Remember your light

1-1“Every day, wherever you are, you have the opportunity to be a light and a blessing.” -BB

I recently came across a lovely blog, diaryofanaesthete, (aesthete–a person who has a special appreciation of art and beauty) by a truly beautiful soul. If you need the inspiration to become better, along with exquisite photographs and an overall rich journey for the soul, check out this blog. James journeys to find himself and help others along the way, while finding beauty everywhere. It is truly a gift for the soul. Thank you, James. Bless you in all you do.

I think there is some deeper part of all of us that yearns to feel and find a higher part of ourselves. Everyone is a seeker, whether for joy, for humility, for service, for spirit, for love, beauty, purpose, strength, etc. We are all in search of those inner ingredients that will fill up the voids of the divine that has been hidden within this earthly journey. We are all seeking to find a little piece of home while we are here.

We are having a glimpse in time; an experience that challenges us to awaken and to hopefully remember where we are from. We are divine gifts that have so much power and infinite possibilities that we sometimes get caught in the human traps that lure us to lower living and forget who we are. Ultimately, we are supposed to seek a higher place that will help us nurture our rich talents that lie within our hearts. Doesn’t it make more sense to live this life and find the deep riches hidden within that add to the world? Ways to use our talents, to spread our wings, to be a light in some way? We were not sent into this life to become powerless, depressed, lonely and in need of excess to fill our voids.

What helps us to be better is to remember the stars within us, to awake in this dream and find those things that light us up. I LOVE the quote Howard Thurman shares, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

When we are doing something…anything that improves the world, even in some tiny way, we are fueling the light within. The stars within us shine a little brighter. Try it.  And then hopefully, the world is a little better.

For LOVE week (aka Valentines) I did some little things to bring light. I am always seeking to notice and find someone who may need me or something I can give. First, I put a sign outside on my street that tastefully read, “Spread Love” and listed ideas, hoping to spark something in the passerby’s.  I then had a great exchange at a local grocery store, so I decided to surprise the cashier with a pink shake to spread some love. She was so moved and so gracious that someone would think to do something nice for her. She gave me a huge hug & expressed how grateful she was because she had a bit of a sore throat and knew the shake would feel great. I handed out “fortune fish” to drive-thru attendants & told them how fortunate I was to know them. I then had a sweet “Godwink” while I was waiting in another check-out line. The woman ahead of me was buying a bunch of small toys, binders, games, etc. I merely said, “it looks like you are going to bring a lot of joy.” I honestly thought she was probably buying fun gifts for her grandchildren, so my heart sang when she began to tell me about her journey of running a dyslexia center for youth. She told me how she had six locations & felt like she was always buying lots of incentive prizes that took more money than she was making. She was a good-hearted woman trying to do good things. We had a genuinely sweet exchange & I told her she didn’t need to do everything on her own & that people would be happy to help. I gave her my contact info. & I look forward to helping her with a fundraiser or buying little gifts or something.  While she was being checked out the line became very long, so by the time I was leaving there were probably eight people behind me. I smiled a big smile & yelled to everyone to have a happy love week and to spread lots of love. There were lots of smiles and love was shared.

We all need one another in some way–even if it is just a loving lift, a smile or encouragement. If you do anything today, I challenge you to begin doing small things that may light the way for your heart or those around you.

May you have peace, love, and light within your lives.  -H

Be LOVE in all you do.

PS Next week is RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) week, so now is the perfect time to do tiny things that will have a big benefit. Begin. Do. Do everything with love and everything will begin to lead to better places for your life.

So much LOVE

Love-552x864February is right around the corner & I LOVE all the wonderful things it brings!! RAK week, Valentines, my anniversary, my daughter’s bday…so much LOVE. Love it!!

What do you do and how do you FEEL about the month of LOVE? Do you spread love and kindness to those around you? Do you feel more alone? Do you feel you wish you had someone to love? Do you want to enjoy it & just don’t know how to fully engage?

Here are some ideas to get you enjoying LOVE month no matter what!!

RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) LOVE: LOVE EVERYONE: Smile at everyone (even strangers).  Share a compliment with someone. Surprise someone with flowers. Send a love note to at least five people you care about. Text some great notes or quotes to inspire others. Drop some money for a street performer or take a minute & share what you appreciate about their craft. Leave a note or treat for your delivery people or those you see/visit to get your hair done or someone you buy your coffee from, etc. Have compassion and hold that space for people who come into your life. Open & hold doors for people. Notice those around you–is there an elderly woman walking home & needs help with her groceries? Stop & help. Turn your phone off when you are in a deep conversation with someone–your attention is a gift. Inspire others with uplifting posts, texts, sticky-note messages, any chance you can–send some good into the world.   CREATE A GIFT FOR SOMEONE. Use one of your talents & create something nice for someone. Write a song or poem, bake cookies, leave a little note, etc. My daughter has this co-worker who is amazing at drawing animals & she randomly will gift one to my daughter. It is a genuine gift made with love and care. It makes everyone feel good.   DRIVE NICE! I always tease my husband on this one. I am constantly reminding him to let people in, not cut people off, be courteous to other drivers, etc. I always say, “what if that was a neighbor?” just to make him think & remember to be kind to everyone.   GIVE: Whether it is going through your “stuff” & finding items to donate or you want to make a meal for someone in need–do something to get out of yourself & your life and give time, items, needs to someone who could use you or your talents.   LOVE THE EARTH: be kind by recycling, composting, planting a tree, using less plastics, gaining knowledge, pick up trash or fishing line at a local park, Start an earth day campaign, etc. Do a little more of what you can do to make the world a better place.   SPREAD LOVE TO CO-WORKERS: leave a small, handwritten note in everyone’s inbox. Bake something yummy to share with everyone. Give praise and acknowledge greatness on a regular basis. Care & listen. Leave inexpensive gifts as surprises for everyone [ie: mandala coloring book, quote cards, candy treats, etc]   WRITE IT OUT: most people just send a silly meme wishing wells or happy bdays, but I have one friend who makes it her mission to send hand-written cards for various occasions. Sometimes it is just a wonderful gift to get a handwritten note via snail mail.   BECAUSE YOU CAN: Call & tell your parents you love them OR better yet make it a fun night together. Many people have lost someone close to them & can’t reach out and share feelings. My husband’s step-dad recently fell ill with a rare disease and was gone within two weeks. It hit everyone hard, so reach out, because you can!   VISIT THE ELDERLY: I just read a very sad article that mentioned how 60% of elderly in rest homes do not have visitors. At our home around Valentines we usually buy the $1 store heart doilies & we write generic love letters on them & then drop them off at our local rest home. Take the time to drop off something, visit someone, make a fun deck of cards everyone can use, share a talent, etc.  BE SINCERE: we all go through the motions of asking people how they are doing, but do you really mean it? Check it next time & be genuinely present, listen and be sincere with your conversations.   BE GENUINE: with your hugs, your time, your conversations, the way you give of yourself—do it all with LOVE.

DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF: Be nice to you! I wear a feather ring to remind myself “FLY: First Love Yourself” How can you do little things to be kinder to yourself? Be kind & tell yourself something you love or need affirmation. Exercise. Get quiet. Take time for yourself & give yourself some self-love by…BUY A BOUQUET OF FLOWERS, but before you do, learn & study about the symbolism associated with specific flowers or colors. [ie: Bird of Paradise symbolizes joyfulness and magnificence. A carnation Pride and Beauty. Daisy innocence and Purity. Gerber Daisy Cheerfulness. Iris Eloquence. Lily Purity and Refined beauty. Sun Flower Pure thoughts. Rose Love.]   SPA DAY: either stay home & diy spa treatments OR go to a spa & indulge in a facial, get your nails done, relax to a massage, etc. Take some me-time.  SOMETHING NEW: maybe you have always wanted to go to the 7pm spin class or try an indoor rock climbing gym. This is the perfect time to do something new you have always wanted to do.   GET GRATEFUL: this is huge for anyone who needs to FEEL a little more ‘something’ from their life. It has been scientifically proven that if you write down five things a day that you will be 25% happier within a month. When we have grateful hearts every aspect of our lives becomes a little better. That is a great gift you can give yourself.   SAY NICE THINGS. What are you saying to yourself on a daily basis? Are your being kind? Are you saying things to yourself that you would say to others [like your best friend]? Check what you are saying to yourself & focus on trying to say nice, kind things to yourself.   HAVE VISION its 2020–everything should be a little more clearer this year! Take time to make a vision board.  Here is my vision board story & directions to make your own https://yourhappyplaceblog.com/2013/01/02/tap-into-the-vision-for-your-life/

SOMETHING FUN WITH OTHERS: ST. VALENTINE SWAP! My daughter has a bunch of friends who work with her that are in their twenties or thirties and single. I came across a great idea: have them all swap names and give one another a fun valentine surprise!! [think Secret Santa swap] but this I am going to call The St. Valentine Swap!! So fun!! Deliver flowers, buy chocolates, give them movie tix, take them out, make a valentine’s card, etc.  LAUGH OUT LOUD: gather friends or family & watch something funny. Find an old favorite comedy, put on a funny comic or have your own open-mic night & invite everyone to tell jokes, share funny & embarrassing stories, karaoke, etc.  YOUR FAVORITE THINGS NIGHT: Invite friends or family over to share some of your favorites. Bring a tub of your favorite ice cream or a dvd movie that tops your list or a favorite chapstick you want to share with everyone. Have everyone bring favorite things to share & go from there.  MYSTERY & MURDER: My daughter has fallen in love with murder mysteries, so we had one of her friends over & we watched the Netflix original, Murder Mystery with Jennifer Aniston & Adam Sandler, had fun food & after played the board game, CLUE.  You could also make up your own Murder Mystery dinner & have guests come dressed up as their character. It doesn’t have to be a romantic comedy, just make the night fun and memorable.  CURL UP & DYE IT NIGHT: bring fun colors to semi-color your hair, junk food to share, and enjoy a night of color, conversation and downtime. Make it fun for everyone!  FOND OF YOU FONDUE NIGHT: Invite friends or family over for sweet and savory fondue dishes. Have them bring a favorite ingredient to share with everyone. Pull out the fondue pots and make it fun!!

I hope these ideas get you planning many special moments for LOVE month. Make it memorable. Make it FUN!! Most importantly–Spread some LOVE. xoxo

Love & JOY to you today.  -H

 

FRAGILE handle with care

61f71b81c03c3205c2d8352182c1d956 One thing I have learned is that God places me (or the other way around 😉 in situations where I am needed. Whether it was a single mom who had just moved here from Turkey and they didn’t have anything for Christmas, a couple of homeless kids who needed a shower and a meal, various people who just needed a ear to listen, a homeless musician who needed encouragement to connect with his daughter, a young girl just out of foster care who I still talk to every day…there are people all around us who need something.

There are so MANY people who need to be handled with great care. 

After my daughter and I came across a young man (Quinn) walking along the road carrying garbage & our brief encounter, I have had this nagging intuition to find him. I have felt very strongly that he may need us in some way, that we were put in his path for a reason. After weeks of thinking how crazy that looks (an adult trying to find this young man) I decided I would try. Because, I know for some reason we crossed paths.

I felt we (as a family) could use this inspiration of one kid doing such a small act and build on that, so we decided we would find this young man and tell him what an inspiration he was to us that we are going to start an organization that finds other kids in our community who are making small changes that will make a big difference and gift them some kind of award and one hundred dollars.

We thought we would begin with Quinn. We knew he lived in a certain area near our home, but not sure where. I stopped by a random house and simply asked if they knew a Quinn that lived somewhere nearby. The woman did know the young man and asked why we were looking for him. I expressed that he had inspired us with a kind action he had done for the community and we wanted to give him a gift to thank him. She asked what he had done & I explained the story of finding him on a main road with armfuls of garbage. She smiled & said, “Yeah that is pretty great! My kids definitely would not do that.” She then told us, “that will be a great thing for Quinn. He and his family have been through  a lot.” My heart immediately knew we were in the right place and that following this continued guidance was where we needed to be. She sent us his address.

I ran to the dollar store to find a gift box and a frame for a favorite quote we would gift him. While I was at the store I came across this huge hanging rack of shipping labels that said in huge letters, “FRAGILE. Handle with Care.” I looked at that and it made me think how people are like that. Everyone has a story, a journey, heartbreaks, challenges, emotional needs, etc. and how we need to be sensitive to others and handle them with genuine care.

We genuinely just wanted to make this young man feel appreciated and notice him. We still don’t know what he or his family has gone through, but we wanted to handle the moment with great care and love. We wanted it to be a highlight moment in his life where complete strangers noticed him and his light in this world. We wanted him to know he was not alone or that his actions went unnoticed.

It was a wonderful exchange and he was so surprised and moved that his actions would inspire anyone. We all felt lifted by the genuine care and sincerity of the moment.

Everyone is going through something—“Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Always be kind.” Everyone is going through something on some level, so remember the labels we put on others and try this one…”FRAGILE handle with care”

So, when you see a stranger carrying garbage or an elderly woman struggling to carry groceries, pull over, have a genuine moment and handle them with love and care. Everyone will take away something good from the needed connection.

Peace and Love to you today,  -H

 

Angels among us

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Christmas day this year we surprised our daughter with a Cirque show in Vegas.

We were a little worried because our Dodge Durango had been giving us some transmission issues a few days before Christmas. We were recently gifted a truck after my husbands Dad died a few months ago, so thankfully we had a truck to drive down to Vegas.

We drove six hours on Christmas Day to see the Cirque show, Le Reve and it was an incredible show. The night was magical and our day ended with such delight and a great memory together.

The next morning we got up to drive to a nearby city to get breakfast. The morning was colder than normal for Las Vegas and the roads were wet with fresh rain. As we were driving the truck hit a slick patch and began to spin out of control. Our daughter was in the front cab with us and became hysterical. Everything slowed down & every moment was in such slow motion. We fully rotated two times before hitting the seventy-degree, man-made mountain that the truck was thrown up on. We began to roll. My husband looked out his window and saw dirt that then turned to grey sky. I was watching my window seeing only asphalt and waiting for the large truck mirror to explode on impact. As my daughter was screaming and crying, I calmly told everyone, “We are going to roll.” We all braced for impact and then all the sudden miraculously, the truck tipped back up into an upright position. We were facing oncoming traffic, but luckily it was like the truck had been perfectly positioned on the shoulder where we were not stopping or blocking any traffic.

We sat stunned and motionless. We watched as many cars drove by. We were so grateful that we did not have the amount of traffic that was passing us when we were spinning out of control. There could have been multiple people involved. Another blessing.

We also knew that there had to be angels with us through that crash because how would a car be tipping, in the midst of rolling and then come back up. We all knew we had been protected and blessed. My husband joked, “my Dad obviously did not want to see his truck destroyed.” We laughed and joked, but we also knew it was very true. We know there were angels there that day.

Two of the tires on the driver’s side were blown out and we were in such a hidden location that the cops couldn’t find us. Thankfully no one was hurt or it would have been an even scarier situation.

It was a terrifying experience, but it was also a memory we will always have together that will always remind us how close heaven truly is. We know we were protected. We know there were angels there that day.

-Peace and Love to you today. Know you are held in the safe embrace of heaven.

Connect

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We need connection as human beings. I have struggled with this and continue to try and find my way through seeking connections on various levels. I don’t suffer from depression or have any greater emotional need. I have lonely moments from a lack of feeling connected, who doesn’t, but I definitely see and feel a strong need in the world for connection.

“We were born with the craving for connection. Each of us every day look for evidence that we are not alone.”  -Lisa Prosen

People slip by us in grocery stores, rarely do we thank our delivery man or woman, smiles seem to evaporate with the busy race that seems to speed up our lives and the constant attention our phones demand takes away any sense of eye contact or connection.  We seem to be feeling more and more alone in this world.

One Republic has a great song called, “Connection” that illustrates this common feeling of needing connection by simply stating, “Can I get a connection.”

According to an article by Psychology Today, “In our advanced digital age, one of the prevalent concerns regarding the increasing emergence of loneliness is how we have become less caring of others. At one time, our very survival depended on trusting and supportive relationships. Fundamentally, it doesn’t matter how technologically sophisticated we become; emotional connectivity remains a core part of being human. We need each other—maybe not in the ways that characterized us evolutionarily, but for a need that remains essential for psychological survival.”

So, as many of my posts have talked about, I have been seeking and trying to connect more with those around me—strangers, restaurant workers, neighbors, etc. People need connection. They need a simple smile, a hello, someone interested, someone who notices them…simple things.

My daughter and I were driving down a road near our home and came upon a young man who had his arms full of stuff. Upon closer look, he was carrying garbage. I looked at my daughter and could not believe it!! I said to her, “how often do you see a kid your age picking up garbage? I am going to turn around and give him some praise and thank him.”

My daughter was mortified and said, “No, don’t!”

I smiled and turned the car abruptly and headed in the young man’s direction. We pulled the car over right in front of him. [I actually think I scared him & he wondered if we were going to run him over.]

I jumped out of the car & told him what an incredible thing he was doing. One person making a difference in any way he could. He smiled and was so humble. My daughter by this point figured she should say something and got out of the car. We all exchanged some small talk about different areas/projects we have tried to do cleanups to help make a difference. We were all passionate about making small differences. It was a fun conversation and we ended up taking all the garbage in our car so he could finish his run home.

It was a great moment of connection. We were so happy we stopped and made a new friend—someone else who needed the connection. We all left that moment better. Sure we could have just kept driving, but we would have missed such a blessed moment together. It was a gift to all of us.

So, next time you see someone who may need a compliment, a boost, praise, a hand to hold, a smile, a ride, a friend…just connect. It will change your day and theirs too.

 

“God Winks”

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I fell in love with this term when I heard it a little over a year ago. What a gift for our lives. If you think about little coincidences within your life, you cannot miss the sweet “God winks” that sparkle throughout your life. Just think about it.

I recently had a sweet God wink moment, in fact, it was a couple weeks ago. Every year my daughter and I find gently used stuffed animals and dolls & we clean them up, my daughter has knitted scarves for them, we write a loving card, add some candy & turn unloved toys into magical gift bags for kids in need. It is a wonderful tradition that we have done for years. Usually, we drop our gift bags at our local Walmart for their BACA (Bikers Against Child Abuse) tree. They have always happily taken them, so my heart ached when I called to see if they were doing the BACA tree this year and they told me it was replaced by Toys for Tots that only take brand new items.

My daughter and I were going to put the gift bags of 30 + Beanie Boo’s together but had nowhere to take them.  That same day I went to the dollar store to buy the cards to put with the toys. As I was checking out a woman and a young boy were placing items on the checkout counter. I glanced back at them and said, “It looks like you guys have found some fun stuff.” The woman smiled and motioned to the stack of coloring books she was purchasing & explained that she has a high-functioning autistic son who drives a bus for young special needs kids. I had an AH-HA moment!! I smiled so big & explained to her that I was in need of a place to give these gently used toys & thought it would be a perfect situation for her son (and other drivers he may know) to gift these kids our gift bags. She was soo excited and knew the kids would LOVE it! IT WAS NO COINCIDENCE. IT WAS A GOD WINK. We exchanged numbers.

The following week my new friend, Denise and her son came by to pick up the boxes of Beanie Boo’s. Her son was so excited to see the kids’ reactions. We were all genuinely happy for this beautiful gift of the holiday season. I then looked at Denise and told her we had probably seven other larger stuffed animals if she had anywhere to give them. She explained that she had another daughter with special needs who had been awarded, “Miss Inspiration.” She beamed & said, “I will have my daughter put on her crown & we will hand them out to kids at the hospital or something like that.”

Our hearts were happy!! We all hugged and exchanged loving appreciation. Strangers who came together in a God wink. It was beautiful.

A few days later I got a sweet image from Denise. It was a cute picture of her daughter in her crown doing good at the Deaf and Blind School. It was wonderful!!

People come into our lives & we can easily miss a sweet conversation, a service situation, a new friend…slow down and look for those doors that open. There are God winks in all you do. Notice the little things, smile at someone in line, open the door for someone, look for someone who is alone, share your gifts and talents, be kind in all you do.

God is looking for a way to smile down and wink at you in all you do.

May you have a blessed holiday season. Be Love. Bring Peace. Give Hope. Do good.

Peace and Love to you.  -H

PS if the term God Winks makes you curious, I first heard this term from Squire Rushnell. He has a huge series of books that have lots of neat stories about “God Winks.” I LOVE a good coincidence and true stories just make my heart smile. These would be a good any time read. Enjoy!!

WORLD KINDNESS DAY

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Tomorrow, November 13th is WORLD KINDNESS DAY!! My challenge to YOU…do one thing that will spread KINDNESS. 

Here are some ideas. There are so many more online, but hopefully these will get you thinking and doing. Have fun. Make a difference with your smile. Make the day a little brighter for those around you. Just begin with a heart that wants to spread kindness.

SMILE . Write a thank you note to someone you are thankful for . Leave random love notes . Celebrate someone you admire by taking them out to breakfast or dinner & share with them things you appreciate about them . Take some of your left over change & make people smile as you drop it in tip jars . Write fun messages in chalk on local paths or park areas . Leave change at a laundromat . Leave a Happy Day note on random cars . Buy flowers for a friend or teacher . Organize a local activity to pick up trash & fishing line (doesn’t break down for hundreds of years) in your local park . Make cards for Meals on Wheels . Do a sock drive for your local United Way (most needed item at shelters) . Leave a kind note in library books you have checked out . Genuinely listen to people when they talk to you . Turn off lights you are not using . Say kind compliments to others . Share something positive . Hand out some $1 bills to kids at a dollar store . Buy a huge bag of bird food & feed the feathered, little ones . Offer to walk an elderly person’s dog . Deliver positive notes to an elderly home . Put your phone down and invest in the people around you . A little way to say Thank you–give little baked goods or candy bars to those who give you great service at a drive-thru, nail salon, grocery store, delivery driver, mailman, etc . Write encouraging notes for strangers to find . Share something yummy with your coworkers . Give an unexpected hug to someone . Say hello . Walk a path, smile & say hello to every person you see . Start a family gratitude text chain (daily text of five things you are each grateful for) or family gratitude journal . Take a vase of flowers in to an elderly person who doesn’t get visitors . Plant a tree . Make a meal for someone . Give movie passes or tix for an event to someone who would enjoy them . Share a favorite book with someone . Make pinecone bird feeders . Thank local heroes (police, fire) by dropping off a fun bbq kit or baked goods . Ignore your phone when you are with someone for an entire day–try it! . Reach out to someone you have not connected with in awhile . For one day make sure you say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ . Write a letter to a teacher or mentor (someone who has inspired you) & thank them for the influence they have had in your life . Clean up a hiking trail near your home . Connect with someone who seems alone . Send a great joke to someone . Ask someone a highlight from their day . Be happy . Use a reusable grocery bag . Take some time for yourself . High five a stranger . Be present with people . Give longer hugs . Always remember the ‘golden rule’ . Check your personal attitude–is it positive or negative . Get grateful . Do your best to spread some kindness & love . More ideas…

JUST BEGIN. Begin small. I am trying a little harder to send love, make small changes and to begin a positive ripple in some way. I figure we should begin in our own backyard. As individuals you don’t need to start revolutions or host a talk show to try to make a difference. Just begin. Begin small. I put a small poster out in my front yard to tell everyone tomorrow is World Kindness day. I also put a bucket of Hershey kisses with a note that says…”Take one and do something Kind.” I also printed off the above list of ideas for anyone who wishes to take one.

We are all here to learn, grow and become better. Being kind is a good step.

Love, Peace, Hugs and Kindness. -H