Why I Love Helping Others

What is the Meaning of Life

There is nothing more important in the world than helping others. As humans, we’re always questioning the meaning of life, but taking care of our Earth, animals and our fellow humans is the only purpose that makes any sense. It’s good to enjoy our life with our family and friends, trying to make the most of our short time, but honestly, when our life is over, what is left?

Helping Others is Key

I’m not sure how others justify the pain in their life, but for me the one that makes it bearable is the idea that it might help someone else. There is a saying that when bad things happen, you can either break apart or break open. The first leaves us broken, shattered, and most likely in a place where hurting others is our only form of communication. The latter leaves us stretched – with a greater capacity to hold that which is still yet to come.

Holiday Project

I am fortunate that I came from a family that also encourages a life of helping others. In the times of hardship and trial, the mentality to reach out and help others instead of withdraw is more easily reached.

At our Christmas 2015 get together, our family decided instead of giving gifts, we would have contest to give gifts for the homeless. This contest criteria was based on creativity, portability and usefulness. Our family is gifted with a wide variety of gifts and talents, so I was super excited to see what everyone came up with.

My grandmother came up with a go-bag. She repurposed a leather bag she had and filled it with every kind of tool and kit a homeless person could need.

My mother used her talent of cooking, making 8 bags of food for her homeless contribution. The bags consisted of homemade banana bread and whole wheat bread and homemade peanut butter. The bread was packaged in a handy carrying case.

My aunt used repurposed jeans, shirts and pajamas to make a beautiful handmade quilt. Her entry ended up winning the competition.

I upcycled plastic bags, cutting into plarn. I used to the plarn and thrift store yarn to crochet bags, so the homeless could carry their goods in them. As much as I love to crochet, I’m pretty slow. I would have liked to make a lot more bags, but time just got away from me and I wasn’t able to keep up the pace. Plarn combines my joy for upcycling and crocheting, and this project was extra special because I got to share that joy and help others. It’s easy to find ways to help others without having to spend a lot of money or time.

Can’t get enough love? Check out what these other bloggers have to say about it!

Affordable Valentine Gift Ideas – House of Fauci’s
A Sign of Christ’s Love for Us – Curbside Overhaul

What gives meaning to life? Friends? Family? Money? Accomplishments? For me, it's all about helping others. Check out the article to find out why.

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Finding New Beginnings in Acts of Kindness

New Beginnings

Sometimes finding new beginnings a joyful thing seems utterly impossible. They usually come off the end of something, which might leave just the shell of a person.  I remember when I first moved from kindergarten to first grade, even then I felt like life was falling apart because I had to leave the comfort of what I knew. Even after all these years, I have to chuckle to myself at all the times I freaked out at common life changes. Moving from grade school math to pre-algebra caused a major meltdown because I was so scared I couldn’t make it. It seems a bit absurd now, but then I just thought the worst was happening. Boy, if I only knew.

The New Year always brings me hope. Despite being in a sorrowful ending, I feel joy as I am finding new beginnings in acts of kindness.

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How to Have a Waste-Free Holiday

Waste-Free Tips

Is it possible to have a waste-free holiday? It’s easy to get caught up in the spirit of the holidays and forget to be careful about the things we waste.  Check out these tips to help cut down waste in the areas of packaging, food, gifts and decorations, and start enjoying your waste-free holiday.

Check out these tips to help cut down waste in the areas of packaging, food, gifts and decorations, and start enjoying your waste-free holiday.

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Why I Don’t Participate in Black Friday Shopping

Oh Where to Begin…

There are so many reasons why I don’t participate in Black Friday shopping, especially when it started on Thanksgiving.

Shopping on Black Friday isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s our attitude that worries me. I wasn’t always the anti- capitalism, corporations, money, greed or commercialism type. To some extent it was always true, but it was more because I was compassionate and wanted to help others. Commercialism has its place, but I could see when I was focused on getting more stuff, I didn’t focus as much on giving.

I can break down my reasons to not participate in Black Friday Shopping to three basic points.

There are many reasons not to participate in Black Friday shopping. Let’s make Black Friday the new Green Friday by working together to consume less junk.

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How to Have Stress-Free Holidays

Is Stress-Free Holidays Possible?

Sometimes I think having stress-free holidays seems is an impossible dream. So many gifts, gatherings, families, meals and budgets that have to be planned for, it just seems like madness.

In the name of a stress-free holidays,  my family did a loose no-spend December plan a few years ago.  It started out that she wasn’t going to buy anything at all. She was going to have all her Christmas shopping done, all her food stocked, everything she needed to enjoy the holiday without being bogged down by commercialism. She wanted these holidays to be fun, not stressful. Sounds good, right? Then she realized stressing out about not being able to buy anything wasn’t fun, so she decided to buy from locally-owned stores or as locally as possible. This means supporting our local restaurants, local stores and artists.

It’s a pretty common practice for people to flow to the bigger city to do their holiday shopping. This can have a negative impact on the economy and also it’s just a waste of gas. Companies decide to locate in cities based on how companies like them are being supported in that particular city. If people always go to another city to buy stuff, then other companies aren’t likely to move there because its citizens aren’t supportive of the companies already there.

Getting everything arranged, bought and paid for can go along way in helping create stress-free holidays, but here are some additional tips that might be helpful.

Sometimes I think having stress-free holidays seems is an impossible dream. But with these ten tips, I have reduced my holiday stress and so can you!

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Be Thankful and Change the World

Why Should We Be Thankful

Being thankful might not change the entire the world, but for the handful of people you see on a consistent basis, you can definitely change their world. I think everyone has experienced the power of negativity. We all have that person that criticizes everything we do and we feel that we can never measure up. But have we ever stopped to consider the power of the opposite? The power of positive words? The power to be thankful? The thing is you have no idea what people are going through and the day you thank them might just be the day that they are at the end of their rope.

To be thankful might not change the entire the world, but for the handful of people you see on a consistent basis, you can definitely change their world.

Believe me, there is nothing more frustrating than that employee, significant other, boss, friend, partner, that just never seems to do what you want or need. You yell, complain, throw tantrums and still nothing changes. Again, you might have no idea what challenges that person is facing. They might have an unappreciative spouse, a demeaning boss, kids that are getting in trouble at school, money troubles or any number of things going on that keep them from doing a good job at what you need.

Try to Be Thankful

If the yelling and fighting has done nothing, try something new. Try thank you. Every one can do something good. Find something about that person that you can be thankful for then tell them. It might seem impossible at first, but not only will it change their world, and it might even change your perception of how you see them. It doesn’t even have to be something they’re good at. Maybe your wife is a terrible cook, but she still tries every night. Everyone is their own worst critic, I’d bet a fair amount that she knows she’s terrible, but still, she tries. A thank you would go such a long way to know that she is appreciated and still loved though she is not perfect.

If you have a terrible employee, but they show up every day, just say thank you. Some times just that small appreciation will go a long way in making them work even harder or believe in themselves enough to get results.

Life Happens

For probably the past 6 months, I’ve been working trying to be thankful, really working on telling people that I appreciate them. It was something that my mom drilled into me for a big portion of my life and I never did really listen. No big shocker there. It wasn’t until about two years after college, I had one terrible job, one job that was ok, but I got fired from, then one job where they promised to help me move up if I did well in their program but that never happened, then finally one really awesome job that I loved but felt pretty inadequate at, then finally the job I have now. As you can imagine that progression got pretty discouraging.

On top of that, I had a roommate, who messed up everything I cleaned, took credit for any progress I made and would always come to tell me how well they were doing, when I was in such a crappy place. It didn’t happen all at once and first I didn’t notice, but I just got lower and lower. Even if no one had seen my struggles, it would have changed my outlook on everything. Fast forward a year or so, I lost the job I loved because the company ran out of money. During the three months I didn’t have a job were the lowest of the low. I desperately needed a job, but everywhere I turned the doors shut in my face.

The Power of Appreciation

I had never felt so useless or so unworthy. All I had was my mom rooting me on and thanking me for getting out of bed and trying. I also had my cat, but he complains about everything, so not helpful. It was then that I realized the power of appreciation. When the world couldn’t care less, we all need that person telling us that they care. We need some one to tell us that we can do it when we think we can’t.

I’m sure everyone has their own story of the time when someone reaching out to show they care would have changed everything for them in that moment. Learn from those moments and be the thing you needed for others. I promise it will change you and that wholehearted goodness will come back to you when you need it most.

Real World Examples

I’m sorry because this is kind of side note, but one that I see all the time. When I am looking at product reviews and I have a choice between a company with no reviews and a company with tons, but they have mixed reviews, I’ll almost go with the company with no reviews. I’ve learned over the years, people are so much more likely to say something negative before they’ll ever say something positive, especially online. People are so quick to tear others down, but they always hold back when saying something good.

It’s so sad that we live in that kind of world and this lack of appreciate can really change someone’s world for the worst.. One-third of businesses fail within the first two years. Although, I have the most supportive family, I have several friends who say they get more support from strangers than their friends and family. Everyone congratulates you when you get a new job, but when you follow your dreams? Not a peep. People! Support each other! Know a friend who just started a business? Try their product or service, SAY THANK YOU and spread the word, leave a positive review, leave comments on their blogs, do something to bring that friend support. Even if you have no use for their product, like their business posts on Facebook when you see them. How hard is it to show support for your friend, who has taken the leap to follow their dreams?

Change the world and be thankful. It will not only change your world, but it will change the world of those around you.

We wrote this post as a collaborative effort. Here are some of other favorite pieces on thankfulness to get in the right mindset for Thanksgiving.

Thankful for Little Things– Little Sprouts Home Daycare

3 Ways Having a Baby Made Me Thankful– Tapestry Chronicles

The Moment We Share With the Children– Hello Daycare

Our Reason to Be Thankful? Second Chances– Curbside Overhaul

Cranberry Glazed Ham and Thankfulness– Cottage Making Mommy

Don’t forget this pinspiration for later!

To be thankful might not change the entire the world, but for the handful of people you see on a consistent basis, you can definitely change their world.

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23 Lessons I Learned From My Father

A few months ago, I wrote about 23 lessons I learned from my mother, one for every year, since I’ve been born. Today, I’m going add 23 lessons I’ve learned from my father.

My father didn’t grow up with the best example, but that never stopped him from loving the most his heart could. I am incredibly lucky to have such a great dad and I wish that I could share him with all those that weren’t as blessed as I was. I know that isn’t possible, but my dad has been involved in many children’s activities over the years and I’m so proud to see that he has been a good example for so many other children, too. Please, enjoy these lessons I learned from my father.

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Motivation Monday: Remember Our Father

Remember Our Father- the Giver of Life

It’s times like these that it’s especially important to remember our Father, our Heavenly Father, who is a giver of life, promise and future. These past couple of years have been filled with heartache with several mass shootings, natural disasters and so much sickness. In these dark times, He will bring us closer to embrace us with comfort and peace.

Also, Father’s Day is coming up soon. These holidays when everyone else is our celebrating with their father or mother can be incredibly difficult. I dread the day when I have no father to celebrate with and pray that everyone who experiences sadness on this Father’s Day will feel the peace of their Heavenly Father. Although, there is no replacement for our earthly father, our Father from above can love us more than any other person could. It’s important to remember our Father.

Need some Monday Motivation to start your week off? Just remember: “In the darkest days, when I feel inadequate, unloved and worthy, I remember whose daughter I am and straighten my crown!"

Although there is no replacement for our earthly father, he is flawed and human. Sometimes the flawed qualities lead us to experience heartbreak, disappointment and mixed with our own human flaws, we go down a dark road. At some point, we realize the consequences of our life choices, but it’s often too late. We experience more heartbreak, disappointment, inadequacy and we feel unworthy of love. Sometimes we get lost on these journeys and it takes us too long to get back home before we can repair the damage that’s been done to our relationship and sometimes it’s just too late.

It’s a heartbreaking situation, but one that happens over and over again. But the good news is that as long as we are alive, it is never too late to repair things with our Heavenly Father, who cares for us more than we could ever know.  He never leaves us and He stays by our side even in the darkest of times. If we will simply remember our Father, it is never too late. He provides all that we have and will never forsake us, no matter how long it takes us to get home.

It’s easy to live in the past, the regrets and think of all the things we should have done, but instead let’s remember our Father, all the joys, promise and future He has given us, straighten our crown and get our life turned around.

Motivation Monday: My Thoughts For This Memorial Day

My Thoughts on Memorial Day

On Memorial Day, we pay tribute to those who have given their lives in defense of our nation, those who have served or are currently serving, and the families who stand strong and sacrifice alongside them. Traditionally, this day is celebrated with barbecues, parades and parties, but often it a time to reflect and remember those who gave their lives for our freedom.

Need some Monday Motivation to start your week off? Just remember: “Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong."- James Bryce Continue reading