davidson, who is a 911 Dispatcher and Pastoral Counselor, will be expanded to include articles from more great contributors.

I’m really excited about this!

Kelley Davidson is one of Tracey’s good friends (that’s Kelley on the right)!
Kelley is a Communications Manager at a 911 Center, and is a master’s level pastoral counselor. She teaches critical incident stress management to first responders and is working to become a chaplain.
On the LoveAmongUs site, she manages the Soul Retreat Blog which focuses on God’s Love.

What are you reading right now?

I recently finished The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates.  Wow, such an eye-opener about Melinda and the work she has done to fight poverty around the world, but also the realization that so much of poverty is caused from the suppression of women.  It’s not a book that focuses on women’s rights. It’s a book that focuses on common sense logic that if you don’t allow women to have control of the number of children they have, if you don’t include women in the decision making process of areas where they are the most knowledgeable, if you don’t allow women to earn a living or be acknowledged for the unpaid work they do, as a society, you are preventing yourself from getting ahead.

What’s on your “go-to” playlist?

My husband, Keith, is a songwriter, so I’m a little partial to his music!  One of my favorites is his song “Too Soon September.”  You can check him out at Keith Larsen Music or Keith Larsen Songwriter on Facebook.

Pie, Cake or Ice Cream?

Key Lime Pie – it’s always been one of my favorites!

What are you reading right now?

I recently finished The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates.  Wow, such an eye-opener about Melinda and the work she has done to fight poverty around the world, but also the realization that so much of poverty is caused from the suppression of women.  It’s not a book that focuses on women’s rights. It’s a book that focuses on common sense logic that if you don’t allow women to have control of the number of children they have, if you don’t include women in the decision making process of areas where they are the most knowledgeable, if you don’t allow women to earn a living or be acknowledged for the unpaid work they do, as a society, you are preventing yourself from getting ahead.

What’s on your “go-to” playlist?

My husband, Keith, is a songwriter, so I’m a little partial to his music!  One of my favorites is his song “Too Soon September.”  You can check him out at Keith Larsen Music or Keith Larsen Songwriter on Facebook.

Pie, Cake or Ice Cream?

Key Lime Pie – it’s always been one of my favorites!

Want to Learn More?

Check Out Tracey’s Love Among Us Website

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