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Posts Tagged ‘Helping Others’

Lizards fighting Posturing and positioning themselves, two blue belly lizards eye each other contemptuously. Using my deck as their battlefield, they crawl around in a strategic circle formation. In a flash the battle begins: one lizard lunges at the other and chases it away. Retreating, but not far away, the second lizard charges back towards the other. Charge and retreat; charge and retreat; charge and retreat; the battle continues. Studying these two rivals, I recognize that they are not only fierce competitors, but also survivors. Each sports a regenerated tail. Given a particular threatening situation, some lizard species have caudal autotomy, the ability to self-amputate their tails. Equally amazing is the fact that they can also regenerate new tails. This ability to shed or let go of an integral part of themselves in order to survive fascinates me. I ponder how this concept might apply to humans. Not in the physical sense, of course, but in the spiritual and emotional sense. What do we need to let go of in our heads or in our hearts in order to survive and regenerate?

#1 – Japanese Philosophy and Art
Kintsukuroi Comparing the kintsukuroi pottery process to trials in life, metaphysical teacher, author, and spiritual guide Carrieanne Fonger says, Take a moment to remember all of your own broken places. Instead of filling the memories with shame, guilt, sorrow or regret, fill those broken spaces in your life with gold. Think about how each circumstance changed you for the better, helping to shape your character and make you who you are – “more beautiful for having been broken.”

#2 – Backyard Fun
Outdoor Summer Fun Spending time in the outdoors can regenerate the spirit. There’s no need to travel far, either. Just step into your backyard. To that end, here are 31 DIY Ways to Make Your Backyard Awesome This Summer. What fun!

#3 – Easter Peeps Flower Vase
What if you stuck a slightly chipped or ugly vase inside a clear larger vase and used the in-between-space to place decorative elements? You would be giving new life to the smaller vase and creating something beautiful at the same time. Easter Peeps and Flower Centerpiece

#4 – Out of the Mouth of Babes
“There’s plenty of reasons to dance; you just have to look for them,” says this wise young soul. Watch this video and feel renewed and invigorated.

#5 – Let Go, Evolve, and Change
Kintsukuroi

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.”
Joseph Campbell

“Life is a gift, and should be cherished, lived and experienced. Though experience often reveals itself as pain in this world, it is still purposeful, it still has its place in the evolution of our spirit.”
Michael Poeltl, Revelation

“Change always comes bearing gifts.” Price Pritchett

Now go and spread joy!

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Double JoyA thoughtful gift of a plant with two garden stakes multiplies my joy every morning. As someone who enjoys nature and who has an affection for birds, I clearly appreciate the plant and the whimsical hummingbird. But knowing that my personal mantra is “Spread Joy,” my friend also gave me a garden stake with the word “joy” on it. What she doesn’t know is that every morning, when the bright eastern sun shines on my backyard, my joy doubles!

#1 – Napkin Notes
Napkin Notes A man named Garth writes words of encouragement on napkins before placing them in his daughter Emma’s lunch box. As a dedicated dad, he has been giving her these napkin notes, since she was in the second grade. But now, after being diagnosed with a cancer that gives him only an 8% chance of living beyond 5 years, Garth is accelerating his note-writing. He plans to write an additional 826 napkin notes, so that Emma will continue to receive notes in her lunch box after he is gone until she graduates from high school. Read about Garth and Emma’s inspirational story and check out their Facebook page.

#2 – Mother, Art, and Climate Change
Zaria Forman: Art and Climate Change Rena Bass Forman, an artist and photographer, conceived an idea to retrace the 1869 Arctic trip of American painter William Bradford, but unfortunately she did not live long enough to realize her dream. Her daughter Zaria Forman, a Brooklyn-based artist, fulfilled a promise she made to her late mother by leading an expedition called Chasing the Light up the northwest coast of Greenland. This trip inspired many realistic pastel drawings of icebergs. In an interview posted on My Modern Met, Ms. Forman says, “My hope is that these drawings bring awareness, and invite viewers to share the urgency in a hopeful and meaningful way. Art can facilitate a deeper understanding of any crisis, helping us find meaning and optimism in shifting landscapes.” Ms. Forman also traveled to the Maldives, the lowest-lying country in the world, to continue her focus on climate change. Below are links to see more of her incredible artwork:

Exploring Climate Change Through Art: Giant Pastel Oceanscapes and Icebergs Drawn By Zaria Forman

Zaria Forman Website.

#3 – A Hum a Day Keeps Stress Away
"Flying" Hum Want to begin the day in peaceful calm or end your day completely relaxed? Or do mid-afternoons present the most stressful moments? In any case, all you need to do is hum. Check out Osmosis, a “Frequency-shaped Meditation Drone Generator. The site reads, “Humming enhances breath control and extends exhalation. It also creates deep vibrations inside your chest, helping you to relax, ease stress, and balance your mind and body.” Locate the steady hum behind the soothing tinkling of bells and hum along. Feel better?

#4 – Valentine’s Day Upcycled
Upcycled Gift Boxes Not wanting to rush the year along, but Valentine’s Day is only two weeks away! Instead of buying heart-related stuff at your local craft store, how about upcycling something you already have around your house? Start by making these lace-inspired gift containers, made with plastic containers that previously held powdered drink pouches.

#5 – Joy Follows
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”
Guatama Buddha

Now Go and Spread Joy!

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Buster and Ruca With his Santa’s hat askew, Buster, a black Lab, looks warily over at Ruca, his playful Corgi cousin from New York. “Is she still there?” one could only imagine him thinking as he tries to avoid eye contact with her. Despite their size difference, Ruca herds Buster over to the sofa and makes sure he remains there. Watching the two interact with each other, I am reminded of how looks can be deceiving.

#1 – Not All Things Are What They Seem
25 Things That Are Not What They Seem While thinking about how looks can be deceiving, I came across this list of 25 Things That Are Not What They Seem. It’s an interesting read, especially for trivia buffs!

#2 – The Science of Happiness
Many people fall prey to the deception of what will make them happy. Why are some people happier than others? What do happy people possess that others don’t? Check out this infographic to learn about the science of happiness.

How to Be Happy

#3 – What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

He’s young, but he’s wise. When 13-year-old Logan LaPlante is asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he answers, “happy and healthy.” In this TEDx Talk, he discusses Hackschooling and how it differs from traditional schooling. Traditionally “school is geared toward making a better living, rather than a better life.” Watch his thought-provoking presentation and see if it doesn’t get you thinking about your own education or your children’s education.

#4 – Trash or Treasure?
Do It Yourself Craft Ideas Upcycling is the art of taking something no longer used and converting it into something useful. We deceive ourselves every day by trashing objects that can be transformed and given a new life. Make this the year you begin upcycling and for ideas, check out these Do It Yourself Craft Ideas.

#5 – Self-Deception
“Human potential is the same for all. Your feeling, ‘I am of no value,’ is wrong. Absolutely wrong. You are deceiving yourself. We all have the power of thought – so what are you lacking? If you have willpower, then you can change anything. It is usually said that you are your own master.”
Dalai Lama

Now Go and Spread Joy!

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Autumn Leaf Colors Shorter days and cooler air send signals to leaves to change their colors. As their veins constrict, leaves gradually loose their dominant green coloration, unmasking inherent yellow and orange pigments. Reds and purples, newly produced at the end of summer, make their appearance. But no matter what their color, these leaves ultimately fall slowly to the ground. Autumn is a season of change, revelation, and closure. And so it is with the autumn of our lives.

#1 – Art That Moves
soap, Oil and Ink by Ruslan Khasanov Time, color, and movement are key components of Russian artist Ruslan Khasanov’s work. Like a scientist, he experiments with the properties of soap, oil, and inks, but like an artist, he plays with their colors, shapes, and movement.

#2 – Fabulous Pumpkin Treats

12 Pimped Out Pumpkin Treats

Chocolate Pumpkin Pecan Cupcakes

During this time of the year, a title that reads, “12 Pimped Out Pumpkin Treats You Have To Try” cannot be ignored. If the title doesn’t lure you to click on the links, the mouth-watering photos will!

#3 – Setting The Table
Whether you’re having an informal or formal gathering this Thanksgiving, you might want to review this table setting guideline:

Thanksgiving: Formal vs. Informal Table Setting

#4 – More Christmas Ideas
27 Christmas Decor Ideas In last week’s Friday’s Fresh Five!, I featured a link to 25 DIY Christmas Ornament Ideas. To top that, this week I’m presenting 27 Christmas Decor Ideas. Unsurprisingly, my favorite project is the one using photographs. So many cute ideas, but so little time!

#5 – I Meant to Do My Work Today

I meant to do my work today–
but a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
and a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

And the wind went sighing over the land
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand–
So what could I do but laugh and go?

Richard Le Gallienne

Now Go and Spread Joy!

This post is dedicated to the memories of Yvonne Hall and Andy Mar.

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Scarves for Homeless Rainbow lint covers every imaginable surface in my home. T-shirt scarves tagged and waiting to be bagged lie in yard-high heaps on my dining room table. 344 scarves to be exact, an amount that far exceeds my original goal of 100. These scarves and the two dozen t-shirt tote bags will go far to warm the bodies and hearts of the homeless. My right hand and wrist ache from all the repetitive cutting and pulling, but as I view the piled scarves, I am overwhelmed. Many thanks to all those who contributed t-shirts to my project and to my wonderful friends who shared part of their day to help me create some of the scarves. Start saving your clean and gently-worn t-shirts for me, because next year my project will be bigger and better!

#1 – Live Longer
Secrets to a Long Life Knowing the incredible feeling I get from helping others, I’m not surprised that number 13 of Secrets of a Long Life: 25 Simple and Surprising Tips to Help You Live to 100 is “Be helpful and lend a hand to others.” The article goes on to state that “A long-term US study found that people who volunteered regularly over a lifetime lived significantly longer than those who didn’t. Volunteers also experienced less depression, fewer pains and better general health.” Find a way to expand your heart and, perhaps, you’ll live longer.

#2 – One Second of Every Day
Time flies by. Hours become days, days become months, and months become years. How can we remember the many significant moments of our entire lives? Cesar Kuriyama talks in this TED video about his ongoing project of recording one second of his life everyday and why he does it.

#3 – Fall Fantasy
Japanese Garden at Royal Roads University in British Columbia Fall Fantasy is a photo collection that captures glorious fall images from around the world and pairs them with inspirational sayings. Autumn’s beauty is displayed at its height of splendor!

#4 – Christmas, Already?
25 DIY Christmas Ornament Ideas It’s only fall, so this entry may be jumping the gun. However, if you’re a DIY-type-of-person, the time to start holiday crafting is right now! There are so many cute and clever re-purposing ideas in 25 DIY Christmas Ornament Ideas, you’ll want to start a few projects today!

#5 – Relativity of Life

Strange is our situation here upon earth.
Each of us comes for a short visit,
not knowing why,
yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose.
From the standpoint of daily life, however,
there is one thing we do know:
That we are here for the sake of others,
for the countless unknown souls
to whose fate we are connected
by a bond of compassion. Many times a day, I realize
how much my outer and inner life
is built upon the labors of others,
both living and dead,
and how earnestly I must exert myself
in order to give in return as much as I have received.
– Albert Einstein

Now Go and Spread Joy!

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Trays of Persimmons An outing to a local farm provided me with photographic inspiration. Trays of plump and shapely persimmons, waiting for distribution to food banks, caught my attention. Too bad I didn’t think to bring my camera! Knowing that I was seconds away from jumping in the car and driving back home, my husband suggested, “Why don’t you try using the camera on your cell phone?” While photographing the smooth-skinned beauties, I yelled over to him, “You’re SO smart. Guess I’ll have to keep you around for awhile!”

#1 – Feed Your Brain
165 Photography feeds my brain, but so does watching foreign films. Doing so, I’m forced to read subtitles quickly and I learn about different cultures. Lately, I’ve been watching movies from one particular country and, as a result of that, I’m learning a new language. When I read, 17 Simple Skills Which Can Be Astonishingly Good For You . . . , I discovered a few more ways to feed my brain. How many of these activities do you do?

#2 – The Ever Versatile Muffin Tin
31 Fun Treat You Can Make in a Muffin Tin Can brain food be made in muffin tins? Give that concept some thought and, in the meantime, check out 31 Fun Treats to Make in a Muffin Tin. Clever and tasty-looking!

#3 – Ways to Happiness
Little Ways to Find Happiness Surprisingly, to some, but maybe not to others, the first thing listed on Little Ways to Find Happiness is to “own at least two bubble machines.” Reading the other nine suggestions might make you feel pretty happy, too.

#4 – 500 Years
See female images throughout the ages morph together during 500 Years of Female Portraits. It’s amazing!

#5 – The Only Thing
“I do not care what car you drive. Where you live. If you know someone who knows someone who knows someone. If your clothes are this year’s cutting edge. If you are A-list or B-list or never heard of you list. If your trust fund is unlimited. I only care about the words that flutter from your mind. They are the only thing you own. The only thing I will remember you by. I will not fall in love with your bones or skin. I will not fall in love with the places you have been. I will not fall in love with anything but the words that flutter from your extraordinary mind.”
― Andre Jordan

Now go and spread joy!

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Entering the Creepy Room A white door at the top of the stairs rests slightly ajar and tempts a young woman to enter. The floor groans as she takes her first steps into the dusty room. As her eyes adjust to the dim light, she spies dark shapes lined up under the shuttered windows. Closer inspection reveals large bags leaning against one another for support. At the tops of the bags, scrawled in cursive handwriting, are the words: Torsos, Necks, Bottoms, and Arms. Red specks cover the carpet and a cutting blade lies nearby. It’s quite a messy scene. “Mom’s at it again,” the young woman sighs. Acknowledging her mother’s late night activities forces the woman to shiver and contemplate the approaching cold weather. As she slowly closes the door behind her, she says thoughtfully, “How nice. Mom’s making more t-shirt scarves for the homeless.”

#1 – Igniting a Strand of Firecrackers
T-shirts The power of one is like lighting the fuse on a strand of firecrackers. In September, I conceived an idea that would help both the homeless and planet Earth. In 100 Scarves: Making T-Shirt Scarves for the Homeless, I wrote about making scarves and tote bags from clean and gently used t-shirts. To help me reach my goal, I solicited t-shirt donations from friends and acquaintances. To date, I’ve made over 50 t-shirt scarves and 10 t-shirt tote bags and taken them to a local homeless shelter. When a dear friend of mine saw the scarves and bags she was inspired to help. Not only did she clean out her drawers and closets, she asked her friends to do the same. Very quickly word spread and soon friends of friends were donating t-shirts. Sitting in my dining room are close to 500 t-shirts and other pieces of clothing. Items such as jackets, vests, sweaters, and long-sleeved t-shirts will be donated to the shelter as is. People I don’t even know purchased brand new t-shirts to donate to my cause. Another friend gave me scarves she had knitted which reminded me of my own bag of knitted goods. All the scarves I’d knitted, but never given away as gifts were added to the pile. Once a strand of firecrackers ignites, each individual explosion affects the next one and the spark continues.

#2 – Monster Face Pizzas
Monster Face Pizzas Monsters are everywhere this time of the year. They can even be found hiding in our food! From Rhodes Bake-N-Serv Blog comes this monstrously easy idea. Think of how much fun kids would have creating their own Monster Face Pizzas at a Halloween party!

#3 – Art That Makes The Cut
Yulia-Brodskaya10-640x808 Using a technique called quilling, Moscow-born artist Yulia Brodskaya painstakingly cuts, curls, rolls, and glues paper to create her incredible three dimensional artwork, as seen on fubiz and on her website.

#4 – Creative Ideas
Chair and Bookshelf All In OneRecipes, design concepts, storage solutions, and re-purposing ideas can all be found in Simple Ideas That Are Borderline Genius. Some of them I’ve posted about in the past, but others are new to me. Who doesn’t appreciate a good idea?

#5 – The Power of One
“First with the head, then with the heart, you’ll be ahead from the start.”
Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

NOW GO AND SPREAD JOY!

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